Women in Medicine

For centuries, women have been making groundbreaking contributions to the field of medicine. Unfortunately for much of history, female scientists have been overlooked or had the credit for their contributions stolen. Since March is National Women’s History Month, we here at Dr. Autoimmune wanted to take a moment to highlight some of these scientists. From creating life-saving treatments to discovering new elements, here are some extraordinary women who made waves in medicine:

Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)

  • First woman to win a Nobel Prize
  • First and only woman to win a Nobel Prize twice
  • Only person to win two Nobel Prizes in two different disciplines (chemistry and physics)
  • First woman to become a professor at the University of Paris (1906)
  • Discovered radioactivity- she even coined the term!
  • Discovered the two elements of polonium (named after Poland, her native country) and radium
  • Founded the still-major medical research centers, the Curie Institute in Paris and the Curie Institute in Warsaw
  • Pioneered research in using radioactive isotopes to minimize tumours, a.k.a chemotherapy
  • Invented mobile X-ray machines for field medicine during World War I

Alice Ball (1892 – 1916)

  • First woman and first African-American to graduate from the University of Hawaii with a master’s
  • Developed the “Ball Method”, which was groundbreaking in the treatment of leprosy

Gerty Cori (1896 – 1957)

  • First woman to receive a Nobel Prize in medicine
  • Discovered how our bodies store and use glycogen for energy
  • Identified and named the “Cori Cycle” after the process of glycogen being broken down into lactic acid and converted to usable energy
  • Also identified the catalyst in this process as the “Cori ester”
  • Discovered the root cause of glycogen storage disease as being an enzyme defect

Helen Taussig (1898 – 1986)

  • Founded the field of pediatric cardiology
  • Discovered the cause of “blue baby syndrome” and developed a procedure that saved countless childrens’ lives
  • First woman and first pediatrician to be elected head of the American Heart Association
  • Was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964

Gertrude B. Elion (1918 – 1999)

  • Invented first immunosuppressive drug, which was used to reduce rejection rates among organ transplants
  • Invented first treatment for leukemia
  • Oversaw the development of AZT, the first treatment for AIDS

Rosalind Franklin (1920 – 1958)

  • Took the first image, an X-ray crystallography photo, of DNA
  • Her discovery of DNA’s double helix structure was stolen by James Watson and Francis Crick, who published the discovery, only mentioning her in a footnote, and won the Nobel Prize for themselves

All of these women had to deal with sexism and exclusion in their respective fields throughout their career, yet they persevered. Thanks to their perseverance, we have X-rays, numerous successful treatments, and an overall better understanding of the human body and its processes. We are honored to be able to use our platform to keep their names alive in our collective memory.

We know that making changes in your daily habits can be difficult, but when something is as important as your health, or a potentially groundbreaking scientific discovery, you have to persevere. Anything worth anything takes courage, determination, and patience. Hopefully we can all learn a little something about courage from these brilliant women who never gave up, despite the challenges they faced every step of the way.

Feel inspired to take your life by the reins? Send us a message below. We are eager to help you reach your wellness goals.

    The COVID-Immune Connection

    Numerous credible sources have been discussing the link between current events and the increase in autoimmunity. They claim we are facing a ‘super-epidemic’ of autoimmune disease as a result of both the COVID-19 infections and vaccines. This may sound alarming if you didn’t happen to know that we are already in an autoimmune epidemic in the western world. Over the last 30 years, the instance of autoimmunity has tripled! The number of Americans with autoimmune disease now surpasses the number with heart disease.  In fact, the most common autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, accounts for 90% of hypothyroidism cases.

    Although there is a genetic component to autoimmune disease, this rapid increase can not be explained by an increase in the frequency of the causal genes. These autoimmune conditions are forming in people who have already been born (and unfortunately research by the Environmental working group shows that mom’s pass on hundreds of toxin residues prior to a child’s birth) and may not have developed the condition until later in life. This means that these genes were always here, but something new is triggering their expression. The study of how environmental factors such as pathogens, chemicals and nutrients affect gene expression is called epigenetics. This category of factors is the culprit for our autoimmune epidemic.

    So what has really changed in our environment over the last few decades? More than ever, our society consumes toxins on a regular basis. Pesticides, antibiotics, preservatives and thousands of other chemicals called “persistent organic pollutants” are present in our food, water, medicine and air. In addition to physical toxins, our bodies are also constantly being bombarded with harmful EMF radiation.

    Another major factor that has changed in our society is our newfound obsession with sterility and hygiene since the discovery of viruses and other harmful microbes (hand sanitizer anyone?). The hygiene hypothesis refers to the idea that consistently introducing the body to different microbes results in a stronger immune system, whereas keeping the body in a sterile environment weakens the immune system, leading to a higher instance of allergies and autoimmune conditions. Your immune system needs to have the chance to meet different microbes so that it can learn how to launch a defense. If you never give it that chance because you sanitize everything you touch, how will it ever be able to protect you?

    While introducing pathogens to your immune system is important for building it, the onset of infection can be a double-edged sword. Professor Yehuda Shoenfield, who is fondly referred to as the ‘father of autoimmunity,’ has identified that the cytokine storm caused by an infection is the first in a pattern of events that consistently lead to autoimmune conditions. Therefore, pathogens can actually provoke autoimmunity in some people while strengthening the immune systems of others. The main determining factor is whether the individual is predisposed for autoimmunity (ie, is the gun loaded and primed?). Other important factors are their gut microbiome health, nutrient status, exposure to environmental pollutants and toxins, stress, hormones and low vitamin D levels.

    COVID-19 is not the first time that we as a society have dealt with a coronavirus. This is actually the third of its kind to emerge in the past two decades. In 2003, we saw the SARS epidemic and in 2012, the MERS-CoV epidemic in the Middle East. A correlation between autoimmune diseases and coronaviruses has already been established following these previous outbreaks. Not surprisingly, there is already emerging evidence of autoimmune reactions in the body following a COVID-19 infection and correlations have already been found between severe Covid cases and certain autoimmune diseases including immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), Guillain-Barrė syndrome (GBS), Miller Fisher syndrome (MFS), and, in children, Kawasaki-like disease.

    It is common knowledge at this point that COVID-19 cases don’t always end once the initial virus has run its course. The term “Covid long-haulers” refers to those suffering from the first post-viral syndrome to ever be recognized in the medical community. Many COVID-19 patients have found that they are left with such symptoms as these for months following their initial infection: breathing difficulties, chest pain, chills, disorientation, hallucinations, muscle/body aches, insomnia, exhaustion, vomiting, diarrhea, high temperature, hair loss, and even cognitive issues such as memory loss, brain fog and confusion. It seems the most common symptoms are extreme fatigue, lingering cough, shortness of breath and body aches.

    So, why do some COVID-19 sufferers end up with this so-called “long COVID” for months, while other people get to kiss their infection goodbye after only a few weeks? A body’s ability to destroy the virus and then repair the bodily damage that it caused is determined by a number of factors. The state of our health prior to the infection, our levels of important immune-supporting vitamins, our genetics and our levels of stress are the most impactful. The problem with these factors is that they can be sneaky. Many people may not be aware that they have one. People don’t know if they have a nutritional deficiency or genetic predisposition. While many so-called ‘long-haulers’ were dealing with another autoimmune condition prior to contracting Covid, sufferers from long-hauler syndrome have also been people who seemed healthy pre-infection.

    The solution for long-haulers may be found in functional medicine and natural solutions. The reasons one’s body may not be recovering properly are entirely individual. The functional medicine model focuses on an individualized approach to care, taking into account the patient’s diet and lifestyle. Often, complex health issues such as this can be addressed by resetting the immune system.  In fact, Dr. Autoimmune has now seen over a dozen post-covid infection cases with every single patient responding favorably to addressing deeper health issues like insulin resistance, obesity, elevated blood pressure, nutrient deficiencies and hidden infections that continued to sap the body’s ability to heal itself.

    The way that functional medicine approaches complex immune issues is to:

    •  First, look at the gut health of the individual. The immune system is affected by the gut microbiome and the integrity of the intestinal lining. This gut-immune connection is often at the heart of chronic inflammation. The protocol here is to remove, replace, repair, reinoculate and rebalance. Remove pro-inflammatory foods from the diet, replace them with clean foods, repair the gut using supplementation/lifestyle change, and finally reinoculate the gut with healthy bacteria.
    • Second is understanding if there are signs of blood sugar handling stress; ie, do you have any fatigue after meals or carb cravings following a meal?  Or, do you get shaky, lightheaded or irritable in between meals?  If either of these are present you will see significant swings in blood sugar and this is highly stressful to your immune system!
    • Third on the list is detoxification, starting with identifying areas in the patient’s life where they could be exposed to toxins, and ending with a full detox using supplementation and diet to support the kidneys and liver.
    • Fourth, inflammation is addressed through nutrition.
    • Fifth is the official ‘immune system reset’. Our bodies evolved to naturally clean out dead cells to stimulate the production of new ones through intermittent fasting. It is important to support the process of cleansing with certain nutrients such as vitamin D and zinc.
    • Lastly, we address mitochondrial fatigue and start resuscitation. Mitochondria are the organelles within our cells that produce usable energy for our bodies. If they aren’t working optimally prior to infection, we likely will have a harder time mounting a defense and then be left severely depleted. Through nutrition and lifestyle change, functional medicine can support mitochondrial resuscitation.

    Long-hauler syndrome is an immune system condition at its heart, with likely an autoimmune component to it. The fact that COVID-19 can trigger certain autoimmune diseases is part of why many leading immunologists are warning us of an approaching autoimmune super-epidemic. The main concern for other immunology experts is not the infection itself, but the vaccine designed to protect against it.

    The concern regarding vaccines and autoimmunity is not a new one. In fact, the link is known. There is even a term for this class of conditions!  Autoimmune syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA) is the term coined for autoimmune conditions that are triggered by an ingredient in vaccines called an adjuvant. Vaccines have traditionally included a live virus and required an adjuvant to work effectively. Aluminum is the most common adjuvant. This toxin also happens to be a huge risk factor for developing autoimmune disease (you ask your providers for “metal/preservative free” versions of vaccines).

    The new COVID-19 vaccine is the first vaccine to use mRNA technology instead of the live virus itself. Therefore, adjuvants are not needed in Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca’s vaccine. However, even a leading vaccine manufacturer, Novavax, has admitted that, “…it has been hypothesized that immunizations with or without adjuvant may be associated with autoimmunity.”

    The reason for this lies in the concept of molecular mimicry, which is exactly what it sounds like. When two molecules look identical or very similar, they can be mistaken for each other. Basically, after the COVID-19 infection, your body is hyped up and ready to destroy all of the proteins associated with COVID using pre-made antibodies. It is in a state of hypervigilance for these specific proteins. It is awfully concerning, then, to know that COVID-19 shares 26 identical proteins with humans (further confirmed through multiple peer reviewed journal articles recently published). That means that your body is now likely to attack those proteins indiscriminately, even if they are part of your body and not part of a virus. So whether or not the virus itself or the mRNA for fighting the virus is used in a vaccine, the concern of molecular mimicry is still there.

    One particularly concerning group of proteins that are susceptible to this mimicry are the proteins in our lungs creating a surfactant to cover our alveoli. The alveoli are tiny air sacs in our lungs that allow for gas exchange (A.K.A. breathing). Surface tension on the alveoli has to be kept at an ideal level in order to keep them from collapsing. Alveolar surfactant proteins are responsible for this job. They also share an identical peptide sequence with the glycoprotein on the virus, meaning that they could be collateral victims in your body’s attack on covid.  This is why it is so crucial we have a regulated immune system.  Basically, the question you should be asking yourself is, “Is my immune system self-regulating or do I have predispositions I’m not aware of increasing my risk of complications?”  Although there are many factors that push our immune system one way or another, your provider should be able to sit down with you and come up with a game plan on how to optimize your health!

    There are multiple mechanisms by which our super-epidemic may be achieved. It is not possible as of now to predict the exact numbers, but one thing is for sure: in the years to come following this pandemic, we will see an unprecedented spike in autoimmune disease.

    Yours truly in optimizing the immune system,

    Ian Hollaman, DC, MSc, IFMCP

    For more up to date information and tips on autoimmunity please visit our blog

    Why should you ditch gluten?

    ‘Gluten’ is a word that most of us in this day and age are familiar with. Comedians love the subject, bakeries proudly offer gluten free options, and the label ‘gluten-free’ is greatly sought after. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. We all knew whole wheat products as being a part of the food pyramid and a staple of our diets, yet now we are being told to be wary of it- why is this?

    Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks its own small intestine in the presence of gluten. Gluten’s protein structure (gliadin) is very similar to that of our small intestine’s enzymes (transglutaminase), so the immune system gets confused. The problem with this is that the small intestine is where our bodies absorb the majority of nutrients from food. The other problem is that the small intestine is where 70-80% of our immune system resides. With the small intestine damaged, the body begins to become nutrient deficient and inflamed. This results in a wide range of symptoms and long-term complications.

    Symptoms of celiac disease can involve gastrointestinal symptoms associated with malabsorption, including:

    • Diarrhea
    • Steatorrhea (oily stool)
    • Weight loss
    • Failure to thrive

    It can also involve non-gastrointestinal symptoms such as:

    • Iron deficiency
    • Aphthous stomatitis (canker sores)
    • Chronic fatigue
    • Short stature
    • Reduced bone density
    • Tingling/Numbness
    • Headaches
    • Brain fog / Mental clarity problems
    • Anxiety / Depression

    Sensitivities to gluten used to be considered relatively rare and were not a major concern until recent decades. Rates of these sensitivities have been steadily increasing during this time period. Celiac disease has increased in frequency by 7.5% per year over the last 30 or so years according to this 2020 meta-analysis. The regions studied were in Europe, North America, and Oceania. From this data, we know that the average annual rates of diagnosis are as follows: 7.8 per 100,000 men, 17.4 per 100,000 women, and 21.3 per 100,000 children. The majority of those affected by celiac disease are clearly women and children.

    One does not need to have celiac disease in order to be affected by gluten. While only 1% of the United States population has a diagnosis of CD, recent studies show that up to 6% of the population may be affected by non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Symptoms of NCGS can include:

    • Abdominal pain
    • Bloating
    • Altered bowel function
    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Joint or bone pain
    • Mood disorders
    • Skin manifestations such as rash or eczema
    • Leaky gut / Intestinal permeability

    Nailing down gluten as the culprit for these symptoms can be difficult. The symptoms can occur up to days after ingesting gluten, making it hard to make the connection between them. These symptoms may also be related to other gastrointestinal conditions. Do you experience any number of the symptoms discussed in this article? You may be sensitive to gluten or a related ingredient. Fill out the form at the bottom of this page so we can begin tackling your health goals together.

    The Celiac Disease Foundation estimates that 2.5 million Americans are living with undiagnosed celiac disease, leaving them vulnerable to developing long-term complications. Due to the genetic nature of the disease, those with a first-degree relative (parent or sibling)  living with celiac have a 1 in 10 risk of also developing it.

    So, why are the rates of gluten sensitivity rising so rapidly? There are a number of theories, and they are all regarding environmental factors. Given the rate of increase, this dramatic change in CD could not be caused by genetics, though it does require a genetic predisposition (HLA DQ 2/8). Environmental factors affect how our genes are expressed through a process called ‘epigenetics’. All autoimmune disorders have a genetic component, yet they are ultimately triggered through an environmental exposure of some sort. The rates of all autoimmune disorders have been increasing along with celiac.

    What is fascinating is that 60% of those who went on a GF diet for an entire year did not recover their gut health!  This should not come as a surprise because removing the trigger does not stop the inflammatory and autoimmune process.  This is why functional medicine shines!  Working with someone who can determine your other triggers and use diet and supplements to wind down the immune system is a step above just going gluten free.  If you have gone gluten free but you are still struggling there is hope!  Don’t give up. We have seen great transformations by taking your efforts one step further.  

    Do you want to assess your risk of developing Celiac and determine if you have a gluten sensitivity/wheat allergy? Contact our office by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.

    10 Ways to Use Coconut on the Autoimmune Protocol

    Coconuts are not nuts to many people’s surprise, which is an amazing gift to those embarking on an autoimmune nutrition protocol. During the autoimmune nutrition protocol, nuts and seeds are avoided temporarily to aid digestion and gut healing. The low glycemic coconut meat and water inside contain many healthful macro and micronutrients to support gut healing, fight inflammation and boost immunity.

    Coconuts contain 65% fat in the form of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which are shown to contribute to increased metabolism of fat for fuel, help satiate appetite and cravings, and improve brain function in epilepsy, Alzeihmer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases. The fatty acids in coconut oil are much more easily converted into one of the mitochondria’s prefered fuels: beta-hydroxy-buterate (BHB). BHB is a ketone molecule that can be made in the body by restricting carbohydrates, exercising, and increasing coconut oil intake. The benefits of feeding your cells BHB over glucose is that beta-hydroxy-buterate protects your neurons and reduces the burden of insulin demand on the pancreas. One study showed successful reduction of neurodegenerative symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease. BHB is a clean burning fuel for your mitochondria, which are the power plants of your cells, and can reduce the production of potentially harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) inside the cell and even clean up the damage of oxidative damage done by ROS. 

    The meat and water of the coconut contain a considerable amount of minerals and phytonutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and iron. Phytonutrients such as shikimic acid aid in coconut’s antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Coconut also contains galactomannan and pectin which improve blood sugar regulation and support healthy cholesterol levels. These are the many reasons to include coconut in your daily diet while healing from Hashimotos, neurological degenerative disease, heart disease, and diabetes. Enjoy some of Dr. Autoimmune’s TOP 10 ways to use coconut!

    Shaved coconut and coconut millk

    Homemade Coconut Milk

    • 2 cup warm water
    • 1 cup dried coconut shavings

    Add dried coconut shavings and warm water to blender. Blend ingredients in a high speed Blender. Place your nut milk bag in a large wide mouth jar. Pour the blended nut mixture into the nut milk bag jar. Squeeze out the nut milk using your hands and milk bag.

    Coconut Water Kefir

    • Glass mason jar with lid
    • Piece of cheesecloth
    • Plastic strainer
    • Plastic measuring spoons
    • 1 quart organic coconut water
    • 3 tablespoons water kefir grains https://shop.culturesforhealth.com/collections/kefir/products/water-kefir-grains
    • 1 cup fresh berries

    Place the water kefir grains in the coconut water.

    Cover the jar with cheesecloth so that grains can breathe – allow the kefir grains to culture the coconut water for 24 to 48 hours, out of direct sunlight.

    Once the culturing process is complete, remove the kefir grains using a strainer.

    Puree the fresh fruit and coconut water to add fabulous flavor.

    To refresh kefir grains, add them to a quart of water with a ¼ cup of coconut sugar. Let this sit for about 48 hours so that the sugar water has time to feed the grains.

    Note: Never use metal utensils when dealing with live cultures.

    Coconut Curry

    • 2 cans coconut milk
    • 1 oz fresh ginger, sliced
    • 1 oz fresh turmeric, sliced
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 1/4 cup curry powder (homemade: omit cayenne powder for nightshade free curry powder. Include  2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, ½ tsp fenugreek, 1 tsp ginge, ¼ tsp black pepper)
    • 1 jalapeño (optional)
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 lbs stew meat
    • 1 tbsp Coconut oil
    • Salt to taste at the end

    Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a large sauce pan at medium-high heat. Add the stew meat and let brown for 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, and jalapeño and stir until garlic becomes aromatic. Add coconut milk, bay leaves, and curry powder. Bring to boil then simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add salt to taste at the end.

    Serve with vegetable stir-fry or oven roasted vegetables.

    Blueberry Cobbler

    • 2 pints organic bluberries
    • 1 juice from one lemon
    • 1/4 cup coconut flour
    • 1/3 cup coconut butter
    • 1/3 cup coconut shavings
    • 1-3 Tbps of raw honey or sweetener of choice
    • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix half the lemon juice and blueberries in a 9 x 9 inch baking dish, drizzle with a little Honey. In a mixing bowl, mix remaining ingredients plus remaining honey. Crumble the coconut dough on top of Blueberries. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

    Ranch Dressing

    • 3/4 cup water
    • 3/4 cup coconut milk 
    • 5 tablespoons of fresh dill, chopped finely (2-3 tbsp dried)
    • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil (can adjust for desired consistency)
    • 2-4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2-1 tsp fresh ground pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 garlic clove, peeled

    Place everything except the dill in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a larger bowl and stir in dill. Reserve in a glass jar and store in the refrigerator. Keeps about one week.

    Vibrant Coconut Panna Cotta

    • 1 cup thick coconut cream
    • 1- 1 1/4 tsp organic gelatin
    • 2 tbsp water
    • 1-2 tbsp Raw Honey
    • 1- 1 1/2 tsp organic Raw Beet powder
    • 1/2 -1 tsp vanilla
    • Optional add in or replacement: Food grade peppermint, rosemary, or basil essential oil; or replace beet powder with cacao, matcha or spirulina powder

    Add gelatin, water and beet powder together in a small saucepan using a spoon to create a paste. Set this aside for a minute or two as it will allow the gelatin to bloom and thicken. Add remaining ingredients to saucepan and heat on medium-low heat until the gelatin has dissolved (1 – 2 minutes). Make sure all the ingredients are evenly combined. Taste the mixture and adjust any of the flavor or sweetness to your liking.

    Pour mixture into a glass jar or mug and place it in the fridge to set. Let chill for 2.5-3.5 hours

    Coconut Sour Cream

     Makes 1 to 2 cups (varies depending on how much cream is in each can)

    • 2 (13.5oz) cans full fat coconut milk, chilled
    • 1 tsp probiotic powder (bodyecology.com)
    • Pinch sea salt

    Place the cans of coconut milk in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Then open the cans and scoop the thick white cream at the top into a small saucepan. Pour off the coconut water into a jar and reserve it for another use (such as a smoothie). Heat the coconut cream over the lowest heat to about 98°F. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the probiotic powder. Pour the mixture into a clean quart jar and cover with a clean dish towel secured with a rubber band.

    Let the jar sit out on your counter for 24 to 48 hours to culture.

    Then stir in a pinch or two of sea salt, cover the jar with a lid and refrigerate to solidify. Use as desired.

    Coconut Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potato

    • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
    • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
    • 1 to 2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt

    Preheat the oven to 425°F. Put the sweet potatoes, oil, cinnamon, and salt in a large baking dish or rimmed baking sheet and mix well to coat with the oil using your hands or a large spoon. Bake, uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes or until the yams are very tender.

    Homemade Dark Chocolate

    • 1/4 cup melted coconut butter  (measure after melting)
    • 1/4 cup carob powder, cocoa powder or cacao powder  *NOTE: if using carob powder, add 2 Tbsp of coconut oil
    • 2 Tbs date paste or raw honey, OR stevia sweetener to taste

    In a small bowl, blend all ingredients well. Make sure there are no lumps. It should only take a minute. Pour the mixture into molds. If you use chocolate bar molds , it should take about an hour for everything to firm up. If you use something larger, it may take a bit longer.

    Vanilla Coconut Snowballs 

     Makes about 12 snowballs:

    • 1 cup coconut butter
    • 3 tbsp virgin coconut oil
    • 1 tbsp stevia, Lakanto or coconut sugar (optional)
    • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus extra for rolling
    • 1/2 tsp raw vanilla powder
    • Pinch of sea salt

    Place the coconut butter and coconut oil in a small saucepan and warm over the lowest heat until softened but not completely melted. Pour the mixture in the food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Add the honey and process for a few seconds. Then add the shredded coconut, vanilla powder and salt. Process until combined. Scoop the mixture into a bowl and form into balls. If the mixture is too soft to form, place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, then try again. Roll each ball in shredded coconut and serve. Store extra snowballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.