My Personal Gut Story

Gut story? Who wants to read that?

I know, right?!?!

BUT, if my story can help someone else to feel encouraged then this gut story of mine is worth sharing and reading. So, here it is:

About 10 years out of college I started having some serious health issues. Pain in my upper back and stomach pain from out of this world. Had ALL the tests and procedures done. Blood work, colonoscopy, endoscopy, ultrasounds, x-rays, two gallbladder tests complete with radioactive drinks….

And the only thing they found was possibly the scarring from an ulcer. Yet, I was in excruciating pain every single day. Finally, my gastroenterologist told me, “We don’t know what’s wrong with you. There’s nothing else we can do.”

In the midst of all that I also had food allergy testing and found out I was allergic to barley. Weirdest thing ever, I thought. And I told the doctor I didn’t drink beer. He said, “Then you’re fine. There’s nothing you need to do differently.” I didn’t understand so I went home and researched and found that barley has gluten and is in nearly everything it seemed: anything with flour, Carmel color, sauces, coke….

So, that was it. That was the day the medical field lost my trust. That was the day I decided to take back control of my own health.

So, I started doing research on how to make my body healthy. On how to heal. I read, and read, and read. I listened to health talks meant for doctors. I became a sponge for knowledge about my gut and health. And the thing was, no matter what the topic there were always similar suggestions for how to heal. And it all started with diet.

I knew my mental health wasn’t in the greatest shape either. I had begun to see a counselor to help with that.

And, I had come across a reverse elimination diet called the GAPS Diet. That stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet. Whoa. The more I read and learned about it the more it described me. But if I tried this diet I was going to have to change everything. I mean everything. Starting with what I ate. See, the reverse elimination diet component means you take everything (yes, EVERYTHING) out of your diet. You drink bone broth for a certain number of days (depending on your body) and then you begin adding in foods one at a time to see if your body has any adverse reactions to them.

I was ready to not hurt every time I swallowed a bite of food. I was ready to reclaim my health. And I was ready to do whatever it took to get there. So, I jumped in. Feet first. Head first. Whatever you want to say, I was all in. And for two weeks, all I ate was bone broth. Beef bone broth, chicken bone broth, and fish bone broth. (I don’t recommend the fish. Ick!). Then I began eating the chicken from the broth I’d made. And within a few days I was already feeling better. Within a few weeks I wasn’t in pain anymore.

Then, I added cooked onions, cooked apples, and eggs next. I continued adding foods one at a time until I was on the full GAPS Diet – which is still limited but way more options than just broth. I stayed on this diet for about two years.

This diet healed my gut. But it didn’t heal my allergies. I had gotten my mental health under control by this point. I had even gotten off all anxiety and depression medication (whoa- that’s a story all in its self).

So, I began working with my chiropractic physician. She put me on a regimen for two months of supplements to reinvigorate my gut cells. Then I was on a strict diet of mostly veggies, fruit, and meat for two months.

And this process healed me from my allergies- along with tons of prayer too I might add!

So, I started eating whatever I wanted again. And for two more years I was just fine.

Then, this summer I started having pain and major gurgling again. My gluten allergy was back. And this time dairy has been an issue for me too.

So, I am once again gluten free and now dairy free. For the time being. I am certain that I can be healed again when the time is right. I’ve been through this before. And I know what to expect this time. And I’m ready. Ready to heal myself- without drugs, without chemicals, without anything Big Pharma has to offer me. Because nature was given to us by God. And he intended for us to use it. So, I will.

Are you in a place where the medical field has let you down too? Have you been given a “life sentence” of illness, disease, or symptoms? Let me speak life and love into you right now:

THERE IS HOPE. And yes, for you too. No matter what you’ve been told. No matter what your diagnosis. No matter what. There is hope. I’d be happy to listen to your story too. Share a piece of it here by commenting below.

What Does a Health Coach Eat?

I get asked all the time:

What do you eat? What is your diet like?

So, I thought I’d share!

Today’s menu:

Breakfast: Plantain pancakes with handpicked blueberries

Lunch: Cheesy frittata with sprouts and homemade raw chocolate milk (sweetened with maple syrup)

Dinner: Salad with grilled chicken and probably ice cream for dessert

Yes, I give thanks to God before every meal, following the model of Jesus at the last supper.

Luke 22:19

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Yes, I eat organic fruits and veggies.

Yes, I eat dairy: cheese, raw milk, sour cream… because my body handles it well.

Yes, I eat chocolate. Dark chocolate- over 70% cacao- nearly everyday. (When I travel I even take some with me because I have a serious sweet tooth.)

Yes, I eat meat. All kinds. My body needs it. I don’t eat meat every day, however. And I do buy organic chicken, organic grass fed beef, and wild caught fish.

Yes, I eat gluten free grains: oats, quinoa, flax…

Yes, I eat sugar. But in very limited quantities. And if I make a recipe that calls for sugar I always substitute maple syrup, honey, or monk fruit sweetener in its place.

Yes, I eat chips and salsa, gluten free pizza, and ice cream, among other things too!

I very much try to live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I try to eat as healthy as I can. 20% of the time I eat whatever I want (as long as its gluten free.)

No, I don’t eat gluten. Read my last blog post here to read why.

No, I don’t buy conventionally grown produce (unless it’s absolutely necessary).

No, I don’t drink alcohol. God has asked me not to so that I am not a stumbling block for anyone. (Plus, my body doesn’t like it.)

And if I’m ever somewhere that I am completely out of control of what is being served (and it’s far from what I would choose) then I give thanks anyways.

What I eat is what works well for my body. And what is healthy for me may not be healthy for you.

I encourage you to eat what works well for your body. And if you don’t know start experimenting and noticing. Notice how you feel and what is happening inside your body right after you eat and two hours later also. Your body will tell you so many things if you just listen.

And if you need more guidance tuning in and figuring out what your body needs pray about it! And if God so leads, message me and I’m happy to help you too!

To Gluten or Not to Gluten..

This seems to be a hot topic these days and I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned from research and experience.

Gluten is a binder in grains. It’s what makes bread have elasticity.

Here’s what God says about what we should eat:

Genesis 1:29

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

Plants containing gluten (wheat, barley, rye…) aren’t what they used to be – how God made them in the Garden of Eden. These plants have been genetically modified, sprayed with pesticides, and don’t have the nutrients they used to because of overuse of the soil.

If you know anything about me and my health journey you know that I used to have an allergy to barley – which has gluten. So, for a long time I ate gluten free. Then I decided I really wanted a doughnut, so I ate a specific diet and took supplements to teach the cells in my gut to accept gluten again. And it worked!! I was able to eat doughnuts, and bread, and pasta, and pizza…

So, for a few years I ate whatever I wanted. Then, a few months ago I started having some digestive issues again. Really intense bloating, a gurgly tummy, cramping. So, I talked with my doctor and she believes my gluten allergy is back. 🤦🏻‍♀️

So, I am gluten free again. And probably for forever this time. Here’s why:

Gluten causes inflammation.

In everybody.

Whether you have a sensitivity to it or not.

It also causes the lining of your digestive tract (which is only one cell thick) to have loose junctures. When this happens food particles escape into your blood stream. Food isn’t supposed to be there so your body attacks it. This is called leaky gut. For some people, like me, this process is severe. Other people may not have any symptoms at all. It all depends on your body.

So, gluten isn’t good for anybody. Yet, it’s in soooo many things. Things you wouldn’t even consider. If you’re wanting to go gluten free it’s important to read labels. And be on the lookout for these things:

Flour

Barley

Wheat

Rye

Carmel color

Soy sauce

Yeast

Breading

Triticum

(This is just a sample list. There are a ton more things to watch out for.)

Also, be mindful of bath and body products, makeup, cleaning products, toothpaste, supplements, medications, etc. These things often contain gluten as well.

So, you’ll need to decide for you and your family what will be best for you.

And if you have questions please reach out! I’d be happy to give you more information, have a conversation with you, or help you go gluten free if you so desire.

10 Tips for Healthy Eating Without Rules

Psalm 73:4

“They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.”

Doesn’t healthy eating seem so complicated these days?!?!

There’s this diet and that one! There’s this rule that contradicts that rule. And who wants to eat tree bark anyways?!?!

Well, I’m here to tell you that healthy eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. There doesn’t have to be so many rules. Also, what is healthy for one person may not be healthy for you! Diets were created for one particular person in mind. You may have some similarities with that person, but you are most likely NOT that person.

Side Note: If you are on a particular diet for healing or overcoming dis-ease in the body that is a whole other ball game. I was on the very strict GAPS diet for two years to allow my body to heal. And there is certainly a time and place for particular diets. If you are not trying to heal and don’t have food allergies or sensitivities then there is no reason to deprive yourself 100% of the time.

I want to encourage you to start where you are. Take into consideration the following tips and take it one day at a time. And know that 75% of healthy eating is HOW you eat, not WHAT you eat.

  1. Choose as many fruits and veggies as possible. In fact, try to make over half your plate vegetables – fruit if desired.
  2. Eat until you are about 70% full.
  3. Eat before you’re so hungry you could eat a horse.
  4. Take 10 deep breaths before eating. This turns on your digestive system and turns off your stress response.
  5. Chew your food. Yeah, like 30 times each bite.
  6. Focus on eating while you’re eating. Try not to eat in the car or while you’re watching tv.
  7. Choose foods that make you feel good and give you long-sustained energy.
  8. Plan what you will eat and be prepared.
  9. 80/20 Idea: 80% of the time eat as healthy as you can. 20% of the time eat whatever you want. (Including chocolate cake! Whoop!)
  10. Be grateful. Gratitude changes more things than we realize – and for the good!

Do you have questions about these tips? Or need more info? Send me an email and I’d be happy to explain or guide more!

How to Make Sauerkraut

God created our very complex digestive systems. And we have the opportunity to honor Him by helping keep our own digestive system healthy through what we eat. And fermented foods are one of the most amazing foods for us!

People often make a very sour face when I mention sauerkraut. However, I’m not talking about the store-bought icky brownish stuff. I’m talking about the crispy, green (or purple) yumminess!

Plus, it’s sooooo good for you! I eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner some days! If you want to read a little science about what fermented foods, like sauerkraut, do for you and your body this article is really great!

So, here’s how I make sauerkraut:

  1. Buy organic cabbage – this could be green or purple (they both make delicious sauerkraut and the purple is really pretty too!)
  2. Shred your cabbage. I like to use my food processor to make the job easy.
  3. Put the cabbage in a large glass or stainless steel bowl (no plastic please!)
  4. Sprinkle about 3 Tablespoons of Himalayan Pink Salt or Celtic Sea Salt over the cabbage.
  5. Then squeeze, squish, and kneed for 10 minutes. Your cabbage will extract juice which is necessary for the fermentation process.
  6. Place your cabbage in a fermenting container. This could be a special fermenter or just a glass jar or two. You want to make sure the juice is covering the cabbage. This is what keeps mold from growing on your cabbage.
  7. Put some sort of weight on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged in the juice. You can use ceramic pieces or another glass bowl.
  8. Cover with a towel or an airlock lid (like the one shown below).
  9. Let sit on the counter for about 3 days. And there you go. Sauerkraut!
  10. You will want to store your sauerkraut in the fridge. And it will last for several months!

The process is really easy! Plus you can add spices, herbs, or other veggies to make it taste different. I’ve tried out basil, dill, and peppercorns! YUM!

So, if you’re nervous about growing bacteria on your kitchen counter I encourage you to give it a try. I’ve make tons of batches of sauerkraut! And, I will admit that some of them have been disastrous fails. However, I’ve learned along the way about what works and what doesn’t. The Cultures for Health website has been an amazing resource for me too! They provide free e-books on all kinds of fermentation as well as sell products to help you be successful!

Have questions? Email them to me at needahealthcoach@gmail.com

Need a Healthy Holiday Meal Plan?

So, I know we just had Thanksgiving!  But are you already thinking about food for Christmas dinner and parties and friends, and…?

Well, maybe you are and maybe you aren’t.  But either way, Christmas is going to be here before we know it!  And I want to help you be prepared to have a healthy holiday!

Well, part of cultivating health during the holidays requires more than well wishes.  It takes planning and cooperation!  (I recently taught a workshop on this topic and two sisters attended.  They said it was most helpful that they were there together!  They could plan and prepare with the things they learned from the workshop in mind!)  So, get your family and friends in on the planning.  The planning might even be the most important part!  The execution will just be following the plan!  Easy peasy!

So, what are some healthy options for a bountiful holiday meal?  I’m so glad you asked!  I have created an entire day of healthy recipes to take part of the stress of the holidays off of you!  Want a copy?

All you need to do is send me an email requesting a copy!  (And I’ll add you to my email list so you won’t miss out on any other amazingness!)

Here’s a sneak preview into what you’ll receive:

Recipes for Breakfast, Appetizers, Snacks, Lunch, Dinner, and Desserts!

One of my favorite is the Raw Chocolate Pomegranate Bark!  Hope you enjoy!!!

My Lust for Doughnuts

So, if you know me very much at all you know how much I LOVE doughnuts!  The kind with chocolate and sprinkles on top!  Mmmmm!!!!

And if you know me at all you also know that I have been healed of a barley allergy.  (Barley contains gluten and is in nearly all things!)  What you might not realize is my motivation for healing my barley allergy was so I could eat doughnuts again!  Haha!!!

And through prayer, dedication, and strict diet and supplements I was able to achieve that goal.  And then I ate sooooo many doughnuts!

And I began to realize how awful those doughnuts made me feel afterward.  All that sugar and who knows what else (I’m not even looking to find out all the bad things in doughnuts!).  So, I began slacking off on eating them.

Then every so often my husband or I would bring home a dozen of those hot and ready yummies (Oh my!  My mouth is watering just thinking about them)!  And I would have no control.  I would eat 3 or 4.  Then a few hours later I’d eat 3 or 4 more.  And the dozen would be gone before the day was out.  Sigh.  I seem to have no control when doughnuts are in the house.  I can control myself with ALL other foods.  What is it with the doughnuts?!?!

So, I have now resorted to only getting one or two at a time and only a few times a year.  And I recently came across some very interesting information from a book I was reading.

“When you turn to food to to relieve anxiety or satisfy a lust for sweets, salt, and so on, you will lose control, and the results will negatively affect your health.”

-Neil T Anderson from The Bondage Breaker

Yikes!  Perhaps my loss of control is a need for something else!  More Jesus perhaps!  No, I’m certain I need more Jesus.

I’m told to:

“Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

-Romans 13:14 (NIV)

But what if I don’t?  I’m told to:

“Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” -2 Corinthians 10:5

But what if I don’t?  I’m told to:

“Therefore put on the full armor of God…” -Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)

But what if I don’t?

 

Then, I am submitting to Satan’s tactics to try and steal me away from Jesus.  I am allowing him to create a desire so deep I can’t seem to control it – and it turns to lust, which is sin.  Over doughnuts of all things!

What are we to do?

Well, I have lately been “clothing myself with the Lord Jesus Christ,” “taking every thought captive,” and “putting on the armor of God.”  And I haven’t brought doughnuts into the house yet, but I’m praying that my lust will turn into dust and I will find complete and total satisfaction in the one true King, Jesus.

How about you?  What is trying to draw you away from Jesus?  What is Satan using to capture you?

Is Keto a Fad Diet?

Well, the keto diet sure is all the rage right now. Keto is short for Ketogenic. The basic gist is to eliminate all carbs and eat a high fat and high protein diet to put your body into ketosis- which is a fat burning mode.

This diet eliminates many vegetables, most fruits, and all sugars.

Green Smoothie Girl wrote an excellent article with the help of 22 experts about low carb diets like keto.  Read it here.

Here’s my opinion on this and basically any other diet plan out there:

If you are sick or trying to heal a certain diet with strict rules might be just right for you.

In my personal healing journey I did the GAPS diet where I started out eating just bone broth for two weeks. That’s about as strict as you can get besides fasting. And this diet was something I needed to heal. I totally believe that there are certain diets for certain issues.

I don’t believe that rules of a diet, such as keto, are for everybody for a lifetime. Perhaps a season, but not a lifetime. Strict rules are not sustainable, meaning they get burdensome and no fun to follow after awhile. Who wants to live their lives feeling deprived all the time? Not me!

See, all diets were created for one particular individual. And the rules meet the needs of that one person. More than likely you are not that person. Perhaps there are a few pieces that might work for you, but the whole thing isn’t suited for your body- again as long as you are not trying to heal.

Plus, God created our bodies to need fruits, veggies, carbs, and meat. If we’re not eating all of these then our bodies are being deprived of some form of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, amino acids, or so many other things. With that being said, I don’t believe we need to have meat every meal. Perhaps once a week or a few times a month might be enough for your body.

So, how are we supposed to eat healthy, lose weight, and create longevity in our lives?

That’s exactly what I help clients do! Figure out what works for their unique body!

Do some experimenting to see what foods give you energy and what foods take away energy. Simply paying attention to how you feel after eating a certain food can give you a lot of information.

And I might add that what is healthy for one person may not be healthy for you! In addition, our bodies need different things during different seasons of our lives. So, what works for you this year may need to be adjusted next year, or in five years.

If all this is too overwhelming to try and figure out on your own, let me know! I’d love to help you figure out what foods your body needs so you can create a healthy lifestyle, not just a diet.

Why Should I Eat Organic?

There are debates going on all over kitchens and grocery stores about eating organic. Why we should, why it doesn’t matter, who cares anyways?!?!

Here’s why I care.

Conventional food sprayed with pesticides and antibiotics are straight up toxins- poisons really.  And we ingest those when we eat fruits, veggies, and meat that aren’t organic.

Our bodies were designed to process toxins. However when we overload our bodies every single day it doesn’t quite know what to do with all of them. So, it begins storing them in our bodies. This might result in chronic pain, fibromyalgia, sinus issues, headaches, sleeplessness, ADHD, skin issues like psoriasis, and others.

This dis-ease in the body leads to chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, Crohn’s, and so much more.

I know this first hand because I had toxic overload and was having severe pain as well as tons of other health issues. And as I began to detox and eat more organic foods, my symptoms began to subside.

My body was able to process the toxins in my environment I wasn’t able to get away from (like pollution) and the dis-ease began to become ease.

So, when it is in my control, I choose to eat organic whenever possible. Yes, my grocery bill is a bit more expensive. But I’d rather spend my money on healthy food than at the doctors office.

Do you eat organic? Why or why not?

Why I Drink Raw, Unpasteurized Milk

Pasteurization was created to make milk from slop farms safe to drink back in the 1880s. This process removes ALL the bacteria. That means even the good bacteria that our bodies need for a healthy gut, body, and mind. It also removes essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.  The majority of farms in America are no longer slop farms.  Most of them have safe, clean environments for the milk cows.

So, raw milk has no additives and is not pasteurized.

Yes, the FDA and CDC are going to tell you that raw milk is dangerous and unsafe and avoid it at all costs. They’ve even made legislation to make it really difficult to acquire raw milk.

Dr. Axe wrote a great article explaining this in detail. Check it out for documented facts about the safety of raw milk.

I know far too well about bacteria in our gut and why it’s so important to feed the good and get rid of the bad. We NEED bacteria in our guts. That is our immune system- our first line of defense against outside threats.

So, I drink raw milk because it’s safe, tastes delicious, and it boosts my immune system.

I do recommend getting your milk from a farmer you know and trust.  In addition, you want to make sure your farmer does not use hormones or antibiotics on the cows.  I am part of a herd share and get my milk here.