Naturally Bright

This is a fascinating article - Stuff you always wanted to know that your dentist never told you! I have highlighted the really important points and added some salient points for clarity. - Mary

Yes, bacteria can develop into cavities, but holistic dental hygienist Kathleen Bernardi reminds us that a host of good bacteria also maintain and clean our mouths, building naturally healthier teeth. Here, Bernardi shares some ways to keep the good bacteria balanced, plus several other tips to keep our mouths clean, healthy, and happy.


Many holistic dental care professionals believe that that we develop cavities when the balance between demineralization and remineralization in our teeth is thrown off. Bernardi believes that the glycerin found in most commercial toothpastes coats our teeth and can impede important remineralization processes by preventing the healing mechanisms found in our saliva from bathing our teeth and tissues. Our saliva is part of the delicate process that promotes healing and remineralization, but if our teeth are covered in glycerin they won’t be able to properly function, and we can end up with a mouthful of cavities.


If we have an unhealthy balance of bacteria in our mouths, it can lead to tooth decay and other diseases. Bernardi has a few great ways to help keep things balanced:

Tongue Scraping removes bacteria and other toxins from the mouth, keeping breath fresh and bacteria in balance. (An ancient Ayurvedic practice - part of the Studio 13 Cleanse Protocol)

Interdental cleaning with floss and/or a water pick is a great way to help mechanically remove bad bacteria.

Salt-water rinses can be a great temporary solution to help rebalance bacteria. (Avoid any and all table salt - including kosher and land salts - ONLY use Celtic Sea Salts - the land salts - even the pink salts - have been washed with rain and air borne toxins for centuries and the trace elements are not the same as in sea salt!)

Probiotics can help repopulate health-promoting bacteria in the mouth. I recommend Life 9 - and I make my own Bravo yogurt which I swish around in my mouth for as long as I can - so delicious!

Use essential oils such as spearmint, peppermint, or almond oil to clean or use a natural (non toxic) cleaner that contains myrrh, such as Thieves Aroma Bright to keep your mouth clean and free of chemicals. Wintergreen is also a good breath freshener and is high in salicylates - making in a natural aspirin and pain reliever.


Bernardi believes that one of the most important factors in strong teeth is adequate intake of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, and especially K, as these vitamins help with absorption of crucial minerals and tell our bodies where to put them. Even if we’re eating tons of magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, if we’re not absorbing these nutrients, we won’t be building strong teeth. Best source - leafy greens - but you have to cook them with coconut oil or Ghee - since we need the fat to leech the vitamins out of the veggie! - I use OmegaGize - which has the only source of Vegan D3, CoQ10 enzyme, Vitamin E, Essential Fatty Acids  and mixed Carrotoids - in a base of german chamomile, peppermint and fennel for soothing and assisting in colon health.  I freeze my omega capsules and take two on an empty tummy in the am. Drink a glass of water to wash them quickly into the small intestine where they will slowly dissolve and make magic happen.  No reflux or burps with my frozen method!


One of the best ways to maintain good oral health is to eat a clean diet full of bone-building minerals. Bernardi points to research done by Weston A. Price that shows that communities who ate traditional diets loaded with real foods that were free from processed sugars and other food additives had healthy teeth. She says to specifically avoid acidifying foods such as sugary sodas and wine as they can soften the enamel and make it more susceptible to erosion. We should also avoid brushing immediately after eating to help avoid enamel erosion.  

My protocol for The Cleanse for Life - which you can participate in through Studio 13 Beverly - is a mouth happy, tooth health compliant program....Contact me today to enroll in the next program or to inquire about health coaching and my "Go Green in '17" Initiative!

Young Living offers a wide range of safe, effective and delicious products for the health of your teeth and gums!

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50 Shades of Green - Part II - Go Green in "17!

In my last post, I shared some findings about the health benefits of ‘going green’ and of maintaining a whole foods, plant based diet. The truth is that no two people have exactly the same nutritional needs nor do they have the same ancestral health profile.. However, children will have the same ancestral profile as the parents and will adopt the same attitudes and habits that they see modeled at home. So while we struggle with our own cravings and stress eating, we then have to overcome the food industry’s child advertising propaganda. This is the pop culture of fast foods, processed foods, chemical saturated and denatured products in brightly colored boxes.

Recently I purchased (confession) a case of barbecue flavored protein chips that the buff dude at GNC recommended.  Since my ten year old is growing taller and getting thinner by the minute, I am trying to get solid nutrition into him. He resists every attempt at apples, bananas and my (delicious) paleo protein bars. So what to do? I know he won't starve if he misses snack time at school but I also know that he is happier and more productive when he eats. There is only so much homemade organic popcorn (secretly flavored with Nutritional Yeast) that I can send in. 

I am at a loss. Any ideas for school snacks? Please Share!

Here is my recipe for Vegan Protein Bars -

Raw Organic Pea Protein Powder - works better than Whey and I consider Peas ‘GREEN’ 1Cup

Raw Almond Butter - 1Cup

Organic Coconut Butter or Oil - 1/2 Cup

Coconut Flour 1Cup

Almond Meal (you can use hazelnut flour or meal instead) 1Cup

1/4 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt

Slowly mix in a food processor or use beaters on low speed.

Add 1 teaspoon of real vanilla extract (or use my dark rum, vanilla beans & cardamom infusion)

to 3/4 cup Almond Milk or coconut water or milk.

Mix until the consistency of cookie dough.

On a bakers sheet with low sides, spread onto a large sheet of parchment paper - and fold the parchment over the mix. Use a straight rimmed glass to roll out the mix into a 1/2 thickness.

Place the whole sheet in the Fridge.

Then - the best part….

Mix 1/2-3/4 bar of dark chocolate on the stove in a stainless steel or ceramic pan.

(not from the Ivory Coast! - see “The Darker Shade of Chocolate” in my feed!) Young Living make s a dark chocolate bar with orange essential oils from their farm in Ecuador. I keep my chocolate in the freezer - so that I don’t see it buried under the fresh frozen berries and kale.

Add 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract and melt the ingredients at low heat. Drizzle the warm melted chocolate over the protein bar (sans parchment of course) and sprinkle dried flaked coconut, wolf berries (Young Living sells them raw, whole and organic) chopped pistachios, pumpkin seeds, low sugar cranberries and slivered sugared ginger. The sky is the limit with toppings - just try to stay low sugar and au natural!

Place bars back into fridge for 20 minutes or so and then slice into brownie sized servings. I usually bag them and send them off with my husband and older son - who is now a certified health nut like his mom! They make a perfect post workout snack.  I sometimes will grab one for breakfast or at the afternoon witching hour with a cup of Slique Tea.

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Go Green in 2017!

 Mothers of every generation have begged, pleaded and bribed their kids to eat broccoli, spinach, green beans etc.  My siblings and I had to finish our veggies before we were allowed to leave the dinner table. Our best defense against our parent's unreasonable dinner demands was the stealthy black lab that parked herself beneath the kitchen table. Somehow she never missed a scrap of food that fell off our forks in our haste to hoof it to the Hood ice-cream truck before it passed our block.  As a mother myself, I have struggled to educate and establish excellent eating habits in my home. It is not easy but it is essential.  Experts tell us that poor childhood diets can create genetic damage setting the stage for adult cancer.  Vaccines, heavy metals, poor food & air quality and environmental toxins wreak havoc in cognition, behavior and physical development.  We need to win this battle for the long term health of those we love.  The best advice? Model the behavior and eating habits that you want your children to mimic.  The SAD - Standard American Diet is grossly lacking in the micronutrients and antioxidants necessary to create immune resistance to virus, super bugs and the genetic predisposition to cancer.  Studies show that eating green cruciferous veggies reduces the risk of colon cancer by 57%.  Chinese cabbage, boy chop and turnips protect against breast cancer dropping susceptibility in women with the GSTP1 gene by 50%. A diet heavy in greens has been shown to prevent cervical dysplasia, laryngeal  papillomas, common warts, HIV, HPV and Hepatitis. By increasing the AREs (antioxidant response elements) in your daily intake, your cells can defend against a host of issues now while preventing cell damage that carries into adulthood. 

Start by adding green veggies into your diets by juicing with your kids - use kale, pear, limes, lemons, fresh orange, pineapples, kiwis and peeled fresh aloe. Add a half teaspoon of honey if needed to get kids over the bitter taste of greens.  Eventually they will learn to love a handful of fresh kale in their strawberry smoothie - but it does take time so be patient. I give my son little tastes of my juices and let him make his own if time allows.  Chocolate Thunder is our new favorite - raw cacao powder, banana, pineapple and coconut milk with lots of ice.  He also loves shots of Xingia Red juice with drops of lemon, peppermint and lavender.  As a rule, I avoid all bottled juice which are heavy in sugar and low in AREs - I know that the Young Living production of organic Xingia Red juice is cold processed, glass packaged and tested for maximum quality making it the highest antioxidant juice available for purchase.  Otherwise I make my own or I visit my local organic juice bar. Xingxia Red is about $1.50 per serving while it costs me about $3 for a home juice.  I have more variation by juicing at home and it is way less than doling out $7 a day for a green drink bought at our local juice bar. Please share your favorite kid approved green recipes with me on my Facebook page Iron Crow Yoga!

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Stewardship of Our Vital Essences - Part 1 - Frankincense

My husband shared this post with me concerning the destruction of the frankincense forests due to over demand and interest in aromatherapy.  Frankincense is thought to be high in enzymes that may be able to neutralize cell toxins and stabilize change structure.  As long as people have used plant as medicine, Frankincense has been as valuable as gold because it was thought to have so many beauty and health benefits. Now that we have rediscovered it's value there is trouble in paradise.  Here is a  highlight of what is happening:

ERIGAVO, Somalia (AP) — In a tradition dating to Biblical times, men rise at dawn in the rugged Cal Madow mountains of Somaliland in the Horn of Africa to scale rocky outcrops in search of the prized sap of wild frankincense trees.

Bracing against high winds, Musse Ismail Hassan climbs with his feet wrapped in cloth to protect against the sticky resin. With a metal scraper, he chips off bark and the tree's white sap bleeds into the salty air. "My father and grandfather were both doing this job," said Hassan, who like all around here is Muslim. "We heard that it was with Jesus."When dried and burned, the sap produces a fragrant smoke which perfumes churches and mosques around the world. Frankincense, along with gold and myrrh, was brought by the Three Kings as gifts in the Gospel account of the birth of Jesus.But now these last intact wild frankincense forests on Earth are under threat as prices have shot up in recent years with the global appetite for essential oils. Over harvesting has led to the trees dying off faster than they can replenish, putting the ancient resin trade at risk."(Frankincense) is something that is literally given by God to humanity, so if we don't preserve it, if we don't take care of it, if we don't look after it, we will lose that," said Shukri Ismail, Somaliland's minister of environment and rural development.The Cal Madow mountains, which rise from the Gulf of Aden in sheer cliff faces reaching over 8,000 feet (2,440 meters), are part of Somaliland, an autonomous republic in Somalia's northwest. The frankincense trade is Somaliland's largest source of government revenue after livestock and livestock products, Ismail said.Harvesting frankincense is risky. The trees can grow high on cliff edges, shallow roots gripping bare rock slithering with venomous snakes. Harvesters often slip and tumble down canyon walls."Every year people either break both legs or die. Those casualties are so often," said Hassan, adding that he wished he had proper ropes and climbing gear. "It's a very dangerous job, but we don't have any alternative."Once the resin is collected, women sort the chunks by color and size. The various classes of resin are shipped to Yemen, Saudi Arabia and eventually Europe and America. Besides its use as incense, frankincense gum is distilled into oil for use in perfumes, skin lotions, medicine and chewing gum.In the last six years, prices for raw frankincense have shot up from around $1 per kilogram to $5 to $7, said Anjanette DeCarlo, an ecologist and director of Conserve Cal Madow, an environmental group.The rise in demand is the result of stronger marketing in the essential oils industry, which labels frankincense as the "King of Essential Oils," DeCarlo said. The dwindling supply of high-quality resin, and competition between exporters, also are factors.Now over-tapping is destroying the trees across the Cal Madow, as tappers try to extract as much sap as possible and make too many cuts per tree. They also tap the trees year-round rather than seasonally, preventing the trees from recovering."The death rate of the adult trees is alarming," DeCarlo said. "There is potential for regeneration, but it takes about 40 years or so for these trees to become viable for tapping if it's done right."Officials worry the ancient trade could disappear."Frankincense that the pharaohs were using came from here, so you could imagine it has a history, it has a rich history," Ismail said. "I'm afraid that we will lose that rich history."

I so appreciate that Gary Young, Founder of Young Living, has dedicated his life and resources to responsible stewardship of our land, plants and the people who work on the Young Living Farms.  In 2010, Gary acquired farm acreage in Oman for cultivating Boswellia sacra, or Sacred Frankincense. Now for the first time this precious oil is being distilled in Oman. Young Living is the first and only company in the world to have permission to export Sacred Frankincense to the West. Because of the Young Living Seed to Seal Promise, I know that I am part of an organization that is part of the solution to over harvesting and not part of the problem.  None of us would buy illegal ivory procured by poachers in Africa, none of us should purchase essential oils that are not harvested with integrity and the practice of responsible stewardship of our vital resources.  If you love essential oils, our beautiful planet and natural healing methods, please consider committing to a company that has the same values.  

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Natural Ingredients for Skin & System Detoxification

Pollution makes a huge impact on our health and beauty.. Recent dermatol­ogical studies show that day in, day out exposure to pollution (from exhaust, smog, smoke, free radicals and even extreme climate) can cause dehydration, wrinkles, fine lines, premature aging, weakened skin, dullness, and sensitivity. (1) We know that free radical damage from UV exposure is both aging and cancer causing.  Detoxification programs - such as The Studio 13 - 13 Day Challenge, are necessary than ever.  A regular seasonal cleanse allows your system to better off load toxins that poison your  body and destroy your healthy glow.  Here are some natural  products that you can use to fight the toxic effects of pollution.  Please check out the Young Living website to view and purchase the highest quality, active essential oils - all bow dynamically farmed, organic, safe and good for the planet! 


A copper-rich pollution magnet and heavy metal scavenger, this ingredient helps support skin's natural cellular “damage protection” system and neutralize everyday skin-aging oxidative stress.

In this lightweight, pollution-neutralizing breakthrough, malachite helps inhibit pollution-caused cell damage at a rate of more than 98%.(2)

Activated Charcoal

When the shell of a coconut is heated and dried, the remaining charcoal develops a porous consistency. This porosity (think of the tiny holes in a sponge) helps to draw toxins from pollution up and out of the skin. If applied in a series, this ingredient can help reverse the side effects of pollution and leave skin fresh and smooth.

Create a mask with charcoal mixed with coconut oil, avocado and frankincense essential oil.  This will help filter toxins and prep for skin for better penetration of vitamin C and mineral actives.

Algae and Kelp

Kelp is incredibly beneficial for moving toxins through the body, stimulating circulation and helping it to become more resistive to damage. It can also soothe the skin and maintain hydration. Red algae protects skin against dryness and irritation caused by pollution by replenishing and maintaining skin’s natural moisturizing factor.

Red algae helps increases skin's own natural hydrating hyaluronic acid by 211%, and skin-restoring ceramides by 56% in this pollution-neutralizing moisturizer. (3)

Cook with Algae and Kelp to hydrate and remineralize your body.  A tonic can be made by infusing ground kelp with white wine vinegar, parsley and ylang ylang essential oil.  This is a wonderful toner for overly oily and acne prone skin.

Vitamins C, A and E

Antioxidants have so many benefits for the skin. They increase microcir­culation, which helps stimulate the skin’s self-cleansing, self-healing and self-regenerating ability. They can also reverse some of pollution’s side effects by brightening skin and stimulating collagen to keep skin looking and feeling firmer.

Make a mask or toner with Umboshi Plums to  instantly improve surface  fullness. Blend oils high in A and E (avocado, wheat germ, sesame) to nourish and smooth out fine lines with high level antioxidants that scavenge skin-aging free radicals from 70-85%.(4)

Chinese Herbs

Bioelements blend of Chinese herbs: ginseng, sumac, gotu kola, dong quai, watercress, and jiogulan help strengthen and balance the skin. This collection of ingredients work together to nourish skin, cleanse tissues, assist in the skin purging process, and increase skin's ability to bounce back.

Make a  microbead-free, multi-action facial scrub with ground organic herbs mixed with honey for all skin types. 

Sea Salt Minerals

The mineral-loaded cocktail of iron, manganese, selenium + zinc helps replenish what pollution depletes and rebalances for proper skin function. It encourages vibrancy, stabilizes hydration levels and helps skin absorb vital trace minerals and nutrients.

Soaking in a warm bath with Magnesium flakes from the Sea of Japan is hydrating and pollution-neutralizing. This also increases skin's moisture content up to 70%* in 15 minutes.(5)

(1) Sources: Journal of Investigative Dermatology; Dermatology Times; (2) In-vitro testing; (3)In a 9 day ex-vivo study; (4) Based on wild plum in-vitro testing; (5)Scientif­ically tested results of 69.87% based on a 15-womanbio­physical measurement study (3) Skin INc.

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