National Hispanic Heritage Month

Ay chihuahua, arriba!!! It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month.  This is the month we celebrate the glory of our culture and the colourful life of living with Latin flair.

I am enormously proud of my heritage, also enormously proud of my here and now, coming from a mother who is Uruguayan and a father who’s Spanish, I grew up in a home that was full-on spicy, colorful and incredibly loud and passionate.

You see, Hispanics are passionate and loving by nature.  Every Hispanic I meet, I greet them as my hermana (sister) or hermano (brother), because hey, they are family!  We all come from the same roots.  Our conversations often sound like we are fighting but we are not, we are just so all-in, so involved, so emotional that our voices come out unable to be quieted.  We are full-on in everything that we do.  We are strong and proud souls.

Beyond the incredibleness of our culture, Latinos have had their fair share of struggles and challenges.  One that hits me very close to home is that within the Hispanic community, 21% have issues with digestion, IBS, constipation, or some kind of problem going to the bathroom.  This is by far the highest percentage as compared to caucasians at 14%, Asians 7% and the world average at 14%.

When I found out this statistic I was shocked but I can’t say I was surprised.  Our home was one constant conversation about going to the bathroom.  My mother would call me in to inspect her creation (it’s probably where my love for the examination of poo was instigated).  My mother was chronically constipated and always looking for things to make her “correr”, the Spanish word for run; meaning run to the bathroom.  My father on the other hand, was always looking to slow things down, he suffered from irritable bowel type diarrhea. 

Why does the Latino/Hispanic community tend to struggle with IBS, constipation and digestive problems more than their counterparts?  It could be the foods we are eating, the classic heavy starch diet with rice, beans, and corn (for those from Mexico and Central America), or the heavy meat diets of Argentina and Uruguay, but maybe that isn’t the reason at all.

What if it’s more about the fact that we are so passionate, so expressive, that we wear our emotions on our sleeves?  If digestion is how we are digesting our lives and emotions, is it not possible that because we are so emotive, and our digestive system is the emotionally sensitive system, (think gut feelings) that this is the true reason we have these problems?

Our emotions and how we feel about ourselves and our lives are expressed in how we go (or don’t go) to the bathroom.

Even though we deal with these problems, I’m so proud of the impact that Hispanics are having in this world, yours truly included.  And I want to highlight four fiery, fierce and fabulous women who have inspired my life and I know probably inspire yours, too.

#1: Jennifer Lopez

The movie star, singer, dancer and mogul.  Titan of the entertainment world, JLo came from a humble beginning in the Bronx.  Remember Jenny from the Block?  She struggled to get her first big break

because her body was, well, a little ‘too booty’.  Ironic, because now this is her well-known trademark and likely what helped to propel all of her multiple talents to the heights of all of her achievements. 

How did this happen?  When others are told they have a big butt, they get down on themselves and get it cut off.  Not Jenny from the Block, she owned it, loved it, accepted it and even though they said it was a problem she worked through it. 

Today she is the epitome of success, the siren of seduction and probably one of the women in Hollywood that I admire the most.  She knows who she is and what she wants out of her life, she is owning her throne.

#2 Yovana Mendoza

She may not be a household name quite yet, but this Mexican American instagram influencer is making waves in the self acceptance, self love and body confidence movement.  She has created her own stardom, by sharing her journey and empowering others to live a happy, healthy lifestyle.  All of the content she shares is in English and Spanish, to as to include both communities and languages.  Pretty amazing.

Recently her branding changed from Rawvana to Yovana.  She was a promoter of the vegan lifestyle, but was seen eating meat at a local establishment and was harassed over the internet.  The reality is she needed to change her diet for her health.  Some things work great for you and in certain seasons of life, and sometimes they don’t as your body changes and evolves.  She is reinventing herself and I am just blown away by her strength, authenticity and wisdom. 

I love that she preaches to be conscious of the signs thats your body is showing you (just like analyzing your stools like I love to talk about).  Way to represent your 1.2 million followers.  Own your throne baby!  Latina power!

#3 Jolene Brighten 

Brilliance is all I can say for this Latina.  She is the master of post-birth control syndrome, a condition that affects the majority of women who come off of the pill to some degree.  She knows hormones like nobody’s business.  Better than that, is her dedication and determination to how women’s health is cared for.   

Please see her book Beyond the Pill.  It’s an incredible read and very valuable information for every woman to know, especially those of us with young daughters who may consider taking birth control at some point in their life.

#4 Mariza Snyder

There is no one brighter.  Six time published author, speaker, and essential oil and hormone balance Queen.  Mariza’s smile lights up a room.  She makes it a regular habit to train 40,000-50,000 people in huge stadiums on how to balance their hormones with essential oils. 

She is the master of using essential oils as a vehicle to change the world. Her newest book, The Essential Oils Hormone Solution, is another must-read for women everywhere.  Her spicy and loving vibe is one that you’ll be attracted to for sure.

Jessica Alba, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Julio Iglesias, Salma Hayek, Cameron Dias. All Latinos that I look up to and there are so many more!

So we do this, “si se puede”, like the farm workers of America, it’s been ingrained in our DNA.  The will to be better, to fight through.  For me, this is where my passion for castor oil packs ignited.  I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my roots.  I worry not for Hispanics that have these digestive problems because I know they will own the struggle, and figure out a way to be grateful with the grind and get better.

So, let’s celebrate the incredible Hispanic heritage, that brings us chihuahuas, tacos, burritos, and Jane the Virgin!

Let’s own and celebrate it, and don’t forget to practice health!

Are you a Hyper Wiper? WTF!!!???!?!

Are you a Hyper Wiper? WTF!

Everytime I get to this question with a patient, I know what they are going to say. “What?! Well I have to wipe a few times to get clean.”

Well my friends, that’s exactly the issue. Hyper wiping isn’t normal. Normal is if you are eating your natural indigenous diet (not the nutrient void McDonalds). For example, think of those people you learn about on the discovery channel who live in isolated tribes in Africa. What happens when they are walking through the field, and suddenly feel the urge to purge? Predicament? I think not, they simply squat and then – plop! No toilet paper? No problem! They don’t need it because they leave no sticky mess. They are eating a diet of whole, natural foods that they grow, forage or hunt.

Hyper wiping is a sign of excess mucous in your stools. It could indicate irritation in your gut from a variety of sources. Food sensitivities, overgrowth of bad bacteria or yeasts (known as dysbiosis), or even parasites, as well as environmental toxicants irritating the gut. 

When you are aware of this sign, your naturopathic doctor will begin to try and find the cause, through a series of trial/elimination or through food sensitivity testing. Click here for a lab that I use and trust.

Taking away foods that irritate your gut will provide valuable clues. Resetting the gut microbiome (the community of bugs that live in the gut) is another option. Eventually the truth will come out. 

The practice of castor oil packs will help with bringing your body back into balance, reducing inflammation and supporting the microbiome!

So, take a peek every time you poo. Pay attention to the amount of wiping needed per sitting. Try to correlate it to your lifestyle and begin to get a little more intimate with the jewels you leave in the throne.