There are so many opinions these days when it comes to what is and isn’t healthy. In this post I’m breaking down my essential foundations of good health, layer by layer.
I struggled with digestive dysfunction, an overactive bladder, and anxiety from the time I was very young. I can still remember at five years old being scared to get in the car because I knew I’d have to use the bathroom as soon as we got on the road. Even if it was just a short drive to church or the store. And my dad hated to stop.
That anxiety around basic bodily functions that were out of my control gradually grew over time. In junior high there were days I was in pain and could barely sit up in class. I would just watch the clock until it was time to go home so I could lay down and get relief.
High school ushered in disordered eating to try to feel some sense of control in my life and to manage my symptoms.
But as I journeyed into my twenties my anxiety reached a head, turning into panic attacks and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. My digestive issues came right along with it!
But I had no clue how to get out of the vicious cycle. I feared I would have to suffer this way for the rest of my life.
Being a natural problem-solver, I couldn’t accept that answer. So even though no doctors could tell me what was wrong, I kept on searching for answers.
Is There a Way Out of Poor Health?
Over the course of the next fifteen years I gradually found most of the avenues I needed for healing. But it took a lot of trial and error. It took a lot longer than it needed to.
Do you ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels on a healing journey?
Maybe it’s your own health that is suffering. You have…
- no energy
- joint pain
- brain dysfunction
- poor digestion
- life just seems sort of blah.
Or maybe it’s for your kids. They…
- only want to eat sweets
- can’t focus in school
- have extreme mood swings
- struggle with skin reactions
- have daily stomach aches
- can’t sleep well.
Nobody wants to live this way. It’s hard to really call it living. It’s more like surviving.
Is there really a way out? And where do you even begin?
What is your first step in order to get your life and health back on track?
How to Begin the Healing Process
Let’s start with the symptoms of poor health. They truly are that – just symptoms. Just like picky eating is a symptom of much deeper issues, most bothersome symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg. It is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong at a deeper level.
But the solution is not found in treating symptoms. Sadly, that is exactly what allopathic medicine does. And it keeps you chasing symptoms while remaining sick.
Before you can start the healing work, you must get to the root of the problem first.
How to Improve Health and Wellness
When it comes to helping the body function better, I have discovered four essential foundations. These are the layers that you must work through to support the whole body. Not just physically, but spiritually and mentally as well.
Healing is sort of like peeling an onion. You go through it layer-by-layer.
There are four layers in my essential foundations to good health.
- Spiritual life
- Diet and lifestyle
- Emotional and mental health
- Supportive and maintenance modalities
Each layer impacts the others. And you will go back and forth between them on your journey to better health. Let’s dig a little deeper into each foundation.
How Does Faith Impact Your Daily Life?
I believe the most important foundation in your life is spiritual health. This is central to everything else. Without a sense of purpose and hope, it is hard to want to make change.
For me spiritual health means faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Everything else I do in life stems from my faith.
Having a central focus – a solid foundation – is essential.
What you believe in is a very personal decision. But it is the first step towards a healthy life. And I encourage you to start with this foundation, no matter what physical and emotional symptoms you’re dealing with.
Healthy Lifestyle Habits
The next step on your journey towards wellness is getting your lifestyle in check. This includes:
- Sun exposure
All five of these components are important.
A healthy diet includes nutrient-dense, whole foods that your body tolerates. It does not have to include overly-restrictive eating or cutting out whole food groups. Simply eat Real Food that meets your bioindividual needs.
If you’re not sure how to tailor a diet to your body, Nutritional Therapy combined with Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis can help!
Sleep is just as important as what you eat. You can’t out-eat lack of sleep! Trust me, I’ve tried.
How much sleep is essential is different for every person. An Intuitive Eater tends to need extra sleep, while an Active Eater may be able to thrive with less.
Sleep is very restorative to the body. While you sleep your body works through emotional stress. This is also when your body does a lot of its healing work since it does not need to put energy into all of the functions that are needed during the day.
Stress affects the body both mentally and physically. While you can’t always eliminate the stress in your life, you can learn to be stress resiliant.
It is essential to move your body every day. This does not mean you have to become a marathon runner. In fact, it’s healthier to be active and incorporate movement into your daily life than it is to sit all day and then do an hour of intense exercise.
Find ways to walk more, move your body in unique ways, and stand instead of sit. Having meaningful work at home helps as well. This can include landscaping, gardening, house repairs, raising animals, painting, cleaning, lawn mowing, and organizing. Keeping your body moving throughout the day is the key.
Finally, sun exposure and getting outside are foundational to your health. There is a lot of talk about Vitamin D supplements these days. While I’m not a fan of Hormone D supplementation in most cases, I do think everyone should get outside daily. Even if it’s just for a short time. Fresh air and sunshine are so healing to the body.
If you need help with any of these healthy lifestyle habits I’d love to connect! Nutritional Therapy addresses diet (tailored specifically to you!), sleep, stress management, movement, and sun exposure. Hop on a clarity call today to see if it’s the right fit for you and your kids!
Emotional Vs Mental Health
The next foundational layer of good health includes your mental and emotional well-being. These are two distinct things. But I am going to put them together since they influence each other so much.
- Mental health influences your thoughts and actions. It includes your psychological, social, and emotional well-being.
- Emotional health includes your awareness of and expression of your feelings.
This is where many people get stuck in their healing journey, myself included.
After you anchor your life on a spiritual foundation and adjust your diet and lifestyle, sometimes there is deeper work that needs to be done. This is because your brain and your body hold on to trauma and express it in a physical manner. You can’t talk or logic your way out of it. You can’t eat your way out of it either. Again, trust me, I’ve tried.
This is where some alternative therapies come into play. And you have to research and figure out which one or which combination will work best for you. My favorites include:
- Craniosacral Therapy
- Tapping (EFT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
In all of these it’s about going really deep, past the logical brain and getting at the stuck thought patterns of the reptillian brain.
So if you feel like you’ve put in the work with diet and lifestyle but there are some symptoms that just never budge, it’s time to go deeper.
Here are some great resources to get you started!
- The Body Keeps the Score – How and Why EMDR works
- Reiki with Jennifer Nervo
- St. Brigids Craniosacral Therapy
- Carol Tuttle Healing Center
How Does Diet Affect Mental Health
I mentioned earlier that these layers will overlap a bit, and you’ll go back and forth between them. The connection between diet and mental health is a great example.
Many mental health symptoms are caused by a nutrient imbalance or deficiency.
For example, lacking some of the B Vitamins can lead to depression and mood swings.
Low magnesium levels can be at the root of anxiety.
An imbalance between zinc and copper can cause mood swings, headaches, and hormonal imbalance…which definitely impacts your mental health!
I prefer to adjust diet before trying to tackle the deeper emotional work because it can releave some of the symptoms. But each person is unique. Sometimes you may not have the ability to handle even small lifestyle changes if the mental health problems are severe enough.
This is where Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) comes into play. This non-invasive test gives great insight into your mineral levels, mineral ratios, and toxic load. Learn more about my HTMA programs HERE!
Natural Supportive Care
Finally, we get to the outer layer – the supportive care. These are modalities of wellness that many people think of as “natural treatments” or “natural remedies.” Some of my favorite forms of natural supportive care include:
- essential oils
- chiropractic care
- flower essences
- cell salts
These can be very helpful in many cases. But remember that they are supportive therapies. You can not rely on them alone.
For example, you may find relief from joint pain by using an essential oil topically. But it is not treating the source of your pain. You still have to get to the root of the inflammation and address that.
Natural supportive care often helps allieviate symptoms, but does not often address the root problem. Using these supportive modalities in conjunction with the other foundations of good health can make the healing process easier and faster.
My Journey to Wellness
Over the past 15 years I’ve tried so many ways to get healthier. I waffled back and forth between the physical and mental aspects of my health.
I spent ten years doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with a psychologist. It helped. But it wasn’t until I changed my diet and lifestyle that I really made progress. I removed the nutritional barriers to healing, which allowed me to be able to process the mental aspects.
Now, fifteen years in, I’m moving into some much deeper emotional healing. It all started as a child with digestive and kidney dysfunction, that turned into something traumatic. I’ve carried this trauma with me my entire life, and I’m ready to let it go and eliminate the symptoms that nothing else can change. I can’t wait to share more of my journey as I’m able.
I am also utilizing HTMA to get my minerals back in balance and toxins out after years of processed food, fertility treatments, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and restricted diets. Even though some of those ended many years ago (like the toxic food and pharmaceuticals) the damage is still there. It took a long time to get sick. It takes a long time to recover.
But I fully believe healing is possible as I continue to get to the deeply rooted emotional source of my physical symptoms.
I have already put in the diet and lifestyle foundational work. It’s time to move to the next layer.
How to Begin Your Health Journey
I fully believe better health is possible for you and your family as well! And I want to help you get started.
As we enter this New Year with uncertainty and a heightened awareness of health, I want to give you a feeling of hope. There is always something you can do to feel better and make positive changes.
Where are You?
So where are you on the journey towards better health? Are you tired and overwhelmed on a daily basis? Are your kids struggling to simply feel like kids?
If you are new to a natural lifestyle, start today by making one simple change.
- Add vegetables to your lunch.
- Put away the screens.
- Get outside for a walk.
- Get your hands in the dirt.
- Take a nap.
- Read a book.
- Drink an extra glass of water.
If you’re ready to go deeper and start getting to the root of your symptoms, it’s time to look into Nutritional Therapy.
Stay tuned as I’ll be going into more detail about what Nutritional Therapy is in my next post.
But if you’re ready to get started now, join me on a clarity call to see how Nutritional Therapy can help!
Better Health for Kids
I love working with fellow moms to get their health back on track. If you are not caring for yourself, it’s hard to care for your children effectively.
But my expertise is nourishing kids.
These foundations of good health apply to children as well as moms. And it’s never too late to get off the Standard American Diet train and give your kids the gift of clearer thinking, better focus, more energy, and overall wellness.
As you can see from my own story, intervention when I was young could have prevented years of struggles. Had my parents helped me get to the root of my physical symptoms right away, my life would be very different.
Don’t waste another day hoping your kids will “grow out of” their picky eating, lack of focus, or stomach aches.
Give your kids the gift of better health NOW!
Take one step today towards nourishing your kids. Scheduling a clarity call to figure out if Nutritional Therapy is right for you and your family is a great first step!
What an amazing giveaway! I can see how all four of those things play a part in your essential foundation for good health!
Thank you, Trisha!
This is wonderful! I didn’t realize you had so many things you could offer to help.
I’m currently working on sleep, not easy while my husband is deployed! Healthy eating has also taken a bit of a back burner while he is gone.
Oh, that’s tough! Focus on just changing one habit. Something small, like drinking a little more water. Every litte bit helps. And in some seasons it’s just not possible to make big steps. That’s OK.
Thank you! I love that you have alternative modalities listed as part of supporting a healthy lifestyle.
All components are so important.
I am working on the diet and lifestyle level. We don’t move enough. The good news is we don’t eat a whole lot of processed foods and kicked vegetable oils to the curb years ago but we eat too many sweets especially over the last year. I have a picky eater who likely has sensory issues that I am realizing aren’t just quirks so this is a new journey.
Sounds like you’re making great progress!
I’ve had so much success helping my child eat better adding zinc and involving her in the cooking process. I’d love to learn more about your food styles. (I think my child is an Intuitive eater.)
That’s wonderful! I used zinc early on with my Intuitive Eater as well 🙂
I’m working on moving. Getting off the couch and diet as much as I can with a nursing baby still
Those early days are so tiring. Give yourself grace. All in good time. Enjoy those baby snuggles, try to make healthy choices when you can, and don’t stress over it.
I’ve worked on all areas, but probably haven’t done nearly enough work on emotional and mental health. I’ve come across ideas for a few of these, but haven’t implemented. My brain gets overwhelmed and I forget…
It does get overwhelming. I can totally relate. It’s always hard to know which one to choose!
I am working on diet, emotions, and being outside with movement. And trying to remember diet simply means what you eat.
Great job, Beth Ann! Sounds like you are making great strides. Yes, diet is a tricky word for sure. It’s just how you eat – what works for you, not a restriction.
I am working on balancing my thyroid hormones (I have Hashimotos) and working to heal my fertility issues!
Those are big ones! I’ve been there too. Many years of infertility, and I still deal with hypothyroidism. But it can be done. I have the kids to prove it 🙂
Your approach seems to be really well thought out and I love the multi-faceted nature. I’m just starting on solidifying the spiritual layer, but easier actions to take now would be adding veggies and get moving! I also have one very picky eater that I need this info for! Thank you for the giveaway 🙂
Thank you, Krisitn! It sounds like you have a good grasp on a starting point. Please reach out if you have any feeding questions!
I’m mostly working on improving diet and movement for myself. And trying to help my picky eaters. My oldest is currently meeting with a pediatric psychologist to get him over his intense phobia of eating any foods that he doesn’t already know he likes. (Which is mostly junk.)
You’re doing a great job! It’s hard to work on yourself when you have a child that needs so much attention. But it’s important.
Thanks for the information presented in an easy to read way
I am currently dealing with all things food-frustrating with my 5yo. I’m constantly worried about his Heath because he won’t eat anything healthy! So aggravating and stressful. 😞
That is hard, Renny! But it can be turned around. Stay strong.
Oh man for my 5 year old he used to be great about just trying a bite now that is turning into a screaming stressful situation. So many foods he hates like pizza, cheese , pasta, all sauces . thankfully he does like a few veggies and fruits but I’m just starting to get stuck again at what to try with him .
It’s so hard when they don’t want to eat! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you want more help with this.
Thanks for your ideas! I feel encouraged! We have been trying to eat healthy meals for years, but we are on a tight budget, so I can rarely afford some of the ingredients I would love to include. And, its been hard to find meals that all of my kids enjoy at the same time!
I always tell people the good, better, best rule – you do what you are able. There will always be good, better, and best options. But even the good is still good. Conventional veggies are better than no veggies. Home-cooked is better than processed You get the idea.