Body Healing Journey: Going Off Antidepressants

It was just few months ago when I was taking my antidepressant and anxiety medication – just as I did every morning before leaving the house for the past year and half. Prior to stopping I’ve had several conversation with my physician, and every time I was scared as shit by the idea of going completely off. A morning after another visit and discussion with my doctor I found myself analyzing my new thinking about all of this in the moment, as I swallowed it down, I wondered: had it become a habit, or even a crutch in my life, rather than a necessity for a serious depression. In my case, the answer was an absolute yes – yes this thing has become a crutch in my life.

While recognizing that some people might need a mood-deregulator or a SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) for chemical reasons, this was not the case for me. I needed the antidepressant for environmental reasons. The situation that I was in prior to taking the antidepressant has changed significantly. I was in a “happy place!” I was close to family, friends, had great friends, job,  and doing my teacher training to become a yoga teacher. Things were being checked off the box, and falling in place, and for once the future seems promising. But despite all of that, I still felt that I needed the meds.

On the other hand, while I was feeling mentally great, and my external reality was reflecting my mental state, the side effects of the meds on my body wasn’t great. Physically I felt like shit every day. In just few months I went from 110-115 pounds to 138 pounds (the heaviest I’ve been in my adult life), stopped running, and working out completely. To make things worse, I developed some horrible digestive issues, which I later found out was related to milk intolerance and other food sensitivities.

In late October I finally got some confidence, and decided to go off my meds, number of factors contributed to this decision – I finished my teacher training and was teaching already, I submitted and scheduled a time for my thesis defense, and submitted my last paper. I felt in control of the big things in my life that seemed out of my control for a while now.  This seemed like a logical transition to another stage in my life – living without the crutches called “antidepressants”.

A morning after another discussion with my physician, I knew that it was time to stop taking it. I took my supplements that morning, and spent the remainder of the day researching natural ways to deal with depression or post-depression naturally. That research led to me to three ways to heal with depression. While there were countless suggestions I narrowed down to three that I am currently using on a daily basis. It’s been over four months now since I last took my meds. So I thought I share my experience and journey with going off my meds and how I am dealing with not having thatcrutch in my life anymore.

But before I list them, there are few things to consider before you make the decision, the decision to go off should be considered thoughtfully and made with the support of your physician or therapist to avoid a risk of recurrence of depression. Once you decide to quit, you and your physician should take steps to minimize or avoid the withdrawal affects. Another thing to keep in mind is that this is my solution – meaning that it’s a solution that worked and is working for me. So, just because it worked for me, it doesn’t mean that it will work for you as well. Lastly, my decision wasn’t something that happen overnight, it’s a result of months of discussion with my physician and having REAL talk with myself, like asking myself whether the environment that I was in is likely to trigger me again. With that being said here are some of things that I had to incorporate into my daily routine:

Exercising Daily – Whether it is 30 minute or 3 hour, I always find a time to exercise. Research have found that regular exercise, and the increase in physical fitness alters serotonin levels in the brain and leads to improved mood and feelings of wellbeing. Also, several studies have shown that exercise promote mental health and reduces symptoms of depression. The ant-depressant effect of regular physical exercise is comparable to potent anti-depressants like Sertraline.

“Exercise has a powerful antidepressant effect. It's been shown that people are far less likely to relapse after recovering from depression if they exercise three times a week or more. Exercise makes serotonin more available for binding to receptor sites on nerve cells, so it can compensate for changes in serotonin levels as you taper off SRIs and other medications that target the serotonin system” Harvard Women's Health Watch

Yoga – Doing yoga every day – My lunch hour, evening (if not at the gym) and weekends are spent at the yoga studio. I do yoga everyday during my lunch hour and weekends.  Yoga is not only a physical exercise, but it can be a relaxing and healing process. Practicing yoga can also alter your brain chemistry – some position are effective in stimulating the release of endorphins and reduces the level of stress hormone cortisol. Number of studies have been done and support this use of yoga for depression, and specific yoga posture that increase levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which may alleviate depression.

Taking Supplements – Taking supplements that are known to help with mild to moderate depression. For example, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe is a synthetic form of an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body. It plays a role in many biological reactions by transferring its methyl group to DNA, proteins, phospholipids and biogenic amines. Several scientific studies indicate that SAMe may be useful in the treatment of depression. Another one is 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) and tryptophan, both are natural alternative to antidepressants. When the body sets about manufacturing serotonin, it first makes 5-HTP. Taking 5-HTP as a supplement may raise serotonin levels. The evidence suggests 5-HTP and tryptophan are better than a placebo at alleviating depression.

Full disclaimer, despite doing all of these things, and constantly keep myself busy, I still have my days - there are days where i feel completely hopeless, helpless , anxious, sad, and have terrible mood shift. Sometime it gets so bad, that I try to talk myself into going back on my meds. But I don’t want to develop that dependency again - so instead I’ve decided to take each day as it comes, and accept that not everyday will be perfect. But most importantly, remaining myself that I am doing the best that I can and I have to be gentle with myself.

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.” – Elizabeth Wurtzel

Post Ayurvedic Cleanse

It’s naturally that after the reset your first instinct is to go out for celebratory pizza, burger or wine. But avoid if possible because it could shock your system and undo all the hard work. Continue the reset for couple of days after you finish the plan, so go easy on your body and mind as you transition back to your regular routine. To allow for a safe transition, for 2-3 days post the reset follow the following rules to ensure long-term benefits:

·            Eat Cooke foods, as they are easy to digest particularly during vata season  of later fall

·            Avoid heavy food that require more digestive energy – red meat, hard cheese, and pastas

·            Drink warm lemon water in the morning to stay hydrated.

·            Aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night

·            Make your way back to regular routine slowly

Ayurvedic Reset: Day 3 Doshas

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The three Doshas and the five elements that create them 
According to Ayurveda, the five elements of nature found on earth (Space, Air, fire, Water, and Earth) combine in the body as three components known as Dosha (vatta, Pitta, and Kapha). The three doshas relate closely to the element of nature and to specific functions of the body. For an optimal health, it essential that all the doshas are balanced.

Everyone is sort into one of three doshas or constitutes (Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha). While we all have elements of all three doshas, in most people, one dominates, influencing physical and emotional health, behavior and more. Doshas are determined at the time of conception, also relates to an individual’s physical makeup and personality. Most people are considered to have a combination of doshas, with one type usually being predominant.

These Doshas are energies used to describe your body, food, mind, environment and everything else. They are also used to help identify, customize and prescribe lifestyle changes and remedies that will balance your energies, prevent diseases, and preserve health.

Dosha Quiz: Eat Feel Fresh Dosha Quiz: 

1. Vatta (Air and Ether)

Characteristics: 
·Vatta is made up of the elements air and ether. Air gives it characteristics such as mobility and dryness, while their makes it subtle and light. 
·It is the most important dosha in the body and mind. As it is the force of all movement (e.g. blood circulation) and sensation. The main seat of vata is the colon

Function: 
·Providing movement, such as for breathing, circulation, transmission of nerve signals and elimination of waste/providing all sensation in the body, igniting agi (digestive fire)/supporting memory, drive and understanding.

Mind and Body: 
·The vata mind is influence by air and ether, giving it properties of movement, lightness, speed, irregularity such as being able to understand and learn, but also quickly to forget. 
·A person with a Vatta makeup tends to have a small, thin build and wispy physically, lively, chatty, and always on the move (all over the place). On the other hands, people with this dosha are more expose to insomnia, anxiety, and the inability to focus.

Imbalance Symptoms:
·Emotions such as anxiety, fear, or nervousness 
·Dry, rough, or chapped skin
·Gas or bloating after meals 
·Dry or dry stools 
·Feeling uncomfortably cold

2. Pitta (Fire and Water)

Characteristics: 
·Pitta takes on characteristics such as heat and sharpness from fire and fluidity and oiliness from water. 
·In the body, it is the source of transformation (digestion) and provide internal heat. The main seat of Pitta is the stomach and intestine

Function: 
·Digesting food and Fueling agni (digestive fire)/producing blood and coloring the skin/providing intelligence and self-confidence/provide insight

Mind and Body: 
·The fire and water give them properties of penetration and transformation such as a sharp intelligence and a proneness to anger. 
·The pitta body style is more of a medium, and muscular build; and tend have a fire burning within. Persons with Pitta dosha are often intense, intelligent, goal-oriented, excellent leaders and public speakers. However, too much of pitta leads to compulsive, obsessed behavior, irritability and heartburn.

Imbalance Symptoms: 
·Having an overly sharp, highly critical or uncompromising mind 
·Experiencing hyperacidity, burning sensations, tightness in the belly, or inflammation in the gut 
·Acute inflammation

3. Kapha (Earth and Water)

Characteristics:

·Qualities received by Kapha from earth include heaviness and stability; and from water include illness and smoothness. 
·It gives the body substance, strength, cohesion, lubrication, cooling, and immunity. It is also responsible for healing. The main seat of Kapha is the stomach and chest.

Function: 
·Providing moisture to food in the stomach 
·Providing strength and cooling to the heart and the sensory organs 
·Stabilizing and lubricating the joints 
·Providing taste

Mind and Body: 
·The earth and water give Kapha mind properties stability and endurance, such as cool headedness and good memory. 
·The Kapha appearance is usually bigger and well-developed. Kapha tend to have their feet firmly planted on the ground. They are strong and muscular physically, and are emotionally stable, calm and patient. Unlike vata, Kapha are prone to holding grudges, sluggishness, and weight gain.

Imbalance Symptoms:

·Excessive sleep or difficulty waking up
·Over-eating, or turning to food for emotional comfort 
Carrying extra body weight

My Mindful Morning Routine

6:00 -6:10 am // wake up - check email and social media

I know this is a big no no! but I still do it, the first thing I do when I get up is walk to my kitchen and grab my phone (I charge my phone in my kitchen because it;s recommended to not have your phone in your bedroom) and lay on my bed, and scroll through emails and social media (Instagram for cute cat videos to give me a cuteness boost)

6:11-6:13 am // get up and drink a big glass of lukewarm lemon water + take supplements

After going through my social media and motivated by cute cats videos, I like drinking a glass of lukewarm water with lemon, and take all my supplements (to make sure I don't forget to take my supplements, I usually place all my supplements on my kitchen counter the night before).

6:15 - 6:25 am // Sun Salutation, Meditation and Intention for the day

Doing a simple sun salutation and mediation before I start the day allows me to be intentional with my day and be present.

"Today, accept what is instead of resenting what isn’t"

6:30 - 6:50 // Take shower, brush, do hair, make up

 I usually have a full shower the night before, which allows me to have a quick shower in the morning and put my make up while listening to my favorite podcasts (Ear Biscuits, Why Won't You Date Me, POD Save America, POD Save the World, Congregational, etc.). Getting ready doesn't take that much because my closet is super minimal,  so I often don't encounter the morning paradox of going through my clothes and saying "I have nothing to wear".

6:54 - 7:15 // Eat breakfast, and prep lunch

Given my tendency toward habit, my breakfast is always oatmeal - Last month and this month is Bagel with cream cheese. While eating breakfast I might catch up on the news, or watch clips from my favorite late nigh show (e.g. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, John Oliver etc.), as well as prep my lunch if I haven't done it the night before.

7:30 // Leave the house - ready to tackle the day

I always leave the house at 7:30is - this gives me enough time to drive and park my car, and then walk another 1 blocks to my work.

Journey to Health and Wellness with Becca Shern: Minimal Wellness

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This is another of my favourite feature because combines three things that I love talking about, health, wellness, and minimalism. Before going into the post, I just wanted to thank Bex (Beeca) for being so patient and understandable through this whole process. This post was supposed to come out five months ago, but due to heath issues, I had to postpone and took a little break from blogging, not knowing when I'll be back again - but five months later and Bex still agree to do this, which I am forever grateful for. 

That being said, down below shares her journey to minimalism, health and wellness and how she incorporate minimalism into her healthy lifestyle. This is a two part feature, in the upcoming days Bex will be sharing her favourite recipe with us. 

Tell us about yourself (Who you are, what you do for living, where you’re from, anything interesting fact about yourself)

Hi, I'm Becca — I'm a mom, partner, registered dietitian, recreational athlete, and wellness nerd. For the past decade, I’ve been working and studying as a Registered Dietitian, with a particular interest in public and environmental health. I started and run Minimal Wellness, a nutrition coaching business to help people find, navigate, and enjoy the simple path to optimal health. My partner, Joshua, our four year old daughter, Ella, and I currently live in Missoula, Montana — Big Sky Country. Although we currently live in Montana, I’ve been a bit of a nomad — living in Alaska, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Most of my family still lives in Minnesota, where I grew up on a small hobby-farm outside of Minneapolis.  

What does minimalism mean to you? 

For me, minimalism means living with the essentials to enable vibrant health and allow pursuit of my passions. It means that I continually evaluate the things, activities, and relationships in my life and curate them to allow me to be the most optimal version of myself — meaning that I am the best mom, partner, and member of society that I can be. What is essential to me, will not be what’s essential to someone else, but I think it’s helpful to consider minimalism as a mental and physical framework that helps us continually grow and evolve into better people.

When did your journey to minimalism begin? And what or who inspired you to pursue this life style? 

I grew up in a household that believed in simple living. I feel fortunate to have been surrounded by family and friends that valued someone’s contribution to the world more than how big their house was, what kind of car they drove, or how stylish their clothes were. But, I began jettisoning unneeded material things in earnest a couple of years ago after I realized my life was not headed in a positive direction.

Three years ago, I was a salaried professional working mom, a student trying to complete my master’s degree, and was in a mismatched marriage. My then spouse and I bought a house, in part because I thought home ownership — the missing component of the American Dream I’d completely bought into — would cure my discontent. Unsurprisingly, the house wasn’t the answer, and my marriage ended shortly thereafter. At the same time, I stumbled upon a TEDx talk by two guys living here in Montana, called The Minimalists. Since then, I’ve been paring down and honing in on what is essential in my life.


When did your journey to health and wellness begin? How do you incorporate your minimalist lifestyle into the meals you create?

I've been interested in health and wellness for two decades. Our family was fortunate to have my mom shape our eating habits — she's an outstanding cook who always grew a garden and prioritized making delicious healthy meals for us every night. As a kid and teenager I was an athlete, so being fit and healthy became part of my identity. When I entered college, I drifted away from many of my healthier habits. But luckily after a couple of years, I stumbled upon an intro to nutrition course and found my way back to loving wholesome food, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle.

The recipes I create at home and for Minimal Wellness focus on simple, real ingredients, and easy preparation methods. I try to decoct healthy eating for people and make it as straightforward yet delicious as possible. The recipes emphasize the essential components of any diet — tons of vegetables, healthy fats, protein, and fruit. The recipes don't require complicated equipment or a pantry full of millions of ingredients, they minimize unnecessary grains (I believe some grains for some people are fine, but the standard American diet places far too great an emphasis on grains), eliminate gluten, and contain as little added sugar as possible.


As a minimalist mom, what has been the biggest challenge of raising a child in minimalist household?

Our daughter is four, so I realize that difficult times might come in the future, but in all honesty, minimalism hasn't posed any direct challenges with parenting — it's only made life raising a child easier. There is far less mess, we have fewer distractions, and we're able to enjoy more time with one another.  Our small issues arise occasionally around gift giving with friends and relatives. We encourage experiential gifts over physical items, but that's not always possible, so we try to be flexible. 


How are you teaching your daughter (Ella) to lead a minimalist lifestyle? 

We lead by example. When she has questions, we talk to her about why we live the way we do and its benefits. We include her. Quarterly, we go through her closet and toys together and discuss the items she uses and the ones she doesn't. She identifies the things she doesn't use or wear and decides what she wants to donate. We don't have friends in town with children younger than Ella, so most of the things she grows out of get donated instead of given to friends. When we do purchase an item, we specifically buy the most durable goods in order to pass them onto someone else when Ella's no longer uses it. 

If I had one recommendation to make to others considering minimalist parenting, it's to eliminate the TV from your home. Ella still watches a few select shows from a tablet, but she's spent her young childhood without the outsized influence of a large light-emitting rectangle on a wall. Not having a TV does a few things for our family, first and most notably is the lack of direct advertising — she simply doesn't see the vast majority of stuff that other kids see and therefore she doesn't ask for it. Second, not having a TV eliminates that large volume of time that adults in the family often choose to watch shows while the children are still awake (Josh and I do occasionally watch something in the late evening), so we have more time together as a family. 


Is Minimalism for everyone?

I think we can all benefit from being intentional about what we purchase and how we spend their time and attention. Our society dictates what we "need" and what we "should" do — it makes sense to question this template and determine for ourselves what we want out of life. Often when we start questioning and searching, we find that we need far less and are happier and more fulfilled by creating our own path.    

Take us a through a day in life of Bex.

5-7am Wake up. I don't use an alarm and I wake up when I'm rested, usually that's after 7-8 hours of sleep. 

7:30-8am Ella wakes up and makes her bed. Then we get her ready for pre-school (get dressed, brush teeth, take vitamins & probiotics, have a snack (usually nuts or a hardboiled egg and some fresh fruit). 

8:30-9am Drop Ella off at pre-school.

9am-5pm Work. I'm fortunate to have a flexible schedule and the ability to work from almost anywhere, but client sessions require privacy, so I usually work from our home office. 

10am Breakfast. My mealtimes aren't set in stone and I let my hunger cues determine when I eat, but these times I list here are pretty typical. I do a type of intermittent fasting that extends the overnight fast to 14-16 hours. This means I usually finish eating for the day before 7pm and don't eat the next morning until somewhere between 9am and 11am. You can read more about my eating pattern here

1:30pm Light lunch or substantial snack.

3pm Workout. Like mealtimes, my exercise time is fluid, I do some type of purposeful movement everyday, but never on a routine. I've been doing at least 15 minutes of daily yoga lately which I enjoy in the early morning as a wakeup or in the late evening before bed. If I do cardio or weight training, that usually happens sometime in the middle of the day.  

5pm Ella home from pre-school.

6pm Dinner

7:30-8:30 Bedtime routine for Ella: a bath with lavender epsom salts, reading, rocking in her rocking chair, sleep by 8:30 at the latest. We're strict with her bedtime and nightly routine. 

8:30-9:30 Unwind time: clean up, get things ready for the next day, make nighttime tea. 

10-11pm Reading and sleep.


When do you feel best in your body?

I feel best about my body when I take care of myself by consuming nourishing food, enjoying frequent movement, managing stress, and getting adequate sleep. For my 35th birthday, I donated my bathroom scale which did far more for my ability to love my body than just about anything else (beyond the four pillars of health I mentioned above) I've ever done. It's always been relatively easy to not let the number on the scale determine my self-image or worth, but the scale had become a mild source of negativity. For the better part of a decade my weight had been stable within a small five pound range. I was used to that range and felt good about my body within that range. I started doing some weight training this year and put on a few pounds of muscle. Although I still felt great in my body and clothes, which has always been my primary barometer of health, seeing a different number on the scale was hard to reconcile. So I got rid of that input. It's not that I deny my weight, I just realized I don't care what my weight is as long as I feel great, which I do. 


What’s your workout routine? And how do you remain motivated? 

Honestly, with the exception of 15 minutes (or more) of daily yoga, I don't have a workout routine. I know I need to exercise to be able to do the things I enjoy in life and to feel the way I want to feel. I want to be able to keep up with Ella and set a good example for her of how we can live healthy lives without feeling compelled to exercise. Removing the obligation from exercise and finding your "why" seems to be the key to being happily active for life. My why is simple, I enjoy being fit. There are many times I don't "feel" like exercising, but as with lots of things, if you wait for the times you're in the mood, it doesn't happen. Sometimes you have to act your way into right thinking, and not not wait for illusive motivation. Nike's slogan "Just Do It" is catchy because it's the distillation of many active people's view of exercise, including mine. I want to be fit, it's important to me, so I exercise.  


How can minimalism help one lead an optimal and healthy life?

We live in a world that profits from confusing health messages. Massive industries — food, healthcare, fitness, even alternative medicine — all have different and often opposing motivations, which unfortunately results in information that is frustratingly conflicted.

Health is not a commodity, but that’s often how it’s treated in modern society.

Applying minimalism to our lifestyles can help us achieve a healthy life in a simpler and more enjoyable way. Filtering out the thousands of conflicting messages helps clarify the path and focus on a simple framework makes a healthy life more tangible, accessible, and achievable. For me that framework is: eat nourishing whole foods, move your body, get sufficient sleep, and manage stress. Focusing on and committing to continual improvement in those four areas of our lifestyles leads to a healthier life.


Balance is the key to healthy living, what are some tips to creating and maintaining balance? 

Indeed, balance and moderation are central to healthy living.  It's important to understand that everyone's balance point is different and will shift over time. What feels balanced to us now won't necessarily be what works in the future. Conversely, what worked in the past won't necessarily lead to balance today. One way we create balance is by understanding that 180 degree changes don't happen overnight — we’re unlikely to be successful with a drastic diet plan, or a very intense exercise routine if it’s significantly different than our current routine. Those enormous shifts are destabilizing and unbalanced. Instead think of change in terms of committing to small and realistic pivots from our current habits —  with time and effort, we end up in a radically different but balanced place, living a beautifully healthy life.

What advice would you give for anyone who wants to become a minimalist? 

My partner, Joshua likes to say minimalism isn't a radical lifestyle, it's a practical lifestyle. Getting rid of the excess in our lives helps us focus on what's truly important and that's different for everyone. For anyone contemplating the minimalist approach to life, understand that it's not really about the stuff, it's about being intentional with all of our resources — money, time, attention — it's about living more deliberately. When I started down this path, I played The Minimalism Game a few months in a row, which ingrained the habit of evaluating the physical items in our home and jettisoning the stuff that wasn't necessary. Since then minimizing been a continual process without an endpoint. I didn't cross a threshold of "having less stuff" and suddenly become a minimalist, it's been an evolution.


What’s next for Minimal Wellness? 

I'm offering a web-based program in October called the 23-Day Priorities Reset. This will be the third "class" of the Priorities Reset and I love coaching these small groups of highly motivated, like-minded people. I also plan to do more writing this fall and am looking forward to seeing where the creative process takes me.


Where can people find you?

Minimalwellness.com is the source for blog posts, recipes, information on coaching services, and my contact information. I'm also active on social media (@minimalwellness), my preferred platform is Instagram, but I'm also on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

26 Things I’ve Learned In 26 Years

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Today I am 26, but it doesn't feel like it and I don't look like it either!! I generally don't celebrate my birthday, given that it's on New Year and the focus is always on New Year and less so about my birthday. This year was a little different, I feel the need to celebrate it, but I am not sure how - until then I thought I'd share few things I've learned by 26. These are in no particular order, and trust me, I could probably go on and on but I don’t want to bore you - 25 was one hella hard year, it was an age of learning things the hard way and having life teaching me some hard life lessons the hard way. But all that aside, I am thankful for all the things that happened and to get to continue living and learning. Wishing all my Capricorn a Happy Birthday Month, sending you lots of love. 

1. Take care of yourself. I cannot stress this enough, and its something thatI think we are not told enough of. Realizing that you're responsible for your own happiness, not your partner, friend or family. You know yourself better than anyone else and what makes you happiest. 

2. Make sure you know what you're willing to struggle for. Often we give too much fuck about things that are pointless and meaningless. Knowing what you're willing to struggle for allows you to give fuck about things that really matter (From: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson

3. I know it's hard to say this, but hard work sometimes doesn't work or pay off, but it doesn't mean you should give up. Keep working and pushing yourself, it will eventually pay off

4. Be kind to others, it cost nothing to be nice to people

5. People will disappoint you, but that's okay - you move on and don't hold it against them

6. Be comfortable with saying NO

7. Speak up!!! even if you think your idea is stupid!! 

8. Be patient and everything will follow- you don't have to rush everything, take your time

9. You CANNOT control WHAT happen to you, but you CAN control How you respond to it

10. Being vulnerable is NOT a sign of weakness!

11. Your flaws, weakness, imperfections and scares make you who you are!! be proud of them

12. Always have an open door

13. Everything happens for a reason, even when the reason doesn't seem clear at first

14. Sometime life can be one mean montherfucker bitch!! but it's for a good reason, to make you see what you've been avoiding 

15. Intentional distance is necessary sometimes in relationships

16. A glass of wine may make you feel better today, but you have to face your problems tomorrow, so find a productive and healthy way to deal with your issues

17. Seeing a therapist doesn't make you weak, sometimes we all need a stranger to talk to and hear us out 

18. Be intentional 

19. Take time off - go on vocations whether it's a long or short vocation, get out of town for a day or few hours

20. Life is now!! not yesterday or tomorrow - stop living in the past and live in the present, tomorrow cannot happen if you don't live today 

21. Your work matter - no matter how insignificant or unimpressive you believe your work to be, there is value in it. Take pride in what you do and others will too. Commit yourself to a high level of quality work in your occupation, continually learn & improve yourself, and embrace failure as part of the process.

22.  Isolation is avoidable. For us introverts, it's easy to fall into this self-inflicted trap. Make it a priority to surround yourself with people who are good for you. Even if it is just a few trustworthy comrades. No man is an island!

23. Be careful who you surround yourself with. Choose your influences wisely. They say you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Don't be too careful though or you'll just start hanging out with your succulents like one of my friends  

24. Try new things!!! being a creature of habit is great, but it's dangerous when it prevents you from learning or trying new things 

25. READING!! always have  book that you're reading

26. Be open to change. Especially when it comes to people in your life.

 

 

Journey to Health and Wellness with Kyra Ann: Overcoming auto-immune disease & Leaky gut

IG: kyrholistics

IG: kyrholistics

Kyra is a Utah native with a passion for health and wellness. When she's not blogging or posting amazing photos on her Instagram page, Krya loves spending time in nature, hiking, creating beautiful food, buying excessive amounts of plants, and most importantly spending time with her husband Michael & playing with her baby boy Shilo. Below, Kyra talks about her journey to health and wellness, and overcoming an auto-immune disease and leaky gut.

This is a two part interview, make sure to check out the blog for the second part of the interivew in the coming week. 

"I am so grateful to be a stay-at-home mama & spend every moment with my little one. It’s the best job ever! Although, it’s also been one of the most difficult things I’ve done, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually…  I wouldn’t ever change that, because it’s caused me to grow, learn, and ultimately help me attain so much knowledge about myself, and about holistic healing – which is my passion" 

When did your interest in wellness relating to food begin?

I became interested in a healthy whole food diet once I became pregnant with my babe because I wanted him to grow into a healthy little sprout. However, that passion accelerated a few months after he was born when I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease & leaky gut. I was determined to heal naturally using food. From this point it became a large part of my life and I spent countless hours learning as much as I could about the benefits of eating whole foods, especially through experience. Once I saw that I was healing and how much real, healthy food was changing my life, I knew I had found my passion!

How would you describe your diet now?

I would describe my diet as a real, whole foods diet. I do eat primarily plant-based but I focus more on intuitive eating and listening to my body than I do on labels.

Do you avoid anything?

I do have some food intolerances and foods that seem to cause inflammation for my body. The foods that I avoid are gluten, dairy, soy, corn, peanuts, refined sugar, anything processed, vegetable oils (canola oil, etc), and most grains & legumes. I don’t think that everyone needs to avoid these foods, this is just what I’ve learned through trial and error are the foods that cause me to feel bloated, inflamed, fatigued, or cause an allergic reaction.

Can you tell us a little about your auto-immune disease & leaky gut experience and how it influenced your current health and wellness lifestyle?

Like I mentioned briefly before, 3 months after my little son was born I started experiencing systematic inflammation. My throat would close off, I was fatigued beyond belief, and I was bloating after every meal. After meeting with a gastroenterologist I was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE). This is a chronic, incurable disease that is in the same family as asthma. Basically what it is, is an auto-immune reaction to what your body perceives as “toxins”. When I eat certain foods, my body will try to protect itself by sending little eosinophils (anti-bodies) to my throat to fight off the toxin. Unfortunately my body helps out a little “too” much, leading to my throat closing off not allowing me to eat until the inflammation is somehow reduced. It was so scary. I was choking on my food and not able to breathe on a regular basis. I was prescribed medications, steroids, and basically told I would never heal. At this time I was also experiencing extreme bloating after every meal, gas, excruciating bowl pain, constipation, nausea, vomiting, etc. but no tests confirmed anything. I self diagnosed leaky gut based on hundreds of hours of reading on the condition. I did NOT want to take pharmaceuticals for the rest of my life and submit myself to the idea that I just had a disease and that there was nothing I could do about it. That is when I completely changed my life style, started eating whole foods, herbs, and super foods… and implementing yoga and meditation into my life. My disease helped me realize that I needed to make a change and start taking care of my body. My body was trying to tell me something – that something was off. I listened, and through the listening process I was able to heal. It completely changed my life.

What are specific changes you were forced to make because of that experience?

Here are the biggest changes I made:

1. My diet. I stopped eating junk and started fueling my body with vegetables, fruits, and small amounts of high quality animal foods like pastured eggs and wild caught fish.

2. Adjust my type of exercise (more gentle and mindful) which includes yoga, walks, stretching and light weight lifting. I had to stop focusing so much on losing weight and more on what my body needed.

3. Getting enough deep restorative sleep. Going to bed early, stop using electronics and tv late at night, winding down, and blacking out my room.

4. Taking time for self-care

5. Adding supplements/herbs to my diet. My favorites are adaptogenic herbs like maca and medicinal mushroom extracts.

6. Having a positive outlook/never losing hope. Positivity is everything. I had to put myself in control of my situation and learn to manage stress by being optimistic.

 7. Meditating daily and just always expressing gratitude for all the amazing good I have in my life.

What is currently your favorite workout?

Definitely restorative yoga. I feel my best after a practice that includes a lot of balance practice & twists.

Can you tell us a little about your blog and why you were motivated to start?

My blog shares some holistic tips I’ve learned for healthy living as well as plant-based or gut friendly recipes. I wanted to start a blog to help me to be excited about my change in lifestyle and also to help other people who are struggling with the same health setbacks as I have, and hopefully find the same healing as I have as well.

What are some of your favorite holistic remedies?

When I was experiencing a lot of digestive problems I loved starting my day with warm lemon water with apple cider vinegar. It also helped to soak in a warm bath with Epsom (magnesium) salt and lavender oil in the evenings.

Drinking bone broth or bone broth protein powder when my leaky gut symptoms start acting up also help to reduce bloating and inflammation.

Tumeric latte. Coconut milk, tumeric, black pepper, and Ceylon cinnamon sweetened lightly with raw honey or monk fruit extract help to reduce inflammation in the body.

 Peppermint oil rubbed on my temples to relieve headaches or help increase energy on a day I’m feeling particularly fatigued. I do not drink caffeine, and this helps.

How do you stay motivated (health, wellness, fitness)?

My greatest motivation is a sincere love for myself and my spouse/son. Once I learned to truly love myself then that was and is now the catalyst for my motivation. I also want to be my best self for the ones I love and I know that I’m not when I’m not making healthy lifestyle choices.Staying motivated includes a practice of constantly trying to love myself and who I am. True love is the greatest motivator.

Take us through a day in the life of your food?

Wake up: I drink an herb elixir that usually contains cacao, maca, reishi mushroom & he shou wu mushroom OR bone broth. Breakfast: A superfood smoothie. Usually packed with frozen veggies like cauliflower, sweet potato, zucchini, spinach… fruits like banana, blueberries and avocado. Then I throw in sunflower seed butter, hemp hearts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and almond milk. Then whatever toppings I feel like…. I spoil myself there hehe. Snack: Handful of nuts or an RX bar with a drink of kombucha. Lunch: Usually some kind of salad. Greens like romaine, spinach, arugula, then some zucchini, cabbage, carrots, strawberries, sprouts, pasture-raised chicken breast and one of my homemade dairy free dressings or just some oil & balsamic vinegar. Snack: An avocado on rice cakes or with an egg & saurkraut. Dinner: One of my favorites is zoodles with a homemade tomato or dairy free “cheese” sauce with some wild-caught salmon. Before bed: I’ll drink some “natural calm” magnesium drink or bone broth if I’ve had a bad digestive day.

How do you decide what to make, day-in-day-out?

I just listen to my body. I wake up and try to tune into what I’m craving, and what sounds good to me that I know will nourish my body. I try my best to balance my day with a variety of foods and nutrients. That is basically it! Just intuitively trying to nourish my body with what it needs, which changes all the time.

When do you feel best in your body?

Right after a good yoga class I feel amazing. I also feel my best when I have spent my day being active (walking, running errands, cooking, cleaning) and especially when that day includes serving others. I get depressed and feel sick when I am too idle or not doing anything important.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

“Eating evolved” dark cacao chocolate bars (drooling)

Where can people reach you?

I am the most active on Instagram, my tag is @kyrholistics. You can also check out my blog at www.kyrholistics.com or email me at kyrholistics@gmail.com