Aside from epigenetics, one discovery that has completely changed the way I view my body’s healing ability is gut health. Learning how to take care of my gut transformed my mental health.
5 years ago, the term was a mystery to me. I thought probiotics were only necessary when taking an antibiotic. And it’s true – considering the fact that most of the food we eat contains antibiotics, probiotics are a necessity.
The reality is, the state of our gut bacteria determines much of our health and well-being, from our immune system to mental health to most chronic diseases plaguing people in the 21st century.
From a young age, I was on antibiotics, steroids, and various medications that disrupt gut bacteria. I suffered from intense sugar cravings and yeast infections, major signs that my gut needed balancing. The state of my gut health, those genetic predispositions I mentioned earlier, and witnessing a traumatic event at the age of 9 are what I believe led to my mental illness crisis in my teens and 20s. It’s alllll connected. Continue reading “Gut Health 101: Part 1 – What is Leaky Gut?”→
They told me I’d need medication the rest of my life.
4 years ago this week, I was weaned off my last medication, 10 milligrams of Celexa. I had vertigo for 3 weeks. Some days I felt like I was riding a roller coaster. After 18 years of being medicated, it wasn’t an easy transition for my body.
My doctor said I was ready. I was eating healthier, working out regularly, and sleeping consistently. I would never have done this without her support. This wasn’t the typical bipolar action of, “Hey, I’m going off all my meds!” It was something that took years in the making. It wasn’t a decision anyone took lightly.
It took time to adjust. I needed to actively monitor my stress levels. I needed to remember to slow down and rest. I took my supplements diligently. I ran. A year and a half later, I found yoga.
Have you heard of MTHFR? Nope, it’s not an abbreviation for a bad word (and yes that’s an overused joke). It’s a genetic mutation a large percentage of the population (estimated to be 40-60%) carries. I won’t get all science-y here since this is a recipe post, but this article breaks it down really well.
I have one copy of this mutation, and because of this, I have chosen to remove folic acid completely from my diet – and my kids’ diets. Because of my boys’ tongue and lip ties, I suspect they have it as well, so I don’t want to take any chances.
Here’s the problem – folic acid is in EVERYTHING. Bread, cereal, supplements, enriched wheat… and pasta. Even those beloved Cheerios, people!
We haven’t eaten traditional whole wheat pasta in a long time for the gluten and inflammation reason, and there are some really great gluten-free pasta alternatives out there, but I always feel like if a veggie can substitute, do the veggie.
Stress. We hear about it all the time. It’s in our daily vocabulary. We feel the weight of it constantly.
What if I told you that the food you consume is stressing your body out and making things worse?
It sounds crazy, right? When I think of stress, I think of a busy schedule, too many commitments, big life events or tragedies, etc. I don’t think of an internal response. However, the food you eat has a major impact on your stress hormone: cortisol.
Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone. The purpose of it is actually a good thing! It is supposed to protect your body during times of stress. Imagine living in the wild and a mountain lion is approaching. Cortisol shoots through your body through the adrenals (hello, adrenaline!) in order to increase glucose for energy to ward off the attacker. Your heart rate increases thanks to epinephrine and you’re able to store fat needed for the fight. After the mountain lion has been killed and the situation is resolved, your body returns back to its normal state. All is well.
Here’s the problem with our current diet. When we eat lots of sugar and refined or simple carbs, our blood sugar is frequently crashing, signaling to the body that we’re under attack and need an increase of cortisol. So glucose is increased and fat is stored. This is super taxing on the adrenals, because due to the carb-sugar cycle we are always in, our adrenal glands are ALWAYS shooting out extra cortisol, way more than was intended in human design. Our cells soon become resistant to cortisol. What does this lead to? Inflammation, a poor-functioning immune system, type 2 diabetes, fertility issues, inability to lose weight, cancer, thyroid problems, depression, chronic fatigue…the list goes on. Continue reading “Is What You’re Eating Stressing You Out?”→
I typically stay away from cow dairy, but let’s be honest – there are times in life that call for a creamy dip. This dip contains goat cheese, which unlike cow milk, is made from A2 casein. A2 casein has anti-inflammatory properties and even brain health benefits without the issues that cow’s milk creates (gut issues, allergies, eczema and acne, to name a few). My thirdborn can even eat goat cheese without a runny nose as a party favor, so we usually have it on hand in the Kerry casa.
Brussels Sprouts are some of my favorite things to eat because as a cruciferous vegetable, they aid in detoxification. They also contain a good dose of fiber, which is helpful in keeping blood sugar levels steady and keeping you feeling fuller longer. I recently learned they are one of the best sources of plant-based omega 3s, which means… improved brain health!
My husband and I make them two different ways, which are both delicious and filling.