Week 1 Is Over…Thankfully!

I cried, I laughed, I yelled…I got angry, I got frustrated, I got overwhelmed…but, I lived.

This past week has probably been the most overwhelmed I’ve been in a very long time. Now, how much of it was because I was fighting, what I have named, The Devil’s Cold, I don’t know. I AM sure that my lack of energy 💯% played a roll in my ability to stay in control. But, I continued to press through, making changes when needed, and today, I can finally say I don’t feel so stressed. 🙌🏼

So I have learned a few things already that I definitely want to share with anyone ready to take the plunge to an AIP diet, or really anyone ready to make some drastic changes, health-related or not.

Lesson 1: Don’t make matters harder than they need to be.

I brought on a lot of unneeded stress by trying to follow a 28-day-plan without considering the amount of time and finances it would take to cook all of the meals. (I spent roughly $400 for four days worth of food, snacks and smoothie stuff included. 😳) AND I failed to reference my planner…had I done so, I may have noticed the amount of practices, parent meetings, and the guaranteed homework duty, that was going to wreck havoc on my dinner making. 😩 Instead of following multiple recipes, I could have stuck with my normal chicken and apple and/or sweet potato for lunch and some meat and veggies for dinner and called it a day.

Lesson 2: Don’t try to do everything. Little steps can make big differences.

I had planned on making several changes all at once and I definitely don’t recommend that! I even tell my clients, “baby steps”, start small and build on it. I planned to up my chiropractor appointments (an additional hour and fifteen minutes per week), add yoga to my schedule twice a week (two and a half hours per week), start my ozone therapy (hour and a half per week), and follow an AIP diet (countless hours of cooking, making sure I’m taking all of my supplements, drinking tea and bone broth with collagen, etc.) And there was a funeral in there as well that took a fair amount of my day, but that doesn’t count because that was unplanned and I wouldn’t have missed that no matter what. Regardless, this is too much for anyone. Even if you are young, single, don’t have a job yet and still living with mom and dad or you are a stay-at-home-mom who has the luxury of a house cleaner and groceries delivered… STILL TOO MUCH. If I were to start this process over again, I would have slowly added each of these in prior to starting my Ozone treatments, instead of adding them all in at once.


This one I can’t say enough. I think my whole week and whole outlook AND my blog would be different had I not been sick. JUST….WAIT. You won’t lose anything by waiting one week.

Lesson 4: When you sit around a campfire, no matter where you sit, smoke will follow you.

Lol – this one definitely doesn’t pertain to what we’re talking about however, the fact that I’m camping and sitting near a fire does. Make time for yourself. Whenever you are trying to heal, make big changes, pursue goals, OR JUST HAVE LESS STRESS, find time to relax, kick your feet up, look at the scenery… and breathe. After this week, I honestly just wanted to stay home and “catch up” on everything and sleep in some. But God knew that if I stayed home I would not sit down and relax, or play cards with my family and outdoor games with my kids, or laugh around the campfire (while my dad “catches flies” next to me 😂). These moments when you relax are the moments that allow your body the chance to refuel, so you go after any goal or intention that you have. (Don’t worry, I made extra and packed all my AIP meals and snacks to bring with me. 😉)

I don’t have a whole lot of lessons, but these are the big ones. But honestly, as stubborn as I am, I’m not sure I would have followed my own advice had I known all of this anyway! 😂

Next week, I have pulled out the breakfast recipes that I’m supposed to make, saving me some time and money. I know coffee is not part of AIP but I figure if that’s the one thing I keep in, it’s not going to kill me. I drink decaf which is definitely better. But my morning fast followed by my bulletproof coffee just has to stay. 😊 I will be keeping dinner recipes that serve four. My husband is happily willing to eat my meals… thankfully! So we will eat a recipe for dinner and then have it for lunch two days later. This will keep a little separation between eating them. Every lunch will be a leftover, cutting out cooking at lunch time. I have planned my week so I know when I need to prep each dinner so that it doesn’t interfere with sports and appointments. My post workout meals will be easy smoothies and I already have everything I need for those. So hopefully, after this next week, my blog will be a much different tone!

On to next week, less stress, and treatment number 2!

Until then, be well!

To Exercise or Not to Exercise…

runningSo I’ve had a lot of questions about exercise lately and what you should do when you have an autoimmune condition. So I thought I would share my not-so “expert”, based on experience, opinion. 😂

I think exercise is as bio individual as is food. What works for one person may not work for another. This is an area where it really pays to be mindful of your body and it’s responses to what you are doing. Listen to your doctors and consider what they tell you. But also, no one knows your body as well as you do. So when you are taking part in an activity, really be mindful in the moment and pay attention to what your body is telling you. Most likely, you will have a gut instinct as our bodies are very good at telling us what they need, if only we listen.

If I had to give you my own opinion of what you should do, it would be something like this: If you are in the middle of a flare up or you are in the process of trying to heal, I would definitely dial back what you are doing. As an example, if you are someone who runs marathons and is training multiple times a week with long runs, you might dial it back to running 3 to 5 miles a couple times a week.  If you find yourself at the gym for a couple hours at a time, five to six days a week, doing several high intensity type workouts, maybe you dial it back by only being there for an hour, three to five days a week.

In evaluating your own situation, there is a really important question I would ask yourself. It’s not necessarily how often are you exercising, it’s

how often are you balancing your exercise with something that is grounding or centering?

In a more scientific way of saying it, how often are you balancing your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) by triggering your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS)?

You have to understand that when you exercise, it is a form of stress on the body. Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But, when we are in a state of stress all the time, that’s when it can be detrimental to our health. So, if you are someone that has a very stressful job, several kids that you are running around, you’re exercising multiple times a week, running errands between appointments and/or practices, you are stressing your body all day long. That’s when it becomes a problem. Add in any financial, career, relationship, spiritual, or other struggles and now you’ve got a recipe for staying in, or triggering, a diseased state.

When you are in a state of stress, you are triggering your SNS. This system is designed to take all of your energy resources and put them in the areas, like your muscles, to help you flee from danger. Think back to very early human days when danger was keeping yourself alive from the tiger chasing you. In this state, there is decreased blood supply to the gut and an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. Being in this state on a frequent, or all the time basis, can be harmful.

We also have another system called the PNS. You will often here this referred to as the rest and digest system. When it is engaged, there is an increased blood supply to your gut which increases digestion. When you are in a parasympathetic state, your body is in a healing state. When you have an autoimmune condition and are dealing with a flareup, you want to be in the parasympathetic state as much as possible.  And even if you are a healthy individual, it is still just as important to have a healthy balance between these two systems.

So when we talk about exercise, not only should you ask yourself how much stress are you putting on your body with the type of exercise you are doing, but, how often are you balancing that out with something that triggers your PNS?  How often are you doing grounding, centering, and/or relaxing activities like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, taking a bubble bath, reading a good book, or in my case, watching the birds at my feeders? If you can’t say that you are doing an activity that triggers your PNS as often as you are doing an activity that triggers your SNS, then I encourage you to push yourself out of the comfort zone of your normal routine, shake things up a bit.  Ask yourself what you enjoy doing that relaxes you and maybe look into meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises.  Your body will absolutely thank you for it!  And who knows…you might just lose those extra few pounds that won’t go away.


If you need help balancing your exercise, your work/home life, or your stress, reach out to me here!  I would love to help you!


Spring is in Bloom and Summer is Just Around the Corner!


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:

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!!

“True love is when both people think they have the better half of the deal”

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


For more information on health coaching with me, shoot me an e-mail at StacyRawlings@mac.com

Relieving Pointless, Added Stress with a BUDGET

Frustrated with your budget??

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.

You Need A Budget

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.

Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar

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….



Are You Meditating Yet?

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…