10 Ways I Improved My Health
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What Went Wrong
About 12 years ago I was much heavier than a weight that felt good to me, I was tired all the time, my face was constantly broken out, and I would spend most of Sunday afternoon sleeping instead of with my family just to try and catch up to survive the next week.
Thankfully I was talking with someone I knew and found out that he was a naturopath. I told him about how I had been feeling and asked him what I could do to improve my physical health. He encouraged me to come and have a consultation with him and what I learned changed my life forever.
I was raised on a traditional American diet and even though we mostly cooked at home we also enjoyed the latest packaged food trends like fat free snacks and desserts, Splenda, and lots of ice cream.
I had had severe stomach problems for several years but I could never trace it to a certain thing.
At my first consultation I learned that dairy, bread, and gluten could be a huge trigger for a lot of people. I also learned what sugar was doing to my body (and my skin) and to my weight.
I also learned that by using an anti-perspirant, especially one that contained aluminum, I could be trapping toxins in my body and that the aluminum could cause long term implications for my health.
I was so desperate to feel better I decided that I was going to implement these changes right away. My mom had suffered from depression for many years and had passed away and my father had died from a massive heart attack and my grandmother from a stroke) and I was only 31 when both of my parents had passed away (they were both 61 when they died. If I didn't make some changes, I not only would not have a healthy life but it was likely to be short as well.
1. I swapped my Deodorant
I immediately went looking for alternatives. I swapped to a deodorant rather than using an anti-perspirant and I made sure that it was aluminum free. That was a more difficult task than is now since there are so many more options available but I tried a couple and found one that I liked. I'm glad that there is more awareness around this now than there was then and that these options are more easily available. Read here to see which one I use and read more about why swapping to an aluminum free deodorant is a must.
2. I cleaned up my Diet
I started by eliminating dairy, bread, any processed cookie, cracker, or baked goods, and eliminated sugar. I eliminated most grains as well except occasionally some brown rice or quinoa. I quit soda and started drinking black coffee or unsweet tea.
He gave me a food diary sheet so that I could record what I was eating. That way at my next visit we could discuss how I was feeling vs. what I was eating and see if we needed to refine it further. This step is both awareness and accountability.
Get a copy of a food diary here or record it in an app like My Fitness Pal (that's what I do today).
I felt so much better within just a few days. Even though this was right before the holidays, I was determined that the long term success of this was more important to me than a few holiday meals and days of feeling miserable.
It didn't happened overnight but over the course of the next several months, I lost about 20 pounds without necessarily trying to lose weight. I was mostly focused on what I was eating to feel better rather than what i wasn't eating.
My diet consisted of
breakfast: smoothie for using coconut milk, fruit, and cashew, pecan, or walnuts (this is also when I learned that soy milk was also a no and to read the ingredient labels on plant based milks)
lunch: salad with chicken or wild caught tuna in water over greens with other veggies & chickpeas and olive oil and vinegar
snack: raw nuts & an apple or orange
dinner: protein and vegetables
I never felt hungry and was satisfied with my choices. I also did not moderate portions or count macros or calories during this time. I simply ate fresh, non- processed foods until I was full.
(Note: I later learned when I was still having some breakouts that I was also sensitive to the high sugar content in bananas and mangos and I cut those out of my diet as well)
3. I added in Supplements
Working with my Naturopath we began to work through what needed to be removed from my body and then what we needed to supplement with that I couldn't get from food to improve my health.
He had used a combination of tests to help determine my biological age and used muscle response testing to further refine what foods I needed to avoid and to determine what supplements my body needed the most to start out with.
Most of us don't feel our best at one time or another but sometimes we start to have chronic issues. Both the acute problems and chronic issues can come from food, bacteria, viruses, mold, fungus, yeast, parasites, metals, chemicals, and can be emotional.
Sometimes our bodies are able to fight our poor food choices or the bacteria and viruses we come in contact with and we start to feel better on our own but other times it can't heal from the chronic inflammation our food is causing and it can't clear out the the mold, parasites, fungus, yeast, metals, or chemicals that get trapped into our cells.
That's where the use of cleanses, whole food supplements, herbs, homeopathic remedies, vitamins and minerals, and more can help support or bodies and get them back on track.
I had a virus deep in my intestines that took over a year to work through and explained much of my chronic stomach and bowel issues.
Then we added in Essential Fatty Acids, Calcium, Vitamin D, Mineral Support (for Mood and Emotional Support), Magnesium, Digestive Enzymes, etc.
5. I cleaned up my Beauty and Skin Care Products
Over time as was working so hard to clean up my food intake and clean out the toxins that were in my body I wanted to make sure I wasn't introducing new ones. I started researching which types of ingredients I needed to avoid putting on my face and body through the use of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, make up and more.
Some of the ingredients to avoid include parabens and phthalates, aluminum hydroxide, petroleums, BPA, BHA, BHT, and fragrances. (there are too many to list here so I'll work on a post that lists them all and includes something to save or print)
6. I reduced the use Household Chemicals and Found Clean Cleaning Products
When I would use up a product I replaced it with something cleaner. I got rid of fragrances and opted for products that incorporated essential oils instead. I swapped up hand soap, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent and whiteners, ditched dryer sheets for dryer balls and essential oil, all purposes cleaners and bathroom cleaners.
I have a lot of my household products delivered on auto ship from Thrive Market. I like that I can sort by ingredient without having to spend hours in the store reading labels. Check out Thrive Market here and get 40% off your first order. It has made shopping for clean products so much easier.
I use Thieves laundry soap and Thieves All Purpose Cleaner that can be mixed to different concentrations for different applications. It lasts forever and so overall becomes a less expensive option.
7. I starting Using Essential Oils
In addition to using essential oils for my dryer balls and in the thieves cleaner, I began to read how I could incorporate essential oils into my wellness routine and replace synthetic remedies with a natural plant based alternative. I started by purchasing the book Essential Oil Natural Remedies. I liked this one because it gave suggestions and recipes based on what you want to remedy and also what each essential oil is beneficial for.
Learn more about getting Started with Essential Oils Here.
8. i started filtering my water and stopped using plastic bottles
My naturopath encouraged me to look into the quality of our water and at a minimum use the filtered water from the refrigerator and make sure to keep the filtered changed. At best, a whole house filter should be used in order to filter chemicals in cooking and bathing water as well but a shower head filter is a less expensive way to ensure filtered water for bathing.
When we moved to Florida last year, we decided to get a drinking water filter to add to the sink to make it easier to filter the drinking and cooking water. This eliminates the Florida water taste and also provides the benefits of filtering the water as well. We also use this to fill up our ice machine too. We love the Water Drop system we chose. It is easy to change the filters and beeps to alert you that they need to be changed when you turn the water on. It's easy to reorder them and get them quickly from Amazon. It filters chlorine & heavy metals (the things we are trying so hard to detox from our bodies), bacteria, rust, sediment, taste & oder (a must for Florida).
9. I eliminated non stick cookware that contained chemical coatings
Teflon and other chemical coatings can leach chemicals into food and can flake off over time (GROSS). After researching safe options, we only use Cast Iron Skillets and Stainless Steel Pans in our home.
I use the small, medium, and large Lodge Cast Iron Skillet. I remember my grandmother using these when I was younger. It is definitely a shame that we've gotten away from the knowledge of our grandparents but now these come seasoned and are my go to for cooking.
I also have this set of Stainless Steel Pans. We mostly use the sauce pans and dutch oven. They are an investment but will last forever. No more replacing pans all the time and having to worry about those chemical coatings getting scratched.
I also ditched plastic storage containers and opted for glass. Why worry about chemicals leaching into your food and glass storage containers last longer and don't get stained.
10. I incorporated an Emotional Practice (EFT)
He used a process called Life Lines but it had to be done with him, in the office, and I wanted to learn a technique that I could use on my own at any time. I came across EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping. Soon after I heard about it, The Tapping Solution App came out and I followed along with many of the meditations, especially the one on sleep. I found that very quickly I would fall asleep without even finishing the meditation.
I was curious about the formula they were using (tapping 3x on the side of the hand using Even Though and then tapping through the points, ending with positive affirmations) so I decided to research it more. This led me to EFT Universe and the EFT Training and I decided to go through the training and learn EFT more deeply, how it worked, and all the research behind it.
What I like most about using EFT is that it can quickly be shared with and taught to others including children to relieve fear, worry, and anxiety and help with sleep and more. It can also be used with trained professionals for trauma, addictions, and more.
If you are looking to improve how you feel I have learned that it starts with what you are fueling your body with. Start small and make a few changes there first. Then over time, start to swap out products, filter your water, sweat and move on a regular basis and encourage those around you to make positive changes as well. For so long, I didn't know any different. So many of these things were just the way I grew up and the product of the "innovations" that were going on around us. We've since learned that these "innovations" were't the best things for our health so now we have to take action to get back to the basics.
Good luck and if you want some motivation and encouragement on your journey, SCROLL to the bottom of this page and send me your contact info and I'll pop into your inbox with some ideas and motivation for your journey! I'll be cheering for you!
*The information provided in this post is intended for information purposes only and is not medical or nutritional advice. Always talk to your trusted health care provider before changing your diet or taking supplement or adding an exercise plan. No statement here has been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and the products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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