Something in common I am seeing with my health coaching clients is they all tend to have high cortisol levels = high stressors both internally and externally. Most people know about the external stressors, traffic, financial, work, relationship…these are easy to see. But it is the internal stressors that go undetected. These are environmental toxins, food intolerances, medications, emotions, scented candles/air fresheners, EMF’s, blue light and the list goes on!
When we are in this stressed state its activating our sympathetic nervous system which is part of the autonomic nervous system. Commonly known as the flight or fight system.😜 The other part is the parasympathetic nervous system which works to relax and slow down the body’s response to stress.(rest and digest)😌
Here is something to help get you back to that parasympathetic state! Its super easy and all you do is put your legs up the wall! Thats it! I usually do this for 5-10 min daily. You can focus on your breathing as you do this.
This pose also reduces edema, promotes circulation, it releases lower back tension and it’s super calming.🙏
Todays post was inspired by all the questions I keep getting regarding gut health and how to heal the gut. After going through my Functional Diagnostic Nutrition program and learning about health in a whole new way I learned how important it is to test not guess when it comes to health issues. In FDN we run functional lab work to get to the root cause of health issues. It may not be what you think and almost always it leads us back to the gut. Did you know that 70-80% of our immune system is found in the gut? I would have never guessed that. When I ran labs on myself for part of the course I discovered that all my labs pointed to gut issues. When I went in to doing the labs I was pretty confident- cocky to be exact that my labs were going to be really good because I ate clean, exercised and didn’t have many health complaints, I had no problem sleeping, my weight was ideal, yes I was tired but figured it was from working too much well that is not what my labs said! I was in shock...stage 3 adrenal dysfunction...aka metabolic chaos! I was shocked!
As I quickly learned stress plays such a huge part in all of this and when I am talking stress I am talking about the external stressors -the kind we all know about and worry about- financial, work, life and I had a lot of that going on! Also the internal stressors that we may not be aware of such as toxins (environmental, cleaners, cosmetics, lotions, candles to name a few), parasites, bacteria, medications, food sensitivities and so much more. All of this leads/points to a leaky gut! Just because you may not have “gut” issues (bloating, constipation etc) doesn’t mean anything- it can show up as skin issues, fatigue, brain fog, ADD/ADHD, poor memory, irritability, depression, anxiety, diabetes, sinus infections, allergies and so much more. Some people don’t believe in ADD, ADHD and fibromyalgia but they are real. They are not a “true” diagnosis, they are a symptom of something else causing these issues. All point back to gut health!
I would say about 80% of the population has leaky gut. Leaky gut is when the tight junctions in the gut villi that control what passes through become loose and allow food particles to cross that barrier and get into the bloodstream. This is what causes the body to start building antibodies against itself- hence all the autoimmune diseases we are seeing and did you know that almost all of autoimmune diseases respond amazingly when you heal the gut and remove the inflammation!
This is great news but the not so great news is that most people are not willing to give up their foods, lifestyle etc, they are afraid they will be deprived and would rather take a pill which saddens me. In reality you have to think that this did not happen overnight, this is a direct result of eating the wrong foods, poor lifestyle choices, chronic stressors and over time the body just can’t keep up and starts to break down. I have found that the majority of my clients have tried everything else before coming to me because they were not willing to make the changes they need to make to heal themselves, they either were not aware of it or just didn’t know where to start. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, you can take baby steps.
Here are some steps you can take now to start healing your gut and restoring it.
Ever notice that when you use traditional cleaning products your hands get super dry and your chest feels heavy and wheezy? Maybe even headaches after? For me, I stopped using those a long time ago due to the awful smells and my go to was vinegar and water, although that doesn’t smell the greatest either😝 Not only do these products smell bad, they are full of harmful chemicals that wreck havoc on the body from hormone dysfunction to gut issues.
Here are some examples of toxic cleaners to avoid!
1. Air fresheners- The fragrances (even those marked unscented) can trigger asthma and allergies.
2. Cleaning products with artificial fragrances- The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found that one-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic, yet because the formulas used for these fragrances are trade secrets companies aren’t required to disclose the ingredients used.
4. Antibacterial products- The ingredients used to kill bacteria in these soaps can can encourage the development of drug-resistant superbugs.
5. Corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners- These are the most acutely dangerous cleaning products on the market. The ingredients in these cleaners can cause severe burns on the skin and eyes, or if ingested to the throat and esophagus.
After learning about all of this I am so glad I stopped using traditional cleaners. Today I tried something new. I made my own cleaner with vinegar, water, Onguard and Lemon essential oils from Doterra. So easy! My place smells amazing and feels super clean! I highly recommend trying this. 👍
For the longest time I have been resisting essential oils because a lot of them can be toxic for cats. They lack an enzyme in their liver to break them down, I took this to the extreme and pushed them away completely for years, until now…they just kept coming up for me and it was always this same company! I took that as a sign!🙂
Current situation another free lab test😀 I am participating in another lab study on neurotransmitters- I get to do these from time to time because I use this lab as part of my Functional Diagnostic Nutrition training. I love this work (FDN) because it gets to the root cause of the health issues instead of just throwing supplements and medications at something, you actually know what supplements and things you need to do to HEAL it instead of masking the symptoms and I love that you can do these labs at home and mail them back to the lab. Easy peasy! I think the hardest part for me was not having coffee ☕️ for a day before or my protein shakes and avocados!
My interest in this is the brain gut connection and how your gut can influence how you feel! it all starts with GABA and Serotonin. Did you know that 90% of serotonin is found int he gut? When the levels are off this can cause either constipation or diarrhea. ...
So what are neurotransmitters? They are chemical messangers between nerve cells and other cells in the body. They can affect a wide variety of physical and psychological functions including heart rate, sleep, appetite, mood and fear.
There are 6 types:
Amino Acids- GABA, glutamate
Monoamines- epinephrine, norepinephrine, histamine, dopamine, serotonin
Gasotransmitters- Nitric oxide, carbon monoxide
Its quite complex as you can see! When they are not working right a lot can go wrong. The play a huge role in neural communication, influencing everything from involuntary movements o learning and mood. They can also be affected by medications.
"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
Have you ever been so stressed out that you had insomnia? Broke out in a rash? Had stomach issues? I've been there and its not fun to say the least! Stress is a part of life but how you deal with it is what really matters. Its important to listen to your body and pay attention to the warning signs of being under stress. Stress over a prolonged period of time leads to a number of health issues all of which can be avoided! Here is what actually happens in your body when under stress and some things you can do to deal with it!
Cortisol is one of the adrenal hormones that helps us manage physiological and psychological stress. Managing stress is critical to our survival and we depend heavily on cortisol. So much so that we will die within 12 hours of not having cortisol in our blood steam. The more stress your mind (external stressors- financial issues, running late, getting cut off in traffic) and body (internal stressors- nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, poor digestion, parasitic infections, food sensitivities) are under, the more cortisol your adrenal glands must secrete into your blood. Eventually, the adrenal glands start to fatigue from being overtaxed and cortisol levels start to drop. This will also end up depleting all the sex hormones and cause a host of symptoms including weight gain, flu-like fatigue, muscle weakness, anxiety, palpitations, frequent dehydration, gut issues, cravings for sugar, caffeine and carbs, dizziness/light headedness upon standing and headaches, not to mention hormone imbalances.
Since cortisol is an anti-inflammatory hormone a decreased output over extended periods will make you prone to inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, gut issues, yeast and allergies. You will have no reserve energy and infections can spread quickly.
So, how to change this? To avoid feeling overwhelmed with making a ton of changes, start small and try implementing one or two at first and slowly add more.
1. Eat all day long- spread your daily calories over five or six small meals. Eat some protein with every meal. The important thing here is to maintain your blood sugar levels so they don't go in huge spikes through out the day. If you are eager to learn more there is a Metabolic Typing test you can take to determine which metabolic type you are and it will give you the foods that are right for your metabolic type. You can also take a food sensitivity test (MRT) to determine which food sensitivities you have.
2. Limit foods that stimulate the adrenal glands: foods that contain a lot of sugar or refined flour, caffeine, breads and pastas should be avoided. Try eating whole foods with lots of greens, try eliminating processed foods (cans, packages, frozen meals) Add in some supplementation to help support the adrenals and the liver.
3. Exercise less: I know most of you think to exercise more, however; during exercise we tend to push ourselves and there is not enough cortisol to make so it ends up creating more stress on the body, hence weight gain and having a hard time losing it. Changing the intensity of the workout to something less taxing on the body is best- try doing some PIYO or Yoga or even some weight lifting. Yes, I said weight lifting, its been proven that lifting heavy weights helps to balance hormones along with tons of other great benefits.
4. Rest: Sleep is so important for the body to repair itself from the day. Getting the right kind of sleep is important, its best to go to sleep around 10 and wake up at 6. The adrenals repair themselves between 11-1am. Make sure to avoid being on the computer/phone before bedtime because the blue light emitted from these devices will trick the body into thinking its day time hence hindering the production of melatonin.
5. Stress Reduction: Breathe-most of us breathe shallowly and sometimes we even hold our breath. Breathing deeply through the nose and slowly through the mouth is best. Massage is another beneficial thing to do, not only does it reduce stress and lower blood pressure it also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is basically turned off when in chronic stress. One of my favorites is meditation. Its done wonders for me and its a great way to start or end the day. There are tons of meditation apps on the phone to try. A few of my favorite apps are Omvana and Headspace.
If you are struggling with fatigue, not able to lose weight, have gut issues, or have been in chronic stress there is help! It is not a quick fix, it will require a lifestyle change and a willingness to do the work but the rewards are so worth it! You are worth it.
If you want to dig deeper check out the Happy Hormone package. I want to help others to be healthy and to take control of their own health in a holistic way. Whats included? This is a 3 month program with the Adrenal Stress Profile lab, a 60 minute educational lab interpretation session, a 90 day protocol based on the lab results along with the questionnaire that is filled out, bi weekly individual coaching sessions to assess progress and to fine tune the protocol, DRESS for Health Success Companion eBook and support along the way. There will also be a FB group you will be added to so you will have all the support you will need to stay on track.
My mission is to help educate people on how they can be more proactive in taking care of their health- you don't know what you don't know! I look forward to working with you on this awesome healing journey!