So, here's the deal. I'm not myself lately. I'm in a cycle that feels bad and it seems one negative thing is forever perpetuating the other.
The good news? I recognize that this is a cycle which I am in control of and that I can break. I am tapped into my WHY enough to motivate me through the necessary hard work and I SEE A LIGHT that will guide me through.
Two years ago, it was one baby step in front of the other. Today, two years along in my journey I’ve still got work to do but I’ve got enough base knowledge and victories behind me to find the necessary resources and believe I can do the work.
As for how I’m feeling…Let’s just get some fundamentals of this storyline out of the way right now.
What are my symptoms:
Deplorable memory (more on this later)
Stressed/moody/anxious and even depressed at times, lately, more often than I’d prefer to admit (often incited by my bad memory, bad food choices, strains of career, doing it all, marriage and parenthood. These things all test my limits.)
Sugar cravings (form of sweets yes, but mostly refined white carbs like BREAD)
Seasonal allergies - new to me
I can tell you I've been here before but I can also tell you that I'm not here usually. Which is to say, as a health coach and a woman creating a business around wellness, I’m generally striving for just that…wellness. I’m always much better off than I was before I began my journey at all two years ago, but I’m not always at my best health.
Stress can break any of us at times and the cycle of stress turning on the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) and subsequently the secretion of cortisol, triggering the body to raise blood sugar levels so you can have the fuel to fight or flee and this is all perfectly wonderful and natural….except when it doesn’t turn off or when it’s kicked on in chronic frequency.
I truly don’t believe anything with our bodies is random. I tend to believe, as I learn more and more about functional medicine, that food can turn inflammation/immune system ON and it can also turn it OFF….but not when we continue to keep eating foods that trigger our immune system (because of a sensitivity to that food that we don’t realize we have or choose to ignore). The combination of external stresses and food stresses can be serious.
As I said, I am generally in a healthy cycle that keeps the worst of these symptoms at bay. But food can turn the cycle on or off and once turned on, it triggers a slew of symptoms (fatigue, mood issues, anxiety, depression) that once turned on make it more uphill to turn off.
This is what I wish to control. Food as medicine. Awareness to break cycles.
In the name of research, progress and downright frustration, I’m finally getting the clarity I need in order to break some cycles once and for all.
The first bad wave in recent memory came up around this time last year when I quit alcohol in early July.
I guess I consumed it regularly enough that the lack of it in my diet left a hole that my brain felt only sugar could fill, prompting the worst sugar cravings that this life-long sugar addict has ever encountered (this is saying a lot!). I could justify it at first because I was proud of myself for not imbibing, but one toxin for another is hardly a victory.
When I decided to do a gut bacteria test by the company BIOHM later that Summer, I'd only been about a month or so past the worst of my nutrition and cravings. I indulged my cravings for too long and was on an improved cycle for only days when I took the test.
That said, this test, taken at the very end of Summer 2018, reflects a very unhealthy gut revealing CANDIDA OVERGROWTH:
Here’s the crazy thing. I never bothered to even look at these results until recently, prompting this post and the subsequent series which will follow me on this journey. I received these results back in September. At the time, the company promised me a second test to share a side-by-side results after cleaning up my diet. I took a second test and submitted for results but never received them and forgot all about it (again, that bad memory is no joke). I reached back out but as of writing this have not yet received those results. In the meantime, I have just purchased a more comprehensive kit from the company VIOME.
In this kit, shipping soon, I’ll provide them a sample and they’ll provide me:
Lists of foods to enjoy, minimize, or avoid and why
Tips on food prep and serving sizes
Recommendations for probiotics & supplements only if you need them
Now, one of the biggest stressors in my life is my memory (or lack there of). It's to the point that I've been to a doctor and insisted to have my brain scanned. Turns out, I'd had a brain scan just months before when I suffered a concussion (of course I forgot about this) and the doctor said that between seeing the all clear from that test and talking with me, she diagnosed my cognitive issues to be stress-related....I think her words were..."you're a busy working mother...with school and a side job no less...take a hot shower and get regular massages".
I found this dissatisfactory.
I'm looking into Cleveland Clinic's FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE offerings (shout out Dr.Hyman) and Parsley Health which is currently only located in NYC, SF and LA. If I can get to one for the required in-person initial visit, my membership could exist online subsequently. I'm a fan of this practice and it's super smart founding doctor, Dr. Robin Berzen…but of course, our own Cle Clinic functional medicine practice is world class, so I’d be thrilled to do that as well.
In the meantime, as a student of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (where I first learned of Parsley Health), I've got plenty of other resources and knowledge to shape my own initial protocols.
I highly recommend that anyone following along speak with a doctor for their own customized protocol as I believe in BIOINDIVIDUALITY ( meaning there is no one-size-fits-all solution to health) but certainly there will be some good takeaways.