“Your Genetics Load the Gun; Your Lifestyle Pulls the Trigger” and “Getting Curious Before Critical”
by: Dr. Holly Lucille
In light of the headlines this week and a very prominent actress’s choice to have a preventative mastectomy, there is much to comment about.
Neither you, nor Angelina Jolie is a victim of your genes. Even if you carry the BRCA gene, you have power over how that gene ends up expressing itself. No, we can’t change our DNA, but we can change the phenotypic expression of them. When I was in school for exam purposes, I used to remember “phenotype” as “photograph” i.e. how it looks! J
Through nourishing our cells with real, whole, organic, plant strong and nutrient dense foods, moderating stressors, staying hydrated and staying in balance with nature’s rhythms we can help our genes “look” and stay healthy. It reminds me of one of my favorite stories: A man told his grandson:
“A terrible fight is going on inside me — a fight between two wolves. One is evil, and represents hate, anger, arrogance, intolerance, and superiority. The other is good, and represents joy, peace, love, tolerance, understanding, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, and compassion. This same fight is going on inside you, inside every other person too.” The grandson then asked: “Which wolf will win?” The old man replied simply: ”The one you feed.” - Anonymous.
Ok, maybe it’s a stretch as an analogy, but we CAN “eat for an outcome” we CAN understand that how we behave in our worlds is either taking us closer to health or closer disease.
The other main comment is about choice. The Twitter feeds and Face book pages where a frenzy with people commenting on Angelina’s personal choice. And I understand, it was a pretty provocative story. But I think anytime we get distracted and provoked by others, it takes us away from ourselves. I feel it is very important as we move through this world together to get curious first, especially when there is a propensity to get critical. Even though we know that we can affect the outcome, to some extent of our genes and that genetic testing is riddled with controversy, the mere act of her decision, in her mind could have decreased her risk of developing cancer simply because it lessoned her fear. She could have felt more empowered because based on her knowledge and understanding, she felt this was the right decision and followed through with it. That is a step closer to health, which is a deposit in her “health bank account”.
We are all so uniquely different and special. We have different references, pasts and experiences that shape our decision. We all are growing and becoming, each and every moment. Let’s all remember to focus on ourselves, get more curious with who we are, less critical about others and keep pushing the needle towards health!
Love, Dr. Holly
I have a saying that I believe I picked up from my cousin Matt; I am not sure, but I’ll give him credit anyway. The saying is “Keep On Becoming”. What that means to me is to never stop digging, growing and being the best ME that there is. I, like many of you, have some wounds from childhood that have peppered my journey as an adult. My parents, as lovely as they were, didn’t really pay attention to us kids too much. Life as I remember it was a little lonely and confusing.
One thing that I believe got missed was my inherent athletic ability. I played sports in school but the talent that was my birth gift, was completely missed (in my humble opinion). I have grieved for that little girl (little Holly) and the things I felt were missed in many ways and have tried to pay attention to myself in a way that was not taught nor modeled to me in an effort to truly keep on becoming!
Last weekend I competed in my first Crossfit competition. (www.crossfit.com) It was a “Masters” event (think older, not elite) J and we were divided into age divisions, mine being 45-49. I was a nervous wreck. I had entered two competitions prior to this one and wasn’t able to compete due to injuries or lack of time to prepare and I just simply wanted to follow through on this one, I just wanted to participate. Fighting off my nerves and utter fear as I prepared to initiate my first of three WOD’s (work out of the day) I said to myself “I am doing this for that little girl” and I began and gave it my all.
By the end of a very long day of a physical, mental and emotional competition, with the spirit of my birthright inside of me, I was standing on a podium receiving first place in my division. I had no idea. Who would of thought? I surely didn’t, but maybe I should have. Maybe when you give yourself kind, caring and deserving attention you can do anything.
My message and the moral of this story is to always “Keep On Becoming”. No matter what has happened in the past, we can choose to be wounded healers, not wounded hurters and truly be the best person we can be!
But sometimes when you feel something in your belly that is just “right” it is about saying yes and just trusting! Here is how that trip ended up for me!” I hope if there is any burning desire in your belly you pay attention, say YES and then trust! You have earned this faith….. I promise!
You can read my story on page 9 of the digital copy of the magazine I was featured in by clicking here.
I am so excited to share a recent segment I just did titled: “Sitting Down For A Check-Up In The Lab With Dr. Holly” in which I got to sit down #InTheLab with “The King of Kamelot,” Arthur Kade, to talk about all things medicine including female roles in medicine, as well as my radio and TV show, and how I use social media. This placement garnered 4,000,000 online media impressions. WOO HOO!
About Arthur Kade:
ArthurKade.com is a celebrity interview site. Arthur interviews the biggest names and icons in the world across all genres. Arthur has a tremendous international following of millions and has sat and interviewed some of the biggest names in the world recently including Will Smith, Oliver Stone, Olivia Newton-John, Jane Seymour, Robin Williams, Roger Waters, Gregg Allman, Ryan Lochte, to name a few. Unique Views Per Month: 4,000,000
By Dr. Holly Lucille
One of my patients last week was considering going vegan and wanted to know my opinion on the subject. She asked me specifically if I thought it made sense for her.
Here is what I told her: “The question isn’t does going Vegan make sense or not, the question is, if you go Vegan, can you do it in a healthy manner?”
Anytime someone chooses a restrictive diet like “veganism”, as a Naturopathic Doctor I care less about what they are choosing not to eat and more about what they actually end up eating. Simply choosing not to eat animal products doesn’t assure the individual is consuming foods that are plant strong and nutrient dense. You would like to believe it did but I have countless “vegans” in my practice that have diets full of refined grain products, sugar, fake foods made from soy protein and foods that have been processed and then “enriched”.
Most of the positive research on veganism as it relates to a decrease in heart disease is related to a diet that is plant strong, which is different than being “vegan”.
Furthermore, there is an article appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that states that people who follow a vegan lifestyle — strict vegetarians who try to eat no meat or animal products of any kind — may increase their risk of developing blood clots and atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries,” which are conditions that can lead to heart attacks and stroke. That’s the conclusion of a review of dozens of articles published on the biochemistry of vegetarianism during the past 30 years.
This is most likely due to the potential lack of omega three fatty acids and vitamin b12, which can become deficient when avoiding animal products. I have a saying, “supplement your lifestyle”. In this case, that would mean if someone does choose to go vegan, make sure that these basis are covered and as well to stay “plant strong” and “nutrient dense” in your intake, no matter what you choose to avoid.
I think I was born to be a Naturopathic Doctor! Even at a young age I was putting on thinking cap and truly trying to “think things through”! You see, for a period of my childhood I was totally “into” having a parakeet as a pet. I would name them all names starting with “B” like, Bert the bird or Ben the Bird.
The reason I had more than one (bird’s tend to live a long time) is because they kept dying. Every few months, I was dealing with a dead bird. I was devastated when I would come home from school and my bird was lying lifeless at the bottom of its cage. The devastation inspired my curiosity as to what the heck was happening. I started thinking about where the birds lived, what was the environment like? The bird cage (I would never cage an animal again, by the way) hung near the kitchen so I started to wonder what they might have been breathing that contributed to their demise.
My inquisitive mind popped out the answer one day when my Mom was making dinner and smoke was filling the kitchen. I asked her what kind of pans she was using to cook in. She stated proudly, “non-stick Teflon! Easy clean up, they are the best!” Well, they weren’t the best for my birds and they are NOT the best for us either. STOP USING THEM!! (please ☺)
Nonstick pans are coated with a harmful chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PCOA). PCOA exposure has been linked to cancer in the past and a recent study from West Virginia School of Public Health has found evidence that it might also be causing cardiovascular disease. I stopped using nonstick pans long ago and if you haven’t yet, you should….NOW. But what a pain, right? How can you stop the food from sticking? I have got some tips!
Cast iron pans are perfect and the food doesn’t have to stick to them if they are “seasoned” properly! To do this, spread salt over the pan’s cooling surface, the heat it over high for about two minutes. Dump out most of the salt and then take a dry towel and scrub the pan with the remaining salt while it is still hot. Dump the rest of the salt and coat the pan with a cooking oil that has a high smoke point such as sunflower or canola oil. Heat the pan until the oil smokes slightly, let cool, wipe out excess oil with a clean cloth and TA-DA! A safe nonstick pan! Simply repeat this process whenever the food starts to stick!
We used to have a saying in school: “HEAL THE HOLE”, because so much of one’s overall health depends on taking in nutrients, assimilating, digesting and absorbing them in order to have optimal health. Digestion truly is the key to being well and vital.
Did you ever hear that digestion actually starts in the mouth, not in the stomach? Well guess what? Neither of those places is where the mighty and imperative digestive process can and should begin. Digestion actually starts in the eyes and in the nose. Yes, I said the eyes and the nose.
What you say? We have something known as the “cephalic phase” of digestion. Cephalic literally means “of head”. You see if food is appealing both to the eyes having a bright beautiful color to it and to the nose, exuding an intense aroma our digestive juices start a swirling! The cephalic phase responses have been extensively analyzed in the research literature. The release of small messaging molecules that is critical for digestion, such as cholecystokinin, somatostatin and neurotensin, have been found to increase by over 50% just by the mere sight and smell of food.WOW! 50%
Now, don’t ignore the mouth, because that is incredibly important to digestion! Research has shown how chewing, as well as the activation of taste receptors in the mouth, can prompt the nervous system to relay information to the gastrointestinal system to expedite the process of digestion.
So for amazing health and energy, slow down, prepare your colorful, aromatic food, and get your digestion ON!
Using “Evil” for Good or Evil
By: Dr. Holly Lucille
Right smack dab in the center of “concrete” Los Angeles is this lovely canyon called Runyon Canyon, it’s beautiful. It is the premier spot for getting your “hike on” especially if you have a four-legged friend! There are three different hikes available, something for everyone! A rather difficult hike, a medium trail and then a paved road with an incline if you are looking to take it easy and just get a view of the famous Hollywood sign.
Each time I take myself there I am astounded, not by the beauty but by the trash. No matter what trail I take, there is a plethora of plastic bottles, plastic bags, coffee cups, you name it, just trash. It isn’t that there are not receptacles for this type of material because there are, there are plenty of trash cans in the canyon. But for some reason it seems that people can’t stand to hold on to their empty water bottle until they come across one.
SO…using evil for good or evil? What the heck does that mean? Well, we all know how nasty plastic is. It has the ability to pollute our earth, our environment and even our bodies. We also know how nasty bitching and complaining is. My belief is that you can either be a victim in this life by complaining about something or you can be a “creative cause” by doing something to make a difference! So I put my complaining aside and I picked up several nasty (I guess evil is a bit drastic) plastic bags and as I was getting my hike on, I filled it, twice!
I used evil for good! I didn’t just complain and not do anything about it. I did what I could. I did something. I think there are so many areas of our lives where we can just do something. Maybe not fix the whole problem, but at least not contribute to it by complaining or doing nothing. It is healthy to do what you can to make a difference. Your heart might still break because it is not fixed, there is still a problem, it is messy but you might feel a sense of empowerment because you were able to do something! You can use evil for good! :)