This past year has been a big year for me especially healthwise. I’ve been missing in action and for good reason.
I’m all about eating healthy and leading a healthy lifestyle. I eat a lot of organic foods and a lot of veggies. I meditate and manage my stress well. Sleep is a huge priority for me. Yet I felt something was off and what I was already doing was not enough. Little signs cropped up that made me think there was more to it.
Signs like feeling tired for no real reason. I thought I just needed to slow down. I only wrote a few pages a day for my upcoming book and limited my speaking engagements. But that still wore me out. Not normal.
I needed to dig deeper. I started first by getting my gut tested. I also got tested for toxins, heavy metals and mineral deficiencies. My tests revealed A LOT. I found out I have:
- A gluten sensitivity
- SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
- Copper toxicity
- Arsenic (it can be found in our drinking water and rice. Eating brown rice was a daily must for me)
- Mercury (I love sushi so I’m not surprised. Even eating wild caught fish doesn’t help)
- Severe mineral deficiencies for zinc, potassium, sodium, and magnesium to name a few. (My blood test only showed low zinc)
In short, my energy levels were like a car with its tires stuck in the mud. I was stuck.
To say the least my health was a hot mess. Healing has become my #1 priority. I’m following a protocol designed especially for my unique needs right now. It’s a journey. Being healthy is a lifelong journey, not a destination where you stop once you reach a specific goal. It’s ongoing.
What can you do?
I encourage you to listen to your body – really tune in. What signs and symptoms are you getting? Dig deep and become the CEO of your health. Find out what might be at the root cause of your problems. Everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for you.
Become your own health advocate. Educate yourself and ask tough questions. I certainly do. While I’m working with a great team of functional medicine and wellness practitioners I update them on what I’m experiencing and what I know and have learned about myself and challenge them. I also know all my test results and have a bird’s eye view of what is happening to my health.
Resources you might want to look into
If you’re ready to look deeper here are some resources that can help:
- A functional, integrative or naturopathic medicine doctor who will want to look at the root cause of your symptoms and/or disease. Here are databases to find one in your area if you’re not already working with one:
- Institute for Functional Medicine: https://www.ifm.org/find-a-practitioner/
- American College for Advancement in Medicine: http://acam.site-ym.com/search/custom.asp?id=1758
- American Association of Naturopathic Physicians: https://www.naturopathic.org/AF_MemberDirectory.asp?version=1
- Paleo Physicians Network: http://paleophysiciansnetwork.com/
- Blood test with your doctor, especially a functional medicine doctor. More specifically some things to look out for:
- Your thyroid (the full panel including TSH, T3, T4, reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies)
- Your liver enzyme ATL levels (if it’s higher than 19 for women or 30 for men it’s suggestive of non alcoholic fatty liver disease which is reported to affect 38% of the population)
- Your CRP levels which indicate the amount of inflammation in your body. High levels are considered a non-specific marker for disease.
- GI Map is the most reliable gut panel. It gives you a pretty comprehensive report on what is going on in your gut. (NOTE: if you live in NY look for a practitioner out of state who you can work with long distance. NY currently does not allow for testing. You can contact the lab to get a list of practitioners.)
- Hormone testing. Dr. Sara Gottfried’s book The Hormone Cure is a great place to start understanding your hormones (reproductive, adrenal and thyroid). She provides is a quiz to find out where you may need extra hormonal support.
- Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) to test for heavy metals and mineral deficiencies. A HTMA looks at what minerals are reaching your cells, which cannot be seen through most other tests. For example my magnesium levels were normal according to my blood test but the HTMA revealed that I was severely lacking. This is also the most reliable test to find out if you are copper toxic. You could easily be if you’ve ever been on birth control, used a copper IUD, are or have been vegetarian, have copper pipes and/or have adrenal fatigue. The best labs to use for testing are Trace Elements (TEI) and Analytical Research Labs (ARL) through a practitioner. One place you can look one up is here. http://functionaldiagnosticnutrition.com/practitioner-inquiry-form/
(NOTE: if you live in NY look for a practitioner out of state who you can work with long distance. NY currently does not allow for testing.)
- Genetic testing. Ben Lynch’s book “Dirty Genes” is a fantastic resource that provides a questionnaire to find out which genes you may need to “clean up” without necessarily going through the testing. The science of epigenetics, which the book focuses on, helps you understand how you influence your genes and health. You can totally support your genes to prevent disease and optimize your health. I found that by doing a real genetic test I got some profound and more detailed insights on my health and root causes of my ailments that the book does not go into. If you really want to dig deeper you can order your genetic test through 23andme and send the raw data for further analysis to Strategene.
- Gluten intolerance testing. The most reliable way to know if you truly are sensitive to gluten and not just to the mold in it, for example, is genetic testing. You can order it here. The GI Map can also indicate whether you are sensitive or not by measuring your antibodies for gliadin, a marker for gluten sensitivity. To know for sure if you are genetically hard-wired to be sensitive to gluten get the genetic test here.
Most of your testing can be done through your functional, integrative or naturopathic medicine doctor or practitioner but if not you can order some basic hormone tests at:
The Canary Club www.canaryclub.org
Direct Labs www.directlabs.com
This is an investment. If you feel off despite your best efforts to lead a healthy life it’s worth it. You are worth it and most of all you deserve it.