It’s Not Either/Or; It’s Both/And

I started my website four years ago because I wanted to share my story of surviving mental illness, and I wanted to give hope for healing for those that are continuing to struggle with errors. I wanted to share how it isn’t just chemicals in the brain, how it isn’t just in your head, and how there are very real physical deficiencies and imbalances at play, just as much – if not more than – imbalances at the brain level.

I have never been anti-medication, and I have never recommended anyone go off their medication without consulting their health practitioner. But I have always wanted to be realistic about the risks that come with taking medication. While medication may have served its purpose for me in the short term, there were plenty of unpleasant side effects I experienced when I took the wrong medication, or medication at too high of a dose, or because the medication I was given didn’t fit the disorder that I was experiencing. I never hallucinated or heard voices or saw strange things… until I started taking an antipsychotic.

With that being said, there are plenty of people in the world that do benefit from medication and will need to be on that medication long-term. For other people, there may be different solutions that improve their quality of life more than medication does. There is no one-size-fits-all to mental health.

I started my podcast because I wanted to seek out experts in the field who are doing things differently, who are looking for new solutions to an age-old problem that isn’t being solved with medication and talk therapy alone.

Because of what we know of the gut-brain connection, the HPATG axis, the vagus nerve, and even mitochondrial function, we know that there is so much going on under the surface when it comes to mental and physical health. We know that our body works as a network, one huge spiderweb, and nothing occurs on its own.

We are living in a time when everything is being polarized and divided into either/or categories. If you look at alternatives to medication or vaccines, you must be anti-med or anti-vaccine. If you take medication, you must be anti-natural health. If you are promoting any kind of nutritional support, you must be promoting dieting. These things aren’t true. It isn’t either/or. We can live in a both/and world.

Continue reading “It’s Not Either/Or; It’s Both/And”

Super Spinach and Artichoke Dip – and Other Healthy Game Day Appetizer Ideas

It seems that every game day side item is loaded with cheese, cheese, and more cheese…in the form of cream cheese, sour cream, shredded, melted (called “queso” if you live in Texas), and maybe yogurt if someone is getting creative. I love dairy just as much as the next person, but it doesn’t always make me feel my best, and I’m pretty picky about when I choose to consume it. So I wanted to offer a few of my favorite non-cheese game day side options.

  1. Spinach and Artichoke Dip

All right, this recipe is not my own creation. I like to give credit where credit is due. The original recipe is here. It’s delicious, and doesn’t taste dairy free at all!

Continue reading “Super Spinach and Artichoke Dip – and Other Healthy Game Day Appetizer Ideas”

Everyday Practices for Whole Body Nourishment

Dr. Michele Kambolis is a mind-body health specialist, registered therapist, meditation teacher, and an acclaimed author and speaker who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Her second book, When Women Rise, was published in Fall 2021.

In this episode, we discuss how Dr. Michele is an unshakable believer in our innate capacity to self-heal and thrive, while also being wholeheartedly committed to developing evidenced-based resources to help people create the consciously healthy life they were born to live. 

Download this episode here or listen wherever you get podcasts!

Continue reading “Everyday Practices for Whole Body Nourishment”

Why I’m Not Bipolar – and Neither Is Anyone Else

22 years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (or manic depressive illness, as they called it back then) based on a set of symptoms, according to the DSM and failure to respond well to SSRI medication. My identity is not in my diagnosis, and neither is yours.

Imagine if we also said, “I am depression,” “I am anxiety,” “I am Hashimoto’s,” or “I am diabetes.” The phrasing doesn’t work for any other diagnosis. I’d also suggest that anytime we turn our diagnosis into an “I am” statement, we are attaching our unique identity to a set of symptoms, and putting our worth in our limitations.

22 years ago, I was suffering from the symptoms of bipolar disorder. I experienced bouts of glorious manic/hypomanic highs, where the world looked brighter and more alive, when I could stay up all night even with an illness like mono, when I felt charming and unstoppable and like the most brilliant person in the room. I also experienced waves of crushing depression, where I was unable to leave my bed, my body frozen, exhausted, and the world was a dark hole I couldn’t climb out of. It confused me because I was taking an anti-depressant at the time. So we upped the medication amount, and the highs got higher. I didn’t have any other tools for support (except my psychiatrist did mention there was emerging research on omega 3 supplements and brain health – too bad I hated burping up fish).

But here is the point I really want to get across:

Just because you were diagnosed with a mental illness by one person, based on a set of symptoms during one period of your life, doesn’t mean you will struggle with those symptoms for the rest of your life. That’s an archaic school of thought, and it doesn’t line up with newer research on brain health.

Often when we ONLY treat symptoms, instead of looking to the interconnecting root causes in each individual body, we don’t heal, and we limit the opportunity to find healing.

There are so many evidence-based tools to support mental WEALTH. Does rapid relief through medication possibly play a role? Sure! But remember, for some people, like me, it may exacerbate symptoms or make things worse, leading to new diagnoses and treatment cycle.

What are the puzzle pieces in my story that potentially led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder? Some would say I have a genetic predisposition and leave it at that. But based on what we know of epigenetics, we know that our genes are only as influential in the way they express, and they express according to our environment.

Continue reading “Why I’m Not Bipolar – and Neither Is Anyone Else”

You’re Not Fat, You’re Inflamed: The Latest Science on Losing Weight

Fat cells are really amazing protective organs, and contrary to what you’ve been told – you can’t burn them. New research changes the way we approach weight loss and addressing inflammatory fat cells.

Dr. Tracey Stroup is a naturopathic doctor who has been in the health and wellness industry for over 25 years. She joins the show for a second time in order to break down common weight loss and exercise myths.

Download and listen here or find wherever you get podcasts!

Key Topics:

– Weight loss myths (including calorie counting and the phrase “burning fat”)

– What fat cells are and how they are protective

– Reasons for rapid weight gain and what to do to treat the root cause

– Nutrient deficiencies, medications, gut dysbiosis and the role they play in weight gain and loss

– How being 15 pounds overweight or more makes your body pro-inflammatory

– Stress and the impact on exercise

– How to work out without stressing your body out

– Optimizing detoxification and products that can aid in the detox process

Learn more about Nutritional Frontiers and their products here.

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How to Boost Your Fertility Through a Natural and Holistic Approach

Sarah Clark is the author of “Fabulously Fertile – Supercharge your Fertility Naturally,” “Fabulously Fertile Cookbook” and creator of the Fertility Preparation Program.

In this episode, she shares how she uses a functional medicine coaching approach and natural fertility solutions in an effort to reverse infertility through natural, holistic methods!

Download here or listen wherever you get podcasts.

Key Topics:

– Dropping fertility rates

– What does it mean to be diagnosed with infertility?

– The connection between gut health and fertility

– Issues with the birth control pill

– Best foods for fertility

– Environmental toxins and endocrine disrupting chemicals

– The impact of stress on fertility

– Tips to de-stress and the importance of sleep and relational support

Learn more about Sarah at her website here. Listen to Sarah’s podcast Get Pregnant Naturally wherever you find podcasts.

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Five Common Myths About Mental Health

As we continue to suffer from a growing epidemic of mental illness in this country, and creating awareness is trending, we must take time to re-evaluate the way we handle this mental health conversation. As renowned psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen often says, mental health outcomes haven’t changed since the 1950s. Treatment options appear to be limited, because while we have plenty of medications, cases are skyrocketing.

However, there are new discussions happening, and a growing number of practitioners are seeking to support mental health with tools that were previously brushed aside. In order to move forward in our thinking about mental health, we need to dispel the myths that are often perpetuated by antiquated mentality on the topic.

Warning: some of these will be tough pills to swallow (pun intended), but they are all backed by the latest research. Please drop me a line if anything is questionable to you or you need further clarification. I’d love to have a longer discussion on the topic.

Continue reading “Five Common Myths About Mental Health”

Integrating Eastern Medicine Tools for Better Sleep, Stress Resilience, and Digestion

Jacqueline Gomez is the founder and CEO of Welleum, a company that brings Eastern medicine to the modern Western World.

In this episode, we dig into why more and more people are seeking out alternative health solutions, the hesitancy some may have in trying something new, and how Welleum offers a way to advocate for your health with resources and solutions that work.

Download and listen here or find wherever you get podcasts.

Key Topics:

  • What is Eastern medicine and why do we hesitate to utilize it?
  • The stress-body connection
  • “Pop-a-pill” culture and the need to treat the root
  • Why people are now turning to Eastern medicine
  • The resources provided by Welleum, along with their tinctures
  • How your boy is designed to function like a clock
  • Stress management tips
  • How to integrate Eastern and Western medicine and how it doesn’t have to be either/or
  • Developing a schedule to benefit whole body health
  • Ingredients in Welleum tinctures and science behind it
  • Correcting digestive imbalances

To learn more about Welleum and try their products, head to their website here.

This podcast is sponsored by Sleep Number. Save $1,000 on the NEW Sleep Number 360 special edition smart bed. Head to sleepnumber.com/wholeness to check it out!

Understanding and Embracing the Healing Power of Herbs

Adaptogenic herbs are getting a lot of buzz in the health world, so this episode is a dive into all things herbs and herbalism, with herbalist and writer Brittany Ducham.

Brittany’s new book, Radical Remedies, is a great starter for anyone wanting to learn more about how to use herbs to support health and well-being. In this conversation, we discuss her new book and how to individualize your personal use of herbs to support your health goals.

Download this episode and listen here, or find wherever you get podcasts!

Key Topics:

  • Brittany’s background in herbalism
  • How herbalism is a form of empowerment and activism and background on her book, Radical Remedies
  • Herbal energetics and elemental forces and how different people need different things
  • Herbs for mental health support, anxiety, stress, and tension
  • Digestive support and herbs that improve gut health
  • Adaptogens – what they are and how they help
  • How to get started with herbs without getting overwhelmed
  • Where to find herbal tinctures and formulations that are good quality
  • The interconnectedness of our world with plants and nature’s healing power

Find more information about Brittany and herbalism at her website here and follow her on Instagram at spellboundherbals.

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Moving and My Mental Health

A few years ago, I said to my husband Richard, “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a type of counseling center that has regular counseling, all the helpful therapy support, along with nutrition, yoga, and other tools for healing?” He agreed it would be a great idea, and we said… “one day.”

Well that one day is here! We are so thrilled to follow the path that we believe has been so clearly laid out for us. We are going to be working together at a holistic counseling and wellness center in East Texas, called Living Well Tyler.

Tyler is a place that contains sad memories for me, but it is also filled with memories of so much hope and redemption. I first moved there at nine years old, fresh from the Bay Area of California, and six months later I witnessed the death of my grandfather on my front lawn. I spent my mentally tumultuous teen years in Tyler, but I also met my best friends there. I graduated college there. My first child was born there. I went on my first date with my husband there. Almost two decades after leaving, It feels special and fitting to be able to move our family there at this time.

This verse was read during a contemplative prayer session with the soul care director at Living Well a couple months ago, and it has been such a source of comfort as I process this transition:

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – ‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:16-19‬

Any kind of change – even good change – is a trigger for my mental health. The unknown, the “what ifs,” can heighten worry and anxiety.

Continue reading “Moving and My Mental Health”