An Update on My Heath

More about my health & wellness related adventures. 🙂

Health became a passion of mine due to infertility. And even though I never got pregnant, I am still passionate about health because the changes I’ve made over the years have transformed my life. So now, it’s just what I do.

And you know what? I consider my health for you, for Danny, for myself, my doggies, and anyone else I come in contact with…because I know if I didn’t have my health, it may be impossible to do this work, it may be harder to feel well in my life and dear marriage, it may be impossible to have the energy and ability to love with my whole heart. So I give it all my best shot. And yes, it’s dang worth it.

I’ll admit, I feel a little vulnerable sharing this stuff sometimes. Ha. I know I take a very holistic approach and to many, it may seem a little out there. But, I love hearing what other people do to stay healthy, so I thought I’d share as well…

Here’s the Latest…

I just got SEVEN mercury fillings replaced! I know many may think it’s safe to have mercury in your mouth, but many have also had drastic changes in health due to the mercury (including Hashimotos and autoimmune disease, which I have), so I’m excited to get the mercury removed. Who knows if it will have a positive effect on me. We will see.

Also, get this – I got the dental work done Ecuadorian style, meaning NO NOVACAINE!!! You guys! I can’t believe I did this. Has anyone else tried this? The thought previously never would have crossed my mind as Novacaine is absolutely the norm in the States. But here, it’s not the standard to use it unless it’s an extreme case. The doctor told me almost ALL of her patients do just fine without it. Seriously? So I got brave and said let’s go for it, thinking I might die. And what do you know, it was completely doable! In fact, I swear to you – I hardly even felt a thing and had no pain. Oh, what money pharma must make off Novacaine in the States!

I’ve started chelation, to detox heavy metals. Apparently mercury stores itself in your organs (even your brain) and wreaks havoc on your immune system. So, I’m doing several things: DMSA (a chelating agent) every other day, intravenous high-dose Vitamin C once a week (a nurse comes to my home), daily green juices with LOTS of cilantro (which is a natural chelator), daily chimichurri with cilantro (I put it on GF bread or just eat it plain), and activated carbon pills after each dental appointment. These things supposedly bind to heavy metals in the body and help carry them out. (Note: I’d love to hear if anyone has done chelation.)

We just started a massive 21-Day Parasite Cleanse. (Because pretty much everyone has parasites! Yikers.) Our holistic doctors here are herbalists and created some medicine, herbal, seed & probiotic based cleansing kits. Each day we’re taking a series of things according to their instructions. Luckily we’ll be done with it right before we arrive in NYC for our first event. Oh my. 🙂 Get this thing done already!

We started adding chia seeds to drinks. We add two tablespoons to either a green juice or a fizzy lime seltzer at least once a day. It’s a lot to swallow (we don’t actually chew). But chia is VERY high in protein, so we try to consume a lot of it as we eat very little meat. It’s also supposed to be a master cleanser in the digestive tract and I would say that is true.

That’s it for today! Wishing you all well in your own health adventures. Always happy to hear what you all are up to. 🙂 And now I seriously should go do my power walk with the girlsies.

Much love,


P.S. These photos are from us teaching at Body+Soul Camp in the Andes (I love Danny’s faces in these :). It’s kinda ridiculous that we, too, get to do a detox several times a year at our retreats. I always feel so healthy during and after. #jobperks


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  1. Kelly Rodriguez February 26, 2016 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    I'm in the middle of a parasite cleanse as well. Good luck! Continued blessings to you both.

  2. Patty Grimm February 26, 2016 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Great blog post. Can you comment on where you got your chelation treatments. We're interested in doing that also. Thanks!

    • mara February 26, 2016 at 11:43 pm - Reply

      Hi Patty! I'm using DMSA suppositories, actually. Our holistic doctor says they're very effective and also a lot less expensive than the IV. I know you can get them online, but I don't have a source as we are getting them from our health office here in Cuenca. I do know that they had access to a certain strength of the DMSA – and I'm not sure that same strength is available commercially. Also, the suppositories are $15 each. I'm starting w/ 10 rounds and will likely do many more – not sure yet how many rounds I'll need to do.

  3. Pepper Express February 26, 2016 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    My husband and I like making Chia pudding. It has the same texture as tapioca pudding and is delicious! Thank you for sharing Mara
    The Pepper Express

  4. Jenny Gutwein February 26, 2016 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing, Mara. I recently had dental work done in the states without novocaine and it was a pretty awful experience. I hope it is fair to say that different individuals have different nerve sensations in the mouth. Have a wonderful day! Love, Jenny

    • mara February 26, 2016 at 11:48 pm - Reply

      Owee. So sorry to hear that! Yes, I do agree! I think people have different sensations. I guess you now know what's good for you for the future. Also, though, I've learned here that since they mostly don't use novacaine, they are very skilled at trying to avoid the nerve. My doctor tries to drill around the nerve, and then pulls out chunks as she can, instead of drilling the whole thing. She also often changes the size of the drill as she gets close so that she is avoiding the nerve at all costs. Anyway, thanks for writing in and have a wonderful evening. XO, Mara

  5. Loraine February 26, 2016 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    I recently had a filling replaced. Not because I wanted to, but because my dentist wanted it replaced because it was so old. You are brave Mara! I totally wanted the novacaine and I still "felt" it! My sincerest wishes that it helps your system heal.
    Also, my husband and I went on a cleanse diet and it totally wiped me out. I felt crappier than I think I've ever felt so I stopped early. He finished the cleanse and now feels like a million bucks! I've never seen him with more energy, and I wish I could say the same for myself. I feel pretty good most of the time so I'm not sure what happened there.
    We eat a "cereal" every morning with flax, chia seeds and hemp hearts ground up. Then we add cinnamon, kefir milk that we ferment, and raw honey. It's not bad and gives us tons of energy. We also drink water with lemon and raw apple cider vinegar every day which is great!
    Thanks for ideas. I love hearing them!

    • mara February 26, 2016 at 11:55 pm - Reply

      Ah, thanks Loraine. And yes, I recall in the states getting novacaine and still feeling sensations and being SO freaked out by it – I couldn't even IMAGINE not using novacaine as it seemed it must be unbelievably painful without. So you can imagine my surprise when I felt no pain. Once or twice out of the 8 appointments (because I had one additional one today) I did feel a sensation or two – but it wasn't what I would call pain. One thing I found out is the doctors here do EVERYTHING they can to avoid the nerve. They drill around it and then take out chunks as they can. My doctor also changes the drill bit often so that she could avoid going deeper than necessary. Anyway, I think they're more skilled here at doing it gently as they don't use the novacaine.

      Anyway, good for you guys for doing a cleanse of some kind. Sorry it didn't work out on your end, but maybe you could try a modified version or something different in the future. Also, the the cereal you make sounds incredible!!! And, I've been wanting to try the ACV forever – have you noticed a difference with it?

    • Loraine February 27, 2016 at 5:16 am - Reply

      Your dentist sounds like a dream! I wish she was here! How wonderful to have found her, and even better that she has been able to replace your fillings without pain! And the price…Wozzers! That is amazing!

      The diatimaceous earth cleanse was really awful. It made me so thirsty, and I just felt like total crap. My husband loves it and drinks it daily along with tumeric and some other nasty stuff! He swears that it has helped his tendons heal from a recent bike accident.

      I love the lemon and ACV. I highly recommend doing it daily! I have gotten use to the taste and really enjoy it. Go easy on the vinegar at first. It's a little hard to get use to.
      It's so fun to hear your ideas! Keep us posted on your health.

  6. Emily February 26, 2016 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    I put chia seeds in my daily (vegan) veggie smoothie to boost the protein and improve my digestion. Has made SUCH a difference!

    • mara February 26, 2016 at 11:55 pm - Reply

      Awesome!!! Yes, they're really something.

  7. Anonymous February 26, 2016 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    If you're finding the chia a bit much to swallow, try adding it to a smoothie in your Vitamix. Easy and yummy. Also, try hemp hearts for a mega source of protein. They are tasty to just eat by the spoonful (can also be mixed in a smoothie) and have so many healthy qualities.

    Can you please clarify how you felt no pain without Novocaine?? I once had a filling without enough Novocaine, and I was in terrible pain. Would like to be more like you!

    • mara February 27, 2016 at 12:13 am - Reply

      THANK YOU for the hemp heart tip! I've never heard of this, so thank you. We have to really try to get protein from plant foods, so this is so helpful to know.

      ALSO – the novacaine. I must say, I'm in complete shock myself. I would never have guessed that it would have been doable. And actually, I had one more appt. today so that makes EIGHT appointments (and actually two of those were double ones, so it's really 10 fillings. ugh. I can thank years of eating sugar for all of this.) Anyway, the doctors here are VERY skilled at working gently around the nerve, since they normally don't use novacaine. My doctor tries to work around the edges and then take out chunks if possible. This way there is less drilling. Also, she changed the drill bit often so that it would get tinier and tinier as she approached the nerve. It was the most gentle process and I kept waiting and waiting for pain – but none. Nearly every time, she would finish in what felt like NO TIME and I would say, "WHAT? you are DONE? That's IT?" The worst part was *anticipating* that there might be pain. The first few appts were especially worrisome, only because of that anticipation. Though I got better at being calm as the appointments went on.

      The coolest thing was realizing how LITTLE of the experience from start to finish has the potential to touch any nerve at all. Usually when you're all numbed up, you just imagine that the WHOLE THING must be incredibly painful. But really, it might be 2-5 seconds of the process that might get close to a nerve. And those seconds are spread out. If you feel something, she also stops and moves to another area and then comes back to it. Also, even if you felt something, it's just DONE soooo quickly. And then she moves along to create the filling, which doesn't even touch the nerve. And then you walk out without a numb face, which is amazing. I found that the shot to GET the novacaine is more painful than the filling process. And often you need even more than one! I usually would have two for sure. Anway, I'm completely shocked by it all.

      The doctor said she thinks we're all traumatized in the states. We all BELIEVE that it will be painful and so we can't even take an ounce of anything. From the time we're small, children wear gas masks, etc…and we just grow up believing that it's the worst experience ever. She said she does multiple fillings on 4 year olds here and they do just fine. That's amazing to me. She's hands down the VERY best dentist I've ever been to my whole life – and does the most insanely perfect and beautiful work (she is an extreme perfectionist). We will likely actually fly back to Ecuador if we need any future dental work done. She's that good. (And…talk about inexpensive. $40-$45 per filling.)

  8. Jenny D. February 26, 2016 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    I'm very interested to hear how your parasite cleanse goes as I'm looking into starting one.

    • mara March 2, 2016 at 7:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Jenny! OK – we're 2/3 through with the 21 days. And I'm ready to be done. It's all about taking herbs or meds that make the environment very unfavorable to parasites and other pathogens – so that they actually get disrupted and either die or want to leave. And then you have to keep your system going so that everything gets flushed out. Also, the probiotics are super important as you go, too. It's all been very doable, but it just gets old swallowing various pills and following a strict schedule each day. Anyway, I hope it's all working. I kinda want to get a stool test when it's done to make sure. If it all turns out well, I could see the benefit of doing this once or twice a year – to just keep the gut super healthy (as they say that is the birthplace of most disease – esp. these days with GMOs, pesticides, and chemicals disrupting the gut flora.)

  9. Laura February 27, 2016 at 3:07 am - Reply

    Look, I recognize that everyone's entitled to do what they like and/or believe in with regard to their own health, but it's important to be aware that chelation also carries serious risks, and most doctors would not advise it unless someone was seriously suffering from heavy metal poisoning. Also, while I have no doubt that big pharma makes money promoting unnecessary drugs, it's naive to think that herbalists and the companies that sell herbs and supplements, etc., are not also motivated by profit. And the fact that studies have shown many of their products–which are not held to the same rigorous testing standards as prescription drugs–are often mislabeled, rendering them ineffective, or worse, dangerous–is worrisome.

    • Anonymous March 1, 2016 at 1:31 am - Reply

      Well said!

    • mara March 2, 2016 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      Hello, Laura! I do agree – all health practices need to be really thought out as they can have risks. I know that chelation is a big deal. Which is why I've been working closely with some people I trust who have experience. I also think mercury in my system is likely a big deal as I've always been hyper sensitive to metals – and also have many of the symptoms of mercury side effects. So I'm willing to try something. But I know many would rather not. Anyway, it's great that there are various options out there. And even when we do the research and trust professionals, I know that even then things can go wrong. I guess we all just need to do our best and stay as informed as possible.

      Also – yes – I agree with you…natural companies do need to make a profit, too, since they are also trying to stay in business. And certainly some health claims are just not true – so it takes a lot of education and help from experienced people to know what works and doesn't. Certainly harmful side effects can occur regardless if someone takes a medical or herbal route. For me, I definitely prefer taking a natural route whenever possible – and have had life changing effects by doing so, but I do so cautiously. Certainly drugs are a godsend at times, too. I'm thankful to have access to both, as needed.

  10. Mairi February 27, 2016 at 7:19 am - Reply

    Well… maybe I sound ridiculous, but I have spent my life (I am now 41) almost afraid of becoming healthy. I was always overweight and I always said that I wanted to create a better relationship with my body, but I was scared that I would be losing my identity and that I was somehow safer being the only way I knew how to be. And then I fell in love and had a baby and started feeling as if I was swimming in calmer waters. The warmth brought in my life by love, allowed me to find the courage to go to a doctor and do my check-ups. I am now moving on a new path of healthier eating and exercising. I am rediscovering my body. And I am becoming less afraid of what our bodies can do, what amazing machines they are, what miracles they can perform. (excuse my poor English)

    • mara February 28, 2016 at 1:45 am - Reply

      Thank you dear Mairi for sharing this. What insights you've discovered about your life and body. So interesting – and BEAUTIFUL to see it unfold.

  11. Erin Parker February 27, 2016 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Would you disclose your dentists details? I have 6 Mercury fillings I'd like replaced and it sounds like it would be cheaper to fly to Ecuador to get this taken care of! Plus, I could tack on a little vacay while there 🙂

    • mara February 27, 2016 at 4:40 pm - Reply

      YES. She's AMAZING. I would recommend her wholeheartedly. I am not exaggerating that she is better than every fancy dentist I had in NYC. My last filling was one that had to be removed because she said it was done SO terribly with the most improper contact and shape. It was hardly done 3 years ago in Brooklyn.

      Here's her info.:

      Dra. Grace Ordoñez A.
      Teléfono Oficina: 07-409-1958
      Celular: 098-790-3834

      She is great by email. She speaks English fluently and also her office manager/receptionist does as well. You could set up your appointments or get quotes that way.

      She is trained in bio-dentistry to an extent and is trained on removing mercury fillings safely. She's supposedly the only doctor in Ecuador that has the proper vacuum to use during the removals. I know that she does like to do just one filling at a time usually. So – she may spread your appointments out over a few days. In the meantime, you could hang out in Cuenca and there's some cool stuff to do. Totally let us know if you come!! And yes, it would be SO worth it financially as you'd have a trip + your dental work. And will be REALLY exceptional work. We do plan to come back for our own appointments in the future if we need anything done. We also know of a great eye doctor and there's great gynecologists, endocrinologists, etc., etc. We've found the care is more thorough than the states.

  12. Rose February 27, 2016 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    I always love reading your health posts, thank you for sharing! When I was much younger I was afraid of needles and requested no drugs during a filling. I guess I preferred a drill to my nerve vs. a few shots. Anyway, it worked great just like yours. No pain! Since then I've overcome that fear somewhat, but still prefer to handle pain naturally if I can hack it. I was able to give birth to my son with no drugs and it was exhilarating even though I felt the pain. I think part of it is a mindset and understanding what my body can and can't handle. From the very beginning of my pregnancy my husband and I just set our minds to believe for the very best pregnancy and labor. We watched what we said and I worked to educate myself a whole lot about what my body would go through. I love how understanding can just wipe out fear. Im so grateful for my experience.

    But my one question that might be an ignorant one: do you ever feel like you're experimenting too much at once? Have you ever asked yourself that and how did you decide?

    • mara February 27, 2016 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      The thought has crossed my mind – I've wondered if the parasite cleanse + metal cleanse is too much at once. But our holistic doctors seemed ok with it – and so far it's been an ok experience. My thought was to just play it by ear and see how it goes.

      And – that's cool you didn't feel pain w/ that filling! I agree with you that pain is often so much related to our mindset about it.

      Also, I forgot to mention that my dentist would always say, "let's get started and see how you feel – if anything is too much we can give you a shot." And never once did I have to ask for the shot. Anyway, I like that approach as it gives you the opportunity to see little by little that it's just fine and that builds some confidence as you go along.

  13. Maria Petrova February 27, 2016 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    I love when you have a new post! For chelation I use Waiora, it's super effective, esp with Milk Thistle extract added to support the liver. ✨

    • mara February 28, 2016 at 1:46 am - Reply

      Oh, thank you dear Maria! I had heard of this – but thank you for sharing.

  14. Kami March 1, 2016 at 4:15 am - Reply

    You know how much I love this post 🙂 I like to jump right in and try lots of new things all at once too. I did a parasite cleanse (I got one on my honeymoon and it catapulted me into poor health for years!) and it was SO helpful. Many of my symptoms got so much better. I recently started taking some herbs and essential oils to help cleanse my liver and I've noticed a big difference (I've been struggling with hormonal acne). Anyways – crazy about the Novacaine! I'm quite adventurous but I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to try. How cool that it was totally do-able! xoxo

    • mara March 2, 2016 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      That's amazing, Kami! So glad the parasite cleanse did work. Also, I'd love to hear what you're taking for your liver. That's awesome that it's working!!

      As for the novacaine – I'm like you – I never considered for a moment not using it and would have NEVER thought I could do it. But something cool my dentist said in the beginning is this: "Let's get started and try it – if it's too much, I'll give you the shot." This way, I could try it, but also I had a way out if needed. I found that I never needed to ask for the shot as it just was done as fast as can be. I also realized it was much easier to assess the bite afterwards (since I wasn't numb) and could more accurately express whether or not the bite was a perfect fit or not.

  15. Mark March 23, 2016 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Having some cavities that are getting pretty important, but unfortunately the dentist is pricy and we have other priorities.. I hope the detox goes smooth.

  16. Anonymous October 5, 2016 at 2:49 am - Reply

    Loved reading this post and am curious, after you had your mercury fillings removed, what kind of fillings did your dentist put in to replace the mercury fillings?
    I have to have a crown replaced and have been researching what kind of crown is the safest, least likely to harm the body. Can't figure it out, but thinking it's high noble gold. Do you have any insight on this?

    Also, would love an update on how these things you listed above went and if you have seen any improvements.

    • mara October 6, 2016 at 2:52 am - Reply

      Hi ! So, she used a special filling from Germany. She said it was by far the safest, most biocompatible material to put in your mouth. I don't remember what it was called.

      I wish I knew more about crowns! And ugh, I feel for you as it's so hard to know what's what.

      As for improvements from the above…

      The truth is, I think I had some reactions to the mercury removal (i.e. a headache, possible sleep issues following, and I even had an unusual speech issue – like I was stumbling over words.) Kinda scary, really. I absolutely knew mercury was extremely toxic to the body, but I also had so much of it in my mouth and continued to have mystery health issues, so I was willing to risk it. Luckily, the symptoms I've mentioned have gone away. And as far as I've studied, I've also seen that it's possible to cleanse the heavy metal out of your system more and more over time. So I'm going for it and hoping that any exposure will continue to be removed over time.

      The parasite cleanse seemed to be pretty normal. Lots of cleaning out for the colon. 🙂

      The chia seed thing we still do regularly and it continues to be VERY effective in keeping the system moving. I'm guessing we'll stick with this for life as it's been so effective. Plus, it's a great source of protein.

      As for major health improvements….not sure if these were directly related or anything, but I hope that all our health efforts have led to this: I did have a thyroid nodule for awhile and I had this checked recently and it has gone away, my thyroid levels continue to be normal despite having Hashimotos, and I had another chronic virus marker that has gone away. I continue to have other areas that still need improving – so I'm still always trying to find out what my body needs to heal.

    • Anonymous October 11, 2016 at 2:29 am - Reply

      That's wonderful your thyroid levels are normal and the nodule has gone away! How did you have to wait between appointments when getting the mercury removed? How long did your symptoms last after getting the mercury removed?
      I love your health and food posts. Thanks for the update!

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