Y’all might remember this from my post a while back…..This dressing was so delish, I thought I’d resurrect this for you. It’ll make a great side for your Independence Day Cookout.

Watermelon Peach Salad with Basil and Lime Vinaigrette

4 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
1 cup tomatoes, diced the same size as watermelon pieces
2 peaches, sliced 1/4 inch thick

For the Lime Vinaigrette:

juice of 2 limes
1 tsp coconut nectar (or raw honey or agave)
dash sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

A handful basil, whole or chiffonade
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

    Place the watermelon, peaches and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl.
    Make the lime vinaigrette by adding the ingredients, minus the olive oil to a blender or food processor. Blend, and slowly pour in the olive oil.
    Drizzle about 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette onto the salad, stir in basil and half of the pumpkin seeds.
    When serving, drizzle a bit more of the dressing onto the salad, and garnish with more seeds.

Photo by Susan Pittard

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20130505-223741.jpg

Sleep is arguably the most essential healing mechanism our body has built into it. When you’re sleeping well, your body has the best possible chance to heal, restore and recover. But what happens when your sleep patterns become disturbed and you suddenly have trouble falling and/or staying asleep? It can be devastating, frustrating and literally make you sick.

I’ve certainly been there, and it really made me feel like I was going crazy. I would have done anything for sleep, and ended up compiling quite a list of tricks to help me catch some ZZZZs.

    One of the things that can really mess with getting sleep, disrupt your circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin production is all the artificial light exposure you’re likely getting by watching late night TV or being glued to your favorite device.
    To minimize this and attempt to regulate your sleep-wake cycle, make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible. If you don’t already have window coverings, look into getting blackout shades. Your bedroom should also be cool – you’ll sleep better.
    Keep all electronics out of the bedroom, and stop all electronic use at least 1 hour before bed.
    Try a white noise machine or app. I’ve also used Delta Sleep System by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson

That’s it for setting up an ideal environment to promote sleep. And it will help, but most likely if you’re suffering from any level of insomnia you’re ready for some extra help, so here are some other tips:

    I’ve had moderate success with the homeopathic sleep remedy Calms Forte though I wouldn’t recommend it for long term use. Try taking 2-3 tablets 1 hour or so before bed.
    Add Magnesium to your supplement regiment. I like 1-2 tablespoons of Natural Calm in a glass of water 1/2 hour before bed. You can experiment with the dosage – too much magnesium can cause diarrhea, so when your stool is comfortably soft you know you’ve got the right dosage. This really helped me fall asleep.

If you’ve got a racing heart in the evenings and/or wake up between 2:00AM-4:00AM with a racing heart and don’t generally don’t feel rested you might have a cortisol issue.

Here’s an expert from Julia Ross’ great book The Mood Cure:

Cortisol is the hormone that gets you going on the morning produced by the adrenal glands. It is highly energizing and
and ramps up when you’re stressed or in “fight or flight” mode.

Cortisol levels are supposed to be highest in the morning and lowest between about midnight and 4:00AM. If levels are too high, you’ll feel wired, tense and hyper-vigilant. Cortisol levels always rise above the normal level to help us cope with severe stress. This can happen, for example, during a divorce or as a reaction to withdrawal from medications, like antidepressants, often causing insomnia.

Cortisol levels should return to normal after the stress is relieved, but sometimes chronic stress goes on for so long that the adrenals make a permanent adaptation to a new, hyper level of cortisol production. Eventually, our adrenals can become so exhausted by this constant demand for extreme cortisol production that they are no longer able to produce even moderate levels. Their cortisol output can drop too low throughout the day, especially in the late afternoon. This can be experienced as a sudden crash or a gradually increasing fatigue. But, surprisingly often, 1 – 5 AM cortisol surges persist for years, causing chronic insomnia.

Those of us who are chronically stressed or coming off of a particularly stressful period can get stuck in a viscous cycle of not falling asleep at night and waking up super early and super tired but wired. In that case you might need to take some additional steps to get you sleep mojo back.

    Ask your integrative health practitioner to run a neurotransmitter test (I’ve done one by NeuroScience) to determine which neurotransmitters and hormones are out of whack.

Once s/he has a better idea of what’s going on, s/he can recommend some supplements or precursors (read building blocks) your body needs to produce the right quantities of the right neurotransmitters to regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

    Supplements that have helped me in the past include: CalmCP to lower cortisol (with meals, up to 4 per day) and Travacor to up Serotonin and GABA production. These are both by Neuroscience and available on Amazon.com.
    You can also try Phosphorilated Serine (brand name Seriphos) which can help regulate cortisol production as well.

These supplements can actually work very quickly, as in within a few days, and sometimes may need to be part of your regiment for a few months until your body readjusts and your hormone production gets back to normal.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any tips on getting good sleep? Leave me a comment here or find me Facebook!

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Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a total tech nerd – I have more iPhone apps than most people I know, and I’m CONSTANTLY tethered to my phone – not only checking my Facebook page, emails and texts but using my phone to do everything from wake me up, time my meditation, lead my yoga practice, catch up on podcasts and read the news, blogs etc.

I love my iPhone, I do! But sometimes I feel that this wonderful tool has got me shackled to it.

The need to constantly be connected cis starting to feel counterproductive (not to mention I am finding it virtually impossible to be fully present when I am constantly bouncing around cyberspace, multitasking up a storm), and so to break the addiction, I’m taking 1 technology holiday a week.

No phone.
No computer.
No texting.
No facebook.
No blogging.

In fact, I’m going out to buy an analog alarm clock and I’m banishing all electronics from my bedroom starting now! I hope my significant other cooperates ;-).

I wont lie, I’m nervous! Is that ridiculous or what?! You’d laugh if you saw me right now- I’m literally sitting on the subway, listening to a podcast while writing this post on my favorite app Evernote. Oh dear.

I’m committed to finding more balance in my relationship with technology. I’m starting with 1 day a week and I’m hoping it will slowly spill over into the rest of my life. Maybe I can get to a point where I don’t turn my phone on til after breakfast, and turn it off after dinner? Let’s see. I’m starting slow. I’ll keep you posted, but not too much ;-)

Wish me luck, and please join me in taking a break from technology 1 day a week and let’s see what it feels like to slow down and be. here. now.

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chifles
While in Peru I became absolutely OBSESSED with chifles or fried plantain chips. Check out this super easy snack you can make ahead of time and keep around for your next snack attack:

Plantain Chips

You will need:

3 ripe plantains (they are ripe when they look really beat up, black, and nasty)
1/4 cup coconut oil

Leave the peel on the plantain and cut off the ends. Still with the peel on slice the plantain as thin as possible lengthwise. Try using a mandolin – but watch yer fingers!!

Leaving the peel on while slicing will help prevent smushing the plantain.

After the plantain is sliced, carefully remove the peel and place the sliced plantains into a skillet of hot coconut oil (just don’t get it so hot that it’s smoking).

Fry for about 2 minutes on each side, using tongs to flip, and being careful not to burn.

Place on a paper towel to blot.

Deelish on their own, or try them with Guac.

Que rico!!

Photo Credit: RPP

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What’s ahead…

April 21, 2013

in Tips & Tricks

MachuPicchuI’ve had a really good and CRAZY couple of weeks! I just got back from a vacation to Peru with an old friend where we explored the Sacred Valley’s Inca ruins, hiked Machu Picchu and had some incredible food.

I also had the privilege of being invited to share my story on national TV on the Dr. Oz Show, see below. The show is all about the Paleo Diet- what it is and how it works- and how it can transform your health.

I was honored to share my story with Dr. Oz, who seemed genuinely interested (apparently he follows a Paleo style diet himself!), but more importantly the show also featured Nutritional Consultant Nell Stephenson and Dr. Loren Cordain, who is responsible for introducing me to the Paleo diet 4 years ago.

Check out the video at the bottom of this post. I found it way back when I was diagnosed. In it Dr. Cordain explains why the Paleo diet is beneficial for those with MS. It’s part 1 of 4. It’s a little dry, I know, but it was enough to get me started on my path so it was very special for me to be able to thank the man in person. At any rate, I digress.

What’s so great about putting this information in front of millions of viewers is that it raises awareness of some very important information that is very close to my heart.

While the Paleo diet (or any diet) is no panacea, it is fantastically powerful way to influence your health.

Paleo is a hot topic at the moment, and it really makes me cringe when I hear it referred to as a fad diet. I also don’t love the term “Paleo Diet” because it carries a lot of negative connotations. Let me explain: when people think of the word Paleo or Paleolithic they usually think of cavemen, or as Dr. Oz says on the show – Fred Flintstone chewing on a huge leg of something or other. This automatically suggests that eating a Paleo style diet means you’re to eat mostly meat.

Although that may be how some people interpret the Paleo diet I would say that it is really mostly about nutrient dense whole foods rich in fresh vegetables of all varieties, fruit, nuts and seeds and wild caught fish, pastured meat and eggs. You might also call it a whole foods, ancestral style diet similar to the diet promoted by the Weston A. Price foundation.

Given that people with MS (and autoimmune disorders in general) also have a compromised digestive system (see this post and this post) the diet gets modified to accommodate food sensitivities and possible allergens and gut irritants by eliminating all grains, processed sugar, soy and dairy, and in some cases even eggs and nightshades depending on the person.

This is the way that our healthy, strong and robust ancestors have eaten for millions of years. That’s a pretty long fad!

I believe it’s the most healthful way to feed your body what it needs to get and stay well.

I hope you can watch the show on April 22nd (Monday!) and catch me over on Facebook or Twitter or in the comments below to let me know your thoughts!

Thanks for reading and please pass this information on to anyone you know who might benefit from it. It can make a huge difference in their life and their health.

Coming off these two crazy and totally unexpected experience has inspired me to think of ways to bring this information to as many people as possible. I’m now (slowly) starting development of an online program, complete with videos, interviews, recipes and printable cheat sheets to facilitate a shift into a health-promoting, MS healing power house of lifestyle that’s sustainable and easy to implement. Wish me luck!

Here’s the video:


The Paleo Diet and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)Part 1/4 by miladskaya

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Catch me on the Dr. Oz show!

April 18, 2013

You know when you discover something life-changing and you want to tell everyone you know about it? That’s how I felt when I realized that the choices I make every day about what I put in my mouth, and how I choose to live my life can dramatically influence my health and the course of […]

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Leaky Gut + Autoimmune: Part II

April 3, 2013

Last week I wrote about the connection between Leaky Gut and MS, and so I thought in order to complete the thought I’d talk a little bit more about how you may have developed leaky gut and what you can do to maintain and restore a healthy gut. How you got here… As you may […]

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I first heard the term “Leaky Gut” about 8 years ago, when a friend confided in me that she had been diagnosed with this funky condition. I thought it sounded disgusting and sort of sci-fi, and I didn’t look into it any further until I was faced with my own diagnosis of MS…and leaky gut. […]

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Autoimmunity & Food Allergens

January 24, 2013

Autoimmune disease are more common then ever. As I have mentioned in a previous post, there’s mounting evidence that our immune system misbehaves largely due to the fact that it is loaded down with countless environmental toxins to which we are currently exposed—toxins that disrupt communication between the brain and the rest of the body, […]

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As it gets colder out and we tend to stay inside more, we all become more susceptible to colds and influenza. But, just because you’re packed into a subway car with a bunch of sniffling and sneezing New Yorkers or your kid’s school class is singin’ the snotty blues doesn’t mean that you have to […]

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