Posted by: Suzan | December 18, 2018

No + No = Yes to Your Success

Saying No

With a blur of holiday activities and often little time for ourselves, it’s even more important to set healthy boundaries. During this festive time of year over commitment seems to be the norm so saying no becomes a real challenge. Yet if we overdo it, we often pay a price. Perhaps with our health, well-being, and/or our relationships. Can you relate?

I’m honored to be a recent co-contributor on my Shaman and Colleagues Compass North Blog.  This feature entails how to successfully say no and create healthy boundaries. I share both my personal story and recommendations I provide with my coaching clients, including specific tips and tools you can apply to your most successful precious life!

Enjoy the blog!

Access here:

Posted by: Suzan | July 26, 2018

Calm Your Inner-Critic to Create

Hello My Name is Perfectionist

Does “letting go” of your work or personal projects challenge you? Do you find yourself holding on for dear life until something is “perfect” often finishing it much later than planned? Worse yet, maybe it never gets done. Notice your heart beating rapidly and/or your belly feeling queasy−that familiar sense of dread as it creeps up on you?

Perfectionists feel driven at any cost, usually the currency is one’s own self-esteem. According to Psychology Today, (Belkin, 2014) perfectionism has become rampant in our society. It’s almost the new normal. We’re more obsessed with our appearance (our clothing and our behavior – how we come across); achievement; and our acquisition of “things” or “education.”

Years ago in the training field I recall the program evaluations and how carefully I examined them. 95% of them may have had “very good” and “excellent” scores yet I couldn’t take my eyes off of that one evaluation with the lower score. Then I would beat myself up over it (or rather allow my inner-critic too)! Many times I threw out a perfectly good program to develop a brand new one because my inner-critic convinced me what I had wasn’t good enough. Being a perfectionist can drain one’s energy because we often over deliver convinced we need to give 150-200%. Giving only 100% might mean we’re slacking. Can you relate?

Perfectionists have fierce inner-critics. Our inner-critics reprimand us and have us believe we aren’t doing and/or being enough. It’s like we’re being chased by some primal tiger that doesn’t rest. So how do we realize it’s only a paper tiger? This entire chase is our minds on over drive. We do have the power to stop it.

As a recovering perfectionist who has spent years learning to calm the voice of my inner-critic, and now assist others to do the same, I offer the following:

  • You need to spot your inner-critic and call her/him out. If the voice in your head is like a broken record (e.g. Who do you think you are? Repeat), it’s your inner-critic. If it sounds negative and would not be the way you would speak to a cherished love one, be suspect. It’s like fake news. It never tells the truth yet we may still believe it.
  • Richard Carson from Taming Your Gremlin suggests to simply notice the voice of the inner-critic. Do your best not to judge it. Just observe it. Then instead of beating yourself up over it, you could say, “Oh it’s you again. I hear you. I know you mean well. But I am done writing this article. I’m clicking send right now.”(Fill in the blank for your own situation).
  • When you notice your inner-critic nagging you, try sending it off on a walk, a hike, or to the airport to take off on a long flight. Give yourself a break whenever you need one and know you’re fully at choice to do so. Accept that having an inner-critic is part of being human–we all share this. The bad news is when we send it away it will eventually find its way back. The good news is we can calm it down anytime.
  • Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear recommends imagining that your inner-critic is driving your car. Know you have the power to have him/her pull the car over. Your inner-critic gets to sit in the back. You take over the driving. Give yourself full permission to drive your own car. Your inner-critic is not allowed to be a backseat driver either or to touch anything in charge of navigation.
  • Externalizing your inner-critic helps it to have less power. You can do this by drawing, coloring, or even painting it. Give yourself a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted for at least 30-40 minutes. First close your eyes and imagine what your inner-critic looks like. <Note: You can send it on a hike while you do your art work. You don’t want him/her to interfere with your creative process! It’s not about being an artist–it’s the process which is revealing and healing.> The main idea is to get this inner-critic out of your head and onto the paper. Then give him/her a name. You may also want to write down some of the typical things he/she says to you. It’s then easier to spot and manage it so you have more space to create. You can keep this drawing nearby as a reminder. Your life can become easier and you can play a more active role when your inner-critic isn’t running it.

Through this awareness you realize that your inner-critic is only a paper tiger so it’s much easier to tame. With practice you can release the need to be perfect and get back in touch with your natural creativity. In time you can envelop the truth that as humans we are all perfectly imperfect. We, and that includes you, are good enough right here and right now. There is nothing more you should do or be. You can choose to listen to your deeper wise voice over the grinding chatter of the inner-critic.

Posted by: Suzan | November 29, 2017

Would You Like to Stave Off Cognitive Decline?

brain and art

In 2015 a four year study done jointly by the Academy of Neurologists, Mayo Clinic, and the National Institute on Aging showed promising results for staving off cognitive decline by engaging in arts and crafts. Participating regularly in arts and crafts activities in middle and older ages may delay in very old age the thinking and memory problems which lead to dementia.

People 85 years of age and older are considered the fastest growing age group in the United States. Since Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) generally begins in the 80s it is essential to find ways to help delay cognitive decline in this aging population. “Our study supports the idea that engaging the mind may protect neurons, or the building blocks of the brain, from dying, stimulate growth of new neurons, or may help recruit new neurons to maintain cognitive activities in old age.”

The study looked at multiple activities: arts; crafts; computer use; and socialization.Arts comprised activities such as painting, drawing, and sculpting (more of the Visual Arts); crafts included woodworking, pottery, ceramics, quilting and sewing; computer use referred to using the internet, playing computer games or engaging in social media activities; and socialization referred to book clubs, spending time with friends, Bible study, travel, theater, movies, and concerts.

Results: Participants were 73% less likely to develop MCI; crafters 45% less likely; computer users 53% less likely; and socializers 55% less likely. Thus, to delay cognitive decline as you age, there are many fun and stimulating ways to do so. With the arts in the forefront, here’s your opportunity to dabble with some paints, clay, colors, or pastels with a sketchpad. You can still benefit from coloring Mandalas, making collages, and working with any other visual art form. You get to decide! And the best part-there is no need to be an artist (although it’s certainly okay if you are).

The benefit of staving off cognitive decline is in the art making process – not the final product. So gather your art materials and begin. Better yet find a community to do art with – find a class, workshop, or other way to socialize while creating art. Bonus for your brain!

Posted by: Suzan | October 10, 2017

Play More and Age Less



Play comes easily for children. They love to dress up, get messy, try anything new, and invent new worlds. Children laugh naturally. A study showed children laugh about 300 times per day as compared to an adult who averages about 17 laughs a day! Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, many of us forget how to play. Instead we may choose to zone out in front of the television or computer with our free moments.

“If only we could think like a child again, there’s a good chance we would find the freedom we gave up to become adults.” Iyanla Vanzant, a collaborator with Harvard Health, suggests that play for adults can help:

  • Relieve stress because when you play endorphins, the natural feel good chemicals, are released in your body. It can also ward off depression with the increased social interactions.
  • Improve brain function because it challenges your brain and helps with your memory. (e.g. playing a card game, Chess, or Scrabble)
  • Enhance relationships because when you laugh and play with others, you foster more trust, empathy, compassion, and intimacy.
  • Keep you young and feeling more alive. It can enhance your immune system and help keep you healthy as it boosts your energy and vitality.
  • Stimulate your mind because it’s easier to learn when you’re more relaxed and enjoying yourself. Your imagination reawakens and this can help you to better problem solve.

So how do you play more? It’s possible at any age. My “adopted Mom,” Sophia, mentored me on play and she was in her mid-70s with Emphysema. She had COPD, a breathing situation where she sometimes struggled for breath and had to be on oxygen 24-7. She still lived her life full out. Sophia took improv classes, worked out at the gym, had frequent happy hour gab sessions with girlfriends at her home, and even had a boyfriend several years younger. She told me never to call on Thursday nights because they would be “busy.” One time they took off for a few months to adventure around the U.S. and explore national parks. Yet the most endearing memory I have is how they dressed as clowns and created a comic routine which they took to nursing homes to bring smiles to others. All of this with her oxygen tank at her side. She taught me that we’re never too old to play. In fact, if we play we’re less likely to grow “old.”

George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

Here are 10 ideas on how to play more:

  • Explore how you would like to play. Take out your journal, or any notebook, and write about, What brought you joy in your past? What have you always wanted to try? What makes you laugh? What could make your life more fun?
  • Plan a game night with friends. Have everyone bring over a game and make it a potluck.
  • Create a movie night with friends. Watch something on Netflix (or your favorite at home movie provider) and then discuss it. Make it a potluck to keep it simple.
  • Organize a group to listen to music and/or go dancing. If you don’t have a group in mind, take a dance lesson.
  • Sing Karaoke with a group or alone with a You Tube video.
  • is a great place to connect with about any kind of group out there (e.g. hiking, cooking, gardening – you name it)
  • If you love animals, consider volunteering at a shelter where you can give them some attention or even adopt a playful pet.
  • If you love children, volunteer at a school or a church. I volunteer with Pre-K kids and they are the best teachers on play. They remind me how fun it is to play with abandon.
  • Join a sports team or create your own. It can be as simple as throwing a Frisbee at the park or at the beach.
  • Go to an arts and craft store and buy some fun stuff to play with alone or with others. It will bring out the playful creator in you. Remember it’s not about the final product. It’s more about the process of having FUN.

I help women over 50 to learn how to play again! Please let me know if I can help you. You can contact me here!


Calm Your Anxious Mind

Do you find yourself taking in what’s going on around you inside like a sponge? Is it affecting the quality of your everyday life?

A recent poll shows that in the U.S. the average percentage we worry on any given day has increased 4.1 percentage points to 33.3% since early November. And yes, politics may have something to do with it. Nonetheless it’s imperative that we take responsibility for our self-care and try not to give our power away. Otherwise our health and wellbeing suffer.

If you continue to worry about the future you can derail your present. Mark Waldman and Andrew Newberg, M.D., Neuroscientists, suggest these preoccupations become anxious thoughts which can stifle your motivation, decisions, ability to move forward, and optimal performance.

Waldman and Newberg recommend that we find more ways to relax throughout the day, such as:

  • Mindfully yawn five or six times.
  • Meditate (even if 1 minute at a time) – anything to slow yourself down.
  • Breathe deeply while meditating or as a general practice throughout the day (maybe set your phone alarm to go off on the hour). More oxygen helps restore us and allows us to stay more present (hint: anxiety lives in the past and the future – not the present moment).

Waldman and Newberg also cite research from the University of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England about the powers of self-touch and massage to enhance wellbeing. They mentioned this also can help someone with food issues (e.g. overeating) to redirect the need for “comfort” to the stress in the body.

  • Try self-massage (e.g. with rollers, or two tennis balls in a sock, or kneading with fingers or fists into the tight spots for those taut shoulders or aching back).
  • You can also work on your hands, feet, scalp, or face – these are powerful areas to release tension from. Self-nurturance through touch decreases negative feelings and thoughts. <side note from me: If you’re able, schedule a massage (whichever style works best for you). Places like Massage Envy are helpful because they encourage people to book at least once a month, at a discounted rate.>
  • Give yourself a long hug. Yes, I’m serious. This is an easy way to show yourself more compassion. This can relax you.

Here’s a few other self-soothing ideas to calm your anxious thoughts and find peace:

  • Take yourself through a guided mindfulness meditation by going through every body part to relax it. You can do in a few minutes – even at your desk at work. This is also helpful at bedtime if you’re having difficulty falling asleep. At minimum focus on the parts which are speaking louder (as in the ones with some pain or discomfort).
  • Create some art! You can play with paint, or pens, or colored pencils, or crayons (whatever you wish) – and it’s not about having anything in mind. Just play and see what happens. The very act of making art is healing. Studies show that participating in some form of artistic endeavor for at least 45 minutes significantly reduces Cortisol in the body (e.g. inflammation). This can improve your health and certainly quiet your anxious thoughts.
  • Go for a “walking meditation.” You can do this barefoot in the yard, or throughout your home is fine too, your office at work (if you have a private space), a nearby park (whatever suits you). A sandy beach would be ideal! Even 10 minutes can calm you. Take slow steps reminding yourself you have “nowhere to go, nothing to do.” You can choose a word or phrase to focus on and keep returning to it to focus your attention (e.g. I am calm. Or I am at peace. Whatever works for you).

Step by step you can calm your anxious thoughts. The answer to life is not in revving up, it is in slowing down.

Posted by: Suzan | July 7, 2017

Calm Your Inner-Critic so You Can Create

Blog 7-7-17

Do you think you’re creative? Maybe your answer is yes and you aren’t fully expressing it. Perhaps you don’t think you’re creative at all.

What if you could reframe the definition of creativity? Because the truth is YOU ARE CREATIVE! Every one of us is. We each have a unique mission here on earth and creative expression helps remind us we’re alive – it’s that important.

The thought of being creative may even stiffen your body, dry out your throat, have your heartbeat quicken or slow down, or your stomach get queasy. What is it for you?

Creative expression can become something we dread even though a part of us feels dead. Carrying that corpse around takes up a lot of our energy. In spite of this, facing old demons like teachers or parents or anyone who criticized us in our formative years can become a fate worse than death (or so we think).

As a young girl I had painted alongside my dad, an artist, since I could walk. Around age 11 a tragedy occurred and I stopped painting. My inner-critic high-fived me and encouraged me to give it up altogether. I wasn’t any good anyway so why bother, right?So I went along like the “good little girl” I strove to be. I gave up painting….for 30+years!

Fortunately I had a professional artist as a client years ago who suggested we do a trade. This freed me up to realign with my passion for art and expression. I haven’t stopped painting since.

I share this story to encourage you to pursue whatever creative nugget is in your heart. It may be some way you’ve longed to express yourself or something you used to do. Perhaps you do it now – just not enough. What is it for you? Don’t leave it to your inner-critic to decide. Your joy is at stake and that’s too high a price.

So here are some tips to help you calm your inner-critic and go after any creative pursuit that calls to you:

  • PLAY MORE! I believe play is the heartbeat for creativity. When you laugh and play you’ll feel more lightness of being. Any rigid thoughts and taut, stress-filled body aches can finally relax and float away which allows space for inspiration to come in. When you’re less serious and uptight you’re more present and available. The inner-critic does not live in the present. He/she thrives in the past and the future. Feeling calm you can venture boldly down any creative path you wish to pursue.
  • Redefine creativity. It’s not only reserved for artists, dancers, musicians, writers, and the like. It’s how you select your wardrobe, prepare a meal for your family or some friends, plan a birthday party for a relative or friend, or decorate your home. If you still work, it can be how you prepare a presentation, a report, or sales presentation. And the list goes on. How do you express your creativity in your everyday life? Think about it. You really are creative! With this understanding, creative expression has more chance to flourish in your life.
  • Make a pact between your creativity and your fear. Elizabeth Gilbert from Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear mentions in her book that it takes courage to freely express our creative beings. And fear is overrated. She states it’s actually quite boring – all it knows how to do is stop us so we don’t really do anything, at least not the things which we dream about. There is no merit or even any fun in that. She suggests we first learn to share space with our fear. If we try to kill off our fear, we may also kill our precious creativity too. Fear is analogous to the inner-critic, that negative part of us which readily talks us out of our big ideas. (mainly because he or she is so afraid). One way to calm this inner-critic is to imagine you’re on a road trip with your creativity and your fear. Make a pact that you and creativity make all the decisions. Fear gets to have a voice and be in the car, yet never will it be allowed to have a vote, or make any of the decisions.
  • Go somewhere that inspires you. If you want to tap into your creative expression you need to take yourself places that excite you. Maybe it’s a walk on the beach with your shoes off, a concert in the park, watching a sunrise or sunset, hanging out with your dog at a dog park or riding rollercoasters. What is it for you? Being inspired can take your breath away along with any mundane thoughts. In its place you can breathe in a new space just for you to create whatever wants to come forth.
  • Finally, Give Yourself Permission. Enough Said!
Posted by: Suzan | April 24, 2017

Anger’s Deep Ocean of Emotion



(In honor of National Poetry Month – I’m sharing a poem to help others better face their anger). The art journal above was done with a triangular shaped make-up sponge. All you do is put some paints on a paper plate, mix the colors around with bottom of your sponge, and then pound the page as you like. The process of creating the art also helps with anger release)!

Expression, Expansion you can raise your voice

You have the power of choice

until your days are done.

Speaking up, out

no more whimpers-may need to shout.

It’s okay to let your anger find a way. It’s healthy

to set clear, clean boundaries.

There is beauty in allowing anger to be

to express itself through you, and share it with me,

to no longer stuff it inside

allow it to hide.

Anger needs healthy expression

not randomly – it’s about the compassion to confront.

To never allow anger or rage to simmer

like a bright light – it won’t get dimmer.

Deal with what’s there. Don’t get caught in its snare.

Anger is one of many emotions.

No need to drown in that deep ocean.

Just say what you must in the moment. It’s okay to be bold and blunt.

It’s more important to let it come out with respect and love –

to resolve by getting to the source of what it’s about!

gut health 5 and 6


Current Healing Path

Great news-my diet listed in Part 4 is working well (adding in Gluten Free Oatmeal, having organic berries with an organic Granny Smith (green) apple and at least ½ avocado per day). Cutting back on protein (in the form of meat) has helped with digestion and increased my energy. The meat protein I have ranges from: Wild Alaskan Salmon, fresh or sometimes in a can from Trader Joes; or white meat (organic free range chicken or ground turkey). I opt for smaller portions and have one serving every 1-2 days.

To ensure I’m getting enough protein, I indulge in roasted sunflower seeds (unsalted) along with walnuts (about 1/4 –  ½ cup a day) along with Vital Nutrients Pro Veg Organic Pea Protein with my smoothies.

Results: Rarely any bloating and no extension at all and more productive “bathroom experiences.” I discussed the book the Medical Medium with my Naturopath team from the Bastyr University Student Clinic in San Diego They suggested I detox from heavy metals later, not while attempting to rid my gut of Candida. It would expose me to too many toxins and could make my situation worse. They approved the following detox foods to add to my smoothies (or a salad) which also help with the elimination of Candida Overgrowth:

  • ¼ – ½ cup of cilantro
  • ¼ – ½ cup of parsley
  • Garlic (one entire clove – although the book recommends 2)
  • 1 slice (large) of fresh ginger
  • A small lemon peel with lemon (small slice of this)
  • L-Glutamin Powder
  • 1tsp apple cider vinegar in a glass of water 10 minutes before meals (am not entirely sure this works – it’s highly recommended though)

I make my smoothie with unsweetened coconut milk, some coconut water (nothing with added sugar), an apple, ½ avocado, Kale, protein powder (above) along with the detox foods listed above. This seems to be working well too, along with it being a treat to look forward to (there aren’t many foods to “look forward to” on a stringent Candida diet so we need something, right?)

Other Supplements I take which support eliminating Candida:

  • AC Formula II (I take 2 pills on an empty stomach – about 15-30 minutes before each meal – so 6 total per day). This combines grapefruit seed extract with Caprillic Acid and some other vital ingredients which have been proven effective to rid the gut of Candida
  • Calm Magnesium Powder with Calcium – this helps the nervous system and with elimination
  • Ultra Flora Acute Care Probiotics (for first 2 months of treatment) I take an additional 2 pills of this at bedtime
  • Renew Life Extra Care Ultimate Flora Probiotics (100 Billion) – 2 capsules daily before bed (allergen free)
  • Psyllium  ½ tsp. two times per day with about 12 ounces of water of as it can pull things through the intestines. Helps with elimination.
  • Am taking a special homemade tincture 2 x day for adrenal support and also another homemade tincture of herbs before bed which helps with sleep (made by naturopaths). Sleeping well is critical to healing! The adrenal support balances everything out.

Altogether I’m on a 3-4 month regimen and will retest (stool test) via Doctor’s Data (outside lab) sometime in mid-latter May. What is most critical for all of us dealing with Candida Overgrowth is to find ways to reduce stress. Daily rituals including meditation help to ground and center me for the day. Exercise, also daily, is non-negotiable. Finally, I turn to art activities for their healing benefits. As my profession is in the expressive arts, I feel blessed to also offer art to others as healing modalities. Art (the mere process of it) has been proven to lower cortisol (stress hormone) significantly so it’s definitely something to consider.

What helps you to release stress? You may want to do more of whatever eases it for you or find new ways to do so. Your life and the quality of it is well worth it.

How I healed Candida Overgrowth 6 years ago

After completing Dr. Humiston’s program twice and continuing to experience painful, almost nightly episodes of stomach bloating and often distension, I didn’t know where to turn next. I signed up for a women’s retreat week-end in hopes of meeting someone who might have insight. My past experiences have taught me that when I reach out for help, there is always another hand to meet mine.

Acupuncture Treatments

Not long into the retreat I met someone who had suffered from Candida Overgrowth who raved about her acupuncturist. I left with the phone number and a lighter step in my walk. After the examination with the acupuncturist, she thought I might have a form of roundworms (very difficult to diagnose) so suggested I drink Aloe Vera juice every day (starting with 2-3 ounces and building up to about 8 ounces or more per day on an empty stomach). This is now something I do on a regular basis.This helps keep Candida Overgrowth and parasites at bay.

Due to my lowered immune system she recommended I warm my body by using more cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and drinking chai tea. One drink she suggested was Good Earth Cinnamon tea with honey and tabasco sauce to help warm the body and improve my immune system.  This definitely helped my circulation, bringing the blood supply back to my hands which were normally icy cold.

If you have a referral for an acupuncturist, I definitely recommend you pursue this. The experience is also very relaxing which helps lower inflammation in the body that can contribute to the Candida Overgrowth. These sessions definitely helped yet I still didn’t have complete resolve over the condition.


Fortunately at a friend’s party I met another person with Candida Overgrowth. She suggested I get an appointment with Dr. Hugh Smith with Biocytonics in Carlsbad, CA. He has since retired yet his daughter (trained well by her father) now runs the business:

He is an internationally recognized researcher in mycoplasma and cell wall deficient form research who has also consulted with M.D.’s around the globe. He takes a blood sample (from a prick in the finger) and then places it under a microscope which he projects onto a large screen. From this he can detect from the cellular structures, etc. what is going on in the body. He carefully explains what is up on the screen, and then writes up a prescription with supplements, etc. to remedy the situation(s) he has discovered.

Supplements that Worked!

My initial meeting with Dr. Smith was in February, 2012. By the end of July, 2012 he found no more evidence of Candida Overgrowth. I attribute my three meetings with him to finally resolving this health dilemma. Some of the issues he helped me overcome were: gallbladder stones through  the Edgar Cayce Castor Oil pack program which you can request at most health food stores (in San Diego: Sprouts). I first tried a formula he recommended (Para Clear) yet only took it for 30 days instead of 90 because I had adverse reactions. My body had a sensitivity to the ingredient Wormwood. He next suggested I take Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) 100 mg. 2 times per day for 90 days. I continued bloating through much of this phase as it is typical when the Candida dies off. After completing the GSE portion he suggested I take Hema Plex (1 tablet in the morning as needed) to rebuild my deficiency in iron, and B-50 (1 time a day for about 3 months) and B 12 (5000 mcg) 3 times a day for a month because Candida Overgrowth fuels itself with B vitamins and iron leaving us deficient.

Part 6

Stopping Everything for Self-Care is Critical

During my final visit with Dr. Smith in July he said the rampant inflammation he had noticed before had left. There was no sign of Candida Overgrowth. I felt my body sink right into the chair. Two years had passed and I couldn’t even find the words to express my relief.

I must also give additional credit to myself and to another doctor (my therapist/coach) who recommended I literally STOP everything. When physical symptoms manifest in our bodies, something is trying to get our attention. This is not the time to rev up our lives- we must instead slow down in order to heal. I quit working for several months, attended silent retreat week-ends, deepened my meditation practice, studied Buddhism as a way to live life, and even asked friends and family not to contact me for six weeks so I could just be and go within.

I realize that not everyone has the luxury to drop everything. Yet it is critical that you let go of as much as you can so you have more space for your healing to occur. Do whatever you can to alleviate stress from your life. Create daily practices which help you to feel more calm and grounded. I do some every morning and can’t imagine starting a day without them.

On my last visit with Dr. Hugh (as he prefers to be called) he said, “I don’t know what you’ve been doing yet this is the most profound healing I have ever seen.” When I told him that I had released everything to care for myself he said he had a patient he had recommended this to who had just died because he wasn’t willing to do this. He then said, “I’m not even going to charge you for this visit since you took such excellent care of yourself. You were willing to stop. You deserve a break.”

Ongoing Prevention Recommendations

With the help of many practitioners, particularly Dr. Hugh, along with my fortitude, I finally released Candida Overgrowth. It can return so I am vigilant with my diet (moderation is key),  take probiotics (only UDO’s or Garden of Life brands) 2 times per day, drink Aloe Vera juice daily (as mentioned), and also order Candida Liver Care from I take this periodically before meals to help keep things in check. Regular liver and colon cleanses (at least 1-2 times per year) are important to continually release toxins from the body Finally, managing stress with daily centering practices like meditation, yoga, physical exercise, and/or whatever works for you, is essential to well-being and remaining free from Candida Overgrowth.

I hope this series has inspired you to create your own healing path for your gut health, specifically Candida Overgrowth. If I you’d like to know more about expressive arts wellness sessions as a way to better cope with stress, please check out my site. I welcome your comments and/or questions.




Posted by: Suzan | March 13, 2017

Healing Your Gut, Part 4

Healing Your Gut – Overcoming Candida Overgrowth, Part 4

gut health 4

Current Healing Path

A nutritionist friend introduced me to a mind-blowing book called, Medical Medium by Anthony William. He believes Candida, and many other health situations, are actually “mystery illnesses.” William suggests that Candida is a side effect, not the actual culprit of what is really going on.

He turned what my western doctors and even naturopaths have recommended – on its head. Everyone has told me I no longer produce enough hydrochloric acid for my digestive system to effectively break foods down. Yet no one has had a plan to strengthen it other than enzymes (which I still take now – they offer some support), Apple Cider Vinegar before a meal, which did nothing, and HCL (supplements to rebuild it, which didn’t do the job). William suggests a unique program with food to repair the hydrochloric acid within 3 months which I’m considering. I found his successful case study inspiring so I took a few other steps. I’m a firm believer in the power of ‘baby steps.’ Any size makes a difference when one is moving forward!

Here’s what IS working:

  • He suggested eating fruit for the antioxidants and fiber. Most candida diets say to avoid it.I’m sticking with organic mixed berries and an organic Granny Smith Apple – a couple servings a day and this is working well for me. I also have about ½ an avocado each day (technically a fruit) as it’s such a healthy fat source (and delicious too).
  • I had gone off of my Gluten Free organic oatmeal and replaced it with eggs. He recommends having at least 1 serving a day of a grain for the fiber. I’m having my oatmeal again, with the mixed berries in it, and am now having more productive BMs (I know TMI – yet this is critical for healing).
  • He recommends either cutting out animal proteins or at least minimizing to every day or other day (only 1 serving) and making up the difference with greens, sprouts or other vegetables – and some limited servings of nuts, seeds. Wild Salmon is the best choice for protein (as a meat source). Hydrochloric acid is likely damaged by overeating protein as it takes a lot of effort for the digestive system to break it down. The combination of low hydrochloric acid and high protein meals contributes to bloating, stomach discomfort, constipation, and/or fatigue. I’ve reduced portion size and also am alternating between 1-2 days on having a serving of protein. I’m measuring out ¼ cup of sunflower seeds as a substitute and am exploring other possibilities.

Below is a chart which may be helpful:

Good sources of protein
Food Protein (grams)
3 ounces tuna, salmon, haddock, or trout 21
3 ounces cooked turkey or chicken 19
6 ounces plain Greek yogurt 17
½ cup cottage cheese 14
1 cup of milk (coconut ideal – unsweetened) 8
¼ cup or 1 ounce of nuts (all types) 7
1 egg 6
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database, 2015

So far these nutritional changes have made a difference. I haven’t had any bloating or constipation and my energy level has been higher. I will let you know next week about the food plan William recommends to improve hydrochloric acid and overall digestive health. I’m “almost” ready to take another step! I wish you the clarity and wisdom to make the right choices for your health – and the courage to step into them.

Prior Healing Path 6 years ago – What Worked and What Didn’t

Along with taking supplements and following a strict diet plan as mentioned in my previous article, Dr. Humiston recommended I do a few liver cleanses. Since the liver is the critical detox organ of the body, it needs assistance so it can effectively eliminate the Candida. I spaced the cleanses out every 4-6 weeks during week-ends as it is a two-day process. Drinking the mixture of Epsom salts, which I later chased with olive oil, did not taste good, yet it sure helped. The racing thoughts I experienced in the middle of the night which kept me awake quieted down, and I felt some relief from the constant bloating. Here’s a link to the same liver cleanse he recommends:  Just scroll down to the area on cleanses and click Liver.

After three liver cleanses I retook my Liver Function Test and my AST and ALT numbers had come down significantly. The commitment to my health and giving up fun week-end plans had been worth it.

Unfortunately the supplement program Dr. Humiston recommended did not work as well for me. The liver cleanse and step one kept the bloating at bay yet as soon as I began step two, the nightly distension returned. He suggested I repeat step one as not everyone had the same reaction to the supplements, some people needed more time. I felt my stomach drop like an elevator. Another month? Turning down social invitations to meet friends at either restaurants or for meals at their homes had been difficult. Feeling I had no other options, I extended the plan.

He also recommended I go off all supplements, the Candida program and any others I took for five days to see if I might be having some type of reaction. After this experiment, nothing had changed. My typical pattern was to wake up with a flat stomach, begin bloating around lunch-time and gradually reach full distension by nighttime. This continued.

Throughout this process I kept a detailed journal of the foods I ate, supplements taken, exercise, and anything else which could impact my health. Nothing made sense. I also had some consultations with a naturopath and holistic nutritionist. She recommended I take Calm, Magnesium Powder which eased the chronic constipation and helped me fall asleep. She also suggested I take stomach enzymes to aid digestion and to make sure I chewed my food slowly (about 30 chews before swallowing). When we “eat on the run” we’re often gulping air down with our food which can contribute to bloating.

During steps two and three I experienced stomachaches, nausea, and some dizziness along with headaches-normal reactions to the toxins releasing. Yet after four months my bloating and distension issues persisted. Dr. Humiston encouraged me to repeat the program and remain on the limited diet for another 3 months. Since Candida is not easy to remedy I stuck with the program. As a Candida sufferer himself, he shared that he does regular liver cleanses and repeats the program, or aspects of it, when it reemerges (about once a year). I did not find this reassuring.

Seven months later after completing the supplement program twice, my symptoms remained. Many people have had successful results from this regimen , yet it does not work for everyone. In spite of all the time and energy I’d invested, I refused to give up. This whole process taught me to be an advocate for myself. The Philosopher, Nietzche, once said: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I had a renewed energy to resolve my condition, not only for myself yet also for anyone else who might experience it.

Stay tuned for the final article, Part 5 where I will share how I finally healed from Candida Overgrowth six years ago.

Posted by: Suzan | February 28, 2017

How to Heal from Candida Overgrowth Part 3

Healing Candida Overgrowth, Part 3 – Past and Present




While posting this series about recovering from Candida Overgrowth six years ago, I just learned it’s returned – six years later. I have decided to share what I did then and also, what my plans are now to heal from this. Please double check any of this information with your medical professional(s) before adapting it as everyone is different. You may need a more customized approach. I hope this offers hope knowing you can regain your health and well-being. Patience with yourself and others who may not understand what you’re dealing with is a MUST!

So why did it come back?

Once you’ve had Candida Overgrowth it’s important to eat fairly clean for the rest of your life. Other foods can be eaten in moderation – yet it’s important to eat mindfully as a way of life. Even though I eat a lot of different vegetables (types and colors) every day; avoid red meat; and don’t eat many grains or desserts; I still overindulged on things like sweet potato or root chips (sometimes half a bag or more of them) as I love salt. I also had a lot of popcorn at the movies and had begun eating gluten free oatmeal with a banana often for breakfast. If I took a few bites of frozen coconut milk treats, I’d often devour the pint. Occasional dark beers on the weekends added more yeast into my diet – and over time these habits increased my risk of Candida Overgrowth. The final clincher was going on an 11 day cruise in December where I became mindless, especially with the endless selections of sushi.

What am I doing now to heal?

  • I’ve returned to a lean and clean diet – no carbs, one fruit a day only (organic berries or organic apple), a lot of vegetables (no carrots, beets or squashes (except zucchini is fine) with olive oil sprinkled on them, no carbs includes sweet potatoes or yams or beans – or my usual morning oatmeal. It has been replaced with 2 hard boiled eggs and ½ of avocado (smashed with olive oil) or a bowl of veggies with walnuts. No alcohol whatsoever as sugar (in any of its many forms) needs to go.
  • Am working with a Naturopath (at Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego) for guidance. I think it’s important to work with a medical professional who has extensive knowledge on this condition. It isn’t easy to heal from this.
  • Am taking 2 caps 3x daily in between meals of AC Formula II (this has both Caprillic Acid and Grapefruit Seed Extract in it). L Glutamine Powder (1 teaspoon twice daily) by Pure encapsulations (this is a MUST also) – this helps to heal the stomach lining.
  • Every night before bed I take Probiotics. It’s important to take them at that time so the body can properly utilize them. Every several months I switch the brand of Probiotics as they are then more effective. Currently I take Renew Life’s Extra Care Ultimate Flora 100 Billion – 2 Capsules. They will only last  15 days and yes, they are expensive (well over $100.00 per month) – yet critical to take at least 200 Billion per day when trying to eradicate Candida! I’m also taking 2 supplements of UltraFlora Acute Care by Metagenics (in the beginning phase of this process)!
  • Overgrowth of Candida also takes its toll emotionally. It requires a lot more self-care. Whatever brings you joy – do a bit more of it! It’s also a lot more difficult to socialize (e.g. potlucks and just going out to dinner with friends or your significant other). Travel is not easy. I only stay at places with a kitchen – no more hotel rooms. Since eating meals are such a big part of our lives and it takes a lot longer to prepare so many vegetables along with being able to resist temptation which lurks everywhere – it takes a lot of strength.
  • Here’s a few things I do to cope:
  • I take some time to be quiet – to meditate – to tune out the outside world and go within. This helps me to stay peaceful. My ideal is about 15 minutes in the morning and 15 in the evening yet you can do whatever will work for you.
  • I spend time reading positive literature in the morning, write in a gratitude journal, and also journal (as I have time).
  • As I’m in the expressive arts profession this is what helps me the most: to actually draw/color/paint – whatever I’m in the mood for each day – the Candida! Then we have a dialogue – I prefer to do mine on paper (in my journal). I ask it what it needs for me. What do I need to know? Then it writes back surprising messages. It’s been telling me it has shown up because it’s about “mold” “decay” – and my repeating some patterns which are unhealthy – becoming oldy/moldy myself in some ways needs to change. I’m working on this now – listening to my body and taking action. I encourage you to try this!
  • Getting outside for a walk to breathe in fresh air – or any opportunity to be in nature is so healing and soothing.
  • Exercise is critical for me – each day I choose either yoga, Pilates, hiking, biking, walking, or Zumba (which I LOVE). Getting physical – moving my body – keeps me sane.
  • Reaching out to call a friend or family member keeps me connected and I don’t feel so alone.

Below is what I chose to do 6 years ago to release Candida Overgrowth:

It has been said that “knowledge is at least half of the battle.” Being aware of my health condition allowed me to do research and make choices to improve my well-being. Interestingly enough, I found little support overall on the web for anyone dealing with Candida overgrowth.

Here are a couple of helpful sites I ran across: – A Candida sufferer shares the knowledge he gained through his ordeal and sells an eBook. I think his site was more useful than the actual eBook, although I did learn more about Candida overgrowth and the potential negative consequences if I were to ignore it. Another site is: I didn’t order their eBook or any other products which you might want to consider. I found their advice practical and diet plans well laid-out.

In the end I decided to go with Dr. Humiston’s Candida program since I live in San Diego and could combine doing his suggested regimen with office visits. I also liked his overall system with diet plans, menus, the liver cleansing information, probiotics, etc.

Dr. Humiston’s program includes three phases of supplements designed to first protect the liver, then kill off the Candida in your overall system, and then eradicate anything left (e.g. spores). While taking these supplements you may experience lower energy, headaches, stomach aches or other symptoms due to the toxins being released.

The suggested diet pan is very strict. You will essentially give up processed foods, sugar, dairy, wheat products, bread (anything with yeast), caffeine, red meat, and even fruit–for three entire months! You must also not have alcohol. On a positive note, if you’re interested in releasing some weight, this cleanse will support you in doing just that—potentially 10 or more pounds.

Yet you must be wondering what is left to eat. As overwhelming as the limited food choices may be for you, it is critical for your health that you accept this extremely healthy meal plan (except the lack of fruit). There is no other way to rid this condition. As daunting as it all may seem, ask yourself: What is at stake? How badly do you want your health back? Having your mind and body back are so worth it!

My staple meals included: brown rice cereal (hot or cold) with rice milk in the morning, organic green tea (only caffeine permitted), a salad for lunch with olive oil and lemon juice (fresh) for the dressing, along with steamed vegetables, brown rice, and a lean meat or fish selection for dinner. The good news is after about a week I lost all craving for sweets. It is amazing how addicting sugar can be and it is so unhealthy for us. I also felt clear-headed and less anxious without drinking any alcohol or much caffeine.

If you have a significant other, enlist him/her in the program (at least for your meals together). My husband went along with it and his support made life so much easier in our kitchen. The most positive outcome of going through this for me has been how it transformed my relationship with food. I now rarely if ever eat processed foods or desserts. I eat only organic fruit and vegetables, drink very little alcohol and have given up bread and dairy entirely (I drink Almond Milk and do have goat cheese). I eat salads every day for lunch with the special dressing I mentioned. I’ve never felt better!

Stay tuned for Part 4. I will share the outcome of following the 3 month program, along with other tips to help you eliminate Candida overgrowth.

I will also share what I’m doing currently to release Candida Overgrowth again.





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