My new favorite thing to drink in the afternoons!! Dandy Blend Herbal Beverage!! Check it out! 😊https://healingmyhashi.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/img_1289.mov
With Spring finally here and summer around the corner, I wanted to talk about seasonal crops and their nutritional value. (*Little side-note, these are mid-western crops.) Some of the ones that are going to be popping up and ready to go in June are arugula, radishes, mustard greens, kale, lettuce, spinach, green onions, kohlrabi, zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli, beets, parsley, and chard. Wheew!! That’s a lot of veggies and greens!! 🙂 I LOVE this time of year because there are so many greens to choose from!
I know several of these, especially the greens, can be overwhelming at first. You don’t know how to use them, they don’t sound appetizing, etc. Because greens can be the most intimidating, we’re going to talk about those today. There are two easy ways you can enjoy some of these greens. First is in a smoothie. I love throwing together some frozen berries, mix in Sun Warrior’s grain free plant-based protein powder, add in some superfoods (like cacao nibs/powder, flax/chia seeds, maca powder, etc.), throw in some sea vegetables like nori or dulse (you can’t taste them and they are good for those with thyroid conditions), and then of course, add in my favorite greens!! However, I highly recommend you pick a piece of the green leaf first, taste it, and decide if the flavor is too strong for you. Most of these will taste the exact same way in a smoothie. For example, I will not put arugula or kale in my smoothie. They both have pretty bold tastes that I don’t care for. Spinach is PERFECT in a smoothie! It doesn’t have much of a taste when eating it raw so you can’t taste it at all in a smoothie!
The second easy way is to saute them. My favorite of all the greens mentioned above is spinach and chard, although I haven’t yet discovered a green that I don’t mind sauteed. Even the ones that have pretty strong smells and pretty bitter tastes raw, have a much milder taste when sauteed. Here is a quick and easy recipe:
EASY GREENS RECIPE
1/2 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 tsp Better than Bouillon, chicken flavored
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
2 cups greens, diced, stems separate from leaves IF the stems are a hard stem (like a chard).
Salt & Pepper to taste
Turn your burner to medium, add in the oil. Once the oil is hot, add in your onions and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. If you are working with a green that has hard stems, such as a chard, you’ll want to put those in next. Let those cook about 3-5 minutes (I prefer five because I prefer mine to be a little softer). Then add the rest of the ingredients, cooking for another 3 minutes or until the leaves are wilted. Bam, you’re done! You can eat these as a side dish or throw additional vegetables on top. I like to eat spinach with my sweet potato and eggs in my pre workout but I love to eat chard by itself. If you are making some homemade soup, you can always add ins some spinach and kale, adding a lot of nutrients without changing the taste of the soup!
As always, enjoy finding ways to add in some of these delicious crops whenever you can. It’s always more nourishing to your body to eat crops that are in season. Oh, and there’s the added benefit of it being cheaper on your pocket book! 🙂
For additional benefits of eating in season, check out this link!!
It’s been years since I had my daily Diet Coke! I could go into all of the reasons why I gave it up, but I don’t think I need to! Now-a-days, we all pretty much know that pop isn’t good for you. (Just in case 😂 causes dehydration, plaque build-up on teeth, SUGAR, ASPARTAME, phosphoric acid, caffeine, possible heavy metal toxicity, and high fructose corn syrup 😳) But, I’ve always missed the carbonated beverage. I got hooked on Zevia (a “better” pop) and I have been drinking that in the afternoons for a couple of years. But, fighting an autoimmune disease, I wanted to give up drinking out of an aluminum can because of the possible toxicity exposure. So, I did some research and found out I could basically make my own beverage! Check out this video to see how you too can give up your pop and make your own healthy version!
Are you looking for support on your autoimmune journey? E-mail me here!
“Your child needs to go through an elimination diet.”
These words can be devastating for a lot of people to hear. You get this long list of foods your child needs to avoid and if you eat all of them on the regular, you could be in freak-out mode! Especially if you have no idea how to replace some of your child’s favorite snacks, breakfast and bakery items. Well, this blog is about to help you out when it comes to replacing some of those gluten containing items that our kids love!
Cassava might be one of my new favorite things!! For a family that is trying to avoid grains, Cassava flour can be a lifesaver when wanting a bakery-type item!! Cassava, or yuca root, is a starchy, tuberous root that can be eaten whole by baking, boiling, or frying. You can also ferment them. They have been compared to a white potato but they are known to be low on the glycemic index, making them ok for diabetics. But, my personal favorite is cassava flour.
You can use cassava flour as a substitute in any recipe calling for regular flour, which is what I love! We’ve made tortillas or wraps with the flour and they have turned out perfect! We make our own “chicken nuggets” for our kids to have for lunch or dinner. We use a combo of almond flour and cassava flour to make them. I’ve always used almond flour but adding the cassava gives it more of the “fried chicken” breading that we like. It also has the added benefit of being lower in fat than the almond flour.
And thank goodness for the companies that are amazing at creating products made from cassava flour! Siete’ Foods makes the best tortilla chips!!! I buy three bags a month from Thrive Market and usually get one in each flavor. And yes, I 100% take these chips with me when we eat at a Mexican restaurant…no shame here! While eating out isn’t the best for you, I also don’t want to be a recluse and always stay home! So taking these chips has allowed Paisley and I to enjoy chips and salsa (we don’t eat corn), which we both love.
Plant Snacks makes some amazing Cassava Crunch chips that I LOVE to snack on!! They come in a couple of different flavors but the plain ones are probably my favorite. However, I have to be honest and say that I haven’t tried all of the flavors yet. They have become my go-to Friday and Saturday night snack and I’m lucky if I don’t eat the whole bag in one sitting. Paisley loves these chips as well, so they are PICKY-kid approved! I also get them from Thrive Market.
Simple Mills oh how I LOVE thee!!!! This company saved me when my daughter first went on her elimination diet! They use cassava, but also include some other ingredients in their mixes. But every ingredient, which isn’t many, is something you know and is of quality. This company has so much to offer, from crackers and bread mixes, to cupcakes and muffins… they even have frosting!! If you follow me on insta, then you know how Simple Mills’ cupcake mix and frosting saved my butt on the day of Paisley’s school Valentine’s party!! (See pic above!)
Bottom line, if you or a family member needs to be gluten, even grain-free, try out cassava flour and companies that use it! It’s wonderful for giving you options when you don’t always want meat, fruits, veggies, and plants and comes with the added benefit that it’s not high in fat like an almond flour.
Oh, and did I mention that cassava has nutritional benefit as well?? 🙂 It can help with inflammation and helps to balance your gut flora, among other things. So, not only can you enjoy some treats but you can do it in a health way! Who doesn’t want that?!?!
For help and support with leading a gluten and grain free life, shoot me an e-mail! I would love to chat with you!
This little lady made me a mom. Now don’t get me wrong, I have two beautiful, gorgeous step children who are much older than Paisley. They definitely made me a mom prior to birthing Paisley & Eden. But, by the time they came into my life, they were past all the late night, early-morning feedings, diaper changing, bedwetting craziness! And because of that, I say that this little stinker above, really completed the whole mom picture!
Paisley is beautiful, smart, and kind. She loves spending time with her best friends, loves our animals, and, although my parents would prefer she doesn’t, she loves rooting for Purdue with her daddy! She’s always been my fun-loving, laid back little girl…until recently.
As I’ve mentioned before, we currently have Paisley going through an elimination diet. Since almost the beginning of the diet, her behavior has changed. She has become stubborn, frustrated, easily angered and easily annoyed. Now it would be easy for me to blame the diet itself and say that she’s just angry that we are making her do it. However, she took it very well from the start. She even memorized all the things that she would have to avoid. She also made and decorated a food log. We’ve bought and made all kinds of things to help fill in the gaps of all the grain items that she knows and loves. We’ve made pancakes, muffins, bread, etc. I’ve bought different kinds of chips and crackers that she can eat. And she’s really enjoyed all of it. But, the one thing that I have not found a replacement for is dairy. Yes, I can buy coconut or almond milk yogurt. I can even buy vegan butter and cheese, but they all are missing the one thing that I think plays a huge role in why she’s acting out.
Casomorphin is something that is found in milk. God put this in milk to encourage the baby to continue to come back for more. It’s a way to ensure that the baby will get his or her nourishment. The problem is, casomorphins have a very addictive nature, which can be why a lot of people have a hard time giving up dairy, especially items like cheese and ice cream, which have more than double the amount of casomorphins than plain milk. I believe that this is what is affecting Paisley.
I think that Paisley is going through her own version of a withdraw. She was lactose intolerant as a baby and then we thought she had grown out of it. She would eat cheese and yogurt like it was going out of style. So, to completely remove that from her diet was like asking a crack addict to go cold turkey. 😳 So now that we’ve removed it, we have been struggling with her attitude and trying to figure out how to help her.
So, what’s our next step? Well, her functional medicine practitioner has asked us to do a urine test. This test will determine basically what’s going on up in her brain and what we can do to help her in terms of supplements until she is through this withdraw period. We will be doing this test this weekend and we look forward to the results.
What are your thoughts on dairy? Do you find it addictive for you? Have you or do you know of anyone that has eliminated dairy and found something similar to happen? I would love to hear your feedback! Feel free to leave a comment!
For support going through an elimination diet or help with what steps to take, email me at StacyRawlings@mac.com for information on my health coaching packages.
*additional update on Paisley – we received news from her most recent labs. She has elevated IgG levels which is rare for a person of her age. We will be seeing an immunologist for what our next step will be.
**For more information on how casomorphins can be addictive, click here
This bread looks so yummy, doesn’t it?!?! I can almost smell it and taste it!! Bread is a common staple in most American households. The average American eats about 53 lbs of bread per year!! That’s a lot of bread!! If you look at the packaging of your bread at home, there’s a decent chance that it says, “made with whole grains”. Not all bread packages say this, but a lot do. But the question is, is this bread a whole grain?
What about these Cheerios? These are another yummy staple in most American households. I don’t know if I know a kid who wasn’t fed Cheerios as a snack when they were little! It’s one of the easiest snacks, right up there with Goldfish! I know we gave our kiddos both. According to the packaging and commercials, Cheerios are heart healthy and made with whole grain oats. So the question is, are they a whole grain?
Packaging and commercials would lead you to believe that a lot of foods made with grains are a whole grain. It can be very confusing and it’s no fault of your own. But the easiest way to know whether you are getting a whole grain or something that’s MADE from a whole grain is to ask yourself, did this come straight from a plant? So, those Cheerios, can we grow them? Do you see them in the fields that you drive by in the country? Do they come straight from a plant? No – of course you don’t see them growing in the ground! So they aren’t a whole grain.
Here’s why it matters. Foods that are made with whole grains have gone through some sort of processing and most likely, other, not-so-nutritious ingredients, have been added. Whenever processing takes place, you lose some, or a lot of, the original nutritional value of the grain. The added ingredients that you typically get are salt, sugar, GMO ingredients, and a lot of the “what-the-heck-is-this” ingredients. A lot of times, those can be the hardest ingredients because most of us don’t know what they are. And unfortunately, we tend to trust the FDA and what they allow, so we assume these ingredients are safe for consumption. Often times, they are not. (A different blog for a different day.)
So what could you have instead of the bowl of Cheerios? You can have a bowl of oat groats and add your favorite berries. You avoid the processing of the oat without having added corn starch, sugar, salt, and tripotassium phosphate, which is a questionable ingredient. (These are the ingredients of the original Cheerios – other versions of Cheerios come with even more ingredients and contain GMO’s). Yes, berries themselves contain sugar, but this isn’t a white sugar that has no nutritional value. Berries have wonderful antioxidants, contain much-needed fiber, and contain many vitamins and minerals, none of which sugar contains.
My point to all of this is when your doctor, trainer, or health coach encourages you to eat whole grains, they mean grains like the millet above, or the quinoa below. They can be an important part of your diet, if you are a healthy person with no gut issues, autoimmune conditions, or a gluten intolerance…. cause of course, that’s another story. 🙂
For more information on whole grains and whether they should be a part of your diet, feel free to contact me. I would love to support you on your health journey!
Being that it’s Valentine’s Day, my husband found this very fitting quote and sent it to me this morning. At first, I kind of laughed to myself knowing he got stuck with me. LOL! I definitely think he got the short end of the stick! But after a light-hearted response back, I actually thought about how great of a deal I got and how blessed I am to have him as my husband.
Love is so important. Not just romantic love between two people, but love between parents and children, between siblings, and between friends. Relationships play a huge role in our overall health and well-being. If we are in a bad relationship, fighting with our parents or children, or not speaking to siblings, the stress of the relationship can take a toll on us. As I have talked about before, stress can do a lot of damage to our body, even cause chronic illnesses and diseases. So, how do we have good, healthy relationships? Here’s my top five recommendations and what to do if they aren’t meeting your needs.
1. CommunicationI preach this to my kids all of the time (just ask my 19 yo) . If someone has to second-guess what you are thinking, it’s never going to end well. If you just keep hoping that things are going to change, they aren’t. If you think your significant other can read your mind, (s)he can’t. If you think your boss knows that (s)he is disrespectful, (s)he doesn’t. If you think your friend knows that (s)he hurt your feelings, (s)he doesn’t. If you think your coworker knows that (s)he is annoying you with countless stories every day while you are trying to work, they don’t. 🙄 You have to speak up. I don’t mean start an argument by telling them all of their faults, I mean, in a tactful way, explain to them how what they are doing doesn’t work for you. The more you communicate, the better the relationship you will have. 2. HonestyThis goes right along with communication. You have to be honest in a relationship. If you can’t be honest, then you are not only doing a disservice to yourself, but you aren’t allowing the other person to truly love YOU.3. SupportWe all have an inner child in us that still looks for acknowledgment. When you share your dreams with someone, share a story from work, share something that weighs heavy on your heart, you need someone who is willing to listen to you, know when giving advice isn’t necessary, and someone who builds you up when you are down. You need someone who is willing to hold your hand and walk through the fire with you. 4. RespectA lot of people believe that respect is earned. I see it differently… I don’t believe that you have to earn respect. I think respect is a God given right to every human being. You may not like someone, and you may disagree with their beliefs, but God created all of us to be different. You don’t have to agree with each other to respect each other. Therefore, any relationship should involve respect, without question.5. TrustI do believe that trust is earned. You have to be able to trust the other person in the relationship for it to last. If you do not trust them, ask your self why? If you have a valid reason for not trusting that person, would you be better off moving on?While there are many other qualities that meaningful relationships should have, these five are my essentials. So, what do you do if your relationship lacks any, or all of these?Well, first, start with number one. Communicate with the other person. If after communicating, and working to make changes, the relationship is still lacking in quality, then maybe it’s time to move on. Don’t ever feel obligated to be in a relationship with someone if the relationship causes you undo stress, even if it’s a family member. I don’t say that very easily. However, you have to take care of your self. If you have went above and beyond to have a healthy relationship with someone and they aren’t reciprocating the effort, then find a way to remove yourself from that relationship. At the very least, set boundaries between you and that person. Maybe you only except a phone call once a week, maybe it means you only see them once or twice a year, whatever it is that you need, don’t be afraid to enforce it. It might be hard to wrap your head around letting go of a relationship, but your body will thank you later.
Love is an amazing thing. I believe that everyone absolutely deserves it. While it’s not always easy, it is one of the building blocks of having a healthy life.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails.”
1Corinthians 13 4-8
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE!
For more information on health coaching with me, shoot me an e-mail at StacyRawlings@mac.com
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to talk about today. I have several options listed on my “idea board” but none were calling to me. Usually when I blog, I’m fired up about something and need to get it off my chest or it’s something that I’ve discovered is super helpful and I can’t wait to share it. Then it occurred to me, every day I do things that are meant to help heal my autoimmune condition in some way or another….why not blog about one of the first things I did today that did just that?!?! It’s something that I’ve come to enjoy and it’s super helpful in relieving stress. So, that’s exactly what I’m going to do!
Budget… another little depressing word…. at least it my dictionary. Although, soon, I might have to change my definition for this word. I’ve always found budgeting to be pointless. I create a budget, set it aside, and then never look at it again, until I create my budget for the next month. A process that has set me, and my family, up for failure when it comes to staying out of debt, saving for fun things, and living stress-free.
Before I continue, why am I talking about a budget when my blog is supposed to be about healing my Hashimoto’s symptoms? Well, that’s because stress is HUGE in wrecking havoc on a person, regardless of whether you have an autoimmune condition or not. And not having a budget and living financially careless, causes much unneeded stress… and you know you can’t disagree with me here! Keeping your body in a constant state of stress can eventually lead to a burn out. This could include constant migraines, stomach problems like cramping or nausea, anxiety and depression, adrenal fatigue, constant fatigue, high blood pressure, increased heart rate and potential for a heart attack, disruption of sex hormones, aches and pains of the joints, and two of the most obvious ones, increased or nonexistent hunger feelings and increased fat storage. Stress can lower your immunity and cause you to be more susceptible to illnesses. If you’re trying to heal any part of your body, an over abundance of stress is definitely not your friend. So over withdrawing on your account… not having the money for taxes…. spending more money than you planned… not knowing where you money goes…. all keeping you up at night… adds stress to your already over stressed body.
When you’re trying to heal, which is what this blog is about, your body needs to be in it’s rest and digest state, turned on by your parasympathetic nervous system. If you’re in a state of stress, you’ve triggered your “fight or flight” system, aka your sympathetic nervous system. When you’ve triggered “fight or flight” mode, your body sends your blood supply away from your gut and, instead, to your muscles to prepare for the perceived emergency. All of your resources are being used to expend energy for the fight at hand. No healing can be done in this state. When you are in “rest and digest” mode, your body is calm, sending your blood supply to the gut, which happens to be right on the other side of 80% of your immune system. In this state, your body increases digestion (optimal for absorbing necessary nutrients), restores it’s resources and healing can take place. The “rest and digest” mode should be our goal. But all too often, it is not.
My goal, as someone wanting to heal symptoms from an autoimmune condition, is to find ways to relieve stress on a daily basis. One of these ways has been to figure out how to enjoy creating and sticking to my depressing, and most frustrating, budget.
I’ve always done my budget by hand. Which meant that I’d have to go back and manually write down how much I had spent and do the math to know what I had left. This is WAY TOO time consuming for someone taking care of clients, in school, working out, writing a blog…. oh and trying to be a good wife and mom. So, I googled “best budgeting apps” one day and stumbled upon a few. I started with three possibilities and I’ve narrowed it down to two. I’m still in the trial period with both but I know that I’m going to have a hard time deciding which to get rid of. Here’s my personal opinion on the three I started with:
This was recommended as number one. It was created by Intuit, the same company that created QuickBooks and TurboTax. I almost immediately got rid of this one. I’ve used QuickBooks for several years and Mint was about as user friendly as QuickBooks, which to me, is not much. For people that need something relatively simple and easy to use, I don’t recommend Mint. Apparently though, lots of people love it, so you may want to give it a try.
This one is probably my favorite if I had a gun to my head and had to choose. It was recommended as the number one get-out-of-debt budget. I find it very user friendly and can absolutely see how it can help one get out of debt. I get e-mails almost daily, if not daily, from Jesse and Todd (from YNAB) giving me little tips and tricks on how to take advantage of the app and budgeting in general. I’m not usually one to enjoy getting a ton of e-mails from companies but I’ve actually read every one of their e-mails and have found them very helpful and encouraging. (Side note, I don’t know if these will continue after my trial period or not.) You can hook up your bank account so transactions are easily imported. Once you’ve matched a Payee up to a category, it automatically matches it in the future. And if you want to change what it matches with, you can easily do that. Another feature I love about YNAB is their goal setting section. You can create goals and the app keeps track of how well you are doing. For example, if I want $1,000 saved for a vacation by June of this year, once I set up my goal, YNAB keeps track of how much I need to save each month to reach my goal and adjusts accordingly should I save more or less.
This one is my second favorite, right behind YNAB. This one may even be more user friendly. Just like YNAB you can set up your bank account to automatically import your transactions. The only difference is, where you have to approve the transaction with YNAB, with EveryDollar, you just drag and drop the transaction in the proper category. While YNAB has the goal setting feature, EveryDollar has the Debt Snowball and all of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. This is an amazing asset, especially if you are a big Dave Ramsey fan. As you plug in your debt, EveryDollar tells you which debt you should pay off first and which debts it recommends you just pay the minimum balance.
Both YNAB and EveryDollar have reports and graphs that you can check to see where your money is going. You can also do both online from your computer or from an app on your phone. YNAB is an annual fee of $83.99 and EveryDollar is an annual fee of $99 OR you can do monthly payments of $14.99.
I recommend that you try out any of the three or look for one that works best for you. The beginning of the year is always the slowest time for both Matt’s and my businesses. I would have been overspending and putting us in the red had I not been using YNAB and EveryDollar. (Yes, I’m still deciding!) And even though we aren’t in the financial position we want to be in, we are already several steps ahead of where we’ve been in the past because we actually have a plan. I’m not stressing (I take care of our finances so I usually carry this burden) because I’m not over withdrawing and I’m not using credit cards… I’m spending the money when we have it on what I’ve planned it for. This has taken a huge burden off of my shoulders and I’ve actually come to enjoy checking my budget each day… allowing my body for some additional “rest and digest” time. 🙂
Until next Wednesday….
The word “infection” can seem like a dirty word. And it’s such a broad word… infection. What exactly does it mean? Infection. I’ve heard of an ear infection or people saying “It smells like an infection”, which is so gross, btw, but other than that, I have no clue what it really means.
When the words “possible infection” have been mentioned at previous doctor appointments, I’ve really had no clue what they meant. I don’t have an infection. There’s nothing going on with me, except the obvious Hashimotos. So I have always just, kind of, ignored those words and moved on. My doctor has never pushed the subject and has never really elaborated by what he meant. But let’s be real, he has about 30 minutes with me at each visit and I always come loaded with tons of questions! (And I’m usually good for being about five minutes late.) So it’s not like I give him a whole lot of time to speak on any given subject. (Note to self: maybe I should work on this…) But back to the word infection, I’ve always brushed it aside when it’s been brought up. But that is no longer.
“Low white blood cell count”, more words that have been uttered throughout the last seven years. Again, not something that was talked about more than the quick mention. And not something that I have worried much about. The first time I heard them I was either pregnant or it was postpartum, I can’t remember honestly. Either way, there was a lot going on with my body at the time so I didn’t think it was a big deal. However, at my last appointment, he said those same words again, “your white blood cell count is low” (aka “wbc” in white coat terms). He decided that we need to look further into it. So a couple of days ago (about 2-3 months after my last appointment) I had my blood drawn again to see if my count was still low. What comes back from the test will determine where we go from here.
So the reason that I want to talk about infections is because it wasn’t until recently that I even understood what the heck he was talking about, which means a lot of other autoimmune sufferers probably don’t either. Not only that, but I didn’t realize how much having any one of these infections could affect flare ups of my symptoms. And, even more importantly, that one of these infections could be the root cause of my Hashimoto’s. THAT right there is priceless information, and ladies and gentlemen, I’m not charging you, so read on to see if any one of these could be affecting you! (Cause upon further investigation, I know that I for sure have some of these and some of the others are possibilities.)
So why did I not ever understand what infections are? Or even more specifically, what ones my doctor was referring to? Well, that’s because, a lot of times when they are talked about, they are referred to in their “white coat” terms. So most of us who are “plain-clothed patients” don’t have one iota (that word is for you dad!) what the doctor is talking about. We also tend to not ask enough questions and that’s a whole other blog in itself! So, I’m going to give you some of the most common infections, in easy “plain-clothed” terms of course, that could be causing your symptom flare-ups or be the root cause of your Hashimoto’s.
First, Herpes, more specifically herpes simplex type 1 and type 2. In easier terms, think cold sores or fever blisters that you can get on your mouth or sores that you can get on your genital area. If you have either of these, or think you might, blood testing can be done to determine if you have an active herpes virus. Because any of the different herpes viruses (there’s more than just these two) can impact Hashimoto’s, to be safe, I would test for them all.
Second, Helicobacter pylori. You know what this one is? Cause I sure the heck didn’t. I was even affected by this one when I was in high school and then possibly again in college. Instead of doing testing the later time, they just assumed and gave me medication. Regardless, I’ve dealt with it and didn’t even know it. So, Helicobacter pylori, aka H. pylori, is the cause of ulcers. If you’ve ever had an ulcer, you want to address this. But here’s the crazy thing, you can have had an ulcer and not know it… so you want to test for this even if you think you’ve never had one. If you have both an autoimmune condition AND you have problems with your thyroid, then there’s a high probability that you would test positive for this. Testing for this can be done with a breath, stool, or blood test.
Next, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, aka SIBO. This is when your gut bacteria is out of balance. To test for this, your doctor would order a breath test.
Toxoplasmosis, this parasite is one of the infections that I could totally see me having but don’t know for sure. So if you’ve ever been pregnant and your OB told you not to change your cat liter, this parasite is why. This can be a risk to your fetus. I’ve been around cats since the day I was born, living with 13 different cats in my 38 years. So to me, the likelihood that one of them carried this parasite is probably pretty good. However, it not only can be found in cat feces, but also in undercooked pork. I don’t know that I’ve ever had undercooked pork, but I guess it’s a possibility. This one also can be tested through a blood test.
Hepatitis C – this one is pretty tricky, just like the H. pylori (ulcer) because a high percentage of people have it and don’t know it. Another one that I suggest you test for even if you think you are in the clear. It’s another one that can be found through a blood test.
Another one, blastocystis hominis…. ever heard of this one? Me either. So if you have traveled to a developing country, then this one is something that you want to test for. Again, you can have it and not know it as some people don’t experience any symptoms at all and many people clear up on their own. The symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, bloating, hives, abdominal cramping, loss of appetite, and excessive gas. If you’ve been to a developing country and came home and experienced any of these, it’s possible that you may have it. Again, just be tested to know for sure and you can do that with a stool test.
Borrelia burgdorferi – this is associated with Lyme’s disease and can be discovered with a blood test.
Epstein-Barr… this one probably makes me the most mad. I’ve heard the name Epstein-Barr numerous times but never realized it’s the same thing as mononucleosis, aka mono, aka the kissing disease. I know for a fact that I had this in college and had I known that there was any possibility that this could be the root cause or the reason for my symptoms, I definitely would have told someone. Why the heck these all can’t just be called something that we are familiar with, like mono, is beyond me. Per Dr. Amy Myers in her book The Thyroid Connection, “a whopping 95% of U.S. adults have picked it up by age forty, and it can present without any symptoms.” Whaaaatttt?!?! How did I not know this? (insert eye roll here) This one can be detected with a blood test as well and since there seems to be a 95% chance that you have it if you’re over the age 40, I say get tested.
The last one is yersinia enterocolitica. This one can feel like food poisoning…rightly so since you can get it from undercooked pork, or water, meat, or milk that has been contaminated. You might see symptoms like diarrhea (can be bloody in sever cases), low-grade fever, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Again with this one, you typically clear up on your own and don’t require medical treatment. If you’ve ever experienced food poisoning, or food poisoning type symptoms, I would suggest testing for this. It can be done with a stool test. But from what I’ve read, you will need a functional medicine doctor for this.
So, these are the main infections that you want to be aware of. I’m sure there are more and I will definitely add them to my blog as I run across them. But for now, know that if you have any of these, or THINK you could have any of these, I would highly recommend being tested. These absolutely could not only be causing your symptom flare-ups, but could be the root cause of your Hashimoto’s (or other autoimmune condition).
For more information on any of these infections, if they could pertain to you, and testing for definitive answers, speak to your FUNCTIONAL MED doctor. If you would like support with your autoimmune journey, feel free to reach out to me at StacyRawlings@mac.com! Together we can free you from your symptoms so you can lead a beautiful, healthy life!
**Although these are my own thoughts and takes on infections, there are several books, doctors, and websites that I go to for all my autoimmune, digestion, and gut information. Among those are my own doctor, Dr. Kevin Logan at The Logan Institute for Health and Wellness, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, The Thyroid Connection and The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Myers, Dr. Izabella Wentz, Pharm D, Mickey & Angie at Autoimmune Wellness, The Immune System Recovery Plan by Dr. Susan Blum, and Medical Medium Thyroid Healing by Anthony William. These are just the start of some amazing resources for people with autoimmune conditions. I highly recommend them all.
So meditation is one of those things that I thought I could never do. Let’s face it, in this day and age, we are always on the go, nonstop from one place to another, with 1 million things to do. Not only am I physically doing 1 million things, but my mind is as well. How could I possibly meditate?!?!
My mind is going nonstop all the time and quite frankly, it’s one of my worst enemies. It’s what tells me that I can’t do something, that I’m going to fail, I’m going to get sick, I’m the worst mom, this is going to be a bad day, what if I get lightheaded in this store and pass out, where’s the nearest bathroom, what if I have to get up in the middle of church and leave, what if one of my little girls has a serious illness, what if I’m the last one to finish this work out, what if, what if… WHAT IF.
One would think that with all the craziness in my head, meditation would be a no-brainer, easy solution for me. But it hasn’t been. I’ve always used all those thoughts in my head as a validation of why I couldn’t meditate. You know, the normal excuses… “There’s no way I could sit for that long.” “There’s no way I could quiet my brain like they want me to.” “I think too much.” “I have more important things to be doing.” “I don’t even know where to begin.” Those excuses made it very easy for me not to do it. And honestly, I just had no desire.
But, over the last 6 to 9 months I’ve been learning a lot, way more than I even knew I could. I’ve also been experimenting with healthy foods and different lifestyle changes. As you know, I have Hashimoto’s and I’m trying to heal my thyroid. I’ve learned tons of things but one of the things is how much stress can play a part of chronic illnesses. Meditation is one of the ways, one of many I might add, to help relieve stress and quiet your mind. One of the symptoms that comes along with Hashimoto’s, at least for me and many others, is anxiety. We all know how crazy our minds get when we are anxious. Using meditation to learn how to acknowledge those thoughts, not fight them, and then move on from them, is huge in creating a more peaceful environment in your head.
So I began a meditation practice. I have to say, I’m still at a point where I kind of fight myself on doing it. Just because I still have the urge to do other things. There is still that thought in my head about how I could be doing so much more, that there are other priorities. But, what I have learned, is that when I meditate, it changes the rest of my day. I can’t really even begin to describe some of the ways that meditating affects how I see situations differently. My day is more peaceful, my mind is more calm, and when situations occur that would otherwise normally get me fired up, I’m able to maintain more focus, clarity and peacefulness to get through them. It doesn’t mean that I don’t ever get angry, it just means I’m able to see the situation differently. It’s kind of like the “cup’s half full or half empty” scenario. It opens up my eyes and allows me to come from a place where my cup is half full.
Meditation also helps rejuvenate me. If we go back to the example of the cup, it’s so easy to have little things happen all day long that pick away at your cup. It’s almost like it has a leak and it’s dripping constantly. Sometimes not only is it leaking, but someone might come along and knock it over, thereby losing a lot at once. When I meditate, it’s like my cup is filled back up. I’m ready to go again.
The best part about meditation for me is the quieting of the mind. I’m learning how to not get frustrated with my thoughts. Instead, I’m learning to acknowledge them, label them as negative or positive, and let them go. And when you have anxiety, there’s something that you aren’t letting go. Learning how to let your thoughts move on is huge in helping to relieve your symptoms. I’m very new at meditation, but one thing I look forward to, is continuing the process of learning how to let the thoughts go. What a huge relief for my anxiety that will be!! I’m already practicing some of the techniques when I get anxious. And I’m already seeing positive results. I can’t wait to see what happens as I continue my practice.
If you aren’t meditating yet, I hope that I’m persuading you to either do it, or at least consider doing it. My personal favorite app for meditating is called Headspace (and they’re running a GREAT deal right now!).
I have to admit, I’m a voice person and sometimes voices that are used for different apps annoy me quite a bit! I love Andy’s voice and find it perfect for meditating. I love what I am learning and find it easy to carry it over into my day. And when I was worried I couldn’t meditate for a long time, it was a relief to find out that my first 10 sessions would only be three minutes! I don’t care who you are, what you do, but you have three minutes to better your health. Headspace also has multiple packages that you can do relating to health, jobs, sports, all kinds of things! It even has little mini versions that you can do if you only have a couple of minutes and need to refresh. Have kids? It even has meditations for them! We use them at my house and they are awesome! I can’t speak highly enough about this app and I can’t encourage you enough to get out of your comfort zone and try to meditate.
If I’ve not convinced you, or you need more information, check out this article on the many ways meditating can improve your life.
If you are interested in taking steps to improve your health, would like support along your health journey, feel free to reach out to me!
I would LOVE to help you! There is always light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to start taking the steps to get there. Until next time…