Functional Nutrition for Healing and Wholeness with Sarah Diamond! 🍏😊🙏
Q) How Sarah got into functional nutrition
A: Her grandmother, who healed stage 4 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma when she was 12, a little over 12 years ago: conventional doctors gave her very little time to live. She was extremely scared and did a ton of research, finding Gerson Therapy - she did it on her own at home, didn't go to CHIPSA. Her husband bought pounds and pounds and pounds of carrots! They did the therapy together. She healed from it and was in the pioneer group. Sarah feels really blessed to be related to her; she is a role model of hers. Over time, Sarah's mom did a therapy similar to Gerson that healed many things (not cancer) and Sarah was amazed and very grateful that it had worked for people she loved so much. She grew up with a lot of mental issues, pretty severe panic attacks and ADHD, which is so prevalent in kids these days. Wanted to focus on that and wonder what nutrition could do for these "smaller" problems if it could help people with cancer.
Studied policy work through college. After college, decided to focus on the science side of it. The pivotal point was when she went to London when she worked on the nutrition and mental health clinic for one year. Food for the Brain Foundation, where they were healing people with schizophrenia, depression, Parkinsons, anxiety, panic attacks, etc. Worked with kids up to dementia patients. Went to school for nutrition after that, decided she wanted to do that and work in the clinical setting working one on one with people. She's starting her own business and works at a clinic in Chicago.
Q) An experience that stands out to her?
Worked in the Step Forward Fund - trying to get the clinic services to people who couldn't afford it otherwise. Mental health can interfere with keeping a job and with your family. Felt silly to focus on the people who had steady jobs. A man who had schizophrenia. She was reading his application, whose sister had writeen the letter. It was so touching to read about the potential he had yet he was hearing voices and couldn't be himself. She remembers feeling the potential his sister saw in him and really wanted to help him heal and become himself. Going back to her grandmother's case, it takes a village to heal.
Q) The coursework she took?
A) Nutritional Therapy Association in the Boston chohort. Focus on the foundations of healing. The rest falls into place. Gerson talks about this; healing from the roots and the tree grows, rather than healing the trees at the top. The foundation is digestion, blood sugar balancing, minerals, hydration and hormone balancing. Then the immune system, movement, relaxation, sleep. These are things you can do without crazy lab tests and knowing the crazy science behind it. Changes that you can make as an individual without crazy supplements, which can come later. Makes it accessible.
Q) You've mentioned the physiological reasons that people eat poorly - poor food choices and the types of food people eat. What are they?
A) She is also becoming a somatic experiencing practitioner - a method of trauma healing - whether it's about food or how you feel about your body can be related to trauma and childhood. There can be so many physiological reasons you have a mental block.
If you have candida, a yeast overgrowth in your gut, which tells you to eat the unhealthy sugar because it's craving the sugar and starch. I have no self control. Why do I need to eat every half hour? Why am I hungry right after eating? Why do I feel like I need so much food to have enough energy to make it to the next minute? Can make you feel like it's your fault… You get embarrassed and go down this spiral. If you were to heal your gut and get rid of the harmful bacteria, the cravings would go away and intuitive eating (being able to listen to your body and feed it what it wants, which is very confusing for some people)… Once you heal those systems, you can eat intuitively. You can say, my body wants a juice right now, and later it wants something super nourishing, whatever it is. The craving around sugar isn't natural and it can be dealt with and it can be dealt with and it's not your fault if you're experiencing it.
Q) How would you recommend resolving it (candida overgrowth)?
A) Do lab testing w/a practitioner. Depends how deep you're into it. Has a client who had candida, which can go with cancer or be a precursor (there are a lot of similarities). A really simple thing to do is eat a lot of fermented foods, which will feed the good bacteria which will crowd out the bad bacteria. But if your issue is past that point and you need to kill off the bad ones because they're taking up a whole space, you'd need to take a probiotic, a prebiotic, and there are candida protocols that you have to go on. It depends on the severity. Fermented foods… and she'd have to see the exact person.
Bailey has noticed that after eating something that wasn't healthy and feeling the mental effects of it, but eating something healthy calms it down totally and it's really powerful. In some cases it's not that hard to fix.
Sarah: True. Sometimes we think it's impossible to fix and it can be that easy to fix.
Q) Other causes of poor gut health include having inadequate hydrochloric acid in the stomach and not chewing properly, correct?
A) Other simple things you can do include being calm when you eat. If you're doing something like driving or doing a bunch of other stuff while you're eating, your body will be in a sympathetic state and the chemicals that turn on your digestive juices are not going to happen as fast, if at all. It can cause problems from north to south. The higher up something goes wrong, the worse it will be. It starts in the brain. Calmly sit down, take deep breaths, focus on the meal, or you're setting yourself up for issues. Chew! It should be close to a liquid by the time you swallow it. It's really difficult though. It's all about making the surface area really [large; the particles really small] so that your stomach acid can actually break it down and absorb the nutrients. It's usually 30 times you have to chew a bite of food. A lot of people chew it three times.
Another surprising issue is that a lot of people, contrary to popular belief, are low on stomach acid. People who have acid reflux assume that acid reflux is because of too much stomach acid, but there's not enough. It's 90% of Americans are deficient in hydrochloric acid (HCl). Without it your food will putrify and rancidify in your system, which can lead to issues. Chances are that you're deficient in it. These are simple but effective ways your body can improve its digestive function.
Q) The emotional side of eating… First, mindful eating can transform a person's health. Can you talk about that?
A) Yes, I'm also a meditation teacher, just recently. And I've found it to be incredibly helpful to do that alongside nutrition, because I think so much of nutrition is about the emotions and the mind, because I think a lot of people get the basics about what's healthy vs. what's not, but of course it's so much more nuanced than just, "I understand this salad, etc. is healthier than this… piece of cake or pasta, etc." And if it was just that simple, then we could all just do it, but it's obviously not. It's different for everyone, everyone has their own issues with food. But if you have deprived yourself in the past, it's going to be really difficult to stay on the course and do the intuitive eating, which is the goal, and you don't have to deprive yourself. And be super restrictive and follow the rules and stay in the line all the time unless you have cancer because there's a lot at stake. A lot of it is remembering that you're on the same team as your body and food, and stop looking at food as an enemy, me versus this… whatever your hard food is. Remembering to have self compassion, understanding, getting to the root - whether you were deprived as a kid, or it was your comfort food as a kid, how you felt safe - or something that that was your mom's recipe or whatever it is, there's so much that can be connect us to food. When we deprive ourselves of the food, it can make the cravings even stronger, because you feel cut off from some kind of emotional connection. It's a nuanced and difficult topic.
Bailey: So if someone has a difficult relationship with food, one of the steps is to identify why that is, and figure out what may have happened in the past.
Sarah: Yes, and she does a lot of eating meditations. Especially now in the world with being isolated, we're turning to food as comfort even more. But doing a meditation or mindful eating, going through all five senses and thinking about where did it come from? Who grew it? What was it like for them to get this food to me? Who were the peole who got it onto the shelves? That kind of thing, not just thinking of it as calories, can be really really helpful.
Bailey: Our professor in college said think about the texture of the food in your mouth. Let's say you have a raisin in your mouth, roll it around in your mouth, feel it and think about where it came from, the nutrition that it will contribute to your body and how it's going to keep you healthy, etc.
Sarah: A raisin is what they use a lot. It has an interesting texture. Use something from nature, a lot of it is about readjusting our taste buds and your whole system to unprocessed foods again. Super sugary, processed foods, highjack the system and make you crave it more and light up the dopamine really fast when it shouldn't be happening that way. If you're having an unprocessed food you can realize how sweet a bell pepper is. You can discover how incredible and flavorful these foods are.
Q) Part of appreciating food can be growing your own food. Has it been part of your work yet?
A) Yes, even if you can't grow it, getting in touch with the farmers is super helpful and really helps with the mindful eating and the healing of the entire system. Once you start healing your own relationship with food, you're making a dent in the entire food system! When you start to crave foods that are in season in your area, it's incredible to adjust to this new way of eating. It's beneficial to our local farmers and markets and the planet because the food isn't coming from horrible working conditions in a different country, from 3000 miles away.
Bailey: And we'll positively affect the people around us.
Sarah: Yes! Like the village concept…
Q) Any other tips before going into Q&A?
A) Yes, blood sugar… A lot of people are dealing with diabetes or pre-diabetes. When she was in London we did a lot on diabetes type 3, which is Alzheimer's, the same thing happens with glucose that happens in the body with glucose and insulin, in the brain. Once you can sort out your insulin resistance, you're very well on your way to avoiding a lot of horrible things. It starts at low stages and build over time, until you're dealing with an illness at 60 that was growing in you since you were 20/25. Small steps really do make a difference.
Q) How would a person know if they have insulin resistance?
A) Tests will do it. Part of the issue is that it's very normalized now. They're common but not normal. The way to tell is by a constant need for sugar, starch, carbs. What she teaches is (which doesn't probably work for cancer) is, a really cool metaphor is, when you have a fire, good fats, avocado, good olive oil are the slow burning logs. Carbs, sugar, glucose is the kindling. If your fire is only kindling you'll burn through it very quickly and you'll be in a frenzied state. If you get the heft logs at the bottom you'll be good for a few hours. She doesn't advocate for keto because there are some issues with it but
Q) The difference between her diet and a ketogenic diet?
A) Keto and paleo have become tons of meat and animal products. A ton of butter. Too many animal products are not the best but each person on their specific healing journey. For some people grass-fed, well-raised meat can be incredibly helpful, but for others it's not what
Depends where they are and what their symptoms are; how their digestion is. You are what you absorb. When you eat the really good meat it's not putrifying, which is where a lot of issues can occur.
(Comments from the Facebook group.)
Q) Thoughts on a hypnotherapist?
A) Thinks it can work; it's a mind/body connection and links to understanding yourself better, between your psychology and physiology. Doing a mindful eating session could be very helpful. If you can view it as not something that's completely off-limits, you'll crave it less because we always want what we don't have. Ease off of it. Or make a healthier version of it. Brownies made with sweet potatoes and really good dark chocolate, etc.
Q) How do you know if you have adequate hydrochloric acid and what do you do if you find out you don't have enough of it?
A) If you have acid reflux, GERD or heartburn that's a surefire sign. If you take a medication for acid reflux that makes you have even lless and it makes you become more dependent on the medication. Whereas if you take hydrochloric acid it builds up in your system and allows you to stop the medication eventually. If you constantly feel that food is sitting in your stomach for hours after a meal and you're bloated that's probably low stomach acid. There are digestive enzymes that are helpful. If you feel that feeling of being bloated or food not moving through you that's a good place to start.
Bailey: I've seen Betaine HCl
Sarah: Yes, it is the same. You can talk to a practitioner about it but you can get it over the counter. Start low, with one . If you notice a slight burning. HCl has a pH of 0.8. Your stomach is supposed to be 1.3-1.5 pH. So it would be hard to
Q) Sweet potato brownie recipe?
A) You can look up "paleo sweet potato brownie" or "blondie"
These recipes can help you move on from less healthy recipes
I'm afraid to be more acid than alkaline?
A) Bailey: Adding acid to your stomach won't acidify the rest of your body because you will take it with food, which will help with the absorption of the vitamins and minerals in the food you eat that help your body produce the acid in the first place. So it'll help with replenishing the vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain a healthy balance in the stomach for digestion and also pH in the body.
(And it will get used up in the digestion process of breaking down the food in the stomach.)
Sarah: If things are too alkaline in the stomach, the food will stay in the stomach and won't properly go through the digestive system. If you have a higher pH in the stomach you wwill have a lower pH in the body.
Bailey: Like lemons, they are acidic but alkalize the body.
Sarah: Yes. If you think of your stomach like a gasoline tank. You have to have a really strong system to break everything down so that everything is absorbed properly in order to make the rest of the body work.
Q) Is there a pre/pro/post-biotics that you suggest?
A) Yes, there is a product called Mega Spores Biotic. It's also great because it doesn't have to be refrigerated. From microbiome labs. It is her favorite and what she recommends to her clients. She thinks it's the best. There are quite a lot of good ones but she thinks it's the best, most powerful probiotic.
Q) How do you get rid of candida on your tongue or in your stomach? What herbs can you take?
A) The first protocol for candida is - it's really difficult to get rid of candida because - the way to stop it is to stop eating sugary, starchy foods, but it craves that so it makes it hard to stop eating those foods. Whatever can help you calm those cravings… cravings can also be from anxiety, a frantic, frenzied feeling ("I need this now"). In terms of nerves, ashwagandha which will calm down the nervous system. I really love ashwagandha a lot.
Bailey: I was thinking oregano. It comes in tablets and as an essential oil in capsules or free liquid.
Q) Is there a specific test for candida?
A) Yes, the GI Map, which you can order and look at your whole gut, see if you have H. pylori. Candida albicans is also on there. Not sure if you can see if you have candida without a test. You can get a boxed set to kill off the candida. Take the drops two times with each meal; there are tablets that come with it too. But the body can get really sick if the candida burden is really high.
Q) I have a history of ulcers and I've been on GERD medications for a while; how do I make steps out of that dependency?
A) I'd work with a functional medicine practitioner. You don't want to mess with ulcers. I think the best thing would be to A) eliminate the kinds of foods that require a lot of stomach acid to break the food down (consume low amounts of meat, etc.) for a while because that requires more acid; if you have a lot of protein you'll want to take a lot of HCl. Stay with the vegan, low-protein diet. Suggestions, Bailey?
[CHECK OUT 1:04:54 in my interview with Dr. Matt Schlechten, in which he talks about using ozonated water to help people heal of ulcers. It has been very successful in his practice.]
Bailey: Yes, I was thinking, I don't know how long it takes to heal an ulcer.
Sarah: Yeah, I haven't worked with ulcers.
Bailey: Maybe just wait until the ulcer is healed then wean off of it.
Sarah: I'd love to look into that.
Bailey: Or maybe working with a functional medicine doctor. Sarah: I'd definitely do that.
Q) I've read some people drink some bicarbonate in water (for digestion), isn't this counterintuitive?
A) There are two main hormones in digestion, cholecystokinin and secretin. Secretin releases the bicarbonate and pancreatic juice. That's where it would come back to stomach acid. If you need the bicarb with water, there's probably something happening up higher in digestion, like not having enough stomach acid. Those hormones aren't going to be produced as much as they should be. Again with the north to south direction of digestion. The higher up the problem is, the more issues you'll have going down. If you don't have enough bicarb, you won't have enough HCl.
Bailey: It reminds me of the thyroid and taking thyroid hormones when your thyroid isn't producing enough [thyroid stimulating hormone to produce the downstream thyroid hormones, T3 and T4].
Sarah: It's the cascade that a lot of systems in the body work like that. It doesn't really do a lot of good to focus on things far downstream when the problem originated far upstream. It's always worth it to look one step ahead/before.
Audience member comment: he was always the slowest eater in his family because he loved the flavor of the food and wanted to savor it. Normally the food was all gone by the time he was done eating. Savor your food!
Q) What vegetables do you find the most effective to fight cancer, to juice with?
A) The ones her grandma did: a lot of carrots, which is interesting because it's high in sugar. There's a lot of lemon juice and celery and the swiss chard.
Bailey: The Gerson Green juice is: swiss chard, escarole, romaine, red cabbage, green bell pepper, granny smith apple, watercress. The other juice is carrot-apple juice or straight carrot; plus a citrus juice.
Doug: What about ginger?
Sarah: Yes, ginger is great and it tastes great.
Bailey: I've also added garlic and I think it tastes better that way.
Q) How can people find you?
Q) How can people pray for you?
A) For the official launching of her business; she's really hoping to make it her full-time work. Well, it is full time as she works at the clinic, which she loves, and it isn't a bad thing. But to reach people that are in need and that she's able to keep doing her work.