October is Health Literacy Month; Let’s discuss Mesothelioma

October is health literacy month, and there are several campaigns to raise awareness on deadly diseases. The idea behind this movement is that people have the right to accurate and truthful information regarding deadly diseases, possible causes of these diseases, and preventative measures in an effort to lead a healthy and productive life.

As a health care provider, health literacy is a passion of mine. I spend my days educating men and women in pelvic floor dysfunction, and I write about various health topics here on this blog. This month I have the extreme honor of partnering with Heather Von St. James, a 9 year survivor of mesothelioma cancer. You can learn her story here.

Mesothelioma cancer is directly linked to asbestos exposure, and is the most deadly disease associated with asbestos. It is a highly aggressive cancer that attacks the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy (1). It effects thousands of Americans each year through direct and secondary exposure (2). From 1999-2010 there were 31,000 deaths in the U.S. associated with asbestos exposure. Here is the kicker: over 60 countries have banned the use of asbestos. The United States is NOT one of them. Most of South America, almost all of Europe, Australia, and countries in Africa have banned asbestos, but not the U.S. Frightening.

Heather was a brand new mother in her mid thirties when her symptoms arose. Her daughter was still an infant when she was diagnosed with mesothelioma and began a long and arduous process of traveling around to various physicians for treatment. Her cancer was due to secondary exposure to asbestos as a child. Her father worked in construction and would come home covered in asbestos. She recounts wearing his coat outside to play- a coat covered in while asbestos particles. Asbestos exposure is thought to have been the highest during WWII and from 1970-1984 (1). The risks of asbestos exposure were unknown at that time though they are certainly understood in 2015.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Heather is that when faced with a 15 month life sentence, she not only persevered and lived, but she maintained a positive attitude and outlook on life. She is now sharing her passion for life with the world by raising awareness about mesothelioma and preventable diseases.

It has always been my thought that we as people do the best that we can with the information that we have. Maya Angelou said it best when she said “Do your best until you know better. When you know better, do better”. It is my great hope that with continued learning, awareness, and action, that dangerous chemicals will be banned in the united states, and curable diseases will diminish. Unfortunately, we have to be our own advocates. We have choices in the products that we purchase and in how we vote to support safer, healthier homes. Let us do the best we can, and always be learning more.

I would like to give the most sincere thank you to Heather Von St. James for reaching out to me, and for involving me in her project. I have a lot to learn from her spirit and her courageous endeavors to make her story known for the benefit of others.

Make your day great,


  1. Mesothelioma Cancer. Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Available at: http://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/
  2. Mesothelioma Statistics. Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Available at: http://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/statistics/
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Gluten Free in the body, Gluten Free on the Body?

As a lady living with a celiac diagnosis for eight years now, I have gluten free eating down to a science. I am careful when eating out, make most of my meals in my home, and have a list of foods containing gluten imprinted in my brain.

Recently however, I have not been feeling so hot. I am also allergic to dairy, so my diet is quite clean, but over the past year or so I have slowly but surely felt increasingly worse in the stomach department. I also noted that my skin was breaking out more, and I was developing rashes that did not go away with topical skin treatments. The situation was frustrating at best, and alarming to say the least. Blood testing was negative for outstanding disease or infection and my physician sent me on my way.

One day a few months ago my husband, also a healthcare provider took a look at my skincare and makeup bag and asked, in only a way that husbands can, “what kind of garbage are you putting on your body and face? Is there gluten in all of that stuff that could be contributing to your symptoms?” An excellent point that I had not considered.

The Mayo clinic reports that gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin, though it can certainly be ingested through the mouth via lip products, however, they also state the following:

“If you use a cosmetic or skin care product that contains gluten and you develop a skin reaction, see your doctor or dermatologist to identify the cause. It is possible to have an allergy to wheat or another grain that could cause a skin reaction, but this would not be due to celiac disease.” (1).

Suffice it to say, it appears that my expensive department store and Birchbox brand makeup was seemingly contributing to my symptoms. I don’t know a single celiac sufferer on the planet who will tolerate wheat products, and it seems that these molecules can be absorbed through the skin and cause skin irritation, rashes, and other not so pretty reactions.

The next chapter of this frustrating story is much happier. I went online and checked the ingredients on each and every product in my drawer and makeup bag. I threw away expensive brand makeup that rhymes with BAC and other tubes, pots, and pallets (not so happy about that, but no way around it). And then I ran into my sweet college friend Erin at a race. She is also a physical therapist, and a consultant for Arbonne, a swiss made line of gluten free and vegan skincare and nutritional products. I was familiar with the brand but had not used it in several years. She sent me some samples and my skin cleared up and rashes dissolved within a few weeks. I also started taking pre and probiotics available through Arbonne, and this helped tremendously with how my stomach felt, and subsequently my energy levels.

Arbonne Gluten free vegan skincare

This is an important concept for allergy suffers. The products that we put on our skin have molecules that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and can effect our skin and the way we feel. On another note, it came to my attention that the vegan aspect of skincare not only speaks to the fact that our skin is not in contact with dairy, but that there was no animal testing, suffering or by products in the making of the product. Did you know that when a pet, large animal, or roadkill is disposed of, the animal goes to a factory where the animal is crushed and processed through, wherein the fat is separated in a vat and sold to various cosmetic companies for use their products? Disgusting. Really.

So, moral of the story is check the ingredients of your skincare and makeup products. If you are interested in Arbonne, check out their website at: http://www.arbonne.com.  If you like what you see you can shop online by entering consultant number 16804853 and your order will come straight to your door. The consultant number is mine, I partnered with Arbonne after using the product for 1 week because I felt so much better and felt that the product was in alignment with my philosophy and beliefs. As a consultant I do receive financial benefit from purchases made, but I do not partner with companies that do not pass the Amanda Olson (and husband, he has opinions too!) test of product quality and ethics. If the company seems appealing to you, aligns with your philosophy and ethics, and you are interested in consulting, contact me below!

Enjoy, and make your day great!


  1. The Mayo Clinic. Diseases and Conditions: Celiac Disease. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/expert-answers/celiac-disease/faq-20057879
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Paleo Squash Spaghetti with White Wine Marinara Sauce

I must admit my skepticism prior to trying this dish. I was suspicious of squash noodles, or anything masquerading itself as a gluten item that in fact is not. As a woman living with Celiac disease I cut my loses with noodles a long time ago. Rice noodles were a sad disappointment.  Quinoa was mediocre, bless the hearts of the individuals trying really hard to manufacture gluten free noodles…I know that they are trying. But I gave up.

Until last week. My husband and I had a very rare and impromptu date night at our favorite little bistro style taphouse in Ashland. Out of curiosity I ordered a promised gluten free, vegan veggie spaghetti dish with a white wine sauce. The meal was truly extraordinary and this is exceptional, considering I have become somewhat of a harsh food critic. So my dear friends, I am proud to say that I have recreated an Amanda version of the dish with the help of a vegetable spiralizer and fresh vegetables from my garden, and the gardens of some wonderful friends.

White Wine Marinara Sauce

For folks with food allergies, this is a treat. It is gluten free, dairy free, vegan, grain free, and paleo. Initially I dreaded making this because I felt that it may be time consuming, but it was a much quicker dish that I thought. Furthermore, my gluten eating husband loved it, so a winner all the way around.


Paleo Squash Spaghetti with White Wine Marinara Sauce


2 medium sized zucchini

4 cups of chopped and de-seeded tomatoes*

1 tbs. olive oil

1/3 cup water

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. garlic salt

1 scallion, minced

1/3 cup shredded fresh basil

1/2 cup white table wine**

*I used a variety of tomato breeds for a wonderful flavor: roma, heirloom, and grape tomato. I was very pleased with the interesting slightly sweet flavor that this created in my sauce.

**I used a Pinot grigio, others cooking wines are white blend, chardonnay, or pinot gris. The rules of cooking with wine is to use a wine that you wouldn’t mind drinking later- if you drink wine. This enhances the taste and leaves you something wonderful to drink instead of cooking with 1/2 cup and dumping the rest of a garbage wine. Waste not, want not, friends!!!


In a large sauce pan, warm the olive oil on medium heat. Slice and de-seed the tomatoes. For added nutrients leave the skins on, and add them to the sauce pan once olive oil is warm. Add 1/3 cup of water and place a lid over the pan. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, utilize the vegetable spiralizer to make you squash noodles. I love my Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer, Makes Veggie Pasta.

IMG_6269 (2)

Squash spaghetti noodles It is wonderfully easy to use.

Then, add scallion, white wine, basil, garlic salt, and pepper to sauce pan containing tomatoes and reduce to low heat, stirring occasionally, allow to simmer on low for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add squash noodles and allow to boil for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes remove, strain, and place into a heat safe ceramic bowl. Serve with sauce on board.

Serves 2-4. Enjoy!

Paleo Squash Spaghetti with White Wine Marinara Sauce2

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Speedwork: Advanced Pyramid Intervals

Speedwork is coming to you on a Friday today, instead of the usual Tuesday. This workout is later training season edition of the pyramid workout that I posted here. It requires that you hang in there for a longer distances with your speed.


Do a Dynamic Warm-up:

-Walking and pulling each knee into your chest for 20 ft. (gluteal stretch)

-Walking while kicking each leg up at waist height 20 ft (hamstring stretch)

-High skipping 20ft. (entire lower leg and abdominal warm up)

-Bottom kick jog

-Grapevine 20ft. in each direction (also referred to as carioca drills, for hip stretch and foot work)

-Strides: run approximately 50 m building speed up gently from 0-70%, do this 4-5 times

The Workout:

Run 200m at 90% sprint effort, jog 400m

Run 600m at faster than 5k pace, jog 400m

Run 1000m at 5k race pace, jog 400m

Run 600 m at faster than 5k pace, jog 400m

Run 200m at 90% sprint effort, jog 400m


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Strawberry Daiquiri Protein Smoothie-Vegan and Alcohol Free

This is a sure way to perk up a hot summer afternoon. Easy to make, and reminiscent of vacations in the Caribbean, its a crowd favorite in my household.


Strawberry Daiquiri Protein Smoothie2


1 cup sliced strawberries

1 banana

1 cup sliced pineapple

1 can light coconut milk

1 cup rice milk

1 tbs. Everlast Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder


Blend until smooth!

Use the code RUNNINGYOURBODY at http://www.everlastnutrition.com to receive a 15% discount on your product order!

Strawberry Daiquiri Protein Smoothie

Enjoy, and make your day great!





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Indian Turkey Burgers with Cucumber Polenta Sauce

This delicious summer grill meal is a bit of a FODMAP spin-off of Two Moms in the Raw’s Indian Turkey Burgers. It has a unique blend of sweet and spicy seasonings and of course the requisite gluten free, dairy free, low FODMAP recipe that makes it accessible to the food allergy crowd. I included apples this time because I was feeling a little rebellious, however  those who are following the FODMAP very strictly should omit them.


Indian Turkey Burger with Polenta Cucumber sauce



1 lb ground turkey meat

1 apple, diced into small pieces

1 tbs. ground turmeric

1 tbs. minced ginger

1 jalapeno seeded and minced

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. coriander

1 tbs. chopped basil

 Cucumber Polenta Sauce

1 cup polenta

1 cup rice milk

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tsp. sea salt

1 medium cucumber, diced

Indian turkey burgers with polenta cucumbersauce3


To make the polenta cucumber sauce: add polenta, lime zest and juice, salt, rice milk, and half of the cucumber into a food processor. Mix until consistent and smooth. Pour contents into a small bowl and combine with the remainder of the cucumber. Let the mixture chill in the refrigerator for approximately 15 minutes.

To make the burgers: combine ingredients in a medium sized bowel, mixing thoroughly. It is my recommendation that fingers work best to get this mixture consistent. This mixture forms roughly 8-10 meat patties that are approximately 1 inch thick and 3 inches in diameter. Grill on medium high heat for approximately 4 minutes per side. Serve with the polenta cucumber sauce.

Indian Turkey burgers with polenta cucumbetrsauce1



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July 15th is Amazon Prime Day!

Happy Wednesday Friends! For those who love a good sale, the Amazon Prime day is sure to please. If you are current Amazon Prime member you can shop deep discounts on pretty much any category under the sun. For those who are not privy to the spoiled attributes of Amazon Prime, you can sign up for a free 30 day trial. The beauty of Amazon Prime is free 2-shipping on almost anything. Almost anything! I have been extremely spoiled with 2 day shipping on everything from BJ Novak’s book release to vitamins, matcha green tea, running socks, diapers, and sippy cups.

See for yourself what all the fuss is about, and for those who are already Amazon Prime savvy, check out the sales that they are running, chances are you need something right now: Happy Amazon Prime Day – July 15 – Exclusive Deals for Prime Members – Shop Now

Happy Wednesday!


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