I have a confession to make.
For nearly a decade I have walked alongside thousands of courageous clients as they have transformed their health and their lives but for the past 3 1/2 years I have been secretly struggling with health issues of my own. Issues that I was unable to get a handle on despite my vast knowledge of clean eating, supplementation and chemical free living. As a health coach, how is this possible?
I eat a super clean diet, workout, get most of my vegetables from our garden or our CSA Share, use chemical free cleaning and skin care products, take whole food supplements, am extremely specific about our protein sources, live a fairly stress free life (quitting a stressful corporate job has that effect), don’t drink alcohol and meditate almost daily. Jeez … what could possibly be missing?
Ever since quitting drugs and alcohol 3 1/2 years ago I have been on a mission to figure out what was wrong with my health. I was experiencing symptoms that were mimicking hypothyroidism such as … extreme fatigue (I would wake up feeling like I hadn’t slept and my husband would often find me on the couch passed out when he got home from work). Memory loss, both short and long term. My husband started saying things like, don’t you remember having that conversation yesterday? or Don’t you remember us going there? Scary. I was also having trouble completing a thought or a task. It was was bad. I was starting to think I was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and Dementia – there was no way I could go on living like this. Honestly, I was feeling hopeless about my health, my career choice and my life for that matter. Drinking alcohol and doing drugs all those years was definitely masking a larger health problem. But what was it?
I have been down so many rabbit holes and misdiagnosis trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Thyroid, adrenal fatigue, out of whack hormones, cognitive repair … you name it, I have been down that path. You know, Google and all. I made the dietary changes. I cut out sugar, dairy, gluten and white carbs. I went Paleo. Then Keto with an emphasis on plant based fats. I even started my day with MCT coffee. None of which helped me feel better. I still couldn’t remember anything or think straight.
Despite everything I did on my own to adjust my nutrient levels (uping the selenium and iodine for my thyroid, zinc for my low testosterone), nothing seemed to help my symptoms. I was taking upwards of 30-40 whole food supplements a day. My naturopath had me add on some additional supplements for cognitive repair that made be bruise to the touch. I got off those immediately. I added essential oils to my regimen for a short stint, thought they were helping, but within a couple of weeks I was back to square one.
Comprehensive blood test panels over the years showed slightly elevated thyroid (around 2.2 TSH) levels, along with low testosterone levels. I tried 2 different thyroid medications that actually made my symptoms worse and eventually threw my body into hyperthyroidism. The medication made me feel as though there was a low vibrating ringing sensation in my head and behind my eyes. Then extreme insomnia set in. Check hyperthyroidism off the list, that obviously was not the issue. The lack of sleep turned into bouts of extreme anxiety and depression for the first time ever in my life and I didn’t want to leave the house. Next thing I know I am in the hospital. Not good. July 20th 2017 was one of the darkest days of my life. Honestly, I didn’t want to be here anymore. Thank god for my amazing husband Ryan, my mom and my best friend Shawna who telepathically knew to reach out to me that morning. I did another round of comprehensive blood work and I acutely remember the doctor saying “if its not metabolic then it must be psychiatric and that I should prepare myself to go down the psychiatric medication route”. In tears. No I refuse to accept that. Something is wrong with my body and I just need to figure it out.
2 days after my stint in the hospital a dear friend, who knew what I was going through, reached out to me. She told me about new company (Amare) that was just about to launch a new, much needed category into the marketplace that is focused on optimizing health, with a strong emphasis on mental wellness, through healing the gut brain axis. I was intrigued. I knew from being immersed in the nutrition industry over the past decade that the latest scientific research is showing that that most disease (neurological, digestive, autoimmune, fatigue, metabolic, inflammatory responses etc) and mental health issues (depression, anxiety, add, spectrum disorders etc) originate from the gut, the brain and the body’s ability to communication between the two via neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, endorphin’s etc.
I decided to get off everything I was taking and do their 3 Day Gut Microbiome Reboot followed by their gut brain axis restorative nutrition protocol called Fundamentals. Mind you I did the 3 Day Gut Microbiome Reboot right before we hit the road in our RV for a 2 week vacation to see the solar eclipse and didn’t necessarily keep my nutrition on point while on the road. Lets just say truck stop snacks, gas station vanilla lattes out of those funky machines (I secretly love those btw) pizza and s’mores occurred more than once.
About a week into the gut brain axis restorative nutrition protocol I started noticing big shifts. My head felt clearer, I could remember what I was about to say or do, my energy levels kicked back in, my overall outlook on life felt way more positive, I was sleeping better. Was this really it all along? I just needed to repair my gut and heal my gut brain axis? But WHY was that? Come to find out, there are 10,000 strains of probiotics many of which help with mental wellness. I had no idea. All this time I was only taking the probiotic strains that were correlated to digestive health. Good but not enough. I also realized that I hadn’t been taking the appropriate nutrients to support the gut brain axis communication network nor the right nutrients to support optimum cognitive function. Wow did I miss the mark. Correcting this made all the difference. This transformation also brought me full circle back to why I started drinking and using drugs all those years ago – as it turns out the serotonin and dopamine weren’t communicating properly between my gut and my brain which is why I started to self medicate as a teenager. Bingo. Big light bulb moment.
Then the weight started to fall off unexpectedly. I kid you not, I haven’t been able to get my weight to budge at all over the past couple of years. And I coach others on weight loss. Seriously, so embarrassing to admit. I am down 9lbs and its still coming off … and without exercise. I have only been back to the gym once since getting back from vacation at the end of August. Shhh dont tell anyone. It feels SO LIBERATING not to have to obsessively work out everyday (another more accepted form of addiction like over working or busyness) to keep my weight down. I hit a yoga class once or twice a week now. Its amazing what can happen to your body when you address the root cause of your symptoms. Everything else heals itself like our bodies were intended to do.
My health turnaround led me to fork in the road. For nearly a decade I had been partnered with a nutrition company I loved and felt very committed to, Shaklee. But after walking through my own personal health struggles I knew needed to share my whole journey, including my gut brain axis health transformation, because I know there many others out there struggling and searching for answers like I was.
“Always trust your gut, it knows what your head hasn’t figured out yet.” ~ Anonymous
I am forever grateful for 9+ years at Shaklee, the integrity of the company’s products, the thousands of lives I was able to positively impact through their products, and the extraordinary friends and mentors I met along the way. It’s been an extremely difficult and gut wrenching decision to move on, but after much meditation, I am now confident in my decision. I have nothing but love in my heart for Shaklee products.
What led me to Amare (Amare means To Love), besides experiencing life changing improvements in my health, was their incredible mission. A mission to transform peoples lives through LOVE, SERVICE and HUMILIY with a strong emphasis on mental wellness and alcohol and substance abuse recovery. Right time (lets face it, mental health issues including depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance abuse and many other addictions are the black plague of our society and its about time we help end the stigma around that). Right products. Right leadership. And it feels so empowering to be living in the solution with these game changing products.
To learn more about Amare’s mission check out this moving clip below:
“We rise by lifting others” ~ Robert Ingersol
I am excited to announce that I have joined the Amare passion project as a founding partner. If you would like more information on rebooting your gut microbiome or how healing your gut brain axis can transform your life and the lives of the people you love and care about, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me by going HERE.
If you ready to reboot your gut microbiome and get your health back on track now we suggest you start with our Fundamentals Pack. If you join as a preferred customer you get our 3 Day Gut Microbiome Reboot for free by going HERE. If you keep the Subscribe & Save checkbox checked (you can cancel at anytime) you will be able to add on a free product of your choice at checkout – we recommend Sleep+ (helps your body create your own melatonin) or Mood+ (decreases depression scores by 50%). We would be honored to walk alongside you on that journey.
Does my journey resonate with you? If so join our “Trust Your Gut” online community where we share lots of tips, tricks, gut mircrobiome boosting recipes and most of all LOVE, HOPE and INSPIRATION.
If you are passionate about the mental health issues plaguing our society today, love to help and serve others and want to be part of this amazing passion project – let’s chat asap. Fill out my partner form by clicking the button below:
Changing the world one gut brain axis at a time!
Much love & gratitude ~