Sick And Tired Of Feeling Sick And Tired

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Can I be honest with you? I’m feeling kind of sorry for myself. Yes, I admit it. I’m having a “why me” pity party today. Maybe I’ll feel better if I tell my story. It has been a long time coming…….

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, also known as, autoimmune thyroid disease and chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, decades ago….as a young teenager. The doctor put me on meds and told me I’d be taking them for the rest of my life, because my body was pretty much destroying my thyroid. (my paraphrase, but that was the gist) At fourteen, what did I know about the thyroid or what it did?  I can honestly say, not much. I was obedient and took my medicine every day, but was completely clueless about all the other symptoms I suffered from, and all the ways the thyroid hormone (or lack thereof) can effect a person.

Over the years, I suffered from heat intolerance (when I get too hot, I truly get physically sick), bouts of hypoglycemia, weight issues (even with proper diet and exercise), dry skin, dry eyes (I had to quit wearing contacts), bloating, body aches (especially my shoulders and neck), fatigue, food intolerances (that I discovered later in life because I was just so used to feeling lousy that it was my “normal”), low progesterone, gut issues, and gluten sensitivity.

There are much worse things in life than having an autoimmune disease, this is true…..but, having health issues that no one can actually see can sometimes be disheartening. Being the one that can’t eat this or that is hard when friends and family want to go out to a restaurant. I love the more laid back schedules of summer, but literally can’t deal with the heat and humidity, going to the pool does nothing for me. I live most of my days with not enough sleep, because I have stuff to do, so feeling tired is a common thing.

About five years ago, at age 41, I suddenly had cramps in my stomach so bad, that I can only describe it as similar to labor contractions. You ladies that have had children, you know what i mean. I was doubled over. My husband wanted to take me to the emergency room. I wouldn’t let him. I was miserable for a couple of days…..and stubborn…..and probably a bit stupid for not going. I figured out that it was milk that was doing me in. I had drank milk my whole life. I loved it, but got to a point where it no longer loved me. I quit drinking my beloved milk. A few months later I wasn’t thinking and had a custard dessert that didn’t have milk, but heavy cream. Bam. Back to being doubled over. Then came the ice cream. It didn’t cramp me up, but did give me stomach aches. Blast! I cried over the ice cream. Seriously, people. Dairy was no longer my friend, we had become arch enemies.

Time passed and about year ago, I said to God (and yes, I talk to Him about it), “I’m tired of feeling sick and tired”. I started researching, and feel that He led me to some really good information on Hashimoto’s, gluten sensitivity especially in Hashi’s patients, dairy and soy triggers that also effect Hashi’s patients, and various groups of women (and a few men) that are living this autoimmune life. I have probably learned more in the past year about autoimmunity than I did in all the other years combined. I wish I had realized all the pieces to this puzzle sooner, but am grateful that I finally decided to take control of my own health. As much as I have liked my doctors over the years, they couldn’t know everything. Honestly, it has only been in about the last fifteen years that more and more research has come out about the relationship between autoimmune diseases and the gut. If the gut ain’t happy, ain’t no one gonna be healthy. Bad grammar in that sentence, I know, but I’m keeping it real. (interesting article about Hashi’s and the immune system)

So, anyway…..I have tried Trim Healthy Mama this whole year. I lost thirty pounds and quit sugar because of their approach and think it is a great lifestyle. With that said, I still have the gluten sensitivity, and dairy/soy issues that I need to address so I am on my first day of the Autoimmune Paleo diet. The first thirty days are the hardest. It is very restrictive because it is an elimination diet. All the things that could possibly be triggers for someone with autoimmune disease are out! I’m basically eating meat, lots of veggies and fruit, certain herbs and spices, you get the gist. I’m doing this because my goal is to feel better.

It is hard. I’m not going to lie.

But, I’m so very tired of not feeling as well as I know I could.

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Heal Our Bodies

I wrote this entry, and then forgot to post it over the weekend. I had good intentions…but, then….well. So, here is my post that I meant to put on my blog yesterday. Hopefully, my forgetfulness will not be an omen for how the rest of my week will go.

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The last post in my weekend gut health series will be introducing Dave Asprey. I listened to his interview at the Healthy Gut Summit 2015, sponsored by Donna Gates of Body Ecology. His segment was entitled, BioHacking The Gut. Dave stated that he had bio-hacked his own biology. He lost one hundred pounds and upgraded his brain (and IQ). Dave is a blogger and podcaster, and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. If you ever heard of or tried “bullet proof” coffee, he is the man behind the scenes of this fast growing, healthy coffee, trend.

I was intrigued by what this man had to say, from his very first words during the interview. He started by talking about MCT oil. Some of you may know what that is, others may not…..so I’ll give you his brief description from his Bullet Proof site.< MCT is> “Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) work directly in cells to give you an extra boost to maximize your performance.  Very little MCT oil is stored as fat because it is used for energy so quickly!”

MCT oil will re-awaken the thyroid (which regulates your metabolism), and give a burst of energy. We already know that coconut oil is anti-fungal, anti-yeast, and fat burning…it actually helps to put our bodies in ketosis mode. Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn’t have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones. (WebMD. 2015. What is Ketosis?) According to Dave, his MCT oil is 6x more powerful than coconut oil.

In his bullet proof coffee, he calls for good, organic coffee, real butter or ghee from grass fed cows, and some of that power packed MCT oil. The coffee comes out smooth and creamy with a bit of froth on top, reminiscent of a hot latte. By the way, real butter contains butyric acid which helps gut lining, and reduces brain inflammation. (an interesting article on butter from Dr. Mercola) It is great to drink (or eat) wonderful creaminess and to know that it is also extremely healthy. Who could ask for more? If you are not a big fan of coffee, MCT oil and it’s benefits, can also be used when cooking, and in soups to enhance the flavor of whatever it is that is being cooked.

Eating clean, and eating “real” foods will help us to lose weight, gain energy, and heal our bodies.

Health And Nutrition

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Today’s post is about what I learned from Dr. Josh Axe at the Healthy Gut Summit 2015. I have to mention that Dr. Axe is one of my favorite “go to” guys for all things health and nutrition related. During the Summit he discussed autoimmunity and how it affects the gut, or maybe I should say how the gut affects autoimmunity.

If a person has an autoimmune disease, in layman’s terms, the person’s body is having an abnormal immune response. There is an immune attack on the body’s tissue. It causes inflamed or leaky gut among many other symptoms. (If one has leaky gut, substances escape through the lining of the gut, out into the body, the body detects it and has an automatic immune attack). According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), autoimmune diseases affect up to 50 million Americans. Dr. Pamela Smith, who spent 20 years as an ER doctor and now works in functional and nutritional medicine and was at the Healthy Gut Summit said that there are now 104 different autoimmune diseases! That is staggering to think about. If you, yourself, are not affected by an autoimmune disease, I’m pretty sure you probably know someone who is. (a list of the different types of autoimmune diseases)

Dr. Axe stated that a leaky gut causes inflammation which causes food intolerances and autoimmunity. Some symptoms might be bloating, fatigue, skin issues, weight gain, or adrenal fatigue. It is not all bad news…..there are ways to heal the gut, and in turn help you feel better. Stay away from grain and sugar (two big foods that cause inflammation in the body). Get serious about not eating genetically modified foods (GMO’s). Conventional dairy is hard on the gut and vegetable oils are not healthy fats. A diet high is phytic acid causes a myriad number of problems. On his site he states, “Phytic acid (phytate) is a mineral blocker and enzyme inhibitor found in grains, nuts, seeds and beans which can serious health problems in our diets.The main reason phytic acid has become an issue today is because we have stopped ancient food preparation techniques such as sprouting or sourdough fermentation which kills off the phytic acid.

According to research published in the The Lancet a diet high in phytic acid will create mineral deficiencies and cause osteoporosis…” (see what else Dr. Axe says about phytic acid--a very interesting article)

Instead, we should eat foods for healing! Foods that are easy to digest, plenty of vegetables and fruits, saturated fats, and the essential amino acids of proline and glycine (found in bone broth). Read about these amazing amino acids, here.

Educating one’s self on how to eat clean, and eat for optimum health should be everyones goal! There are many wonderful foods out there, that will allow us to feel better, look better, and have more energy. None of us should settle for the Standard American Diet (SAD).

Cleaning Up The Gut

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For today’s post, I am writing about clean eating for gut health. I will be discussing what I learned from cardiologist, and integrative medical doctor, Alejandro Junger. He has written several books on how to eat clean, and detoxify our bodies. During this session I had many “a ha” moments, realizing much of what he said applied directly to me! I was fascinated with his interview during the Gut Summit, and am putting into personal practice several of the things he discussed. I would love to share some of the information I learned, with the hope that you too will learn something new and helpful.

He began by discussing “leaky gut”, which is particularly interesting to me, because that is something I struggle with. He said, “the gut is the root of health”. It is the beginning of immunity. Before doing my research, I had no idea how closely the gut and immune system worked together. I also did not realize the gut-brain connection. For me, it is exciting to realize that I really can make a difference in my health!

Inflammation causes much damage in our bodies, and most of the health issues individuals have, are due to inflammation somewhere in the body. So the question is, “How do we lessen or completely get rid of inflammation?” Dr. Junger suggests that a lot of people are so much better off if they eliminate the toxic trigger foods that cause inflammation in the gut. For many people these trigger foods have to do with dairy, sugar, coffee, alcohol, and gluten in the diet. Each person is different, and sometimes it is trial and error to see what your trigger foods might be that are causing you to feel blah, bloated, or having to run to the bathroom. It is also important to take good prebiotics (the things the good bacteria in our gut requires) and probiotics (the good bacteria that live in our gut). Here is an article by Dr. Michael Smith of WebMD, that explains both probiotics and prebiotics.

Dr. Junger stated that a large amount of serotonin is made in the gut. So you might be thinking, “that is interesting, but what exactly is serotonin and why is it important?” I looked up a brief description of serotonin in Wikipedia to give us an idea of its importance to us and our well being.

This is what I found: Serotonin /ˌsɛrəˈtoʊnɨn/ or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) is a monoamine neurotransmitter. Biochemically derived from tryptophan, serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), platelets, and the central nervous system(CNS) of animals, including humans. It is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.

Approximately 90% of the human body‘s total serotonin is located in the enterochromaffin cells in the GI tract, where it is used to regulate intestinal movements. The remainder is synthesized in serotonergic neurons of the CNS, where it has various functions. These include the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning. Modulation of serotonin at synapses is thought to be a major action of several classes of pharmacological antidepressants.

No wonder Dr. Junger said, if someone is not making enough serotonin in the gut, it can cause stress! Life is always going to have some stress, but if we can help our bodies to deal with it more constructively, by taking care of our gut, we can lessen the detrimenatal effects of stress on our overall health and well being.

Come back next weekend and learn more fascinating and beneficial information about gut health!

Trust Your Gut

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Those of us that are on a journey to better health, have come to realize that there are many things that we can do to help ourselves to not only look better, but to also feel better. Proper exercise, reduction in stress, getting enough rest…..all important for sure, but I have come to realize that the most important and crucial thing that we can ever do for ourselves, comes in the form of what we eat, because what we eat is our only source of fuel and nutrition.

Over the next few Sundays I will be doing a series on what I learned at The Healthy Gut Summit 2015. This Summit was created and sponsored by Donna Gates of Body Ecology. Her website states, “After years of extensive study, Body Ecology founder Donna Gates created a back-to-basics approach to restoring health and vitality by understanding the invaluable balance of the human body’s “inner ecology”. Often forgotten or unconsidered, probiotics and enzymes are crucial to a healthy and efficient internal system. When this system is out of balance, a host of medical issues and conditions can arise.” She invited both medical doctors and academic doctors, as well as other individuals in the healthcare field, to explain their research and findings.

The gut (seven key organs…these include the gall bladder, large intestine, liver, oesophagus, pancreas, small intestine and stomach) has often times been called the “second brain”, because there is an undeniable connection between the gut and the brain. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, a functional medicine doctor, “the ultra prevention <is in the gut>….if your gut’s not healthy, you’re not healthy”.

He went on to discuss the top four enemies of gut health. 1. Processed food 2. Hybridized and genetically modified foods (GMO) 3. Stress and environmental toxins 4. Gut busting drugs (such as, antibiotics, aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antacids).

Most of us, unless we are making a concerted effort, find it easy to fall into the processed food trap. I know, for myself, before I started my own health and wellness journey it was convenient to grab foods on the go. I might not have been eating a lot of food, but it definitely was not the right food. Those foods that come in boxes, have preservatives for longer shelf life, or whose ingredients are filled with chemicals or weird names that are difficult to pronounce.

I will be talking more about genetically modified foods in another post, but for now I will relay this: There is correlational data on the long term effects of GMO’s on the human body. Genetically modified foods have been linked to autism, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, allergies, IBD, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, peritonitis, deaths from intestinal infection and dementia diseases. (Smith, Jeffrey)

Stress, we all face it. There really is no way to get away from it, unless we live in a bubble. How we deal with the stresses of day to day life is what makes the difference. Chronic stress is toxic to the gut. It promotes leaky gut, which creates holes in “the netting” of the intestines, allowing vitamins/minerals/food particles to escape into the blood stream. This causes food intolerances and autoimmunity. Stress also decreases blood flow, increases stress hormones, and causes inflammatory responses.

Lastly, one of the enemies of the gut is what some doctors refer to as “gut busting” drugs. These drugs, that I mentioned earlier, might be necessary to make some one well, but they can kill the good bacteria in the gut. Being aware of the consequences  of taking an antibiotic, will allow you to realize you need to replace the depleted good gut bacteria by taking some good probiotics/enzymes and by eating those foods that carry those probiotics, naturally.

I will leave you with Dr. Hyman’s “Five R’s of Gut Care”. 1. Remove (the enemies of the gut ) 2. Replace ( with good habits)  3. Reinoculate (give your gut the good probiotics and enzymes that it needs ) 4. Repair (work on healing the gut ) 5. Relax              ( remember excessive stress is harmful to the body )

Come back next Sunday for my post on clean eating and the gut.

Reminders

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Evening chores, mundane moments…trudged through in habit.

Occupied thoughts amidst the sounds of hungry animals.

Staring out across the yard as the evening sun slips quietly into the night.

Ears attuned to the sounds. Dogs barking in the distance, frogs grunting, llamas humming, and that lone train whistle.

Familiar sounds.

Reminders of where she is, and who she is.

Reminders of how different her life is now.

Reminders of how life changes, people grow, lessons are learned, friends made, memories kept.

The unusually cool breeze stirs the field grass and it’s chill feels good on the skin.

The kitchen light pours through the front window and pools in the growing darkness.

She’s counting all the good things in her head, as she walks back to the house………

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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a futureThen you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

 

 

 

 

Friendship

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:

::

Friend…

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Besties and BFF’s

She just “gets” me

Anytime phone calls and “I got your back”

Secrets and sharing moments

Walking together and running into the future

Road trips to here, there, everywhere and no where in particular

Toasts, and cheers and celebrations

Emails and messages

Sweatpants and no make-up and bad hair days

Tears and fights and “I can’t believe you did that!”

Laughter, lots of laughter and camaraderie

Acting like women, but giggling like girls

Silliness and seriousness all in the same face

Bridesmaids, pregnancy, and the growing up years.

Sharing stories, and gaining confidence

Memories that will forever remain

Distance doesn’t matter, and it is easy to take up where you left off

Copying recipes and finding the perfect flea market

Asking opinions and then saying, “You’re crazy!”

Holding a hand, wiping the tears and mending a heart

Just being there and not saying a word…because you don’t have to…

Sharing a life and baring your soul

This is………being a friend.

Friendship, one of God’s greatest gifts.

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times…

Bridesmaids