How many pieces is your puzzle missing?
My personal nine point recovery toolkit!
Recovery is complicated. The body is complicated, so it makes sense that recovery can be like a puzzle. How many pieces is your puzzle missing?
Your puzzle may be missing some key digestive pieces. Actually, thats where most of us probably sit. Or You may be missing a few blood sugar pieces to that puzzle! Or like most of us in this country, we are missing a whole lot of essential fatty pieces. Very quickly we are left with just a fraction of that once complete beautiful thousand piece puzzle!
Whatever your challenge, you will want to have a plan and a toolbox of foods and or supplements to help to create and rebuild some of those pieces. I say both because depending on where you are at, you may need to throw the kitchen sink at the issue or maybe you have just started to hear the cries of the body and take swift action. If that is you, you may not need to invest in supplementation so much and can resolve issue with diet corrections.
When I first embarked on taking more care of myself and taking more responsiblity for my health journey it was an adjustment! I love that I had a good team of people working with me though as it made it less daunting and I highly suggest finding a qualified therapist or resource to help guide you! I strive now to learn from my challenges and try to simplify things based on what I have learned and apply to my clients where we can. These are the high level things in my toolkit!
#1 Rebalance gut bacteria (Find a good probiotic and consume as many ferments as you can)
#2 Whole food nutrient dense diet (i.e no refined sugars is essential, avoid junky toxic foods)
#2 Digestive support (We are chronically low on HCL in this country, not the other way around)
#3 Support anti-inflammatory pathways (our Standard American Diets have shifted the balance toward the pro-flammatory pathway)
#4 Tissue Support (degredation of tissue from inflammation and eating foods that fuel the inflammatory fire cause damage that needs repair)
#5 Additional nutritional Support (In disease cases, nutrient absorption is an issue so finding a good quality multi is key)
#6 Toxin avoidance and removal (They are everywhere. Support the elimintation pathways first and try to avoid as many toxins as possible --think skin care, cleaning supplies)
#7 Vitamin S (Sleep/rest)
#7 Knowledge, determination and hope (Without these things you are a pinball getting bounced around aimlessly)
The important caveat here is that you absolutely need to make life long changes with this stuff. Reducing the overhead in the body is priority #1. If you continue to consume things devoid of nutrition without supporting the body, it will fail eventually. The body is a masterpiece creation, but will succumb to these things if you dont balance & support. It may not happen today, tomorrow, next week or next month. But it will happen in some way, shape or form in your lifetime. Pay now or pay later is how I like to look at it. I make sacrifices now so I can get healthier as I get older and not the other way around. How are you supporting your body these days?
#hearttohealthwellness #inflammation #recoverytoolkit #chemicalfree #toxins #guthealth #autoimmunity #ulcerativecolitis #colitis #chronscolitis #nutritionist #wholefood #healthyfoodblog #nutritionaltherapy #nutritionaltherapypractitioner #holistichealing #holisticnutrition #holisticnutritionist #holisticlife #holisticwellness #wholefoodsdiet #itstartswithfood #foodasmedicine #nutritionconsultant #chrons #NTP #healthjourney #sugarandinflammation #organicmeat #gethealthy #manwiththeplan #Sleep #knowledge #determination #hope
"There are no mistakes if you learn something from everything"
What are the biggest deterrents to health recovery? Sustained change is at the heart of it all, but its not the only game in town! What do you think deters you from making changes?
Is it fear?
Maybe being inflexible?
How about limiting beliefs?
Or could it be stubbornness?
Many other self defeating behaviors could fit snug anywhere in between fear and stubborness, but I think these are pretty high level. The one thing that limits us everywhere in life is fear though. Other behaviors seem to kind of stem from fear. I think fear drives us more than we want to acknowledge. Its always been at the heart of my recovery for sure.
Fear will come in many sizes, shapes and flavors in our lives. It will keep us in our comfort zone. Motionless. Sick and sicker. What I mean by this is that we most likely get ill as a big part of what we tell ourselves over and over. In the book Molecules of Emotion, Candace Pert describes how what we think really does have an impact on our cells. An impact on our ability to be healthy. In my personal experience, the more I resisted something or the more that I didn't do something out of fear, the more ill I became.
Fast forward many years later and fear still played a large part after diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis. It dictated what I did and what I dint do. I was extremely rigid in my thinking which made me very inflexible to change and fed right into the limiting beliefs. This stubbornness to change was rooted in fear. It was controlling my health.
What ultimately made me healthy I think was to open my mind. To read more. To study this awful condition. To become a student of life. Learn or relearn how to live better with my emotions. I locked myself into one treatment many years ago. Unfortunately, thats how we are led. Its either black or white. Off or on. Right or wrong. We as a culture latch on to an ideal and it catches like wild fire. From a food perspective a good example is how suddenly everyone was eating low fat diets because its what was passed down. Suddenly fats became wrong. Being someone who took the conventional approach with my healthcare, I did feel that this one treatment was my only option.
I guess what I am saying is that when you become more flexible and stop telling yourself that something isn't possible, you greatly increase the chances of healing. I think I realized the value in using multiple methods to getting healthy. Autoimmune disease in itself is stubborn. Very stubborn. For most, it goes into remission and comes back quite often. But I know my success increases with how much I open my mind to different methods of healing. I am not suggesting that you select something from the flavor of the week therapy. I am suggesting to be a student. Yes, sometimes you may need to go down a dead end path to realize that you should be somewhere else. Nothing to be ashamed of. There are no mistakes if you learn something from everything. I often think we plateau in anything we do, so its good to re-evaluate often and make course corrections. Maybe you are at a point of re-evaluation? If so, good for you!! Keep pushing forward and learn as much as you can. Wishing you the best of health!!
#hearttohealthwellness #NTP #NutritionalTherapy #nutritionaltherapyPractitioner #autoimmunity #ulcerativecolitis #colitis #chronscolitis #holistichealing #positivethinking #healthjourney #healthybodyhealthymind #chrons #lifechallenges #challengeyourself #diseaserecovery #innateintelligence #myfivepointplan #simplifyyourlife #colitisflare #flare #flareup #autoimmuneflare #personaldiscovery #healthstartsinthegut #lawofattraction
The dreaded flare! So so difficult to stop. I find there are some very critical components to halt my flare in its tracks! What strategies do you use to get a hold on these stubborn flares?
There are always some indicators of an impending flare and sometimes they are very subtle. But in this I think lies the key to managing these quickly and thats to take a very swift action when you notice any "autoimmune" type of symptom. For me its usually joint pain and this most likely means that my body is reacting to something. To take it a step further, its usually the knees and hands but sometimes other joints that feel sore. This may manifest itself in different ways to different people, but the action piece is still the same. Its always good to be able to identify these things for yourselves and take actions to remove the things that are causing stress. Here is a high level of my personal five point plan below.
#1 Simplify eating - Essentially giving your digestive system a rest is the key. Light boiling, steaming, broth, manage inflammation, temporary food elimination
#2 Slow down the stress - Meditation, very light exercise, sunshine, fresh air
#3 Simplify lifestyle - Take naps, rest, time off from work if you can and lighten expectations of yourself
#4 Support! Support! Support! - Allow people around you to help where they can and also physically support the bodily processes through whole foods and supplementation
#5 Stop and Focus - Dont let healing become a full time job
So those are my five high level points. Lets look at these a little closer.
Think about if you ever got lost in the woods. The worst thing you can do is go frantically off into the canopy of trees without a plan. Many people are never seen again when they panic. Kind of a dramatic example, but when you start making knee jerk reactions you do more harm. I get this because I did this so many times that I cant even count. What I am talking about here is simplifying but dont be extreme. I remember a time when nothing was working for me and being a person that adopted the standard American "fat is bad" approach, I fed into the ideal that fat was bad and cut it out all together. So I went on an all lean chicken meat diet because fat is bad for colitis right? I ate very little fat and no "good" fats at all. At this point in time in my life, I believe I had really severe leaky gut. The more of something you eat, the more a chance that you will develop an allergy and the things I wasnt digesting just turned into something that my body attacked.
Healing the gut is a tricky thing and if you dont remove the stressors, it will turn into a flare sooner rather than later most likely. I think with this condition, I do have to challenge myself though and test new foods. For me this is because I have to live my life and there is a huge mental component with things being taken away!! Adding in new or old foods keeps things new and that helps with healing.
But on the flipside of that I also have to pay attention that maybe an old sensitivity is re-appearing. It does happen as this process does not seem to be static or linear whatsoever. And most of us keep throwing fuel on the fire without even knowing it sometimes. So my five point plan is this when I notice any unusual but familiar symptoms of the Colitis.
#1 Simplify eating: Simplify eating is where I start. Easy cooking of foods like things that are boiled and steamed. Long cooking is good here. Eating foods that are fried, broiled, overcooked and high heat cooking will create more inflammation in the body. Depending where you are you may need to remove starchy foods or just most carbohydrates for a bit. This is a great time to consume a lot of bone broth. Make your own with good grass fed animal bones and drink multiple cups a day in soups, with a meal or without a meal. Intermittent fasting may be a good thing here too where you only eat between the hours of like 10-8. Giving your digestive system a rest is the key!
#2 Slow down the stress as much as you possibly can. This is a tough one. For the autoimmune sufferer, its hard to focus sometimes because digestion is failing to break down the necessary proteins to develop the neurotransmitters that keep us mentally in tune. Without them we get more anxious, more stressed and more depressed. But this doesnt mean that you can take a vacation from trying to help yourself either. There are things you can do to lighten the impact. Meditation is #1 here and its vital to do some kind of exercise that will allow you to breathe and calm down. Physical exercise is a tough one because in this state you just dont feel good. Light walking is a great thing at this point. Sunshine and fresh air work wonders for the body. I read that being indoors is 6% more toxic than being outdoors. Being cooped up in the house will only contribute to the decline.
#3 Simplify lifestyle. Its important, so important at this point to be easy on yourself. I think there is definately a personality type that makes up the majority of people with autoimmune conditions. Putting ridiculous amounts of pressure and expectations on yourself is damaging, but even more restricting to healing at this stage of the flare. Allow yourself to take it easy. ALOT. You need to rest physically and mentally to heal and if you are trying to do all of the thousand things you normally do, it will break you eventually. Take naps and lots of them. I know there are things that just cannot be altered, like work in most cases. But in between whatever you are doing, rest as much as you can. For me I had to take short term leave from work at one point. It was one of the biggest life altering decisions I ever made. My sister-in-law had just passed. My mom passed away. My dog died in the yard tragically. My wife and I were both at each other all the time. And this was in the course of eight months. This all took a major toll on me and the one main thing that helped was to acknowledge that I needed to stop. Being. Stubborn. So I headed the advice and rested and I dont know where I would be at today if I hadnt done so!!
#4 Support! Support! Support! This encompasses a few things. First is, allow people to help you. People dont have to pity you and we should never want that. This is about allowing the ones around you that love and care for you to help to lift you up. Help to do the things that maybe you cant do at the moment. Offer encouragement. This is important to still have connection. Many times I wanted to do this by myself because I felt like I needed to prove something to myself. But really the only thing that happened here was isolation and more frustration. Having a partner that is ill has a big impact on both the person and the people around the ill person. Its important for others to be able to contribute sometimes. Okay, the other piece of this is more from a bodily perspective. Most likely digestion is at the top of the list of systems needing some loving care. My digestive system was an absolute mess when I first started the GAPS diet. It was only by providing stomach, pancreas and gall bladder support that I started to gain some traction on healing. You may have blood sugar issues or you may not be able to break down fats, but this typically all starts with the digestion process. This is very much like a puzzle sometimes and if you are at this stage it could be good to work with a nutritional therapist like myself to help you get back on track.
#5 Stop. Take a deep breathe a lot and focus. Often when we are ill, we want so much to get better that we get mission like. This recovery thing becomes like a second job to us. Its all about trying this or trying that. Let me tell you, this all takes time. I have ultimately gotten sidetracked many times because of my eagerness to heal. This is probably the biggest lesson for me and that is to stop trying to address everything 150%. Yes, you do want to support the body with food and supplements if needed, but there is a fine line between too much and just right. I like to work with my clients and take a very concise, clear and well defined approach without encouraging the healing process to become job like. We have to be able to live our lives without the burden of another full time job.
I sincerely hope this reaches anyone in need of guidance and that it provides a framework to dig your self out of your own flare. Like I always say, you are not alone with this. If you are absolutely overwhelmed with this hand that was dealt to you, please do reach out to us to discuss how we can help you to help yourself! Take care!
#hearttohealthwellness #NTP #NutritionalTherapy #nutritionaltherapyPractitioner #autoimmunity #ulcerativecolitis #colitis #chronscolitis #holistichealing #positivethinking #healthjourney #healthybodyhealthymind #chrons #lifechallenges #challengeyourself #diseaserecovery #innateintelligence #myfivepointplan #simplifyyourlife #colitisflare #flare #flareup #autoimmuneflare #personaldiscovery #healthstartsinthegut
"You can take a step back and realize something in your own environment (food intolerances/allergy, gluten, toxins, bad water, stress and so on) is making you sick"
This quote about change resonates with me. I think back to when I was first diagnosed with colitis and how helpless and powerless I felt. Quite honestly I have felt this way through the entire duration of this disease until the last three years. Mostly because medications were the main thing in my doctors toolkit and for me numerous approaches didnt seem to help. I tried to educate myself some, but back when I was diagnosed all I read was that, yes this disease is what it is. You are stuck with it my friend! Colitis and autoimmune diseases are very stubborn diseases and go into remission and come back. For some this may happen over and over, but I know for myself and others that I have worked with, there is typically a trigger that causes the flare and ultimately with some very methodical things, we are not helpless to impact to stop or reverse this.
Each person that has an autoimmune disease has to go through their own hell to find peace. For me something just clicked in 2015. I was going through my umpteenth flare and this was a bad one. I had just went through the worst two years imaginable and everything came crashing down on me. The bleeding just would not stop! Remicade was the next cocktail on the menu, but something inside me said NO. I think it was the last interaction with my doctor that left a very sour taste and I found myself in new territory. Something inside me wanted something different. Something where I was in the drivers seat. The alternative care team that I found helped me to realize some very key things about this disease. They helped me to understand that I am not powerless, that I can make some course corrections that can give me the upper hand with this. I believe that absolutely anything is possible in this life if you fully believe it. Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve right.
The message here is this, dont ever allow yourself to be caught on the side of majority if it doesn't feel good to you. Over the years while I was in a state of just being "good with accepting the disease", something just felt off inside. I felt restless. I think like anything in life, when you feel like you have no choices or options, it makes you depressed. Negative thinking and autoimmune disease is a bad combo. Even if you dont realize it fully, we as human beings always want something better. Thats the stirring inside that you feel. What I felt. You have it inside yourself to reform. To make changes that can give you back some power to take control of your own situation. I really enjoyed the post by @mybodymysoul_co about Choice + willpower = individuality! This is brilliant and really made me reflect on my own path today. It makes me think how I am grateful that I realized I had a choice and proud that I mustered up the willpower to stand out from the crowd on this one. I now always read one off stories about people who found some new and controversial ways to heal from their autoimmune diseases. I was limited in my thinking back then that I couldn't progress past where I was at. In fact, it felt like the people I trusted (doctors) were telling me to expect the worst. Maybe it was just these specific doctors, but I began to read about others that experienced the same things. Were told the same things. Were left hopeless! I know we are bio-individuals and that what works for one, may not work for another. But the core reason for autoimmune disease is the same regardless. 25% genetic. 75% environmental. That says to me that a good part of this disease can be something that we can change. Just think about that for minute. Try to relate it to your own situation. You can take a step back and realize something in your own environment (food intolerances/allergy, gluten, toxins, bad water, stress and so on) is making you sick. There are so many success stories out there. What do you have to lose? Hope this helps someone out there that is at the same point I was at years ago. You can do this! If you do feel lost, please do reach out for guidance. Someone that can help you make course corrections whether it be a friend, family, functional medicine doc or someone like myself who looks outside of the box about healing. Take care!
#lifechoices #hearttohealthwellness #gapsdiet #gaps #guthealth #autoimmunity #ulcerativecolitis #colitis #chronscolitis #nutritionaltherapy #nutritionaltherapypractitioner #holistichealing #holisticnutrition #holisticnutritionist #holisticlife #holisticwellness #nutritionconsultant #chrons #NTP #healthjourney #healthybodyhealthymind #createyourownpath #choices #healthfreedom #dontbelikeeveryoneelse #individuality
Possibly you set another New Years goal of losing weight? Has January come and gone and you are off to a horrible start and ready to give it all up? It may be a good opportunity to start to look at other things that you may have not of thought of. I know, it seems like you have not left any stone un-turned between what you put on your plate and exercise. It may be something that you were totally not aware of however, like wheats impact on the body for example. We want to help to guide you in the right direction with this.
I sincerely applaud your efforts to take the initiative to want to change things! Most of us eat the way we do not by accident, but rather due to how big food companies manufacture products. Essentially the products on our store shelves and in our restaurants are all loaded with wheat. Just take a look at any products ingredient list and you will most undoubtedly find wheat contained within. To get a handle on the obesity epidemic in this country, fat consumption suggestions were lowered and consumption of grains were increased as part of the daily recommendations in the mid 1980's. Now the recommendation is to consume 6-11 servings per day of grains and its not hard to do considering that most of our products contain wheat.
But here are the main issues. Wheat is very unique! It has a few qualities that pose problems. First is that wheat is actually addictive in that the gluten polypeptides can penetrate the blood/brain barrier. This is important because it allows these components of gluten to bind to the opiate receptors in the brain. These morphine like compounds act on the brain and essentially giving us a "high" from consuming them. The absence of gluten will create cravings. So those obsessive cravings are not your fault. You are setup to fail unfortunately. Wheat has a quality that increases appetite so if you are trying to slim down, wheat can seriously derail your efforts. The convenience food industry is thriving with this model where they see massive profits with very low cost of production. The other main point is that wheat gives you that "wheat belly". As described in the book @wheatbelly, wheat has a tendency to trigger a cycle of insulin driven satiety and hunger. We go through this cycle all day long as we are exposed to wheat continuously through the day and the main thing that happens is that fat deposits around the belly region in the body. The reason why is that wheat and wheat containing products spike the blood sugar more than just about any other foods. Its glycemic index is higher than most foods except for the types of starches that are actually used in "gluten free" products. Insulin is released to deal with the glucose and since it is a storage hormone, it will store excess glucose as fat. Ultimately the massive overload of wheat in our daily diets and the reaction our body has to it, it is no wonder that a lot of our health goals fall short.
I firmly believe that when wheat is cut out of the diet, you will see benefits in the direction of your weight loss goals. This is a tricky slope though and in order to promote success you will want to make good substitutions along with your diligence to cut out wheat. And since wheat is so wound into our current menu, it will be challenging, but rewarding however in my experience to cut it out. The key is to change your fat to carbohydrate ratios or at least carbohydrates that drive blood sugar up quickly. There is one other important fact that I didn't mention here and thats that a lot of us have gluten sensitivities and don't even know it. This is a topic for another post, but you may be accomplishing multiple things with one goal essentially. We can help with these goals from a nutritional aspect as well as from a drive/determination standpoint. It will be challenging, but ultimately this is a protocol that will stick and is a life long change. We focus on supporting the foundations of the body while tailoring a very specific protocol for you. If you are stuck in a rut with this whole thing, please do reach out to us and setup a free 30 minute consultation to discuss a strategy to get you to where you want to be. You don't have to do this alone. Make an investment in yourself and take this step!
#weightloss #hearttohealthwellness#nutritionist #wholefood #glutenfree#autoimmunity #healthyfoodblog#nutritionaltherapy#nutritionaltherapypractitioner#healthydieting #yoyodieting #wheatbelly#visceralfat #naturaldieting#weightfrustration #weightlossnaturally#diets #weighthelp
Why does it take so long to heal?
The absolute hardest thing to do during any recovery is to stay positive. The symptoms come on again and again until you are just plain worn out. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Well its so easy to just get caught up in the rush of pain, cramps or whatever it may be that you just lose sight of recovery.
I like to look back and see just where I came from. In 2015, I was in pretty bad shape and had lost forty pounds in four months and this endless flare just kept going and going. Then came the start of the GAPS diet and I had a whole new set of challenges, but I was ready to make some real changes with this thing.
So many ups and downs over the last two years and I would always have this instant reaction to the symptoms that would send me into a mental tailspin. My day would ultimately be shot before 9 AM. But along the way, I somehow started to put it together, that the harder I tried to "perfect" this recovery the harder the fall. Without fail, the split second that I started to think about what this blood in my stool really meant, was the instant that I could actually feel cramping or more pain straight away. Big correlation between the mind and the gut or the second brain.
The big four things that allowed me to progress through this grieving phase were being creative, allowing and not pressing, being able to adapt..quickly and just being alright with everything! I am so much better with these things today and healthier as a result.
Being creative allows you to use your imagination to visualize healing. Visualize healthy cells. Visualize healthy tissue and so on. It also makes it easier to find alternate or subsitute foods when you encounter the inevitable sensitivities that come along with leaky gut. If you get stuck in a place of pushing back on the process, it will set you back.
When we allow things in life, it creates a friction free environment. Imagine that your cells just move more gracefully when you lose the friction. When we press, it creates tension in the body that disallows healing.
Adapting quickly is a great skill to have in life in general, but its very useful to be able to change your thoughts quickly and on demand when faced with the adversity that comes with illness.
And being alright with everything is an extension of allowing. I say this to myself a lot and you can really just find ways to be alright with any comment, situation, person, illness, symptom or whatever it may be.
I do believe that my ability to do these four things have helped to propel me to where I am at today! As always I hope the best health for all!
#holisticnutrition #holisticnutritionist #holisticlife #holisticwellness #wholefoodsdiet #nutritionaltherapy #nutritionconsultant #healthjourney #healthybodyhealthymind #letfoodbethymedicine #healthyeatinghabits #autoimmunity #ntp
Celery Root or celariac is root vegetable that looks pretty intimidating, but quite appeasing once you try it and a good whole food choice. This is an interesting vegetable for me and for whatever reason during the very toughest downs of food elimination, rejections and bad feelings about food, this one vegetable didnt seem to cause me issue. What a Great find. To be honest, before I started down the GAPS protocol in 2015, I had never heard of this. My Nutritional Therapy Practicioner suggested it to me as I was struggling with almost all vegetables and when I first saw it I indeed was intimiated. But glad I just figured it out as I went along.
I continue to cook this vegetable in new ways and it just keeps filling the gap for those missed foods for me. For those that stay away from nighthshades, this makes an excellent substitute for mashed potatoes! Just boil or steam it and mash it up in a large glass bowl. This is probably even more spectacular with a variety of spices, but does just right with coconut butter and salt. Try everything though. Mix it up and I guarantee you wont miss mash potatoes any longer!
Backing up to the things that we miss or have to sacrifice on our health journey. This is the hardest aspect of any food or diet changes really. Its especially rough when we deviate from the norm like eating fast food multiple times a week or popping something into the microwave. This requires you to really find and hold onto the reasons why you are doing this in the first place. Maybe it was something that you read that scared the hell out of you about disease. Or maybe you can faintly hear that voice of your innate intelligence telling you that something needs to change. Whatever it may be that brings you to your own crossroads of change, embrace it! Listen to it! It has your best interest in mind and will allow you to heal if you let it.
The biggest thing that I offer our clients is this perspective of dealing with chronic illness and what it takes, mentally, physically and spirtually to not only make immediate impacts on illness, but lifelong health. If you are struggling with making changes that stick or just overwhelmed by the massive amount of information out there. Please reach out to us to schedule a free one on one consultation to discuss how we can work together to begin or continue the healing process. Wish you all best of health!
Ian Sandage is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who speaks from the personal experience of someone with autoimmune disease and the highs and lows of a health journey