Out of desperation, I became a Nutritional Therapist in 2012. I was deeply struggling with my health and wasn’t able to get any answers from my naturopaths or western medicine doctors.
My training as a Nutritional Therapist answered several key questions for me, two of which were:
Why was I so dang tired all of the time?
Why was my immune system seemingly incapable of fighting anything off?
When I changed my diet, my entire life changed.
I became more energetic, focused and motivated. I stopped getting sick all of the time, and my weight normalized. My mood improved, and I was even able to get pregnant and have a healthy baby girl after being told that would never happen.
The relationship between the endocrine system and the digestive system has long been known by some of the greatest thinkers of our time, but until recently was unproven by scientific research.
Hippocrates said “All diseases begin in the gut”.
Over the course of the last several years, the studies of the gastrointestinal microbiome and the relationship to the endocrine system has become synonymous with landing on the moon or reaching the depths of the ocean. It’s complicated and fascinating stuff!
We still have so much to learn about the bodies we inhabit, but one thing is clear - what we eat, drink and put on our skin has a huge affect on our wellbeing.
In my nutritional therapy practice I specialize in digestion and hormonal health. For several years it’s bugged me that I was helping people restore their gut microbiome and balance their hormones, and yet I had no tools for advising them on what they were putting on their skin.
The skin is our largest organ, and it absorbs what we put on it.
But that begs the question: who cares what I put on my skin? It doesn’t really make any difference to my health, does it?
Turns out it makes a profound difference what you put on your skin.
Dr. Leonardo Trasande is a world-renowned researcher of environmental toxins and endocrine health.
Dr. Trasande’s resume is too extensive to list here, but he is perhaps best known for a series of studies published in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism that document disease costs due to endocrine disrupting chemicals in the US and Europe of $340 billion and €163 billion annually, respectively.
Dr. Trasande studies how environmental toxins cause significant disruption to the endocrine system which causes changes to hormones and DNA and leads to the development of disease.
Other countries have gotten keen to this. The European Union has outlawed over 1300 environmental toxins, while the U.S. has only outlawed 30.
Have you ever heard of obesogens?
Obesogens are chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system and can dramatically affect your weight, energy and fertility.
Organizations like Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, The Endocrine Society and the WHO are speaking out on the threats of endocrine disrupting chemicals that are found in food packaging, cleaning products and most commonly - personal care products.
I’ll be breaking down the in’s and out’s of this in my free workshop: Clean Beauty: The Endocrine System on December 1, 7:30-8:30.
You can sign up for the workshop HERE, and read more about it on the Events page of my website by clicking HERE.
“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.” Buddha
In recent years, the affects of meditation have been a hot topic in the science world. Researchers are trying to scientifically explain why mindfulness practices have such a profound impact on participants. One scientist, Gaelle Desbordes, began studying the brain via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine the physical changes in the brain before and after meditating. Desbordes began practicing meditation in medical school to help her manage the stress of academic life. It made such a big difference for her that she wanted to understand why.
"In 2012, she (Desbordes) demonstrated that changes in brain activity in subjects who have learned to meditate hold steady even when they’re not meditating. " (The Harvard Gazette) The interesting aspect of Desbordes' study is that she studied the brain when people were engaged in everyday tasks, not when they were meditating. She proved that the impacts of a meditation practice are not limited to the practice itself but have far-reaching and lasting impacts.
One form of meditation that I love to practice - especially before bed - is yoga nidra. I recently recorded a yoga nidra practice for my newsletter crew. Every month I send out something special in my newsletter. To sign up, click HERE.
Yoga nidra is often referred to as the "yoga of sleep". It's a very calming practice that helps to transition the nervous system from a sympathetic state of "fight and flight" to a parasympathetic state of "rest and digest". And as Desbordes and other scientists have proven, the affects of these mindfulness practices can transform the brain and change peoples' lives.
Mindfulness practices like yoga nidra are not just about strengthening the mind, they're also about letting go of control and developing a deeper awareness of the mind's chatter. Have you ever sat back and observed your brain bounce from one topic - and one story - to the next? It's a fascinating practice, and with a little sense of humor can be quite enlightening!
Learning to step back from the mind's three-ring-circus allows for perspective and creates a space between the soul and thought. The mind is thinking all day long, but it doesn't mean that we have to believe every single thing we think. One of the greatest results of mindfulness is the space it creates to rework thoughts and to create a new dialogue over time.
There are hundreds of studies that show how our thoughts create real changes in our physiology. A study at UCLA showed that method actors playing various negative emotions showed a lower immune response in just one day.
I know there aren't a lot of hours in the day, but remember that even five minutes a day of mindfulness practices can make a huge difference not only in your brain, but in the way you view yourself and the world.