Mindfulness has become the new buzz word at the water cooler, in business seminars, and everywhere in between. What comes to mind when you think of this concept? In its essence, mindfulness really just means that you have your mind actively focused on what you are doing…. without extraneous thoughts. But what does this really mean in everyday life? When you are reading for example, you are simply experiencing reading. You are not thinking about what you will do next, or why you are doing what you are doing… you are free from all attachments, and analysis.

Inspiration, Intention, Mindfulness, and Intriguing Articles… The Law of Intention and Desire Deepak Chopra http://www.chopra.com/laws/intention

The Law of Detachment, and the wisdom of uncertainty Deepak Chopra http://www.chopra.com/laws/detachment

It Starts With Uncertainty MARGARET WHEATLEY and PEMA CHÖDRÖN discuss how organizations can acknowledge their confusion and trust in the goodness of the underlying order http://shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1874&Itemid=0

Enlightenment Through an Evolutionary Lens by Diane Hamilton http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6xv0KZFsg8k

The Health Repercussions of Being Black in America

It is well established that simply being black places you at risk for developing health problems. What’s disturbing is that these risks are not necessarily genetic. These risks are due to living with a tremendous amount of stress.

Many things need to change.

Stress management is very important. Breathing exercises, singing, and meditation are all free and effective. Find out what works for you. Everyone is different.




Foot Reflexology… that’s the foot massage, right?

So… some 20 years ago I was just starting to explore reflexology. I’ve been a life-long fan of massage and holistic health in general, so to me this was just another therapy to try. It felt like a unique type of foot massage / touch therapy to me. I felt amazingly calm and felt my nerves kick it down a notch.

As an autoimmune disease person with anxiety issues, I found this profoundly helpful. I also started noticing that my bowels were functioning better and my sinuses drained… getting rid of that constant head pressure and groggy feeling. Can you say…. Ahhhh

I started going regularly and noticed that the calm feeling started to take, and it took more to rattle my nerves. I felt less fatigue and less brain fog overall. As time went on with my regular weekly or biweekly sessions, I felt that I was able to space out my sessions, and keep myself even keeled with yoga/meditation/breathing in the mean time.

This, of course, led to some reading / research. Come to find out…. reflexology is not massage after all. It may feel like massage, but in principle it’s actually more like acupressure. This simply means that it is based on energy pathways similar to acupuncture. It is not based on the skeletalomusclular system… like massage. So, similar sensation, different theories and different objectives.

Reflexology is actually ancient and transcultural. Many ancient cultures have a form of “reflexology”. During a Reflexology session a variety of specialized techniques which feel similar to a combination of massage and acupressure are applied to reflexes to promote balance and mind – body integration. It is a relaxing way to promote your body’s natural healing abilities through nerve stimulation, while improving circulation and encouraging immune system balance. It has been practiced throughout the world in ancient cultures including ancient Egypt, China, India, and Native America. The name “reflexology” is a relatively new term, which is used to collectively refer to ancient methods based on energy, as well as newer methods based on neurophysiology.

What defines reflexology is the principle that the microcosm represents the microcosm. In essence, it is practiced on a smaller part of the body that represents the whole. Reflexology can be practices on the face, ears, hands, and most commonly, the feet. Some methods are very gentle, while other are deep pressure. While every Reflexologist has their own signature style, a good reflexologist will have studied enough methods and techniques to work within you comfort and make it an enjoyable session. Similar to massage, communication is an important part of your session. Through my experience, when you are fully vested in a session and working through kinks, sometimes your mind will go to sleep, to let the energy flow.

At times when the heart and body know best, the mind only gets in the way.


Your Holistic Nurse, Carolee

Insulin – a series part II

Insulin – a series part II: What exactly does it do?

Insulin lowers your blood glucose level by promoting cellular uptake of glucose.  This means that the glucose goes inside your cells, instead of hanging out in the blood stream.


Did you know?

Diabetes type one and type two are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT… as in the body works in opposite ways in these two disease pathologies. Some people argue that they are so entirely different that they cannot figure out why we still call them both diabetes.


Lock and Key

There are receptors (think of them as locks 🔒) on the outside of cells. Insulin is like the key 🔑. The receptors open the gate for the glucose to enter the cell when the key is in place. Sometimes, there are not as many locks on a cell as there should be. Sometimes the locks are sticky (I hate it when that happens). In both of these cases, we call this insulin resistance, and this is the issue in Diabetes type 2 only.

In diabetes type 1, there is not enough insulin circulating. So if there are no keys, or not enough keys, the glucose can’t get in. In this disease, the problem lies in the beta cells of the pancreas. These cells are attacked by the immune system. This is referred to as an autoimmune disease.


How does it get in?

This part is interesting and understanding this can help you understand the difference between insulin resistance in Diabetes type 2, and lack of insulin in Diabetes type 1.

When you have a key (insulin) fit into the lock (receptors), the gate opens and glucose moves inside your cell.

So… essentially in diabetes type 1, the locks and the keys on your body’s cells are all working fine. Unfortunately, there are not enough keys (insulin) to open the gates, and let all the glucose in. This requires intense medical management and taking prescribed insulin. It is an autoimmune disease.

And in diabetes type 2, there are not enough locks (receptors) or the locks (receptors) are not working too well… ie. the sticky lock. So frustrating! So you have enough insulin (keys) but when there are not enough locks to open gates or the locks don’t work correctly, the gates don’t open. This is helped with diet and exercise. Weight, lifestyle, and environment are considered significant factors.


Cellular Energy

Once inside, your cell can use the glucose as energy to perform vital cellular functions.

Normal Blood Sugar?

Around 70-90… but you might have a specific goal set by your PCP, depending on a multitude of things.


This Post was written by Critical Care RN, Carolee V. Nevulis

Probiotics Can Alter Your Cholesterol

A systematic review of the effects of probiotics on the lipid profile concluded that probiotic use is beneficial in improving your cholesterol.  This is amazing!


My thoughts on the data
The systematic review explores how probiotics affect the Lipid profile. There are many non pharmacological factors that affect cholesterol such as exercise, diet, and the microbiome. Cardiovascular disease is a large problem in the United States. Improving inflammatory factors, and the lipid profile would prove useful to a large demographic.

The systematic review addressed probiotic use alone, and did not address the use of probiotics in conjunction with medications. This is important for control, but it is also limiting due to the fact that patients with hyperlipidemia are commonly taking medications. It would be important to assess if there is any interaction between the two, or other contraindication for concurrent use. This research also highlights now probiotics affect our health in complex ways, and could be investigated for further use.

One critique I have in this systematic review is that there were a variety of different probiotics used in different studies. It might be useful to compare the results of different studies using the same probiotics. Different probiotics have different effects, as we well know. There seems to be lumping together of all probiotics, in general. Some of the studies referenced do not list the specific strain, but only the bacterial species, which is not particularly helpful due to the highly variable genetic nature of bacteria. There is a high degree of variability within species. These studies could have been excluded.


Health Care Implications
The review itself was summarized in a table that was clear, concise, and very helpful from a clinical perspective. The species, and strain was listed, along with the results, limitations, and conclusions. This is useful for a prescriptive perspective, as well as to reference against other studies. The table listed specific species and strains if they were tested.

It is easy to determine which studies resulted in alterations in the lipid profile, and exactly how. This is clearly presented with the exact intervention (bacteria utilized). Based on the chart provided, it is easy to determine which bacterial strain you might prescribe based on the desired lipid effect.


The overall conclusions highlighted the fact that the microbiome affects many different elements of the metabolic process.  It affects not only the lipid profile, but also many other factors affecting cardiovascular disease such as glycemic control and low grade systemic inflammation. This review acknowledges the need for studies with probiotics and medication concurrent use.

Check out the article for specifics


Gadelha CJMU, Bezerra AN. Effects of probiotics on the lipid profile: systematic review. J Vasc Bras. 2019;18:e20180124. https://doi.org/10.1590/1677-5449.180124



If you have cholesterol problems, ask your PCP!


Be aware that not all probiotics are created equal. I personally like Seed (seed.com). I love their probiotics so much that I contacted them asking for a promo code. While this does nothing for me, it does get you 20% off your first month.

Promo code: YHN20


Remember to take probiotics on an EMPTY stomach when there’s less acid









Celiac Cross Reactivity

When the body thinks that you are eating gluten, but you are not.

Why would that happen?

Gluten is a large protien molecule.  This molecule has similar sections as other protein molecules.  When proteins share sections that have a similar shape, they can result in the same response.  This is super tricky, because not everyone is cross reactive to the same things, and not everyone is cross reactive.  Another way to explain this is with the lock and key analogy that cellular biology likes so much.  If I have a key that is very similar to the original, but maybe has one missing bump, I might still be able to open the lock.

person holding silver colored skeleton key
Gluten Cross Reactivity can be thought of as a key that looks “close enough” to gluten to your immune system.  Not everyone has this response.


dairy proteins,
“(Note: instant coffee and brewer’s/bak- er’s/nutritional yeast have been identified as gluten cross-reactors in one study but it is postulated that this is attributable to common gluten contamination of these foods rather than inherent cross-reactive proteins. Look for options that specify gluten-free.)”


Are you strict GF and still having symptoms?
First we can find out if there is gluten sneaking around anywhere.. toothpastes etc.
Then you might think about trying an elimination diet and/or the AIP protocol to figure out if one of these guys is bugging you! Make an appointment with Your Holistic Nurse, and Celiac survivor, Carole V Nevulis. We offer in person, and online Celiac Health Coaching.


Read About our Celiac Health services here

Insulin – a series part I

Part I – (Making The Molecules)

We know we need it. We know we don’t want to be resistant to it …

Does anyone know what insulin really is?

Let’s start with cells – there are little bits and pieces inside our cells called organelles.

A very important yet INACTIVE molecule called proinsulin is produced on the Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum (an organelle)

The Golgi complex / Golgi apparatus (yet another organelle) Cleves this large inactive molecule (proinsulin) to produce a smaller active molecule called insulin. Tada! Insulin! This last part takes place inside the Golgi complex of the beta cells in the pancreas.

This means that insulin starts as a larger inactive molecule, and that the Golgi complex in the beta cells of the pancreas convert this molecule into it’s active form.


What could this possibly mean?

Here’s an interesting article highlighting how this info has REAL WORLD implications… . And now you know what on earth they mean by Endoplasmic Reticulum in this article!

Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Insulin Biosynthesis: A Review

What’s all that racket?

adult book boring face
A little peace and quiet

What do inflammation, cellular malfunctioning, and a lack of creative juices have in common?…

Creativity is born in quiet boredom.  As it turns out a little peace and quiet can do all kinds of things.  I don’t know about you, but I’m super guilty of noise..  I’m a talker.  What’s worse is that when I’m alone I constantly have an audiobook, a podcast, and some lecture playing.  I get into the car, I have a podcast on.  I take a shower or fold laundry, and I’m listening to a book form book club.  As it turns out, this can cause a big rut when it comes to creativity.  What else did I find out recently? Not only does all this incessant chatter stunt my creative juices, but it can also be damaging.


human skull with white background
Aging and chronic disease


Physically damaging at the cellular level!  How?  Funny you should ask.  I’ve been listening to this new audiobook (haha) called The Telomere Effect, by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, and Dr. Elissa Epel.  Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn is a molecular biologist, who in 2009 won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of telomeres and the key enzyme associated with their functioning.  Dr. Elissa Epel is health psychologist, whose research has focused on obesity, stress, and aging.




“Do one thing at a time, and cut down on the incessant multitasking.”

What have I learned?  Do one thing at a time, and cut down on the incessant multitasking.  Listen to more music, and focus.  Sounds like a mindfulness workshop… but it turns out, there’s really something to all this.  In short, the effects on constant chatter can contribute to inflammation, and cellular malfunctioning.  That being said, there is SO much more to it.

While I have absolutely no affiliation with the book, or authors, here’s a link in case you want to read on… The Telomere Effect



Your Holistic Nurse, Carolee

What is a phthalate?!

man holding white paper
What?!?! is a phthalate

Whaaat on earth is a phthalate… and why should we even care?…

First I should say that the official verdict on these chemicals is not yet out.  Next I will say, that some people appear to be more sensitive than others.  Lastly, I will say that the seem to be everywhere!!!



What is it?
A high molecular weight (heavy) molecule that make your plastic playable.  They do not easily evaporate.

What are they in?
Just about everything from IV tubing, to fast food, and cosmetics/perfumes.

Why do I care?
While research is still being conducted, there seems to be a link between phthalates and chronic disease.  There are specific concerns in regards to hormone disruption in particular.  Doctors have recommended that pregnant women, and children (especially in puberty) might want to take special care.

Why isn’t it more straight forward?
Phthalates are a class of chemicals, and they vary on how they interact with each other, and other chemicals. Chemical interactions taking place inside the body are not so straight forward!

DBP and DEHP have been associated with reproductive damage.
DnOP has been associated with endometriosis.
DiDP has been associated with nausea, vomiting and dizziness.
Granted… these are links, and associations, not proven causation.  Still, docs are suggesting that we should be on the safe side, and pick phthalate-free whenever possible.

Further Reading and Sources





Your Holistic Nurse, Carolee


Wiggle Room (because nobody’s perfect)

Want to cheat.. or just simply can’t live without?

Baby Wipes
Hand Sanitizer

selective focus photo of bottle with cork lid

Here’s the compromise I’ve made… I am not into phthalates, however sometimes I like to wear perfume.  Brands I indulge in when I really want perfume; Phlur and Skylar.  Both are gluten free! Did you know that inhaling gluten is something Celiacs have to worry about?! Oy! In my personal opinion they seem to be the safest on the market.  Please comment if you have something better! I’m always open to read!

Wipes and more?
From what I’ve learned the way that wipes work ie. cleaning without the action of creating bubbles that are rinsed away.. and essentially anything that “washes” without rinsing isn’t ideal.  Sometimes you just need something? I use Seventh Generation in a pinch.  As far as sanitizer… I like EO everyone.  It smells good, and is certified GF… super important for the hands, and everything I am touching!

black and brown brush on saucer
Fun with essential oils


Another cheat I love? Making my own “Febreeze“.  That stuff is the worst! I like to make my own fresh smelling spray bottle with some GF (gluten free) essential oils blends like lavender, orange, and chamomile. .. but play around and make your own fun blend.  An uplifting one might have lemongrass in it.  A calming one for linens could have lavender, and ylang-ylang.  Have fun!





Your Holistic Nurse, Carolee







I have no affiliation with the companies mentioned above