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Talk about stepping out of your comfort zone! But I did… Yay, me!! DO NOT, I repeat… DO NOT let anxiety and fear stop you from doing the things you know you’re meant to do!

DO ALL THE THINGS!!!

Recently, I was invited to join a new friend on some of her podcasts. I’m all about sharing health and wellness info, but hearing my voice on a podcast that can be heard all over the world… WHOA! Who am I?!? Exciting stuff!! I want to make sure you can find all my guest appearances in one place, so here ya go…

I first joined Alexa on The Alexa Z Show, Meditation Motivation in January. Alexa invited my colleague, Danielle McDevitt, MD, and I to discuss Integrative Medicine and What It Really Is. We talked about chronic inflammation, all the ways it can affect the body and lead to that infamous “fight or flight” response. We made sure to mention a few ways to change that “fight or flight” back to “rest and digest”. Important Stuff! We had a blast doing the first one, so decided to do a few more.

Our second episode is about ADHD and Anxiety in our Youth. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know this is a topic that is close to home for my family. Alexa and I dig into the topic of neuroinflammation, discuss neurotransmitter function, and how they each play a role in the disease process. We talk about some of the root causes of neuroinflammation, and how that inflammation can lead to other diseases. The most important part- we talk about how you can change things! Change your health, change your life. Change your life, change your health. Enter meditation and other integrative therapies. If you want to read more about neuroinflammation, I wrote Is it Really ADHD? to address that very topic.

One of the most important bits of info I can share with you is a quote from our recent podcast, “The genetics you’re born with do not dictate your health, the environment you put those genetics in will dictate your health… that’s a whole new field of science called epigenetics that’s developed over the last 20 years and it’s fascinating!” ~KPTolley

In our next episode, we plan to discuss Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is pretty controversial nowadays. It’s characterized by widespread pain, overwhelming fatigue, and memory issues, along with a list of other problems that disturb almost every system in the body, especially the immune system and nervous system. We’ll discuss symptoms, disease process, diagnostic challenges, treatment challenges and how alternative therapies like meditation play such a big role in the recovery process. Be sure to tune in next month.

If you have any questions about medication or topics that you’d like to hear Alexa and I discuss, please reach out and let us know! If you want to learn more about meditating or you’re looking for a meditation coach, Alexa is your gal!

Be Well!! Kp

Why I Believe in My Superfoods

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This is how Superfoods make me feel! And, for a girl w a chronic pain and fatigue disorder, that’s pretty damn special!

Superfoods…  a health term that gets thrown around A LOT these days, huh? So, what are they? Why are some foods super and some not? GOOD QUESTION! It’s taken me a long time to figure it out too. If you want to know the truth, I’m still learning more every day!

My superfoods have changed the way I am able to live. I have multiple chronic illnesses that were being controlled by what I was putting in my body.

I don’t like veggies very much. I’m a very picky eater, my grandmother used to call me “finiky”… it’s a texture thing and an anxiety thing for me. If I think I don’t like it, I don’t like it… I know, grow up, Katie. I’ve tried. I’ve gotten better, but I’m just not one that likes a big variety of foods.

I know I can eat plenty of protein and fiber (kinda) and goods fats. Y’all do know the necessity of good fats, right? The whole fat-free thing is a bunch of milarchy. It’s crucial that our bodies get good fats and if they don’t multiple disease processes can appear. Good fats keep our brain working… our brain controls EVERYTHING!

Did you know you can get TOO MUCH PROTEIN, and it will make you gain weight just like sugar will? Actually, when you eat too much protein, it turns into sugar, and then fat. That’s why I’m not a protein shake kinda girl, I’m a SUPERFOOD shake kinda girl. Sure, I need protein, but I eat protein… eggs, steak, chicken, and bacon aren’t the hard part for me, it’s the veggies. Yes, I was that kid, and still am at 46.

So, how do I get my veggies, I have some that I love and we have them with dinner each night, some days I have Caesar salad w meat on it for lunch, but my Shakeology fills in the missing nutrition. #winning

Why Shakeology?

I took this holistic nutrition class and learned about adaptogenic herbs. Cool things, those adaptogens… they help my body adapt to stress. I didn’t know food did that!!! Did you?? Adaptogenic herbs help my body detox and fight the stress of everyday life and the toxic substances that I breathe in and ingest.

Then, I learned that Shakeology has digestive enzymes and prebiotics and probiotics. Why does that matter? Have you heard of digestion? I know, stupid question… Digestion is the process of absorbing nutrients to fuel our body. Here’s the thing, we need digestive enzymes to help absorb the good stuff and not the bad, we need prebiotics to help feed the probiotics. Those probiotics help digest the food we eat so we can absorb the nutrients. These enzymes and natural organisms used to be in our food.

Ever heard of phytonutrients and antioxidants? These are the super greens and funny sounding plants that provide immune benefits. Did you know with a healthy immune system you can fight off almost any disease there is, including cancer? I know I sound like a nut, trust me, it was new to me when I first heard it too. I am a total believer though, I’ve seen too many people get healthier by committing to holistic nutrition.

Did you know that antioxidants actually are like a detox for your body? Seriously! Isn’t that cool!? They help eliminate free radicals. What are free radicals? There are toxic substances that float around in our bodies from different environmental assaults (foods, stress, organisms, chemicals, etc.). Antioxidants eliminate those free radicals… SWEET, give me some! I’m all for free, but not when it comes to toxins in my body, that’s what weakens my immune system. Not cool!

So, what else do I need to tell you?? Oh, yea, there IS protein in Shakeology. What I found in the past was most protein shakes are whey or soy, both are inflammatory for most people. (More about chronic inflammation and how it contributes to disease here.) Whey, soy, and too much protein are going to cause weight gain, which is not what most people are looking for.

My choice for protein is plant-based proteins: quinoa, oat, rice, flax, chia, and pea. Why? flax and chia have omega 3 fatty acids which are good fats that my body needs. I don’t want whey because dairy is inflammatory. I significantly limit soy because soy is bad for our endocrine health, want to know more -> read this.

You see, Shakeology is my way of getting 70 different anti-inflammatory foods, most of which I don’t know how to source or prepare. That’s A LOT of holistic nutrition in a tasty treat, folks!

Superfoods are super important for the long-term health of your body. If you’d like to know more about the choices I make, reach out, let’s chat. If you want to join my groups, I’m happy to be your health coach, we ALL need a health coach (mine makes my world a much easier place to navigate). If you want to contact me via my coach website or order Shakeolgy, start here, or you can find me on Facebook @ Katie Pink Tolley

I hope you find a way to make your wellness journey enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all get by with a little help from our friends. 😉

If you’d like to hear what’s so special about Shakeology from the developer herself (yes, HER, one of my heroes, Isabelle), click here.

Oh, I should probably add the health issues that I had that are almost non-existent now that I practice an anti-inflammatory lifestyle 90% of the time along with adding in Shakeology: Asthma, Allergies, Thyroid imbalance, Eczema, Restless Leg Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrom, Constipation, Anxiety, ADHD, Sleep problems, constant stomach pain, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Disorder. Yea, that’s tiring to even think about, so glad I found holistic nutrition and these superfoods. They’ve changed my life, actually, now I can live my life! #golden

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Graphic compliments of Beachbody

As always, Enjoy the Journey & Be Well. ~kp

Why I Believe in Functional Fitness

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NEVER SAY NEVER

Contrary to popular belief, I am not superwoman… I’m soooo far from it.

I AM Katie Pink extraordinaire though… that works for me. It’s taken me a long time to figure that out. My path has had many avenues and many dead ends, paths that were laid out for me, and paths I foraged own my own. I’ve grown from all of it. What I’ve learned is that I need to keep FUNCTIONING at my most extraordinary. I don’t like the alternative.

Life is HARD. Life is always full of stressors. Life is about how we learn to navigate the challenges. I deal with a bad hip and short leg, Fibromyalgia, scoliosis, asthma, irritable bowel, and a few other diagnoses. I’ve lived with pain all my life. Having strong muscles to support my body equates to less pain. When I workout, I feel strong. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too. I am better able to “function”.

As a child athlete, I’d always been in decent shape. I didn’t realize all those years of soccer, gymnastics, skating, tennis, biking, hockey, etc. were actually like pain medicine. When I stopped doing all of those activities, the pain increased, I didn’t know why. I was young and didn’t think about how my body worked. I didn’t think about the everyday function of my body. I didn’t think that all those activities were keeping my muscles strong and “functioning”.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at 25, just weeks before starting nursing school. I was told to decrease my stress and exercise more. HAHAHA. That was an oxymoron knowing what the demands of nursing school were going to be. I didn’t workout, but I did work, as a waitress, the physical demands of the job helped to keep me strong in some ways but sure didn’t help that back pain. I was functioning, but barely.

I’ve learned a bit since that initial Fibro diagnosis. I’ve struggled with my pain, my sleep, my stomach, my hip, my anxiety, my ADHD, and that little voice in my head that doesn’t always believe in me (she’s not nice). I made sacrifices. I missed opportunities with loved ones. I missed opportunities to learn. I missed opportunities to enjoy my life… because I wasn’t functioning.

I’ve learned that the secret to dealing with chronic disease is maintaining “function”.

So, my goal is “functional fitness”… What does that mean? It means keeping my body functioning the best it can with all the stressors that life brings. Life is not going to stop and allow me to regroup and take breaks, it just keeps on happening. If I’m not happening with it, I’m losing. When I’m losing, I’m not functioning at my best. See the circle there?

So, what do I do? Strength training, core training, yoga, pilates, workouts that keep my body functioning. When I say functioning, I mean, full range of motion in my joints, no pain (or very little), a digestive system that absorbs nutrition and eliminates toxins, a sleep schedule that doesn’t leave me tossing and turning at night, a life that I can enjoy with the people that I love. That isn’t the way it’s always been, and it’s not fun to not function.

Non-functional means pain. Non-functional means sleepless nights. Non-functional means exhausting days. Non-functioning means missing important events and milestones. Non-functioning to me… means not living. It’s depressing and demoralizing, and I didn’t like it. That’s why I speak out about my health and how I’ve started to save myself.

In saving myself, I’ve saved my marriage and my family. In saving myself, I’ve also learned how to make my family healthier and happier. I’ve learned how to help them avoid chronic illness and disease, or at least how to make it more “functional” and that’s not easy.

Today, I wanted to share all this with you. The ones that believe in me. I want you to believe in you too. I’m an example of what you can be. I’m also willing to help you figure out the secrets I needed to figure out. I share a lot of those secrets in my health and wellness articles.  I also share a lot as a Health Coach because I enjoy helping people feel better. It helps me believe there is hope in the world. If I can help one person feel better, I can help two. And, one by one, we can make our world a happier and healthier and more functional place. That works for me, and I think it just might work for you too.

Enjoy the Journey, Friends… that’s what it’s all about!

exceed your limits

 

Dear 17 (there’s always more;)

img_8455Dear 17,

Those that die…  they don’t want to… not really …

They just don’t know what else to do…

It’s not that nobody is listening…

It’s that nobody hears…

Nobody has time to really absorb the impact, the compound effect of what’s happening…

The words are never clear, or never clear enough…

But, TRUST ME…

NONE of us want to die…

You’ll learn… it’s gets all too real…

Love YOU & who YOU are!

Love,

Me

PS ; THERE IS ALWAYS MORE TO YOUR STORY!

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Dear 17, (starting and stopping)

Dear 17, (starting and stopping)courage is the absence of fear

You’ll start with the greatest excitement! It makes you tingle. IT’S FUN! You know what I’m talking about. You’ve always been this way. Like the day you got your driver’s license. No more taking the car when you shouldn’t. You got lucky on that one, you won’t always be so lucky.

Actually, one thing you should know… we create our own luck. I’m still learning that at 46.

Sooner or later, the excitement wears off…. Sometimes it’s the monotony, sometimes you think it’s too hard (that damn anxiety and self esteem thing again), or maybe someone doesn’t think your excitement is warranted and you take it to heart.

That’s when the trouble starts. You will let it get to you. It will devastate you. It will STEAL days from your life, DON’T LET IT!! I say that now, but I still let it. I still have to talk myself down. We’re just sensitive. It’s a good thing though, trust me.

It will take you years to understand how sensitive you are. You will accept it, but at the same time, take offense to anyone that tries to use it against you. Problem is, it’s too late once they step inside your space. You react. You can’t help it… It’s a defense mechanism. You learned all about it in college in one of your psych classes, there were plenty. Ha, I love psychology, you’ll see Enjoy the classes, pay attention just a little bit more, it helps you navigate through life more than you realize.

About the sensitive-reacting part, that’s gonna be a problem. That’s the stopping and starting catalyst!! Ugh, I wish I could help you learn… I’m still learning, guess I always will be. Aren’t we all?

Your biggest problem… you let your reaction to the outside world consume you. It changes you.

It changes your relationships.

It changes your thinking.

It changes your ability to think.

It changes your ability to function.

You basically shut down.

Kate, you need to get over that shit… you lose days of your life!! It’s NOT healthy. It’s toxic. I know it’s the anxiety. I wish we knew then what I know now. (sigh)

The shut down, that’s the anxiety. It interferes with your whole world. It’s ugly and it hurts. It’s heavy, the weight may not be visible, but it’s there and it’s real. When you finally figure out how to lift it off of you, you realize how heavy and consuming it actually is. You only realize the weight when you feel the weight lift. It won’t lift until you finally address it and do something about it. That’s the hard part. That takes strength.

courage - put you first

It’s ok to be afraid…

Strength isn’t something we have. It isn’t something that people are. Strength is something that people earn. Strong is something people become. And you will. You are so much stronger than you know. You will prove that to yourself over and over again. I will still take decades for you to really believe it though.

You see, at 17 you’re still learning who you are and what life is all about. Being a kid and growing up is the “learning” part, it takes years, even more than those arbitrary 18 years that precede “adulthood.”

Adulting is hard shit! Enjoy your youth. I wish you knew how much you need to enjoy your youth, we all do. We make it too serious, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I think we’d all be a lot healthier and happier if childhood wasn’t so serious. #lessons

Make life work for you, my dear. Hold your head up. Face your fears. Share your strengths. Share your wisdom. Help others. It will all help you be who you want to be.

only impossible journeyThe only things you cannot accomplish are the things you don’t attempt. #truth

We’ll chat again soon, promise.

Love,

Me

Dear 17 (that d@~m hip)

Dear 17, (that d@~m right hip)

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You WILL get stronger!

You laugh, but it bothers you. That’s a defense mechanism. You’ll learn more about that during college when you get your psych degree.

You jokingly say, “yea, that’s my birth defect” thinking that it doesn’t have an effect on you, it does. It has more of an effect than you think.

When your friend rides behind you biking when you’re in middle school and says, “Hey, are your legs different sizes?”

OMG, EMBARRASSING!!!!

What do you say, accept, yep, “that’s my birth defect hahaha”… not funny.

You know your legs are different because your hips were twisted at birth, as an OB RN/PED RN/Ped NP, I think it was probably hip dysphasia. Who knows, the documentation was different back then.

You know you had casts from your hips to your toes when you were 1  month old for the next 30 days of your life. Then, braces until we walked. I’m glad we don’t remember. The stories they tell seem like they’re talking about someone else, until we look at our legs… fullsizeoutput_45d2

You think it’s worse because you favor the left one.. gymnastics dominantly left legged, driving a stick shift, etc.

Oh, Sweetheart… it’s not the clutch that makes your leg bigger, it’s not the cartwheels and round offs either. It truly is a birth defect, and you need NOT be embarrassed about it. You hear me?

It will take a lot of pain, emotional and physical… “Mom, it hurts when I vacuum,” scoliosis, muscle spasms, pulled muscles, shoe lifts… oh, the shoe lifts (eye roll) that you ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY REFUSE to wear on your shoes.

OH. HELL. NO! What will everyone think? I already can’t keep up. I WILL NOT put that on my shoe for everyone to see. I’ll suffer.

Ah, youth. We suffer either way. We would have suffered with the lift too, so tit for tat.

So, the back pain continues, the hip pain continues, and the stomach pain (whole different letter, and we’ll get to that) continues. Your self-esteem will plummet, you will think it’s your fought and you should do better, you know better but that doesn’t matter. You come from a good family. You have every advantage in the world. But do you? Really? Maybe. Maybe not. Only you know. But you don’t know. That’s the problem.

You are never sure; you just don’t know, you’re afraid to know… it freezes you. Literally. What if what you know is wrong? What if you don’t do the right thing? (Heartbreak of the future: Josh is the same way. It kills me. I feel it for us at 12, 17, 23, 27, 35, and I don’t want it to hold him back too. Maybe I can make a diff. Maybe I can take what I know now and help him.)

We know almost nothing at 17, that’s why I’m writing these letters. I have so much to say, and I’m not sure how to get it out. So, I’m writing… to you.

Back to that hip, it’s gonna get worse… you won’t realize it’s your hip for years. You will pull your groin muscle… oh… duh, you’re 17, you’ve already played most of your high school field hockey career. Wish I could tell you to play at Towson U. To not be afraid. To realize you were just as good as everyone else. Why would you think you weren’t? The leg. Your hip. Your back. Your self esteem. Your anxiety. It always comes back to the damn anxiety… and the anxiety stems from physical issues that aren’t being addressed (the hip is just one of them). That unknown and uncontrolled anxiety will cause decades of pain.

Here’s the good part, you will eventually figure it out… It takes a long f^@%ing time, excuse my French. We suffer long and hard as we figure it out. It takes years. Problems with our health and problems with Joshua’s health, intellect, development, it gets pretty bad. It almost destroys us, the family us. Know you are strong enough to get through it and be better for it. Trust me. Trust us. Trust you. 😉

I guess you realize this isn’t just about that right hip. I’m writing this to help you understand how BIG the LITTLE things can be. In my early adult years, there was a book that was published called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, some of the small stuff/ the emotional small stuff needs to be sweated. (I don’t think that’s really a word, but this is my letter, so it is now.) We need to quit telling people to suck it up. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.

Sometimes, you need to accept your weaknesses, your challenges, the imperfections that are perfectly normal and who you are.

So, understand, that the hip is gonna get worse, orthopods will say you have a “shallow acetabulum yhada yhada yhada…”. Nobody will really help until you find Dr. D, the osteopath that helps you. And, she helps you figure out it’s not just you, she helps you figure out a little about Josh too, it’s not just you mama. (Insert another eye roll, the mysteries take years to unravel.)

Know that hip will limit you. It will stop you. You will use it as an excuse. You won’t understand the problem for so many years, that “yea, haha, it’s just my birth defect” is really a lot more… the effects compound.

All of the things in our life that stay with us day to day compound. Hence, The Compound Effect. You’ll learn about that one over time too, life compounds in every possible way, count on it, and plan for it.

Stay tuned; I’ll fill you in a little at a time as we go along.

Love,

Me.

P.S. btw- We are all crooked, just in different ways, it’s not just you, my dear. Truth. 😉

I am strong

It could be me, but it’s my girl. Our girl. She’s amazing!

 

 

Dear 17, (re: sleep, adhd, anxiety, Mo)

DEAR 17

(RE: Sleep. ADHD. ANXIETY. Mo.)
fullsizeoutput_593Mo: I don’t know where or when I learned it, but I learned to just go to sleep.

Me: That’s it…. That’s the problem, I didn’t. I never learned how to go to sleep.

Mo: I know. I see it. I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime. It’s great.

Me: If something is on my mind, my ADHD brain won’t shut down; I’m up for hours trying to figure it out or get it out. When I do go to sleep, my anxiety wakes me up worrying about what I need to do and I can’t go back to sleep worrying that I’ll forget to do it! It’s a VICIOUS CYCLE. I hate it. It’s a very unpleasant world to live in. It never goes away either. But, I do it, I deal with it, so yea, that…

 


I wish you could know that’s what it is. It would save so much of you. If only I could tell you that’s what all those sleepless nights are from. ADHD and Anxiety. Sorry. It’s gonna hurt for a while until you figure it out.

Oh, yea. Morgan. 🙂 He’s still here. There will be quite a hiatus, but it all works out in the end. Enjoy what you learn while you fly solo.

Truly though, we never do quite get over Morgan, good thing too. He takes damn good care of us. As you see by the convo above (btw- you’re 46 now). You and Morgan are the best of friends closer than any of your other friends, you are each other’s center. Damn good thing too, you won’t be able to live without him, and sometimes you’ll want to lock him out of the house. You will once or twice. But seriously, trust the bond.

If he wasn’t here, we would seriously fall part. Not just the heartache part, we’ve already lived that one, it will never be as hard as the first time, trust me. It hurts each time, but you’ll outgrow that part a little each time too. The heartache is livable; it’s the day to day taking care of one another that you won’t be able to live without. Not just because you love him, but because you need him. He fills in your blanks. He knows where to support that ‘effn ADHD and anxiety stuff. It really does interrupt our world. He’s there to catch us when we fall. He makes us look damn good.

Step back when you need to, but fight for that shit, you hear me! He’s willing to deal with all our BS, maybe because he knows he has his own. Don’t we all. You don’t even know yet, but you’ll learn. He’s ours, don’t let the next few years worry you too much. You can hold your own. You’ll get some support, take it. Enjoy life. You only live your 20s once. Oh, jeez, sorry, you have no idea what I’m talking about. Just don’t blink.

So, also, a little heads up on that ADHD and Anxiety thing… it’s gonna get in the way, it will take you a while to figure out, but you’ll still succeed, you don’t have a choice. None of us do, and somehow you figure that out. Follow your gut… most of the time, 😉

That’s all I have for now. I’ll be sure to fill you in more as it comes to me. I’ve got a few other things written down, not so sure I’m ready to share ALL THAT yet though. You know. It’s still pretty fresh for you right now.

As these thoughts come to me, I’m writing them down. I wish you could really read them. Who knows, maybe, someday you will and that’s why I’m sitting here writing them.

More soon.

Love you, Me.

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Some random Sunday out enjoying the Shore and some music.

 

Dear 17,

Dear 17,

You will have amazing kids, they need somebody like you. Not you at 17, but you later. The “you” you become. Let me tell you what I mean…

You are clueless. You will go through life that way… not your fault, we all do. We never know if our decisions are right until they are done.

At 17, you don’t even know what life is yet, really. This, all this life that you’re living at 17, it’s all just part of the lesson, part of learning what life is. All the heartaches, triumphs, anxiety, fears, growing pains, it’s all just a way for  you to learn. Learn how to not be quite so clueless.

One of the hardest lessons is learning HOW to make mistakes. Sure it seems easy, but trust me, there’s more to it. You see, those mistakes are the key to NOT being clueless. Without making those mistakes, you WILL be clueless forever. MAKE MISTAKES, lots of them, they are your lessons.

Follow that love of knowledge that you have, that love of helping and giving to others, that love of adventure, and especially whatever that instinct is you have to “try anything once” – that’s a youth thing and one you might not want to outgrow as quickly as I know you will.

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Don’t be afraid. 

What doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. Won’t seem like it at the time, but truer truths will never be spoken.

Anything worth having is worth working for. At 17, I know you already say “anything worth having is worth fighting for”… wait until you really have to mean it. Watch what you fight for vs. what you work for. Hard work will get you further, and build your character. Fighting will do just the opposite. Always choose positivity over negativity. ALWAYS.

Anxiety WILL stop you. It will slow you down sometimes, and it will paralyze you others. It is actually going to change the course of your life. DEAL WITH IT. Once you figure it out, then, you can really deal with it, and really help others. Trust me on this one. 😉

The whole anxiety thing is going to take until your mid-30s for you to even recognize that it is the catalyst for so many of the interferences in your life. Suck it up, buttercup, and keep moving forward. It’s ok. It’s gonna piss you off. Figure out how to deal with it. Anything having is worth fighting for, right? 😉 Then, and only then, will you realize your path…

Greatness isn’t something you are born with (no matter what your bloodline).

Greatness is something you have to discover within yourself. You must be open to it. Seeking. Less afraid to make mistakes. (This is why you have to deal with that anxiety.) You’ll make enough mistakes to start to get over them, trust me. Mistakes are just lessons we haven’t mastered.

NEVER STOP SEEKING YOUR GREATNESS… this is the whole “wisdom with age” thing everyone speaks of. You’ll be in your 40s before you know this truth. Nine years of college and graduate studies will not do it for you, those years will aid you, but the struggle is yours alone.

I have so much more to tell you, but most of it you’re going to have to figure out on your own. DON’T let it scare you. The scared ones are the ones that rarely, if ever, find their greatness.

More later.

Love, Me. fullsizeoutput_38eb

What IS Gluten Anyway?? – Digestive Health Lesson #4

gluten-freeGluten is the latest buzz word in nutrition.

But, so many people have no idea what it is.

When friends of mine with PhD’s start asking for more info, it’s time for an article about gluten and why it’s a problem.

So, What is Gluten??

Gluten is a the protein found in the seed of wheat, barley, and rye.

the-gluten-protein-is-mainly-found-in-the-endosperm-of-grain-kernel-seedHere is definition from Celiac.org:

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.
Read more here.

Why is it a problem? 

Gluten per se isn’t the problem for everyone (more on that below). It’s the amount of gluten in the standard american diet, and the tampering of the native seed.

When you look at the diets of most Americans, approximately 80% of meals have a gluten component. There is too much bread, breading, pasta, crackers, croutons, tortillas, etc. in our meals.

Gluten can be inflammatory for many people, too much gluten can be inflammatory for anyone. Inflammation can lead to other chronic diseases, I talk more about that in my article explaining how Inflammation is the root of most disease.

Chronic inflammation occurs because of a process called Intestinal Hyperpermeability, aka, Leaky Gut. I explain this process and how it leads to chronic inflammation in my first digestive health article.

The lifelong health issues I have come from being sensitive to gluten and dairy, but I do not have Celiac Disease and my sensitivity does not show up on allergy testing. That means absolutely nothing though. I learned more about Gluten sensitivity from a GI Specialist last spring during a Pediatric Conference at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Here are the numbers he shared…

  • 10% of our population has Celiac Disease
    • These people CANNOT eat gluten without major symptoms.
    • Many people in our population are undiagnosed, continuing to eat gluten will cause multiple health problems. Think ADHD, Thyroid issues, Irritable Bowel, Autism, Epilepsy, and the list goes on.
  • 40% of our population has Gluten Sensitivity
    • Symptoms are more subtle than Celiac Disease; stomach pain, headache, sinus issues, eczema, constipation, brain fog, lethargy, food cravings, mood swings, depression, anxiety, focus issues, etc.
    • It will get worse.
    • It will cause chronic inflammation and intestinal hyperpermeability.
    • It will most likely cause Celiac Disease if gluten is continually consumed, and will definitely lead to a host of other disease processes. (Please refer to the digestive health articles above for more details.)
    • **If you read some research, please note, some people in modern medicine will tell you there is no way to confirm gluten sensitivity. THIS IS NOT TRUE!! There is a way for doctors to check for gluten sensitivity!! It’s as easy as running a simple blood test for gluten immunoglobulins. I know this, because that’s how we found out my son cannot have gluten. When his Holistic Doctor did labs, the antibodies for gluten and wheat were 5-6 times normal. His Celiac tests and allergy tests are negative. I also know this because one of the top specialist in GI Pediatrics told me all the same stuff himself with research and a groovy powerpoint presentation!

One of the biggest reasons we need more awareness and sensitivity is the vast amount of food that contains gluten, and the vast amount of people, especially children that should not be eating it. If we look at the percentages above, 50% of our population should avoid gluten, yet, 80-90% of our public food choices contain gluten.

THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM FOR OUR CHILDREN AND FOR OUR FUTURE!!!brain-fog

If you think it’s hard to function as an adult with stomach pain and headaches and brain fog, try being a kid, sitting in school after eating mostly gluten for breakfast AND lunch and having anxiety and mood swings… Is it the kid? NO, it’s his food! AND IT’S CHANGING HIS FUTURE! And, he’s a problem in class sitting next to your kid, and that’s why you should care!

I could go on about how reducing our gluten intake has changed my family’s health, but I’ll invite you to read through my blog a little more to find that out, there’s plenty of evidence.

If you want to read how gluten breaks down in our system and causes damage, read how “Getting ‘Glutened’ is Drugging My Kid!!”

I share because I care. I want a better world for me and you and our children.

Please, practice wellness so you live a happier and healthier life. Your loved ones will be awfully glad you did! Enjoy the Journey! 🙂

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Photo compliments of glutenfreesociety.org 

 

 

 

How the hell did that happen? 50 pounds later…

Growing up as an athlete, weight was not a problem… until my teen years. I stayed fit multiple ways; there was soccer, gymnastics, swimming, roller skating and ice skating, field hockey, tennis, weight training and the list goes on. As an adult, I controlled my weight by eating healthy, walking, weight training, waitressing, bartending, nursing, biking, swimming, pilates, yoga. I even taught pilates for a year when Drew Elizabeth was a baby. Best shape I’ve ever been in, and I was 35 and had 2 kids! I love pilates and thought I’d do it forever, but then I started my graduate program, and my exercise habits went to Hell, but it was a slow slide.

I was over 40 when my weight was creeping up, quickly, and I felt like a prisoner in my own body. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong… I gained 30 pounds in 8 months! It all started just after my brother’s wedding in April 2012. My goal has been to get back into that dress.

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April 2012, 40 years old and feeling good (before the gain).

So, when I hopped on the scale at the Y in January, I thought it was broken. I know that sounds like a joke, but, I really did. I went to my friend’s house. I told her I needed to use her scale, because I didn’t own one and the one at the Y had to be broken. I came back down the stairs stunned.

The scale wasn’t broken.

I gained 30 pounds in 8 months! WTF!

How the hell did that happen??? 

I had a plan. I joined the 3 month weight loss program at the Y.  I went to kick ass cardio classes at 5:30am, which is almost impossible for me (Fibro is a chronic fatigue disorder), but I did it. I was doing weight training, I was walking. I was working out 6-7 times a week, even won highest attendance in that contest. I lost 4 pounds in 3 months… What. The. Fuck. Excuse my language, there just is NO substitution. I have never had trouble losing weight. It’s never been easy, but I know how to get it done. Well, I thought I did. I was struggling.

Off to the doctors I went, primary doc, endocrine doc, neither of them thought there was a medical problem. Katie was just gaining weight, it happens when women turn 40. WHAT!?! NO! That was not acceptable. But, what was I to do. I kept struggling.

In March 2014, I was heavier than I had been when I was full term pregnant with either of my children. This couldn’t be happening. How was this happening. I was crying almost every day when I got dressed. I didn’t want to get dressed. I was depressed.

I went to a friend’s 50th birthday party and a college roommate’s wedding that month. I was so very happy for them, and I hated how I felt inside and how I looked on the outside.

I hid. These are the only pictures I can find of me at that time.

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Top right, February 2014, before I knew, I was swollen and inflamed. Left and bottom right are about 4 weeks into my purge. You can see my face is a bit less swollen. But, my stomach was so upset in both of these pictures. I can still remember, and it was almost 2 years ago.

I had an epiphany one day reading a Fibro blog, I clicked on a link to yeast allergy because I was somewhat familiar. I was worried I might have some of those symptoms.

O.M.G.!     Did I have some of the symptoms???     I. Had. Every. One. 

Let’s see if I can remember them all…

  • dry skin
  • constipation
  • bloating
  • stomach upset
  • asthma (it got so bad I went back on meds I hadn’t been taking for years!)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • eczema
  • thinning hair
  • yeast infections (yup, those kind of yeast infections!)
  • sleep problems
  • dandruff, with fungal patches on my scalp
  • UTI (never had a UTI except when I was prego)
  • major sugar cravings
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • acne
  • the list seems to go on and on…

It. Sucked.

So, what to do? Fortunately, I’ve got this friend… Thank God I have all kinds of knowledgeable friends. Remember, Kathy, the allergy RN from my allergy posts? Yeah, she got a text real quick. Not only did she agree with me, she thought the same thing when she’d seen me the previous week.

So, how do I fix it?!?!?

No biggie, just avoid the following:

  • Sugar
  • Processed, packaged foods
  • Vinegar, anything vinegar based
  • Leftovers past 24-36 hours old, they start to grow organisms, a healthy GI tract can tolerate this, mine could not.
  • Yogurt has a ton of sugar, beware.
  • All berries/grapes and other fruits with the S.minor fungal organism, that white mold that shows up after 5-6 days. Our GI system should be able to break that down, unless it’s inflamed and leaky, like mine was!
  • Breads with yeast (flatbread and crackers would be ok on occasion)
  • Wheat is a cross-contaminant, so I should avoid that too
  • Wine (!)(!problem!)(!ALERT!)(!ALERT!)(!problem!) I had to do all this AND avoid wine… it’s fermented. Oh, champagne is even more fermented. (A girl’s gotta have sip on occasion, so I do enjoy a glass of wine (or 2) here and there!)
  • Alcohol is fermented. (Vodka is distilled!!!)
  • Change your cooking oil to coconut and olive, be sure to buy quality items.
  • Balance your Omega 3 oils with your Omega 6 oils. (Fish oil, tuna, coconut, olive are Omega 3 sources.) I get my coconut oil here.
  • I’m sure there were more, but if you take a look, there isn’t much left.

So, that leaves veggies and meats with no marinade. Fun. It was going to have to be fun. But, I did come up with dinners like this one. This was actually last nights, and it was yummy.

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Chicken with fresh lemon, garlic, salt, pepper, italian spices over baby spinach with peas and sweet potatoes. Now that I’ve changed, I think this is scrumptious. Actually, it was!!

I’ve learned more about cooking with dry spices, and now wouldn’t do anything else.

I’ve learned that I prefer to put my meat on a bed of greens, and don’t really need salad dressing if I have it that way. Good luck finding salad dressing without vinegar or soy. Soy is a huge inflammatory. I avoid it at all cost, along with all the other inflammatory foods.

What I’ve learned in my research over the past few years is that inflammation is the root of most health issues, including obesity. Now that I know that, I look back at the struggles I had in my life with my weight, my fibro, my asthma, my skin, my irritable bowel, my anxiety, and it all makes so much sense. It was all because of food intolerances that I knew nothing about. I know I’m not alone… look at the obesity epidemic in this society.

I encourage anyone that has weight challenges to learn about inflammation and leaky gut syndrome. Knowing this knowledge will change your world.

Besides diet changes, what should you do:

  • Probiotic to help heal the gut; multiple lacto and bifido strains, specifically acidophilus, My family takes 40 billion units minimum and changes brand each month too.
  • Vitamins, I use B-complex, Vit C 1000mg, Vit D 2000-5000 IU each day. Most multis don’t have enough in them unless they are a high dose. In my recent readings, I’m learning more about the CRUCIAL role of Vit D, which is really a hormone, and essential.
  • Purge from the above foods for a minimum of 6-8 weeks, then you can slowly try to reintroduce some things. Still only eat them on occasion. Adding fermented foods back into your diet is helpful for a healthy gut.
  • Exercise, at least 3/x week, but daily activity is important.
  • Find ways to manage your stress, this is crucial! Cortisol changes everything. High cortisol makes is really hard to be healthy in multiple ways.
  • 8 hours sleep should be a minimum. WE HEAL WHEN WE SLEEP!!
  • Change your cookware to avoid non-stick chemicals like teflon. I use solid ceramic Xtrema by Ceramcor.
  • I have found that eating Paleo, or close to Paleo is the way to go for me. I have decreased my grain intake significantly.

Well, there wasn’t a damn thing easy about it. I honestly didn’t think I’d see the day I got back into the dress I wore to my brother’s wedding. But I have, comfortably… pictures the next time I have an event! 😉

This was part of my journey that was and continues to be a real struggle. I wanted to share, because I think there are an awful lot of people out there going through what I went through. You don’t have to.

Of all the chapters I’ve lived, I must say, this was a toughy. I have learned an awful lot from this part of my journey, and now I can share some pretty important health information with others.

I knew I needed to write this post 2 years ago. I hoped my journey would bring me here. I can’t tell you how overwhelmingly happy I am that I am writing and telling you all about it. I hope it helps you.

Nothin’ easy about it! We HAVE TO help each other.

Enjoy the Journey!! 😉

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January 2016, 44 years old, 50 pounds lighter than my max weight. BAM! HELL YEAH!