Short Cuts: Experiments to feeling better

We often think that feeling better takes a lot of time and energy. This idea is certainly supported and promoted by the weight loss industry! But there is a difference between feeling better today, next week, and weight loss. It’s also important to understand that sustained weight loss is very complicated. However, what if our goal is just to have 10 to 15% more energy and mental clarity? This is very possible right now, with a little experimentation.


I like doing experiments for my health. It allows me to evaluate if a new behavior is worth continuing and also when to use it most effectively. There are lots of little experiments that can improve how you feel, in as little as 10 minutes or just a few days. And this means you might then have the energy to do more to feel even better.

For example, years ago I discovered that if I exercised in the morning my dyslexic brain worked better. With more experiments I discovered that it takes about 20 minutes of walking or 15 minutes of stretching, weight lifting and balance exercises to see a benefit at the end of the day. When it is beautiful out, I go for a walk; when it is raining I work out in my living room.

Every experiment has to have a definable benefit. Not just “because I should”. For me, when I work out in the morning, I can get my clinical notes done with the patient in the room or in the time before my next patient. When I don’t exercise, I spend 45-60 minutes charting at the end of the day. On my non-clinical days, I spend less time wondering around the internet looking for heartwarming videos and more time on my own passions. It took a month of morning work outs for me to see the correlation. Now that I see it, I can see that the benefit is immediate.

Here is a pdf that outlines some short cuts to feeling better. I invite you to choose one to experiment with. Let me know how it goes, or share your own short cuts, by commenting below.

Food of the Month: Dark Berries


Dark Berries: Raspberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Blackberries

This month’s theme it about how to help your brain recover more quickly from stress. One of my favorite foods to add to a client’s diet is dark berries. I am not going to get all geeky about the names of the chemicals that help your brain. You can look those up if you need them. What I am going to highlight is some of the great things they do for you when you consume them consistently.

Clinically, clients report better memories and a clearer ability to see in their minds. For example, the color of your car is ______? You can see your car even if the car is not actually in the room that you’re in, right? Eating berries helps the brain visualize concepts colors, and thoughts. Additionally, studies show that dark berries also:

  • improve memory and the connections of nerves in the brain
  • help prevent some cancers and cardiovascular disease
  • are high in fiber, without a lot of carbs
  • are high in antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation and protect cells from oxidative stress damage.

I’m often asked if it’s important to eat only organic berries. Organic assures that they have not been sprayed with pesticides, but some farms are not certified organic but don’t spray. It’s the residual pesticides that you want to avoid, so ask your grocers and if you can’t get non-sprayed berries, be sure to rinse them well before eating.

How much to eat? Fresh or frozen, 1 cup a day is not too much. Dried berries and juices are denser so limiting these forms to ¼ to ½ cup per day is a good rule of thumb. These serving sizes are about 15 to 20 grams of carbs. If you are trying to stabilize your glucose and prevent hypoglycemia, pairing the berries with 1/4 cup of nuts or ½ cup of Greek-style yogurt is a good idea. This will give you a carb to protein ration of 2-3 to 1. 

How to help your brain recover more quickly

Have you ever thought about how important our brain is for getting through our day? Our brain is involved in everything we do: sensing, breathing, thinking, walking, speaking, interacting, choosing… to name a few. Research is showing that movement/exercise is one of the best activities we can do to support and heal our brains. Exercise prevents and improves brain-related diseases such as:

  • addiction
  • ADHD
  • major depression
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • plus most physical health diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancers.

When we sit and think all day we are using just a small part of our brains. What if when we are tired and unclear mentally, it is because the part of our brains we have been using at work is just tired and the other parts are just waiting to be used?

I have recently been introduced to this idea. A few years ago, I was in a motor vehicle accident that disrupted my vision and balance. Now, when I over-use those nerves beyond their current capacities, I get symptoms of fatigue, visual changes, nausea, neck pain and tinnitus. For a while, it was recommended that I stop and do nothing when this happens, because everything is related to vision and balance. When I had to spend a long time in a car, for example, it would take days to recover.

Another idea is that I can switch and use non-tired parts of my brain. My Z-health trainer, Jennifer Nerio at TAISO Fitness, has shown me over and over again that if I use other parts of my brain that are not tired my symptoms resolve faster. Now, doing movement on the ground can help me recover in minutes rather than days.

This reminded me that I used this same concept when I was in medical school.  I would study, study, study and when I could not study any more, I would do 10 pushup or sit ups. By doing movement that I was familiar with - most importantly movement that I was not seeking improvement with, I was able to rest the neuro-nets that I was using for studying.  By the end of the set of muscle movement, I could go do more reps of mental movement on gross anatomy.

Where can you do cross training for the brain when you are intellectually or emotionally tired, remembering that the movement should be something that feels safe and comfortable?

If you are curious and want to glance through more science about the overlap of cognition, emotions and movement, I suggest the Wikipedia article on the “Neurobiological effects of physical exercise”. If you want to get more in depth, I recommend the book Spark: the revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain. 

On-The-Go Protein Sources


Sometimes, between meetings or when on the road, I need a protein snack to get me through until I can site down for a meal. If I know I'll be having that meal in an hour or two, something with 8-10 grams of protein is ideal. If it's going to be longer than that, I'll reach for something with closer to 20 grams of protein as a one-off meal replacement.

Protein bars that have between a 1:1 - 3:1 ratio of calculated carbs to protein, are made with real ingredients (meaning I can pronounce and recognize all the words), no artificial sweeteners (manitol, stevia, aspartame), and - for me - no gluten, are ideal. 

Remembering that calculated carbs are total carbs minus fiber, here are some of my favorite protein bars that meet the above criteria*. I have indicated which flavors I like, but note that there are some variations in nutritional values among the different flavors - so don't forget to read the label!

•  Stinger Protein Bars (Mint Almond) - 17 grams calculated carbs, 10 grams protein, less than 2:1 calculated carbs:protein ratio. Gluten free, but not hypoallergenic, Has chocolate! 

•  Zing Bars (Double Nut Brownie) - 14 grams calculated carbs, 10 grams protein, less than 2:1 calculated carbs:protein ratio. Gluten free, soy free. vegan. Has chocolate!

•  Square Bars (Toasted Coconut Crisp) - 21 grams calculated carbs, 10 grams protein, 2:1 calculated carbs:protein ratio. Gluten free, dairy free, soy free but not hypoallergenic.

•  Clif Bars (Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch) - 34 grams calculated carbs, 10 grams protein, ~ 3:1 calculated carbs:protein ratio. Has chocolate!

•  Clif Builders (Vanilla Almond) - 26 grams calculated carbs, 20 grams protein, close to 1:1 calculated carbs:protein ratio. With 20 grams of protein, this is more of a meal replacement than snack - but you can always break it up into chunks.

•  Rise Protein Bars (Almond Honey) - 16 grams calculated carbs, 20 grams protein, less than 1:1 calculated carbs:protein ratio. With 3 ingredients (almonds, honey whey protein) - this is as simple as it gets! Gluten free, soy free.

•  Kind Protein Bars (Double Dark Chocolate Nut) - 12 grams calculated carbs, 12 grams protein, 1:1 calculated carbs:protein ratio. Has chocolate! 

Other great on-the-go snacks are:

•  Krave Jerky (beef or turkey, flavored or not) - 10-11 grams calculated carbs, 10-11 grams protein, 1:1 calculated carbs:protein ratio,. Some choices are gluten free. Chewable!

 • Trader Joe's Nut Packs- Protein to Carb ratio will vary. Getting the individual packs will limit the unchecked grazing and prevent eating a pound of nuts -- which can be done in a day. 

Post a comment below to share some of your favorite on-the-go protein snacks.

*Note: I am not affiliated with these brands in any way.

Food of the Month: Cashews

Throughout 2018 I am going to highlight a food or product that helps us fuel our brain and body. 

If you don’t know about The World’s Healthiest Foods website, I love it. George Meteljan has done a great job describing the benefits of individual foods and why they are healthy for us. He mostly focuses on physical health. I will add to this and describe why the food also promotes good mental health. 



If you enjoy cashews, a handful of them as a midday snack is a great fuel to stabilize the brain before you go home to the kids. First, it's a good protein source with almost 8 grams of protein per 1/4 cup. It's also loaded with good (unsaturated) fats which not only help your heart but also help the myelin sheath of your brain. The big bonus to cashews is that they are high in copper and magnesium. I am often thinking about whether an individual is getting the right nutrients to synthesize dopamine and serotonin and both of these minerals are needed for the synthesis of neurotransmitters for our brain. 

Magnesium helps calm, and thus organizes nerve activity; it can help with depression, anxiety and sleep. Copper helps convert dopamine to norepinephrine and serotonin into melatonin. In my office, I check for copper deficiency. People with overt copper deficiency will be able organize chaos and complete tasks (dopamine characteristics), but they don’t get any pleasure out of doing it (low level of norepinephrine). Sometimes they also have problems sleeping.

Since high levels of copper can cause problems for both physical and mental health, if I am going to supplement I do it carefully. I would not recommend supplementing copper without lab work. However, increasing copper through food sources is a different story. When we eat whole foods and have a diversity of foods in our diets, it's challenging to overdose on nutrients. If you don’t like cashews, feel free to eat other nuts as a snack. All of them have a healthier profile than the sugar-carb treats that are so easily shared at work. 

Do you have favorite foods, or foods or products that you're curious about? Post a comment below to let me know what you're interested in learning more about.

Mental Illness or Nutrient Deficiencies?

Fuel for Thoughts

     Dr. Felice Jacka

    Dr. Felice Jacka

What is fueling the epidemic of mental health? Twelve years ago when I started my clinical practice in Seattle with the idea that food affected mood, people just did not think food was that powerful. Now there is the beginning of a growing movement. The understanding of impact of food and nutrients on mental health is much more common. For instance, the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry has been started by Dr. Felice Jacka, who was one of the first researchers to show that a processed food diet increases the risk of depression and anxiety.

What if the 22% of women between 40 and 60 years old are on an antidepressant are not suffering from depression but from a nutrient deficiency such as glucose control fluctuations because they don’t eat protein until dinner? Or an iron deficiency because they had 3 children and are now peri-menopasual and have heavy menses. Iron is needed to circulate oxygen in the body and synthesize dopamine and serotonin.

I have created a list of citations that explore how food affects our mood and decision making. Additionally, there is a review for Felice Jacka’s papers that Ashely Lions helped me create. 

If someone you connect to is challenged by lack of energy and mental clarity you, as a curious and kind person, could ask the following:

  • "Have you asked your primary care provider to work you up for fatigue? I understand that if you go in and say you are depressed or anxious, they will give you a pill. But if you say you have fatigue, they will do basic lab work.” 
  • “I have heard that nutrition is really important for feeling good, can you talk about what you're eating and maybe see if we can find some areas where you can take small steps to see if you feel better? Or maybe your could see a nutritionist?

Do you "sheet cake"?

I laughed pretty hard when I watched Tina Fey's sheet caking skit on SNL's Weekend Update. It perfectly captured the way many of us (at least from time to time) use sugar to calm our anxiety.

The physiology that explains why this works can be found here, but in short: the sugar in sheet cake gives us a readily available glucose source that tells our lizard brains that everything is going to be ok.

What's missing from the skit is the ensuing sugar crash, which can leave us feeling even worse than before.

For a longer-lasting fix to calm anxiety, eat your favorite source of protein first. Then go ahead and indulge in that sheet cake if you still want it. I'm guessing the speed at which you eat - and the quantity you eat - will be less than without the protein. By focusing on adding protein with carbs,  mostly complex carbs but sometimes sheet cakes, you can avoid the sugar hangover and not let the stress of the night before move with you into the next day. 

What's impacting your anxiety?

In July's Connectors Group we reviewed the Snapshot of Anxiety Assessment handout introduced in June's webinar, , hearing stories of how Connectors have used this tool and answering questions. 

We then discussed my new handout, What Impacts Anxiety (WIA),  a worksheet that captures information about anxiety in a format that helps us see the daily pattern of how the symptoms of anxiety show up in our lives.

The focus of this handout is on learning how meeting the needs of your body, which is the power supply for your brain, impacts energy, anxiety and mental clarity. Since food, sleep, exercise, and our environment impact your body’s ability to create a stable platform for your brain and mind to work, they can be significant drivers to improve fatigue and anxiety.

Further, WIA can be used with other interventions to track improvement of the symptoms of anxiety, such as the introduction of medications, mindfulness, exposure therapy, and observing anxiety levels in different environments or around different people.

The WIA Handout can help you with the people you connect with understand their anxiety better, may they be clients, family members, teenagers and most importantly out selves. 

Connectors Group Discussion: What Impacts Anxiety July 2017

  • Introduction: 0-0:21 minutes
  • Review of the Snapshot of Anxiety Assessment and Q&A: 0:21-20:28 minutes
  • Introduction of the new tool, What Impacts Anxiety: 20:28-34:17 minutes

This webinar is also available as a Podcast.

If you find this blog helpful, please tap on "Like", post comments or consider sharing it. Thank you. 

Snapshot of Anxiety Assessment

In June, the Connectors Group discussed one of the assessments I developed for the book I am writing on Addressing the Physical Causes of Anxiety. The handout Snapshot of Anxiety Assessment reviews how to distinguish anxiety from functional hypoglycemia.

As I discuss different chapters from my book with Connectors, I am very interested in getting your feedback. As you watch the 22 minute excerpt from June's Connectors Group webinar, please let me know what you think, reply to the following questions in the comments section below, or email me.

  • How is the Snapshot of Anxiety Assessment helpful?
  • What new perspective will this Assessment offer your clients?
  • What type of client would this help? Are there clients you would not use this with?
  • What are the obstacles to integrating this into your practice?
  • How likely are you to use and share the Snapshot of Anxiety Assessment?

Dr. Kristen Allott, June 9, 2017 (22.30 minutes)

  1. Introduction: 0-1.11 minutes
  2. Part 1: GAD-7: 1.11-3.19 minutes
  3. Part 2: Mind – Brain – Body Symptoms: 3.19-6.30 minutes
  4. Part 3: Global Symptoms: 6.30-13.00 minutes
  5. Part 4: Functional Hypoglycemia Score or the “It’s not in your head – it’s in your body” Score: 13.00-17.37 minutes
  6. Identify what’s most important to you about reducing anxiety: 17.37-22.28 minutes

This webinar is also available as a Podcast.

If you find this blog helpful, please tap on "Like", share your comments or consider sharing it. Thank you. 

Estrogen: changing the brain and body from menarche to menopause

In May's Connectors Group webinar, guest speaker Dr. Miranda Marti* of Whole Life Medicine discussed estrogen. Estrogen heralds changes not just in the physical body but in mood and libido. It also has the power to shift focus for relationships and careers, and change the salience of what the brain finds rewarding and reassuring.  For some women, these natural fluctuations of estrogen throughout life are experienced with grace, while other women may find themselves driven wild or to despair. 

Dr. Marti discussed why this occurs and how we can support hormonal changes, whether they be monthly cycles or the perimenopausal transition, with ease. The recorded webinar with slides is provided below in three parts. The full audio is available as a podcast.

In Part 1, Dr. Marti explains:

  • How estrogen levels change over a lifespan,
  • The different ways in which estrogen and progesterone affect brain function, and
  • How estrogen and serotonin-melatonin interact.

Dr. Miranda Marti, May 12th, 2017 (17:04 minutes)

In Part 2, Dr. Marti talks about:

  • Estrogen-dominant conditions,
  • 5 steps to balance estrogen, and
  • Answers questions from participants

Dr. Miranda Marti, May 12th, 2017 (23:34 minutes)

In Part 3, Dr. Marti explains:

  • Anxiety and the Vagus Nerve, and the Connection with Urinary Incontinence
  • 3 Steps for urinary Incontinence
  • And important differences between Vaginal Estrogen vs. Hormone Replacement Therapy

Dr. Miranda Marti, May 12th, 2017 (12:10 minutes)

*Dr. Miranda Marti is a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist specializing in the connections between women’s health, digestive health (the 2nd brain) and mental health. In addition to her private practice at Whole Life Medicine in Kirkland, WA, she leads wellness groups at a Seattle-based drug and alcohol recovery program and is adjunct faculty for the Bastyr University Health Psychology Department.

Connectors Group

This Group is part of my online education for individuals and teams who want to improve their mental and physical lives. Research shows that when we develop healthy habits around eating, sleeping and moving our bodies, we have improved decision making, creative problem solving and health.

The Connectors Group consists of a wide range of people who are in positions to help other people navigate their lives better: mental health therapists, executive coaches, psychiatric nurse practitioners, supervisors and project managers, lawyers, teachers, and community organizers.

The group has been meeting on the 2nd Friday of every month, from 7:30-8:30 Pacific time, for over a year now. We cover topics such as:

  • Challenges and Q&A about how to successfully connect with friends, family and colleagues
  • How many of your buckets are full?
  • What makes anxiety worse
  • How to prevent colds and flus and how to feel better quicker if you do get sick
  • Using the EcoCycle to Plan for the New Year
  • How to interpret food labels - How do you know if something is healthy for you or not?
  • How the Mind, Brain, Body and Relationship work together to support our lives as creative responsive individuals who live in a rapidly changing world. 
  • Why it is essential to support our power supply (our Body): how and what we need to eat to have a stable Brain, a clear Mind, and connected Relationships
  • Open discussion about Mind, Brain, Body and Relationship connections

May's Connectors Group (on May 12th) will be lead by guest Dr. Miranda Marti, who will be talking about Estrogen: changing the brain and body from menarche to menopause. Estrogen heralds changes not just in the physical body but in mood and libido. It also has the power to shift focus for relationships and careers, and change the salience of what the brain finds rewarding and reassuring.  For some women, these natural fluctuations of estrogen throughout life are experienced with grace, while other women may find themselves driven wild or to despair.  Dr. Marti will discuss why this occurs and how we can support hormonal changes, whether they be monthly cycles or the perimenopausal transition, with ease.

Addressing the Physical Causes of Anxiety

In February-March of this year I held a live online 3-part training Addressing the Physical Causes of Anxiety. We work with our anxiety and other people’s anxiety all the time. Anxiety can create challenges at work or within our family. We know what questions to ask about what makes us emotionally anxious; but what if part of the cause of our anxiety or the anxiety of the people around us is physical?

The recorded webinars and handouts from the three sessions is now available:

  1. Naming and Taming Anxiety
  2. Eating to Reduce Anxiety
  3. What to Ask Your Doctor

Everyone who purchases this program will receive updated materials and will be able to interact with me about this content, by email, through 2017.

Based on the key educational points that I review with my individual clients, this content represents a value over $700. Your cost for the full online training package: $150

Why eat protein?

In the fast pace of today's world, we all want to have more energy and mental clarity. Many of us get paid for our ability to think and make effective decisions within a tight timeline or schedule. Studies show that our ability to concentrate, have self control, assess a situation, and creatively problem solve for good decision making is determined in large part by the physical resources our brain.

Small frequent meals that contain protein help the brain synthesize dopamine and serotonin, and stabilize blood glucose to help you feel better. It is also important to eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Benefits of eating enough protein
• Less fatigue, particularly in the afternoons
• Better sleep
• More energy
• Hungry less often
• Better, more stable moods
• Higher metabolism from having a higher muscle mass

In this video, Dr. Allott talks about:

  • How food affects the brain, energy levels and mental clarity,
  • How to differentiate among trauma, anxiety and hypoglycemia, and
  • How to differentiate between depression and fatigue

Included in this is an overview of some key research, the physiology involved, and some tools that can be used to help people who need a little more bandwidth to lower anxiety and depression, decrease fatigue and end early morning waking insomnia.

How practice affects brain function

Here's an interesting TED-ED video on the value of practice, what makes good practice, and how practice actually improves brain function. Lots of things can be practiced, from music to knitting to developing a healthier diet or new habit.

Key elements of practice are (nearly) daily repetition, constant curiosity about how to do something better, and working at the edge of a know skill set without jumping in too deep.

Importantly, by going through the process of trying something, messing up or finding room for improvement, and trying again, practicing gives us skills to deal with anxiety in other areas of our lives as well.

Mastering any physical skill takes practice. Practice is the repetition of an action with the goal of improvement, and it helps us perform with more ease, speed, and confidence. But what does practice actually do to make us better at things? View full lesson.


Dealing with Fatigue or Depression

In the United States, 33.7 million people live with some type of mental health issue. Studies show that prolonged fatigue is linked with anxiety and depression and all too often we assume that these symptoms emotionally driven without taking the time to rule out potential physical triggers, such as hypoglycemia, anemia or even possible drug interactions.

In part, this is because differentiating fatigue from anxiety and depression is hard to do and those suffering often don’t know what questions to ask.

I always recommend that people begin by describing their symptoms to their primary healthcare providers as fatigue rather than anxiety or depression.  The medical questions around fatigue can be answered with a number of blood tests. Be sure to ask for the following labs:

  • CBC rules out overt anemia.
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel rules out liver and kidney problems and identifies issues with glucose regulation (prediabetes and diabetes directly affect brain function).
  • CRP is a metabolic marker implicated in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression.
  • Ferritin levels below 50 correlate with increased fatigue, especially in women.
  • Hemoglobin A-1 C is a marker for diabetes. Studies have shown that diabetes predicts depression and depression predicts diabetes. A1C should be below 5.7 to be considered normal.
  • Homocysteine levels (a Vitamin B marker) greater than 12 indicate a 70% increase in risk of depression.
  • Lipid panel is important in diagnosing cardiovascular disease. Additionally, when total cholesterol is below 120, suicidal ideation increases.
  • TSH rules out hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

While there is a cost for running these labs, the cost of treating fatigue strictly as an emotional symptom is even higher. A recent article in Money magazine states that the treatment costs for mental disorders is more expensive than treatment of diabetes or hypertension– and that the cost falls mostly to the patients. Insurance companies put up road blocks for receiving mental health treatment, finding in-network care can be challenging and, if you do, the cost of prescribed medications is high. Very often, mental healthcare is a budget buster. Particularly if the primary care provider, prescriber, or therapist have not addressed the true problem – Fatigue. Nutritional studies are showing that poor nutrition and dysfunctional physiology cause 50% of the symptoms of fatigue.

I've created a sample letter requesting the above blood work from your primary care physician that you can use to help start this discussion.

In addition to asking your healthcare provider for the lab work, I have seen the following self-care steps help in relieving fatigue:

  1. Walk outside everyday – move your body for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Be in bed for 8 hours a night – even if you’re not sleeping, the rest is helpful.
  3. Eat protein with every meal.

If these steps feel hard, ask yourself what you can do to make it happen. Don’t think of it as a lifestyle change, but consider it an experiment. Start with one of the above steps and commit to doing it for at least 3 days to see if it helps.

If there was one solution for fatigue, everyone would be doing it. Ask your provider to rule out the most common causes of fatigue/depression. It may not be all in your head ─ it may be that your body needs help.


Home Treatments for Colds and Flus

In the January Connectors Group we discussed how to prevent colds and flus and how to feel better quicker if you do get sick.

Winter is the season of stuffy noses, aching muscles, coughs and headaches. Common daily interactions, no matter how careful we are, lead to sharing viruses and bacteria. These invaders slow us down and can even wipe us out.  After the Connectors Group, Natasha and I recorded a podcast on the same topic. The game changers for me when I am treating my own colds are hot baths and rest. 

This accompanying free 4-page handout for you covers:

  • 6 simple steps to feeling better quicker,
  • 5 steps for prevention,
  • A worksheet for a Plan to Get Better Faster, and
  • Guidelines for when to see a Doctor and how to get the most out of that visit.

Remember to share it with the people in your life to help them feel better. 

In the the podcast,  I recommend some supplements (in addition to rest and hot baths) that help in preventing colds and flus:

  • Carlson's 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily for adults and 400IU/day for children 6 years old or up to 140 pounds of weight. Vitamin D boosts the immune system and helps prevent autoimmune diseases
  • Emergen-C is a great way to get 1000 mg of Vitamin C as a drink mix or chewables
  • Airborne, or similar products, can also help boost the immune system and prevent a cold


Seattle Referral List

I am putting up this blog post to create a link for people who are looking for Seattle providers to help them with fatigue, depression, anxiety, and addictions.  I will encourage you to sign up for my newsletter. I will be creating online classes, podcasts, blogs and ultimately books on how to address the physical cause of mental health. By joining the newsletter, you can receive the educational material as it comes out. 

Here are the names of then Seattle providers I am sharing with my clients as I transition to a Tacoma office. 

Heather Coyle ( is an acupuncturist who specializes in muscle skeletal aches and pains in Fremont. As a life long student and teacher of martial arts, her practical get it fixed approach is helpful for the body and the mind. 

Amy Darling ( is an acupuncturist and Zen practitioner in downtown Seattle. When we consult with each other, we are both seeking for our patients to be more gentle and more awake to themselves. 

Dr. Miranda Marti ( is a naturopathic physician, acupuncturist and bio-feedback practitioner in Kirkland. She specializes in women’s health, and the treatment of mental health and addictions.

Dr. W. Bruce Milliman ( is a naturopathic physician who is just a great diagnostician in Seattle. He is who I refer people to when I can’t figure it out. 

I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity. 
Eleanor Roosevelt 


Distraction and Anxiety

I am a semi-regular listener to the podcast, This Week in StartUps with Jason Calacanis. This podcast focuses on the startup world and Jason is a venture capitalist who supports new and innovative companies. Part of why I enjoy the podcast is that Jason brings on really interesting people who are looking deeply at how to effect human behavior mostly within the technology sector.

This week he interviewed Adam Gazzaley, the Director of Neuroscience Imaging Center at UCSF, about his new book The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World. Adam and Jason have an interesting conversation about how we, as humans, are wired to have anxiety that stems from responding to the outer world and anxiety that is generated from the inner world. Wired into the system of being human is the competing goals of the Wizard brain and the Lizard brain. The Wizard brain is for accomplishing goals in a responsive manner and the Lizard brain is for survival, which is a reactive manner. What is new is our technology that is tapping into is our Lizard brain to get our reaction and attention. As we all know some of our anxiety is just from all the emails, texts, vibrations, pings, lights, etc. Adam points out that technology has trained us to not tolerate the boredom of standing in line or waiting at a stoplight. Studies are really clear that it is through these time gaps, when we have nothing to do, that we have more creativity and feel more alive. What I often think when I am bored is that at the end of this tunnel is something creatively new.

If your are interested listen to the podcast, you can find it here.  

If you want to do an experiment: Schedule times to be on technology and have times that are tech-free. How long can you go without your phone? Can you block time that you will be creating verse responding?  


Categories: Technology, Anxiety

Using the EcoCycle as a Tool to Plan for the New Year

Everyone has something that they want to change or start, but sometimes we get stuck because we want to get to the mature practice before we birth the change into our actual lives. We want perfection before we have process or we have a process that has become too ridged for dynamic change. In this webinar Dr. Allott shares a handout that has helped her and her clients better see where they are in the change cycle and take actionable steps to move forward.

Connectors Group Webinar November 11 2016

Download a pdf of the EcoCycle handout

Recommendations from the November 2016 Connector's Group

(1) If you have a robust inner critic and want more curiosity and creativity, check out this very thin but robust book called Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki. It is a great book for learning to be in charge of the chatty brain. 


(2) Shannon Rude is a massage therapist in Seattle WA and a student of Kate Bowman, both of their websites are worth following. Shannon teaches individuals and group classes in the Seattle area. If you want a new way of relating to how your body moves, I suggest following their blogs and connect with Shannon when you are in Seattle.