Five Things I’m Doing for My Health This Year

Happy New Year!

It’s the time of year when people are setting goals, creating self-improvement plans, and looking forward to change that sticks. As a health coach, I know that creating changes that stick have to do with small, sustainable habits. I like to practice what I preach, so I created some small steps that I can focus on this year. I share in more detail on my latest podcast episode here.

My word of the year is renewal, and all five of these are ways I can focus on renewing my mind, my body, and my soul!

  1. Start my day with at least 20 grams of protein in my first meal. Protein is crucial for mental health and neurotransmitter function, but most of us don’t get enough – especially at breakfast. So while I don’t have a set breakfast time, I make sure that my first meal includes sufficient protein. When that happens, I have more mental clarity and less sugar cravings throughout the day.
  2. I’m doing intense trauma therapy. I am working with a counselor who specializes in EMDR, a therapy that helps to reprocess trauma at the brain level, which creates safety in the entire nervous system. Ironically, after all my podcast episodes centered on trauma, I didn’t realize I had complex PTSD until this fall, so I’m looking forward to correcting some core belief systems that are based upon the lies that trauma and shame told me about my place in this world.
  3. Build intentional muscle. I move my body 5-6 times a week for mental health reasons, and I usually choose yoga and walking as my favorite forms of movement. But new studies are showing the anti-inflammatory benefits of muscle as we age, not to mention how it benefits insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial function. My plan is to do strength training twice a week on top of what I already do, in a way that supports functional movement and longevity… and my husband was my inspiration for this one, which you can hear more about in the latest podcast episode.
  4. Read the Bible in a year. My faith is important to me, and I read a lot. However, in 2022 I spent much more time reading research articles and fiction than the book that is foundational to my belief system. I’m going back to the Bible Recap plan, and I’m looking forward to seeing God’s faithfulness in a new way, which happens every time I do a plan like this, no matter how many times I’ve done it before.
  5. Take a break from food at least 12 hours every day. I recently learned that less than 10% of Americans eat in a 12 hour window, while the majority of Americans are now considered metabolically unhealthy. There is something to be said for taking a break from food to let your body digest and assimilate and utilize nutrients. It’s beneficial for so many systems in the body. For females, I don’t recommend going longer than 16 hours from eating on a regular basis, and definitely not during the luteal or menstrual phase of the cycle. But most women can benefit from a 12 hour fast every day, though it will be different for everyone.

Programs this year:

I will be hosting three day reset groups periodically throughout the year for anyone who wants to try a fasting-mimicking approach through a food-based system from the company Plexus Worldwide. It contains bone broth, protein powder, collagen soup, and other antioxidant-packed products designed to give your body a metabolic overhaul. You can look at more details and ingredients here. Email me for a special discount code!

I will continue to utilize the online month-long Feast 2 Fast program on Facebook, with in person group opportunities in East Texas. Stay tuned for that information. Our first group will launch in February.

I’m still available for 1:1 virtual coaching. Let’s put together a New Year goal sheet for you and your unique body’s needs.

When the Christmas Season Doesn’t Go as Expected

Do you ever have the feeling you just don’t do holidays as well as other people? Or maybe the holiday season hasn’t gone as you wanted it to? 

We’ve had a difficult fall, as I’ve been dealing with some heavy past trauma I didn’t know I had. My Christmas spirit has been minimal. I don’t decorate like crazy anyway, but this year was half-hearted at best, featuring an old artificial tree with busted lights, a couple nativity sets.

I ordered a few presents on Amazon when I was sick in bed with the flu, and we took our kids to Six Flags for an experiential gift, instead of loading them up with more toys they won’t play with more than once.

I waste a lot of time scrolling social media. I look at other people’s decoration pictures, the baking reels, the cute creative reels, the smiling kids in their matching Christmas clothes… and I worry my kids are missing out on something this season. We didn’t do enough. They’ll resent us.

But then I offer myself a different perspective. Our family has spent many evenings in the last month cuddled up on the couch together, watching The Chosen. Richard and I have spent numerous nights, practically every night we can, connecting and sharing – often with hard conversations, but mostly making memories I will treasure forever.

See, I might have made a mistake sometime in September. On a morning walk, I asked God to show me His love in a new way. And boy, has he delivered. I’ve seen his love through the raging tornado of my past trauma, because out of my brokenness comes his promised wholeness. I’ve seen his love through friends who have checked on me and offered a listening ear. I’ve seen his love through the unconditional love and support of my husband. I’ve seen his love through the three very chill, very laid back kids I’ve been gifted.

And I see his love through the gift of Jesus.

As Paul David Tripp writes in his Christmas devotional, Come Let Us Adore Him, “What sense would it make for God to go to the extent of sending his Son to be born for our sake, and then abandon us along the way? Since God was willing to make such a huge investment in his grace, isn’t it logical to believe he will continue to invest in his grace until that grace has finished its work?”

It’s okay that I don’t have an Instagram-worthy living room. It’s okay that my kids didn’t decorate Christmas cookies, that they didn’t see lights, that they didn’t get the usual amount of cousin and grandparent time this year. It’s even okay that they got more screen time than I’d like (it pains me to say that one out loud).

What matters to me is the lesson I’m learning… THAT is the most important legacy I can pass on to my kids, something they can hold on to through any of life’s plot twists.

His grace and unfailing lovingkindness don’t run out. There is no limit. I haven’t reached capacity. I continue to pull from that well of living water, the kind that never runs out, because he can’t be anything other than who he is – a God who sees, who rescues, and who creates life from death. Over and over again. He did it for me. He can do it for you.

Oh, come let us adore Him indeed! 

Merry Christmas, 

Erin

Innovations in Psychiatry for ADHD, Depression, PTSD, and Anxiety

Recent estimates show that one in five Americans takes a psychiatric medication for depression or anxiety. Studies also show that two-thirds of people don’t respond to or have negative effects from current psychiatric treatment options. Another recent study highlighted the fact that SSRIs only work in 15% of people with depression, when you take away the placebo effect. I have written much on the topic of the “chemical imbalance” theory of depression, and where it falls short in application.

All this information can make the task of seeking help for your mental health extremely daunting and discouraging – especially when you are in crisis. This podcast interview with Dr. Brent Turnipseed is devoted to breaking down the innovations in holistic psychiatry.

Dr. Brent Turnipseed is the Co-Founder of Austin-based Roots Behavioral Health. Dr. Brent Turnipseed, Roots’ Medical Director, is a board-certified psychiatrist with a deep interest in innovative approaches to providing behavioral healthcare. Brent is on the Scientific Advisory Board for Ninnion Therapeutics and previously practiced psychiatry in clinical and law enforcement settings in Texas.

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

Continue reading “Innovations in Psychiatry for ADHD, Depression, PTSD, and Anxiety”

How to Heal Your Brain from Emotional Pain

Your brain is designed to protect you and help you survive, but often it has a hard time regulating – especially when there is an overload of stored negative emotions. This episode is such a powerful breakdown of how to correct that process and find healing!

Rachelle McCloud, LCSW is a Mental Health Therapist and Emotional Wellness coach. Through years of successfully helping clients move their anxiety, depression, and trauma disorders into remission, she has developed a program that empowers people to skillfully get rid of symptoms and heal. She is also the facilitator of the Facebook group Releasing the Baggage of Anxiety, Depression, and Traumatic Stress, where she delivers free training on leading interventions that work well for getting rid of symptoms, not just coping or managing them. Her mission is to empower people to do their own healing work effectively, safely, and skillfully.

Download an listen to this episode here, or find wherever you get podcasts.

Continue reading “How to Heal Your Brain from Emotional Pain”

Creating Mind-Body Balance with Ayurvedic Medicine

What the brain struggles to process, the body will store. When we have negative emotions and trauma that we haven’t been able to work through, we often receive symptoms in the forms of physical ailments. This episode digs into this topic from the perspective of Ayurvedic medicine.

Dr. Ram Tamang is an Ayurvedic Physician, Master Herbalist, Educator and High Performance Coach, based in Southern California. Dr. Ram was trained as a doctor at the esteemed Ayurvedic University, MGR Medical University in Coimbatore, India, gained his Master Herbalist Certificate from GCNM in the USA and is one of 700 in the world to receive his certification as a High Performance Coach (CHPC).

As a child of nature, Dr. Ram grew up in the foothills of the Himalayas in Kathmandu, Nepal, learning about herbs and nature-based medicines from his grandmother.   Dr. Ram works side-by-side Allopathic Doctors, providing his unique perspective of how Ayurvedic Medicine can be used along with Westernized and Modern Medicine for a truly holistic and holistic approach to healing.   

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

Continue reading “Creating Mind-Body Balance with Ayurvedic Medicine”

How Adverse Childhood Events Impact Your Health

The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that controls impulses and helps to manage behavior. This area is rapidly developing all throughout childhood and adolescence. Many people don’t realize that chronic stress can shrink the prefrontal cortex and inhibit proper decision-making. So what happens when a child encounters trauma or chronic stress? This interview breaks down what adverse childhood events are, and how the brain and body responds to them.

Patrick Wanis, PhD, helps people rapidly change their behavior. As a Human Behavior & Relationship Expert, Wanis has developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is now teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis has also developed multiple online psychological and behavioral assessments on Emotional Intelligence, Empathy, Mindfulness, Relationship Breakups, Self-Defeating Behavior, Individual Core Values, and Authenticity. His clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers.

CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for expert insights and analysis on relationships, sexuality, human motivation, trauma, communication, body language, and persuasion. Over five million people have read Wanis’ books in English and Spanish.

Download and listen to this episode here or find wherever you get podcasts.

Continue reading “How Adverse Childhood Events Impact Your Health”

Real Talk About Trauma

For most of my life, I didn’t view my trauma as Trauma. Yes, I was diagnosed with PTSD; yes, I dissociated; yes, I struggled with nervous system dysregulation… but I minimized my trauma.

It was just one thing that happened to me on one day when I was a child. It wasn’t ongoing. There are people who experience much worse than me.

When I minimized the trauma, I minimized the effects.

Everyone dissociates once in awhile, right? It’s not uncommon to view yourself outside of yourself when you look back on memories, right? Everyone has episodes of depression during April, right? We all are just waiting for the next big tragedy, right? None of that really MEANS anything.

That’s what I believed.

Add to that thought pattern all the ways we talk about trauma: we use phrases like big T, little t… say things like, “real trauma is only seen in war veterans…” or “trauma is just part of life.”

I minimized my trauma, and I minimized the effects, over and over again.

In high school I wrote an essay about the unique scents of each season and the memories attached (it actually became a finalist in a state writing competition, you know I have to throw that in there). In this essay, I described how the scents of spring felt sad to me because they reminded me of my grandpa’s traumatic death on my front lawn. Even when I wrote the words at the age of 17, I didn’t understand the effects of that trauma the way I do now.

Now I understand that because of that trauma, I dissociated often. I stared off into space randomly, sometimes in the middle of engaging conversations. In the early aftermath of the trauma, I was frequently sick with stomachaches and infections, namely tonsillitis and bronchitis. When an emergency situation arose, I froze, and watched everything that happened outside of my body until I felt safe to return to it.

None of this was intentional, and that is important to understand when we are talking about trauma. These responses were the ways that my brain protected me from a repeat injury. These were signals from my brain to my body, so that my body could go on alert and keep me safe in the way it was designed to.

We all, at some point in our lives, will experience trauma. It may not impact your brain and body the way it impacted me. But it will happen, and it will impact you, if it hasn’t already.

Continue reading “Real Talk About Trauma”

To the Mothers Who Are Chain-breakers

My grandma was never told “I love you” growing up.

She eloped with her childhood sweetheart when she turned 18, then struggled with infertility for years before she had a procedure done that allowed her to give birth to my uncle, then my mom. She wasn’t a perfect mom, but she began to break the chain. I never once doubted how much she loved me. She told me and she showed me. I miss her.

My other grandma was a mother before she wanted to be. She was the caretaker for her siblings, devoted to them to the point that she put her own dreams on hold. She gave birth in a twilight sleep, and wasn’t “allowed” to comfort her sons when they cried (according to her, that wasn’t how things were done). She wasn’t perfect, but she did the best she could and offered the gift of laughter and joy, especially to her grandkids.

My mom married young and mothered 3 kids under 2. She was always present. She taught me that it’s okay to cry and feel. It’s okay to be anxious, it’s even okay to be depressed. It’s okay to feel big feelings and not know what to do about them. It’s okay to not perform and fit the mold you are expected to fit. It’s okay to be a little inappropriate at times, because that’s just keeping it real.

My other mom by marriage sacrificed the freedom of her youth to give birth to her son. She blazed a trail bravely, choosing single motherhood as a teenager, despite advice of others advocating for the alternative.

I never anticipated to be ushered into motherhood and adulthood at the same time. It wasn’t how I planned it. I’ve never lived alone. I don’t remember what it’s like to not be “on call.” Showering or going to the bathroom in peace is always a luxury. But my road was paved by strong women who overcame generational bondage and trauma. They did hard things, made choices (some good, some bad), but they laid out the bricks to walk a better journey than the ones who came before them.

As mothers, we break chains. We build upon what went before us… all the good, bad, and really bad. We change patterns. But mostly, we learn as we go. We make mistakes, and we ask for forgiveness. We strive to do better.

I am who I am because of the ones who came before me. I am grateful for my time with the mothers no longer here on this earth and for every spare second I can get with the ones who are. I hope to continue to break chains and build upon their foundation of strength, love, grace, and hope.

Mental Health Awareness Month: Special Podcast Episodes

This month, I’m taking a break from the regular podcast content to bring episodes focused on bringing awareness to all the tools that support our mental health. Contrary to what the media may tell you, you can change your brain. You can heal from mental illness. You can access resources beyond medication and more sleep, and many of those resources are free, like these episodes.

In Episode 135, I share my story of overcoming PTSD, depression, and bipolar disorder in a way I haven’t shared before.

Key Topics:

  • The growing epidemic of mental health issues in teens
  • The root causes to my own mental health issues and how I struggled to find treatment that supported my mental well-being
  • The medication weaning process and how I was able to get off medication I had been on for 18 years
  • The tools I used to support healing and how I continue to prioritize my mental health to prevent recurring issues

Sponsors: Proven quality sleep is life-changing sleep. Go to sleepnumber.com/wholeness. Save 10% and get free shipping on Magnesium Breakthrough at magbreakthrough.com/spark.

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Identifying Root Causes of Bipolar Disorder

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (what they then called “manic depressive illness”) in 1999. While the diagnosis matched the symptoms I was experiencing, the treatment I received never seemed to make things better… and they never treated the root of why I was struggling.

While I have shared about my personal experience with bipolar disorder, PTSD, and depression and I have interviewed many different experts who share ways to treat the root of chronic disease, I have never devoted the majority of an episode to bipolar disorder and its root causes.

Ellen Vora, MD received her B.A. from Yale University and attended Columbia University medical school. She’s a board-certified psychiatrist, medical acupuncturist, and yoga teacher. Dr. Vora takes a functional medicine approach to mental health—considering the whole person and addressing imbalance at the root, rather than reflexively prescribing medication. Dr. Vora’s book, The Anatomy of Anxiety, comes out in March 2022.

Recording this episode was personal for me. It helped me put together the puzzle pieces of my health even further. Download here or listen wherever you get podcasts.

Continue reading “Identifying Root Causes of Bipolar Disorder”