Adaptogenic Herbs: Mother Nature’s Secret Medicine

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I’d even heard the term “Adaptogenic Herbs” and when I did I still wasn’t quite sure what they were or what they did.

Adapt means to modify, change or restructure. Adaptgenic herbs have the amazing ability to modify, change and restructure our body at a cellular level.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of an adaptogen is “a nontoxic substance and especially a plant extract that is held to increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning”.

So, let’s think about this a minute, there is a natural substance, actually multiple substances that will help the body combat stress. Our bodies are stressed by a plethera of environmental factors daily. So many health issues are stress related. Could this be an answer?

Over the past week, I’ve watched a video series on Herbal medicine. Did you know that Herbalism as a medical practice was outlawed in the United States over 100 years ago? This is downright sad, because it has started to erase the knowledge we need to have about natural forms of medical treatments, treatments that are successfully practiced in other parts of the world everyday.

So many ailments that are considered common health issues could be reveresed with the addition of adaptogens. Adaptogenic herbs can treat and prevent diseases like Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, Chronic Fatigue, Insomnia, Brain Fog, Demenitia problems, neurological disorders like MS and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disorders like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, digestive disorders, adrenal fatigue, thyroid imbalance, and the list goes on and on. If you name any chronic disease, adaptognic herbs will probably make it better. They get to the source of the problem.

Often times, we take pills for symptoms, but we forget that those symptoms are signs, they show up for a reason. Adaptognic herbs get to the source of the problem. Adding adaptogenic herbs to my nutrition plan has decrease the need for all the medications that I used to take for asthma, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, fibormalgia, allergies, migraines and more. It’s been an incredible transformation. I rarely even go to the pharmacy anymore.

Boosting my immune system and fighting the chronic inflammation and stress that my body is constantly battling with adaptogenic herbs and other holistic nutrition remedies has changed my health 100%. It’s hard to believe I’m the same sick person that cried and suffered with pain from IBS and Fibro and Migraines.

Let me share a list of things adaptogens can do:

  • increase endurance
  • increase libido
  • decrease stress (actually decrease cortisol levels!!)
  • boost immune function
  • decrease inflammation
  • provide allergy relief
  • decrease anxiety and elevate mood
  • regulate sleep
  • strengthen digestive system
  • strengthen cardivascular system
  • calm the nervous system
  • balance hormones
  • balances adrenal function

These adaptogenic herbs are plants and fungi; and with some the roots hold the magic elixir. These are herbs like Ashaganda, Astragalus, Holy Basil, Reishi, Miataki, Shiitake, Rhodiola, Maca, Chaga, Shishandra and Cordyceps, just to name a few. You’ve probably heard their names buzzing around, but weren’t really sure what was so great about them. Now you know!

Now you need to know how your get your hands on them, right?? Um, y’all… why do you think I keep talking about my superfoods? THIS! THESE! These amazing Adaptogens! All of the above are in Shakeology! All of the health issues listed above that people struggle with, that I’ve struggled with, are better now that I have the antiinflammatory effects of these amazing superfoods helping my body.

“THIS IS WHERE I GET MY ENERGY,” says the girl with the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

We all deal with stress, we can’t avoid it, that’s just how life is in the 21st century. If we want to live our healthiest, we need to actively do what we can to combat the enrionmental stress our bodies are exposed to each and every day. Counteracting that stress at the cellular level in our body is the secret to staying well.

And, let’s face it, we all know we can’t get those adaptogenic effects in the Standard American Diet no matter how well we eat, our food just doesn’t have the nutrition we need. We need immune boosting, antiinflammatory nutrition to be healthy. That’s why I add my adaptogens, along with some other superfoods.

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I can’t wait to help you learn more about getting healthy and feeling better!

If you need help navitaging your wellness journey, I’d be happy to help. I love helping people learn what they can do to take control of their health and the health of their family.  It’s empowering for them, and it fills my cup right up! If you want to work with me, just send me a message and we can chat up a plan for you! If you want to check out my website to place an order or start working with me, click here. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Feel free to contact me: FacebookInstagram – or Email me: katie@katiepinktolley.com

 

 

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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

 

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 

 

 

Digestive Health Lesson #1: Leaky Gut

“ALL DISEASE BEGINS IN THE GUT.” – Hippocrates

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I can pinpoint my gut issues all the way back to middle school in the suburban brick rancher I grew up in, and more specifically right down to the bowl of gravy, loaf of bread, my friend Lori, the stomach pain, and the bloating that came along with it. Those problems go way back. This is just one example of the bad food exposure that I subjected myself to growing up. Many of us did, we didn’t know it was that big a deal. What damage could it possibly cause, we were 14, just kids. Yes, well, so is my boy now, and his issues seem to have a similar root cause. Food. The wrong vs. the right… My issues manifested as irritable bowel, asthma, acne, eczema, and eventually fibromyalgia. My boy, Josh has multiple gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms, and has dealt with them most of his life.

stomach painHow do we know it’s food? Continue reading