Changing the Conversation on Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a tricky subject. While on one hand, there seems to be a greater awareness of what it is and how to find support, it still carries a bit of a stigma and there are many misconceptions. For that reason, I don’t approach the topic lightly. Like all mental health issues, there is no one size fits all cause OR solution.

Walker Ladd, Ph.D. has been a thought leader in the field of maternal mental health for nearly two decades. Her writing and research challenge paradigms of motherhood and mental illness, using women’s stories to reveal the hidden truths and extraordinary dimensions of the lived experience of motherhood.

Continue reading “Changing the Conversation on Postpartum Depression”

Dear 2020 – A Letter of Loss

Dear 2020,

I recently heard that it may be helpful to write a letter as a way to process grief and loss.

Because loss comes in many different forms and there is no one size fits all to grief, I want to say goodbye to you and process my losses in a way that makes sense to me. Since I’m writing to an inanimate object, I will try not to get bogged down by my perpetual fear of offending anyone or hurting anyone’s feelings.

You know the song lyric that goes, “You don’t know what you got til its gone?” 2020, you made those lyrics realer than anything. As I have been processing my grief since March, I realized that most of the things I lost, I didn’t appreciate until they were gone.

The first thing I lost this year is the belief that I don’t have to pick a side. You taught me that the lines are tattooed into the sand so tightly that we must choose. I thought I could avoid that. But it’s not true. We must pick sides, and we must use extreme assumptions. For example: If I believe that black lives matter, I’m a Marxist. If I am pro-medical freedom and body autonomy, I don’t care about other people. If I question Fauci, I’m a conspiracy theorist. If I do my own research, I’m anti-science. If I don’t vote for Trump, I’m not a Christian. If I do vote for Trump, I’m a racist. There is no middle ground, no exception, no gray areas. You are the year that forced us to believe we must all play your twisted version of Red Rover.

At some point during your reign of terror, maybe around May, I lost the silly notion that as humans, we can assume the best about each other and offer one another the benefit of the doubt. These days, thanks to the ease of social media, I see that we only assume the worst, then swiftly cut contact, de-friend, unfollow, cancel anything that we disagree with. We make posts that start with, “I’m about to get real, and if you don’t like it, block me and unfriend me.” I’m grieving the belief that I have the option to share that which offers encouragement and hope, not division and dissent. Many times, what I thought would be encouraging, was offensive.

The other big loss I experienced this year, something I didn’t know was a luxury until now, is the loss of smiles. Thanks to the cooler weather, I’ve started walking and running outside again, and it is such a gift to receive a real life toothy smile from a stranger as I’m passing by. Many people walk by expressionless, not saying a word to me. Were they like that before? I don’t know. But 2020, you have made me hyperaware of how other people interact, or fail to interact, with one another. I really miss smiling. Facial expressions are important to my psychological well-being, and I didn’t know it until now.

Continue reading “Dear 2020 – A Letter of Loss”

Stop Sabotaging Yourself: Beating Chronic Pain and the Toughest Obstacles

Jennifer Loehding is a health and business coach, blogger, podcast host, speaker, and author. Her memoir, Beat the Toughest Obstacles, highlights the period in her life when she was able to recover from the pain and frustration that comes with a diagnosis of Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia. After years of getting no answers from medical professionals, Jennifer decided to find the best path to healing for herself.

Her story is inspiring and encouraging and a reminder not to be limited by a label! Download here or listen wherever you get podcasts.

Key Topics:

  • dcm_2855-edit copyJennifer’s health journey and her diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia
  • What is the butterfly effect and how it impacts our
  • How to stop sabotaging self belief
  • How to let go of the unnecessary
  • Setting priorities
  • How a therapeutic ketogenic diet changed her life
  • How she maintains health pain-free
  • How making one small change makes a difference

Learn more about Jennifer at JenniferLoehding.com.

Don’t forget to try out Swanson vitamins here and use the code whole20 for 20% off your first purchase!

How Environmental Toxins Mess With Our Health

Mystery symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, and frequent headaches? Unable to lose weight no matter what you try? Skin issues? Bathroom problems? You might be struggling from toxic overload!

Diana Edwards is the founder and CEO of Optimally You and co-owner of Revolution Health and Wellness and Against the Grain Podcast with her husband, Dr. Chad Edwards. She is an expert on environmental toxins and their impact on our health.

In this episode, we learn about all the sneaky toxins we encounter day to day that impact our mental functioning, hormones, and so much more!

Key Topics:

  • headshotDiana’s health journey, how every traditional treatment failed her until she learned how to treat the root
  • Common household/environmental toxins and their effect
  • How these toxins overload our body
  • The danger of commonly used cleaning supplies
  • Simple ways we can reduce our toxic load in cost effective ways
  • How to support detoxification pathways, especially if you have the MTHFR gene mutation
  • Why some people have a harder time detoxing than others
  • How you know if you are struggling with toxicity

To learn more about Diana, head to her website here.

This episode is sponsored by Forager Project, a company with 100% organic plant-based products like kefir, milk, yogurt, and sour cream. To learn more about Forager, head to: http://www.foragerproject.com/vote

Feast 2 Fast Holiday Round Registration is Open!

It’s back! Another session of Feast 2 Fast is starting up November 2! This program is a group coaching program like NONE other. It teaches participants how to make peace with carbs and create metabolic flexibility while also incorporating daily spiritual nourishment – because true health isn’t just about what you eat and how much you work out.

What have past participants said? Read here:

“I’ve lost weight, but more importantly I feel 100 times better. Better blood sugars, better sleep, and overall more energy!”

“My wins have been freedom from set meal times, freedom to enjoy nutritious meals that actually fuel me and pay attention when there are things I eat that don’t. I have found the freedom to eat when I am hungry and not have to count calories and such. I love that I don’t need to avoid group gatherings and the foods that will be offered. I can eat the best way for me. I am sleeping great. Lastly, and a bonus – I have lost almost 10 pounds!”

“I was already using some of the tools offered, but I didn’t have the support to ask questions, nor did I have the grace and mercy toward myself to enjoy the process to make lifelong changes opposed to achieving the end goal of weight loss. My perspective is different now, I really believe the changes I’m making are supporting better overall health than just getting the pounds off now!”

If you are ready for a month-long metabolic makeover that enhances your mind, body, and soul, get signed up now! For more information and to register now click here.

It’s Not Just Your Thyroid

“If you have an unhealthy gut, you could be missing out on about 25% of your thyroid hormone.”

Reed Davis, Founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Certified Nutritional Therapist. He is the founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. Having experience with over 10,000 clients, he is known as one of the most experienced clinicians in the world.

In this episode (available here or on all major podcasting platforms), he explains why thyroid issues are symptoms of underlying issues that must be looked at as a whole.

I’ll be honest. Because thyroid issues are not my personal health concern or my coaching focus, I don’t know as much about it as I would like to. In this episode, Reed simplifies very complicated concepts in order to break down the root causes of thyroid problems and show that it is intricately connected with every other process in the body. I learned so much from this mind-blowing conversation, and I know you will too!

Key topics include:

  • reed davis headshotTests that determine thyroid issues
  • Symptoms of thyroid dysfunction
  • Causes of underactive thyroid
  • The role of TSH and the T4-T3 conversion
  • The role of toxicity, immune system, fight or flight
  • The gut health factor on thyroid
  • Why the most commonly prescribed medication may not be the best fit
  • How to be kind to your liver and what its function is in overall body health
  • How stress causes chaos in the body
  • Lifestyle medicine tools to support healing
  • How Functional Diagnostic Nutrition can work for you

To learn more about FDN and to enroll, click here.

This episode is sponsored by Forager Project, a family-owned company that creates organic, plant-based products. Forager wants to encourage everyone to exercise democracy and vote. Check it out here.

The Gut-Brain Connection and What You Can Do About It

We are in the middle of a mental illness epidemic. According to a report done by the CDC in June, 25% of people between the ages of 18-24 seriously have considered suicide since March. The percentage was 16% for adults 25-44. 31% of all age groups reported experiencing anxiety or depressive disorder, and over 40% experienced adverse or behavioral health symptoms. “The prevalence of symptoms of anxiety disorder was approximately three times those reported in the second quarter of 2019 (25.5% versus 8.1%), and prevalence of depressive disorder was approximately four times that reported in the second quarter of 2019 (24.3% versus 6.5%) (2).” See full report here.  

These numbers affect me on a very personal level.

I was diagnosed with PTSD at a young age, followed by depression, followed by a diagnosis of bipolar disorder by the time I was 18. I was on many different medications to attempt to treat my mental disconnect, and while some of the worked, some did more harm than good. I understand what it is like to experience the deepest of lows and the highest of highs. I know what it feels like to have a brain that you can’t control, a mind that races and thoughts that spin around and threaten any kind of peace or stability.

One thing I have learned, in my last decade of mental stability, is that our mental health symptoms are always responses to an imbalance in our internal or external environment. External triggers could be grief, stress, or lifestyle disruption. Internal triggers could be something like blood sugar issues, thyroid dysfunction, nutrient deficiencies… or poor gut health. Learning about the gut/brain connection and addressing key areas in my physical health made a huge impact on my mental health.

Now, there is no one size fits all. What worked for me is not going to work exactly the same in someone else. But I do believe everyone can benefit from improving gut health.

img_2877

In a perfect world, the lining of the intestine allows entry to nutrients from our food to be absorbed and go where they’re needed. This lining is supposed to prevent toxins, bacterial overgrowth, and food products from exiting the gut lining. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. When you have poor gut health, thanks to stress, toxins in the environment, overconsumption of sugar and processed foods, overuse of antibiotics or other common medications, and a whole lot of other triggers, the intestinal barrier becomes permeable, and endotoxins leak out. This is what the phrase “leaky gut” refers to. The inflammation that results leads to a myriad of health issues, but what is being studied a lot right now is the effect on the brain and mental health. Many psychiatrists are suggesting that poor gut health is at the root of many of our mental illnesses.

To further that point, it’s important to note that over 90% of our serotonin (the “happy” neurotransmitter) is produced in the gut, and serotonin cannot be produced without the assistance of amino acids. So if what we eat impacts the way our neurotransmitters are produced, it stands to reason that what we eat impacts the way our brains receive neurotransmitters and find mental wealth.

There are many lifestyle interventions that are FREE, that can benefit our brain function as well as our gut. To break it down in the most simple form possible, here’s the acronym LIVE to help you get started and give you some practical ways to start taking nourishing your gut and brain together!

Continue reading “The Gut-Brain Connection and What You Can Do About It”

How to Create Natural Neurotransmitter Balance for Mental Wellness

Are there alternatives to medication for mental illness? Is there a way to avoid all the long-term side effects? What other tools can we utilize to help balance our neurotransmitters naturally?

In this interview with Dr. Josh Friedman, we take a deep dive into neurotransmitters and how to optimize them for mental wellness, via food as well as amino acid supplementation.

Dr. Friedman has a doctorate in Psychology from New York University and did post-doctoral training in Psychoanalysis from the Training and Research Institute for Self Psychology (TRISP) in New York City. He also is certified as a Holistic Health Counselor from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York and earned a Diploma of Comprehensive Nutrition (Dip.CN) from Huntington College of Health Sciences.

Download this episode wherever you get podcasts!

Key Topics include:

pic work with me

– The importance of digesting protein to create the right neurotransmitters

– The struggle with treatment-resistant depression

– Why B12 is essential for mental health

– How enzymes aid in digesting protein in order to benefit our mental health

– Amino acid suggestions for low serotonin, low dopamine, and low endorphins

– And so much more!

Find more info on Dr. Friedman’s work click here.

Books mentioned in episode:

The Mood Cure by Julia Ross

The Anti-Anxiety Solution by Trudy Scott

Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker

Questionnaire for amino acids mentioned in the episode click here.

Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food

“People don’t make the connection between how they eat and how they feel emotionally through the brain. They don’t realize there is a connection to food and the brain and emotional well-being.”

Dr. Uma Naidoo is a board certified psychiatrist, professional chef, and nutrition specialist. She is the director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and also on faculty at Harvard Medical School.

In this fascinating episode, we discuss her exciting new book, This Is Your Brain On Food, which I highly recommend. Listen to the entire episode and subscribe wherever you get podcasts or listen here.

Key topics of our conversation include:

  • img_0728a.wDr. Naidoo’s journey as a psychiatrist and professional chef
  • How what we eat affects our brain
  • The origin of the gut/brain connection
  • The rise of mental health concerns
  • Food to avoid for mental well-being
  • Inflammatory foods
  • Orthorexia and food obsession
  • How to add more diversity in your diet
  • The impact of caffeine and alcohol on mental health
  • So much more!

Learn more about Dr. Naidoo here.
Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @drumanaidoo

Find her book on Amazon or your favorite bookstore. This book is so helpful and needs to be part of your mental health library!

Understanding the Mind/Body Connection on a Deeper Level

Matt Erb is a physiotherapist, senior faculty member with The Center for Mind Body Medicine, instructor at The Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, and the Founder of Embody Your Mind, which specializes in high quality writing, teaching, and consulting in integrative and mind-body medicine topics.

In this episode we discuss the powerful mind/body connection and why we need to be listening to how our bodies handle our stressors.

img_1295

Key Topics:
– How he uses acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
– The principles of ACT
– Survival biology and the aversion response to pain or unpleasant sensations
– The importance of improving our relationship to things
– Biobehavioral patterns of seeking care and comfort and regulating our physiological state
– Understanding emotional eating
– How ACT can help us in our day to day? Who is this useful for?
– Mechanics of emotional eating, autonomic nervous system development
– Mind-body practices we all could incorporate right now

Continue reading “Understanding the Mind/Body Connection on a Deeper Level”