alternative health, autoimmune diseases, environmental illness, herbalism, holistic health, nutrition, plant-based

Recovering from Environmental Illness: My Story

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I feel it’s time I share my journey in further detail, how I became so passionate about natural medicine and have found my purpose in helping others with plants.

This was the top of my head in 2014:

By this point, I was several years into my chronic illness and living in South Florida.  This picture was taken several nights before an important job interview, one that I arrived at wearing a wig in the dead of summer.  I remember this night so well.  I’d washed my hair, and in the middle of my shower, clumps of my locks fell into my hands and around my feet in long, tangled ropes, the way I’d imagine might happen to someone undergoing chemotherapy.  It had happened before in my illness, but nothing like this.  I took this picture after getting out of the shower and blow drying what was left of my hair.

At this time, I had already visited about fifteen doctors about my mysterious illness that began around 2010 and gradually escalated to over fifty symptoms.  In the end, I would visit over twenty doctors, be on seven different pharmaceutical medications to combat the symptoms, and inevitably, continue getting sicker and sicker.

This night, looking in the mirror, was proof that there was something seriously wrong.  This was the first time my symptoms were drastic enough to take on a physical identity that the entire world could see.  Prior to that, I had chronic illness that only I could relate to–a slew of symptoms that tore me apart inside but kept me pretty and packaged on the outside.  “You don’t look sick, ” I got from friends, family members and physicians who were trying to understand what I was going through.  Some days, I couldn’t peel myself off the couch.  Getting dressed was agony.  An outing with friends would have me paying for it in bed for three days of resting and recovery.

My symptoms included joint pain, chronic migraine headaches, hair loss, muscle aches, a metallic taste in my mouth, anxiety, extreme exhaustion, depression, brain fog, tinnitus, tightness in my throat, numb extremities, tingling, heart palpitations, chronic diarrhea, sudden food allergies, chemical sensitivities,  chronic cough, air hunger, chronic skin infections, sudden onset cystic acne, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to heat, mysterious rashes, the list went on.

I landed in the hospital in 2010 and was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  Now, I had a diagnosis.  The doctors hung my symptoms like new clothes on hangers in their diagnosis closet.  Case closed.  Take this pill. You’ll be fine now.

But I wasn’t.

In spite of medications for my thyroid, symptoms continued to pile.  That summer, I started sprouting hair all over my body like a monkey.  Literally overnight, I had back hair, a beard, chest hair, and was morphing into an ape.  I visited my gynecologist in a panic.  “Sometimes, these things happen to women of your age,” he explained.  “Here, take these pills to regulate your hormones.”  I took them while asking, “But why all of a sudden? What might be causing this?”  He seemed unalarmed.  “These things just happen to women and their hormones, ” he explained.  But that didn’t sit well with me.

The ape-like hair growth subsided over time, but looking back now at my crazy symptoms, I understand that this was my body screaming at me, yelling, “Listen!  There is something very wrong here!”  My body continued to scream its strangely cryptic symptoms at me.

In 2015, I developed two MRSA infections on my face that again landed me in the emergency room.  Rounds of antibiotics were completely unresponsive.  At this point, I could barely tolerate any food–everything ran through me.  I had gone on a very restrictive diet and was working with an acupuncturist and nutritionist, but my mystery illness still presented itself.

It wasn’t until a routine mammogram in 2016, that I was able to connect the dots and uncover the root cause of my illness.

The mammogram came back “normal,” but a few weeks after the procedure, I developed extreme pain and an exacerbation of my systemic symptoms.  Ding! Ding! Ding!  It was coming from my breast implants.

We trust our doctors, the FDA, the manufacturers of our devices.  Of course there are risks, but never would I have thought that mold could grow inside of a breast implant that was only supposed to contain sterile saline solution.  It turned out I wasn’t the only woman poisoned by her breast implants.

One google search later, I uncovered thousands of women in a support group online who were also experiencing the same symptoms as me–some had silicone toxicity, some saline, others gel—it didn’t matter what medium, there were thousands of women with the same list of mysterious symptoms that also had breast implants.  These symptoms, overall, improved, after removal of their breast implants.

After having my breast implants removed, I had to spend two years detoxing my system.  My intolerance to external mold sources and extreme heat coupled by the absence of any medical professionals willing to help me with what now I had identified as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome caused by mold toxicity led me to selling my personal possessions and moving to Colorado, where I could have access to cannabis.  At this time, I was delving deeply in research regarding ways to support my toxic system and flush it naturally to once again achieve optimal health.  I knew it was possible.  Nature was my remedy.

In Colorado, I worked with a medical cannabis physician on specific ratios of cannabinoids that would help taper my inflammatory response and target the mold toxicity with such cannabinoids as CBD and high CBG.  A 3:1 ratio of CBD to THC worked for me during daytime and then the reverse ratio THC to CBD in the evening to promote rest and combat insomnia.  Healing is not a straight line upward, and those months felt like a roller coaster, but I noticed daily improvements, gains I could document and begin to see in my complexion, energy levels, hair growth (on my head), and overall well-being.

Nature healed me, providing me with a landscape of beauty that nourished me in a variety of ways.  I spent as much time as possible outdoors, enjoying mountain hikes, putting my bare feet in the streams, taking long bike adventures on the magnificent web of Colorado trails.  Nature wrapped itself around me and gave me hope; she promised me wellness with the changing seasons.  She gifted me with healing in every windy whisper.

Perhaps what took a great blow other than my physical health was my mental well-being, including my body image, dealing with multiple physical and emotional scars left behind from this medical trauma.  Anger brewed in me constantly–anger in our healthcare system from the doctors up to the FDA and our own government.  Once I plummeted down one rabbit hole, other began appearing, provoking me to keep jumping down intricate mazes of deceit and corruption.  Suddenly, the ground I stood on was slanted.  Reality–everything I had believed about healthcare, our food, our society, our world was something to question.

I’ve learned that grief requires a river-like movement toward acceptance. My time in Colorado, although physically healing, had me wading in situational grief and anger and feelings of helplessness that eventually moved me to discover my purpose and call to action.

Back in Florida, I miss the mountains, the healing hot springs, my endless mountain hikes deep in forest bathing with all those medicinal terpenes doing their magic.  When I feel the beginnings of aches and pains that coincide with rising inflammation now, I take off my shoes and walk on the beach, try to find an uninhabited corner of nature to share with the birds for a while, regroup, recharge, reaffirm the purpose of my journey.

Healing with plants is that purpose.  I believe my health struggles landed me in this current space of exploring nature as medicine and helping others to heal.  I’m grateful for not only my health but my experiences, which have brought me to an opportunity to give back, make a difference, and be part of changing our world for the better.

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alternative health, awakening, education, Uncategorized

Swear By All Flowers: A Look at Our Toxic Educational System

I grew up in the 80s with Ronald Reagan and the War on Drugs.  My English class was comprised of diagramming sentences taking spelling tests.  In math, I had pages and pages of algebraic equations as homework.  I dissected gerunds and memorized prepositions in alphabetical order:  aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by. . . This still clutters my brain with its mindless nonsense.

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I doodled on the corners of my notebooks, wrote poetry, hummed the Clementi Sonatina I was learning on the piano while my history teacher droned out a lecture about what he claimed was proven textbook fact.  After all, it was in the textbook, so it HAD to be fact.  I didn’t question anything then.  I chewed my Grape Ape gum quietly since I was breaking the law, kept my head down, turned in my assignments with my name and date written in the top right hand corner.

I took multiple choice tests and yearned to write.  I waited for that moment of opportunity to be creative, outside the box, to actually think beyond the walls of our classroom and make a difference.  But that opportunity in my standardized education never came.  Do your work, make sure your name is on it, be sure to turn it in on time, get the grade, move on.  That’s school.

When I became I teacher, I pushed against the system and sprinkled creativity into my curriculum.  My students wrote poetry in my English class.  We put on a Poetry Slam with their original work and explored edgy young adult fiction that made my students not only think beyond a textbook, but transformed them into lifelong readers.  They were thirsty for more, requesting authors just like that one, bringing books to show me before the morning bell even rang.  My class attendance was high.  Students didn’t miss an opportunity to be in the safe zone, to allow their creative flow to do just that, to be themselves.  Even gum chewing was allowed.

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Our current educational system has no room for teachers like me.  That’s why I left.  My books were raided from my classroom by administration.  My teaching practices were challenged.  I was eventually bullied out of the system and replaced by Common Core–because common is what is accepted in our society.  Common, not Creative, not Individual or Rare.  Common is a good thing in our current educational system.  It maintains order.  It keeps students “high performing” and in their seats.  It’s a measured construct.

I think of e.e. cumming’s poem where he says, “i swear by all flowers. . .”  In Common Core, there would be a multiple choice option of guessing the meaning of that phrase.  In an ideal world, though, our individuality would produce thousands of interpretations of those words.  e. e cummings, I’m certain, would want a thousand interpretations as diverse as the flowers he was swearing.  Can we truly take raw creativity and intelligence and cookie-cutter it into a system that churns out brilliance?  What exactly are we creating within the current constructs of our schools?  How are schools any different than the expectations of our behavior in society?

We are preparing our children to check the box, clock in and out, eat lunch quickly, take orders from others, spit out information, pass tests,  and be common to the core.  Common to the Core.  Think about that.  Common to the Core is easily manipulated, unaware, following the masses, against individuality, identity, mindfulness, and awakening.  Common to the Core is a controlling mechanism as dangerous as fluoride in our water, chemtrails in our skies, pesticides in our food, and chemicals in our healthcare.  It is another type of poisoning many of us haven’t uncovered yet.  It’s the demise of our free will, free thought, and our future.

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Swear by all flowers!  Start tomorrow.  Before you hit those “back to school” sales and plow through those teacher supply lists, think hard about what education truly is.  Shouldn’t it expand the mind?  Shouldn’t it allow for questioning?  Education and creativity MUST go together.  We need to explore our strengths as individuals in order to truly understand our purpose.  Purpose equals bliss.  Purpose is not a skill.  It’s not a mathematical equation and it’s not found at the end of the preposition.  Allow your children the ability to be creative, expressive, to question, to journey in order to find their purpose.  Then, provide them with the freedom to develop it.

And remember this, it’s never too late to swear by all flowers. . .find your purpose at any age.  Don’t just clock in and out of life and believe that this is it.  There’s always an opportunity to awaken and journey on another path.  But if you chew gum, be sure to read the ingredients.

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Big Pharma Can Suck It!

If something requires a billboard, it likely isn’t good for you.  Real medicine doesn’t require heavy advertising, marketing, signs and flashing lights.  It doesn’t come with paragraphs of disclaimers, commercials, slick campaigns and glossy packaging.  Nature is wholesome and simple.  It doesn’t hide a deceitful back story.  Its intent is obvious and straightforward.

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I left teaching in 2006 and entered into the world of pharmaceutical sales, became a pharmaceutical sales representative for one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical corporations.  The day after I signed my contract (my soul), a new car was delivered to my driveway.  I took my son for a ride in it that day, both of us mesmerized that my new company had given me a car, a gas card, free insurance, the works.

Two days later, my laptop arrived, then a welcome gift from the company–a speaker system for my house.  I was swept away for six weeks of training at high end hotels, sales meetings that included live concerts of famous bands, celebrity guest speakers, more lavish gifts, champagne fountains, and extravagance.

Coming from nearly a decade of teaching, this lifestyle hit me with bling and glam, and I got swept away in it.  I didn’t realize until much later in life–at what cost.

I drank the Kool-Aid.  I thought I held in my hand the life-saving miracles of the world in chemical form.  My drugs could stop heart disease dead in its tracks.  I was a super hero with a grand message for society–I had the tool that doctors needed in order to save their patients from massive heart attacks, strokes, and even death.  I had the power and mission to deliver these chemicals throughout my territory, to poison everyone with their lies and evil.

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Of course, this wasn’t my intent. I truly believed I was saving lives the years I worked for Big Pharma.  It did, however, sit funny with me that during training, two full weeks were given to “handling safety objections” in the field.  The training involved full days of intense studying regarding claims of my drug’s adverse event profile. For each safety issue, Big Pharma had supplied glossy marketing tools with pieces of convoluted data to exemplify the safety of the drug on that body part.

Most of my training, in fact, was around the safety of the drug rather than its benefits.  And still, I saw my company and my role in it as being on the super hero side–chemicals save lives in spite of some serious precautionary risks.

When I lost my job in Big Pharma, they came to take the car away.  I reluctantly handed over my keys and gas card.  They erased me from their slate like I’d never mattered.  I was just a number, as nullified as a patient in the system.

It wasn’t until I was sickened by our system that I could see the big picture, understand the undercurrent of greed over good.  Poisoned by our system, I wandered as a patient for eight years from doctor to doctor–over 20 to be exact–collecting pills that further poisoned me.  I was given no answers.  The most time I received at each doctor visit was 11 minutes. three scripts, and massive medical bills.

Twice I landed in the hospital–tests, IVs, blood work, more pills, more pharmaceuticals, more unanswered questions, more bills, more poison, more sickness—and this was okay with our medical system.  This was the new normal. I was a loyal customer.  A team player. This was treatment.  Take sick people and make them sicker with poisons.  And sadly, this system made sense to everyone. Except me.  That’s the day I walked away from all of it and sought my own answers in “alternative” medicine.  I started seeing my symptoms as sign language my body was trying to communicate to me.  I changed my diet.  I studied natural healing.  And eventually, I uncovered the root cause of my illness and began my journey to true health and wellness.

I’m guilty I worked for this system but blessed that I was able to fully understand its greedy underbelly, to identify its shortcomings, and to now be part of the movement of change in our healthcare system.  The future of healthcare actually relies on us going backwards to a time before we were brainwashed to believe that chemicals heal, that doctors are in charge of our health, and that insurance companies dictate our treatment.  Our new healthcare system won’t be run by corrupt politicians and the deep pockets of Big Pharma.  There will be new initials replacing the FDA, CDC, NIH, and WHO.  These are ME, I, and YOU.  WE have the ability to make changes in our own health and affect change in our community and the world.

Our new healthcare involves drinking clean water that is not poisoned with chemicals and fluoride.  It’s eating real food that has not been genetically modified.  It is using plant-based natural herbs for disease prevention and treatment.  The things that heal us don’t glitter, shine, have commercials, or need a billboard.  They are full of good intention, not just profit.  Our lives matter more than anyone’s bottom line.

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alternative health, autoimmune diseases, herbalism, holistic health, nutrition, plant-based, Uncategorized

How Full is Your Toxic Bucket?

Imagine your body is an empty bucket.  Now, begin adding to it.  Add toxic ingredients from foods such as synthetic food coloring, glyphosate, preservatives such as MSG.  Add sugars and artificial sugars.  Add air pollution, fluoride from our water, chemicals from cleaning products and makeup that absorb into our skin.  Add pharmaceutical medications and over the counter poisons, birth control pills, plastics, aluminum, mercury, hormones in meat and dairy. . .Keep adding because this is happening right now to your body!  How full is your toxic bucket?

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According to Environmental Working Group, a non profit organization, a newborn baby today has 287 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood.  Breast milk is now one of the most toxin-riddled food products in the world, because humans have now reached their maximum levels of toxicities.  Need proof?  Well, sick is the new norm, and most illnesses of today, if not all of them, are the result of environmental toxins.  These illnesses, by the way, are not GOING away.  They will only continue being prevalent in our world unless we wake up and change our current system.

When your body is full of toxins, it speaks to you in the form of symptoms.  Chronic toxicity may create fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, sinus infection, headaches, bloating, weight gain, digestive issues, insomnia, brain fog, food intolerances, skin disturbances, endocrine issues, and more.

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These toxins, over time, create chronic systemic inflammation, which leads to the slew of illnesses we are seeing in our society–Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Heart Disease, Autoimmune Diseases, Autism, Mental Illness and more. . .

So, what can you do to reduce your toxic load and inflammation and in turn, lesson some of the toxic overload symptoms you are experiencing?  Here’s a starting point:

  1. Drink Clean Water:  Buy a sophisticated water filtering system and stop drinking out of plastic bottles.  You can buy a glass or metal drinking container for on-the-go sipping.  Stay away from tap water which is fluorinated.  Fluoride causes endocrine and central nervous system dysfunction and is considered a neurotoxin.  Research the Berkey Water Filter.

2.  Take a Probiotic:  Be sure that your digestive system is working properly and ridding your body of toxins effectively.  If you are constipated, this is a sure sign that you are holding toxins!  You can also increase your fiber intake to help your body eliminate toxins more effectively.

3. Exercise:  Moving helps the body eliminate toxins through sweat and the lymphatic system.  Shoot for 4-5 days a week of cardiovascular and strength training.  You can also incorporate the use of saunas to increase detoxification through sweating or helping your lymphatic system to drain by dry brushing.

4.  Read Labels:  Start being more mindful about what goes into your body.  Consider changing your deodorant to one that does not contain aluminum, research the personal care products you are using, try to stay as close to nature and away from chemicals as possible.

5. Eat cilantro and parsley:  Both of these herbs are excellent heavy metal chelators that naturally filter your system and remove toxins.  In fact, increasing all green, leafy vegetables in your diet will help remove toxins.

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WARNING:  Your Western Medicine doctor will not diagnose “toxic overload” as your health issue, but instead, will chase your symptoms with further poisonous and toxic pharmaceuticals that will continue to crowd your body of additional toxins and not allow you to heal.  Environmental toxicity and the pandemic symptoms of illness caused by our inflammatory response to these toxins is not taught in medical school, nor is it considered a disease or an issue.  Your doctor will not prescribe the above as a remedy to reducing systemic toxicity, so it is up to you to make changes to your diet and lifestyle in order to regain your health.


herbalism, plant-based

A Plant’s Purpose

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I’m sitting with my plants, and I’m listening.  I’m listening for not just noises they might make but intuitions my plants might be telling me.  Some research indicates that plants make sound, communicate, feel “emotions,” have thought processes.  According to Dr. Kim Johnson at the University of Melbourne, plants respond to stimuli similar to humans do.  A plant’s epidermis works much like ours.  It feels pain, the wind, our touch.

Jack Schultz, a professor in the division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia, says that plants are like primitive animals.  They fight for territory, seek out food, evade predators, trap prey, and therefore, exhibit behavior.  They move with a purpose, which means they are aware of their environment.

What does my thyme have to say about me?  How does my rosemary feel about me constantly cuddling her to take in that heady scent?  Mr. Basil, my first patio plant friend, are you happy where you are?  And how can I make you happier?

My plants are medicinal herbs I throw in my cooking.  I use plants to heal, both myself and others.  I use them with intention and knowing, and I ask forgiveness of my herbs while also asking permission before I snag a sprig to dry and muddle or tincture into another form.

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But my thoughts about plant forgiveness and permission leads me to analyzing their intention.  They must know how powerful they truly are.  They must be aware of their healing powers.

Plants maintain the atmosphere.  They produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.  They maintain our ozone layer, which protects us from UV radiation.  Plants supply food to nearly every organism on Earth.  They move water from the soil through the atmosphere.  Plants are habitats for many organisms.  Many hold powerful healing properties.  Even their presence calms us emotionally, reduces blood pressure, cortisol levels, helps us breathe better.

I feel that plants know their purpose, and being the givers that they are, they eagerly want to help the living.  They offer up their souls in hopes of healing us because this is their true intention.  Plants have spirits. They are energy, goodness, purity, and not as simple as we might think!

It makes me wonder about human beings and our purpose.  Shouldn’t it be more than turning off our alarms in the morning, rushing through traffic to clock in, clock out, and do it all over again and again and again?  What’s is our purpose–to make money? Pay bills? And then we die?

I like the idea of plants having  the true intention and purpose of saving our world.  Their good nature, coming from a place of giving, makes me love and admire them with such miraculous wonder and intensity.  They are selfless super heroes with one cause, green as the heart chakra, loving and giving in unison.

Humans have many lessons to receive and learn from plants.  Every morning, plants wake with the sun and save our planet.  Shouldn’t we?

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You Are More than YOU–Reincarnation, the spirit, soul, and energy

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Whatever your thoughts might be on reincarnation, past lives, life after death, we can agree on this one scientific fact–energy is not destroyed.  It continues as energy, perhaps in another form, but it is still present.

When you look in the mirror, you are seeing the collection of particles that create your physical being.  It is our human experience.  This is our current form.

But expand your mind for a minute beyond what we know as reality.  Look around and see things differently.  Imagine that we are balls of light inhabiting a space for a bit, taking on a form in order to learn a life lesson from a certain angle.

I look at trees and understand their spirit.  I see their quiet wisdom, follow their tangled roots gripping the earth and entwined with their neighbors, quietly holding hands.  Trees stand alone and communal.  They are learning how to be individuals and integral constituents of a vital community.  They don’t take more than they give. Trees, actually, are intuitive givers. When one tree in a forest is sick, the rest send it healing nutrients through an intricate underground system.  Trees are empaths and healers meditating in the sunlight, creating music from oxygen, shedding what no longer has purpose to make room for what does.  They are ancient accumulations of energy and wisdom.

Maybe trees once had a human experience.  I imagine a wanderlust loner who could never settle down might one day return as a tree to learn the lesson of standing  still, grounded in the earth.

I look at my cat, sometimes, and see beyond his cat exterior, into a deeper place where I believe his true essence lies.  I’ve felt his sense of humor before, his true personality above and beyond anything we might define as catlike.  Many times, he’s tapped my arm with his paw and looked deeply at me in a way beyond feline communication–one soul gazing at another–and he turned me into a believer.  Whether you believe there is a former human in the body of my cat or not is totally up to you!  Maybe think of it this way–it’s not human, it’s not cat, it’s not tree, it’s a spirit that now exists in this physical form for this space in time to learn a lesson about our complicated universe.

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My cat’s lesson, perhaps, is to take time to rest, learn how to communicate without words, find ways to keep a woman happy, the list goes on. . .He teaches me daily to trust in my instinct of spirits in all things merely existing in physical forms.  These bodies have expiration dates, but the spirit energy is eternal.

So, if we are energy rolling from one existence and form to another, who were we previously?  How many tours on earth have you completed?  I feel new in the human experience with much to learn but I’ve met and loved old souls before and believe now in all entirety that they have nearly mastered the human experience and are headed to something else in their next spirit transition.

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Maybe after the human experience, after we’ve learned all lessons, mastered all levels, we become guides helping others, invisible in space but ever-present to nudge lost souls in certain directions on their journeys.

If energy is neither created nor destroyed then we have never had a beginning or an end.  We have always been here and always will be here, changing like seasons into other forms.  Patterns in nature remind us of this.  Trees shedding their leaves and returning buds in spring; a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, a rock pushed slowly into grains of sand by repetitive waves.  Changes in form are evident in nature.

Our conscious mind has been constructed by society, school, billboards, TV, and our fluorinated water.  It exists behind walls that don’t allow us to think deeply enough to grasp what we don’t know or to chase our questions in our hunt for more meaning.  We are told not to question.  Just believe the construct.  But I believe in more. . .

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Your Gut is Making You Sad

Instead of Harmful Anti-Depressants, Turn to Healing Herbs
to Increase Your Mood and Health!
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I might be speaking to you right now if you’re feeling anxious or depressed.  Maybe you’ve been in a slump for a long while now, dark in loneliness, enveloped in grief, couch-locked into depressive-paralysis or indescribable irritability.  You’re not alone.

In fact, here are some shocking statistics regarding the state of mental health in America:

  1. 1 in 5 American adults have a “mental health condition.”  That’s actually 40 million people.
  2. Our rates of childhood and teen depression are increasing exponentially.
  3. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States.
  4. Women are more likely to be affected than men.
  5. Antidepressants were the second most commonly prescribed medication; 254 million prescriptions, to be exact
  6. Depression continues to be the leading cause of medical disability in the United States and Canada.
  7. In an NIH study, 38% of 700 patients experienced at least one side effect when taking an SSRI antidepressant.  These included sexual dysfunction, sleepiness, weight gain–many of which were noted as being “very bothersome” and “extremely bothersome.”

Gut health and mental health seem to go hand in hand, it turns out!  In fact, right now, the colony of species in your gut has a lot to do with previous trauma, as well as what you’re feeding them! These childhood experiences not only affect our mood as adults but also your overall health and weight.

In a study conducted in the 1990s on obesity and childhood trauma, 64% of participants had at least one childhood trauma; 40% had multiple traumas.  These traumas affected adult mental and physical health, correlating to fibromyalgia, cancer, autoimmune diseases, mental health issues, and addiction.

Studies such as these guide us in understanding that mental health is not just about neurotransmitters.  It is also our microbiome.  Stress and trauma can kill off species in our microbiome in much the same way as processed food, antibiotics, prescriptions, and chemicals do.  The less diversity in your microbiome, the more health issues in adulthood.

Imagine the casualties of microbiome death when repeated traumas coincide with environmental toxins!  Whole species of good bacteria could potentially become extinct, triggering systemic disease manifestations, which can begin with Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Leaky Gut is a name for inflammation in the gut that has caused tiny fissures in the intestinal lining, which allow food particles out of the intestines and into our systems.  Think of your plastic garbage bag suddenly spilling its contents on the floor.  Our bodies try to “pick up” the contents, but our immune system often sees these stray particles as system invaders, which it begins attacking.  And thus begins autoimmune-like triggering. The symptoms?  Joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue, digestive issues, headache, brain fog, anxiety, depression, mood swings, skin rashes and acne, the list goes on. . .

When a client mentions to me that they are depressed, anxious and having trouble sleeping, I automatically think GUT. I don’t think brain/neurotransmitters, pop an SSRI and see me in six weeks when it’s supposed to start working.  This is not healing.  This is not uncovering the root cause of illness.  It’s now a known fact, anyway, that 90% of our serotonin is found in our gut, thanks to our glorious microbiome.  When this is out of balance, our entire body suffers.  Antidepressants frequently cause weight gain.  It is speculated that this change in weight is associated with the depletion of healthy gut flora.  Probiotics just might be more effective at solving the depression/anxiety riddle by replenishing the gut with healthy bacteria rather than depleting it.

The cure?  Nature has many.

  1. Bitter Herbs:  Plants heal your gut.  Bitter herbs, for example, increase digestive function, bile flow, and hepatic function.  These herbs include dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, and angelica. Better digestion increases nutrient absorption.  They naturally get the digestive juices flowing. If you have had your gall bladder removed or feel bloated after meals, bitter herbs are especially meaningful to your overall physical and mental health.
  2. Aromatic Herbs:  Herbs that add flavor and smells affect us emotionally due to their terpenes.  These are key to healing from trauma.  Aromatic herbs include mint, rosemary, thyme and basil.  Smelling them automatically has a calming effect.  Their scent induces an electrical and hormonal signaling within our brains.  When we eat these herbs, they aid in digestion, ungluing stuck energy, calming our nervous system, and healing inflammation.
  3. Anti-Inflammatory Herbs:  Some herbs soothe and moisten, such as licorice, slippery elm, marshmallow root, calendula and plantain.  These calm and cool the intestinal lining and help promote a healthy environment for good bacteria survival and nutrient absorption, which will promote improved mood and well-being.
  4. Nutritional Herbs:  Because leaky gut frequently is accompanied by nutritional absorption issues, any supplements you might take to heal your gut or add nutrition to your body in capsule form may not be absorbed.  Food is medicine.  Plants in their natural form heal the best.  Broths and teas present an easily digestible medium for providing nourishment.  Herbs such as moringa, sea weed, nettle and oat straw can replenish lost nutrients and help the body increase a healthy microbiome.
  5. Supporting Herbs:  Leaky gut presents, also, with a congested liver.  A weakened liver results in emotional feelings of anger, resentment, irritability and heat from systemic inflammation.  To support the liver, incorporate dandelion flower or root along with milk thistle (you can drink this as a tea) to naturally help your liver remove toxins.

Anxiety, depression, insomnia and irritability can all be addressed with food.  YOU have the power over your health.  Before filling your prescription, clean your diet of foods that strip the body of healing energy–processed meats, dairy, sugars, and gluten.  Replace them with healing foods such as aromatic herbs, bitters, fermented foods, and organic fruits and vegetables.  Eat raw nuts and seeds.  Chew slowly and purposefully.  Food is energy and good energy heals.  Your forest needs the right soil and nutrients to grow.

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