Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
9:00 am

Gut Flora is Screwing us UP

How modern life screws up our gut and makes us fat and diabetic

What all of this research suggests is that healthy gut bacteria is crucial to maintaining normal weight and metabolism. Unfortunately, several features of the modern lifestyle directly contribute to unhealthy gut flora:

  • Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDs
  • Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
  • Diets low in fermentable fibers
  • Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut
  • Chronic stress
  • Chronic infections
  • We also know that infants that aren’t breast-fed and are born to mothers with bad gut flora are more likely to develop unhealthy gut bacteria, and that these early differences in gut flora may predict overweight and obesity in the future.

It’s interesting to note that the diabesity epidemic has neatly coincided with the increasing prevalence of factors that disrupt the gut flora. I’m not saying that poor gut health is the single cause of obesity and diabetes, but it seems that it likely plays a much larger role than most people think.

Our gut is home to approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms. That’s such a big number our human brains can’t really comprehend it. One trillion dollar bills laid end-to-end would stretch from the earth to the sun – and back – with a lot of miles to spare. Do that 100 times and you start to get at least a vague idea of how much 100 trillion is.

The human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body, with over 400 known diverse bacterial species. In fact, you could say that we’re more bacterial than we are human. WOW.

Studies have shown that changes in the gut flora can increase the rate at which we absorb fatty acids and carbohydrates, and increase the storage of calories as fat. This means that someone with bad gut flora could eat the same amount of food as someone with a healthy gut, but extract more calories from it and gain more weight.
How to maintain and restore healthy gut flora

The most obvious first step in maintaining a healthy gut is to avoid all of the things I listed above. But of course that’s not always possible, especially in the case of chronic stress and infections, and whether we were breast-fed or our mothers had healthy guts.

If you’ve been exposed to some of these factors, there are still steps you can take to restore your gut flora:

  • Remove all food toxins from your diet
  • Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.)
  • Take a high-quality probiotic, or consider more radical methods of restoring healthy gut flora
  • Eat greek yogurt and Kefir
  • Treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites) that may be present
  • Take steps to manage your stress

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
8:47 am

7 Ways Stress is Harming your Thyroid


Hypothyroidism is a common disorder, and, like many diseases is becoming more and more common as time goes on.  One in eight women will suffer from hypothyroidism at some point in their lifetime, and men who are overweight are also at high risk.

While there are many causes for thyroid dysfunction, stress is one of the main reasons why thyroid function slows and hypothyroidism takes root. It’s also the main reason that auto-immune disease is turned on.   Your adrenal glands that sit atop your kidneys are responsible for pumping out your stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) when you’re busy, constantly on the go, or working late nights.

Stress inhibits your thyroid gland’s ability to convert the inactive T4 thyroid hormone into the active T3 hormone in the body.  Is your diet, exercise or lifestyle placing you at risk of hypothyroidism? Let’s take a closer look at seven common ways stress negatively impacts your thyroid.   With the case of auto-immune disease as soon as the hormone is produced you body attacks it as if it is a foreign body. 

Causes of stress that have this effect.:

1. You’re Too Busy

In today’s 24/7 society, we are constantly on the go and busier than ever before. Stress is not simply the inability to cope, it’s also how “busy” you are throughout the day. While technology and connectivity can provide you with incredible tools to be more productive, it can also leave your brain and body stuck in “stimulation” overload.

2. You’re Too Caffeinated

This is a common theme for many people: you wake up tired, you need a boost of energy and you reach for a morning cup of coffee. While coffee has a vast array of health benefits, you can get too much of a good thing.  Remember, caffeine stays in your system for 6 hours and may harm your sleeping patterns.

3. You Don’t Sleep Long Enough

You’ve likely heard the old saying “you’re burning the candle at both ends,” which effectively means you’re not resting enough to adequately recover from your busy days. Sleep is the most effective tool you have to “rebuild” the candle you’re burning at both ends during the day. The only problem is, you’re likely not getting enough.

If you don’t sleep enough or fail to adequately recover, stress hormone levels increase and thyroid function beings to slow. Aim to get to bed by 11:00 p.m. most nights of the week to upgrade recovery and support a healthy thyroid.

4. You Check Too Many Emails At Bedtime

We live in an age where watching television on your laptop and checking emails are the norm at bedtime. While this may seem convenient, your brain and body have evolved over millions of years without the stimulation of.  Research shows that exposure to blue light from screens too close to bedtime leads to poorer quality of sleep.

5. You Crave Too Many Simple Carbs

What is the natural response to high stress levels? You guessed it, strong cravings for sugar and simple carbs. Whether it’s high-glycemic cereals or fruit-laden smoothies in the morning, midday snack bars or afternoon treats, constant and regular sugar cravings are a clear red flag your body is stressed, and it’s likely impacting your thyroid health.

Curb your sugar cravings with snacks with high protein and fat content, like grass-fed jerky and nuts, plain yogurt or an herbal tea before bed.

6. You Drink Too Much Alcohol

After a busy day, long week, or intense project at work many people find it relaxing to unwind with an evening drink. Alcohol is classified as a nervine, or substance that helps to relax the nervous system. While this can support recovery from stress, the key is the dose. A glass of wine might help take the edge off, but if you finish the bottle, your nervous system takes a serious hit.

Try cutting out alcohol full stop for 4 weeks, or if you’re an avid drinker, reduce your intake by 50%.

7. You Exercise Too Much

For many people, adding more movement to their day –walking, strength training, yoga – is a great way to relieve stress and improve resiliency. If you suffer from sluggish thyroid function, you may struggle with weight gain and then desire to add more exercise to shed those pounds.

However, if you’re already an avid exerciser, you probably don’t need more exercise, you need more efficient exercise.

The problem starts when you add more training volume. High volume training at the same intensity can dramatically raise stress hormone levels and doesn’t provide the right stimulus to improve fitness or body composition.

By creating an environment for rest, recovery and improved resiliency, you can maintain your productivity in today’s fast-paced world without sacrificing the health of your thyroid.

Try some of these: 

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

2. Organic Turkey Breast

3. Fermented Foods

4. Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon

5. Blueberries

6. Pistachios

7. Dark Chocolate

8. Sunshine

9. Seeds

10. Avocado

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
6:00 am

Laundry Detergent - one of my favorite subjects!


Do you think about your laundry detergent?  What’s in it?  What makes it smell and work so good?  We all want clean clothes that smell good right?  Do you suffer from some of the following symptoms, even though you eat well?  Skin irritations, eye irritations, difficulty breathing, asthma, hormonal imbalances, dermatitis, persistent scratchy pain in your throat or nose?  Have you been diagnosed with auto-immune disease?  Many symptoms are linked to toxins, often from laundry detergent. 

All that most of the labels tell you is that they should be kept out of reach of children, contain harmful substances, and should be kept away from the eyes, not breathed in and not be ingested.

Let’s look at ingredients!

Let’s take a look at what they found inside laundry detergent and what those things do to the human body.

1.4 dioxane–a well-known cancer causing bi-product of synthetic petrochemical surfactant Ethox. This chemical is associated with respiratory disease, nervous system toxicity, brain toxicity, liver and kidney disease.

SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfate) – this chemical is used to make lots of foam in your laundry. SLS is linked to cancer and causes poisoning of your entire system.

Ammonia – Ammonia is used for cutting grease. It causes serious damage to human lungs and eyes. Ammonia is linked to cataracts and corneal damage.

Bleach – Everyone is aware of its stain removal abilities. But did you know that bleach is highly corrosive and can cause serious health problems? Bleach causes skin irritations and in sensitivity. In high doses it can actually burn your skin. It is also very irritating to your eyes, lungs and soft tissues (delicate areas). Breathing in straight bleach fumes can burn your lungs and throat.

Phosphates – Phosphates help to remove tough stains, but unfortunately nothing removes phosphates, not even from water plants. That means that the phosphates in your detergent will end up in your tap water. They cause skin irritations, diarrhea and nausea.

NPE (NonylphenolEthoxylate) – This chemical is so bad for your kidneys and liver that it has been banned in Europe and Canada. Many chain stores have asked their suppliers to stop using this chemical – but it is still found in many laundry detergents because it is a cleaning agent.

Diethanolamine – Another cleaning agent.Diethanolamine is associated with liver problems, skin irritations and causing eye irritations.

polyalkylene oxide or ethylene oxide – These are stabilizers that keep the product in its intended form on the shelf. They are known to cause dermatitis, respiratory problems and eye irritations.

Naphthotriazolystilbenes and benzoxazolyl, diaminostilbenedisulfonate – These are brighteners that stay in your clothes after they are dried and actually absorb UV light to make clothes look brighter. They are linked with causing damage to your reproductive system, as well as to developmental problems in growing children.

The above is a selection of the more dangerous additives in most laundry detergents. There are many more.

Itching skin and laundry detergents

As you will see above the most common health problems caused by the toxic ingredients in laundry detergents are eye irritations, respiratory problems and… skin irritations.

The easy way to spot these ingredients (Which don’t legally have to be listed) is to look for these key words on the label: Brightener, stabilizer, softening agents, fragrance and whitening.  Also look out for the words “keep out of reach of children” and “Do not ingest.”

Alternatives to Laundry Detergent

So now that you know what’s inside those strong smelling detergents, what can you do to avoid them? Here are some alternatives and common sense measures to Laundry detergent:

Make your own detergents. You can use pure soap (without petroleum bi-products in it) to clean your clothes.
Use essential oils to make them smell nice. Make sure that you read up on your oils too. They can be used to treat skin ailments instead of causing them if you use the correct ones!
Buy a safe, health conscious brand of laundry detergent.
Use baking soda as a natural brightening agent.
Forget the fabric softeners and drier sheets. Instead think about slowly investing in cotton and natural fiber clothing that doesn’t need them.
With so many easy, cost effective ways to get your laundry clean safely can you really afford to risk your health by using shop bought, mass-produced chemical laundry detergents?

I often think….If you can’t eat it, don’t use it!  Especially if you have auto-immune disease.  The best remedy for controlling symptoms is limit your toxins, limit your ingredients in your foods (less than 5) and you will automatically start detoxing.  For more help, try my 12 DAY DETOX!  CLICK BELOW


Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
8:31 am

Yay! Drink coffee for joint pain!


Arthritis is a general term encompassing conditions that share joint pain and inflammation.  While there is no definitive arthritis diet, research suggests including anti-inflammatory foods in your diet and limiting foods that may trigger joint pain. 

Cutting back on the consumption of fried and processed foods, such as fried meats and prepared frozen meals, can reduce inflammation and actually help restore the body’s natural defenses.  Also, high amounts of sugar in the diet can cause joint pain and inflammation.   Cut out candies, processed foods, white flour baked goods, and sodas to reduce your arthritis pain.

Know what’s in your food. Many foods contain excessive salt and other preservatives to promote longer shelf lives. For some people, excess consumption of salt may result in inflammation of the joints. It may be worth trying to reduce your salt intake to as modest an amount as is reasonable

Food to Add: Cherries
Dark berries have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect and the best are cherries. Like blueberries and strawberries, they contain anthocyanins, anti-inflammatory plant pigments – and the darker the berry, the more you get. ..

A small handful of almonds or walnuts is a good meat substitute for those at risk for joint pain.  Unlike meat, nuts don’t contain any purines but give you some protein.  Although nuts are high in fat, it’s mostly the healthy, unsaturated kind. And both the fat and whole grains satisfy you longer, which keeps weight in check.

Low-fat dairy foods
Dairy products like skim or 1% milk, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese may play a role in decreasing pain. 

Lentils, peas and beans are high in purines, but — surprisingly — they don’t cause gout risk to rise, according to the large Harvard study. Beans are low in fat and high in protein and fiber, but don’t have saturated fat...

Drinking coffee may lower your risk, according to a 12-year Canadian and American study of 46,000 men, the more coffee the men in a trial drank, the more their uric acid levels fell; those who drank 4 to 5 cups a day had levels that were 40% lower.  Woop Woop that’s one for coffee!

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
8:00 am

Life is a work in progress....


Keep in mind that any lifestyle change is a "work in progress" and lasting changes take time

Set small goals that are easy to add to your daily life and that YOU can take charge of.

Wellness and fitness involve being aware and making choices like being active, eating healthy and improving your emotional wellbeing. This is the most important investment you can make in your life. Strive for the best health you can have in all areas of your life by making mindful, healthy choices.

Benefits of Investing in You

  • Take charge of your life and feel good about the choices you make.
  • Gain energy and feel more fit.
  • Experience improved physical health.
  • Gain a positive outlook and find more enjoyment in your life.
  • Be a role model for your family and friend
  • Stress adds to and aggravates the symptoms of many autoimmune diseases. Fatigue, exhaustion, sleeplessness, and weight loss or gain are just a few of the symptoms that overlap.

Autoimmune diseases are baffling when it comes to the causes, but there are certain factors that definitely increase the risk and can act as triggers for such disorders. While heredity is the most obvious risk factor when dealing with autoimmune diseases, the role of stress cannot be disregarded. While no definite connection has been found in the context of hard evidence, research still indicates a connection.

That being said, the role of stress as a trigger in those already afflicted with autoimmune disorders is widely recognized.

One reason why stress is believed to play an important role in autoimmune disorders is because of its effects on the immune system. Researchers have found that stress causes hormonal and cellular changes in the body.

When our body or autoimmune system perceives a threat it moves into ‘attack mode’, which could be a lifesaving response to acute stress. But chronic stress or prolonged stress after a time takes its toll on the immune system, as the body is unable to sustain the fight and this could result in a decrease of these hormones, causing greater vulnerability.

Try different stress reduction strategies to reduce the effects of stressful situations on you. Deep breathing and meditation can significantly reduce stress hormones.

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
8:33 am

Are you B12 deficient?

Did you know that 1 in 8 Americans over the age of 65 have some form of dementia and that almost ½ of all individuals over the age of 85 have it as well?  Did you know that correcting one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in America could significantly reduce your risk of developing cognitive declines as you age?

A Growing Epidemic:

According to a report in the Harvard Health Newsletter, vitamin B12 deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the developing world and the United States

Signs and symptoms of a B12 deficiency include the following:

  • Low Energy and Weakness
  • Confusion or “fuzziness”
  • Persistent sleep problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Hearing and vision loss
  • Memory problems
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Weak Immune function
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Vitamin B12 one of the building blocks your body uses to produce DNA. It also keeps your immune system functioning optimally, regulates mood and sleep cycle, and is crucial to energy production, which is why it’s known as the “energy vitamin.

B12 protects your brain and nervous system by keeping nerves healthy and communicating in an optimal manner.   In addition, one of its most powerful protective properties for the brain is its ability to reduce blood levels of a dangerous metabolite called homocysteine.  Homocysteine is a amino acid naturally formed in the body as a result of metabolism that is commonly correlated with many adverse health effects.  It is especially related to heart attacks and strokes and produced when over stressed.    B-12 has been found to lower levels of homocysteine.  This water soluble b-vitamin is proving to be one of the most important nutrients in the landscape of protecting the brain and reducing the risk of age related cognitive declines.

The Need For B12 Supplements:

The body has a decreasing ability to absorb B12 as we age.  It has been clearly established that most people are deficient in B12 not because of a lack of consumption, but because they lack the ability to properly absorb it into the bloodstream.

Unlike almost all other vitamins, B12 must be separated from food by stomach acid in order to be absorbed.  The easiest way to supplement is through Sublingual Delivery– All oral B12 supplements should be delivered to the body by dissolving them under the tongue.  The vast network of blood vessels under the tongue allows B12 to be absorbed directly into the blood stream and thus bypassing the issues related to stomach acid and intrinsic factor.

Top Foods:Liver (Beef)
  • Sardines
  • Fortified Cereals
  • Red Meat
  • Salmon
  • Milk
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Clams

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
8:00 am

Selfish versus Self Caring

When we keep going and going, even if it is for a good cause or for the people whom we care about, we tend to leave ourselves behind. We de-prioritize us. If we do choose to do something for ourselves, like meditating, relaxing, or working out, we worry that we will be seen as selfish by others or even by ourselves. However, there is a huge difference between selfish and self caring. Taking the time to do the things that we enjoy doing – whether that be a hobby, reflecting, reading, writing, a workout, coloring, or even just staring into space, is important not only to our overall well-being, but also to the others around us.

As Cheryl Richardson, world-renowned coach, author, and speaker says: “When we care deeply for ourselves, we naturally begin to care for others – our families, our friends, our greater global community, and the environment – in a healthier and more effective way… [then] We make choices from love instead of guilt and obligation.”

How to care for yourself:

Finding time: • Check your emails twice a day • Check facebook once a day • Ignore your phone • Give up (2) ½ hour television shows…or (1) 1 hour show. • Delegate some of your daily tasks • Preplan and go to the store twice a week instead of daily • Eliminate “time clutter”

Time Clutter Exercise

Keep a journal for three days, listing EVERYTHING you do in the day.  (Don’t cheat!)  Write every little thing down….can you imagine any of these on your list? • stopped to check messages one more time …and got sidetracked…45 minutes.  • Went to grocery for carrots…got sidetracked 35 minutes, $120.00 • 7:00 - Sat down to watch a comedy – 10:00 …finished with Scandal • 6:15 – playing Zelda with Jeff…midnight…husband says “get to bed”

You may find time for self care and a lot more.

When your three days up, go over your list and highlight the actions that were worthwhile.  Circle the enjoyable and inspiring actions. Cross out the actions that were non productive or self destructive.  Add up the time spent on the non productive and self destructive.  Bring your list to the next meeting and tell me what you have discovered

My wish for you today is that you are able to examine your life in view of what truly brings you joy


Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
5:00 pm

What does it take to change your life?

What does it really takes for people to get healthy and change their lives?

You have to want it. Rather than trying fad diets or making New Year’s resolutions, the key is to want to live a healthy life each day when you wake up. If you schedule your workouts, have healthy snacks readily available and realize that taking care of yourself is the most important thing to do, you’ll get healthy and change your life and the life of your family.

Another key thing is to have a routine—everything from brushing your teeth in the morning and at night to getting a good night’s sleep. Set your mind to think of those healthy things as just part of the routine instead of making them a big mental obstacle or punishment.

  • Laugh and smile! Smiling a lot makes your face look younger and it feels great. If you laugh a lot, it has been scientifically proven to keep you healthier.
  • Do nothing. Staying in a dark, quiet place without having any stressful thoughts for about ten minutes will leave you feeling refreshed. Focus on the energy field inside of you or try to focus on your body from the inside. If you just relax, you will feel better and probably keep feeling good through the day. Just do this a couple of times a day to become a very healthy person
  • Eat an appropriate, healthy balanced diet containing all the nutrients your body requires. A proper diet contains the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, fruits and vegetables, and fat. For carbohydrates, eat whole grains. Lean meat is the best source of protein. Try to get at least 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Eating a small amount of fat is needed to keep your body functioning smooth
  • Drink water! It is key in making you run throughout the day. Try drinking 8 eight-ounce glasses of water each day. It helps you re-energize and keep going. Not drinking enough fresh water can lead to acne, headaches, and even dehydration. Do this, and you'll become a very healthy person.
  • Get some exercise every day, even just a little. This will not only make you feel better, and make you look better, but help you to get through the day. Research has proven that exercising regularly helps you feel better because endorphins released by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus during exercise produce a feeling of happiness and well being. Walking is a great exercise. Walk to work or school if you can. If you can't walk the whole way, try parking farther away from your destination so you can walk a least part of the way. You can get off the bus or train a stop, walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
  • Slow down: Often a busy life is considered a full life, when in reality it may just be an exhausting life, one that is emotionally, physically, and spiritually depleted. Sometimes we believe that adding more activities will enhance our lives, while in reality, if we remove some of the activities, we may have a richer life. We may be rushing from social activity to social activity, doing fun things. However, under these circumstances it’s even harder to know whether we are simply enjoying ourselves or even in the fun arena are too busy.

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
9:00 am

Wow! Have you managed it yet?

Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to things that upset your balance. Studies show that most people experience some type of stress throughout the year.  “When your brain perceives a threat, it signals your body to release a burst of hormones to fuel your capacity for a response.” The problem comes when we have non stop stress and the release is constant.

Signs of too much stress:

•Digestive distress
•Chest pain and racing heart
•Mood swings
Determining the cause of your stress is your first step.  After identifying the cause is the time to start working on strategies to deal with them.  Often it is as easy as staying away from the neighbor who drives you nuts, or turning off the news.  If you can’t avoid the stress inducer, then next step is to figure out ways to live with it.

Don’t try to do it on your own.  Join a group who is going through the same stress as you, seek help from family and friends.   You may also benefit from daily practices that encourage stress reduction, like mindfulness, prayer, meditation, yoga or just going outside to enjoy nature..

In our world, it is unrealistic to expect stress to disappear from your life.  Managing stress isn’t a one day thing.  With consistent effort,  you can learn to manage your levels of stress and increase your ability to handle the challenges that bring stress.

Relieve Stress by:

•Proper nutrition
•Enjoying nature
•Getting away from the cause
•Take a break
What are some of the ways that you relieve stress?

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
9:00 am

I want you to DO IT this year!

Are you happy?  How do you feel right now?  Is your body comfortable and healthy, your heart full of love, your mind clear and at ease, and your soul  peaceful? This is the beginning of knowing your feelings, knowing yourself. 

Let’s talk about life….
  • Do you have the relationships you want? 
  • Do you feel loved? 
  • Do you love yourself?
  • Is money working for you the way/s you would like?
  • Are you and the Divine on friendly terms?
  • Do you love your body?
  • Is your body treating you right or are experiencing unexplained symptoms of  illness or digestion problems?
  • What about your environment? Does it look pleasant to you? 
  • Today, how does your life look, compared to what you envisioned on January 1st a year ago?

Wait!  Why have I not mentioned RESOLUTIONS yet? Because they don’t work.  As I’ve said before.  Change comes attached to emotions.  You can’t just jump into the new year with a sense of discipline and determination without the real powerful feeling of wanting more than anything, change.  I want you to forget the guilt and forget being hard on yourself. .  Today, as a stress management expert, I’m not talking enthusiastically about goals and resolutions.  I’m asking how you feel.

I want your life and work to be as painless and as satisfying as possible.

Next Previous