Wellness.

Feeding your soul is just as important as the food you put in your body.
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We spend a week in Montana every summer. Both Ryan and I grew up in Polson, Montana on the southern end of Flathead Lake. Every year we make a trek back to the homeland for some much needed time away from our busy lives. This year has been different, as both of our extended families have been in town as well. It has been more difficult on this trip to capture the space that I have been craving. So today I am up early to watch the sun rise over the majestic Mission Mountains and to take some time to watch the clouds roll by and to notice my place on this planet. We are all part of this beautiful Universe and taking the time to notice and bask in the glorious stillness of the early morning nourishes my soul.

How do you take moments to feed your soul? Please share with us!

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Bread. Headaches.

Bread. We all love it, but for most of us, it doesn’t love us and we don’t even realize it. There are lots of varied explanations for this that someone else can go into (Grain Brain & Grain Maker by David Perlmutter, Wheat Belly by William Davis as well as many others), but I want to share with you a little story.

Since I was 10 years old I have had seasonal cluster/migraine headaches. They come on really fast and there is no way to prepare for the onset as I wake up in the middle of the night writhing in pain. It is so aweful that I am afraid to go to bed at night! I’ve consulted with a variety of doctors and specialists and they can diagnose me and offer prescription drugs, but there has never been anyone that has offered preventative measures. I have been able to manage these headaches and eventually get off the prescription drugs as whatever it is in my environment that triggers the headaches subsides. I have tried lots of different things while managing with headache medications: chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, all of which seem to contribute to my getting back on my feet. Eventually, the headaches run their course and I go back to “normal” life.  During the last round of headaches, I decided to see a naturopath (the same one that Ryan has been seeing over the years).  She did some bloodwork and asked me to commit to going off all grains for three months. Now I’ve gone off of gluten, but ALL grains (rice, corn, wheat, teff)? It was a lot to ask, but I committed to taking on this challenge. And I failed. One day in particular, I remember that I made some homemade pesto and I was ready to enjoy some gluten free pasta with this yummy pesto. This gluten free pasta was made from rice, corn and soy. Ten minutes after my meal, I was writhing in pain. That is when I decided to take this challenge of  going off all grains seriously. I committed and I was able to do it for a few months (and then we went on vacation and I broke the chain, but I have jumped right back on as soon as we got home). I truly believe that eating grains triggers my headaches. It’s like there are toxins that directly link to my brain and the headaches ensue. I think for most of the year, I can process these toxins, but when there is a higher level of stress in my life and/or there is a ton of pollen or molds in the air, my body just cannot handle processing all that I am throwing at it and subsequently reacts with the worst headaches ever. I’m sure that there are more technical terms for what is happening in my body and my head, but this is what I believe and it has helped me to resolve going off grains. There is one side effect of this “prescription” . . . I have slimmed down quite a bit which is a side effect that I think most people can live with (:

All of this to say . . . there are preventative solutions to health problems. We simply have to be willing to feed out bodies well. And eating well is different for everyone, as I am learning (as Ryan learns in his IIN courses, I also learn – one of the many benefits of being this man’s partner and wife!).

My next post will be about my experimentation with grain free bread recipes. Yes, I have been baking and I have pictures to prove it!

Maribeth

 

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Alive and kickin’

Thank you to all of you who have been faithful followers!  We have not had a personal post (althought we have shared articles on facebook from time to time), for quite a while.  My hope is to post more regularly to allow you to share in our random wanderings to wellness!

Ryan and I have been on our journey to wellness over the past few years.  As we wander toward wellness, we have taken this journey together and at the same time have had separate paths.

The current state of affairs:

Ryan continues to work in the software industry, but has also taken a step toward pursuing something more.  He enrolled in with Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN)  in March to become a health coach. He has been learning and listening and studying all that goes into becoming a health coach.  The information that he is learning is invaluable and I cannot wait for him to begin sharing some of this information with all of you in the coming months.

I had been working part-time, but this spring I (with the love and support of my husband) decided that it was time to focus on our family more fully and recommit to helping all of us step into a healthier and more balanced life (at least this is my hope). I am also teaching yoga and meditation at our local YMCA and I continue to teach yoga and kids yoga at Hot Yoga Experience. At this point in time, I feel really blessed to be able to spend time carting kids to various activities, forcing them to go on hikes with me and doing all that I can to build a good foundation in my relationship with our children.

There is more that we will share with you over time . . . but I think this is sufficient for now.

Life is a roller coaster.

Day at Disneyland - June 2016.

Day at Disneyland – June 2016.

I am grateful to share our experiences with you!

Sincerely - Maribeth

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My takeaways from… A book, “Grain Brain”

grainbrain

I recently read a book,  Grain Brain by David Perlmutter.

Main takeaway?

Each and every person should try going off of gluten for 2-3 months and see what impact it has on their life.

That sounds dumb, Ryan!  Why would I go off of it if I don’t have any health issues and eating it doesn’t cause a noticeable reaction?

Ah.. I’m so glad you asked this question!  Let me tell you why I speak such dumbese.  Today’s gluten isn’t your ancestor’s gluten.  In fact, it hasn’t been since around 1950.  Our society has been tweaking wheat genetically without really understanding the long term effects of it on mankind.  Well… the data is flooding in and things aren’t looking so good.  Let’s not even include the folks with Celiac’s disease in this, also known as gluten intolerance, also know as folks who have an acute allergic reaction to the consumption of gluten.  This is a small percentage of the population and this seems to be the only time the main stream medical community takes gluten issues seriously.  I’m talking about everybody else here… yes! I’m talking about you (and me)!

I want to talk about the rest of the spectrum that is usually referred to as ‘gluten sensitivity’.  I used to think that this spectrum was confined to those that had some degree of mild allergic reaction to eating gluten.  That it had to cause your digestive tract to become inflamed to some degree to even warrant a discussion about cutting out gluten.  This book has convinced me that I was wrong.  The spectrum is so broad.  I can hear you all chanting in Match Game style “How broad is it?”  It is so broad that it seems to include everyone to some degree.

This book talks about studies tying gluten to brain degenerative disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, MS and many other of your lifestyle altering favorites like anxiety/depression, chronic headaches, ADHD and many more.  This information, coupled with all the data tying gluten sensitivity to autoimmune disorders (see yours truly), makes an overwhelming argument for a person to at least try going off of gluten for a period of time and see how their amazing body responds.

I have been off of gluten for over a year and my results are pretty well documented on this blog.  I have helped to inspire others to try this (my mother and my wife to name a couple) and while it is early, everyone has experienced positive change.  Some of the short term results are brain fog disappearing, bellies/butts slimming down in a way that exercise hasn’t touched, faces/skin clearing up.  I will report back on the long term effects as they become more clear.

My challenge to all of you is this.  Don’t ignore this!  I know you like yourself some bread and some pasta.  I was at the top of the gluten enjoying pyramid.  You can go without this in your life.  It isn’t as big of a deal as it seems right now.  It also might be the best decision you can make for your future and your family’s future!  JUST TRY IT! Start today… start right now.

 

 

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The American Parasite

This is a very interesting watch.  I think this has a lot to do with what I have had to overcome.  I have taken the drastic food route this video mentions (with some of the probiotic route).  It has a product push at the end, which is what it is… but I really think the information is important in here.  Please take a watch!  (Also, I don’t agree with the portion of this that alludes to you not changing your diet at all)
The American Parasite

 

 

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If you watch one movie this holiday season…

foodmatters

PLEASE make it “Food Matters” (Available for streaming on Netflix). View Trailer Here

I can hear most of you now:

“That sounds REALLY interesting…” , ”Why would I want to sit and watch a movie about food?”

Well I say to that, You have NOTHING to lose and EVERYTHING to gain!

The information is out there on how to live a healthy, vibrant life… we just all need to become aware of it.

I was completely oblivious to how much this matters, until I was diagnosed with a chronic illness.  My eyes have been opened and I wish nothing more than to help others see the information that I have seen.  Our society is going in the wrong direction.  It is time to empower yourself and TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your present and future and your children’s present and future.

We have become too accustomed to eating the wrong foods, please, please, please watch this movie and start eating the right foods.  Your future, your family’s future, mankind’s future depends on it!  Please watch the movie and reply with your comments!!

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8 year old girl, helping her cancer fight through diet.

The point of starting this blog was to raise awareness that nutrition has to be a consideration when dealing with disease in your body.  I would never claim that it is a cure all or that it is ever the only thing you should do in these situations… but it has to be a huge part of the equation and a vital step on your road to wellness.

Here is a video about a young girl who has changed her disease equation by giving her body proper nutrition.

See Video

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Admitting you’re wrong . . .

I stumbled across this article and I love it for many reasons.  The most important reason being that this doctor admits that what he has been telling his patients for many years, has been wrong.  I admire that he is willing to evaluate his work and see the evidence that he has personally seen in countless people and realize that he needs to reevaluate his advice . . .   I think we can all learn from this doctor in more ways than just this one.  See for yourself!

http://www.sott.net/article/242516-Heart-surgeon-speaks-out-on-what-really-causes-heart-disease

 

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My health transformation

I know some of you have read this from our website, but I realize that many have not discovered this area of the website. Here is my version of my health journey…

Always happy, always positive . . . that was my internal dialogue when I asked myself who I was. It wasn’t just lip service. I felt it in my soul. Maybe I got lucky? There were plenty of other people I had met in this world that didn’t operate from the same safe place. I had a track record of leaving people feeling better about their day after they hung out with me and I loved it. It filled me up. Sure I had down days just like everybody else, but they were few and far between.

Fast forward a couple of years. When I look back and reflect, I’m not really sure when it changed. It seems as if it was very gradual and completely justified by me. “I am in a demanding, stressful job,” I thought to myself. “Surely anybody in this situation might be struggling the same way“, but my struggle was different. My body was slowly breaking down on me. I just couldn’t see it.

After all, I worked out three times a week with my buddies from work. These were hard workouts . . . I was in good shape . . . so why couldn’t I catch my breath? I held out for a couple of months, but it only got worse. Finally I caved. Maybe I had some sort of chest cold that wouldn’t go away? I had chest colds that wouldn’t quit the previous two winters, so maybe this was more of the same? It wasn’t.

One day after visiting my general practitioner, I was being escorted by a lady in a hazmat suit down a hospital corridor. She was informing me that if I did indeed have Tuberculosis that I would immediately be placed in isolation. Twenty minutes and one CT scan later; I was told I could go home. I wasn’t; however, told anything about what they had discovered.

Next, a rather pathetic experience in a plastic surgeon’s office where I had a nodule in my arm biopsied (remind me, I’ll tell you the tale sometime). They didn’t find what they were looking for. Later, it was a biopsy of my lung tissue. I remember quoting Airplane to the two doctors who were about to snake instruments through my nostrils, past my vocal chords and into my lungs, “I just want to say good luck; we’re all counting on you”.

Apparently they found what they were looking for this time. They even had a name for it, although it was nothing I had ever heard of before – Sarcoidosis. “The good news is that it is VERY treatable.” This seemed to be the first thing in the handbook to tell a patient with my condition because I heard it a lot. This sentence represented a lot of different emotions to me over the next two years. In the end, it has become my source of hope and of truth, but not in the way it was ever intended from those who told me.

So I did what I thought I needed to do. I listened to my doctors. I went to a pulmonologist who started me on a high dose of prednisone, 60 mg. My lungs were in stage 4, which meant I had fibrosis (scarring in laymen’s terms). What else would I do? These people knew what they were doing. They had seen this before.

Four months later, things were different. I was different. I had put on weight, was distant from my family and I was still in full blown denial that this was really happening to me. Soon after, a bacterial infection showed up on my shin. This worried my doctor. He started me on an antibiotic and had me begin the taper off of prednisone. Three+ months later, I stopped the prednisone and the antibiotic. I was taking an inhaled steroid now – Flovent.

A lot happened over the next year. I worked a lot. I endured a lot of stress. I drank a fair amount with my coworkers to deal with the stress we were enduring. I learned about meditating. I tried a few different antioxidant juices. I experienced panic attacks, depression and anxiety (or the magical trifecta, as I like to think of them). I had a short stint with a counselor. I tried two acupuncturists and eventually settled on a third. She has helped me in ways I never thought possible.

Then the hives came. It was my arms. It was my legs. It was my stomach, my chest, my butt. I seemed to be allergic to my clothes, my bed, my carpet, even my underwear. My body was breaking down on me. I was barely holding it together at work (although my coworkers had my back and were picking up the slack). Somehow, I was still denying that anything really needed to change on my part. I was still detached from this experience. I didn’t want to accept that any of this was real.

It was real. My pulmonologist said he couldn’t help me with my hives or fatigue. I told him about my shortness of breath and how it was the reason I came to see him, but my blood oxygen level was fine, so he sent me home. When my acupuncturist said she wanted me to go get my heart checked out, because she was concerned about the signs my body was giving her . . . EVERYTHING CHANGED. I went home and I sobbed and I wailed. I don’t remember ever crying like this before in my life. It sounded like a walrus giving birth to an elephant (or what I imagined it might sound like). My body was releasing everything. All of the things I had packed away in my denial trunk over the past two years were suddenly coming to the surface and I had to face it all.

That was the moment I took ownership of what was happening to my body. It was clear to me that I needed to start fighting, but I was worried I was too late. I was desperate. My mother, wife and a coworker all suggested a naturopath for my hives. I was willing to try anything. What I got that day in my ND’s office was the glimmer of hope.

I wanted her to fix my hives; she wanted to focus on why my immune system was so out of whack. A couple of tests later, it was clear I had a gluten issue and that my adrenals were under performing. She started me on a paleolithic elimination diet and an adrenal support supplement. An amazing thing started to happen, I began to improve.

Sure I knew that what you put in your body affected things, but I ate pretty healthy . . . didn’t I? Seeing my diet change my health conditions opened up a whole new world of possibilities to me. I was like a sponge, reading websites, books and watching movies. I suddenly realized that maybe it wasn’t too late to fight this disease. What other information could I find to help me out of this health spiral? I learned about monitoring my pH balance. I learned about juicing vegetables. I learned the importance of diligent hydration (my horrible issues with dry eye literally disappeared overnight!). I learned about the studies correlating cancer and heart disease to eating animal products.

As week has stacked upon week the changes in me are dramatic. As of May 24th, 2013, it has been 5.5 months since I changed my diet. I have been on a strict vegan and no grain diet for the past 3 months which is where the most dramatic changes have come. I am taking no medications. I have no dry eye. I have no hives. I have no depression, anxiety or panic attacks. I have little to no fatigue. I am energized at work again. I am happy and I am present for my children and my wife. Most importantly, I now have hope that this disease IS treatable. The main repercussions of this new lifestyle have been dropping 50 pounds and feeling healthier than I can ever remember. Now those are side effects I can live with!

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