I have learned a lot in the last 2 years. I could not have done this alone. I owe my doctor, Dr. Betsy Buchert at Mint Health, so much. She encouraged me and wouldn’t let me quit. She was patient and listened while I complained. She promised me it would be worth it. I must admit, I didn’t always believe that, but I really had run out of options. My choice was to stay in bed with chronic fatigue or try something different to get better. I chose the later.
In 2015 I could barely get out of bed. It took all my energy to get through normal daily tasks. A grocery store trip normally wore me out enough to warrant a nap and I was nauseated daily. Now, I am exercising easily, functioning normally with lots of energy, and I don’t need a nap to get through the day. How did this happen? Well, it didn’t happen over night, but it did happen and I would love to share with you what I learned.
There is a 5 R program that most functional healthcare practitioners teach. I had to learn this program and implement it into my daily routine. I can say that is wasn’t easy. I hated it in the beginning. I wanted to quit and I was mad. But I did it anyway. I didn’t quit because I couldn’t live the way I was living any longer. My life was passing by while I was in bed. I could barely take care of myself and my family. Everything was an effort. Existing was overwhelming. It was hard, really hard to make changes and it was all worth it. Here is what I did (5R):
- Remove: You must remove anything in your life or diet that is causing a problem. This is tricky because it can be the same or completely different than someone else with the same problem. It could be stress, negative emotions, lack of sleep, food that you are allergic to or sensitive to, mold in house, or a bacteria or bug living in your GI tract. I started with lots of functional medical tests to give me some guidance as to what I needed to do. In my case, I had a very unhealthy gut with very little food being digested properly. I went on an elimination diet to find out which foods were causing me problems.
- Replace: You must replace all the good things that your body is lacking. It could be sleep, positive thoughts, deep breathing to calm the body, good bacteria probiotics and prebiotics, digestive enzymes, lots of phytonutrients, healthy nutritious food, and supplements. I also learned about a special drink to enhance and stimulate digestion. I drank this 3 times a day before each meal. Now that I am feeling better, I still drink it first thing every morning to stimulate digestion.
- Reinoculate: You must reinoculate with lots of good bacteria, probiotics, prebiotics and fermented foods. I learned to make my own Kombucha and fermented foods and began taking probiotics and prebiotics.
- Repair: You must repair the gut lining. The first part of repairing is removing what is causing the gut lining to have a problem in the first place. But, truly repairing the gut comes with healing the gut lining using supplements like glutamine, collagen, bone broth, dgl, aloe vera etc.
- Rebalance: You must take an inventory of your life and notice what is working and what is not working. Rebalance sleep, stress, nutrition and make yourself a priority.
When most practitioners discuss the 5 R program, they are usually referring to gut health. New research is coming out every day on how our gut health is the key to every part of our total health whether it be brain, mental, immune, etc. So, to take care of the gut, you also have to take care of the body. It is all related.
When I started this 5 R program, August 2015, I was already gluten free and had eliminated most sugar from my diet. But it still wasn’t enough. For the next 3 months, I eliminated all common allergy foods including corn, eggs, tomatoes, all grains, dairy, all artificial sweeteners, fruit, caffeine and all artificial ingredients. I used only organic foods and ate a very “clean diet” of vegetables and proteins. This is referred to the detox period. I felt terrible for a lot of this time then would see a glimpse of feeling better then back to another symptom popping up. I was weak and hungry a lot of the time. Eating meat was a struggle and it wasn’t going well. I prepared everything I ate adding in 3-4 vegetable servings at each meal including raw and cooked, fermented foods, blender drinks, and never ate out. I went through an angry stage and grieved for old behaviors in the beginning during detox months. I was mad that I had to make even more changes, mad that I couldn’t eat out, mad that other people didn’t have to go through all of this. But gradually over the 3 months, I began to feel better. When I finally finished the detox period, I was able to start adding foods back in. During add back, I added eggs back first without a problem. I was very excited to add back eggs and when I did, I immediately felt better. When I tried to add dairy and other grains, I got immediately sick. That is when I realized I had to keep them out of my diet. Over the next 6 months, things continued to get better for me. I was able to exercise more, I took less naps and rests during the day, my depression and anxiety were pretty much gone and my blood sugar was feeling much more stable. I was rarely nauseated unless I ate something that wasn’t clean. Most of my symptoms including blood pressure had returned to normal. Every so often, I would feel tired or unbalanced. I would take inventory of what was going on in my life. I learned that it takes a long time for things to rebalance and heal. I kept moving forward. As the days, weeks and months past, things continued to get better and I began feeling even better with more energy. I would find myself having more days of feeling good than feeling bad. Slowly the days of feeling bad were fewer and fewer. When I went for blood work in April 2016, I found that my cholesterol was still high. I also tested high in heavy metals even though I was feeling much better. I began taking a supplement to help clear the metals and multiple supplements to lower cholesterol. When I first began these new supplements, I found that I had some detox symptoms like more nausea, skin break outs, and headaches. I guess it was my body getting rid of some of the toxins. I drank a lot of water, increased exercise and sweating, did some dry skin brushing, took detox baths, and started fascia blasting. After about 3 months of this, I found I felt even better than before. Today, 6 months of vigorously trying to rid heavy metals, I am feeling better than ever. I have not had metals or cholesterol rechecked but plan to very soon. If I had to guess, I would guess they are returning to normal because I am feeling so much better. It has been a very long journey. It was very hard but it was all worth it. I am so glad to be on the other side now. I would never go back. I feel like I am so far on the other side now that I don’t even care about everything I had to do to get here. I get mad now when I have to eat out because I know it will set me back. What a shift in mindset!
I hope this in some way encourages others to take this journey. For me, the hardest part was starting the journey and feeling the loss of making changes. It was letting go of old habits and familiarities and comforts. It was teaching my family that we are all in this together. It was finding new ways to be. Now, it is just a normal way of life. I wouldn’t change a thing and wouldn’t have it any other way. I reclaimed my life and you can too! Please feel free to make comments or ask questions.
Here are some of the products I used to heal and continue to take: Visit my online store to buy products
collagen I use this in my morning tea. I linked it to my tea recipe.
glutamine gut health This is used for healing the gut lining. I still use this daily.
phytomulti An awesome multi vitamin that my entire family takes daily!
detox supplement for metals I use this to help my body rid the metals. I will continue to take it until I get rechecked for metals and see that I no longer need it.
detox supplement for general purposes I use this to help my body rid all toxins including the metals and assist with general detoxification.
detox powder I use this in addition to the supplement for added benefit. I like it because sometimes you just want a smoothie for a snack or after a work out. I used this in the program form during my detox period which is more intense use. Now, I just use it to fill in and aid what I am already doing. There are several detox programs that package things in an all in one monthly supply. These are great starter kits to kick off a wellness program, weight loss program or as “spring cleaning” so to speak. Please contact me if you would like to start one of these programs. I can help you select the best one for you!
probiotic I take a pill daily or add powder to my blender drink and I eat fermented foods and drink kombucha.
My cholesterol lowering supplements:
Olive Oil not heated added to salads