I was debating on whether or not to share this story with the TSL community, but sometimes it's best to make fun of yourself and seize the opportunity to educate.
I went to the GNC in town today to buy some more L-glutamine for my trip. Two young guys were working the store- one of them particularly hot as sin, and the other cute as a button and very helpful. One of them was helping me find what I needed, as I was trying to figure out how many capsules I would need for the duration of my trip. He asked me how many capsules I take daily. I told him that I take 6 500mg capsules each day, so I would need a bottle with at least 100 capsules in it. He seemed surprised to hear that I took as much as I did. He asked me what I take it for. When I said, "digestion," he looked at me strangely and said, "I've never heard of anyone taking L-glutamine for digestion. People usually take it for its healing properties." My impulsive, defensive reaction and only way I could politely say, "I know what I'm fucking talking about and I'm taking it for the right reasons," was to utter the sexiest words that will ever come out of my mouth- "I HAVE LEAKY GUT." For a hot second I had an outer body experience where I envisioned me bitch slapping myself across the face and saying, "did you really just say that?" Oh, but I did just say that. I could have said that I take it because it stabilizes my blood sugar or because that's what my nutritionist recommends, or ANYTHING ELSE. I could have jokingly said, "well I'm going to be in a bodybuilding competition, can't you tell?" Just to show them how fabulous my sense of humor is. But instead I sabotaged myself and I knew it instantly after I saw the look of sheer horror painted all over both of their faces.
Probably what the GNC boys envisioned ^
Whatever. Now for part B of this blog post- the most important part in my opinion. The words leaky and gut are far from attractive and that's all anyone on the outside looking in would need to know. Most people have no idea what leaky gut is, which is why I never should have used it as an excuse in the first place.
So, what is leaky gut?
Leaky gut occurs when the lining of the intestinal walls has become porous, causing undigested food and all kinds of bad toxins seep into the bloodstream. Most absorption occurs in the small intestine. The walls of the small intestine are covered with Villi, hair-like protrusions that have a very important job. We absorb all useful nutrients through the Villi, which are then passed into the blood stream. Anything that is not useful continues on (or it should at least) to the large intestine. However, with food and food chemical sensitivities, the Villi become damaged, brittle, and weak overtime. What results here is leaky gut or an absorption issue (as many of my fellow Celiac Disease people understand) - the inability to absorb nutrients from the food we are eating (Reasoner, Leaky Gut Syndrome in Plain English- And How To Fix it).
So where does the L-Glutamine come into play with all of this? Like Mr. Cute-as-a-button explained, people often use L-glutamine for its healing properties. L-glutamine aids in healing leaky gut by strengthening the intestinal walls. Some more benefits of taking L-glutamine are listed below. You know, just to give you an idea of all the different excuses I could have used to spare me the complete humiliation and self-sabotage.
* Major energy source
* Improves brain functioning
* Stabilizes blood sugar
* Reduces alcohol cravings
* Maintains the health and functioning of lining of the gut
* Supports muscle function
* Boosts metabolism
* Enhances exercise performance
* Helps with wound healing
* Helps maintain acid alkaline balance
* Protects normal cells from chemotherapy in cancer patients
* Some studies have even shown that it helps to prevent kidney stones
Additionally, L-Glutamine helps with the following health conditions:
* Crohn's Disease
* Ulcerative Colitis
(Slagle, The Way Up Newsletter)
What's the moral of this story? There isn't a good one, really. I guess just don't assume anyone knows what the hell you're talking about ever. Or, word vomit is a real thing and it can happen to anyone. I had a good laugh about it afterwards if I'm being completely honest. Either way, I will be going to the GNC in New Hampshire from now on.
Reasoner, Jordan. "Leaky Gut Syndrome In Plain English – And How To Fix It." SCD Lifestyle. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2013. <http://scdlifestyle.com/2010/03/the-scd-diet-and-leaky-gut-syndrome/>.
Slagle, Priscilla. "Benefits of the Amino Acid L-Glutamine." The Way Up Newsletter. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2013. <http://www.thewayup.com/newsletters/041501.htm>.
You know I'm working on building The Sensitive Life empire whenever I've got a hot minute during the day. So naturally, I've been working on creating The Sensitive Life Facebook page! I hope you all take a minute to check it out and Like it on the book when you get the chance. The page is still in the works so there's a lot left to be done. But I hope I can get some likers on there soon to get the ball rolling!
The truth is, I've got so much to do this week in preparation for my trip that I really should be working on all the packing/list tackling I need to do! One week from today I'll be heading to Italy. I can't believe it's already here! Well, almost :]
I reintroduced sugar yesterday completely on a whim. I was out for brunch with family that I haven't seen in years. I ordered some gluten free buckwheat pancakes, which was perfectly fine since I'm not sensitive to buckwheat. Of course, all pancakes come with maple syrup on the side, so I saw my opportunity to scratch sugar off of my to-do list. What I did not anticipate however, was the dusting of confectioners sugar that covered my pancakes and plate. I scraped off as much as I could and ate the pancakes underneath what had been dusted. I must admit, I did have a bite of pancake that I had so *desperately* tried to save from the genetically modified snowstorm of sugar. It was so unbelievably sweet. My sweet tooth rose from the dead, I swear to you. I resisted having more than just that one bite, though. The pancakes were delicious but absorbed the maple syrup like sponges. By the way, the maple syrup was 100% pure. Regardless, I kept telling myself, "LOAD OF BURDEN, GIRL, LOAD OF BURDEN."
I had my last appointment before my trip with my nutritionist today. It was so great to talk about how far I've come on this journey. I've learned so much about myself, my ability to persevere, and the importance of living presently.
Deb, my nutritionist, always has such GREAT analogies and ways of wording things that are tremendously helpful. Today we talked a lot about thoughts and how powerful the mind-body connection truly is. She explained that when a single negative thought pops up into the mind, we open a negative folder filled with tons of other negative folders that pop open and send us into negative overload. It's so difficult to delete all these negative folders one at a time after we've set them all off triggering a downward spiral of self-sabotage. More often than not, our most damaging thoughts are not present thoughts. They're thoughts of things and experiences that have not happened yet. They're things we have no control over in the present moment. So, Deb proposes this: We have two buckets- a "moment" bucket for thoughts that are in the present, and a "memory" bucket for thoughts that are in the past. In moments where your thoughts seem to be getting the best of you by taking you to a place other than the here-and-now, press pause [insert stress management strategy here- tapping, counting back, meditation, etc.] and then decide where that thought belongs. If it belongs in neither the moment nor memory bucket, say, "fuck it" and move on. I take credit for that last sentence. Deb wouldn't use the fuck word. But by this I simply mean, put it out of sight and out of mind. It's not doing you any good.
Send out high, positive vibrations and they'll link up with similar vibrations out there in the universe. The opposite is true too, of course. Send out those low vibrations and they'll link up with other low vibrations. We're all vibrating beings and walking magnets for the great stuff or bad stuff depending on our frequencies. It is the law of attraction, people. We've all heard of it. It's real. Your thoughts and attitude determine the outcome of each day. Use your buckets or say fuck it!
Deb lent me a book, The Missing Link Reflections on Philosophy & Spirit by Sydney Banks. It's filled with some great words of wisdom and I plan to share bits and pieces of it with you each day that I post.
Tonight I'll leave you with this:
"All feelings derive and become alive, whether negative or positive, from the power of thought."
Today's post has been inspired by some feedback I received from my nutritionist. She continues to share my website with her patients, who from the sounds of it- are finding some comfort in being able to relate to my sensitive life or benefit from the information I provide on my blog. This makes me SO unbelievably happy. I'm thrilled that my words are reaching my most important audience. I created TSL for you and I'm so thankful for your encouraging, kind words.
So back to my inspiration for tonight's post. For those of you just starting out on your gut healing journey, I feel your pain and frustration. When I go back to that time in my mind- that time of "time to eliminate practically everything from your diet," I quite literally feel the energy get sucked right out of me. It's truly draining to even reminisce. Stick with it. The mind-body connection is tremendously powerful. Don't let your thoughts get the best of you. You don't want that cookie, I promise.
Anyone who knows me, knows that prior to embarking on this journey of healing, I had the biggest sweet tooth of all big sweet tooths. Tooths isn't a word but I like the way it sounds in that sentence. Bear with me. Sugar is my highest sensitivity. To cut it out of my diet seemed close to impossible. I had to do it, though. Yes, I was a raging, shaky, angry, sobbing, exhausted, rabid bitch. But today, I don't give sugar a second thought. Why? Because once we eliminate the bad guys entirely, there aren't any more of them left to say, "you want more of me, take me, have me, love me, you need me." The truth is, The bad guys thrive when they have more bad guys to hang out with. When you stop sending the bad guys (sugar) down the hatch, it pisses the bad guys off. It causes turmoil in your gut. It causes turmoil all throughout your body, actually. Hence all the withdrawal symptoms: brain fog/difficulty with expressive language, dizzy spells, shaking, exhaustion, migraines, depression, stomach pain, anxiety, sensitivity to sound- the list goes on. Don't be fooled. Just because you cut out the bad stuff doesn't mean you're going to feel like a million bucks in a week's time. In fact, my withdrawal symptoms lasted 3 weeks. I promise- when you make it past that initial phase, the worst is over and your journey begins to look more promising and rewarding from then on out.
Now time to break down some sweet facts for all of you who still think it's okay to consume 1/2 pound of sugar each day. Oh, I'm not making that up though. In 2009 a study showed that nearly 50% of Americans consume almost 1/2 pound of sugar each day. That means a sexy 180 pounds of sugar per year, per person. God only knows how that statistic has changed. I will tell you though, that in 1700, the average person only consumed around 4 pounds of sugar per year. Solid. So, besides the increased risk of diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease, yeast infections, and depression.....you're still shit out of luck because there's so much more to be concerned about.
Let's talk about the different kinds of sugars:
Dextrose, fructose, and glucose are all simple sugars. The difference between them is how your body metabolizes them.
Sugar alcohols such as xylitol, glycerol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, and erythritol, are neither sugars nor alcohols but are used as sweeteners. They're completely absorbed by the small intestine and cause sexy problems like bloating, the d-word (diarrhea), and flatulence.
Sucralose or Splenda is an artificial, chlorinated sweetener, A.K.A. aspartame- which is currently in 75% of all foods on store shelves and the cause of 95% of adverse food reaction reports made to the FDA. Check out my blog post on aspartame HERE.
Agave syrup is a fraud and I'm exposing it. It's highly processed and usually contains about 80% fructose. They shouldn't even call it agave because by the time they're through producing it, the product it is nothing like the innocent plant it once was.
Honey is only completely natural in its raw form. So, buy raw honey. Buy raw, LOCAL honey if possible. It helps with seasonal allergies. For the record, 75% of honey purchased at the supermarket isn't real honey.
Stevia has been a Godsend and it's a completely natural sweetener made from the South American stevia plant.
Now for the big, bad, bastard of sugars- FRUCTOSE.
Did you know that eating fructose is WORSE than eating fat?
Fructose elevates uric acid in your body, which elevates your blood pressure and causes damage to your kidneys. (Side note- those who are prone to kidney stones: it's super important to watch your sugar intake. Oops.) Increased uric acid also leads to chronic low-level inflammation which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and cancer. Fructose really is a bastard though and I'll tell you why. It tricks your body into gaining weight. It literally fools your metabolism by turning off your body's appetite control system. It does not suppress the hunger hormone, ghrelin, or stimulate the satiety hormone, leptin, which results in you eating your face off and developing insulin resistance.
Another scary thought- the more sugar you eat, the better your body gets at absorbing it. The more sugar you absorb, the more damage you cause (Mercola.com, 2010). Just don't do that to yourself.
Check out more information on the toxic effects of sugar and alternative, natural sweeteners using these links. Also watch Dr. Lustig's "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" via YouTube below.
Harmful effects of sugar on mind & body
141 reasons why sugar damages your health
Dangers of sugar
Slideshow- truth about sugar addiction
Dangers of fructose
Natural News- harmful effects of sugar and choosing natural alternatives
"Fructose: This Addictive Commonly Used Food Feeds Cancer Cells, Triggers Weight Gain, and Promotes Premature Aging."Mercola.com. N.p., 20 Apr. 2010. Web. 20 June 2013. <http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/20/sugar-dangers.aspx>.
So I went and had some energy work done today and I feel so much better about being able to eat in Italy without all the anxiety I had anticipated. I came away from today's session with an overwhelming sense of calm in my heart and gut and more importantly, a healthy, confident attitude. I learned some different strategies I can use to test my body for its willingness/ability to metabolize food without making me sick. My plan is to practice this with foods at home over the next two weeks.
To test whether your body "wants" a certain food, you simply link your index fingers and thumbs as seen in the picture above. Looking at a specific food or visualizing/meditating on a certain food, ask your body if it wants that food: "Does (your name)'s body want (food)?" Hold your index finger and thumb strong on one hand as you pull (as if to "break" the chain) the index finger and thumb on the other hand away. If it's easy to break the chain, your body ain't havin that. If there is more resistance and the hold is strong, your body gives that food a thumbs up. However, note that just because you may get the green light from your body at 2PM for a bowl of ice cream doesn't mean that your body will say, "yes please" at an earlier or later time.
I also learned a little bit more about the spleen meridian and triple warmer. I learned how to strengthen my spleen meridian, which metabolizes everything- even our thoughts! The spleen processes everything physical and emotional. Therefore, it is in touch with and cares about the quality and sense of balance in our lives. On the contrary, the triple warmer, which is our "fight or flight" response, cares solely about our survival and nothing else. The triple warmer scans our external environment at all times and interprets everything in our environment as an "invader" and acts accordingly. By acting accordingly, the triple warmer will pull energy from other systems thus resulting in all kinds of sensitivities, autoimmune disorders, weight issues, mood swings, anxiety, brain fog, and a number of other shitty/unwanted conditions and physical or emotional reactions. It is no surprise that the spleen and triple warmer sit across from each other on the meridian wheel. For this reason, they pull energy from one another. The key here is to maintain a triple warmer that is not over burdened or over stimulated. To do this, it's important to sedate the triple warmer. See Donna Eden's triple warmer stress reduction technique below. While she may appear to be a loop of fruit, she's actually a frigging genius. You can check out the Eden Energy Medicine website HERE.
Also refer to the picture above, which shows the tapping points for the different meridians. By tapping under the arm (see point 7) you're getting the energy flowing through the spleen meridian. I tap all the time! It helps, truly. I love being tapped. And yes, I plan to tap my way through my Italy trip to keep that fresh energy flowing the way it should be. Who wouldn't want to be free of anxiety in a natural way?
Our bodies have a system of energetic meridians. By Tapping on certain points on the body, we activate the energy system, which allows us to release negative emotions and blocks, as well as relieve physical pain. By balancing the body's energy systems we also naturally speed up the healing process.
Happy tapping! :]
For more info on the benefits of energy healing check out these links:
The benefits of energy healing
Held in Light- benefits of energy healing
Well Designed You- Holistic Health & wellbeing: benefits of EFT (tapping)
What is EFT? What are the benefits?
Quantum Healing- meridian tapping
For today's post I thought I'd share some info with you on something that I just recently began experimenting with, myself. Epsom salt, scientifically known as magnesium sulfate, is rich in both magnesium and sulfate- hence the name. Magnesium is the second most abundant element in human cells and has the very important job of organizing a number of different bodily functions. Some of these functions include:
So you see, magnesium is important to our overall wellbeing. However, so many of us are typically magnesium deficient or pretty close to it. Magnesium deficiency contributes to the high rates of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, stroke, arthritis/joint pain, digestive sickness, stress-related illnesses, chronic fatigue, and a number of other unwanted health conditions. We can attribute most magnesium deficiencies to the changes we currently see in agriculture and poor diet.
Once upon a time I took magnesium supplements. I'm now learning that magnesium (and sulfates, too) are not easily absorbed through the digestive tract. However, they are easily absorbed through the skin. Hence, we reap all the benefits magnesium and sulfates have to offer from taking epsom salt baths! Using epsom salt on your skin or in the bath is a great way to boost your magnesium and sulfate levels. Like magnesium, sulfates have a very important job. Sulfates play a vital role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins, and proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. They are also known to detoxify the body of any environmental and medicinal impurities/toxins (Breyer).
You can use epsom salt as an exfoliant in your face wash and body wash. It's also known to be beneficial for those who get back and chest acne. So, you can use it on those problem areas as an exfoliant, too.
Proper magnesium and sulfate levels are associated with the following health benefits:
Better cardiovascular health
Improved ability for the body to use insulin
Reduced muscle/joint pain
Elimination of heavy metals and toxins from the cells
Improved nerve function
Improved electrolyte regulation
Proper levels of calcium in the blood
Improved oxygen use
Improved absorption of nutrients
Prevention/ease migraine headaches
For epsom salt bath:
Add 2 cups of epsom salt (found at most drug stores) to bath water. To ease more serious/chronic symptoms, it's recommended that an individual does this 3 times per week. If we're being serious though, anyone who bitches about having to take a relaxing bath 3 times a week has bigger problems. Don't see this as a hassle, see this as some much needed "me time." :]
Check out the Epsom Salt Council HERE for more information on the benefits of bathing with/using epsom salt!
Breyer, Melissa. "Health Benefits of Epsom Salt Baths." Care2 Make a Difference. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 June 2013. <http://www.care2.com/greenliving/health-benefits-of-epsom-salt-baths.html?page=2>.
This sounds about right. Actually, it really is the truth. How do I know? Well, I have done some very necessary energy healing on this gut-healing journey of mine. As I've mentioned before, this journey doesn't come without an emotional toll. Fortunately, the reiki master (practicer of energy medicine) who I see is a longtime family friend and practically a second mother to me. Back to my main point- my liver, lung, stomach, heart, and kidney meridians are always the weakest or need the most balancing/strengthening/sedating. Simply put, those meridians are typically effed. Or, at least they were towards the beginning of this healing journey. When I was angry, my liver would need work. When I was grieving the loss of important, loved people in my life- my lung needed work. So on and so forth. I'm in a much better place now, though. It wasn't until recently that I was able to sit back and take a look at everything that's happening in my life and say out loud, "if certain things in my life didn't fall apart when they did, I would not be on this self-loving journey of health, traveling, and unconditional compassion." While this epiphany may not mean jack to a stranger reading this post, it means the world to me.
Sometimes in the midst of absolute pain and grief, we can't seem to wrap our minds around the "why" and "how" of things. When we're in that place of hopelessness we "know" that there will never be a reason why the shitty things have to happen. The truth is, there is a reason. This past year has taught me that life doesn't take your plans into consideration. It plows through your front door, knocks you on your ass and leaves you lost on the corner of, "how the fuck did I get here?" and "my life is supposed to be different." Live presently to avoid turmoil within (aka effed energy). We are only able to be right here, right now anyway- in a moment so fleeting that it's gone before we've even had a chance to be mindful of it. Be mindful. Your soul will thrive for it.
I just recently started following this awesome Like page on Facebook, Rawforbeauty. I am in love with all the inspirational quotes and health-related facts they share with their followers. Definitely check them out! Here's a brief peek at some of my favorite info they have shared. Also visit their website! www.rawforbeauty.com :]
ALSO, (as I have said before) if you are sensitive to any of the foods/ingredients for natural remedies/purposes shown below, know that they probably aren't the right choice for you. For example, as wonderful as grapefruit sounds, I wouldn't use it for any of the listed benefits, as it would have an adverse effect on my body. Choose your ingredients wisely.
Click on each picture individually for a larger view.
Life isn't easy. My theory is that it shouldn't be. If life is easy for someone, chances are they aren't really living. By this I mean that they're not learning from mistakes, hardship, and challenge that life often brings with it. Those who have seen a lot of life are among the strongest.
Too often we let the everyday stresses of life get under our skin- literally. The mind body connection is powerful. I'll bet if you took the time to really think about it, you could recall a time when stress or unfortunate circumstance made its presence known in a number of ways- breakouts, upset stomach, headaches, sleepless nights, you name it. It's so tremendously important for all of us to take that much needed "me time" everyday. Yes, I said everyday. Pay no mind to anyone who tells you that you don't need that time- they just don't know how to use it themselves.
For today's post, I thought I would share some of my own "me time" de-stressors. It really depends on the day, how I'm feeling, and how much energy I have. If I'm feeling creative, I turn to my art and create. As an abstract artist, I find it s0o unbelievably calming to go wild with a box of pastels and charcoal. If I'm bouncing off the walls, you'll find me on the elliptical trying to find a balance between dancing to my music and not falling off the machine/breaking my ass. Or, you might find me doing a more fast-paced resistance band workout to some profane rap music in my bedroom. Either way, it's a spectacle.
When I need to retreat to a place of calmness and peace, yoga is my go-to activity. I never really cared too much for yoga, as I always preferred Pilates. To be honest, I became fond of yoga by taking it slow- really embracing those "beginner" DVDs, and building my strength, flexibility, and overall understanding of this exercise before I started challenging myself. There are so many health benefits that yoga has to offer. Yoga can decrease depression, anxiety, stress, and mood swings if done regularly (Benefits of Yoga- Why Yoga is Good Exercise for You). Check out the links below for a peek at all the amazing benefits yoga has to offer!
Physiological, psychological, and biochemical benefits of yoga
Fight stress and find serenity
Like yoga, meditation has several health benefits. Yoga is actually a form of meditation- where the focus is on your breathing, posture, and balance. Meditation may seem intimidating to newcomers, but have no fear. There are all kinds of guided meditation CDs that you can purchase or even check out at your public library. Yes, you can find a bunch of guided meditation clips on YouTube, as well. There is no reason to be intimidated with all the wonderful physiological, psychological, and spiritual benefits meditation has to offer!
Meditation is literally a mind-body medicine. As such, regular practice of meditation promotes physical and emotional well-being. While meditation can be used as as stress reducer, research has also shown that it can help with a number of health conditions including allergies, asthma, anxiety disorder, cancer, heart disease, binge eating, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, fatigue, substance abuse, and sleep-related issues (INeedMotivation, 100 Benefits of Meditation). Check out the links below for more information on the benefits of meditation and meditation techniques.
Mayo Clinic on Meditation
7 Health benefits
Physiological, psychological, and spiritual benefits of meditation
Meditation for beginners
Relaxation and meditation techniques
Always feel free to share your thoughts and ideas by commenting on blog posts. What techniques and activities do you turn to during "me time?" :)
"100 Benefits of Meditation." INeedMotivation Excellence in Life Enrichment. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2013. <http://www.ineedmotivation.com/blog/2008/05/100-benefits-of-meditation/>.
"Benefits of Yoga - Why Yoga Exercise is Good for You." abc-of-yoga.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2013. <http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/beginnersguide/yogabenefits.asp>.