May 6, 2014

Mudra: Not Just Something Groovy to Do with Our Hands

For many people, a meditative figure seated in Lotus Pose–hands upturned upon the lap with forefinger and thumb touching—is the stereotypical image of a yogi. But mudra isn’t just something groovy to do with our hands! It’s actually a teaching—a fundamental, philosophical, tantric teaching in which the hands act as an outer expression of our inner experience…

Read the rest of this post over on Teachasana. 

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April 14, 2014

PALEOm Podcast Episode #8: What Paleo ISN’T

In Episode #8 Emma Magenta and I discuss:

  • Bio-individuality 
  • Paleo as differentiated from Atkins 
  • Paleo as differentiated from South Beach
  • Paleo as differentiated from the Weston Price Foundation
  • Paleo as differentiated from Low Carb 
  • The USDA Food Pyramid’s transformation to the new My Plate guidelines


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March 26, 2014

The Dread Death Rash From Hell aka Perioral Dermititis

When I was about 14 years old I developed a red, bumpy rash on my chin. Sometimes the skin would flake or little pustules would develop. Eventually I complained enough that my mother took me to visit my first dermatologist, who diagnosed the condition as the result of overly enthusiastic exfoliation.

“But I haven’t been exfoliating at all,” I said.

“Too much exfoliation.”


“TOO MUCH EXFOLIATION!” he insisted grimly.

Why does visiting a doctor so often seem to be an antagonistic experience for me? (That’s a rhetorical question. Private message me with helpful responses at your own risk.)

It was a test of wills. About 18 months after burying his body, the rash disappeared as mysteriously as it had arrived. Not before really enhancing my painful, self-conscious adolescence, though.

Adolescence was fun, wasn’t it?

About 5 years ago the dread crud returned. But THIS time I had Dr. Google at my disposal.

Perioral Dermititis. That’s what the sucker is. When I look at some of those photos, I consider myself fortunate that mine is a very minor case but I am nonetheless–how shall I describe–NOT INTO IT.

My toilette is fairly low maintenance. In fact, all too often it doesn’t even stretch itself to include hair-brushing, but those photos put the fear of god into me so I hightailed it to a dermatologist. She confirmed Dr. Google’s diagnosis, and sent me home with some prescription foaming gel to put on the rash.

It worked for a while. Sorta. Kinda.

Not enough.

Then I did a couple of cycles of tetracycline. This was back before I got compulsively interested in nutrition and in building a better biome. Those antibiotics actually worked but I didn’t want to stay on them long term, and when I went off the dread Perioral Dermititis (POD) returned. At risk of complaining about First World Problems, it’s really been a drag to have this crud on my face. On good days it’s just a minor nuisance but on bleak days it feels kind of like this:


Thus ushered in what I like to refer to as the Age of Trying Everything Under the Sun:

  • I changed my facial wash
  • A lot
  • I bought every kind of lotion and moisturizer on the market
  • I made masks
  • I tried cortisone cream (very bad plan if you have POD)
  • I used vitamin E oil
  • I stopped using the steam room at the gym (even though steam is good for your skin, right? Yup–unless you have the dread POD)
  • I took supplements
  • I washed my face with frigging BORAX cuz I saw some reference to it online (desperation times and measures, etc.)
  • I changed to a fluoride-free toothpaste
  • I made my own toothpaste
  • I changed shampoo brands
  • A lot
  • I spent a humiliating amount of money on less toxic, high end products
  • I used apple cider vinegar for a skin toner
  • I slathered my face with organic greek yogurt
  • I anointed myself with $45 manuka honey
  • I gave up sugar
  • I quit dairy

POD: 7
ME: 0

Then, in my online forays, I found a sort of online POD support group. A lot of participants, it seemed, had found success through following a candida elimination protocol. Well, that made sense. I already believed that a lot of my health issues stem from Leaky Gut Syndrome (Dr. Google strikes again!) so it wasn’t much of a stretch when I realized that rashes frequently begin in the gut.

There were a good number of people in the forum who’d had success using a combination of apple cider vinegar and coconut oil–either internally, externally or both. I liked that both apple cider vinegar and coconut oil are natural and not loaded with pernicious chemicals, and that both have strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

AHA! I was finally getting somewhere.

Without dilly dallying further, I decided to try a candida elimination or reducing program. I even had most of what I’d need in my panty or herbal pharmacy already! By now, my quest had become more than–pardon the pun–skin deep. I didn’t just want to look purdy. I wanted to heal my gut.

The Candida ReductionPlan I Followed:

  •  I eliminated grains and refined carbohydrates (the Paleo transition I’ve been making already had this covered)
  • I eliminated alcohol (I’ve had this one covered for a while now too)
  • I eliminated dairy (kicking and screaming)
  • I kept my intake of carby foods down to 1/2-1 cup per day (I had some berries some days, and a half a sweet potato on others if I felt inclined)
  • No industrial meats or eggs
  • I washed my face with African Black Soap (which I am OBSESSED with)
  • I used Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) as a skin toner twice daily, mornings and evenings
  • Whenever my face felt dry throughout the day–which was frequently thanks to the ACV–I slathered it with coconut oil
  • This Calendula Ointment was a godsend when my skin dried up and peeled, courtesy of the ACV 
  • Knowing my liver would be flooded with the gunk I was detoxifying, I supported it with this tincture that I’d just happened to have made several months earlier
  • 3 times per day, I  added 2 Tablespoons of ACV to a big glass of filtered water and drank it down
  • In the morning I drank a cup of Neem Tea,  which is a strong antibacterial and antifungal agent  (I purchased the leaves here, made a half gallon at a time and kept it in the fridge. Do not drink Neem Tea if you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant!)
  • Every morning I also made a big ass vat of green juice with plenty of fresh ginger, and red radishes with their leaves, as both are antibacterial and antifungal
  • Most afternoons I made fresh juice with a beet, some beet greens, more radishes
  • Every evening after dinner I drank a glass of Pau D’arco Tea, which is another strong antibacterial and antifungal agent (I purchased it here, made a half gallon at a time and kept it in the fridge)
  • I drank a boat load of water all day long
  • I had some Nettle Tea here and there, too
  • I tripled my usual dose of probiotics for the short term of the candida protocol 
  • I dry brushed my skin every day (this is one of those things I’m always vowing to do daily but generally never keep up with)
  • Then I climbed into a hot bath with epsom salts and soaked for 20 minutes 
  • Afterward I lubed up like a greased pig moisturized with coconut oil 
  • On the days that the “Die Off” symptoms were really bad I took activated charcoal (be careful with it–it’s messy, and it stains)

3 days into the protocol, I was awakened in the middle of the night when my nose started running down my face. Sexy, right? I’d gone to bed feeling fine, and then it was like someone turned on a faucet. A NOSE FAUCET.

My nose continued to run for 6 straight days, and I sneezed my head off. I was either experiencing those flu-like die off symptoms–or I had the flu. No way of knowing for sure, of course, but I’m choosing to believe this was one of ‘dem healing crises, and taking it as a positive sign. There was just one day, really, that I felt too shitty to function, and it just happened to coincide with a day off.

If I ever do this again, I’ll definitely try to plan it at a time when I don’t have too much going on so I can take it easy.

The Dread Rash From Hell is looking better than it has in ages. In fact, not to count my pustules before they hatch or anything, it’s looking like it’s going to clear up completely. In The Great Scheme of Things, it’s probably a good thing that I’ve had this visible, exterior sign that internally All Was Not As it Should Be.

If you decide to give reducing or eliminating Candida a shot, then by all means leave a comment and let us know how it goes. Or, if you have successfully defeated the vile Death Rash From Hell in some other fashion, then please take a moment to let us know how you did it.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and don’t pretend to be. Consult your physician before beginning any kind of healthcare protocol, including this one. Do not operate heavy machinery while using coconut oil and apple cider vinegar.


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