My Health Journey

The Emotional Side Of Healing

Getting healthy is a lot more emotionally involved than you may think. But let me just start off by saying that I am not perfectly healthy now, and honestly never will be.. our bodies are imperfect. But I have, like many of you, struggled with something for years and am finally at a point in my life where my body looks and feels it’s best. It’s been a long journey but I wish for nothing more than to share all that I have done in order to help some of you.

The Beginning

I remember the first time I knew something was wrong.  I had just eaten a meal that I had eaten probably 100 times, and suddenly my stomach started to cramp, I got really cold, chills all over my body. It had gotten so bad so fast that I began writhing on the floor. I felt so nauseous, and tried making myself throw up but wasn’t able to. It would start to go away then immediately come back full force. I was crying out in pain. It was honestly the worst pain I had ever experienced, even worse than awful period cramps because of the fear of not knowing what was happening to my body. I literally felt like my stomach was going to burst through my skin.

It thankfully passed after a few hours, but I was really, really scared.

my healing journey, sibo, emotional side of healing.www.awellspringoflife.com

The Healing Process

Physical Side

Over the next few years I became extremely cautious with my food. I kept making little changes in my diet, always eliminating food that gave me problems.

My symptoms included: sharp, excruciating pains in lower and upper stomach, chills and goosebumps covering my body, nausea, rash from chest to stomach, unintentional weight loss, continuous breakouts, various food sensitivities, and feeling totally and completely helpless.

But it had gotten to the point that even healthy foods began to give me these problems. And foods would one day be fine, but then another day suddenly cause me to drop to the floor and curl up into a ball. It felt like my body was continuously rejecting all of the food I tried to give it.

my healing journey, sibo, emotional side of healing.www.awellspringoflife.com

March 2, 2017. It wasn’t until later that I had realized how thin I had become. My body wasn’t absorbing any nutrients.

I signed up for Dr. Axe’s Leaky Gut Program after watching a webinar because I knew my disease was at least partially caused from my gut being damaged. It is a magnificent program that helped both my husband and I, but I knew I needed further attention.

When we were in Florida for a holiday I made an appointment with a naturopathic doctor I used to go to. And with the normal testing- blood work and hormone test, he gave me something I never heard of before- a breath test. To test my level of bacteria in my body.

When the results came back it showed that I had super high levels of bacteria which gave me the diagnosis of Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth aka SIBO.

I was ecstatic. The fact that there was a name for my condition meant that there were certain steps I could take to help heal my body. I had gone so many years,slowly giving up hope and this was the first sign that showed the light at the end of the tunnel.

So I went on the specific SIBO diet- cutting out a lot of different vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, sugar, protein, etc. And although this helped a little bit.. I am sorry to say that it did not heal me. My body was still weak, I still felt like my stomach was always upset. I went back to the doctor but never quite felt like he had my best interest in mind, something about how he spoke just didn’t show the care that I needed. So back to square one.

*small lesson: You do not need to see a doctor you do not love. You are your own best health advocate. Trust yourself and your feelings.*

I started seeing an acupuncturist, and after our consultation she gave me such confidence again that I started tearing up and gave her a huge hug. She is actually a Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor so she was able to help me more than the typical acupuncturist. She first put me on high dosages of natural antibacterials to help kill the bacteria, high doses of probiotics to bring back the balance, and a shake to heal the gut lining and give my body the nutrients I wasn’t absorbing through food.

She also ordered a stool test which was by far the NASTIEST thing I have ever done but it is the best test to see how your body is doing. It tested my nutrient absorption, which bacteria levels were high, if I had any viruses or parasites, etc. This allowed my doctor to personalize my treatment even more.

my healing journey, sibo, emotional side of healing. www.awellspringoflife.com

September 22, 2017. I was far along in my healing protocol and my stomach was doing better, but I was still really thin and dealing with a lot of emotional baggage.

Emotional Side

But it wasn’t until I tested my hormones through Delgado Naturals and saw how high my cortisol was that I also began to work on my emotional stress. If you read my other posts on my story on healing. ways to deal with emotional stress, and how to reduce cortisol, you’ll know that I have had some pretty hard years.

And you must know, this is so very important, that all stress manifests itself in physical ways. So my constant low level stress was causing my stomach to get all twisted up inside. I was constantly on the verge of tears, I was extremely lonely and heart broken, so I took the path to begin seeing a counselor. Having that outlet and a source of calm wisdom helped heal my heart and mind.

The Finale

Through persistence and patience, I am now at a point in my life where my body is absorbing nutrients, my gut is strong and healthy, my energy has dramatically increased, and I am, without a doubt, so much happier. I still go once a month to my acupuncturist to keep my body aligned. I don’t really take many supplements besides ones to balance my hormones, and I have kept up with the lifestyle changes to reduce my stress.

Now, I’ve been told that SIBO never truly leaves your system.  You can help it go into recession, but it may never fully go away. And that’s okay- I have accepted it. Through this health journey I have discovered various natural ways to help my digestive system whenever I do have a flare up. I am just so thankful that I never gave up trying or looking for a doctor that I truly felt was looking out for ME.

my healing journey, sibo, emotional side of healing.www.awellspringoflife.com

September 26, 2018. This is me now. With a little extra love all around, and a healthy, strong body

my healing journey, sibo, the emotional side of healing. www.awellspringoflife.com

Your health is not determined by a number on a scale. It is only defined by your happiness.

 

What are you currently battling in your health journey?

xxjoannaxx

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Natural Cramp Remedies

PERIODS DON’T HAVE TO BE PAINFUL

Natural Remedies for period cramps. www.awellspringoflife.com

Cramps are probably the most common side effect of menstruation. For some lucky women, it could be a slight nuisance, but for others.. it can mean sharp, deep pains that render you completely weak, rolling back and forth, and feeling nauseous. It can be so debilitating that it affects your work and lifestyle.

For me personally, cramps have definitely gotten worse the older I’ve become- due to my hormonal imbalance. As a teenager, I would feel a little pain right as I started my period, but I could easily wait for it to pass and continue my day. Recently, however, it has become so painful that I HAVE to be on bed rest for 24 hours.

Unfortunately, we’re all taught that PMS symptoms and cramps are just “part of being a woman” and we need to take Advil and get on with the rest of our day like nothing has changed. But cramps are a sign that something is imbalanced in our body and we need to address it. (think about it, your body never hurts just because- there is always a root cause.)

The #1 thing you can do for your body and help your cramps is to first and foremost get your hormones tested. I cannot tell you how much of a difference it has made in my life- from my skin, understanding bodily functions, to also diagnosing the reason behind my cramps. I have been using the company Delgado Protocol for about 3 years now and I LOVE THEM. All you do is order a simple test, add your saliva to the kit, send it back, and they send you your results within a couple days.

They then set up a free 30 minute call that goes over your results and what they recommend. If there is one thing I am always talking about- it is this. Saliva is the best way to test your hormones, and the kit is cheaper than seeing a doctor.

I also have a code! When you email them about ordering the 12 Panel Saliva Kit, say you’ve been sent by me (Joanna Alexander) and they will offer you a discounted price of $104 instead of the retail price $165. Here is their website. 

Natural Remedies for period cramps. www.awellspringoflife.com

Best Natural Cramp Remedies

I truly believe that the body is one system, and that unnecessary medications cause more harm than good. So I have been on the mission to find the best remedies for cramps, and I daresay I found them.

DIET

Yes, your foods affect your cycle. This has been incorporated into many eastern medicine practices but unfortunately overlooked in the Western medicine. It is recommended to eat a lot of warming, nourishing foods during your period- which makes sense because your body needs to heal.

Your diet should consist of roasted veggies, soups, stews, bone broth, as well as lots of foods high in essential fatty acids.

Cramps are actually caused by evelated levels of the hormone PGE2, by eating a lot of essential fatty acids it raises your PGE 1 and 3, to help balance it out.

FOODS HIGH IN ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

  • Olive Oil
  • Oily Fish (sardines, salmon, anchovies, tuna)
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds

OTHER FOODS TO INCLUDE DURING MENSTRUATION

  • Seaweed (wakame and dulse- they’re super nutrient dense)
  • Liquid Chlorophyll (raise iron levels)
  • Kelp (can find them in refrigerated sections, but they also make kelp noodles)

And of course, with anything concerning diet- there are always things you should avoid. These specific foods will actually increase inflammation and cause more painful periods.

FOODS TO AVOID DURING MENSTRUATION

  • Raw Vegetables
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Saturated Fats
  • Alcohol
  • Excessive Caffeine

HEAT

I just started doing this this month and WOW I cannot believe what I’ve been missing! It immediately helps soothe my aching body in the most gentle, loving way. It’s like a thousand hugs right to your uterus- I’m serious. I use a hot water bottle (only $10!?!) that I picked up awhile ago, but a lot of women also fill a sock with rice and microwave it!  I also really enjoy taking baths on my period- I’ll add in some epsom salts and let my body relax.

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential Oils provide the quickest result when I deal with really bad cramps. My most recent blend is absolutely miraculous:

Doterra’s Clary Calm: This is full of amazing essential oils that are great at balancing hormones, reducing PMS symptoms, while also reducing inflammation!

Neroli Essential Oil: This is the QUEEN for cramping. Once I started adding this to my cramp routine it made the biggest difference! I love that it is diluted in fractionated coconut oil- the roller ball makes it really easy to apply and it lasts!

Copaiba Essential Oil: This is one of the best oils to use for pain and healing the body.

How To Use: On my abdomen I’ll rub Clary Calm, Neroli Touch, and top it off with a drop of Copaiba Essential Oil. Then I’ll gently rub it into the skin. Pro Tip: To increase the benefits of these oils, add a heating pad! It’ll open up your pores, letting the essential oils absorb more quickly.

Deep Blue Rub: If you’re one of the many women who also suffer from back pain during your period- this one’s for you. It’s the natural alternative for Icy Hot! Packed with healing essential oils, this will immediately bring your back some relief.

How to Use: Simply rub wherever you have aching pain! Back, neck, shoulders, etc.

For information on how to get started with Essential Oils- read this blog post!

REST

Yes, you need to rest girl. Lay down and let your body heal. You are not designed to feel the same or act the same every day of your life. Take time off exercising, socializing, and try to schedule big work projects before your period. Take the time to read, take a bath, nap, watch Netflix- whatever it is you like to do to take it easy. And when your heavy bleeding is over, don’t rush back into your normal routine– ease into it with slow walks, slow days, honor your body.

Remember, your body is beautiful and sacred and it deserves attention and respect. If you’re dealing with period problems, take the time to learn abut them and heal yourself naturally.

Do you struggle with cramps? What are your remedies?

xxjoannaxx

8 Purse Essentials

Just call me Mary Poppins

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I’ll be honest, I always have the goal of keeping a small purse. Something really tiny and lightweight so that I don’t always feel like my arm is about to dislocate from my shoulder every time I use it. But no matter what, I always stuff my purse with both essentials and non essentials (how many pens do I have? too many. far far too many).

But I will say that no matter how small my purse or clutch is, there are always a couple items that I never leave the house without. Call it training to be a mom, call it over-preparedness, I just call it being wise.

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My Purse Essentials

Hand Sanitizer. Dear God, all of the public restrooms, door handles, shopping carts, and gas pumps, there so many places for germs to hide. I NEED hand sanitizer. And this one is perfect because it’s so lightweight and small, and its not a gross gel consistency. (I really cant stand those, your hands get all goopy then you have to wait for it to dry.) It’s all natural, made simple from alcohol and a proprietary blend of essential oils that have been proven to be stronger and more effective than their chemical counterparts.

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Peppermint Beadlets. I no longer chew gum for a couple of reasons; I have jaw problems and have found that gum only worsens it, I’m not a fan of all the added sugar, and those “all natural” ones just dissolve into little paper balls. But what am I supposed to do before I hang out with someone and need some breath freshening? Pop one of these babies into my mouth. And if I’m getting hungry but still have to wait a bit till I can eat, I can swallow one of the beadlets to help ease the hunger. I can also pop one onto my fingers and then apply it to my temples if I get a headache, or apply it to my stomach if I have any digestive issues. So much power in such a small item.

Moisturizer. For my hands, my lips, if I have a dry spot on my legs, if I need some extra moisture around my eyes, you name it. Always a good thing to have on hand. I love the Weleda Skin Food, super natural and really moisturizing!

Tampons and Panty Liners. I’m really in tune with my cycle so I usually know the exact day that I’m gonna start. But that doesn’t mean I’m not sometimes unprepared or didn’t pack any beforehand. I’m still not on the Diva Cup train but I plan on being soon! So until then, I make sure to use all natural female hygienics product. Not made with any dyes, bleach, or chemicals, I use NatraCare brand. Here are the tampons, and here are the panty liners. 

Hormonal Roll On. Yeah, I’m still struggling with hormonal imbalance, and this little number is AMAZING to have on hand (it’s called Clary Calm). I always apply it to my wrists and back of neck to help with any PMS symptoms, and I apply it to abdomen when I have cramps. However, I also recently discovered that the oils in it can also be used for any sort of skin problems! I was stung by a bee while walking around a town and didn’t have my normal arsenal of essential oils. But I did have this blend! Lavender and Clary Sage are both really good for reducing inflammation and stinging/burning. Lemme tell ya, as soon as I applied it the intense burning went away and I couldn’t even see the bump anymore!! Magic. You can also use this beautiful bend as a perfume! It smells Di-vine.

Small Reusable Bag. These are so so awesome to have with you! It packs up insanely tiny and is super lightweight. To help reduce wasteful bagging, I can use it whenever I go to stores and forget to bring bags!

Digestive Enzymes. If I wanna get something delicious with maybe too much sugar, gluten or dairy, I always have a couple of these on hand to help ease the belly! I like using doTerra’s Digest Tabs and DGL! I just put a couple in a little baggy, they’re great to take when eating at restaurants too!

Frankincense. Also known as the “King Of Essential Oils.” You can use frankincense on literally anything and everything. Got a sunburn? Sprained ankle? Bug Bite? Headache? Cramps? and the list goes on and on. I love having the pre-diluted roller bottle because it is so so easy to apply.

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So besides the typical phone, wallet, keys, and sunglasses, this is what I always always have in my bag. What are some things you always need with you?

**If you’d like to sign up for a membership with doTerra to save 25% on every order, earn back points to use on future order, and other perks, let me know! Or just follow this link to sign up**

xxJoannaxx

 

*there are some affiliate links used in this post, but it comes at no extra charge to you! It just helps support me and my blog when you use those links :)*

Common Causes of Acne

Power to the Pimple

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image via www.drterry.com

Now this is one heck of a topic. The majority of people, men and women alike, have struggled with acne. If you’re one of those people who have miraculously avoided the common curse, well forgive me as I silently praise but also become increasingly jealous of you.

Our skin is an organ, just like your liver, spleen, and lungs. It is the mighty organ because it is exposed, first hand, to all of the external attacks- i.e. toxic fumes, sun rays, bacteria, etc. It can handle a lot, but it’s not a saint. Any sort of issue on your skin is a sign that your body is out of balance. There is something going on that isn’t right, and your body is telling you that through- you heard it- the dreaded, cursed, loathed, pimple.

External Causes

Dirty Phone

Dirty Pillowcase

Your incessant touching and picking of your skin

Incorrect Cleansing

Stress

Clogging Makeup

 

Internal Causes

Hormone Imbalance

Poor Diet

Food Sensitivity

Digestive Issues

Genes

Toxic Buildup

 

Yeah.. so pretty much anything can cause a skin flare-up. It can be a quick fix for some, or a long, long journey for others. My number one tip is to don’t stress out over it, that will only cause more skin problems.

 

Your skin does not define you. 

You can and will conquer it. 

Be patient. 

Love your skin. 

xxJoannaxx