You can eat a 100% organic farm raised diet and still be “unhealthy”. I was totally baffled for years why I was in so much pain but eating so “clean”. Just as you can’t dress like a football player and expect to jump into a professional game and nail it, you also can’t eat healthy and ignore other stressors on your body and expect to be healthy. Food is the basic support to our body and is essential, but there is so much more that contributes to our wellness.
Your body is similar to a bucket. It can only take on so much before it “overflows” or in your bodies case, goes into overdrive which then results in our symptoms and illnesses.
There are many ways our body detoxs and rids our body of toxins and stresses. If your bucket is full then there is no room for more water to come in. I’m not saying you are supposed to live a stress free life, but one that your body can handle and stay balanced. Obvious stressors include visible stress, but many of us (myself included) had hidden stressors from your diet, environment and immune that are not obvious!
This is why it’s so important to look at healing your body as a whole and not at only the symptoms. On top of this every body is different. This is why some diets, detoxes and supplements work for some but not others. I have been there! It is frustrating, time consuming and expensive! Don’t give up if you’re suffering, there is light at the end of the tunnel. You just haven’t found your bio individualized plan to help you heal yet.
Here are some tips on how to balance out your “bucket flow”
DRINK MORE WATER! This is soo simple and widely known, yet most of our health issues are from cellular dehydration! Drinking GOOD drinking water and enough of it is always my #1 go to for health concerns, especially if they are new!
Correct digestive concerns: look into food reactions, sensitivities. Gut health is soo important to your health!
Eat a whole food diet: this will help balance out any blood sugar, fatty acid, mineral and detoxification issues. Everyone is individualized, so there is no one size fits all diet approach, but eating whole nutritious food is a great start! Check out other blogs on how to eat cleaner and how to clean out your pantry
Avoid environmental factors: Now you can’t live in a filtered bubble and avoid all toxins but there are some easy lifestyle changes to decrease your toxic load dramatically. Check out previous blogs on how to live a more chemical free life.
If this interests you and your looking for a way to get healthy for your individual health needs click the “how to work with me tab” to get on my list. I would love to guide you into becoming the best you. I will be accepting clients in August 2021!
Elimination diets are usually people’s last resort, but they could easily find the answers to a lot of your issues. Most everyone would rather take a pill than eliminate something that they enjoy. I’ve been there, but now that I have done it and feel better… Man, I wish I had cut out those foods earlier! As your body becomes more inflamed, it becomes more sensitive, your gut becomes more leaky, and you acquire more food sensitives. Food sensitivities are not allergies, and many people are later able to add in foods they were sensitive to.
Believe it or not – not all food sensitives show up as a stomach issue. My sensitives displayed as brain fog, anxiety, and irritability. This is common and this is why most people will avoid an elimination diet because they think, “I don’t have gut issues.” Well, secretly it is all related to your gut. Your gut is connected to your brain (aka your neurological system) more than discussed. So that brain fog and irritability you get from eating pizza can actually be a food reaction! Crazy but true, and not talked about enough!
During your elimination diet make a list of whatyou can eat; this will make meal prepping easier, and it will emotionally be easier to handle what seems like a restricted diet. Don’t get caught up on what you cannot eat or you will be frustrated the entire time and cheat on your diet – which will only prolong it!
Put all the elimination foods out of site in a box or spot in the fridge. The whole “out of sight, out of mind” will be beneficial when you are tempted to cheat or get hangry and want a quick snack.
Your pain threshold
This is something I learned about during my elimination diet of tyramine from the Heal Your Headache book by David Buchholz. This is applicable for all elimination diets and trigger foods. By decreasing your trigger level, you move further away from your pain threshold. If you are in a constant inflammatory state, you are more than likely always close to your trigger level. By lowering your trigger level, you are not only able to have less pain, but you will be able to more easily realize what triggers you when you reintroduce foods.
How do you know what foods you are sensitive to?
There are a TON of elimination diets. The most common include gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, histamine-free, the Anti-inflammatory Protocol (AIP), Paleo, Whole30…. shall I continue? Each serves its own purpose but if these are health diets (not to lose weight), you are doing these to feel better! If you have been in pain for a long time, you probably have developed food sensitives to a lot of foods without knowing. The most common sensitives due to the inflammatory process in the gut can be linked to non pasture raised eggs, conventional dairy, gluten, processed sugar, and soy. I have a separate blog post on a leaky gut and cover the science of why these foods cause inflammation in the body. To summarize, our gut becomes “leaky” as our body develops inflammation, which ultimately results in foods not being properly absorbed and toxins leaking into the body, causing chronic inflammation and food sensitivities to inflammatory foods.
To personalize your elimination diet, a professional should look at where you are stuggling. You can have your food antibodies tested, but I don’t like to start here. You can go through a doctor or purchase a kit and do this at home via finger stick or hair sample. Contact me for my recommendations; there are a ton of options. Some PCP’s can run these under insurance,
There are two primary antibodies you can have tested: IgE and IgG. The IgE antibody test measures for actual allergies, and in regards to elimination diets, it would be for food allergies. You are probably aware if you are having an actual allergic reaction (hives, itching, rashes) to foods, but it never hurts to test to rule out allergens. The IgG antibody test shows what your body is sensitive to. This sensitivity puts you closer to your pain threshold and acts as a trigger and inflammatory response in your body.
There are eight common food allergens that can cause an allergy or food intolerance/sensitivity: eggs, dairy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and soy. Caffeine, foods high in histamine or tyramine, and certain additives like MSG and preservatives can also cause inflammation in the body on top of these common allergens. If we don’t eat a varied diet, we are allowing inflammation to occur, specifically if we eat one of these commonly triggering foods often.
When you do an elimination diet, you eliminate all triggers of the diet for a given amount of time (6-8 weeks is best practice) and then each week, you slowly reintroduce one food back into your diet. Doing this properly can take a lot of time and is why simply getting your food antibodies tested may be a good idea.
Yet this is not necessary and can always be done after trying a food diary and some trial with eliminating common foods to identify intolerances. The easiest way to start is by eating your normal diet and recording how you feel. You can then choose what to test and eliminate from your diary. It’s important to not only keep a diary of what you ate and how it affects your physical pain but also how it affects you mentally and digestion-wise.
So now, you’ve decided on the food(s) that you are going to eliminate. Regardless of whatever led you to your choice of food group — pure curiosity to see how you feel, a hunch from noticing symptoms after eating certain foods or from an actual antibody test — you need to keep a food diary to track your symptoms. If you are cutting out all the “good stuff,” you want to do it correctly and only once! Don’t trust your mind to make a correlation between how you felt the last time you had pizza and this time. We think we can remember, but if you truly are sensitive to something, you probably aren’t aware of it fully or you wouldn’t be eating it.
Keep in mind: food sensitives may not just show up as digestion issues (mine didn’t). Besides the common digestive signs when you have an intolerance (gas, belching, bloating, irregular elimination, and so forth), you can have neurological food intolerance symptoms. This can include anxiety, irritability, brain fog, fatigue, and pain.
Now if you suffer like I did with anxiety, irritability, brain fog, fatigue, and pain daily, you may think, “How will I know it’s worse?” This is why a food diary is important, especially during the reintroduction phase. Ultimately you should be feeling a decrease in symptoms before you reintroduce foods. This is why even though it sucks at the time, you should wait at least 6-8 weeks until you add foods back in. This will allow you to properly track your food sensitives and symptoms. I was amazed at what caused my brain fog and anxiety after eating. I was sensitive (without knowing) to so many things I ate daily.
You should reintroduce foods slowly (even though I know you are dying to add in everything at once). You should do this by adding and monitoring one food group (example: eggs) for a few times a week. Remember to only add one food back into your diet at a time. Reactions can occur anywhere from hours to days after a food is ingested. My reactions were always pretty fast, but the results of it could last days. This again is why a food diary is important; you can’t possibility recall or correlate all of your symptoms and emotions from that egg you ate days ago. Keep in mind if you do have a reaction to something while reintroducing a food, you should continue to eliminate it and reintroduce it again at a later time. You may have to eliminate it permanently, but more than likely, you should be able to tolerate it in moderation in the future.
1. Find the right time to reintroduce foods
Firstly start introducing foods when you are in a good place mentally, with some space in your schedule. When your digestion is calm you feel relaxed is a good time, rather than when you’re trying to move house, just about to go on holiday or going through redundancy.
2. Be aware some reaction to food reintroduction is normal
I completely understand you might have some anxiety about this process, but it’s really helpful to remember that there may be a mild increase in digestive symptoms when you start changing your diet.
When we change our diet we can sometimes feel a bit of gurgling in the stomach, or a bit more gas escaping from our bodies. This can be down to
the gut microbes feasting on the fibre they have missed,
some ‘bad’ bacteria dying off,
or your body remembering how to digest certain foods again.
Symptoms like bloating or gas doesn’t always mean it’s not working or that you should stop the trial. You will need to work out what is mild discomfort, what can you tolerate, and what is too much.
I’d always recommend listening to your body, and stopping the process if it feels too uncomfortable. (And of course if you have a known allergy you shouldn’t eat those foods at all unless under the supervision of a medical professional)
3. Start low and slow
Take very small increases in foods to begin with, at a pace you feel comfortable with. Start with very small amounts of your chosen food and build up. For example 1/2 cup of milk on day one, 3/4 on day two and so forth. Do not eat cheese, milk and icecream all on the first day- you will react!
4. Focus on eating properly
During the food reintroduction phase you may find it helpful to focus on the basics of eating again. This could include
chewing your food really well
sitting upright at a table
getting into a relaxed state before you eat by deep breathing.
A little science behind how we become sensitive to foods
Every time we eat something, it comes with its own bacteria and it helps feed our gut microbiome. Our gut has its own ecosystem called a “microbiome” which contributes to issues if unbalanced or if it has an overgrowth of a certain kind of bacteria. This is why variety in your diet and switching up what probiotics you take (if you take them) are important. It’s really easy to have an overgrowth of one bacteria if you eat the same thing everyday. If you are healthy, this won’t drastically affect your health, but if you have chronic illness and chronic inflammation, your gut can easily become leaky. This can result alone from diet, but it usually occurs in combination with chronic medication use, chemical exposure, and a diet high in inflammatory foods.
You got this!
It is going to be difficult but in the end, it is worth it! Once you see how amazing you feel after a few months of skipping out on that gluteny, conventional dairy-filled pizza, you will never regret it or look back. Remember, not all eliminations are forever! Most aren’t and you may be able to later add in foods you reacted to, at least in moderation. If you suffer from chronic inflammation symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, brain fog, IBS, anxiety, and so forth, take the leap in investing in your health by fueling your body with what it needs to heal. You’ll be amazed by what you discover, and you may even get off your medications and live that pain-free, carefree life you deserve. Thanks for reading and contact me for any questions or guidance. I am here to help because I wish I had some guidance in the beginning of my journey.
Most of us seek out help once we start developing problems. These “problems” are actually symptoms that manifest as common issues like pain, fatigue, and digestive trouble. Not knowing that these are symptoms of a larger issue, we begin to treat these “problems” directly with pain medications, energy supplements, and digestive help. This seems like the right thing to do – because you don’t know better. I certainly didn’t, and I have a degree in the heath field!
It’s not a big secret, but it’s also not common knowledge that our gut health is the most important thing for our health. I wish I knew this before feeding my body years of medications trying to fix my “symptoms” and only making my gut worse. But that is why I am here educating – so you can live your best life. It is not okay to have no energy, to be in constant pain or fatigued, and to have digestion issues. Sadly, suffering from these issues is so common that we ignore them and assume it’s normal. I hope the information I provide is informative and helpful. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and you should seek out professional medical advice before changing any medications, supplements, or diet.
My personal journey has led me to pieces of the puzzle which ultimately resulted in a leaky gut diagnosis. I’ve always suspected I had a leaky gut, but I didn’t realize the importance and impact it has on your health. Ultimately my leaky gut led to many food intolerances and absorption issues due to chronic medication use and a diet high in the wrong foods, even though I thought I was eating right. You probably are not aware of the importance of your diet, especially if you have health issues.
What is a “leaky gut”?
Gut health is thankfully getting its well-deserved fame these days but the word “leaky gut” is being thrown around without full understanding. Although it is a controversial diagnosis in Western Medicine, there are many sources and research studies illustrating that gut health is directly correlated to most illnesses and diseases. To understand leaky gut, first you must understand that it involves more than digestive issues. This was true for me: I had no issues or evidence of a digestive disease. Of course you can (and most people do) have digestive issues, but a leaky gut also causes illnesses with chronic inflammation and can masquerade as fatigue, anxiety, blood sugar issues, weight gain, and so forth.
Leaky gut is defined as “a condition in which the lining of the small intestine has broken down. In this state, it becomes permeable to foods which should only be able to get into the bloodstream when they are more or less completely broken down (digested). With leaky gut, these food elements flood into the bloodstream as more or less complete compounds. These substances are capable of stimulating allergies and creating many problems which are widespread in the body.”
In layman’s terms, your body is not absorbing your food and nutrients properly, which leads to common issues and medical diagnoses. Toxins then seep into your bloodstream and your body has to work hard to fight them. This leads to chronic inflammation, pain, and other symptoms. Examples of leaky gut disguised as disease include (but are not limited to) non-insulin dependent diabetes, fertility issues, thyroid issues, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, IBS, and Crohn’s. More than likely, you will be prescribed medications for these issues. The medications may help, but they are not fixing the root issue. Your gut remains leaky, and eventually the medications may stop being efficient, another “illness” will arise, or your illness will get worse. As a result of getting sicker, you will probably be prescribed more medications to “help” – unknowingly making it worse.
As your gut health becomes worse, your body becomes more inflamed and sensitive. This leads to food intolerances and sensitivities. Food sensitivities come with a whole other slew of symptoms which include pain, brain fog, anxiety, and depression. This can be confusing because you can suffer these issues from a leaky gut and food sensitivities. More than likely, your food sensitivity is worsened by your leaky gut. It’s a big connecting puzzle in the end, but in the meantime, it makes finding out the one root cause of why you feel so sick harder and harder.
Ultimately, I have learned there is not just one cause and more so a combination. The leakier your gut becomes, the more sensitive your body becomes. Your body begins working harder to fight off the inflammation while still not absorbing the proper nutrients needed to allow you to heal and continuously allowing toxins to seep through. Consequently, you continue to get sicker as the cycle continues. If you are anything like me, this may lead you to becoming desperate, and in turn, you might end up taking any medication (making it worse) the doctor throws at you in the hope that something will help. The good news is that you know the answer now, and it’s not another hopeless diagnosis – it’s treatable!
How to heal your gut?
Diet Change. This is something no one wants to hear (I’ve been there), but would you rather suffer the above issues or change your lifestyle to live a happier, healthier life? Sadly most of us (myself included) would have rather taken another pill than change their diet, but diet change is necessary to heal the gut. There are TONS of diet recommendations for healing a leaky gut, and without the proper testing, it’s sort of a guessing game to identify what is causing the inflammation in your body. Even though it seems like a lot and is restrictive until you get the hang of things, it’s best to eliminate everything all together and then reintroduce one at a time once you are feeling better. Here are the most overlapping and strongly correlated changes you can implement in your diet:
Eliminate Gluten. This was something I refused to do; I have been tested for gluten intolerances and celiac disease but have never shown sensitivity, so I was stubborn and refused. After I sought out care and had a food sensitivity test done, I realized that I am sensitive to almost every form of gluten (wheat, barley, rye, and a ton of other non-gluten grains–eek!). Remember, by allowing more inflammation in your diet, your body becomes increasingly sensitive to more types of foods. You may be able to reintroduce some forms of gluten in later on, but for now, you should eliminate it until you are feeling a lot better. If you like research to back up your decision, here is an article from a medical journal on the effects of gluten on our bodies and specifically our gut.
Eliminate Conventional Dairy. This was also something I was very hesitant about because I used ghee/butter in all my cooking. A breif elimination of conventional dairy allows you to add in good quality dairy after inflammation is decreased. Check out my blog on dairy here.Gluten and dairy with a leaky gut membrane can allow for candida overgrowth, so if you have skin issues such as rashes, extreme fatique or acne this should clear up dramatically 6-8 weeks in of your elimination. Conventional dairy is very congesting and also proven to cause inflammation.
Avoid Soy. Soy products have been clinically proven to cause inflammation. Look for whole soy products and limit to a few times a week.
Avoid Preservatives and MSG. I have an entire blog post on this, but preservatives cause inflammation in your body and oxidization of your cells. This only increases inflammation and poor absorption in your body.
Avoid Histamines. This can seem restricting along with eliminating dairy and gluten. Check out this article on what foods release or activate histamine and why histamine causes inflammation. You can wait to do this if you are not feeling any better after a couple months into being DF/GF beacuse it can feel very restricting. I found a ton of unknown triggers here and was able to reintroduce these foods after a few months, making my diet less restrictive. Keep a food diary; it helps a ton with tracking symptoms and food triggers, especially when you are reintroducing foods.
Eat More Fiber. The easiest way to do this is by eating more fruit and veggies! Because your gut is healing, try to avoid a ton of raw veggies and cook them first to allow for easier digestion. We worry way too much on protein when most of our plate should be veggies with our meals. Start small by adding veggies to each meal if possible.
Supplement Support. These suggestions should not be done until speaking with your doctor. Try to buy refrigerated supplements as they are better for absorption because they aren’t as oxidized.
Look into the need for a digestion enzyme such as HCL. Most people with a leaky gut also have low stomach acid and slow digestion. There are plenty of natural foods that support HCL as well as herbs. I love digestive bitters!
Do your research and take a good live probiotic while your gut is healing. Microbiome Labs is my favorite but work with a practictioner because some probiotics can worsen symptoms if you are not ready for them.
Liver and Gall Bladder Support. I love supplements with Grass Fed Beef Liver, Vitamin C Taurine, Pancrelipase and Organic Beet Concentrate.
These are recommendations and common causes and triggers of a leaky gut, but regardless, you should seek guidance from a medical professional. I thought I could “heal myself” with natural remedies and diet changes, but I had no luck and was exhausted from seeing new doctors and the bills that accompany them. I do not think I would be where I am in my health journey without the proper guidance. I receive care from a naturopathic doctor who is able test and interpret labs and tests that standard American doctors do not test for. I spent so much money on natural doctors and the root cause was always nutrition. This is why I went back to school– I felt it could be done for much cheaper and less invasive. I do not recommend doing this on your own because there are many different supplement options and since absorption is an issue, you need to be particular in what you are taking. Prior to seeking out a naturopathic doctor, I have seen over a dozen specialists and have had more tests and procedures than I can count with empty diagnosis after diagnosis.I Although I did appreciate all naturopathic medicine had to offer me, I truly do believe that I could have avoided the expenses of all the testing and just changed my diet for what my body needed with working with an NTP! Being in the medical field I wanted to see the hard proof before making a huge lifestyle change. In hindsight, the lifestyle change was needed and would have been more beneficial than all the testing and anxiety of seeing “things wrong”, when obviously something was not normal, I was having symptoms! Lucky for you this is why I went back to school! I now know the nitty gritty of common symptoms without the expensive tests and supplements being the first round of defense. Food is ultimately the easiest answer for your health.
It may have been quick, but more than likely, it took awhile for your gut to get so bad and it will also take time to fix. It isn’t your fault that your gut got sick. As a society, we are becoming more aware of the importance and impact of the overuse of antibiotics and medications along with the problems of a Standard American Diet.
Work with me or your medical professional to play around when to reintroduce foods and for supplement support along the way. These lifestyle changes are important in healing and may not be forever but are necessary to heal your gut if you want to feel better. The saying “food is medicine” is often quoted for a reason. With time, your gut will heal and your symptoms will start to dissipate. It is scary making a dramatic diet change, but trust me when I say it is worth it. I wish I knew years ago; I could have started healing myself and not have gone through all the time and money it took to get here. I am not sure I would have listened, but I at least would have known the importance and jumped on the bandwagon sooner.
After suffering for years and finally having relief, and after reading so many other success stories related to gut health, I urge you to give it your all because what do you have to lose? Your health and your life is more important than that frozen pizza and day-old donut. You will learn to love healthy food and will want to eat good because feeling good is worth it; you may even start to enjoy cooking. I can’t promise you that will fall in love with food prep dishes, but maybe the dishwasher?
I wish you luck on your journey and I hope this was informative to you. Thanks for reading!
This statement use to really hurt me to my bone. The reason I personally allowed my body to get so sick was because I didn’t look sick. This is something I have endured my entire life. I have had pain issues and eventually did end up in a wheelchair during my childhood, but most of my pain issues were “idiopathic” and my fatigue was because of mono. I had no obvious deformity or growth in my body, but I was getting sicker and sicker despite medical attention, I continued not to take it seriously. Now I have the knowledge and experience on why you shouldn’t ignore your body and I hopea you will not do the same.
I thought the older you get the more pain you get, so everyone must feel this sh*tty all the time. Plot twist, you aren’t supposed to feel that much pain or THAT tired in your twenties. In our society we are taught to suck it up and keep on working. That’s how we get to extreme burnout and allow our bodies to get so sick. It’s okay to work hard, but your body has to be a healthy place to do so. As we get more and more tired, we eat easier to make and more unhealthy foods. We stop taking care of ourselves and go into fight mode. Our body thinks it’s in survival mode and our bodies to continue to get sicker. By doing so this allows our body functions to decrease or cease. So the whole “you don’t look sick thing” ignore it. You DON’T want to let your body get to that point of looking sick. Once your body is that sick your adrenals (stress hormone center) will be shot, your thyroid (another hormone regulator) will be shot and you will have 10x the amount of work to get your body back to “normal”, rather than listening to it in the first place.
You know your body better than any practicing professional. That being said is why you shouldn’t give up on feeling better. Find a doctor that will work with you and not give up on you. Find one that will look for the root cause and won’t continue to shove medication after medication into your body after months and months of no results.
I’m not anti-medications by any means. Personally since childhood I’ve been on more antibiotics than I can count just because it could help. Trust me when I say these medications are doing more harm than good if you don’t NEED them and are just being taken for the hope that they will work. A lot of medications are for the symptoms and not the cause. While the cause of your illness will probably continue and you may continue to get sicker. While medications are important if they help fix your illness or imbalance, if you aren’t seeing a change after the time your doctor said to give it, stop it. Of course do this while working with your doctor. Each medication takes time to work and wean off. Trust someone who’s been on more medications than most adults combined, being on a medication hoping it will help is terrible for your body. The more we put into our body unnecessarily the harder our kidneys and liver had to work to excrete them. Our gut is becoming leakier and making us sicker by leaking out toxins and waste our body couldn’t process. Our brain receptors are becoming flooded and not allowing our brain to work at the best potential. We are basically feeding into anxiety and depression because we are assisting in altering our brain chemicals (neurotransmitters).
If this is known science then why do doctors keep prescribing us medications repeatedly “hoping” to help us? Sadly that’s all they know and what they are taught. Western culture makes their money though pharmaceuticals, insurance and treating chronic illnesses. Herbs and natural medicine is normally not something that can be charged through insurance. I now know that Hollistic healing with food and natural medicine is very effective. There are countless of studies done that food and nutrition can help heal 90% of our illnesses and diseases. Yet we would rather continue to be lazy, sick and taking “magic pills” than to have a slight lifestyle change. It may sound brutal, but it’s the honest truth. If you told college me that I would have to give up half the food I eat daily I would have laughed. But if you told me I was going to struggle with pain, anxiety and chronic brain fog and fatigue would I have listened differently ? Who knows, but now I truly understand the importance of food nutrition and gut health and I hope you will take it serious too.
If you’ve ever had mono in your life (EBV) you may battle this reactivation of fatigue and should work with a practitioner who understands the virus to allow you to function a normal and healthy life. Check out my last post on this virus and check out these books which go into detail the importance of EBV and how it’s the underlying reason disease and illnesses are able to enter our body.
The Rain Barrel Effect: How a 6,000 Year Old Answer Holds the Secret to Finally Getting Well, Losing Weight & Feeling Alive Again!
The Epstein-Barr Virus Solution: The Hidden Undiagnosed Epidemic of a Virus Destroying Millions of Lives through Chronic Fatigue, Autoimmune Disorders and Cancer
You are not your illness, and there is hope. I hope that this mindset helps someone. I am unsure if years ago myself I would have been ready to listen. But if I help even one person avoid years of pain and countless medications and procedures, it’s worth it ❤️
If you are suffering chronic pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and so forth, I feel you. I know how debilitating each day can be and you do your best anyway. I know how desperate for relief you are, and how you will try any medication or procedure for the hope of relief. After years of this, I want to share with you what I’ve learned and how to skip a few painful lessons on your own health journey.
The first and most important lesson is to get professional guidance!
I’m considered a medical professional but this isn’t medical advice, just my own experiences. Even though I have medical knowledge and thought I could do this on my own, I needed help. I went to specialty after specialty after realizing I needed help, but finding the right help is the next step. I have another blog post on all of the doctors I’ve rotated through if you need help deciding where to start. From both ends of the spectrum of western medicine to anything Holistic, a naturopath has been the most helpful for me.
Commit to your health as the #1 priority.
This one is hard. I know a lot of you are moms and have to work 40 hours a week to pay bills. But try your best to put yourself first. Let it be okay — the house will stay dirty and accept it’s not worth exhausting yourself more. Being a perfectionist with a chronic illness is hard, but you also learn what is a priority and what’s not.
You have to continue to put yourself first, even on hard days when you want to give up and let it all take its course. I would try something new that someone recommended or that I read and committed to, but it wouldn’t work. At the end of each trial I was still sick; I would say it’s in my head and I would give up, then repeat. Commit to your health. You owe it to yourself and your family, and you are worth it. Being run-down with brain fog and pain is not okay; no matter how many of your friends also suffer like this, it’s not normal. It may be a simple fix – as little as a diet or attitude change or as big as a chemical imbalance or infection. Either way, invest the money in a practitioner. It’s so helpful to have someone give you guidance rather than guessing yourself. Being let down time and time again only adds to the depression of feeling ill.
Stop letting what others thing about you matter.
Guess what — it doesn’t matter. You matter and your health matters. In a year, the opinions of others will mean nothing compared to having your mental and physical health. Yes, you have your tribe of people, and you NEED them or someone on this journey to support you, but at the end of the day, YOUR health mentally and physically is what is important. By letting yourself care about what other people think, you allow doubt and negativity in. You do you, and you’ll find yourself. As soon as I stopped caring about others’ judgements toward me is when I started reaching out to the right people and finding actual answers and seeing progress. Nothing is worse than thinking others assume you are a hypochondriac and it’s all in your head, but it’s your body and you are trying the best you can. You have to believe in yourself; you know your body the best.
This is the hardest one, the one I still struggle with. Especially if you’ve been struggling with something for a while and feel like you’ve tried everything, you have to give everything a few months, not days or weeks. This is the hard part because it takes time. But this is why it’s important to get the proper guidance. With the proper help, you minimize wasting time trying to tackle this all on your own. The more you fail and continue to suffer, the more fear for the future, depression, and anxiety is created. You have to believe in the process, but having help getting there is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s worth every dime to minimize the time it takes to heal yourself and get you to your best self.
Your food and environment are essential to your recovery.
It’s okay to eat out and enjoy yourself. You don’t have to go vegan or never eat your favorite food again, but you do have to be aware of proper nutrition and the toxins in the standard American’s diet. The food we feed ourselves and things we put in and on our bodies has been shown to harm us dramatically. Here’s an old post on how to live a chemical-free lifestyle. It’s hard at first, but it’s worth feeling better. This one is important and can be the hardest for a lot of people. Even before learning my blood nutrition results from my practitioner, I ate healthy. But sometimes what you think is healthy isn’t for you — another reason why it’s worth the time and money to have someone run these tests for you.
It’s so important to know what your gut and body actually need. I’ve written a previous post on the importance of avoiding preservatives and eating organic foods. When you feed your gut, you truly are feeding your health. The gut-brain connection is a proven yet ignored thing. Your diet can dramatically change your mentality and decrease inflammation in your body. By fixing our diet, we eliminate the cause of many “symptoms” that we are put on medications for. Eating well gives your body the fighting chance to work in synergy, to heal, and to provide us with the best health we can give ourselves. I know it sounds easier than it is, but start small. Small wins lead to big changes!
Your mindset is everything.
If you know me, you hear me preach about mindset and the importance of good energy and healing. You don’t have to be as spiritual as me, but your mind is truly a powerful thing. Meditation, yoga, gardening, etc. are all great relaxing tools and are needed to help your mind heal. Check out this old post on the importance of your parasympathetic nervous system and tips on staying grounded.
I’m not saying these steps are the all cure — but it could save you a lot of time and money by avoiding the months of medication trials, diets, and specialists.
My personal health journey has led me to a naturopath practitioner. She was able to connect all of my issues to Epstein-barr Virus (EBV). This virus is commonly known as “mono.” 90% of the population has had it and carries antibodies for it. Most people’s immune systems handle this fine. For others it creates havoc in the body, triggering gut issues, brain fog, pain, depression, and autoimmune issues. Your body fights itself, depleting the thyroid and adrenals, and your body continues to get sicker with no explanation. The research done on this is crazy — yet western medicine ignores this virus because as mentioned above, most people carry the antibodies and are fine. But there are a lot of chronically ill people out there, and the way we eat and live our lives these days trigger the illness to become more and more active, oxidizing and depleting our bodies. Feel free to contact me because I would love to help you heal as food is honestly the best way to do so with any inflammatory virus.
Thanks for reading and I hope you start to feel better soon. I can’t wait to post about my healing journey and all its success and hear about others! Stay positive and keep fighting; you’re worth it ❣️
Food is medicine. By both avoiding and adding certain foods into our diet, we are able to nourish our bodies. The foods that we feed ourselves provide us with antioxidants, nutrients, and the fuel needed for our bodies to heal and function properly. It’s a simple science, yet we would all rather go for the quick fix. A quick fix can be a processed meal a few times a day to another medication that may help mask the symptoms you’re showing.
Our body is constantly warning us when something is off balance with our “symptoms.” Anxiety, pain, skin inflammation, hormonal issues, and so forth pop up. All of these things are heavily treated by medications to hide our unknown imbalances. Your body is giving you a warning signal and screaming for help! You may need to work on your gut, your diet, your posture, your breathing, etc.
This all sounds so simple, but how many of us actually focus on all of these as a priority? Without finding the root cause, you continue to mask the issue, allowing your body to get sicker and allowing system after system in your body to compensate. The longer you mask and suppress the symptoms, the sicker you become.
After years of suffering from chronic pain and following elimination diet after diet, I finally have hope. Having your food antibodies tested is something I had never even heard of until working with a naturopath. Contact me for more information as I have learned of easier ways to get these tested. From my learned experiences, chronic unsolved issues or the unknown anomaly is actually a bigger problem and requires more than a quick fix. I’m stubborn and work in the healthcare field and thought I could “figure this out” on my own… I couldn’t. Lucky for you, I now have the knowledge to help you find the right help and point you in the right direction.
The body is complex and there are way too many variables that can affect your health. There are plenty of elimination diets and supplements out there to trial. You may find one that works, or you may not. After a few failed ones, you’ll get frustrated, or you may find help but it might only be temporary. Trust me when I say save yourself the time and the money by doing it under professional guidance. Let someone help you connect the dots and give you the chance of finding relief.
They make tests (beyond a simple food allergy test) that can see what your body is sensitive to or causing inflammation. This allows you to be on an elimination diet that fits your body’s results. There are tests that show your sensitivities to common triggers beyond food and look into environmental triggers. The truth is that 90% of the population carry most viruses and allergens, but sometimes it effects certain people harder than others. Having the right help to analyze your blood and gut nutrition allows these professionals (may it be a naturopath, functional nutritionist, etc.) to develop a dietary plan on top of the right herbs and supplements to combat any other ailments that you may be fighting. If your body has been suffering for a long time, it has been compensating for awhile and you may have multiple body functions to fix.
Most people who are reading this are tired of being so chronically ill and are in the same boat that I was. Why suffer every single day if you can simply make a lifestyle change? Sadly, most people would rather suffer with chronic fatigue and pain than cut out foods they eat daily or drinking at parties. I’m not saying you have to cut out alcohol or your favorite food, but in my case, it was my favorite foods that my body needed a break from. Notice how I said a break. This doesn’t mean your favorite foods, alcohol, etc. are gone forever. A temporary separation is worth feeling like a human again though, isn’t it?
The body is very intertwined. Brain and gut connections are becoming more known and important to society. What’s scary is that this isn’t new ground-breaking information. These are all known facts, but we rather suppress and ignore them and continue to live unhealthy lives. Our food can affect our brain chemicals which in turn affect our moods, emotions, skin, hormones… everything.
I’m not fully healed, but I’m finally on the healing journey. This journey is as much mental as it is physical. I thought I was eating healthy, but the healthy options I was eating daily were actually feeding my “gut bugs” and in turn feeding my illnesses. Just because something is a healthier option doesn’t mean it’s the right option for you. After years of this chronic fight and misdiagnoses, I’m beyond thankful to have answers and even happier that it’s a simple diet change. It won’t be days but within time, my body’s systems will get stronger one by one, and I’ll be able to be live my life authentically and pain-free.
Don’t be stubborn; eat food that’s good for your body. Heal yourself starting from within. Living in pain isn’t the answer, but your food is.
I use to have a hard time having compassion for others while I am suffering myself. This was unknowingly selfish of me, because others have great compassion for me by listening to me while I am still throwing myself a pity party. I’m not saying don’t complain, because struggling day to day silently is also not healthy. It’s healthy and okay to reach out and talk to others about your struggles. Compassion can lead you to happiness. Whether it be in relationships with your friends or family, into your work or environment etc. By including this into your daily life you can change your mindset by changing your behaviors. Being a nurse I naturally have compassion for others, but meaning it is different. It takes time to mean it, but it’s necessary to help you heal from your own pain.
If you have chronic pain, anxiety and/or depression, you wouldn’t wish it upon anyone…I hope 😉. No one chooses unhappiness over happiness. Suffering with these ailments makes life suck or seem not worthwhile some days. Becoming compassionate for others helps you become more present and appreciative of your surroundings outside your pain. You learn empathy and are able to connect with others and stop focusing all on your struggles.
Pain, anxiety and depression all hit similar transmitters and parts of our brain. Our gut helps impact all of these three as well. It’s hard to work towards rewiring our brain and healing our gut until your able to get your mind into a more positive mindset.
By showing compassion and being able to empathize with someone else’s struggles you are able to take a break from yours and stop feeling and wishing for your own struggles to end and wish for another’s happiness. You are triggering other parts of your mind and are tuning into being more aware. Mindset can impact our lives tremendously. It doesn’t get rid of our issues, but it does open our eyes making us more aware that we can control our body more than we think. We can help stop our thoughts from going down into that dark tunnel of sadness and self pity. When you express compassion or do something go for others for no reason…you feel good right? You trigger endorphins and you become full of happy fuzziness and are able to sit up straighter and think clearer. Now I’m not telling you to donate all your money to charity, but to simply do more kind gestures to others.
It’s hard to listen, to want to do things for others, to actually care for others while you are struggling. It’s hard to get the feeling of happiness and joy for others when you yourself are hurting. But with more practice your mindset will shift. Your compassion towards others will help lower your pain, anxiety and/or depression or maybe all three! It’s not a magic answer or quick fix. As I said earlier, no one chooses to be unhappy.
So choose to feel happiness and give compassion a try. You have nothing to lose by being kind to others. You’ll gain more connections with friends and strangers, you’ll learn more about your true self and you will see happiness on others faces which will in turn bring you joy.
Healing your pain is not always an easy fix, a quick pill or diet. It’s a journey and hard work physically and mentally. Nourish your body with good food and energy. Life is worth living, and it’s worth being able to enjoy a happy more present life ❣️ Namaste 🙏🏻