Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 reflection - My IBD journey

So... after hosting our big Xmas dinner for 20+, I finally found some time to sit down and craft a pretty solid draft for this post. In between cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, I was feeling a great sense of pat on the back. This morning, I was ready to finish off the post when I realised that the latest version wasn't saved, poof, gone, nutta!!! The old me would have freaked out, I would have felt that tightening in my upper back and neck. But instead I took a deep breath, grabbed one of my many bottles of essential oil by the computer, applied and carried on. Yup, the new me handled it pretty well. Let me tell you what this year had taught me.

Last year, I posted a short and sweet reflection for the year around this time. As I reread it, I was pretty shocked how much uncertainty weighed down my words. Felt like, it was written from a totally different person. I've learned so much this year and this is a great opportunity for me to recognize my accomplishments.

These are a few highlights for my 2018 reflection.

Superpower to body reset

I stepped into 2018 testing out a powerful wellness skill, almost like a superpower of sort. I learned how to use extending fasting to reset my body. From resting digestion to balancing hormones, fasting also strengthens my mind. The quick drop in lbs got my vanity's attention, but the real perk was the general feeling of awesomeness, the mental clarity, increase in energy and just functioning on a different realm was really cool. I was feeling so good that I decided to re-intro more foods outside of the AIP. This addition to my wellness tool belt gave me an amazing experience on our family vacay in Hawaii, I was really experiencing R&R, almost for the first time.

Sharing my voice

When Oshi Health invited me to share my story in their soon to launch app for IBD folks, I say Yas!!! Sign me up. I was so excited to reach more people in the IBD community. Pitch in my voice and offer my encouragements to a wider audience. If you haven't checked out their app, don't wait and spread the words.

"The Oshi App 📱

The Oshi app is the first all-in-one digital solution to help patients manage IBD. The app empowers patients to:

  • Track: People can track their symptoms, stress, diet, exercise, and sleep, and the app uses this data to generate a completely personalized Oshi Wellness Score.
  • Learn: Oshi contains a magazine’s worth of quality, curated educational content that’s written by our team of patient advocates, by top-notch professional writers, and by our team of physician-partners and other subject-matter experts.
  • Ask: People can submit questions directly to Oshi for answers from our team of experts.   
Oshi is available for download in the United States,Canada, the United Kingdom and Denmark— free — from both the Apple App Store and Android Google Play."

Connecting with people the old fashion way

On a personal level, I've been making an effort to connect where I can see or hear the other person.  I learned how important connection was when I was at the lowest point of my health. I was desperate to find anyone who would understand. I'm forever grateful for finding that sense of community online. Now that I'm back on my feet in health, I enjoy making more in person contacts on a day to day basis. Even making a phone call, scheduling online chat with friends overseas give me a boost of the warm fuzzies. While waiting in line, one of my favs thing to do is strike up a conversation with the person in front, it sure makes the wait time pass faster,  or listening to the gas attendant story as he insists I should be a teacher because I have that "gift with people" Blush.... It's not like asking me to donate a vital organs while I'm alive, just basic human interaction... feels nice.

What does 2019 hold for me?

I recently discovered the writings of Dr. Satchin Panda, I have to admit his name got my attention... my kid loves Panda. His book The Circadian Code is one of the many on my readings right now. So nurturing my Circadian Rhythm is high on the 2019 list, it's not just what I eat, It's also important when I eat, the sleep wake cycle is key too.

With a clearer mind, I'm now capable of emmercing in multiple books at a time. Wow, that has never happened in my life before. Reading, journalling,  listening and most important thing...implementing. Gotta take action instead of passive learning. Another goal is to break down all the goodness into  bite size chunks for sharing. I'm hoping this will make things less overwhelming and easier to apply into everyday lives for those who're ready to make some changes.

What plans do you have for the new year? Are you writing them down somewhere?

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Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Saturday, September 15, 2018

My tips on managing stress

Photo by Gabriel Matula on Unsplash
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When I was at the beginning of my healing journey, I had to first acknowledge the state of my wellness or at that time, my sickness. After being in denial for a period of time, I accepted that I wasn't able to bounce back without some serious work. Hitting rock bottom motivated me to shape up or ship out. I recommend paying attention to Self-care and self-love as the first step to wellness. Ironically, these basic human needs are what people find most challenging to practice. It's all good, here are some suggestions you can try and see what resonates.

Breathing exercise
Most people take out breathes for granted. By simply focusing on our breathing can make a difference in our wellness.  Try some slow and long breathes to start and lengthen each inhale and exhale to feel the calming effects.

Being in Nature
Remember that last time you watched the sun rise or sun set? How did that feel? Stop during the hustle and bustle lifestyle for a moment of serenity. If you are more mobile, try escaping in nature for a walk, it can do wonders to reconnect us to the core.

Journalling helps clear my mind. There are different ways to journal, some people like to journal online, others like the old fashion pen and paper route, check out The Ultimate Health Journal by A Clean Plate for a unique combination to " Logging your diet, exercise, sleep habits, stress management, social life, time outdoors, and illnesses and symptoms" so you can stay on track of your progress

Essential Oils
I use Young Living Essential oils to support my wellness in multiple ways, my emotions are number one on the list. There're many emotional blends that have helped me relax, set intentions, feel more uplifted, see things in better perspectives. Some of my favourite blends include Acceptance,  Surrender, Forgiveness and Believe, just to name a few. If you want to learn why I chose Young Living over other brands, click here.

There's also a specific technique that has help many people to dig deeper into their past and release trapped emtions.

Aroma Freedom Technique with Essential Oils

Focus on gratitude
Anthony Robbins Quotes "The antidote to fear is gratitude. The antidote to anger is gratitude. You can't feel fear or anger while feeling gratitude at the same time."

Reprogram your thoughts
This is one of my current favourite, it's like a game to me. I'm consciously choosing only positive words as I write and speak. Swap out "I hope" to "I will" to create more certainty. Convince your mind that something good is already happening.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

More about fasting for health - Part 2

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Here is the link to Fast track to wellness - Part 1. How I got started into extended fasting.

Here's another one of my fasting related link to my the one year update post on my nutritional ketosis progress

Some of you might be wondering how I got from gut healing focus to this fasting practice. Once I felt my UC was pretty much under control, I started looking into the effect of insulin and how it might play a role in the gut microbiome. You see, my mother was a T2 diabetic who died from complication of the metabolic disease. Her neglect of health led her to renal failure and 10 years of dialysis. Watching her body deteriorate was what got me interested in wellness in the first place. This is why I became so interested in insulin and how it may affect our gut microbiome

What is my Fasting routine look like?

Well, I started off trying to follow a routine, a template. That's how most of us learn right?  There's a lot of info out there, so far the clearest and simple resource I've found was  Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung. I started by following the 24 hrs Alternate day fasting as described in the book. Day 1 Lunch and Dinner, Day 2 Dinner, rinse and repeat. It got a little getting used especially for my family. Didn't take long for me to see the weight melting away and my energy skyrocketing, I was excited to dive deeper.

My body seems to really like the One Meal A Day practice, aka, OMAD. I chose dinner as my meal of the day 'cause it's more of a social thing where I can relax and enjoy time with family. But I had to watch out when I was still trying to lose a few pounds, my body adapted to whatever routine purely for survival which means it hung onto the weight.

So how did I get over that hump? By shaking things up, being fluid.

Today, I'm more intuitive with my fasting, I don't follow a schedule like fast on set days. Some people like to do Mon, Wed, Fri. I mainly go with how I feel. Sometimes I like to time a longer fast into my social calendar. I do find that a few days after my cycle is a good time to do an extended fast, which is usually between 36-42 hrs. So that makes a long fast once a month for me.

Pros about fasting

Eating less means cost less

Digestion doesn't get overworked. I feel that since I became fat adapted, run on ketones

Feel empowered, easily breeze through if I'm in a situation where I don't have excess to food I eat
not prepared.

Promote Autophagy What is this word? Click here to learn more

What is my main take away on fasting?

I've learned as long as I keep my electrolytes in check, like having enough salts either with my meal or a pinch in my hydration, I don't get those discomfort most people get when they start. That has been the key factor when it comes to fasting. I remember my dad, who was in the army and lived through many tough days during the war, telling me that a person can live several of days, even longer, without food but without water? Maybe only 1 - 2.

Watch this video to understand the difference between fasting and starvation

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Using Essential oils while taking homeopathy

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This topic comes up from time to time.... can I use essential oils while taking homeopathy?

I've searched high and low for resources online before but found little info to guide me. Yesterday morning my friend messaged me and ask the same question for her client, she's a wellness coach. So I thought if I post my experience, it might help others.

Here's my take

First, everyone on a healing journey should figure out their baseline, in short how their body reacts to things, their "normal" so to speak. I've had to really learn to listen to my body to help figure out how new things or reintros affect me. I found documenting in journals, apps on phone or online great to/ track my symptoms, progress, emotions, even dreams.

Keep in mind that my experience with essential oils is all from Young Living, I cannot speak for other brands as I do not know their quality and standards. If you want to learn why I chose Young Living over other brands, click here.

Find your constitutional remedy

Start by figuring out your constitutional remedy and a dose that supports you well. Then I kept my remedy dose away from myessential oils use, for some really sensitive people on homeopathy, they might even need to look for toothpaste with nothing from the mint family.
I remember earlier on my essential oils journey, I started testing out the mint family first, like Peppermint, Spearmint, then I moved onto Eucalyptus and felt some cancelling effects, like feeling out of sort, unsupport, more fatigued, the biggest effect I felt was definitely from Wintergreen.

But as my body became stronger and stronger, less likely to be triggered, I was less dependant on my remedy,  which is really the hopes and plan become more independent and self-sufficient? Now, I can tolerate blends with some wintergreen in it like Deep Relief without feeling completely wiped out after (cancelling)

Here are some of the Young Living oils I felt comfortable to test with first

Lemon    |   Frankincense    |    Lavender    |    Northern Light Black Spruce

I'm grateful to be in a happy place on my wellness journey, found the fine balance between homeopathy and EO because I'm leaning more towards essential oils, hardcore oiler now, even though the remedy still provides support in the background.

If you want to learn more about how I use Young Living Essential oils with my remedy to support my wellness, please reach out.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Fast track to wellness - Part 1

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I've been away for a while because I finally get to enjoy life in wellness as it should be. Not trying to brag but I discovered something phenomenal that catapulted me into the best health I've had thus far. Really!!! If you've been following me on Social Media, you'll know what I'm talking about. I discovered fasting end of last year. After 6 months at it, I'm ready to give you guys an overview of how my wellness has improved since I added this practice to my mix. You ready to hear? Like many of the healing tools and practices out there, this too may sound extreme. If you've had any eating disorder challenges in the past and find this triggering, please stop reading NOW... and Hugs!  For the rest of you who're curious, here's the condense of how fasting has taken my health to another new level. Let me tell you how it seemed to have reset my body and even lessened my food sensitivity.

It all started with me catching a bit of stomach bug from my kid few days before Christmas, it wasn't a big deal, but with our Hawaii trip just around the corner, I wanted to be in tip-top shape for the travels. Afterall this was the first family vacay where I was in full remission. The timing must have been right as that's when I dove deep into the philosophy of a Toronto based Nephrologist, Dr. Jason Fung  Have you heard of him?

Few years ago, when I was still having gut symptoms, I used to find a bowel rest helpful to let my digestion take a break so my body can focus on any repair it needed, I found this after my first colonoscopy, which involved some form of fasting to prep for it, or at least no solid food, my UC got a lot better. That was also why I didn't jump on the medicine right away.

So back to my fasting beginning, on Dec 20, I was really feeling the holiday sluggishness on top of hormonal imbalances too, being a peri-meno woman is always fun, right?  By Xmas eve, the stomach bug really hit me hard, I was feeling fatigued and stomach cramps.

Timing and intuition. Something inside told me to look into fasting seriously, so I did more research on what Dr. Fung has on the internet, skimmed through one of his books, The Obesity Code, and learned more about how to feel better during fasting. That's when things started turning around. I began a water only fast, actually right through Christmas dinner. Yes, you heard right. I was feeling so amazing that even being around all the holiday food didn't tempt me a bit. Crazy right?

I continued to feel better, lighter and more mental clarity on an alternate day fasting schedule after Christmas and all through my family vacation in Hawaii.

Being in Hawaii was, of course, something else. I'm sure anyone would experience a boost in healing being on an island filled with sunshine, fresh produces and of course the R and R. This was a pretty special trip where I was able to enjoy carefreely, for the first time while away from home, I seriously left my worries behind. I used to always have this hold on me, reservation keeping me from being in the moment. This time was different, was it because of my recent remission news or was it from the fasting the reset my entire body? The fasting practice became quite natural and easy. The most remarkable thing was my food sensitivities seemed to have subsided. I was able to have caffeine like coffee and tea, even tomatoes. Wow! With all the liquids I have to consume during fasting, plain water got boring fast. I added a splash of ACV ( apple cider vinegar)  to help with electrolytes and to add a little flavour but one morning, I decided to try some weak green tea... I waited for the usual effects from the past, jitters, mild heart race and generally out of sort... but it never came? Hmm... what has this fasting thing done to my body? I was intrigued. Next step, I decided to try some really diluted black coffee, while in Kona why not? Again, I waited... no effects? even when I had it in the afternoon. Perhaps by consuming the coffee black had something to do with it. Could it be my body has reset to neutral?

My body continued to lean out further, but this time I wasn't wasting away like when I lost weight from my UC flares. I noticed more muscle definition from all the TRX class I had been going to. It was like BAM the layer of security fat just melted away and HELLO muscles. Or a better description might be the layer of inflammation has disappeared.  I got super excited about learning all that I can about fasting.  I devoured the books and listened and watched to any podcast/ youtube I could get hands on. The alternate day 24 hrs fast was pretty easy to follow, I was eating lunch and dinner one day, the next I would only eat dinner. No problem.

When I returned home, I hopped on the scale and was shocked to see that I had dropped 10 lbs since I started my fasting practice. That was 2 1/2 weeks.

Did I regain the weight?

I've lost a few more lbs and now below my original goal weight. Now, my focuses are continue to swap body fat for muscles, improving stamina and just plain ol' building a STRONGER me.

Stay tuned for more about fasting

For more info on fasting check out these links

What is Fasting?

The Calorie Deception

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Why wasn't Keto working anymore?

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A few years after starting keto, I got to a point in my health where I thought life was pretty good, my gut was under control,  I even got the word from my GI that my UC was actually in remission, I was ecstactic to hear of course, especially when I never imagined it would happen to me.

But by the Fall of 2017, Even with some peri-meno weight gain slowly creeping up lb by lb, I was still in a healthy weight.  But besides vanity getting to me, I knew that I can better my health to yet another level. Already feeling stronger is great. Am I just putting on muscle weight? No, I wasn't, my clothes were getting tighter. What to do? I have to admit that I was bothered by weight gain, but in comparison to how sick I was, I felt that I shouldn't focus on my body size. I should focus on how I felt but I knew I could feel better like have more energy and improve my mental sharpness.

So how do I get there? I thought keto was going to take me there. What's missing? A few years back, I slid fairly effortlessly from AIP to Wahls Paleo Plus a couple years ago. Check out my post about this transition. I increased my fat intake and cut down on my carbs, you know, the Low Carb High Fat rage? But even after I became fat adapted ( that's when I was mainly burning fat as fuel instead of glucose ), I thought I was supposed to continue eating a whole lot of fat whenever and where ever. My initial quick drop in weight slowed down and eventually stopped, then it was going back up. What gives?

So I let my way of eating go into autopilot and started increasing my exercise. I took up TRX classes at my local community center, push past some fears of stirring up old injuries and definitely gaining more strength and muscle tone. Yay!

By the end of the year, I discovered an amazing wellness tool that helped reset my body in more ways that weight set point ( the comfort zone in weight my body likes to hang out at). This tool is fasting. But this post is not about that. While learning how fasting can improve insulin resistance, I had my Ah-a moment... my biggest Keto mistake.

Too many Bulletproof drinks

All the rage about fatty drinks to extend Intermitent fasting periods apparently didn't work for me. Adding fats into my drink means I was still supplying my body with fuel. Bingo! I was consuming way too many fatty drinks throughout the day, when there's a surplus of fat being provided to the body as fuel, my body didn't need to tap into its own reserves, stored fat, for fuel. Check this link to learn more about Who needs to avoid fat bombs.

Now I also learned that fatty drinks were actually fasting crutches, some people might do fine having them but for my body, it didn't work.

Too much protein

Yup, apparently the body can turn extra protein into fat " Any protein eaten in excess needs to be converted to glucose or fat for storage" Check out this link to learn more about How much protein is excessive?  Now, when I eat, I always start with my veggies, before I dig into the protein. I always make sure I have enough fats on my plate too. Fattier meat cuts and of course avocados. Smoked Sardines or Oysters in Olive oil are also my fav quick protein to add to big salads.

So glad I've found the balance of what works for me now with the introduction of fasting in my routine. Stay tuned for more post on that to come.

How about you? Have you run into some keto stalls? How did you get past them?