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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
Hello again! Just a little update on how things are going! How are you doing?
Right now, I’m in a bit of a holding pattern. Last week, I went to the new doctor and got all of my blood drawn (what seems like A LOT of blood). We’re running a variety of tests. I also had to go get an ultrasound on my thyroid, because the doctor did think it seemed enlarged and wanted to make sure nothing else was going on there …. yeah … that kind of freaked me out. But, not as much as it would have the old Jessica. The old Jessica would have been sick with worry, unable to eat, sleep, etc. The new Jessica feels little flickers of nervousness in her gut, but she is not fixated on it.
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The Hairs on My Head
The one thing that Jessica (wait, why am I speaking about myself in the third person?). The one thing that I am somewhat fixated on, despite my best efforts, is my hair loss. Up until about a month ago, I never experienced any hair loss. I never lost more than what your “normal” amount is per day. “Normal” is considered anything between 40 and 120 strands per day, with increases happening in the fall. I have also been told that people with fine hair (like me), tend to lose more than thicker haired people. Still, that doesn’t make me feel any better.
Starting about a month ago, I started losing a lot — or, what seems to me is a lot. I don’t know what changed. It’s like my body said “Oh! Hey! You’re going to pay attention to me now! Let me show you how mean I can be!” I wash my hair every other day, and honestly, I dread showers now, because I don’t want to see how much hair is coating my hands when I’m shampooing and conditioning. My nutritional therapist Lydia tells me not to freak out. It will resolve itself, especially once we know what exactly is going on and start offering the body more support … OK Lydia, I’m trying my very, very, very best not to freak out! I’ve already told you that for a split second, Neurotic Jessica thought about counting each individual hair after a shower to see just how many were actually lost. But, Sane Jessica stepped in and said “No!”
Thankfully, I’m not alone. That sounds terrible. I would never, ever wish hair loss on anyone. So, perhaps “thankfully” is not the right word. But, I am not alone. I learned this past week that my friend KerryAnn from Cooking Traditional Foods also is experiencing hair loss. While I never want to hear about the bad stuff that a friend is dealing with, it is comforting to know that there is someone I can commiserate with. You really don’t know how attached you are to your hair until something happens to it. At least KerryAnn knows what I’m going through and how it makes me feel. It’s just nice to talk to someone who understands! Plus, I have a local friend who is going through similar issues and she is great to talk to, because our stories are so similar sometimes.
Waiting, Sleeping, Eating, and Counting Carbs
Besides the hair loss, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m just waiting for all of those results. This week, I will be going back to the doctor to go over those results, as well as take a 2-hour monitored blood glucose test. That should be fun. But, it will also be really good information. I am already doing the blood sugar control challenge with Lydia, which I must admit is making me feel better. What all does this blood sugar challenge entail? Well, I have eliminated:
- ALL sugar
- Most fruits
So, what they heck am I eating?
That was the question my dad asked me when I told him about what I was doing. Well, the simple answer is lots of eggs. Haha! 😉 In all seriousness, I’m eating protein, fat, veggies, low-glycemic fruit (occasionally), and some nuts (occasionally).
The first few days of the challenge, I went WAY too low on my carbs, only getting 20-30 per day. By the Sunday after I started the blood sugar control challenge, I just crashed. I felt so cruddy. I went too low, too fast and my body fought back. Thankfully, Lydia posted about this very subject, because it seems like I am not the only person who was not getting enough carbs.
By the way, this post from Mark Sisson is fantastic and really helped me assess where I needed to be carb wise. Since Sunday, I have been getting between 55 and 75 carbs per day and I’m feeling SO much better.
The other thing I am very proud of is that for almost 3 weeks straight, I have been in bed no later than 10pm every night. Well, every night, except for last Sunday, because I was up late as we transferred this website over to a new hosting company. But, other than that, it’s been 9:30pm to 10pm every night! Go me! Sleep is so important when it comes to healing. It’s important for everyone to get enough quality sleep, but even more imperative if you’re struggling with certain health issues. If you’re curious about how sleep directly helps (or harms) adrenal fatigue, check out this post: “5 Keys to Keeping Your Adrenal Glands Healthy: #1 SLEEP“, from Lydia at Divine Health.
Now, if you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, this is a great article (also form Lydia’s website): “Adrenal Fatigue: Trouble Falling Asleep? 7 Tips to Better Sleep“. (I was keeping with the duck theme. Image courtesy of sxc.hu and kuvapankki).
So, for right now, I am in the research and development stage of the process. I need to gather all of the test results possible, talk to as many people possible, and work with my doctor and Lydia to establish a plan for treatment. I am nervous, excited, and very optimistic. Things are going to get better. It might be slow, but things are going to get better!
So, how is your journey going right now? Anything you’d like to share? I encourage comments, because we all have so much to learn for one another!
Until next time,
Health, happiness, and love.
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.