Happy first few days of Fall to those of you who are in the northern hemisphere and Spring if you’re in the southern.
I personally love the cycle of seasons and the variety they add to life. I can’t wait to indulge in some of my favorite fall foods and decorate my house with all things Halloween.
But I didn’t always feel this way…
Seasonal shifts used to really get me down because of the impacts they had on my health. Every Fall and Spring I would struggle with:
- Foggy brain
- Low energy
- Earaches or infections
- Coughing and sneezing
- And downright just feeling blah!
When I moved from Northern California to sunny San Diego for college, I thought it was odd when I began suffering from seasonal allergies. I moved from a farming town full of pollen to a place with refreshing ocean breezes so it didn’t really equate, but I brushed it off ignoring the smoke signals my body was sending.
I’ll never forget walking home on the dreadfully hot days in the Fall. Yes, it can get very hot in San Diego from about August to November due to the Santa Ana winds coming from the East pulling dry heat and all kinds of pollen with them. I lived in a seasonal allergy fog on these days. I couldn’t think straight, I had headaches, recurring earaches and despite how much coffee I drank I couldn’t break the wall of fatigue.
Now seasonal shifts are a blip on my radar. I still feel them but they don’t take me down the way they used to anymore. For perspective, my symptoms are a 1 or 2 on a scale of 1-10 when they used to be an 8 to 10.
Seasonal allergies might be common but they are not necessarily normal.
The frequency and intensity of seasonal allergies can be clues about the strength of your body’s immune system since they are an indication of an inflammatory response; the more frequent and intense, the lower your immune system is.
The stronger and healthier your immune system is, the more adaptable it is and thus less reactive to things like pollens and allergens in the air.
Over time I have implemented strategies to reduce the overall inflammatory load on my body that have taken the intensity of my seasonal sensitives down drastically, and when the seasons change I have a few tricks up my sleeve to keep even the smallest symptoms at bay.
In this week’s video and blog, I share some of my best tips and strategies to help you survive seasonal changes and feel like your best self any time of year.
When seasonal shifts really started to hit in my early 20’s, my inflammatory way of living at the time didn’t help my case either. As most of us do, I lived up my college days going to frat parties, eating pizza or burritos late at night to soak sober up and all while going to school full-time, hitting the gym hard to burn off what I was consuming, working part-time and juggling an internship.
My body never got a break. I broke it downtime and time again, pushing it to its limits.
Our body will do anything we ask it to but that doesn’t mean we should. When we’re young we don’t realize this though, we think we are invisible. Digestive issues were never a problem for me so I never linked the foods I was eating to how I was feeling. I pursued perfection in my personal and professional life because I thought that’s what I needed to do to be accepted, loved, and successful.
All of the busy-ness, the doing, and the moving elicits a chronic low-grade stress response in the body. It triggers your sympathetic nervous system, also known as your “fight or flight” response, signaling the body to release cortisol hormone. Cortisol is your body’s response to stress but it also helps to regulate your energy balance, sleep quality, blood sugar regulation, inflammation, and hormone pathways.
This busy-ness response paired with emotional stress, less than ideal nights of sleep, hitting the gym hard, hidden environmental toxins, alcohol, and sub-optimal food choices increases the demand for cortisol to regulate stress and inflammation.
The constant demand for cortisol due to an overstimulated fight or flight response really starts to wear down your body over time, and it can lead to all kinds of imbalances, health issues, a weakened immune system, and even seasonal allergies.
To strengthen the immune system and boost the body’s ability to handle seasonal changes, all you have to do is minimize the burden of stress and demand for cortisol.
You can do this daily by:
- Eating an anti-inflammatory diet
- Being asleep by 10 pm and sleeping through the night
- Moving your body daily and decreasing exercise intensity on days you feel tired
- Drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water to flush toxins
- Taking time to destress and disconnect daily even if it’s for 5 minutes at a time
- Gradually eliminating toxins from your environment
Along my health journey, I have incorporated all of these strategies into my daily way of being to eliminate seasonal health issues and create long-lasting sustainable results.
Occasionally I can still feel seasonal shifts and I’ll have a little less energy than normal, a tickle at the back of my throat, or a few more sneezes than usual. None of which used to debilitate me like previously, but I’d rather not feel them at all so I take a few extra precautions during seasonal changes to minimize even these minor inconveniences.
To further support my body during seasonal changes I also…
..choose to be more mindful of what I put in my mouth and eat foods that are in season to ensure my body is getting the nutrients it needs for the time of year, to keep my digestion balanced and eliminate contributors to inflammation.
…use essential oils to help reduce inflammation, open up airways, and flush toxins. My favorite essential oils elixir is 1 drop of lavender, peppermint, and lemon in a shot glass of water once or twice a day. Lavender is anti-inflammatory, peppermint opens airways and blood flow, and lemon boosts detoxification. (NOTE: be sure to use food-grade essential oils such as doTerra)
…set up a salt lamp on my nightstand with an outlet timer turning it on 5 minutes before my alarm goes off. As the days get shorter and the sun rises later it can be harder to get up in the morning time. The soft glow of the salt lamp mimics the sunrise and helps to encourage the release of cortisol in the morning to give you the energy needed to get out of bed. I also use the light of a salt lamp at night instead of regular lights to reduce my exposure to artificial light that can negatively impact your ability to fall asleep and the quality of sleep you get.
…use my castor oil pack 3 to 5 times per week for a variety of health-supporting reasons. Castor oil increases oxytocin levels (your love and wellbeing hormone), reduces cortisol (stress hormone) and inflammation, boosts digestion and detoxification, supports prostaglandins for overall hormone balance and so much more!
I find when I practice these acts consistently around seasonal change, those old allergy symptoms are nothing more than a bump in the road that I just roll right over.
Would you like to be essentially seasonal allergy-free too?
Apply what I’ve shared and on the path to feeling like your best self no matter what time of year it is!
P.S. If you’d like to get your hands on the right lab tests and resources to dive deeper in your seasonal health issues as I did so you can find the missing pieces and get back to feeling like yourself again, click here to schedule an Ideal Health & Weight Discovery Session with me today!
It was around this time last year that I embarked on my first 72-hour fasting adventure that boosted my health and wellbeing in so many ways!
And this week I started my sixth 72-hour fast because I love the way it makes me feel and the incredible impacts it’s had on my overall health.
As I reflect on the past year and what fasting has done for me, all that I learned during that initial 3-day fast still holds true and the lessons aren’t exactly what you might think they would be.
Check out this week’s #throwbackthursday video and blog for tips on how to assess if fasting is right for you, how to prepare your body for longer fasts and what lessons you can learn from it too!
Fasting has been getting a lot of press lately with the rise in popularity of the Keto diet which has shed light on the benefits of intermittent and prolonged fasting regiments.
In general, fasting can have a wide range of health benefits such as:
- Balancing blood sugar
- Promoting weight loss
- Reducing inflammation
- Regulating hormones that signal for hunger
- Healing the intestinal lining (leaky gut)
- And decomposing damaged cells and generating new ones (this is absolutely fascinating biology, geek out more on it here)
Fasting has been used for ages in eastern medicine philosophies to help reverse or prevent health conditions such as cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
If we think about fasting from a primal or ancestral standpoint, it has been around basically since the beginning of mankind. As hunter-gatherers, our primitive ancestors frequently went without food for periods of time in between successful hunting trips and during times of famine when food sources were low or hard to come by. They didn’t have the luxuries of fast food drive-thrus on almost every corner or food at their fingertips like we do today.
Fasting is NOT right for everyone. Before attempting to fast, you should consult with your health professional about known, or unknown, health conditions that might be contraindicated.
Fasting may not be right for you if:
- Have existing hormone imbalances (thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, etc.)
- Currently suffer with sleep issues
- Have underlying vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Your liver is already sluggish or overloaded
- Have heavy metals or other toxins built up in your body
- Avoid salt or don’t eat enough of it
However, even with some of these contraindications, you can still give fasting a try IF you do the right lab testing to understand what is going on in your body and then take action to best support it while fasting.
I decided to do a 72-hour fast as a way to heal my gut.
Fasting is one of the most effective ways to reset your gut health, to heal leaky gut and improve digestion. When given a break from digesting, the cells of your gut regenerate and produce a whole new lining within 3 days!
I’ve made a LOT of progress in the gut healing department over the years but I’d never tried fasting before in order to fully restore my gut.
I made the decision to try it ONLY after I confirmed my body was in a healthy place to thrive while fasting. I knew my body could finally handle a 72-hour fast when:
I was able to go prolonged periods of time without food while maintaining a high level of energy, indicating my body was “fat-adapted” (able to tap into fat stores for fuel easily).
My thyroid and other hormone tests consistently came back in optimal functional ranges.
I was consistently sleeping well through the night, had drastically reduced other variables of stress in my life and had a solid self-care regiment in place.
I felt 100% like myself on the regular – energetic, at home in my body and strong inside and out.
The physical results of my fast were amazing. I felt lighter, leaner and cleaner on the inside.
But what was most surprising was what I learned about my body and myself over the course of the 72-hours…
In this week’s video and blog, I’ll share exactly what 72-hours of fasting taught me and the insights you can gain about your health from my experience too.
If you’ve ever struggled with your weight, energy or any kind of health issues like me, then you know what it feels like to lose faith and trust in your body; and even if you come back from it, fear about losing it all again can still be constantly running in the background of your mind.
Aside from the physical benefits I got from fasting, it also helped me develop a healthier mindset, a relationship with my body and to finally get over the fear of losing it all again.
Here’s the priceless wisdom I gained from my experience with fasting…
Before starting the 72-hour fast, I asked my body to trust me. To trust that I wouldn’t push my limits and deplete myself like I had done in the past, and that I would abort the mission if my health or wellbeing suffered at any point in time.
I had to trust that my body was capable and healthy enough to handle a fast going into it. And coming out of it, I have more trust in my body than I’ve had in my entire life. We are truly best friends once again.
With a history of autoimmune disease (Hashimotos), a sluggish thyroid, other hormone imbalances and issues related to toxic mold, I’ve always questioned whether my body would fully bounce back to where it used to be; if I would ever get my physical strength back, be able to eat certain foods again without issues, have unlimited energy and be my 137 pound confident inside and out self again.
Well, I did.
Being able to do a 72-hour fast showed me just how resilient my body is because I couldn’t have done it without feeling all of these things! I proved by body is resilient enough to come back from whatever crisis I might face with my health or in life.
Faith is waking up still believing something will happen even if it didn’t the day before. Holding onto faith throughout my health journey hasn’t always been easy. You don’t always know how or when the results will come, but believing in the possibility and having faith is what matters. It’s what keeps you going.
Giving up crossed my mind countless times, but that would have meant having to settle for something less than what I deserved or desired so I held onto faith.
And as a result of having faith, here I am. In the best shape and health of my life, having completed a 72-hour fast as a result of being in such good health and using it as a tool to take my health to the next level.
So here’s what I hope you gain from my experience too…
- Understanding that health is as much of a mindset as it physical #healthisamindset
- Your body is capable or more than you could ever imagine so hold the space for that
- Believe in the impossible and have patience because there is a solution for you too
With the right lab tests and resources it is possible to find the missing pieces of your health puzzle, to actually fix what is wrong and finally get back to feeling like yourself again (or for the very first time)!
Over the years, I have read a LOT of books, listened to a lot of podcasts and got my hands on a lot of other tools and resources to help me find the missing pieces of my health puzzle so I could get my energy back, find my ideal health and weight and get back to feeling like myself again.
I know how hard it can be to 1) find good health information and 2) figure out if and how to apply it to yourself. So lately I’ve been on a mission to share more of my story along with the tools and resources I have used to boost my energy, get great sleep, manage my weight and reverse Hashimoto’s so people like you can figure it out too.
One of the ways I’ve been sharing this information is through Podcasts, and I’ve had the pleasure of being interviewed on some incredible shows lately that I think could really help you in your health journey too.
Check out 5 of my most recent podcast interviews to dive deeper into topics such as…
What Information You Really Want to Know About From Your Labs
Jenn Malecha will be sharing with us what those optimal ranges look like, and which tests are more ideal to run to get better information about your health.
How Humans Heal
Ready to embrace healthy as a way of being and to stop settling for anything less than you deserve when it comes to your health and happiness? Jenn is exactly who you’ve been looking for!
Holistic Tips for Getting the Best Sleep of Your Life with Jenn Malecha – Holistic Plastic Surgery Show #198
More than one in three Americans suffers from poor quality sleep. Does this describe you? If it does, then this podcast is for you.
Why Most People Don’t Lose Weight (And How To Test To See If Your Body Is Out Of Whack)
Kinesiologist And Health Expert Jenn Malecha reveals why most people don’t lose weight.
Development of Hypothyroidism
Have you ever wondered how YOU developed hypothyroidism? Do you question how it is possible if you have a fairly healthy diet and lifestyle?
And if you’re ready to dig even deeper, to get your hands on the right lab test and resources so you can really find the missing pieces of your health puzzle so you can get back to feeling like yourself again like I have, then click here to schedule an Ideal Health & Weight Discovery Session with me today!
Do you wake up every morning wishing you could feel like yourself again?
That the extra pounds that have crept up over the years would vanish?
That you had enough energy to not only get through the day but to actually enjoy it?
That the aches, pains, skin issues, bloating or other mysterious health issues would cease to exist so you could feel lighter, more peaceful, present and at home in your body?
Whatever is going on with your health didn’t happen overnight. Your body didn’t wake up one day and decide to have hormone imbalances, to pile on the pounds or rob you of the best night’s sleep.
Whatever is going on with your health is an accumulation of things that have happened over your lifetime.
Armed with the knowledge I have now, when I look back I can clearly see that my health issues didn’t start in college with the onset of seasonal allergies and debilitating ear infections, but that they were an accumulation of things that happened along the line of time of my life.
One of the earliest most significant signs of my health status going haywire emerged a few years after starting my menstrual cycle.
I was plagued with extremely painful and irregular periods, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. I simply tried to ignore the issue. I thought it was great when I didn’t get my period, I didn’t have to deal with it. And when I did get it, I would load up on some kind of over-the-counter pain killer and go on my way.
My mom had left 7 years before all of this started to happen so I didn’t really have a female figure in my life to turn to with these kinds of issues until my dad happily remarried around the time I turned 16. By then my period was so painful I would find myself sitting on the toilet bent over a trash can in pain and nauseous (sorry if that’s TMI but it’s the honest truth!).
That’s when I started the pill.
I mustered up the courage to let my stepmom know what was going on and we took a trip to the gynecologist together. That day started my 17-year-codependent and health-destructive relationship with birth control.
Little did I know how taking the pill for the next 17 years combined with other lifestyle factors would slowly wreck the delicate hormonal balance of my body, contribute to skin cancer, severe seasonal allergies, migraines, energy and weight struggles.
In this week’s video and blog, I want to help you see what has been in the making for years for you so you can start living your best life feeling like your best self!
I’ve never been addicted to anything, but sometimes when I look at how I used birth control to abuse my body and control my life, I wonder if one day we’ll identify an addiction to this little hormone and health-stealing pill.
I was impressed and obsessed with how easy my periods became with this little miracle pill. I quickly found myself skipping the week of placebo pills each month to avoid the inconvenience of having a period so I could do what I wanted to do with my body instead of it doing what it needed to do for me.
The control freak in me loved being able to control my life on a higher level by swallowing a pill every day. Before I knew it I had skipped having a period for years, and when I asked my doctor if it was ok, I was assured it was fine.
It wasn’t fine, not even close.
Have you ever read the list of side effects for birth control, or any other medication? Yeah, I didn’t either back then because I trusted that my doctor knew best.
Here’s a short list of common published birth control side effects:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Eye problems
- Swollen breasts
- Mood changes
And there’s the list of less talked about or acknowledged side effects such as:
- Thyroid dysfunction or autoimmunity
- Anxiety and depression
- Infertility and low libido
- Digestive problems
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Liver congestion
But I can’t blame all of my health issues on the birth control pill. Sure it played a big role in the constant fatigue, weight gain, severe allergies, skin cancer, hormone dysfunction and Hashimotos situation I eventually found myself in, but there were other factors at play too.
Your body has a certain vitality or ability to adapt to emotional, physical and environmental stress. When the accumulation of stress becomes too great for too long you lose this adaptability – the systems and function of your body start to become dysfunctional in their effort to keep up with the demand.
On top of taking birth control for 17 years, I demanded a lot from my body, I…
- Stayed up late robbing it from adequate rest and recovery
- Ran it into the ground with high intensity training routines
- Worked long hours in high stress jobs
- Took care of everyone else instead of prioritizing myself
- Ate “healthy foods” that weren’t right for my body
- Drank too much on the weekends to escape my work week
- Ignored my emotions and let them build up behind the scenes
Over time the wear and tear of living your life like this will catch up to you. It’s not that getting older automatically means you’re bound to have more health issues. As we age, the way we’ve been living our life is what catches up to us.
Luckily, I found the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® program and a new way of looking at disease; one that supports bodily function to naturally restore balance and health.
And as I sit here over 3 years birth control free in the best health of my life with more energy than I know what to do with, I can confidently tell you it is possible to untangle the mess and get back to feeling like your best self.
The key is looking at the whole picture, not just one disconnected piece at a time, but all the factors that have led you to where you are today.
Recognize what has been in the making for years. Forgive yourself for not knowing better, make a commitment to do it differently and start living your best life feeling like your best self!
If you want to get your hands on the right lab tests and resources so you can get back to feeling like yourself, click here to schedule an Ideal Health and Weight Discovery Session today!
Have you tried going gluten-free and it didn’t help you feel better?
It didn’t banish your bloating, solve your digestive upset, clear up skin rashes, help you shed pounds or do any of the other things a gluten-free lifestyle promises?
You’re not the only one.
I hear this all the time from clients who have tried a gluten-free lifestyle with little to no results. When I first went gluten-free, it didn’t free me of all my health issues either.
So what gives when going gluten-free doesn’t work?
That’s exactly what I’m here to reveal – the top 3 reasons why a gluten-free diet doesn’t work.
Let’s first explore what the deal is with gluten in the first place and why it could be a big contributor to whatever health issue is ailing you.
Everyone is negatively affected by gluten, regardless if you have been diagnosed with sensitivity or not. Gluten molecules are larger than most food particles making them harder to digest. This increased stress on the digestive system can lead to inflammation and eventually destruction of the intestinal lining.
Gluten food particles increase something called intestinal permeability for up to 5 hours, meaning elements such as toxins or undigested food pieces that aren’t supposed to cross the intestinal barrier into the bloodstream can. When these foreigners cross the gut barrier the body goes on attack elevating inflammation even more, resulting in food sensitivities and toxic overload.
Wheat, the most popular gluten containing product, is also one of the most pesticide contaminated foods. Milling of wheat actually embeds pesticides in small fractions of the food particles making it more contaminated than most other food sources!
These toxic pesticides come with a variety of health side effects which can also lead to bloating, weight gain, skin issues, hormone imbalances, digestive upset and so much more.
These are just a few of the ways that gluten directly impacts your health every time you come across it.
One bite of gluten is the same as eating the whole slice of bread. There’s really no such thing as being “gluten-reduced.”
On average, it can take 3-6 months for the intestinal lining to heal from a gluten encounter; whether it was one bite or one slice. And this healing process can take even longer for individuals who are experiencing some level of stress, but aren’t we all under some level of stress all of the time in this modern-day world?
Eating gluten certainly isn’t going to help you reach your health goals, so let’s explore why you may not be getting great results when cutting it out.
In this week’s video and blog, I’ll reveal the top 3 reasons why a gluten-free diet doesn’t work and what you can do to get the results you’re looking for.
First I want to applaud you on your efforts to go gluten-free in pursuit of resolving your health issues, and also say that if it didn’t work, it’s not your fault.
Going gluten-free isn’t as clear cut as avoiding wheat, barley and rye as it appears to be, there’s just more to truly being gluten-free.
Here are the top 3 reasons why going gluten-free probably didn’t work for you.
#1 – Sneaky Ingredients
Gluten is a sneaky little ingredient hidden in soy sauce, other condiments, medications and even your personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion and makeup. Why is gluten added to these things? Because it serves as a thickening agent and binder so when you thought you were gluten-free you probably weren’t.
You may have been eating gluten-free and still being exposed to it in the most unlikeliest of places. Give going gluten-free a go again and this time double check food labels for “contains wheat”, medication formulas for fillers, and personal-care products for “hydrolyzed wheat protein.”
To learn more about hidden gluten, check out this Sneaky Little Ingredient blog I wrote.
#2 – Cross-Reactive Foods
You could be eating gluten imposters tricking your body into thinking you’re eating gluten when you’re really not. These foods are called gluten cross-reactive foods. They have similar protein structures as gluten so when your body sees them it responds as if you ate gluten!
The top gluten cross-reactive foods are:
Often these are the exact foods found in all of those alternative gluten-free products you were so excited to find!
If you tried going gluten-free but didn’t cut these guys out too, your body was likely still reacting as if you were eating gluten and therefore tricking you into thinking going gluten-free didn’t work.
Try taking your gluten-free approach to the next level by going grain-free to really see if gluten and its cross-reactive friends are part of the problem for you.
#3 – Deeper Dysfunction
As I’ve said many times before, if the diet isn’t working, there’s likely something going on underneath the hood rendering it ineffective. Going gluten-free is a right step in the right direction and if you pay close attention, I’m sure you’ll probably see some improvements even if it doesn’t completely resolve your primary health issue.
And if it doesn’t completely solve your health problems that means it’s time to dig deeper. Symptoms can be far removed from the root cause.
Bloating, weight gain, skin issues, digestive upset or whatever else you’re dealing with can also be related to hormone imbalances, liver congestion, food sensitivities, parasites, bacteria, yeast overgrowth or a combo of other physiological aspects.
Testing is the best way to stop guessing, get to the bottom of your health issues once and for all and heal them for good. And not just any tests, but functional lab tests that will look in-depth at the hormone, immune, digestion, detoxification, energy and nervous system to give you the full picture about what is going on with your body.
Going gluten-free helped me move forward and using functional lab testing to uncover other hidden healing opportunities is what finally helped me get back to feeling like myself again, and it’s the key to helping my clients do the same thing.
So don’t give up on being gluten-free, dig deeper, take the next step and uncover more healing opportunities!If you want to get your hands on the right lab tests and resources so you can find the missing pieces of your health puzzle and get back to feeling like yourself again, schedule an Ideal Health & Weight Discovery Session with me today here.
I spent the past week hiking around some of the most beautiful national parks in Utah and to my surprise, in even some of the most remote areas, every single restaurant we ate at had gluten-free items clearly marked.
This just goes to show that more people, including you, are sensitive to gluten whether you know it or not. Regardless if you’ve been diagnosed with a gluten issue or not, gluten is a highly inflammatory food with negative health impacts.
You don’t have to get tested to know if you have a reaction to gluten, the size of your forehead could actually be the only clue you need.
Check out this week’s #throwbackthursday blog to see what your forehead has to say about gluten and what other clues your body holds about your health.
I’ll never forget the day I wore my hair pulled back with a headband and my coworker called me out for having a big forehead.
I had been self-conscious about it before, but that day made me feel ultra self-conscious moving forward. My dreams of growing out my bangs for more long, luscious locks around my face and less work in the hairstyling department quickly vanished.
At the time, I had no idea how insightful my forehead would be about my health.
Sometimes what we take for granted or hate most about our bodies can hold the most valuable clues about our health.
For example, the extra weight you might have put on around the middle can be a big clue for blood sugar imbalances, toxic exposures, chronic stress and cortisol hormone dysfunction.
Or weight gain in your “lady parts” (aka breast, hips and butt) strongly correlates with excess estrogen circulating in the body, which can be true for both women and men.
And early signs of gray hair are linked to high stress and low levels of glutathione in the body, which is the body’s master antioxidant and detoxification nutrient.
When it comes to your ideal health and weight, your body holds all of the answers.
Conventional medicine takes more of a “let’s stop the issue” and take this pill for that approach instead of checking in with the body to understand where it’s coming from or what is causing it.
That’s why it’s so common to get prescribed a medication, such as birth control for acne, only to have it partially resolve the issue and for something new to pop up. It’s like chasing holes in a sinking boat!
This conventional approach works perfectly in acute and serious situations such as car accidents or catastrophic events when measures need to be taken immediately to stop the bleeding and save a limb or life. But they aren’t effective for the common chronic health and weight issues that most of us face on a daily basis.
We could spend hours breaking down all of your body parts and what clues they hold about your health. Correlating body parts with symptoms and nerve meridians have been a main focus in eastern medicine practices such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries.
For today, let’s just focus on the little nuggets about your health that your forehead might have to share…
In this week’s video and blog, I share 3 super clues that your forehead might be holding about your health and what you can do with the information.
These 3 clues will give you insights about your digestion, liver and detox capacity, hormonal balance and thyroid function.
Super Clue #1 – Metabolism & Thyroid Function
I first learned about the forehead’s correlation with your health status when I started studying thyroid conditions on a deeper level.
Hair loss in the “widow’s peak” area of the hairline or forehead points to a sluggish thyroid usually indicating hypothyroidism or Hashimotos.
Missing the outer 3rd portion of your eyebrows (also in the forehead region) is another strong clue indicating low thyroid function that should be investigated.
Super Clue #2 – Digestion & Gluten Sensitivity
I was fascinated when I heard Dr. Tom O’Bryan (one of the pioneers in gluten sensitivity research) quote a study that connected the dots between the size of your forehead and your susceptibility for gluten sensitivity.
In the study, they found that a large forehead directly correlates with having Celiac’s disease and/or gluten sensitivity, so much so that the study stated, “This sign along with the presence of other clinical signs and symptoms, should alert a physician to test a patient for celiac disease.”
I had cut out gluten long before hearing this, and I was never diagnosed as being Celiac, but after hearing this all made sense. I had a large forehead indication and increased sensitivity or potential autoimmunity related to gluten, and that’s why I felt so much better with gluten out of my life.
Super Clue #3 – Liver & Detoxification
You may have heard the old-wise tale about how acne in specific areas of the face can correlate with your diet, stress, dirty hands and allergic reactions.
Well there’s actually some truth to this.
According to the nerve meridians used in eastern medicine, the area of your forehead is linked to your major detoxification organs such as you liver, gallbladder, kidneys and bladder.
Acne on your forehead can indicate a back-up in your body’s ability to detox and process toxins or excess hormones, such as estrogen, adequately.
When I was in the throes of healing Hashimotos, detoxing from toxic mold and estrogen dominance I had forehead acne for the first time in my life.
And even more interesting, on an emotional level forehead acne can be related to anger, anxiety, fear, frustration, worry and grief!
On top of it all, all of these clues can also be connected!
In order for your thyroid to function at full steam, your digestive tract and detox organs need to be running effectively.
An inflamed digestive system from gluten sensitivity will allow more toxins into your bloodstream, leading to liver overload and then taking your thyroid down with it.
And the vicious cycle could go on and on and on.
Next time you look in the mirror, take a closer look at your forehead to see what it might be saying about your health.
If you notice any of these clues that I mentioned, you’ll want to…
- Do a food sensitivity and gluten reactivity test to verify if these are issues for you
- Test your thyroid to see if your thyroid hormones are in optimal ranges
- Boost your detox capacity with some high quality liver support supplements and naturally detoxifying food such as beets, dandelion greens and cruciferous vegetables
I’ve learned to love the size of my forehead because of the valuable insights and empowerment it’s given me about my health.
And as many of my clients and I have experienced, it may not be possible to change the size of your forehead but you can learn to appreciate the health knowledge it has to offer, and it is possible to get your thyroid, digestion and detoxification back on track so you can have your luscious hair and clear skin back.
Share this with a family member or friend who might find it useful too!
And as always, if you want to get your hands on the right lab tests and resources so you can find the missing pieces of your health puzzle and get back to feeling like yourself again, schedule an Ideal Health & Weight Discovery Session with me today here.
I’m heavier than I was but I’m healthier than I’ve ever been.
This just goes to show that weight is not a true determinant of health, and I’m not only going to explain why but I’m also going to tell you how to truly evaluate your health status so you can live your fullest life.
I’ve always been overweight according to the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale used to evaluate health by conventional medicine standards. Even at my lowest weight, during my peak fitness training days, I fell into the overweight category.
BMI is calculated by comparing your height and weight. It doesn’t take muscle mass versus fat mass into account; so as someone who has a more muscular and stocky build at 5 foot 5 inches, I’ll never win this assessment.
This is just one of the reasons why using BMI and weight are a poor assessment of health status.
On the other side of the BMI scale, as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner I’ve also worked with plenty of clients who fell into a healthy BMI category but had a laundry list of health issues.
I currently weigh in somewhere between 138-143 lbs depending on what I’ve been eating, how I’ve been sleeping, how much stress I’m under and the phase of my menstrual cycle. I also currently have more energy, mental clarity, body confidence, quality sleep and stress tolerance than ever before.
When I was my lightest at 126 lbs, I struggled to stay awake in the afternoons, suffered from intense ear infections, felt anxious, was diagnosed with skin cancer, had frequent migraines and joint pain. And despite all of this, I was told I was the picture of perfect health at my annual physicals.
So why do we use weight to determine health status?
We frequently formulate an impression about a person’s health based upon how they look but just like being in a relationship, there’s way more to health and happiness than looks.
Weight isn’t even considered a vital sign. The four main vital health signs routinely monitored by medical professionals and healthcare providers include:
- Body temperature
- Pulse rate
- Respiration rate (rate of breathing)
- Blood pressure (Blood pressure is not considered a vital sign, but is often measured along with the vital signs.)
At best, these vital signs are critical indicators for acute trauma and illness such as infections, viruses, and heart attacks; but they fall short when it comes to assessing chronic health issues such as hormone imbalances, autoimmune conditions and even cancer – all of which I was suffering from when I was supposedly the picture of perfect health according to my vital signs at my annual physicals.
In this week’s video and blog, let’s talk about what being healthy really means; how to evaluate it and obtain it.
My story is not unique. I hear a similar story from clients all of the time…
“I’m exhausted. I can’t lose weight. I can’t tolerate stress well anymore. I have trouble sleeping and (fill in the blank with various other health concerns). I just don’t feel right in my body and yet my blood work keeps coming back normal.”
My first response to this is, “you know your body better than anybody so if something doesn’t feel right let that be your guiding light, not a set of test results that may or may not be investigating the right scenes of the crime.”
And next is, let’s use some functional lab testing to uncover hidden healing opportunities in the hormones, immune, digestion, detoxification, energy and nervous system.
Inflammation is at the root of all disease and dysfunction. It’s at the core of your fatigue, hormone imbalances, sleepless nights, skin conditions, digestive issues, aches, pains, autoimmunity and more.
The 4 main vital signs and even a complete blood chemistry blood panel don’t assess inflammation very well. These markers can alert you to the fact that inflammation is occurring in general but from there you’ll want to uncover why, where and how long has it been going on to understand the depths of its impacts.
Some of the most common tests for inflammation include:
- C-Reactive Protein (CRP) found through a blood test
- Calprotectin found through a stool sample test
- Metabolized and Free Cortisol found through a saliva or urine test
C-Reactive Protein will tell you there is inflammation but it won’t tell you where it is in the body, what’s causing it or how long it’s been around.
Calprotectin isolates inflammation in the gut or the intestinal tract giving you a better plan of attack. With this information you can investigate specific causes of inflammation such as food sensitivities, parasites, bacteria, yeast overgrowth and a number of other things.
Cortisol gives you the best overall picture. Based on metabolized cortisol values, you can assess the stages of HPA-axis or adrenal dysfunction, a key indicator for chronic stress and inflammation, and based on the 24-hour free cortisol pattern, you can assess where points of stress are happening throughout the day to give you insights on possible causes of inflammation.
At my worst, I was the picture of perfect health according to my blood markers and vital signs, but I was a hot mess according to my cortisol and calprotectin values.
The menstrual cycle has been emerging as a fifth vital sign due to recent research and for women this can actually be one of the best indicators for underlying chronic inflammation and dysfunction going on in the body. Cortisol is part of the endocrine system along with all of your other hormones, so when one goes down they all go down with it.
This fifth vital sign was a huge clue for me too. My menstrual cycle was off from the day it started indicating there was something going on with my health early on that progressively got worse over time resulting in the drained, bloated and unhappy version of myself in my 20’s despite being at my lightest.
Bottom line, health is not just about having good blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate or weight.
Being healthy really means:
- Having plenty of energy to take on anything that comes your way
- Waking up refreshed, motivated and ready to take on the day
- Eating with confidence and enjoyment
- Sleeping soundly through the night
- Being comfortable in your own skin
- Never or rarely ever getting sick
- Feeling like yourself
Feeling healthy in these ways indicates physiological stress and inflammation are low; the hormones, immune, digestive, detoxification, energy and nervous system are running on all cylinders preventing chronic disease and dysfunction.
If you aren’t feeling this way, there’s so much opportunity for you to feel better than you do today!
Know there is a better way to assess true health with the right lab tests and resources so you can feel like your best self and live life to the fullest every single day.
If you’d like to get your hands on the right lab tests and resources to find the missing pieces of your health puzzle, then click here to schedule a complimentary Ideal Health & Weight Discovery Session with me today!
Hi, my name is Jenn and I’m a workaholic.
I have to work hard at not working. Overworking in the past is part of what led to my constant fatigue, hormone imbalances, digestive issues, skin cancer and Hashimotos.
Scheduling time away from my computer, being outside and trading perfectionism for presence are some of the ways I manage my urge to work too much.
According to the law of attraction, I suspect you might be a workaholic too which is why we’re likely connected and can relate to each other so well, so I want to share some tips with you to make sure working isn’t getting the best of you like it once did to me.
I’ve been a busy yet health-minded professional since I can remember.
As a kid, I excelled in school taking all of the advanced classes and played outside in the street until the sun went down. In high school it was more of the same; advanced classes, after school sports, weekends full of socializing with friends and at 16 I got my first part-time job.
Off to college I went to pursue a degree in fitness, nutrition and health all while juggling an internship, part-time job and full social calendar. I landed my first career job right after graduation, was promoted to assistant manager in 6 months and moved up to head fitness manager within less than a year.
At 22 years old, I was living the dream; working hard, making great money working in the health industry and playing just as hard on the weekends.
Over the years, I put in a LOT of 12-hours days, dealt with a lot of stress working a high-pressure sales environment and drank way too much on the weekends trying to relax and escape.
But I thought I had it all under control. I was eating healthy according to what I had learned in school, hitting the hard gym every day and hitting my performance goals at work.
That was until I was diagnosed with skin cancer at 25 years old with no obvious risk factors such as family history or being a chronic sun-bather.
That’s when the light bulb went on and I started to realize I had been tired for a long time. I always struggled with my weight despite what I ate or how much I exercised, and my seasonal allergies that were progressively getting worse weren’t normal.
Healthy is a way of being, not just doing.
You see, I was doing a lot of “healthy things”, but I wasn’t exactly embracing being healthy. I was running my body into the ground daily and barely keeping it afloat with my so-called healthy eating and exercise habits.
But you can’t out-supplement, out-diet or out-exercise a too busy lifestyle or overworked body.
In this week’s video and blog, I share 10 tips to shift from a worn down workaholic to feeling like your best self.
Now as an entrepreneur working for myself from home, it’s generally much easier for me to sit at home catching up on work instead of taking time to relax and do nothing. I love my work. It’s incredibly rewarding on many levels; I get to help people reach their health goals. I get a rush from checking tasks off my list and coaching others which scratches my natural board-leader itch.
And during this damn pandemic, it’s been way too easy to just keep working when there isn’t much else to do. Can ya feel me?
Your body can only heal in a relaxed state.
All of the busy-ness, the doing, and the moving elicits a chronic low-grade stress response in the body. It triggers your sympathetic nervous system, also known as your “fight or flight” response, signaling the body to release cortisol hormone. Cortisol is your body’s response to stress but it also helps to regulate your energy balance, sleep quality, blood sugar regulation, inflammation and hormone pathways.
This busy-ness response paired with emotional stress, less than ideal nights of sleep, hitting the gym hard, hidden environmental toxins, alcohol and sub-optimal food choices increases the demand for cortisol to regulate stress and inflammation.
A constant demand for cortisol due to an overstimulated fight or flight response really starts to wear down your body over time, and it can lead to all kinds of imbalances and health issues.
A perfect example of this is my old workaholic lifestyle…
- Get up early
- Workout hard
- Work all day
- Work while eating lunch
- Eat good food but not great food
- Rush from one place to another including to bed
To sum it up, my routine was basically deplete, deplete, deplete, hit repeat. I would take two steps forward with my “healthy habits” and three steps backwards by depleting my body with repeated demands.
Your body will do anything you tell it to but that doesn’t mean you should.
Understanding the burden of stress that your body is under at any point in time and taking action to reduce it is the true path to achieving and maintaining your ideal health and weight.
One of the biggest actions you can take is relaxing more (aka working less) to allow your body to enter the rest and digest or parasympathetic state. This is when healing really happens allowing you to take more steps forward even if your choices or environment took some steps back.
Here are 10 of my favorite ways to stop and shift from work-mode to relax-mode that instantly flip the switch in the body from fight or flight to rest and digest status:
- Lay down and prop your feet up for 10+ minutes
- Take a breath break; inhale 5 sec., hold for 5, exhale for 7, repeat 5-10x
- Eat meals outside and/or away from your computer and phone
- Schedule time to explore the outdoors and disconnect
- Create a nightly wind-down routine and be asleep by 10pm
- Set Do-Not-Disturb on your phone daily 9pm-7am
- Spend quality time with furry family members or friends (dog, cat, etc.)
- Find a hobby that entices you and brings you a bunch of joy
- Engage in therapeutic mental challenges such as puzzles, crosswords and painting
- Put reminders in your calendar to stop working and do something relaxing such as read a book, watch your favorite TV show, do arts and crafts or just sit and stare out at the world
Even with these tools in my back pocket that little voice inside my head still tries to encourage me to keep working to reap the rewards of my labor, but I know better now.
I know what it feels like to feel at home in my body, to wake up rested, to feel strong, and to never ever get sick – this is way more worth it than that extra hour or minute of work I think I should put in.
This is the question you have to ask yourself…is all that work worth it if at the end of the day you’re too tired, sick or feeling fat to enjoy life?
I’m curious, no matter how small, what shift could you make to work less and relax more in an effort to support feeling like your best self?
Comment below to give yourself some accountability and share your commitment to shift with me.
Healthy products have come a long way over the years but it can still be hard to find ones that actually work or taste good.
I’ve tried my fair share of healthy products along my health journey as I’m sure you have too, and there definitely have been ones I wished I could get my money, time or energy back from and then there are others I just can’t live without.
Some of the products I’ve found along the way have been pivotal in helping me reverse Hashimotos, restore hormone balance, get my energy back and feeling at home in my body again.
This week I’m sharing some of the health-supporting products I LOVE with YOU and how they have helped me go from feeling fat, sick and tired all the time to energize, vibrant and completely comfortable in my body…
Queen of Thrones Castor Oil Pack
I started using castor oil as part of my health routine over 7 years ago and it has been a staple in helping me to get my energy back, get my hormones on track and to keep my skin cancer-free and Hashimotos in remission.
I LOVE castor oil because it contains natural healing properties such as fatty acids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, amino acids, terpenoids and phytosterols which help to reduce inflammation, increase antioxidants, protect the liver, heal wounds and produce antimicrobial effects.
This tool literally takes the thinking out of menu planning for me each week and it’s 100% customizable to fit all of your menu planning needs; personalize your dietary needs (such as Paleo, AIP, Whole30, etc.), how many recipes you want per week, how much time you want to spend cooking each day and how many servings you want to make.
Then, get weekly recipes and a grocery list according to your specs and where you live for seasonal availability of ingredients!
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides have helped heal my gut, improve digestion and increase absorption of nutrients to ultimately reverse Hashimotos and heal from mold illness. Collagen peptides provide the amino acids necessary in order for the body to repair the intestinal lining when damage occurs. Vital Proteins Plain Collagen Peptides are flavorless and can be added to your everyday drinking water for a powerful healing punch.
My favorite way to get in my peptides every day is a Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen Latte!
✨ Matcha Green tea has a natural anti-inflammatory effect
✨ Collagen peptides help to heal the gut or keep it healthy
✨ Full fat coconut milk nourishes hormones, balances blood sugar and boosts energy
Here’s how to mix it up:
???? 1.5 scoop of Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen
???? 4 oz of Aroy-D coconut milk
???? Hot or cold water and ice
I take LMNT electrolytes at least once a day to ensure I’m getting enough minerals and electrolytes to stay hydrated, and twice a day if I’m doing a longer fast or have been more active than usual.
Electrolytes are essential for every action in the body – they keep us properly hydrated, assist in hormone balance, muscle contractions and so much more! Most people don’t realize how deficient they are in them due to eating a low carb diet or food quality. This is why LMNT electrolytes are a part of my daily morning routine to ensure optimal levels, and I recommend them to everyone for the same reason.
Now that my hormones and energy have been back in balance for a while, I have a quarterly 72-hour gut rest fasting routine using Pique Tea as an essential element to get me through the 3 days, and for its health boosting benefits! Pique Tea has the highest quality and purity standards. This pure, organic and convenient tea has 12x the antioxidants compared to others and is triple screened for pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
Even if you’re not fasting, teas are packed with all kinds of health benefits. They contain high amounts of polyphenols which support digestion and microbiome (beneficial gut bacteria) balance, antioxidants known as catechins, and EGCG that reduces inflammation. Green tea can also help with satiety to prevent food cravings.
From time to time, I even get the typical ache, pain or tension headache but I avoid taking pain meds at all cost to preserve the health of my liver, digestion and hormones so my go-to pain relief remedy is MindBody Matrix cream. It works instantly!
It’s an all-natural blend of botanicals, herbs and essential oils designed to make pain magically disappear without the harsh side effects of over-the-counter medications.
I can’t imagine my life without these products. They have been so crucial to getting my body back and feeling like myself again. They continue to support my ability to feel like my best every single day, and I know they can do the same for you too!
Give one or some of them a try and let me know what you think!
This year is flying by, I can’t believe it’s mid-July already! Here in San Diego we’re hitting the peak of summer and I’ve been soaking up the sun by the pool, on my morning runs and even while eating my lunch during the week.
There once was a time when I thought I’d never be able to enjoy the sun in these ways, right after I was diagnosed with skin cancer over 10 years ago.
But so much has changed since then, and there are ways to enjoy the sun without worrying about skin cancer; so here’s a #throwbackthursday blog to shed some sunlight on that for you 🙂 ….
I was diagnosed with skin cancer at age 26, and I just spent a whole week fearlessly soaking up the sun in Maui.
At the time of my diagnosis, from the outside, I looked like your typical healthy person…
I ate “healthy” – low calorie, lean meats, vegetables, fruits, yogurts and sweets only occasionally.
I exercised daily doing a mix of weight lifting, cardio, training for fitness shows and half or full marathons.
On paper I even looked perfect; normal cholesterol, heart rate, blood pressure etc. I was a skilled personal trainer with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fitness, Nutrition and Health who (at the time) thought I knew all there was to know about being healthy and losing weight.
Despite doing all the right “healthy” things, prior to my skin cancer diagnosis, the intensity of my seasonal allergies had progressed to the point of wiping me out for days or weeks, migraines became more frequent, “normal” joint aches or muscle soreness seemed to linger longer and longer, and it was getting tougher to lose or maintain my weight.
I slowly started to question my health and what I had been taught all those years in school.
Skin cancer was my body waving a BIG red flag about something deeper going on.
Being diagnosed with skin cancer at such a young age sparked an undeniable urge to get to the bottom of my own health issues and use my knowledge to help others.
I practically had zero risk factors associated with skin cancer – no family history of any cancers related to melanoma, and sure I used a tanning bed or spent time in the sun without sunscreen from time to time, but I wasn’t your typical frequent tanner who was putting themselves at risk for skin cancer by any means.
The pieces of the puzzle just didn’t seem to add up. I was “healthy”, had minimal risk factors and was young, yet for some reason cancer cropped up. I knew there had to be more to the story.
Shortly after my diagnosis, I enrolled in the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® (FDN) Course to dig deeper into my own health issues, to get to the bottom of them once and for all. And with my newly acquired knowledge, I aspired to help others also struggling with chronic health issues and weight loss despite the fact that they were eating right and working out.
The FDN training taught me a whole new way of looking at weight loss, health and disease.
As I started digging deeper I found A LOT of cellular damage, hormone imbalances, liver congestion and gut dysfunction…
No wonder why cancer had found itself at home in my body!
As part of the FDN training I was required to run functional lab tests on myself to look at my hormone, immune, digestion, detoxification, energy and nervous systems. These functional lab tests are very different than your typical blood tests. Most of these tests are done using saliva, urine and stool to take a closer look at how the body is actually functioning (or not) in real time.
My test results revealed a flurry of Metabolic Chaos®.
My hormones were going haywire causing deep dips in my energy, making it difficult to manage my weight or to keep inflammation under control resulting in those intensified seasonal allergies, aches and pains.
My liver was overloaded and unable to move cancer-causing toxins out of my body effectively, coupled with high oxidative stress (i.e. cellular/DNA damage) making me the perfect candidate for cancer.
The good news is this story has a happy ending. I’m now over 10 years skin cancer free.
And I’m not afraid of skin cancer anymore, or any other health condition for that matter.
In this week’s video and blog, I share how I overcame skin cancer, what I’m doing to prevent getting it again and how I’ve kicked seasonal allergies, migraines, aches and pains, and weight gain all at the same time.
Testing allowed me to stop guessing about what was going on in my body exactly, and it gave me valuable insights about what I could do to restore balance, prevent future cancer and other chronic disease scares.
As an added bonus, I also discovered how to put a stop to my seasonal allergies, migraines, frequent aches and pains, and the struggle to lose or maintain my weight.
With the data in hand, I set out to create a personalized health rebuilding plan that met my unique needs, one that included:
- Foods that were right for my body
- Adequate sleep during the most critical times of night
- Health boosting exercise intensity and types (instead of depleting)
- Various modalities to reduce physical and emotional stress
- Specific supplements to support my body in the ways it needed
- Transitioning to a non/less-toxic living environment
All geared towards a goal of restoring hormone balance, efficient liver function, boosting digestive health and reducing oxidative stress to prevent further cancer growth, and so I could get my energy back, lose weight and be allergy, migraine and pain free!
As Dr. Nasha Winters, author of the Metabolic Approach To Cancer, once said “you are what you don’t poop.”
Cancer-causing toxins are eliminated through stool, urine and sweat so if you’re not doing those things regularly or well, your risk for cancers and other chronic diseases escalates.
And in order to eliminate toxins well you need to have all of your systems running efficiently; hormone, immune, digestion, detoxification, energy and nervous systems.
Upon implementing my health re-building plan, I felt immediate relief from seasonal allergies, migraines, aches and pains, and I lost weight – all signs that my body was healing and regaining its balance.
I now feel 100% like my energetic, strong and lean self again. I’m not afraid of skin cancer because I’ve restored my health, I know what to do in order to prevent it, and I’ve been over 10 years skin cancer free to prove it.
I no longer rely on typical blood tests anymore to gauge my health. Instead, I pay close attention to what is going on with my body and every year I run a series of functional lab tests to make sure all systems of my body are firing; to monitor my liver function and oxidative stress levels for potential cancer risks, and to make any minor adjustments needed to my lifestyle to support my best self.
Now I confidently soak up the sun on a regular basis because I feel great in my body and I know skin cancer has nothing on this #HEALTHBOSS.
As a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner, I help health-mind people like you to also investigate the unanswered or puzzling pieces of your health story so you too can feel your best and live life to the fullest!
If you want to get your hands on the right lab tests and resources so you can find the missing pieces to your health puzzle and get back to feeling like yourself again, click here to schedule an Ideal Health & Weight Discovery Session.