Hormones in Harmony

Living abundant joy through bio-psycho-spiritual balancing

Location: Ojai, California, United States

Welcome to Hormones in Harmony where I shall share pearls of wisdom gathered over two decades of consulting with the hormonally challenged. As a holistic nurse practitioner specializing in neuro-immune-endocrinology, I have merged my western education with eastern philosophies, but the key to being a successful healer is to embody physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. At 54, married for 32 years with two grown children, I strive to keep my Hormones in Harmony with a positive attitude, a loving environment, and faithful consumption of Genesis Gold.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014


I recently got tagged on FaceBook after one of my friends read an article called Secrets From The Island Where People Forget To Die.

My friend said, “Thought of you, Deborah, when I read this article. Sounds like your words of wisdom.”
Well, the island is Ikaria in the north Aegean Sea. The people there live well into their eight, ninth, and tenth decades. Yes, it is common to see one humdred year old Greeks in the market, gardening, enjoying life. In fact, heart disease, cancer, diabetes are rarely heard of on this island. So how is it that these people rarely suffer from the same illnesses that shorten the lives of the rest of us.

In her her new cookbook Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die, Diane Kochilas sums up as six things which I totally agree with.

1. Eat locally, seasonally and sparingly. 

The octagenarians, nonagenarians and centenarians on Ikaria ate very little in their early years, because of extreme poverty. Now I’m not saying that people should starve, but clearly first world countries consume too much.

Traditionally, people of the Mediterranean eat very little meat. A goat or a lamb or a pig may be slaughtered for a holiday feast, perhaps two or three times a year. Family chickens were kept for eggs. The young roosters may be slaughtered a few times a month. Goats are milked and the milk is cultured into yoghurt and cheese. And if you’re fisherman or have something to trade with the fishermen, then fish is part of the diet. 

Everyone keeps a garden, which is basically xenoscaped as the island is arid. So people scavenged for herbs, roots, snails, mushrooms, wild greens. My husband describes picking dandelion greens from the park as a kid. His Greek father would sauté the greens- Horta – and we still cultivate these weeds today. Great for the liver and really tasty sautéed in olive oil, with a bit of feta sprinkled on top.

And the biggest factor is that there is virtually no processed food on the island, except in some restaurants.

2. Don’t rush through life. 

This is key to Mediterranean people, especially those my husband and I encountered in the small villages of Italy and Greece. The author describes the pace with which people move on Ikaria to be: slow, deliberate, unhurried, but with enough time to observe and live in every moment.

Once when we were visiting southern Italy, my husband and I were shopping for souvenirs in the coastal village of Amalfi. Suddenly all the village left their homes and shops including the shopkeeper where we were shopping and they all headed to the beach. We followed them to witness the most beautiful sunset on the Tyrrhenian Sea. People were holding hands and just enjoying the beauty. When the sun had set, everyone kissed and went back to whatever they were doing before. We asked the shopkeeper when he returned if this was a usual event.

 “Of course!” He exclaimed throwing up his hands in the Italian manner. “You stop and appreciate your beautiful life!” We have been slowing down ever since and I believe that has helped our aging process.
This slow pace allows us to be more in tune with our bodies. And that is key to maintaining our health. If you’re moving too fast, not living deliberately, rushing through life, then how can you possibly attend to your body’s subtle signals of dis-ease. When patients come to me with an illness, I always point out to them that their body is trying to communicate with them. If they want to heal, it behooves them to stop and pay attention.

3. Enjoy sleep. 

We sleep so much when we are on vacation. Well, living deliberately allows you to really sleep well. Take naps! Pay attention to your dreams. The centenarians of Ikaria relish their sleep. All older Greeks nap.

I recently read a study on bimodal sleep. We are meant to sleep in two phases. When we were in Italy and Greece if we didn’t sleep during the siesta time when all the shops closed down in the late afternoon, then we could not possibly keep up with the lively late night activities that the people enjoy. An afternoon nap is just when your adrenals need to be recharged. So sleep well!

4. Let things go.  

This is a lesson for us all. The Greeks say, "Don't hold the bad in." The negative feelings- disappointment, regret, frustration, anger, fear—slowly but surely tax our resources and feed dis-ease. Remember what we think becomes. So release everything that no longer serves you on a regular basis. My Italian grandparents used to say, “Never go to bed mad. Always kiss and make up.”

Celebrating life is a great part of Mediterranean culture. The Italians and Greeks love their wine. Grown in the heart of the land they love, the grapevines capture the love of the people turning sunshine into luscious fruit. The wine is good and strong and fuels lively celebration with much dancing!  

5. Walk.  Move. Dance.

When we were in Italy and Greece, we were amazed at how many old people walked. No wheelchairs, no walkers, no canes. Once my husband tried to help a tiny octogenarian with her groceries and she turned him away. My old Italian aunts were like that…believing that once they could not longer do for themselves they would die. So they insisted on cooking, cleaning, climbing three stories, walking to the market as long as they possibly could.

No gyms, no heart monitors, no fancy running clothes. Just walk as much as possible, every day.  You won’t believe how much exercise you get if you just walk. Once my father got us a couple of pedometers. He and I walked around Ojai and compared steps. I’m shorter so I had a few more steps. Just before dinner, he asked to use my laptop. While he was perusing his email, I went out to the garden to gather veggies for dinner, fed the animals, watered a few plants, folded clothes, and prepared dinner. At the end of the evening, we compared our pedometers, I had double the amount of steps than him. He thought I had taken another walk. “No, Dad, I just didn’t sit down.” So get up and walk!

6. Turn to nature’s pharmacopeia as your medicine. 

The long-lived Ikarians use herbs for the minor ailments and let their bodies heal themselves. Folk pharmacopoeia may be slipping away in many cultures but it is alive and well on the island where people forget to die.

One of the reasons I created Genesis Gold was because I could not gather all the nutrition my body needed from my organic American diet. Genesis Gold provides my body a potpourri of herbs from around the world to choose what is needed for healing and maintaining optimal health.

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