Amazing NEW diet!?

Every day I field questions about the “diet-of-the-day.” Have I heard about it? Does it work? Is it safe?

Some of these trendy nutrition plans are based on sound scientific principles. Many are not. Most have a rabidly devoted following, which is why we have heard about them.  And, most of today’s diets will go the way of the cabbage soup diet, extreme fat-free diet, grapefruit diet, Ephedra and tapeworms. They will fall out of fashion in favor of the next shiny thing.

Suppose the diet-of-the-day is based on sound science and really works.  Why would it ever go out of style? Why wouldn’t this diet be the answer to the obesity crisis?

The diet-of-the-day will never be the answer for two reasons.

  1. Diets don’t work.
  2. Never mind, there’s one reason.

We know. And yet we cling to hope that if we could just STICK TO THE DIET we’d reach our  goals. I have conversations every week that include the phrase “Well, Dr. Rebecca, I know what to do. . . .”  Have you said these words? I can relate.  I was the queen of “I know what to do.” I have a graduate degree in “I know what to do.” And I was overweight my whole life since childhood.  I was frustrated and I thought about it almost constantly. And I could not fix it, even though I knew a lot of stuff about nutrition. 

So, what does work? 

In 2003 I lost the 30 pounds I was carrying around, thanks to an effective nutrition plan. It was fast and easy, a dream come true! But then I struggled to keep the weight off. A new identity did not come magically when I hit my “goal weight.” My body had changed but my mind had not. So I yo-yo’d.  Five pounds up and five pounds down, and 7 pounds up and four pounds down, and so it went.

It went on like that until I really, deeply understood that I was living a dieter’s mindset. 

The people I know who have achieved their health goals with sustainable, long-term results have focused on something so much more important than food.  They have worked on their mindset. The limiting factor in anyone’s growth is mindset. Your current state of health is 100% an outgrowth of your mindset. If you are white-knuckling every day, trying to rely on willpower – that’s the flashing neon sign letting you know that your current mindset is not “Future Healthy Me.”

And “Old Me” is fighting back. 

I cannot explain how to create a new mindset in a couple paragraphs. But I will tell you that this is the basis for the coaching work I do today helping people transform, one healthy habit at a time.

I look forward to the time that I am no longer fielding questions about the diet-of-the-day, and I am instead celebrating the daily successes that come from creating a new mindset, one healthy habit at a time. 

Ready to start the real work of creating your healthiest self? START HERE

Read More

Holistic Family Practice Welcomes Dr. Rebecca Gould to Maplewood

August 22, 2018: Dr. Laurie Smith Berger of Holistic Family Practice is pleased to welcome Dr. Rebecca Gould Karlen to the clinic family.  Dr. Gould joined the practice in July.

The partnership between Dr. Berger and Dr Gould has developed over many years.  “It is so wonderful to be in a group practice again,” Dr. Gould related. “I loved my fifteen years in solo practice, but when Dr. Berger invited me to join her in Maplewood I was thrilled.”  

Dr. Gould has been in practice 17 years, spending the last 15 years at The Healing Center on De Mun Avenue in Clayton.  She recalls meeting Dr. Berger in 2004 at the Missouri State Chiropractors Association Summer convention, shortly after relocating from the Chicago area.  “Dr. Berger was one of the first chiropractors I met when I moved to St. Louis. She invited me to lunch when I was new in town, and we have enjoyed learning from each other over the years. I have always admired what she’s created at Holistic Family Practice, that cute little pink building on Sutton. It feels great to bring my practice, The Healing Center, to this wonderful new location.”

Dr. Rebecca Gould’s first years in practice were in the Chicago suburbs.  She moved to St. Louis in 2003. A lifelong-learner, Rebecca loves to study nutrition and other therapeutic techniques to enhance her chiropractic work, including kinesiology, enzyme nutrition and acupuncture.  Dr. Gould is also a Certified Health Coach. “Health Coaching is something I weave into my other work. Coaching helps me to connect patients to the lifestyle and habit changes that will help them to achieve their health goals.”

Holistic Family Practice, located at 2918 Sutton in Maplewood,  plans to hold an Open House this Fall on October 6th, from noon until 3:00.  There will be family activities, snacks and an opportunity to experience a wellness evaluation with one of the doctors.  You may also meet Dr. Gould at one of her free community workshops on nutrition, habits and other health topics. To learn more about upcoming events visit her on Facebook, or call 314-727-2120.

Dr. Rebecca is excited to get involved in this community. “I have already enjoyed such a warm welcome from several of the Maplewood neighbors and businesses. I already feel like it’s home!”

Read More

How Can We Help Kids With ADHD? Holistic Help For Distracted Kids

As a mother and a health practitioner I field a lot of questions about ADHD (attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder).  People wonder if their child should be formally evaluated, if they should give medications, and are there any alternative treatments for ADHD. I believe that attention challenges are likely caused by a variety of sources.  So, unfortunately, there is not one thing that will “fix it.”  However, there are some non-medical ways that may help children to be more successful in school and home.

As a parent of a child with ADHD I understand how overwhelming it is, some days, to simply get out the door and off to school.  I also understand how easy it is to get anxious about changes. For example, changing your child’s diet.  Hopefully we can create a balanced diet without making our lives out of balance? Can we?

I am going to share just a few supportive approaches. I use the word supportive, rather than alternative, for a reason. It is essential to have a care team that may include several health professionals; a psychologist, your pediatrician, an occupational therapist, a pediatric psychiatrist, the school, and others.

Some of these approaches may seem difficult, or even impossible. Living with a hyperactive kid is difficult enough, right? But, consider how much easier life could be, if your family could get through a couple of tough months of change, but the result was a happier, more balanced child.

Before I talk strategy, it must be said that while I LOVE to help support kids with ADHD, I do not treat ADHD.  Nor am I anti-medication either.  However, we all can agree that it is desirable to reduce or avoid medications whenever possible.  That said, even a child on medications can benefit from dietary strategies. And, while medications can help to manage the difficult behaviors, there are non-medical approaches that can address some of the causes of AHDH.

I am not going to give much explanation of how these interventions work, each topic merits entire articles and studies of their own.  Please use this information as a starting point for learning more. And, please do contact me with your questions or for support.

FEINGOLD DIET  (see, or the book Why Can’t My Child Behave?)

The Feingold Diet has been around since the early 1970’s.  Very briefly, the Feingold Diet eliminates certain food additives, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and certain fruits. One of the best things about Feingold is that YOU DON’T HAVE TO FOLLOW IT FOREVER! Many parents report seeing changes, even dramatic changes, in their child’s behavior in days.  After 8 weeks avoiding the restricted foods/ ingredients you add them back, one at a time, observing for reactions.  You may find a just a few things that exacerbate your child’s attention issues, and avoiding them may offer a little relief for everyone.


There are several theories about gluten and casein. One of the issues is the opiate-like effect of these foods on the brain.  That’s right, opiate-like. The proteins from gluten [gliadorphin] and casein [casomorphin] are the culprits.  They react with opiate receptors in the brain, thus mimicking the effects of opiate drugs like heroin and morphine.  That may explain why some kids seem “addicted” to mac and cheese, or pizza.  What does this have to do with ADHD? It may be the rise and fall of these opiate-receptor stimulating compounds cause irritability and poor cognition.  If your child is one that cannot seem to follow two-step directions, or has meltdowns that remind you of Jekyll and Hyde, this approach may be a good one for you.  It is important to remove BOTH gluten and casein, and it may be important to taper off slowly, or you could really unleash a monster when withdrawal symptoms begin!


If totally eliminating gluten and casein seems impossible you might look as digestive enzymes. As an enzyme nutrition practitioner, I recommend digestive enzymes to EVERYONE who comes into my office. There are certain specific ones that can help break down gluten and casein in the digestive system.  My experience has been great with enzymes when we are also careful with diet, AND remember to take them!


See how this child’s head and shoulders tilt to the left? The horizon makes it obvious. Kids do not usually complain of back pain. Posture is a much better indicator that would be chiropractic may be beneficial.

Last but not least, consider chiropractic. The chiropractic approach is supportive to the child with ADHD due to its balancing effect on the nervous system.  All functions of the body are controlled by the nervous system.  It is easy to see how kids can get out of alignment with sports, slips and falls, slumping over tablets, etc.  Kids do not typically complain of back pain, but pain is not a good indicator for kids.  Look at your child from the back. Look at the heights of their shoulders and ears, are they unlevel? Look at the symmetry of movement when they walk. do their hips and arms move symmetrically? Often even the untrained eye can see that things are out of alignment. My kids get adjusted regularly and they look forward to it. I love seeing children in my office! They are fun to work with, they heal quickly and I love to watch them grow.

These are just a few of many approaches which can support your child, whether they are taking medicine or not.  There is much, much more to look at; food allergies, digestive health, nutrient deficiencies, sensory issues, chemical sensitivities.  A good member of your ADHD support team will not only be able to help choose what laboratory tests or interventions may be helpful, but will also direct you to resources, make appropriate referrals and be willing to cooperate with your child’s other caregivers.

There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my kids to help them be as happy and healthy as they can be. As a parent, I am sure you feel the same. Don’t forget, you are not alone. Those of us that have kids with ADHD can help each other, to share what we’ve learned or to just to say “I know what you’re going through.”

Wishing you Health and Happiness,

Dr. Rebecca Gould DC

Read More

TGIF!!!!! Again!!!!!


Having fun is a top priority for me. I love parties, holidays, birthdays, snow days . . . You name it! But, in order to keep my indulgences in line with my health goals I need to be reasonable about how and when I kick up my heels.

A piece of cake or a few adult beverages will not have a significant effect on your long term health. The most important predictors of long term health, more important than genetics, are your habits. Many of us are in the habit of finding frequent reasons to celebrate with food and drink. And sometimes we wait to start “getting healthy” until after Mother’s Day, or school lets out, or until after Memorial Day, or until . . . But, what if you could reel in the ways you celebrate, and your justifications for treating yourself? Would that help you move toward what you really want for your health in the long run?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on celebrating!

Read More

Are You Willing to do What Successful People Do?

Effective-Ways-to-Create-Healthy-HabitsAs a health coach I occasionally work with clients who move toward their goals like an arrow toward a bulls-eye. More often however, there are times in the journey to health when people really battle to stick with their health program. Why is that? What is it that separates the two groups?

I can identify certain qualities and patterns in my clients and colleagues who have been successful in achieving their heath goals and the health coaches I have met who have achieved long-term health and ultrahealth:

Successful people have a strong and detailed image of what they want to achieve.

Nearly always, in the process of getting healthier, the initial momentum toward health is geared toward getting out of pain, physical or mental. Focusing on getting out of pain is a limited mindset and will only carry you so far, because the will to stay on track gets smaller as the pain gets smaller. The most successful people I work with do not focus on their pain. They have a big, clearly defined future outcome. If you are struggling to stay on track it will be helpful to examine where it is you are hoping to go, and in what ways EXACTLY life will be improved when you get there.

Successful people do not plan for failure, but they do plan for Very Special Circumstances.

My most successful clients are consistently maintaining a high confidence level. If they are going to a wedding or a big holiday is coming up they do not plan to fail.  I am not saying that they stay on their health plan 100% every day. Nobody does that! But, suppose their health program says “No Cake.” They may plan to have a piece of cake in a Very Special Circumstance.  Successful people plan when and how much they will deviate from their health program. Planning a deviation turns a slice of cake from a mess-up to an acceptable treat. What do many of us do after we “mess up?” We really beat ourselves up – and then that drives us to really go off the rails. So, don’t mess up, PLAN.

Successful People Don’t Make Excuses

Everyone makes mistakes; failures to plan ahead, poor choices, distractions from priorities.  However, successful people do not spend a lot of time justifying mistakes. Mistakes are learning experiences. Excuses do not change the outcome of a mistake, except to maybe make you feel better, which can make is easier to have the same misstep again.

Successful People’s Goals Are Woven Into Their Daily Routines

Routines, routines, routines. I would challenge any of us to identify a successful person who does not have strong routines surrounding their area of excellence.  The activities that support your healthy choices need must be on the schedule FIRST. A healthy routine cannot be made cramming your workout or trip to the grocery store in while you are scrambling to do other things. Is it daunting to imagine scheduling yourself to exercise or meditate or preparing healthy food? Try setting just one appointment for self-care this week. As you add healthy routines, track your progress. Just as it is essential to have a detailed vision of the future you desire, it is also essential to review progress as part of your routine.

Successful people are not afraid to fail

Simply put, you must be sometimes in the position to fail or you will never have the ability to succeed.  Fear of failure is the shortest route to not-even-gonna-try. One mental experiment you might try is the “What’s the worst possible outcome?” Sometimes the worst case possibility, unlikely as it is, isn’t even that scary.

We sometimes avoid striving to be better because we are afraid it will be “too hard.” There’s a choice between the difficulties of adopting the mindset of success, better habits and routines OR the difficulty of living with the things that you wish were better about yourself, which difficulty do you choose?

Whatever the path you are following, winding or straight, feel the joy in your journey, keep learning and always be kind to yourself!

Read More