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Nutrition: Curb Your Anxiety over the Holidays

Finding yourself anxious with the holiday rush? You're not alone. "An estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives." (

Meet your COMT, MAOA, and/or GST/GPX genes that may be contributing to your anxious moments this holiday season. Take the free quiz (Laundry List 1 only) below, that Shallyn's uses, to start assessing your genetic predisposition toward anxiety.

If you came out high in COMT, chances are you are high in homocysteine levels (inflammatories). Think about all the sugary snacks you've been popping with yummy desserts and Christmas goodies coming around. Sugar is the biggest inflammatory culprit. You may be insufficient in vital nutrients, such as folate/B9, cobalamin/B12, and magnesium. Folic acid, a synthetic version of folate/B9, actually blocks your natural folate/B9 receptors (and thus block healthy cellular processes) and is found abundantly in flour. Cookies, pie crusts or gravy anyone? Before you wipe off the goodies completely from your holiday menu or reach for the bottle of antacids once again, try balancing these insufficiencies by increasing your intake of dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, avocados and whole grains. Try adding in sauna, hot yoga, Epsom salt bath or any other means to sweat out the overload on your body. Support your liver with a dandelion root tea or milk thistle seed supplement. Find an activity that helps you destress and put it on your calendar regularly.

If you came out high in MAOA, chances are you have too little glutathione (one of our body's biggest antioxidants), have been experiencing chronic stress (physically - maybe as simple as not breathing deeply enough regularly, or emotionally - I think we can all admit that the end of year/holiday work demands, home demands, and social demands can get pretty crazy right now), and suffering chronic inflammation (diet choices, stress (see above), and chronic health conditions). To balance this dirty gene, try increasing your liver, lamb, mushrooms, spinach, almonds, wild salmon or eggs to increase your Riboflavin/B2 and spinach, seaweed, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, turnip greens, red lettuce, or asparagus to increase your tryptophan. What, not turkey? While tryptophan is high in turkey, it is easier to be absorbed by our body in these particular foods. Overall, balance every meal (protein, healthy carbohydrates and healthy fats every time you eat) and manage your stress best for you. Did you know that if you are an O blood type, you are naturally drawn to vigorous exercise to destress (so go for a run or quick spin on a bike) and type A's do better with Tai Chi, yoga, or swimming.

If you came out high in GST/GPX, chances are your glutathione is out of whack (remember that primary antioxidant we all store in our body?). [For blog purposes, I will just include primary information here. If you are interested in learning more about your specific dirty gene profile and management, please do not hesitate to reach out to me for wellness services. (719) 219-5865 office phone.] Some key take aways to support your GST/GPX are:

  • use high smoke point oils to cook (NOT olive oil). Avacado oil if you are not an O blood type or Ghee if you are an O blood type.

  • manage your stress best for you (see above)

  • increase your

    • riboflavin/B2: liver, lamb, mushrooms, spinach, almonds, wild salmon eggs

    • selenium: brazil nuts, tuna, halibut, sardines, beef, liver, chicken, brown rice, eggs

    • cysteine: red meat (O blood type), sunflower seeds, chicken (avoid if B blood type), turkey, eggs, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, artichoke, onions

  • boost your fiber

  • balance your sulfur intake

If you noticed a common denominator in the above information, stress is at the core of contributing to our holiday angst. So, instead of reaching for that extra helping of yummy Christmas goodie, get outside and breathe a little deeper or take a 5 minute break and practice a little Tai Chi/QiGong. Shallyn's has videos available on her YouTube channel to get you started and classes offered weekly on Tai Chi/QiGong. Just sign up to be contacted for the weekly time on the home page.

May your holidays be holy and bright, filled with peace and happy memories!

Merry Christmas!

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