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UPDATE Sept. 2018 – While the info I share in today’s blog post (and all of my “Let’s Get Personal” blog posts) will be helpful to those who are starting out on their healing journeys, I felt it pertinent to post a quick update as to where I am now in my healing journey. It has been quite the adventure with all sorts of ups and downs, twists and turns. I got to a point where I no longer felt drawn to share so many intimate details so I stopped writing the Let’s Get Personal series in 2016. If you would like to get the most recent update on my health and healing journey, please read this post, 3 Reasons Why I No Longer Share About My Healing Journey Online. or watch the video below. You are always more than welcome to email me with any questions as well! Cheers! ~Jessica
Featured Image Courtesy of sxc.hu and Cleferson
Ignorance is bliss.
This post has been a long time coming … it’s just taken until now for me to get the courage to write it. Up until this point, I’ve been like our friend Mr. Ostrich (or Mrs.? Not sure.). Living in a state of ignorance. And, it has been blissful. But, it’s time to cut the crap and get real.
So, let’s get personal, shall we?
It has been almost two years since I embarked on this blogging journey. It has been a fantastic adventure and I am so thankful for the many friendships that have developed with readers and fellow bloggers alike. Without having started this blog, I would have never met some of the nicest people on Earth! Plus, I have learned so much over the last couple years that my brain is just jam-packed with all sorts of tidbits and facts!
Things have been really, really busy for me the last six months or so. I went down a new career path, my blog has been growing, and I have been working more and more and more. Over the last couple months, it has become obvious that I have overextended myself. I have taken on too many projects and now I am feeling overwhelmed and I’m getting run down. I also realized that there are some areas that I could improve on, with the appropriate focus.
So, I have decided it’s time to make some changes.
The first change involves simplifying my life. This is going to be a somewhat slow process, considering I have too many irons in the fire to just yank them all at once. The first, major change is getting rid of a blog that I don’t have time to build.
Last summer, I started a second blog called Bright Blue Elephants. I started this blog to write about my non-food related passions, like yoga, exercise, music, art, etc. However, I quickly realized that it was all I could do to manage my first blog (this one), let alone add another blog into the mix. So, sadly, that blog was neglected, but it was always there. This tiny little burden hanging over my head. This pressure to post new content, grow the readership, etc., when frankly, I was exhausted.
So, after much hemming and hawing, I have decided that I am going to close down Bright Blue Elephants. 🙁 I will be sharing more of my yoga and fitness related posts on here. I realized that yoga and fitness are a huge part of my physical and mental health, just like food nourishes my body and soul. When it comes down to it, everything is all interconnected, at least for me.
Also, looking back over the last two years of posts, I realized that I don’t really share a whole lot of myself on this site. I know I talk a little about my personal life, but for the most part, I kind of keep that all to myself. I have a couple reasons for doing that: (1) I’m shy by nature and don’t really like talking about myself with people I don’t know well, and (2) I want to make sure that I don’t put everything out there for the world to see. At the same time, I realized that by sharing my experiences, I may not only learn more from all of you, but I might be able to help someone who is going through similar issues. So, moving forward, I will be sharing more personal information with you guys — more about who I am and how I’m feeling. Which leads us to the next change …
… I have finally decided to take charge of my health. Not that I haven’t been taking care of myself, but I haven’t been taking care of myself as well as I could (or should). I have not been giving some critical areas of my life some much needed love. I’m always too busy, to tired, too scared, yadi yadi yada. Frankly, those were all excuses that I have used to not face some tough stuff head on.
Some of you know this, but most of you don’t. I am a hypothyroid sufferer. Not uncommon at all, considering that I know very few women who don’t have some sort of thyroid issues, whether they be diagnosed or not. I was officially diagnosed with thyroid issues about 7 years ago, but I’m sure I was having problems before then. It’s a long story as to why I have waited until now to become proactive about it and I’ll have to save that for another post. As some of you know, when your thyroid is messed up, your adrenals are a mess as well. I also suffer from some blood pressure issues, which in my opinion, were brought on my years and years of being a Type A personality, constantly stressing about anything and everything, and not taking good care of my body. Yet, another story in and of itself.
So, long story short, I’m going to start taking some action regarding my thyroid and adrenal health (and I expect that the BP issues will correct itself as I work on the endocrine system). The first thing I am doing is I am switching doctors. I am lucky enough to have found a paleo/primal diet focused MD here in Denver, and I am going to be working with him as my primary care physician moving forward. We’ll start with some much needed blood work to see where I’m at. Once we get those test results, we’ll have a much better idea of what direction we need to go.
All that leads me to the second thing I am doing regarding my health (and the thing I think I am most excited about). In addition to working with my new doctor, I am also going to be working with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner on these issues. I will be working with my friend, and fellow Nourished Living Network blogger, Lydia, from Divine Health from the Inside Out. I am so very excited about this, because Lydia is very knowledgeable when it comes to adrenal and endocrine issues, and I know that she will be able to guide me towards a path to wellness. She has successfully healed herself from adrenal fatigue, so I feel confident that I am in good hands. I fully know that healing won’t take place overnight, but I am excited that I am finally taking the first steps towards living a healthier and happier life.
Over the next few months (and probably longer), I will be sharing about my journey along the path of healing. I hope that by sharing some of this information with you, that it will be helpful to at least one person. It has taken me weeks to get to a point where I felt comfortable sharing this kind of insight with all of you in a public post. It is not something that comes easily to me, and even as I write this, I feel those nervous flutters in my stomach. You’ll probably be hearing a lot about thyroid issues and adrenal health, as well as Lydia’s name, because I will be working so closely with her. She is an absolute wealth of knowledge, which is demonstrated by the in-depth content that she publishes on her site.
So, that’s me getting personal. This might seem like small potatoes to some people, but for me, it’s a big deal. I have realized that I am an expert at dishing out the advice. Taking the advice to my own heart is a totally different story, however. Just ask my husband! 😉
So, I’m finally coming to terms with simplifying my life, facing my potential adrenal fatigue, and finally taking a stand for my thyroid. I will learn to balance and learn to love myself.
Knowledge is power.
Thanks for listening.
Health Journey Update – 8/18/15
Here are a few videos of my current progress. To see even more up-to-date info on my personal health journey, check out my YouTube channel here.
Support Your Stress Response, Adrenals, Thyroid, and Whole Body Through Herbs
When it comes to supporting overall wellness, herbs are a great tool to have in your toolkit, especially those who may be dealing with chronic illness of some type. Since 2009, when I started this site, I have met thousands upon thousands of people through my work and by far, the #1 health complaints are:
- adrenal fatigue (or adrenal dysfunction of some sort) (click here to read all of my adrenal health articles)
- thyroid disorders (hypo-, hyper-, or autoimmune) (click here to read all of my thyroid health articles)
Because of this, I wanted to add in a section into this post about the benefit of using herbs with chronic illness. Adaptogens are by far one of the most used herbs when it comes to working with people who have low energy, fatigue, and overall imbalance in the endocrine system (thyroid, adrenals, and blood sugar).
While the benefits of adaptogenic herbs extend far beyond just supporting that one system, this tends to be one of the main reasons people turn to adaptogenic herbs in the first place. That said there are a lot of other herbs out there that offer amazing support for the body, especially those dealing with chronic illness which is why I wanted to share this section today.
If you are dealing with any type of chronic illness, I’m sorry to break it to you, but caffeine may not be your best friend. 🙁 While you can find lots of info online in both the pro- and the anti-coffee camps, the fact of the matter comes down to the fact that are a lot of people dealing with chronic illness, especially thyroid and adrenal problems, that simply cannot tolerate coffee and caffeine.
While those with sluggish adrenal glands tend to feel run down and in need of a regular pick-me-up (like coffee and other caffeinated beverages), in the long run, caffeine can do more harm than good while you are healing. I go into the “whys” around caffeine and your adrenals in this detailed post here. In addition to the caffeine, there are other constituents, molds, and mycotoxins that can show up in coffee that some people find they react to and can further exacerbate the toxic load on the body.
When I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and adrenal fatigue, one of the first things that had to go was coffee. In addition to dealing with these issues, we suspected that I was having some detox pathway sluggishness so we wanted to also focus on supporting the liver and lymph systems. Most people who are dealing with chronic illness are also going to have issues with detoxification of the body, which is why herbs can play such an important role.
To be honest, I never drank coffee because of the caffeine. I drank coffee for the taste and aroma, as well as the emotional experience I felt to my morning cup of joe. For me, it was a ritual that I looked forward to every day (and sometimes multiple times a day). Whether I was brewing it at home or going to my local coffee shops, the experience was one that I clung to tightly.
But, when I was faced with new health struggles, I knew I had to do whatever I could to support my body and give it the tools it needed to heal. Giving up coffee and caffeine was one step in this direction.
And it sucked.
I turned to the coffee substitutes on the market in a desperate attempt to recreate the ritual I had grown so fond of, but nothing ever tasted the way I wanted it to. Nothing ever gave me that same experience that my cup of “real” coffee did. I knew there had to be something better, but I simply could not find it on my health food store’s shelves.
Necessity is the mother of invention so that is why I created my own coffee substitutes. They were made with organic, sustainably harvested herbs with zero grains, zero gluten, and zero caffeine. Just herbs.
Herbs that not only tasted delicious but supported my body’s function, like liver detox, bile production, digestion, etc. All of the herbs used in my “coffee” blends have been used for thousands of years to support the body’s normal functions and help everything work a little better — something we all need in today’s toxic world! (psst, dandelion is one of the herbs!)
When it came to creating these blends, if I could get something to not only tasted amazing (and helped me recreate my dearly loved ritual), but also did amazingly supportive things for my body, then it’s a no brainer!
I sold these pre-made blends on Etsy for awhile and the demand was more than I could keep up with. People literally LOVED these blends and were stunned at how much like coffee they actually tasted. Customers who had been dealing with a variety of chronic illnesses had given up coffee to heal their bodies, but like me were deeply missing their morning cup of joe ritual.
After careful consideration and work with some highly experienced advisors, I decided to stop selling the pre-made blends and instead share my proprietary recipes in the form of an eBook. That way I could arm people with the knowledge and recipes they needed to make their own caffeine-free, gluten-free, grain-free blends in the comfort of their own home.
That is why I created the best-selling DIY Herbal Coffees eBook: A Complete Guide To Making Delicious Herbal Coffees to Support Healing & Stress Relief.
Now in its second edition, this ebook features:
- All of my proprietary herbal blend recipes to you can craft a homemade herbal cup of “coffee” at home.
- A ton of researched information about coffee’s impact on the health of those dealing with issues like adrenal fatigue, blood sugar dysregulation, autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, and any other chronic illness.
- Information about all of the herbs used, why I selected them, how to source them, how to prepare and store you “coffees”, and much more.
- Access to your own personal coffee shop where I show you how to recreate your favorite coffee shop drinks and pastries with wholesome, nourishing real food ingredients. No junk here. Only real food.
This book truly is a comprehensive guide to supporting your health, reducing your stress, and bringing a little something special back into your healing journey. You can learn more and download your own copy of this revolutionary wellness guide here, or simply click on the image below.
I’m proud of you….good job! I’m looking forward to reading your journey!
Thank you Sherry! That means a lot! This is a huge step for me! 🙂
I have been subscribing to your blog for about six months now and am so excited to read about your new course. I too was diagnosed with hypothyroid issues about seven years ago and haven’t really been proactive about dealing with it. I also recently decided to really take charge of my health and focus on my adrenal fatigue and working with a sympathetic doctor! So, we’re on this journey together. I look forward to reading about what you learn!
Hi Rebecca! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words! It sounds like we are on similar paths, so I look forward to learning from you as well. I think finding a sympathetic doctor is key. I have not yet been to the new paleo doctor, but when I called the office and spoke to the receptionist and told her what I was looking to do, she was very supportive and said that the doctor already runs a lot of tests that are not considered “normal” in the medical community, so that right there gave me a lot of hope! I think with the new doctor and Lydia’s help, as well as the support of my family, it won’t be as overwhelming and scary as I have made it out to be all these years! 🙂 I look forward to learning more about you!
I look forward to reading about your journey to wellness!
Thank you Jennifer! 🙂
I have been diagnosed with adreanl fatigue and leaky gut syndrome neither of which my physician (4 years out of residency) claims he has never heard of. So I, too, have come to the realization that I have to get REALLY serious about my journey. I’ll be following you prayerfully, for both of us and all the other people who will benefit from your new focus. Thank you, Jessica!
Thank you Diana, for your kind words! I hope that we can all help one another. There really are so many women that are in the same place as us. We’re sick of being under-diagnosed and not taken seriously. So, we need to take matters into our own hands! I look forward to hearing from you again on here! Thank you for stopping by! 🙂
Hooray!!! I love this post 🙂 I’m giving you a big virtual hug! I know just what you mean- it can be hard to share the personal details, but it really helps others and helps to have the support of others as well. I adore Lydia, she’s a doll! Can’t wait to hear about how things progress for you…good luck and lots of love from your fellow real foodie bloggers! 🙂
Thank you Amy! You have always been so kind to me and I really appreciate your support! Virtual hug was wonderful — thank you! 🙂 🙂 🙂
God bless you!
Thank you Susan – you as well! 🙂
Good for you! I am excited that you are embarking on this journey!
Thanks Starlene! I’m sure I’ll be picking your brain often!! 🙂
Thanks for sharing! I look forward to following your healing journey.
I think adrenal fatigue is much more common than we think – sharing your experience will be so helpful to many of us.
Hi Lisa – Thank you for stopping by! I also think it’s much more common than we think. As a society, we really are a mess! I hope that my experiences can be helpful to at least one person! 🙂
Keep on taking care of yourself, and I am going to pass on some wise words a friend left for me the other day: we’ll all still be here. Don’t feel bad if you have to slow done some on the posts either.
Sending hugs your way, and if you ever need some extra support come fine me. 🙂
Very smart words! I am currently working on some plans for getting things accomplished. I have overextended myself for the next couple months with some things that I can’t back out of now, but by the end of Sept., I will have things much less hectic and will be able to slow down a lot. I just need to get through the next two months and it will be smooth sailing! 🙂 Thank you for your continuous kindness! I have enjoyed getting to know you over the last couple years!
Jessica, the joy and enthusiasm you have about taking steps forward for you health is exciting to watch! I really am looking forward to walking beside you on your journey!
Thanks Lydia! I know I am in good hands! I feel really positive about it and I know that it’s just a matter of taking baby steps and not letting myself get overwhelmed! 🙂
You know I’m in this with you! And I am SO glad you will be blogging about this – it so very many women I know suffer from some thyroid/adrenal/leaky gut/endocrine issues. Yeah for bringing more light to this issue!
Oh Lori! We certainly are in this together! I’m so glad you’re local too! We will have to have many girl time sessions. That bit you said yesterday about women’s health as it relates to the number of girl friends they have really struck home! I have very few girl friends anymore, so I am very appreciative of our friendship! Hugs!
Your post could not be more timely, and I hope it encourages you to know that this is a journey I am just barely embarking on myself, in regards to finally finding out where I stand with thyroid, adrenal and female hormone levels. My testing kit goes in the mail today. :o) There are not as many progressive MD’s in this area, so part of it will be a struggle for me and i will not have access to such wonderful assets as your friend Lydia. Count your blessings in that regard! I look forward to hearing more about your experiences, and will try not to abuse the privilege of hearing a more personal side of a “public” figure. God bless.
Hi Shannon – Thank you for your kind words! We will get through this together. The doctor that I am going to see is the ONLY paleo/primal diet focused doctor that I have found in Denver. There are tons of Naturopathic Doctors in Denver, but NDs are not covered by insurance in this state, and I cannot afford to pay for their services out of pocket at this time. I believe in some states, NDs are covered by insurance. I feel so lucky that I happened to stumble across this doctor on a Google search. I just hope that he lives up to my expectations! 🙂
Also, Lydia provides these services for anyone. She lives in PA, and I live in CO. All of our communication is via phone and email. It would be awesome if she was local, but she’s not. I just wanted to let you know that there are options to work with her, or others like her, in a remote environment. I encourage you to shoot her an email if you’re interested in finding out how she could help you as well (http://divinehealthfromtheinsideout.com/nutrition-wellness-coaching/). I love that she specializes in the very areas that I need help in!
Best wishes to you and I look forward to seeing you around here! 🙂
Just keep in mind that a paleo/primal diet may not be the answer. It doesn’t work for everyone. Ann-Marie at Cheeselave didn’t have any success with it, and it made her condition a lot worse. She finally was able to correct her metabolism and thyroid issues with 180degree Health. Just something to consider. 🙂
I agree that the paleo/primal diets aren’t for everyone. I know from lots of past experience that they work well for me when I actually stick with them. I know what large amounts of carbs do to my body and it’s not pretty. I’m happy that the high-carb diets work for AnnMarie, but I know they don’t work for me. They leave me sluggish, moody, and gaining way too much weight. I think the key is to find your own allergens and then eliminate those from your diet. I am just thrilled to have found an actual MD, who is covered by my insurance, who is nutrition-focused, here in Denver. I have been searching for quite some time for a doctor like this!
I have been following your website for a few months and I just wanted to say thank you for sharing. I have so appreciated all the info on coconut oil. I love it and we use it for everything almost. Thank you for posting so much great information.I know you will find success for your health. Have you heard of ProArgi9 Plus?
Thank you for your information. Do you have a follow up of what you have learned/been doing to heal the thyroid and/or adrenals? Thank you!
Hi Christina – You can read my full health journey here: https://www.deliciousobsessions.com/health-wellness/#personal. I still have a long ways to go, but I am in a better place now than I was just one year ago. I will continue posting along the way as I am able. 🙂
Great blog. I’m so proud of you for taking control of your health and working with someone to heal yourself. I wish more people would do the same and stop accepting that its ok to feel subpar when they should be feeling fabulous. Kudos to you and keep writing and inspiring others.
Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words! 🙂
Yes, thanks for being a personal with us. A lot of us share the same ordeals as you. Take time for yourself and slow down on the blogging. I enjoy it but I can’t keep up with it as I tend to want to learn that there is more to life then a computer. Peace.
Hi Janice – Thanks for taking the time to stop by and share! Cheers!