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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
I have been doing a lot of reflection over the past year and wanted to share some of that here. It’s been awhile since I’ve done an update on my health journey, so I decided this was an appropriate time to sit down and take a look back on the year. Whenever I get nostalgic I always think back to a very special time in my life — 2001 and my trip to Scotland. I have told many people this, but when I was in Scotland, it felt like home. I yearn to go back. My heart flutters at the thought. I really feel like that is where my soul longs to be. I can’t explain it. It’s just how I feel. The picture above was taken at the edge of Loch Ness. Here are a few more pictures from that amazing trip.
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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, now, fast forward 11 years to the present. Can you believe that 2012 is almost over? I can’t. This year has just flown by.
2012 was definitely the year of change for me. In the Spring, I left my office job as a Marketing Coordinator to start working from home full-time as an Independent Marketing Consultant. I love working from home and am so grateful for the opportunity to do so. It definitely took some getting used to, but once I found my groove, it just felt right. I do admit that I miss some of my old co-workers, but thankfully, I have maintained contact with them and we do get to see each other every once in awhile. Plus, I have made new friends during that time, so that has been lovely.
Getting the opportunity to work from home was a game changer for me. Had I not gotten this opportunity, I don’t think I would have embarked on my healing journey this year. I honestly don’t think I would be able to take it on if I were still working in an office. So, for that, I am also thankful.
If you are just tuning in, let’s recap my past “Let’s Get Personal” posts. You can take a look at where I started and where my journey has taken me thus far:
- Simplifying Life, Facing Adrenal Fatigue, and Taking a Stand for my Thyroid. This was my very first post, where I laid everything out for the world to see. I am a very private person when it comes to things like this, but I am happy that I got the courage to share, because I have gotten such wonderful feedback, suggestions, comments, and support!
- Why Start Now? In this post, you’ll find out why I decided to tackle all of this right now. What is the underlying motivation for getting my body in tip-top shape?
- Getting My Ducks in A Row. I started working with my nutritional therapist, Lydia from Divine Health, as well as found an MD and an ND that I knew could help me get started on my healing journey as well. I got my bloodwork done and just had to wait for the results!
- Blood Sugar Control is Vital and How Lowering Your Carbs Can Boost Fertility. I did a lot of research on the importance of blood sugar management and discussed the blood sugar issues I was facing. I shared my research in this post.
- Hashimoto’s Disease and Dealing With a Broken Immune System. As expected, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, which is an autoimmune thyroid disease. Now, came the task of figuring out how to fix my immune system and help my body regain control.
- An Update on My Healing Journey So Far. I did spend some time reflecting on where I was at and where we had started. The road to health is a long one, at least for some of us, so it helped me to take a look at everything and get re-focused on moving forward.
- How Coconut Oil Has Been Helping Me. I have really upped my fat intake a lot since starting on my healing journey. The coconut oil is helping me in many ways, so I wanted to take some time to talk about my experience with coconut oil.
The Day it All Began
I will always remember August 1st, 2012. That was the date that I started on this healing journey. It is the date that I turned my life upside down and completely changed many, many things in my life! We are now 4 months into the journey and it’s hard to believe so much time has passed! I am thankful that I have been recording my journey, because it’s nice to look back on where I’ve been. That’s the only way to truly see how far I’ve come.
Things that I’m really proud of:
- I am proud that I was strong enough to make such radical changes to my diet. In one fail swoop, I eliminated grains, legumes, dairy, and sugar. And, it was not as hard as I expected it to be. Did I have cravings and moments of weakness? Sure, but for the most part, it has not been too difficult. I had some moments where I felt discouraged and lost motivation for cooking and baking, but that has since passed and I am now able to create new recipes tailored to my new style of eating (I’ll share some of those below).
- I am proud to say that I have lost weight. 37 pounds to be exact. Well, since August 1st, I have lost 21 pounds, but I am down a total of 37 pound from my heaviest point.
- I am proud that for the most part, I have been able to stick to my 10pm bed time for the last 4 months. This has been hard, because I always have work to do and could easily stay up until the wee hours of the morning slaving away. Not anymore. I do my best to disconnect from work at 8:30pm and spend the next hour and a half relaxing, meditating, writing, reading, or practicing yoga.
- I am proud of the fact that I have maintained, for the most part, my daily walks with the pooches, and that when I miss a day, I can honestly say that I can feel the impact of it. Mostly the mental impact, as the daily walks really have become a stress releiver for me and gives me time to be outside and re-focus.
- I am proud of the new morning routine that I have established, which helps keep me grounded and gets me energized and focused for the day. Every morning, after I feed the dogs, get my lemon water and Vitamin C concoction (thank you Lydia), I do 20-35 minutes of yoga. With daily practice, I am starting to notice a vast improvement in my yogi-ness. 🙂
- I am proud that I am starting to learn to be less uptight and controlling. It may be happening slowly, but it is happening.
- I know I have mentioned that I have had blood pressure issues in the past. I am on a very low dose medication for that. At the time my old doctor put me on them, I had lost all faith in natural remedies of any kind, so I just went with it. Recently, I took a look at my BP log and realized that my numbers were looking really good. I decided it was time to wean off of the meds. I have been working on that for about the last month and hopefully will be completely off of them some time very, very soon. Then it’s time for a liver detox. P.S. I erased and re-wrote this bullet point about 50 times. This was by far the hardest thing for me to write, because I have always felt some embarrassment and shame about it. But, it’s gonna be over soon! 🙂
- I am happy to report that my TSH has dropped from 3.18 to 2.07. My Thyroglobulin AB has dropped from 56 to 36. My Thyroid Peroxidase AB did not change according to the lab (still shows it as over 1,000), but since the labs do not break down anything over 1,000, there could have been improvement, but we just can’t tell based on that number. We will test everything in another 3 months, including all of the T3 and T4 numbers as well, since they were not included in this most recent report.
You know, as I was writing this, I fully expected to also include a list of the things I’m not proud of. But, you know what? I don’t really have a list for that. I really am pleased with how far I’ve come and I don’t really have anything that I would put on that list. As Lydia would say, “Health is a journey, not a destination“. That has taught me that we can only go at our own pace and we can’t be expected to do everything all at once. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and we will eventually look back and see how far we have come.
Let’s Talk Food
In case you didn’t notice, I write a blog that was initially founded around food.
The hardest part of this entire journey has been having to so drastically change my eating style. The most difficult area was giving up all sweeteners, even stevia. I love cooking, but baking and creating new recipes for treats and sweets is really where my heart lies. I could care less about giving up gluten, grains, and legumes. But, dairy and sweet treats were the hardest adjustment. It’s not like I was gorging myself on sugary snacks all the time, but brain is always churning with new ideas, and my sweet tooth is often the one guiding it! I was happy to find out that after not having anything sweet for so long, that just the natural sweetness of coconut is strong to me! And, I also feel worlds better, so that’s the most important thing!
Here are a few of the new recipes that have popped up since making the dietary changes.
No more potatoes for me, so my beloved steak fries are no more. I did, however, create this crispy zucchini fry recipe which hit the spot!
I never eat chicken nuggets or chicken tenders from a fast food restaurant, so that wasn’t something I had to “give up”. I did, however, like making them at home with a mix of quinoa and brown rice flours. Since I am no longer doing grains, I needed to figure something out. These crispy coconut chicken finger nuggets were born.
I love lemon blueberry muffins. In an effort to create a lower-carb, no sugar version, I concocted this recipe for lemon coconut blueberry macadamia nut muffins, and subsequently the longest recipe name ever. They are DELICIOUS. The macadamia nuts pair perfectly with the juicy blueberries and bright lemon flavor!
Fall arrived and I was craving pumpkin spice bread. I already have a recipe for pumpkin bread, which is delicious, but I wanted to try something a little different. This bread has a moist, creamy texture, and is especially delicious with a big dollop of grass-fed ghee (or butter).
These Coconut Cream Truffles are probably one of my favorite recipes. They are small and easy to make. They satisfy my taste-buds when I want a little treat. I make a big batch and store them in the freezer.
So, that’s it. That’s how I’m feeling about my journey so far. I’ve had some ups and some downs, but all in all, I am really happy with everything so far. I know that things will just continue to improve, so I’m keeping my head up and remaining optimistic.
How about you? Has 2012 been a year of change for you? Did you embark on a healing journey? I’d love to hear your successes, so leave me a comment below! 🙂
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.