When I ask you to think about hormone issues, what is the first words that come to your mind?
Endometriosis, pms, mood swings, weight gain, insomnia, pcos or even hair loss?
Those are quite common symptoms of hormone imbalances, but what are some of the other hormone symptoms you can have?
Let me name a few….
Fatigue – this is more common than you might think, and your hormones have a lot to do with it!
Low Libido – a lack of interest in sex, has a lot to do with hormones.
Weight loss Resistance – Hormones definitely contribute to weight gain and weight loss resistance.
Aching muscles and joints – Did you know that your hormones can actually cause you pain when they are imbalanced?
Hair loss – Hair thinning all over the head can be a sign of high androgens and other hormone imbalances.
Ovarian Cysts – This is definitely a sign that your hormones are needing some balancing.
Dry Eyes – Yes, dry eyes can also be caused by hormones.
Anxiety and Depression…
Hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, water retention, cramps, constant colds, and many, many more…….
So, what can you do about it?
First and foremost, I suggest learning the differences between testing your hormones with blood, urine and saliva.
Yes, they are very different.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BLOOD, URINE AND SALIVA TESTING!
Blood is an accurate reading of what is happening at one point in the day. It is great for testing the overall picture. Blood or serum is great for testing peptide hormones and total hormones such as Follicle stimulating hormone, LH, prolactin, insulin and even thyroid hormones (if the free form is included).
But, for sex hormones no distinction is made in blood between bound hormones and free hormones (the hormones your body can use).
Women have three different kinds of estrogen in the body: estradiol, estrone and estriol. In blood they are only tested as one hormone. Meaning we can’t tell the difference between the good and bad estrogens in the body by evaluating blood.
This can lead to misleading results!
It can cause hormones to appear completely normal or even high normal. Remember blood is only testing the total of your three estrogens.
But, if the free hormone level is low (your available hormone or usable hormone) you can still feel like a hot hormone mess. Even if your doctor has told you that your hormones are normal!
Serum hormone testing also does not measure estrogen, adrenal or androgen metabolites. So, it does not show how those hormones are breaking down in the body and how well the liver’s phase one and two detoxification is working.
Saliva has become really popular over the years. Saliva is non-invasive and quite easy to do. The benefit to saliva is that it allows for multiple collections over a 24 hour period, or even an entire month. This allows you to see abnormal hormone patterns, such as shortened luteal phase (the second half of a woman’s cycle), or even cortisol patterns over the entire day.
A Saliva test measures free hormones (your usable hormones or bioavailable hormones), which makes it a better measure then blood for evaluating hormone profiles.
Remember blood is measuring your total hormones and only at one point in the day, which does not give you a good indicator of hormones that may dip or spike during certain times in the month.
Saliva is a good measure of Estradiol, estrone, and estriol, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA. But, saliva does not show steroid hormone metabolites. This is limiting as it does not show you how your hormones are breaking down, or if they are being reabsorbed.
The 24 hour urine hormone test is the preferred method for testing hormones. It tests for hormones secreted at night, like cortisol and melatonin as well as growth hormone.
Got insomnia or sleeping trouble? This test can show you why!
Urine testing measures unbound hormones, reflecting the bioavailable hormones or the hormones that are available for use right now!
The advantage of urine testing is the ability to measure hormone metabolites. It will show your estrogen levels good and bad, and whether they are metabolizing down a pathyway that can be carcinogenic. Urine will also show how Androgens are metabolizing in your body, whether they are going down the pathway that will cause hair thinning and androgenic alopecia etc.
Urine testing can show the balance of protective “good” estrogens, compared to harmful or “bad” estrogens and whether your treatment protocol is working. This is huge! No longer do you have to wonder if you are getting anywhere with what you are taking!
Urine hormone testing measures both phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification. It shows how well the liver is metabolizing estrogen, among other hormones and how well the liver is functioning, which is huge in everything from hormone imbalances to depression and anxiety.
Urine is also an excellent test to evaluate adrenal health and function. It not only measures DHEA and DHEAs, but measures cortisone and cortisol, telling us the status of your adrenal glands and if adrenal fatigue is an issue.
In my opinion, urine is the gold standard of hormone testing.
I tested my Urine hormones a year ago. It led me to some eye -opening discoveries.
I found out that my liver’s phase two detoxification was quite low (I suspected as much) and that my estrogens were beginning to metabolize down a carcinogenic pathway. THIS IS HUGE. Essentially, this test allowed me to begin treating this issue before it became significant.
Blood would never have been able to show me this.
If you would like to discover your hormone profile, as a Functional Medicine Practitioner, I have begun offering these tests.
Over the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to accompany a friend to Sanoviv Medical Institute in Mexico.
Sanoviv specializes in treating many chronic health conditions like cancer, autoimmune disorders and Lyme disease. They also run detox programs to improve your health.
There were a few things that became quite apparent for health and healing while I was there. Nothing that was new to me, but instead reinforced the importance of it to maintain and optimize health.
3 Things that Rob Your Health and What you can do about them
Sugar is one of the worst things you can eat. If you were to add up all the sugar you eat in a day, you would be astounded. Most of the sugar people eat, is not even in realization that they are eating sugar in the first place.
Did you know that bread even turns to sugar in your body?
Or how about sweeteners like agave nectar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, etc. that show up in most of our packaged foods?
I learned sugar feeds ill health and in particular cancer.
Now, fruit shouldn’t be confused with sugar. Fruit in its whole form contains fiber which slows down the rate at which glucose hits the blood stream. However, you should still be careful with how much fruit you eat.
Did you know that 1 apple contains 4 teaspoons of sugar? If you juice that apple, the entire 4 tsp will absorb and feed your cells with sugar. That is why it’s best to eat fruit in its whole form, fiber intact.
The last thing I will say about sugar is watch the amount of sauces you use and even salad dressings. Make your own and keep sugar out.
I also learned that sugar causes a fatty liver. Got a fatty liver? A fatty liver is the liver being flooded with too much sugar. Cut it out and see what happens.
Keep Inflammation as low as possible. Inflammation is rampant in people’s bodies these days. The common North American diet is very inflammatory with gluten and processed foods like dairy, sugar, sauces and dips, coffee, etc.
Inflammation clogs up your body’s ability to properly detoxify, and to heal.
Eating a very heavy diet in vegetables which is as organic as possible is one of the best ways to keep inflammation at bay.
At Sanoviv, most meals were completely vegetable base with some added nuts and fats like avocado. I found myself eating a big salad with seeds and avocado, and then some steamed veggies on the side. Very little white meat/poultry was eaten, and the only grains consumed were quinoa, oatmeal, wild rice and brown rice. There were very few legumes aside from lentils. I noticed I felt very clean eating this way.
One of my favorite things they served was Golden Milk. Now, Golden Milk is amazing at reducing inflammation, getting your liver detoxifying and blood purifying. It’s great for the joints and arthritis and is even a great tonic for a woman’s reproductive system.
I recommend that you make Golden Milk if you have never tried it.
Golden Milk Recipe
¼ cup of water
1/8 tsp of turmeric
1 cup almond or nut milk
1-2 tablespoons of almond oil or nut oil
Pinch of cardamon and cinnamon
Raw honey to taste if desired.
Boil water and turmeric in a small saucepan over medium to high heat for 8 mins. This cooks the turmeric and releases its properties. Meanwhile bring the rice or nut milk to a boil in another saucepan and then remove from heat. Add in the coconut oil or almond oil, cardamon and cinnamon as well as the raw honey if desired. Mix both mixtures together. Drink and enjoy.
3. You Can’t Heal if You are Stressed
Lastly, I would like to mention my biggest takeaway. If one cannot maintain a balanced state of inner peace, and allows stress to lead the way, health will be hard to maintain. I realized that stress comes in many forms. Complaining, control, or feeling a lack of control, worry, feeling unloved, not being present in the moment, anger and supressed frustration, harboring old hurt (which only hurts you) and lack of self-love to name a few.
I learnt that surrender and acceptance even in crappy circumstances is essential to healing. One woman I met at Sanoviv was able to align her mind and body into a place of peace, acceptance, and wellbeing while she was there. In three weeks, her cancer markers returned to that of a healthy person. Rather than stressing about the disease itself, she choose to be at peace and know that her mind was her biggest ally in healing.
One doctor at Sanoviv said that there are only two reasons for illness other than injury, a bad diet and stress. If you can work on both of those, you have the best chance at a good healthy life.
Of course, I re-learned a lot more while visiting Sanoviv Medical Institute. I will be sharing these with you over the coming weeks. So, stay tuned!
I spent 11 days at Sanoviv in the fall of 2016! It was possibly the best thing I have ever done for myself. I loved everything (well, I didn’t actually like the chiropractic... but I have never been comfortable with it, so it was nothing to do with Sanoviv) ?? The facilities, staff, food, programs, seminars and classes were all so worth it. A trip of a lifetime for me!
If you are suffering from insomnia, you understand how the sleepless nights can be frustrating. You get it when I mention feeling like a zombie in the morning, and dragging yourself all day long. Not getting 6-8 hours of REM sleep effects every aspect of your life.
Luckily, there are some great solutions that you may not know about.
But first, I think it is important to talk about the mental and emotional aspect of insomnia. Insomnia is usually the last symptom in a stress response. After a long bout of stress or life changes, the mind can have a hard time shutting off. This is usually due to cortisol (our stress hormone) and a brain that has been wired for stress. The first step in battling insomnia is to look at your life from a new perspective.
Are you doing things that you don’t like doing?
Are you a people pleaser?
Do you over extend yourself to meet deadlines?
Insomnia is a symptom that should prompt you to re-evaluate your life. Not only should you re-evaluate your life, but re-training your brain to slip into the healing and relaxation response is necessary.
There are two kinds of insomnia. The kind where you can’t seem to fall asleep no matter what you do, and the kind where you fall asleep but wake up frequently.
Frequent waking can be a sign of high blood sugar or hypoglycemia, too much alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods and even stress. It can also be a sign that you are deficient in minerals like chromium, vanadium and manganese and other nutrients. A deficiency in these minerals can cause you to wake every few hours with a hard time falling back asleep.
Then there is the “happy hormone” serotonin, which is a hormone that is a precursor to melatonin. You make serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan. But, when you are stressed for an extended period of time, serotonin depletion can happen.
Did you know that 95% of serotonin is made in the gut? Because the gut and brain are so closely linked, both stress and poor diet can lower serotonin.
There are literally dozens of studies that show low serotonin and tryptophan levels lead to insomnia. Some of the symptoms of low serotonin are waking feeling unrested, inability to stay asleep after getting there, and lying awake all night.
For many years now, studies have proven that the amino acid tryptophan (which is a precursor to serotonin), produces great sleep. In fact, it has been shown to improve mental clarity in the day. It can also be helpful for depression, pms, fibromyalgia, and anxiety as well as carbohydrate cravings and alcoholism.
Recently, I have learned through Functional Medicine that zinc or B6 deficiency can lead to insomnia. When you are deficient in B6, it can literally keep you awake all night. Or, low zinc can cause a B6 conversion issue, which is needed to make more tryptophan and serotonin.
6 STEPS YOU CAN DO TO FINALLY SLEEP
1 . De-stress – Try to turn off all electronics an hour before bed. Meditate and deep breathe. Both of these techniques have been shown to reduce the stress response in the brain. You can also try to laugh more during the day. Laughter will help to reduce over all stress. Lastly, re-evaluate your life and make sure you are leading from your heart not your head.
2. Stay away from PLASTICS – Too many plastics in your body lowers zinc. Zinc is needed to convert B6 to an active form to produce tryptophan and serotonin. So, Cut Plastics Out!
3. Optimize your gut health – 95% of serotonin is made in your gut. If you have gas and bloating, alternating constipation and diarrhea, indigestion etc. The chances of curing your insomnia are not high. Make sure you are eating whole foods, cutting out sugar, alcohol, caffeine, wheat and all gmo foods, corn and corn derivatives and soy. Contact a good practitioner to help put a plan together for yourself. I can certainly help!
4. Optimize your minerals – Make sure you are eating foods and even supplementing with a good multi-mineral. Healthy chromium, vanadium and manganese help prevent blood sugar imbalances and frequent wake up.
5. Eat plenty of B Vitamin rich foods - You can increase B Vitamins using foods like nutritional yeast, nuts and seeds, fish, chicken, meat, eggs etc.
6. Try out Tryptophan or 5-HTP – These are supplements that are a precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin which is our sleep hormone.
The Most Important Thing I Did To Facilitate My Healing!
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
One of the things that came up for me on my journey to wellness was a lot of fear in trusting new things.
Would this new treatment make me better or worse?
Could I handle the changes if they were not favourable?
Did this person really know what they were doing to treat me properly?
What I didn’t realize was this way of thinking was the wrong approach entirely. I was living in fight or flight. I was living in a fear-based mindset. I expected the worst, so I would not have the rug pulled out from under me.
With every new treatment I had oodles of hope, but deep down I was scared of the outcome. At a core level I didn’t think it would work.
This way of thinking never brought me the right therapies or the right environment for healing. All it brought me was more fear, more pain and even more of what I didn’t want in my life…. STRESS!
Did you know that this type of negative thinking, also called ‘worse case scenario thinking’ is seen and felt as stress to the body?
Stress is not something you want to be dancing with on a daily basis. Chronic stress will NEVER open you up to Health and Healing. It actually creates the opposite effect.
It took me a long time to realize that I was blocking my own healing by the way I was thinking.
I was causing myself stress!
Stress and Healing
The funny thing about stress is that people often do not even realize that they are stressed!
I was happy with my career, my family life, my marriage, my life seemed flawless at the time!
So, if someone asked me if I was stressed, I would have said no. I loved my life.
I had no idea that my own thoughts, my innermost darkest thoughts, that played around in my mind day after day could be causing so much turmoil for my body.
I was a ‘worst-case scenario thinker.’
Even worse than that, I was hard on myself. I didn’t except myself for what I was. I didn’t love every inch of myself. Instead, I judged myself everyday.
When constantly thinking that the other shoe is going to drop, or wishing for something better than what's there, it causes a huge amount of stress to the body.
I found that De-Stressing and checking in with myself everyday was paramount for my healing.
4 Simple De-stressing Techniques for Self-Healing.
1. Check Your Thoughts – If you are prone to worry and fortune telling about the outcome of your health and future, there are simple techniques. I found that when I had a fearful thought or worry, I stopped and asked myself, "I am 100 percent sure that what I am thinking is true?"
If the answer is "no," I let it go. Unless you are sure of the outcome, don’t give it energy. I have also found that asking myself, “Will this matter tomorrow?” Is just as important.
If what you are worrying about will not matter tomorrow, what is the point about stressing about it? Be sure that what you are giving your energy to is worth it!
2. Meditate and Deep Breathing – Meditation and inner reflection is really important for self-healing. Your body has all of the answers that you need when it comes to healing. Taking the time to get quiet with yourself to ask your body why you are having a certain problem is important. With practice you will hear your inner voice and it will 'no doubt' guide you to healing. So don’t forget to ask!
Deep Breathing is just as important A deep breathe lets your body know that you are relaxed and there's nothing to worry about. It also engages your parasympathetic healing response. This is the opposite of your stress response. Because stress is the number one cause of most health issues, deep breathing is essential.
3. Positive Reinforcement – It does a body no good to think judgemental or hurtful thoughts towards one’s self. It is important to stop negative self -sabotaging thoughts in their tracks and reinforce it with a positive statement. This tells your brain that you are not stressed and everything is ok.
4. Do Something Joyful – Most people can get really caught up in their health issues. It can bring about melancholy, depression and even anger. It is important to counter act those feelings with joy.
Did you know that laughter heals? Or that a smile, even if faked can release feel good hormones in your body. Feel good hormones are what you need to heal. Watch a comedy, do laughter yoga, smell some flowers, call a good friend, or simply think about something that brought you joy (really visualize it).
These are just a few techniques to get your started. Doing them on a daily basis will help to increase your vibration, keep your body out of stress, and keep your moods positive. It can even heal. When your vibrating at a higher frequency, you attract all that you need to be well.
Keri: I really enjoyed your blog. I am at the same point you were when you started not feeling well. in how your mind can drive you wits end. I get really worried to a point where I cant sleep. Thank you very much you are inspiration to me.
Have you ever wondered if SELF HEALING was possible for YOU?
Perhaps you have read stories of miraculous healings in other people.
I too wondered the same thing when my life turned upside down. I was doing great. I was eating all the right foods, exercising, loving my children, had a loving husband, but I learned that wasn't enough.
One day suddenly out of nowhere I found myself in the 'dark night of the soul', or a very tomultuous health storm. I was crippled with head to toe pain, burning, shaking, tremors and crippled posture. I could barely get out of bed, let alone take care of my kids. Doctor's told me I was normal and there was nothing wrong with me. I had lost all hope.
I didn't believe healing could happen to me, that is until I decided to take my power back. Until I decided to take healing into my own hands.
Find out what I did to heal my body in video below...... and what you can do to!
You are more powerful than you could ever imagine and if I can do it, so can you!
How do you love yourself for what you are when you are so deformed by medical treatment that your face is half missing and you look really scary. People turn away and cant look at you. I know I am a good and great person on the inside but not on the outside. it impacts on every area of life and I cant love it no matter how I try.
February 28, 2017 at 5:45 PM
Thanks for sharing, this email arrived at the right time. I need to share this with a friend which is suffering from a myriad of health issues.
You might be wondering why the heck I am doing writing about SEASONAL ALLERGIES at the beginning of February.
I mean the snow is still on the ground in most of the northern hemisphere. Seasonal Allergies don’t start for at least another 6-8 weeks depending on where you live, so why think about it now?
Well, what if I told you that you could begin now to prevent symptoms and even heal the root cause.
Ok, you would have to take action, but still, wouldn’t it be worth it?
First, let's talk about what causes Seasonal Allergies?
It has been said that everything begins in the GUT, and this could not be closer to the truth when it comes to Allergies.
Almost everyone I have personally worked with that has any kind of allergies also had what is known as a LEAK GUT.
You probably have heard this term a few dozen times by now as everyone is talking about it and the information is everywhere.
But, in a nutshell, Leaky Gut starts with the tight junctions in your Gut becoming porous. In other words, poor diet, stress, medications, among other things have slowly worn away little tiny holes in your gut wall.
This is a bad place to be, as now little food particles, toxins like bad bacteria and viruses, candida can leak into your bloodstream by way of these porous tight junctions.
This essentially creates a ton of work for the immune system. Now the immune system is over burdened with TOXINS. Furthermore coupled with daily life stress and because it is overburdened, when you now get exposed to grasses, pollens, dust etc, an immune system hyper-reaction takes place (Allergic Reaction).
The answer to all of this is to focus on your digestive tract, cleanse out toxic build up and de-stress, so your immune system can calm down.
Where to Begin?
The very first place to start is with your DIET. If you suffer from Allergies you must eat a Clean Diet.
I always suggest beginning with a diet to help heal your digestive system.
This means that you should definitely be eating a whole foods diet that does not contain anything out of a box or package. Your diet should contain a plethora of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats like avocado, grassfed butter, coconut oil, lean protein and nuts and seeds that have been refridgerated (nuts on the shelf have usually grown mold by the time you get them).
I often tell people to avoid all gluten, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, corn, soy, dairy, and most grains with the exception of Quinoa. Grains can be quite inflammatory for people and it is a nice break for your body to help it clean out some stored toxins.
Foods to Eat for First 6 Weeks:
Low Glycemic Fruits like berries and apples
Lean Protein (if you eat meat make sure it is grassfed, organic and ethically raised)
Healthy fats like grass-fed butter, avocado, fish oils, extra virgin organic cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil, etc
Root Vegetables like beets, carrots, squash and yams (sorry white potato is not recommended)
Lentils (no other beans in the beginning)
Homemade bone broth (very healing for the gut)
Do Not Eat these Foods for First 6 weeks:
No Gluten or grains other than the ones on the allowed list (remember grains can be inflammatory and we want to bring down inflammation)
No Caffeine (caffeine creates inflammation by taxing the adrenal glands)
No vegetable oils
Nothing from a package or processed
No pasta (although zucchini noodles make great pasta)
No dairy (for the first 6 weeks only grass-fed butter is suggested)
After the first 6 weeks, you can slowly add in one food at a time and notice how it makes you feel. I would suggest excluding gluten and packaged processed foods indefinitely and keeping sugar to a minimum.
If you add back in a food and notice any reactions, continue with the diet longer. It can take a good year to completely heal the gut.
While you are healing your digestive tract you can begin supplementing to deal with histamine, inflammation and your immune system.
My Supplement Suggestions:
Quercetin – This supplement is a wonderful gut healer. Not only does it help heal the tight junctions in the gut, but it also acts like an anti-histamine. It is a natural bioflavinoid that helps to stabalize mast cells from releasing histamine. Begin taking Quercetin 6 weeks before the allergy season begins. Click here to buy Quercetin or find in a health food store.
MSM – Here we have a sulphur containing supplement that not only heals the gut, but also lowers inflammation in the body. MSM helps to stop particles from leaking into the blood stream by healing the digestive wall and tight junctions. It is also a wonderful painful joints and muscles, helps us hold onto collagen and keratin and the elasticity of the skin. Click here to buy MSM or find it in a health food store.
Probiotics – With any immune system issue probiotics are essential. Good bacteria make up the first line of defense for the immune system and probiotics will build good bacteria in your digestive tract. They are also essential for any gut healing and allergy protocol. Since Allergies are a result of an imbalance in the gut, probiotics are a must. Click here to buy Probiotics or find them in a health food or grocery store.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Fish oils that are higher in EPA rather than DHA are an amazing anti-inflammatory. Because inflammation is such a huge part of allergies, keeping inflammation down is essential. This together with a good diet help to combat allergies. Click here to buy Omega 3 Fatty Acids or find them in a health food or grocery store.
Local Bee Pollen and Honey – There is a lot of information on local honey and bee products to help combat allergies. Just a tsp a day can help your body adapt to the local allergens in your environment.
Astragalus – This herb is a powerful immune tonic. It not only helps to increase your energy, but strengthens your immune system as well as your respiratory system. It is a great addition to any allergy plan. Click here to buy Astragalus or find it in a health food store.
Nettie Pot – Nasal Rinses can really help to clear out allergens from the sinuses and keep inflammation down. This should be used daily until your allergies are a thing of the past.
These supplement suggestions coupled with the right HEALING DIET are usually enough to not only prevent allergies, but get rid of them all together.
Remember, your immune system is speaking to you. The best thing you can do for your immune system is look to your digestion and flood it with the amazing good bacteria found in probiotics and fermented foods.
Do you have ALLERGIES?
I know first hand how bad they can be. But, by taking healthy actions you can overcome them.
January is said to be the month that hosts many dreaded colds and flu bugs. Not only that, but it is historically known as one of the most depressing months in North America.
Why is it a dull month to many? I think it is the lack of sunshine, flu’s and colds, and a dull feeling after the excitement of the holidays.
Many people find themselves battling cold after cold, having less energy than they would like and even feeling alittle blue.
But, rather than grab for cough syrup and cold remedies, how about boosting your immune system so you are rock solid and don’t get sick at all?
Wouldn’t you like to cruise through winter healthy, happy and have boundless amounts of energy?
I know I would!
Lets Clear Some Things Up First
Many people believe that if you go out into the cold weather dressed improperly, you will catch a cold. Whether that is an old wives tale or a good parental scare tactic, it’s just not true.
Cold weather actually boost your IMMUNE SYSTEM. Going from cold to hot gets your lymphatic system moving, heart pumping and immune system engaged. It’s like giving your immune system a workout!
What About the Germs?
Do you think that there are actually more germs floating around in the winter than in the summer?
The germs are still there. It’s actually the sun’s UVB & UVA Rays that increase your absorption of Vitamin D keeping your immune system strong in the summer months.
Yes, you still get Vitamin D in the winter just less is absorbed from less UVB & UVA Rays.
I should mention that people are generally happier in the summer. With happiness comes less stress, and since stress is a major immune system inhibitor, it’s no wonder less people get sick in the summer.
Could It Be Less Exercise?
Like it or not, for the most part, people are not as active in the winter months. They stay indoors more often than not, and don’t engage in as many sports. Even getting to the gym can prove to be a big feat for some.
Exercise improves circulation, stimulates the immune system, detoxifies your body and raises energy levels. Not only is it essential for good immunity, but it gives you a good boost of 'feel good hormones.'
So, exercise is essential for warding off flu bugs for sure.
7 Tips for Increasing Immunity
1. Exercise – Make sure that you are getting at least 30-60 minutes of exercise daily. This will increase your immunity, help you stay strong and fit and give you the 'joy du vive' you are looking for in the winter.
Have you ever noticed that people who exercise in the winter are happier?
2. Vitamin D – Supplement with Vitamin D to increase your body’s immunity in the winter months. Vitamin D helps you fight infections of all kinds.
A study in Japan, showed that school aged children taking Vitamin D everyday during the winter, reduced their risk of catching the flu.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin D is 1000 iu for adults. But, I have found that most people living in the Northern Hemisphere require more to maintain optimal levels. Make sure to get tested with your doctor to see where your Vitamin D levels are.
3. Get Adequate Rest – Let’s face it, even with the dark days upon us, a lot of us have a tendency to stay up way too late. Lack of rest not only decreases your body’s energy, but also increases your stress levels. Stress lowers immunity.
You should be striving to get to bed by 10pm everyday to keep your body’s energy up and therefore your immunity.
4. Probiotics – One of the best immune boosters are good flora or Probiotics. Did you know that good good flora make up the first line of defense for your immune system. Good flora also create about 80% of your immunity. So, it goes without saying that to have great immunity, you definitely need to have a strong gut health.
I personally supplement with good flora containing fermented foods like kefir and kombucha on a daily basis. You can also use Probiotics, which can be found in your natural health food store or in my store.
Make sure you buy a Probiotics that are stored in the fridge to maintain potency.
5. Herbal Immune Boosters – There are many Herbal Immune Boosters you can use in the winter for both prevention and treatment. The key is consistency. My favorvites include:
Echinacea – This is one of the more commonly known immune boosters, but I find that it is not always used correctly. Echinacea is widely used to fight infections, especially common colds and other upper respiratory infections. I have also used it at the first signs of mastitis quite effectively. The key is to use it at the first signs of infection: virus or bacteria.
So how do you use Echinacea?
Firstly, it’s more potent and effective to use a tincture made from fresh Echinacea rather than dried. Dried Echinacea has normally lost a lot of its potency.
Echinacea tincture can be used on the first signs of a cold or flu. But, 20-30 drops two to three times a day is usually not that effective. For the first sign of a cold or infection, Echinacea can be used safely every 1-2 hours 1tsp or 30 drops, until the cold or infection subsides.
As always if you have an infection that does not improve, you should always see a doctor. Also, if you have an auto-immune disease you should speak with a practitioner before using it.
You can purchase Echinacea at health food stores or online.
Astragalus Root - This is another herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as an ENERGY & IMMUNE BOOSTER. It’s known as an adaptogenic herb, which means it lowers your stress hormone cortisol. Stress hormones inhibit your immune system, so Astragalus is a powerful herb to keep on hand.
Astragalus also strengthen the lungs, which can lessen your susceptibility to respiratory infections and viruses and contains antioxidants that reduce inflammation.
This is something I like to take everyday in the winter to keep my immune system top notch.
You can buy Astragalus at health food stores or online.
Pine Needles – Did you know that pine needles are extremely high in Vitamin C & A? Not only that, but they are also a very powerful antioxidant, antiviral and immune system powerhouse. Pine Needles have been used for eons by native communities to boost Vitamin C levels, prevent cold and flu.
Pine Needles are great for preventing oxidative stress, beneficial for your skin and hair, and even have been known to improve vision.
Pine Needle tea also is antiseptic, helping to prevent bad bacteria and microbes from affecting your body. They also help treat respiratory cold and infection by expectorating phlegm and neutralizing pathogens found in the sinuses.
All you need are some Pine Needles and a pot of water. A good handful will do. Just bring water to a boil, turn off, put Pine Needles in pot, cover and let steep for 15-30mins. Strain and enjoy.
6. Local Raw Honey – Honey is perhaps one of the best immune system boosters out there. The world health organization lists honey as a demulcent, which treats coughs. I have used it for dry cough quite successfully.
Raw honey contains bee pollen, which is also known to ward off infections, prevent allergies, and is a natural source of energy.
Honey has been extensively studied and has been shown to increase disease fighting polyphenols in the blood. Polyphenols are part of what makes honey a great choice for both prevention and treatment of colds.
7. Laughter - They say laughter is the best medicine. I think this is more true than we realize. Not only does laughter increase our sense of well being, inner happiness and energy, but it creates a strong immune system.
It is one of the easiest ways to boost immunity.
I think that as adults we tend to laugh less than children. Perhaps we should take a tip from the kids and be more care-free in life?
So, how can you bring more laughter into your life? Make a commintment to laugh everyday, even if there is nothing to laugh at. Some would call this Laughter Yoga. Simply laugh. Soon you will be laughing at how silly it is and it will become infectious.
You could also make time to watch a comedy, visit friends (this usually brings about some laughs) and even play with kids. It doesn't matter how you do it, just make time for laughing each day.
When most people think of hormonal imbalances, they’re often left with the image of a woman who is tired, not sleeping well, feeling awful with crazy mood swings.
But, what if I told you that going through hormone changes happens to everyone, men included, and it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable!
The trouble is that most people don’t associate many symptoms of hormone changes with their hormones at all. They wind up going from doctor to doctor and feeling no better.
For women, most of our hormone changes happen in the 40s and 50s, but some, can even have these changes in their early 30s. However, when I see hormonal fluctuations happening in a woman’s mid thirties, it is a sign to me that her lifestyle, diet, exposure to toxins and most importantly stress is too high.
For men, the most significant hormone changes happen in the 40s into early 60s. Men can show signs of early hormonal changes as well, and not connect the dots. Again, environmental toxins, lifestyle and way too much stress are at the root of early changes.
Most Common Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalances
Do you wake up foggy and feel like you need more sleep? Do you feel sluggish and turn to coffee and other stimulants to pick yourself up? This may get you through to the afternoon when you crash and feel like someone drained your battery.
A nap would be great, but instead you turn to more stimulants to get you through. These are common symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. Not only is it a sign that you need to De-Stress your life, but that more focus needs to be put into nourishing yourself and building up your adrenal glands.
But, please DON’T forget the emotional, mental aspect of adrenal healing, as supplements are not usually enough. It can take an overhaul in your mind body connection as well as your lifestyle to fully heal.
Insomnia and Frequent Waking
Do you spent most of your day tired, but when you finally lie down to sleep, you just can’t seem to drift off into peaceful much needed sleep?
Not only that, but do you also wake frequently and have a hard time getting back to sleep?
Perhaps you turn to sleeping aids whether they are pharmaceutical or natural. Will you ever sleep without them again?
This is often a sign that your Cortisol (your stress hormone) is too high at night. It is a sign from your body that your way of life needs changing. Your inner thoughts need to be addressed.
Frequent waking at night is also a sign that your body is not detoxifying well enough.
Many people wake between 3-5 am and cannot fall back asleep. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there are specific times of day that show where most of your energy and blood is.
Between 3-5am is the time of the liver. So, if you are waking during this time, it is likely a sign that your liver is out of balance, stressed and or overburdened with toxins.
Persistent Weight Gain and Weight Loss Resistance
You can’t understand where all this weight is coming from, especially in your midsection. You watch your calories, make sure to exercise, but alas, you are still putting on weight. Is weight not supposed to be all about calories in calories out?
In most cases this is a sign that your hormones have taken your metabolism hostage. Most often it is a sign that your adrenal glands are secreting way too many stress hormones, your thyroid may be sluggish, even if your blood labs are normal, your body could still not be getting enough thyroid hormones in the cells.
Not only that but estrogen dominance in both men and women can really create the perfect fat storage recipe.
Needless to say, that most of the time, stress is the biggest root issue. When there is too many stress hormones, the adrenal glands secrete too much Cortisol and begin to steal sex hormones to make more Cortisol, depleting them.
When your body is stressed, detox pathways can also become sluggish, which affect the conversion of T4 to T3 (thyroid hormones) in your liver.
Your digestion can be directly affected by hormone changes and imbalances. Woman, you know what I’m talking about when I say that hormones can cause loose stool, gas, bloating, constipation and even indigestion.
A woman’s cycle can often bring with it digestive woes. But, one of the symptoms of hormonal imbalances is chronic or cyclical digestive issues. If you have bloating and gas among other digestive symptoms, it is worth it to think of your hormones as a culprit. Of course your diet should be looked into for improvements.
Hair thinning is often a sign that androgens and testosterone levels are out of balance. Even for women, testosterone and androgens can be too high and contribute to hair thinning, especially in the front and on top of the head.
Aging does not have to affect your hairline. Keeping your hormones balanced is part of keeping your youthful thick and lustrous hair.
Many women experience hot flashes and night sweats as a sign that their hormones are changing. However, this does not have to be the case.
It is a sign that the body is out of balance and needs some hormone assistance. This does not have to include hormone replacement therapy, but instead can be done by addressing the entire endocrine system along with getting the detoxification pathways working efficiently.
Low Sex Drive
Have you lost interest in sex?
Loss of interest and lack of performance can be linked to hormonal imbalances. Often, once hormones are optimized, your sexual vigor returns. Boosting and balancing hormones is a good way to do this.
7 Solutions to Balance Your Hormones
I find that most hormone imbalances begin with stress.
Drains your hormones
Inhibit your hormonal detox pathways
Reduce good bacteria in your gut
Steals sex hormones to make more stress hormones
All of this can leave you fatigued and in hormonal hell.
Make sure to cut the stress out of your life. Follow your heart, breathe and even meditate. But most of all, your body is crying out for attention and love, so make sure you pay attention and take the time for self-care.
2. Hormone Balancing Diet
Cut out all of the junk. No more sugar, alcohol, gluten, packaged or processed foods, corn or corn derivatives, soy or even coffee. Instead try to feed your body nourishing whole foods that are anti-inflammatory, nourishing and hypo-allergenic. Often, diet can be enough to ease a lot of hormonal symptoms just in itself.
Fibre will help to keep your bowels regular, which will help to keep excess hormones from reabsorbing into your body. Fibre from ground flax seeds, ground pumpkin, chia seeds are quite helpful and not dehydrating.
Start slow with fibre and work your way up to at least 35 grams of fibre per day. Extra fibre feeds the good bacteria in your intestines so that you can have happy and healthy digestion.
4. Eat Fat
Make sure that you are taking in enough good healthy fats. Fats are necessary for the production of hormones, anti-inflammatory, brain nourishing and often help with all sorts of hormonal symptoms.
Another good way to increase good flora in your digestive tract is to make and eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha.
Just a little bit of ferments with each meal can introduce billions and billions of good bacteria into your body.
Exercise helps to detox your body through the skin, gets the lymphatic system moving and even helps to keep your hormones balanced.
It is a good idea to get an hour of exercise a day. If an hour is too long, start small and slowly work your way up.
7. Get Tested
Figuring out where your hormones are in your blood and cells will help you to know exactly what to take to balance them.
I recommend the Dutch Steroid Urine Hormone test to know what hormone pathways are out of balance.
A blood test will show your estrogen levels, but it will not show which estrogens are high or low in the body.
A urine test shows the good and unhealthy estrogens. It will also show if your testosterone hormones are being converted properly, your androgen levels, adrenal hormones and even your Dhea levels. It is very helpful in solving the hormone puzzle. I offer this test if you are interested.
There are also many herbs and tonics that can help to balance hormones. It is recommended to work with a qualified practitioner to make sure you are taking the right things for your body. There is no one program that works for everyone!
Do you suffer from fatigue, digestive fullness and gas after a heavy meal?
I know I have before. I wanted to give you some great tips before you set out to visit your friends and loved ones over Christmas Holidays.
We all know that lots of socializing over the holidays, means lots of yummy food and over indulgance. It can also mean bad food combining, which is a recipe for a gassy bloated couch potato.
Digestive Tips to Reduce and Prevent the Holiday Heaviness in Your Tummy
1. Digestive Enzymes with Betain HCL - I love to use 'NOW Super Enzymes.' I find them to work extremely well for me and most people who use them. Take 15 mins before eating. This will help increase your stomach acid so that you can digest a big heavy meal with ease and comfort. They contain Betaine HCL and other plant digestive enzymes to make your digestion work like a well oiled machine. You don't need to feel lethargic after your holiday meal.
2. Digestive Bitters - This is another favourite to use before a meal. Just a teaspoon of digestive bitters 15 mins before eating will get your liver secreting bile, which will increase your stomach acid and other digestive enzymes for better digestion.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar - Just a capful of apple cider vinegar in an ounce or more of water 15 mins before a meal helps to increase your stomach acid. Some people love Apple Cider Vinegar as much as other enzymes and digestive tricks. It will help to digest your meal with ease leaving gas and bloating out of the equation.
4. Peppermint Tea or Peppermint Essential oil - If you don't have any of the above or just forget, you can sip on a cup of peppermint tea after a big meal. Peppermint tea will help you to move the bloating and digestive heaviness through your digestive tract with ease. You can also use a high quality essential oil like DoTerra or Young Living peppermint oil. Just a drop in a warm cup of water will be enough.
So there you have it. Just some tips to help make your holiday and digestion lighter.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I am no stranger to chronic pain. Not only did pain dominate my life for 4 years, but it also substantially increased my level of stress. It is not easy living each day with pain.
Along with pain, most people deal with varying levels of depression and stress. I know I did. It takes a Jedi mindset to ignore pain and push through each day.
But, did you know chronic pain may not be a physical problem?
Yes, pain is real, and what you are physically feeling is too.
But, what if I told you that the key to alleviating most chronic pain is in the mind!
It has been scientifically proven that many chronic aches and pains are actually rooted in the brain. As with our emotions, negative mental chatter, and an inability to cope with stress can actually affect different brain centers and manifest in the body.
In other words, your mind is able to refer pain into the physical body.
Do you have pain in your body with an unknown cause?
Or perhaps you have found its cause. But have you ever noticed some people have the exact same issue and have no problem at all?
No Pain At All.
In the book, The Hidden Psychology of Pain by Dr. James Alexander, he talks about John Sarno’s work.
John Sarno found conventional medicine actually knows little about chronic pain. He observed in his research that there was no neat relationship between damage in the body and an existence of pain. In other words, people with chronic pain, when examined with x-ray and other diagnostic tools, were found to have no structural abnormalities at all.
It was also found that a high percentage of people, who participated in the research showed evidence of structural pathology of the spine, but had no pain at all.
How can that be?
Could it be that the key to healing chronic pain is in the mind?
Throughout Western and Eastern Medicine, there are countless stories of people healing their pain via the mind.
In Western Medicine, it is known as the placebo effect and has been observed in numerous controlled, double blind studies. One group of people receive the medication, while the other group get a sugar pill which they believe is the medication.
What is interesting here is just as many people heal who believed they received the medication, as those individuals who actually did. People healed, because they believed the medication would heal them. Their belief and their mind healed their bodies.
Have you used a placebo to stimulate healing?
In Eastern Medicine, meditation appears to work for pain relief, as it reduces brain activity in your somatosensory cortex. This area of the brain determines where the pain is felt and its intensity.
More than that, Eastern Traditions are now exploring the power of your thoughts as a mind body therapy for pain.
Methods like Neuro-linguistic Programming and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy help to reprogram a person’s response to pain, as well as, change negative thought patterns which stimulate a chronic stress response.
I have had success with some of these techniques. Not only did these methods help muffle the pain I was feeling, but also helped me be at peace in my body, no matter the situation.
5 Techniques to Reduce Chronic Pain and Stress
1. Mindfulness Meditation – Mindfulness is a very effective meditation technique for relaxing mind and body, and dialing down a stress response. It has been proven effective for pain relief and pain management. Mindfulness is simply becoming aware of your breath, relaxing your mind to such a point where you lose track of your body. Your body becomes so relaxed that all pain is diminished.
Mindfulness meditation puts you into a deep, theta brain state where anything is possible. Pain becomes more manageable and in some cases disappears, and you find yourself in a more peaceful, happy state in your day to day life.
2. Hypnosis –Hypnosis is a scientifically verified and effective technique that allows you to tap into your subconscious mind and promote change.
Hypnosis enables you to create desired changes in behaviour, as well as, promoting emotional, mental, and physical well-being. It is a powerful, visualization technique that you can learn to use for: pain reduction and healing, weight loss, quitting smoking, anxiety and PTSD, etc. It allows you to gain control of unwanted behaviours and make changes.
3. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – CBT focuses on development of coping strategies to solve current problems such as: pain, depression, anxiety, as well as, facilitating conscious changes to your thoughts, behaviours, and beliefs.
Cognitive behavioural therapy has been proven to give a person practicing it new coping skills and a fresh perspective on life. It has also been shown to be effective for pain relief.
4. Visualization – Visualization is a technique that incorporates the power of the mind to heal the body. In a meditative state, you see a problem you want healed being resolved. You are essentially telling the body what you want with your mind. You literally visualize yourself in perfect health. Some people even visualize going into their problem such as pain and watch it healing. The mind is very powerful. If you believe, it can happen.
5. Placebo Effect – This is where you choose a food or an object you believe can heal your body. For example, you make a greens drink your placebo. Every time you drink it you believe it is healing you. Hence this green drink is your placebo effect. If your mind believes that your chosen object will heal you, it most likely will. The trick is to truly believe!
Have you tried any of these techniques and had success? I know I have.
I truly believe in the phrase, ‘Mind Over Matter’!
Do you have a mind body success?
I would love to hear about it....Write your story in the comment section below.
The more people who share their stories, the more others can learn what is possible and benefit.