Posts Tagged ‘Supplements’

  1. Health Dynamo or Demon: Coffee Myth Busting

    February 27, 2017 by Heather

    fee Myth Busting

    Today I want to do some myth busting on coffee!!  I know so many of you love it and wonder if it’s good for you!

    So much of the health media promotes extreme viewpoints that leave you thoroughly confused. Depending on where you get your data, vegetarianism is either touted as the best or the worst dietary solution for obesity. Soy either directly causes breast cancer or definitively prevents it. Oatmeal reduces risk of heart disease or directly contributes to it. Of course, sensationalism sells. And many sources (especially on-line) are just based on opinion and personal experience. But especially when these headlines are touting sound biochemistry (and perhaps clinical study results as well) to back up their claims, it makes you wonder how and why scientific inquiry comes up so often with opposed findings.

    The truth is that the correct answer to the question often asked of me, “Is this healthy or not?” is almost always “Well, it depends.” Unfortunately we like generalizations; we want to have a short list of healthy choices that everyone can follow without further inquiry. The truth is that nothing is healthy for everyone all the time. Some people thrive as vegetarians; others become exhausted and anemic. Oatmeal helps some to lose weight; others become insulin resistant and gain more belly fat. Yogurt for some can help to heal an irritable gut; for others, it directly causes inflammation. We are all different. In my practice, the focus in our client work is on customizing solutions for each unique person given their goals and the full set of dynamics happening in their body. So yes: coffee is indeed a health dynamo for some and a demon for others.

    Here are some truths. Coffee is a beverage brewed from the roasted, ground seeds of the coffea plant. Coffee is loaded with a rich variety of phytonutrients, including a particularly high level of polyphenols, the same class of antioxidants for which we trumpet the cardiovascular health benefits of red wine and olive oil. Much of the world’s population gets well over half of their daily intake of polyphenols from coffee or tea (another study write-up). There are however, hundreds of specific nutrients in coffee (not just polyphenols and caffeine), and people may have a varying response to them.

    Plenty of major institutions have published comprehensive research summaries (e.g. this one from Harvard’s School of Public Health, which is quite well-written) to demonstrate that “generally”, “overall”, or “for the majority of the population”, coffee consumption up to a few cups daily is safe and perhaps even protective against a number of chronic, inflammatory diseases.

    A situation in which I am likely to actually recommend coffee is for those with cognitive impairment, including dementia and early signs of Alzheimers.

    Genes can play a large role in determining how coffee might affect you. Coffee contains caffeine, and the stimulatory effects of coffee can vary dramatically depending on whether one is genetically a fast or slow metabolizer of caffeine. For example, research shows an increased risk of heart attack if slow metabolizers consume two or more cups of coffee daily, while fast caffeine metabolizers will reduce their risk of heart attack if they consume at least one cup daily. Similar studies have come to the same conclusion regarding coffee consumption and the risk of hypertension; genetic variation in caffeine metabolism is a key differentiator in whether intake is potentially harmful or harmless. That’s not conflicting science; it’s the devil in the detail. Increasingly, interested consumers are able to learn a bit more about their genetic make-up via at-home test kits such as that offered by 23-and-me.

    But there can be devil in the detail – and thus confusion about the best personal health choices – on many other fronts. Here are some specific circumstances in which I definitely don’t recommend regular intake of coffee (or black tea):

    Ulcers and gastritis or acid reflux (GERD). Coffee is very acidic and can exacerbate existing erosions in the protective mucosal lining of the stomach. It’s important to make dramatic dietary changes when gastritis is first detected, in order to prevent eventual ulceration. I recommend a very specific supplement for my clients in order to heal the stomach lining. Coffee is also a known trigger for acid reflux and should be avoided by anyone with ongoing GERD challenges, so that the true root causes can be identified. We have also seen several clients eliminate 80%+ of their GERD simply by giving up coffee! So definitely worth the exploration.

    Adrenal fatigue. Cortisol is a vital stress hormone in the body which protects us from the damaging effects of stress. Chronic levels of mental/emotional stress or physiological stress (e.g. unaddressed allergies or food sensitivities) can cause sustained, elevated cortisol which eventually wears out adrenal function and drops levels of cortisol output to unhealthy lows. Low cortisol can also cause immune system imbalance and increase allergy, asthma, and autoimmune activation. While these individuals may be attracted to caffeine as an “energy boost”, in truth coffee just accelerates the metabolism of cortisol and worsens the root cause of the problem. We also need adequate cortisol in order to allow thryoid hormone to be active within our cells (as an aside, low cortisol is one of the major reasons why one’s thyroid hormone levels can be mid-normal or better and one can still struggle with hypothyroid symptoms).

    Type 2 diabetics. Similar to the above situation, T2Ds may be drawn to coffee for an energy boost because insulin resistance prevents their body from receiving the appropriate fuel source within their cells. Plus there is evidence that coffee or caffeinated beverages exacerbate blood sugar after meals, especially for those with poorly-controlled diabetes. Until the insulin resistance can be addressed at its root, these clients usually get much better relief by adding more medium chain fatty acids (MCFA – likely coconut oil) to their diet. MCFAs are readily metabolized in the cells, unlike other fats, when there is insulin resistance.

    Insomnia – even mild. Despite myths otherwise, the stimulating effects of caffeine can be quite long-lasting. The half-life of caffeine in the body is up to 6 hours, which means it takes up to 24 hours for it to be fully excreted from your body. This means that your late morning cup of coffee can be a major reason why you struggle to go to bed early enough or why you don’t sleep as deeply as you wish. Many of my clients over the years have been surprised to learn that even their single, early-morning cup of coffee was actually a major contributor to poor sleep.

    Anxiety. This one is probably obvious, but many people who struggle with anxiety still choose to consume caffeine to counter the fatigue coming from anxiety-driven insomnia. This is of course a vicious, never-ending cycle, and in our experience the only way out – to real wellness – is withdrawing from the caffeine.

    Indeed the devil and the dynamos for wellness are often hidden in the details for each of us as unique individuals! As you look for new ways to increase your vitality and well-being (feeling fantastic most days!), if you are used to drinking coffee daily, consider stopping coffee for a full month and seeing how you feel post-withdrawal. Many are afraid of withdrawal, but in my practice, with adequate hydration and additional magnesium support, withdrawal usually only lasts 3-5 days.

    I’d love to hear about your coffee experience!  Feel free to comment below or reach out to me to chat personally or to set up a consult!


  2. Why Use Supplements?

    November 13, 2016 by Heather

    why-supplement_

    Over the years, I have worked with clients who have a very wide array of attitudes, assumptions, and beliefs about dietary and therapeutic supplements. The supplements I recommend for each client are fully customized. Whether it’s a specific vitamin, mineral, herbal extract, essential fat, or hormone, every recommendation I make to my clients is driven by their unique health history, physiology, genetics (in some cases), dietary choices, current biochemical imbalances, and goals.

    There is no standard program I use with my clients.  All supplement recommendations are completely customized to the individual. I am focused on very thoroughly understanding their symptoms, their history, and in particular, their labwork in terms of understanding what their unique body needs. I see all sorts of level of comfort in my clients. Some people are happy to take 50-60 supplements a day with no problem and are very engaged with and focused on the value of them. Other clients are much more hesitant and more questioning.  A question I get very often is, “if I eat well, then why do I need a supplement?” And I’ll answer that in just a moment. But most of my clients are somewhere in between. We often talk about supplement tolerance.  Some people are are only willing to take four or five things on a given day and other people are perfectly willing to take much more than that.

    It would be great if we could get everything we need nutrient wise, to not only survive but to thrive, from food.  It was that way for man for a very long time. Unfortunately, we today, live in an environment where, I think it is virtually impossible to get everything you need to thrive just from your food.  And there are a few reasons why. First of all you’ll notice I used the word thrive vs. survive.

    I love this quote by Dr. Mark Hyman:

    “In a perfect world, no one would need supplements but given the stress of our modern life, the poor quality of our food supply and the high load of toxins in our brains and bodies, most of us need a basic daily supply of the raw materials for all our our enzymes and biochemistry to run as designed. One of the largest drivers for supplementation in today’s modern age is our exposure to toxins and the likelihood of us struggling to keep up with that and therefore the possibility that we struggle with downstream inflammatory effects, either from continued exposure and/or stored toxins.” ~Dr. Mark Hyman MD
     
    There is a certain bare minimum of nutrients needed in order to keep people from having deficiency type diseases. In fact, many people are surprised to learn that, for example, the U.S. Governments recommended daily allowance (RDA) of a nutrient is not even close to the optimal amount of a nutrient. It’s actually the bare minimum that you need to not get deficiency diseases for specific nutrients. So, for example, the RDA for Vitamin C is not what you need to have an optimal immune system and to not get sick and to thrive.  It’s what you need to not get scurvy. Or the amount of Vitamin D that is recommended as the RDA is not what you need in order to help your body to avoid cancer, or to again, have a good, strong balanced immune system that helps you to avoid allergies and asthma and that kind of thing. The RDA is the amount of Vitamin D you need to not get rickets. Well most of us don’t want to just barely survive and avoid scurvy and rickets. Most of us want to thrive and the amount of nutrition needed to not only avoid those diseases but to feel well much less fantastic are usually substantially more than the RDA.  On top of that, the amount of nutrients you need has to be balanced against how much nutrition is actually in your food. And unfortunately, as much as I wish it wasn’t the case, our food is getting less and less nutritious over time.  Thanks to a number of different large scale not only domestic American but even international trends, our food has much less nutrition in it than it did in the past.  And when I say in the past, I’m even meaning 75-100 years ago, much less 500 or 1000 years ago. Today, even if it’s organic food, very often it is produced in very large scale farms where there is not natural fertilizer or cover crops or animal grazing that would allow nutrients to be put back in the soil. And of course if there aren’t minerals in the soil there can’t be minerals in the food that was grown in that soil. In general, there is a global crisis with topsoil erosion which is where the real nutrient dense soil is found because of the decay of natural organic matter (bugs, insects, leaves), all sorts of organic breakdown that creates nutritional fodder for plants and animals to take that nutrition and deliver it to us via the food. Many of my clients are shocked to find out that a certain nutrient is less than half as prevalent in say an apple or stalk of broccoli than it was as recently as the 1970’s. So our food is not as nutritious as it used to be, not even close. You could pretty much count on animal foods to have good amounts of Omega 3 fats up until a hundred years ago but now because of the manner in which livestock is raised for food, it is highly unlikely, except for wild fish, that your food has substantial Omega 3’s in it. So, there’s nothing wrong with the food.  It’s what we’ve done to the food in terms of modern scale and practice in agriculture.
     
    The other key tenet that I think is important to understand is that today we live in an environment that has unprecedented levels of stress and toxins. I think you could easily argue that today the average Westerner adult encounters more toxicity through the air she inhales, through the water she swallows, through the food she chews and swallows, through the things that get rubbed on and absorbed in her skin; more toxicity probably in a given day than the average human adult encountered in a lifetime 100-200 years ago. We are asking our entire physiology to not only manage and process and excrete much higher levels of toxicity but when we don’t do that our bodies suffer dramatically from the inflammatory effects and the oxidative stress and damage effects of that toxicity downstream.  That whole biochemical dynamic is why a number of my clients are working with me, in order to get to the bottom of that toxicity.  Some of my clients have particular genetic variants, things you can’t really do anything about, that impair their bodies ability to conserve or use certain nutrients that impair various types of detoxification or impair various oxidative management pathways in the body. And so all of this contributes to my answer to the question of why do I need supplements. Because I want to help my clients thrive, not just to barely survive. My clients come to me in an effort to really feel fantastic, which is really what my goal is, to not just to help them get by but to help them to get truly well and stay well.
     

    Do you use supplements?  I would love for you to share your experience below!

     
     
     

     


  3. Purple Poison

    August 10, 2016 by Heather

    Purple Poison This little purple pill looks so innocent doesn’t it?  Let’s have a little chat about why it isn’t so innocent. 

    I have written before about the importance of getting to the root causes of anything you are struggling with.  Getting to the root cause of your acid reflux is no exception.  And PPI’s are not the answer.

    Many of today’s most popular (and profitable) drugs are designed to mask chronic symptoms without providing any real healing. They keep us from feeling the effects of our lifestyle choices. They keep us from hearing the signals from our body that something is wrong. Symptoms are a blessings my friends.  Think of them as a warning signal. 

    Nearly all drugs are designed for temporary use to provide temporary relief.  PPI’s are no exception.  In fact, that’s what the FDA originally approved proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications to do: provide temporary relief to those with ulcers. They were designed to be used for several weeks at most. Why? Because long-term use of PPIs like Nexium, Prilosec, and Protonix can deplete your body of critical nutrients and lead to a wide variety of diseases. 

    Many of us have insufficient HCl (stomach acid).  This is called hypochlorhydria.  HCl is required to isolate key minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc for absorption as well as for breaking down proteins.  Strong stomach acid is also particularly necessary to allow the body to absorb Vitamin B12, a critical nutrient for energy, nerve function, and red blood cell formation. If we have insufficient HCl, we can consume plenty of healthy food yet still become malnourished over time because of poor digestion. All our hard work, right out the window!  Insufficient stomach acid can result from a variety of dynamics, including adrenal issues, dybiosis, Candida, hypothyroidism, H. pylori, age, and medications.  Medications include, you guessed it, PPI’s!!!

    PPI’s reduce the amount of HCl our stomachs can produce. When PPI’s are used for acid reflux they make gastric juices less acidic, so it isn’t as painful or damaging when the juice bubbles up into our esophagus.  Without getting into a lengthy physiology review, the stomach is a critical part of our digestive tract. It is lined with parietal cells which are responsible for secreting hydrochloric acid (HCl) via tiny proton pumps. When you chew food (or sometimes even just smell it), parietal cells are triggered to release this acid. In an optimally healthy body, we secrete strong amounts of stomach acid.  However, if you are using PPI’s, those PPIs attach to the tiny proton pumps in our parietal cells and stop the flow of acid. Thus, our gastric juices become less acidic and less effective affecting our ability to absorb nutrients. For short-term use, this can be a wonderful thing for triage. For example, if you had an ulcer or a short-term bout of acute stress that gave you gastritis. Ulcers are lesions in the stomach wall, and they need short-term relief from acid in order to heal.  However, long-term healing and prevention of both ulcers and acid reflux requires lifestyle change.  Studies have shown that long-term use of PPIs may make you dangerously deficient in key nutrients.  Recent clinical research findings point in particular to the danger of B12 deficiency in those using PPIs on an ongoing basis.

    As stated above, PPI’s deplete the body of magnesium. In fact, there is now a black box warning by the FDA on the package about PPI’s and their role in depleting magnesium!!  In 2010, the FDA issued a warning of the increased risk of wrist, hip, and spine fractures with high-dose or long-term PPI use.  Very recent research has also identified another method by which ongoing PPI might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by damaging the protective, inner lining of our blood vessels.

    If that weren’t enough reason to steer clear of these not so innocent pills, here is another.  Powerful stomach acid is crucial for our bodies defense against microbes, including dangerous bacteria, fungus/yeast, and parasites.  Without it, we are vulnerable to foreign invasion. Microbial imbalances often cause gastrointestinal disease (e.g. IBS), but the inflammation generated in the gut can wreak havoc on the body in places far distant from the gut (e.g. arthritis).  Remember, disease begins in the gut!!

    Along with B12 and the minerals stated above, there are many more key nutrients that are dependent on strong stomach acid to be absorbed.  I won’t go into them all here but deficiency of these nutrients create downstream effects that create further disease processes in the body. 

    The unfortunate thing is the drug companies have found a way to make us dependent on these PPI’s.  A study in 2009 showed people were likely to remain on PPIs indefinitely because drug withdrawal caused even worse heartburn than the patient experienced initially.  This continues to amaze me, that a drug company would profit from someone’s suffering.  Repeat after me…the only long-term solution for relief is lifestyle change and getting to the root cause of the problem! 

    I specifically work with my clients on getting to the root causes of why they are suffering.  This includes weaning off medications if they so choose.  Everyone’s journey is different but I would be remiss if I did not educate on the real dangers of the use of these seemingly innocent pills.  Please remember that weaning off any medication is crucial and should be done under a qualified practitioner’s care. 

    I’d love to hear your story if you have used PPI’s and your experience with them.  Feel free to share below or send me a message!

    Peace & Health,

    Heather


  4. Baked Falafel

    July 25, 2016 by Heather

    lessons

     

    Baked Falafel
    Serves 4
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    Prep Time
    30 min
    Cook Time
    30 min
    Total Time
    1 hr
    Prep Time
    30 min
    Cook Time
    30 min
    Total Time
    1 hr
    Ingredients
    1. 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    2. 2 cloves garlic
    3. 1/2 small white onion, chopped
    4. 1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
    5. 2 tsp olive oil
    6. 4 tbsp chickpea flour
    7. 1 tsp ground cumin
    8. 1 tsp ground coriander
    9. 1/2 tsp baking powder
    10. 1/2 tsp paprika
    11. 1/4 tsp himalayan salt
    12. several pinches freshly ground black pepper
    13. Preheat oven to 400.
    14. In a food processor, combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley, olive oil and blend until smooth.
    15. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add chickpea flour, cumin, coriander, paprika, baking powder, salt and pepper.
    16. The mixture should be mushy but firm enough to shape into balls.
    17. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, form the mixture into balls, then flatten into patties.
    18. Place the patties onto the baking sheet and bake for 16-18 minutes.
    19. Remove from the oven, spray them with a little cooking spray, then flip the falafel and bake for 8-10 minutes.
    20. Serve on gluten free buns with your topics of choice.
    Adapted from Appetite for Reduction
    Adapted from Appetite for Reduction
    Fit With Fibro http://fitwithfibro.com/

  5. Tahini Sauce

    June 26, 2016 by Heather

    Tahini

     

    Tahini Sauce
    A wonderful alternative to the typical pre-made dips full of cheap ingredients and chemicals that you might find at your July 4th gathering!
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    Ingredients
    1. 1/2 cup tahini
    2. 1/4 cup water
    3. 3 tablespoons lemon juice - preferably fresh squeezed
    4. 2 Tbsp braggs aminos
    5. 2 Tbsp maple syrup
    6. 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
    7. Himalayan salt and pepper (to your taste)
    8. pinch of cayenne (to your taste)
    Instructions
    1. In a bowl briskly whisk together the tahini and water until combined.
    2. It will look separated at first: just keep whisking!
    3. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. Keeps in the fridge for up to a week. Delicious atop sautéed greens like kale or a whole grain side dish like quinoa. Also great for a dip for your July 4th parties!
    Fit With Fibro http://fitwithfibro.com/

  6. Step into your power!

    May 25, 2016 by Heather

    Step into your power...

     

    I registered for a health coaching retreat today and I cried.  It was one of those ugly cries.  I cried because it’s been a long journey to get to this point of stepping into my power.  Someone told me a few weeks ago that my story may inspire someone to step into their own.  So I hope parts of my story resonate with you and that maybe you can share it with someone that might also be moved by it.

    You may ask what this has to do with Fibro or chronic illness or healthy living.  It does because our emotional wellness is so very much connected to our physical being.  And for a very long time I fought an uphill battle trying to balance the two.  Until I met this wonderful man that showed me how it is supposed to be.  The reasons why I am where I am today is because I knew I deserved better and I hope that if you’re in the situation I found myself in that you too realize the very same thing.  Everyone woman deserves to be treated like a queen.  I truly believe that.  But, we, as chronic illness warriors, need and deserve someone that will love and support us even on our toughest days.  I know that that person is not easy to find.  In fact, it took me this long to find him. But I implore you not to give up and not to settle for any less than you deserve.

    Let me back up and tell you a little about my story so that you understand.  In 2008 I was married to a man that seemed to be the perfect spouse.  Sure, we had our problems, but I never had any indication that soon after we were married he would throw a glass across the room toward my head.  And that started the cascade of abuse that ended our marriage in 2013.  I will spare you the details.  But once I decided that I could not longer live like that I fought and clawed my way out until I could change the locks and file for divorce.  That took a couple of years of biding my time until I could get to that point.  Soon after I met a man that swept me off my feet.  I had many red flags but ignored them.  Please do not ignore the red flags.  If you take nothing else away from this post, please listen to your gut!  I lived with this man for three years, during which time the abuse kept escalating and I left.  That is condensing things a great deal but you see I did not leave a bad marriage to relive it again in my next relationship.  I could have stayed for convenience but I value myself too much.  So I packed up my stuff, put most of it in storage, and moved in with a friend.  Was that the easy way out?  No, but I needed to protect myself, my heart and my pets who were also suffering.  My poor cats lived in a room for two months.  I will never forgive myself for doing that to them.  But they were safe right?  I see now that the reg flags were screaming at me early on to listen to them.  But I didn’t.   I’m hoping that my story inspires some of you going through something similar to listen. 

    So back to why I cried when I registered today for that retreat.  Because when I left that house in February with all my crap and no direction I promised myself that I would never settle for less than I was worth, even if that meant being alone for the rest of my life. For two months I cried.  I’ll be honest I think I was severely depressed.  But I kept plugging along.  Because people count on me to be the strong one.  Until a friend I had known for several years became much more than a friend and turned out to be everything I could have ever hoped for.  I cried today because I have never been so completely supported in all that I do.  I’ve never been so completely supported in my illness.  I was always jealous of those women that had that spouse or significant other.  Ladies, I know they are difficult to find. But I’m writing this post not so much that you know my story, but that you know your worth and if that isn’t being supported that you find a way that it is.  Listen to the flags, listen to your heart.  It won’t lead you astray.  You are powerful.  You are worth every bit of wonderful.  It exists.  Step into that.

    Peace & love,

    Heather


  7. Traveling? Great tips from your Fibro peers!

    May 12, 2016 by Heather

    bakeshop

    I have had several requests from my clients on tips on how to travel well with Fibro.  Recently, I put up a post on my Fit With Fibro page asking for traveling tips from my followers because, after all, they know best right??  So instead of blathering on about my own tips, I wanted to share what my followers shared.   So that I keep their information in tact, I’m going to provide their information in quotes, without names, to protect privacy.   I hope that this is helpful!  And at the end I’ll add my own tips if anything important was missed.  Feel free to comment below if you have a tip that was not mentioned.

    “I’ve noticed that sitting upright really wears me out, so I try to recline as much as possible while also trying to make sure my low back and sitz bones are properly supported.”

    “Make sure you have your enough of your meds to make the trip and back too. Nothing sucks worse than hassling with a pharmacy to get your meds in another state.”

    “Go in with a positive time!!!!”

    “Wear loose fitting comfortable garb. Nothing worse than a pinching waistline, especially if your fibro is flaring and you’re hypersensitive.”

    “Yoga pants and a cami undershirt with a built in shelf bra are my best friends on a road trip!”

    “I love compression wear for flights. Lulu lemon has the best, in my opinion. I also don’t wear jewelry and wear my hair up to minimize external over sensitization. I plan my outfit for the airport very well to ease taking off and putting on things. I also cut out and carry all my paper prescription receipts (from the pharmacy with your name and the dosage) in my wallet just in case. Headphones with pre downloaded songs or audio books or assisted meditation for cars or the plane. A coloring book works well, too. Makes the time go by quickly.”

    “If traveling by car take frequent breaks and make yourself get out and walk. Carry nutritious snacks with you because it is sometimes difficult to find them on the road.”

    “Stay hydrated. Take blankets and pillows on a road trip. Travel with flexible clothes; I don’t wear a belt when I have to sit a long time. Yoga pants and a shelf bra help me stay relatively comfortable on long trips. Build in rest times and try not to plan more than one thing at a set time each day, but have a prioritized list of other activities that you can do for good days. If you’re going to be standing or walking a lot, compression socks will help your legs go the distance (if you can stand the pressure).”

    “Make sure you travel companions know about your illness. Know the schedule so you can identify when you may need to rest or take a break from the group, pack healthy snacks like nuts, give yourself time to rest before departure and after arrival! !!! People tend to pack their days with activities when on vacation, it’s okay for some people but not the fibro body.  If you find spots in the day to rest you are more likely to maintain activity level throughout the trip. This means you have to be with a group that knows your limits and will understand when you have to leave early or opt out of an activity.”

    “If they are traveling very far I highly suggest a motor home, we bought one so I can lay down or recline or sit on the couch all while having a restroom handy. I also travel with a fibro “toolkit”. It has an ice bag, a rice bag I can heat, a change of looser clothes, a blanket, essential oils, peppermint candies and gum and extra meds.”

    “It’s perfectly okay to ask for help getting your luggage into and out of the overhead compartment. People are generally helpful and I’ve never had trouble when I had to ask for assistance from a fellow passenger.”

    “I get extra sore traveling especially if I’m in the vehicle a lot or in the hotel room a lot. So I always bring bath bombs I get online that have ingredients especially for fibro suffers. At the end of the day I can take a relaxing bath and it helps a lot.”

    “We travel often – usually road trips. Most important thing for me over anything else is frequent stops to move around. Even if it’s just the side of the road. We stop at least once an hour and walk around for about 5 minutes each time.”

    “Build in rest periods. If you do something busy one day, have a mellow day the next. Listen to your body and rest when you need to.”

    “If you’re travelling by plane get your pharmacy to make a bubble pack of your meds and vitamins so you don’t have to carry a bunch of things with you.”

    “If you’re on a lengthy flight, be sure to choose an aisle seat. This allows you get up to stretch out without having to clamber over other people.”

    “Always give yourself 2-3 or more days before and after travelling,  i.e. wedding on Saturday, arrive by Wednesday at latest and limit activities until event.”

    “If you take prescription meds make sure to get prescriptions from your doctor before you leave if you don’t have enough for your trip.”

    “Make a check list. Pack a week in advance.”

    “Pace yourself. Take breaks. Stay hydrated. Take pain meds if needed (not a time to play hero). Eat light meals.”

    “Take a soft blanket. Bring your pillow from home.”

    “I take my tens unit with me and book a place with a hot tub!”

    “Stay hydrated, rest often, ask for help when you need to.”

    “Plan ahead and request a wheel chair in airports.”

    “Bring heat or cold packs, wear layers, bring option for shoes.”

    “Heated travel cushion is a must for me when traveling in the car, lots of coconut water for extra magnesium, potassium, and hydration, essential oils for relaxation and headaches, ear plugs for unexpected loud noises, loose fitting clothing, and my own pillow and blanket to make sleeping in a different place a bit easier.”

     Aren’t these such great tips from our fellow fibro warriors?  I will emphasize staying hydrated and packing healthy snacks.  I encourage my clients to eat as closely to what they eat at home as possible to avoid food reactions, digestive distress and inflammation.  I also encourage my clients to stay on their current supplement schedule.  If traveling by plane, I make sure to carry my powders in their original containers to avoid being stopped by TSA.  And I use multiple Monday-Sunday pill boxes to organize my supplements.  Just recently I have also traveled with both coconut oil and apple cider vinegar in their original containers, wrapped super, in plastic bags and in my checked bag.  They do sell a foam roller that has a hollow inside that you can store things such as underwear, socks etc. so that it isn’t a space waster.  I also travel with my heating pad and my tennis ball.  Anything that is a must at home for keeping you comfortable is a must for travel! Sometimes this takes time, effort, and creativity but it can be done.  I hope this helps you and again comment below if there is something that you swear by that is missed here!

    Peace & Love,

    Heather

     


  8. Do you have enough stomach acid?

    January 8, 2016 by Heather

    Stomach acid

    How is your stomach acid?  Do you even know?  Today I wanted to bring attention to the importance of stomach acid and the role of Betaine HCL in increasing it.  Stomach acid really is good for you.  Without it, your health suffers.  Our digestion suffers and we are not able to absorb the nutrients from our food which results in further health issues.  In fact, gut issues are one of the root causes as to why we got sick in the first place.  Betaine HCL increases the level of hydrochloric acid in the stomach necessary for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients from food. Normal levels of hydrochloric acid are required for complete digestion of proteins and absorption of amino acids. It’s also required for the extraction of vitamin B12 from our food. Betaine HCL helps to restore the proper acid levels in the stomach and maintain healthy GI function.

    So how do you know if you’re suffering from low stomach acid?  Here are some signs that you might be:

    Indigestion

    Gas

    Bloating

    Undigested food in your stool

    Acid reflux

    GERD

    Constipation

    Diarrhea

    Malabsorption

    Nutrient deficiencies

    I wanted to mention a few things about acid reflux.  Often we are prescribed proton pump inhibitors for this (pepcid, zantac, etc.)  This can cause a few problems.  If your acid reflux is as a result of insufficient stomach acid, the proton pump inhibitors will further decrease your already low stomach acid, further exacerbating the problem.  Proton pump inhibitors have also been shown to deplete B12 and magnesium, two things we, as Fibro peeps, are typically deficient in already.  

    So how can we increase our stomach acid?  One option is apple cider vinegar in the middle of a meal.  The other option is supplementing with betaine HCL with pepsin (make sure it has the pepsin).  A stomach that doesn’t produce enough HCL also won’t make enough pepsin.  Without pepsin, we can’t break down proteins into the peptides required for proper absorption. 

    Please note: those taking anti-inflammatory medication such as corticosteroids, NSAIDS etc. should not take Betaine HCL with pepsin unless they are working with a qualified practitioner.  These drugs can initiate damage to the GI lining that HCL might aggravate, increasing the risk of ulcer.  A safer bet, if on these medications, unless working with a qualified practitioner, is digestive bitters

    Here are a few tips on getting starting with Betaine HCL with pepsin.  If you are concerned or have questions, please reach out to me or contact your physician. 

    How to figure out your Betaine HCL Dose:
    Each person will have a specific supplementary HCL dosage. Unfortunately, there isn’t a special formula. It’s a case of trial and error until you get to the correct dosage. You must find the correct dosage. Failing to do so will be a waste of time and money.
    To figure out the right dosage:
    • Eat a meal that contains at least 15-20 grams of protein.
    • Start by taking 1 pill of Betaine HCL during the beginning of the meal.
    • Finish the meal as normal and observe your body for any changes in feeling associated with the stomach and belly button area. Things to look for: heaviness, hotness, burning, or other GI distress.
    • Stay at this dosage of 1 pill for another day of meals with protein and if you don’t notice anything on the 3rd day, try 2 pills.
    • Stay there for another day and then try 3 pills.
    • Keep increasing the number of pills taken with each meal until you notice some GI discomfort described above.
    • When this happens, you will know your ideal Betaine HCL dosage is 1 pill less.

    Things to note:
    If you eat a snack or meal without much protein, you won’t need as much Betaine HCL. For a small snack such as fruit, you won’t need any at all.

    When you experience the GI discomfort finding your correct dosage, you can mix ½ tsp of baking soda in 8 oz of water and drink it to help lessen the pain.

    A normal functioning stomach is capable of producing and handling extreme acid ranges. If your dosage starts getting extremely high without any GI distress, you must use your GI symptoms as a guide instead. These include burping, bloating, gas and stool consistency. In this case, try to find the minimum dose needed to help your GI symptoms.

    As you start to heal your gut, your bodies ability to produce its own stomach acid will improve. You may need to tweak your Betaine HCL dose from time to time to compensate for this. This is a good thing!!

    I’d love to hear about your experiences with Betaine HCL.  Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or comments.  I also work with many clients on issues such as low stomach acid.  I’m here to help!

    Peace & Love,

    Heather

     

    Note: the above post contains affiliate links.  If you use the links to purchase the products I mentioned, I earn a small commission that goes toward running this site.  I only recommend products I use. 

     


  9. Heal the Gut

    October 12, 2015 by Heather

    lessons

    One of the most important things we can do when we have Fibro is heal our gut!  Not enough attention is paid to this crucial piece of the puzzle!  80% of our immune system is in our gut.  When our gut is in distress we are at increased risk for colds, auto immune issues, other diseases, cancer etc.  When our gut is not working properly we lose our ability to digest and absorb nutrients which leads to food intolerances and further disease.   This is one of the reasons we get sick to begin with.  So in order to heal we need to first work on our guts.  I personally do this as a combination of food and supplementation.  Below I will outline what foods and supplements are helpful. As always, start one thing at a time so you know what’s working or what may not be working for YOU.  We are all individual and what works for one may not work for someone else.  Oh ya and bonus?!  Healing our guts can also help us lose weight!  Woot!  Why?  Because an unhealthy gut leads to inflammation.  Inflammation = weight gain. 

    Prebiotics

    Prebiotics are foods or supplements high in soluble fiber.  Foods high in prebiotics are: jicama, onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, bananas, chicory root and artichokes.  If you don’t get enough of these foods you can always take a prebiotic supplement.  I love my Shakeology for both probiotics and prebiotics! 

    Probiotics

    Your gut needs probiotics for a well-balanced microbiome.  Foods high in probiotics are: sauerkraut (the unpasteurized kind), kimchi, pickles (the unpasteurized kind), and coconut kefir.  Sauerkraut is like my new favorite thing!!  I also recommend taking a probiotic supplement because it’s hard to get enough from food alone.  Again, you could do Shakeology and I also recommend a refrigerated probiotic such as the one listed here.

    Anti-Inflammatory Foods

    Eating anti-inflammatory foods will help to soothe and heal your gut.  Some of these foods include: coconut (whole, oil, butter etc.), bone broth, turmeric, ginger, avocado, green leafy veggies, fatty fish, cruciferous veggies, berries, holy basil tea, green tea, atleast 80% dark chocolate (yes I said chocolate!!) and curry powder. 

    Supplements

    Along with the prebiotic and probiotic supplements listed above I recommend adding a digestive enzyme, l glutamine powder and quercetin to start.  But again, start one at a time to see what is working! 

     

    Healing the gut takes TIME and EFFORT!  But keep at it and you’ll be well on your way to feeling and looking better!! 

    Please let me know if you try any of the above and how it’s going!

     

    Peace & Love,

    Heather

     

     

     


  10. Why Not YOU!?

    July 21, 2015 by Heather

    Why Not I just returned from Nashville for the annual Beachbody Coach Summit.  It was HOT in Nashville!  Oh my!  I packed as many as my fibro tools as I could but this time, despite my best efforts, I suffered a bit.  Did I mention it was HOT!?!?

    How many of you take a beating when you travel?  I always do my best to stick with a routine, drink lots of water, take all my supplements etc. but you know how it goes.  When I went to Cancun in March I actually did pretty well.  This time, not so much.  But I have all the tools now at home to get back on track.  But before I do that, I’m super busy trying to get caught up and super excited to share some new things that are coming out!

    There’s a brand new Fixate cookbook that was based around the 21 Day Fix Program!  The recipes in the book look super yummy!  I can’t wait to try them!  If you want to check out the book for yourself head here…..http://www.teambeachbody.com/shop/-/shopping/FixateCookbook?referringRepId=242583

    Cize, the new workout program from Shaun T also came out!  Who wants to workout but not feel like they’re working out!?  ME!!!  If you want to check that out head here….http://www.teambeachbody.com/shop/-/shopping/BCPCZ160?referringRepId=242583

    Beachbody also came out with some boosts for Shakeology and a Performance Line.  Super awesome stuff!  I have to tell you…we were sitting in one of the sessions really tired and failing when we decided to grab a Shakeology from the bar with the focus boost in it.  Holy cow!!!  We were like brand new ladies, and were ready to go for the evening!  I will definitely be getting that on home direct!  I think it the perfect product for any Fibro peep to have in their arsenal for sure!

    But I didn’t just want to write this post to tell you about all the new stuff, despite how awesome it all is!  What I really wanted to ask you is what hopes and dreams do you have for yourself?  Did those hopes and dreams get pushed aside with your Fibro diagnosis?  Are you struggling to get yourself back?  I’m here to tell you that I am no different than you.  And just because you have Fibro, it shouldn’t have you.  And it won’t if you don’t let it.  I was up on stage last week in front of 25,000 people.  Why?  Because every day I help people just like me live a healthier more fulfilling life despite chronic health issues.  Why not you?  I am currently looking to add people to my team that want to help others while helping themselves at the same time.  No health and fitness experience is necessary.  All I ask is that you have a want to help others and a need to help yourself.  I’ll take care of the rest.  We have one life to live.  Why not live it the best way we know how?  If any of this resonates with you, reach out.  I’d love to hear from you!

     

    Peace & Love,

    Heather