Treating the Silent Killer

“All disease begins in the gut”

-Hippocrates

Gut issues impact so many of us. It is not pretty or glamorous so many people don’t talk about it and thus not facing the huge problem we have in front of us. For so many million people living in pain and discomfort out there, you are not alone. Not only can gut issues cause problems with digestion, bloating and discomfort, there is also a slew of other disorders that stem from bad gut health. It is crazy to think something as small as our gut flora is effecting our entire body both inside and out, but it couldn’t be more true.

First of all a bit about what exactly our gut flora is. Our gut microbiota is made up of tens of trillions microorganisms of over 100 different species. This gut microbiome has a wide range of uses but on the most basic level the gut flora found in our digestive tract helps us to digest the food we eat. Unfortunately though not all of our gut flora is good, every person also contains many bad gut microbiota within them as well. More and more research is being introduced showing the true possibilities of an unhealthy gut on our overall health and the results are something we should all be paying attention to.

It is easy to see whether or not your stomach is bloated or uncomfortable, but your body also has so many other ways it is possibly telling you that your gut is unhealthy if we know how to listen to it. Before anything else it is important to know a little bit about leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is a broad term used to describe a permeability of the small intestine. This means that there is a “leaking” within the small intestine walls which allows food particles, toxins and bacteria to permeate through. Obviously this can cause a lot of issues within your gut and throughout your entire body. Fortunately though our bodies give us so many signs of this distress if we simply listen to it. Below are a few of the most common.

  • Sugar cravings can often be a sign of bad bacteria in the gut. Bad bacteria eat sugar, so the more you consume it the more you are feeding this beast already inside of you. Unfortunately this also means carbs, as your body treats carbs as a sugar source. While loving carbs does not mean you necessarily have leaky gut, it can mean that if you have many of the issues below you could be feeding the bad bacteria already inside you. Carbohydrates are an integral part of our diet and I believe that people should include them into their diet especially when exercising, but keep in mind how much you are eating and greatly reducing the amount of sugar you consume could help your gut immensely.
  • Mental health issues. I know this isn’t a disorder that you would necessarily connect to your gut, but in truth your gut has everything to do with what is happening in your brain! If you have depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, OCD and even things such as alzheimers and autism there is a good chance that your gut bacteria has a lot to do with it! I will talk more about this in blogs to come because this specific topic is so near and dear to my heart but I urge you to really focus on gut health and rejuvenation if you suffer from any of theses. Scientists have found that about 90% of your serotonin is created in your gut along with many other neurotransmitters! It is no wonder that disturbances to the gut health will cause mental health issues!
  • Most commonly people will notice an imbalanced gut flora due to digestive issues alone. This is a great starting point and if you are having digestive distress then listen! This is often not the first sign our body sends us, but it is often a powerful one! Listen to it and begin treating naturally immediately!
  • If you have taken a lot of antibiotics throughout your life there is a good chance a lot of damage can be seen on the gut flora. I understand the need for antibiotics but it can greatly harm your digestive tract. If this is the case for you, email me and I would love to talk about some healing options for you going forward.
  • Acne, eczema and rosacea are all signs that your body is out of whack as well. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, and if there are signs that it is hurting or unhealthy it is often a big clue that your insides are feeling the same. Study after study has shown that skin issues are directly correlated with leaky gut syndrome. Inflammation and stress within the digestive tract quickly shows its signs on the surface of your skin, so again please listen!
  • Food allergies or intolerances are quite commonplace for people with gut issues. For me this was the sign I most held onto. My entire life I have had food that upset my stomach. I also had headaches as a kid that were so severe I had to have brain scans and CAT scans because they were convinced I had a brain tumour. It was a really difficult time in life. That is until I went to see a natural medicine practitioner who after many tests realized I had an inflamed small intestine. She took me off gluten and dairy (which I had already been off since birth because of allergies) and quickly my headaches reduced ten fold. This was before the age of gluten free life and before most people knew what the word gluten even was. It changed my life dramatically, not only in feeling better but also realizing how integral this type of medicine was. It is the reason I believe so whole heartedly in natural medicine today. I have had a few of these experiences in my life where a natural medicine practitioner was able to find problems. Allergies can come in all shapes and sizes, but most of the time it is our bodies telling us important messages about what is happening inside.

The incredible part is that this list could go on and on! There are so many other signs that our body sends us to inform us of this distress, but most importantly we need to be listening. If you are tired of this discomfort, whether it be in the form of acne, gas, depression, losing hair or even springtime allergies I urge you to contact me! I can help to get you on the right track, finally feeling like the happiest, healthiest you. This is not something you simply have to live with, because with the right meal plan and changes to your environment all of this could change! I have gone through so many of these symptoms myself and I know what it feels like to be sick and tired of it. That is why I am so dedicated to helping people through gut issues and on your way to living your best life. If you or someone you know struggle with any of these symptoms, please contact me right away!

Alleviating Pain From the Inside Out

“Look well to the spine for the cause of disease”

-Hippocrates

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to see the healing powers of holistic medicine first hand, both on myself and people close to me. When I was in high school I had bad lower back and knee pain when running and saw a physical therapist who helped me feel leaps and bounds better than better, I worked in a chiropractic/acupuncture/homeopathic clinic, I became a health coach and now I work as a personal trainer. The results I have seen from people in every aspect of their lives is absolutely incredible and truly the factor that has pushed me into continually coming back to holistic health. Later I want to discuss more the benefits of diet on your overall health, but today it’s all about the physical body and helping you finally get rid of your pain.

Over 80% of the adult population will suffer from lower back pain at some time in their life. This phenomenon not only has caused grave discomfort for so many individuals, it also has skyrocketed our spending. It is estimated that the United States spends around $100 billion on lower back pain alone. Yikes is right. So what are the possible solutions to this problem? For many people this pain can be disabling so much so that they are unable to work, walk properly and spend time with loved ones. Going to the doctor for this problem is obviously one solution. With so many other people going through similar discomfort it is a common sight these doctors see. Unfortunately many of the solutions are fairly limited in the doctor’s office. Pain and muscle relaxers will be written up, steroids are often given and even an epidural if the pain is bad enough. For me this route is a last ditch resource, but fortunately for you there are so many other beautiful possibilities to help alleviate some of that pain before the fact.

My first tip to you would be to go see a physical therapist. They have gone to school for 7 years to work in this field and they can do wonders in helping the human body. Lower back pain, knee pain, shoulders, fingers and joints they have seen it all. I believe they are the best resource to try if you are experiencing pain in the body. They will be able to fully examine the body, understanding all of the movements that work with one another and why that knee injury 10 years ago may be causing your neck and back pain today. Working with a physical therapist you will be worked both inside and outside the clinic. Often you will be shown small controlled movements that will strengthen and isolate the issue you are dealing with. Learning how to stretch and properly walk and move your body will all be in the cards during your visit.

Another amazing option I have seen is chiropractic care. I must admit when I was young I honestly did not believe in the healing powers of chiropractic work. I was like so, so many others out there that was slightly terrified of this experience. And my one tip to you is the same I give with all health practices is to find the right person. Just as you would research the restaurant you are going to, research your doctor, physical therapist and chiropractic practitioner. While working at chiro clinic I witnessed people go through life altering changes. I cannot tell you how many people I would talk to on their first visit in so much pain they could hardly walk or run or sleep to their 8th visit moving their body around freely, sleeping well and playing with their kids again. Working at this clinic truly changed my life, it made me want to make a difference in people’s lives because the experiences I saw there brought me to tears nearly every day. I saw clients with such a wide range of ailments keeping their pain at bay, everything from pregnancy pain, migraines, TMJ, lower back pain, baby’s with colic, hip mobility and the list could go on and on. I cannot urge you enough to try chiropractic if you haven’t yet, even as a way of managing feeling good. It aligns your spine, makes you feel longer, prevents injury and literally makes you feel like a million bucks. Find the right person to do the work, but when you do your life will be changed forever.

After my time working at this clinic I have now found myself as a personal trainer and what an eye opening and beautiful experience that is. I am able to help people through pain, inflexibility and the task of getting stronger. I work with an incredibly vast group of clients. Many are young wanting to gain strength, lose weight and feel their best, while so many others are older or injured individuals who are looking to regain their mobility, prevent injuries in the future and rebuild their stability. It has been so powerful to witness people overcoming their hurdles. The right personal trainer will be able to assist you in rebuilding your confidence and strength. While I would choose to go to a physical therapist if you are in pain, they can also help you to build strength throughout the body to help alleviate some of the issues you may have in the lower back or knees. A lot of the problems come simply from our body’s alignment. I urge you to try these services especially if you are in pain working out or having troubles getting motivated. Finding the perfect personal trainer will promote self love, self care and feeling strong and healthy af!

There are so many other options to try if you are tired of taking endless pills to numb the pain in your body. I personally have seen amazing results from acupuncture and massage therapy, there are countless possibilities out there for you to try and I urge you to do your own research and find what works best for you. A huge obstacle I have heard from many people comes down to money. Often insurance will not pay for holistic medicine practices, and while this alone breaks my heart I really ask you to still give it a try if you can. Your body is worth the money and if you don’t spend it now on yourself it is likely you will spend it later. Masking the pain is doing little to help the root of the problem. What is happening internally is so important as we get older. If you can, pay a little extra for yourself. You deserve the absolute best and to treat yourself to a lifetime of the happiest, healthiest you.

Listening & Understanding Your Symptoms

“The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease”

-Voltaire-

This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart and in the upcoming weeks I am going to dive much deeper into this discussion but for now just a brief overview. As a society we have been somewhat told to overlook our symptoms. When we get hurt, feel ill or have things such as depression, we are often given things to mask these feelings. Your back hurts: here’s some pain medicine, your depressed and anxious: here’s an antidepressant, your digestion is off: there is definitely a pill for that. And while I do believe there is a time and place for conventional medicine, especially in mood disorders, I believe they are VASTLY overused.

According to the CDC, 48.9% of people have used at least one prescription drug in the last 30 days, and on average most Americans take about four prescription drugs per day. While many of these drugs are helping people live, many more of them are not. The possible adverse side effects are extensive for these types of drugs. Per year over 1 million people go to the hospital due to the adverse side effects of prescription drugs. Not only are they possibly dangerous, but also extremely expensive. New reports show that the U.S. prescription drug spending is looking to reach as high as $610 BILLION DOLLARS by 2021. If that doesn’t shock you, I don’t know what will. Those numbers are not just high they are catastrophic. Everything about this really alarms me and that is why I am urging you to really try to minimize the amount that you take, by doing something very simple: listening.

The most important thing I can say in this discussion is to begin focusing and listening to your symptoms and your body. I will go into more detail on this in the upcoming weeks, but listening to your body is crucial to optimal health and reducing the amount of medicine you take every day. We sit down for a minute with a doctor and are sent away with a sheet of multiple drugs we are supposed to take. By having only a minute discussion about what ails you we are no longer looking at the body as one complete entity anymore. Our bodies are not simply a collection of parts but rather one beautiful masterpiece all working together to help you live! Without one of your organs you would not function properly, and if one part of your body is out of whack, say your gut or knee, the rest of your body is not going to function to its optimal level. This is all part of the idea of functional medicine, which is something I live and die by. To me there is no other way to consider the way that our bodies run and thrive. If one piece of the puzzle is missing the rest of the body has to work extremely hard to adjust leaving pain or ailments because of our misalignments. Listening to our symptoms will truly help us to understand these connections. I work with people all of the time that will tell me things such as having chronic lower back pain and after adjusting their alignment in their lunge they tell me they cannot fully do one because of a skiing accident 20 years ago. Think these two things are connected? Without a doubt. I will continue going deeper into these topics, but in the mean time if you have something bothering you right now I strongly urge you to sit with your body and listen. Stomach pain? What did you eat? Headache? How much water have you drank? Again, what did you eat? Simply listening, accepting and understanding these feelings can help to greatly decrease your time spent in the doctor and taking more pills than necessary.

All of these ailments being discussed are vastly different I understand, but they all come down to one thing: your body is trying to tell you something. Whether or not it can be treated without prescription is varied based on the situation, but I think one thing is for sure, we should at least aid ourselves with proper nutrition and exercise as a compliment to these prescriptions. Listen to and trust your body and all of the messages it is trying to tell you. We must learn not to mask our problems with pills but instead listen and try to mend our bodies from the inside out. There are so many small changes we can do to promote overall health and wellbeing that will minimize or eliminate so many of these problems without even trying. As you can tell this is a topic I am extremely passionate about and I cannot wait to tell you more in the upcoming months! Stay tuned my friends!!