Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Gut Feelings And More

When I am talking about gut feelings, this blog is not necessarily referring to our intuition. It’s actually about the steps I’m taking to support my digestive health along with figuring out more natural ways to sleep.

After visiting with my gastro doctor and going through all the wonderful tests and rule out various things, he suggested that I start taking a daily probiotic called Culturelle, which is good for promoting good bacteria in our gut. This particular brand has a lot of evidence behind it, compared to some other brands. He gave me a few samples to try out and to be honest, i’m not sure if I immediately felt a difference, but after a couple of weeks, I did notice a lot less bloating and all that fun stuff. I’ve been taking the vegetarian capsules for several months now. My only beef, even with coupons, it’s expensive!

I will be the first one to say that I've never been one for taking pills, but as I age (ugh), it seems like i’m not able to absorb all the nutrients that are really essential to our health. Initially, I just added Vitamin D3 to my daily regime. However, last year, I felt like a total zombie and I had no idea at all that I was low in B12.  I went to my doctor and she suggested to check my levels and although they weren’t extremely low, it was not as high as she would have liked and so I was advised to take a daily supplement. I could have also taken a B12 shot, but I rather not take shots, unless totally necessary.  There are many different forms of B12 that you can get in supplement form. I found Jamieson's B12 fast dissolving sublingual tablets worked best for me.  When I went for a blood test a few months ago, my B12 levels were great, so it's a good idea to keep an eye on that.

Along with taking a suitable probiotic, trying digestive enzymes was next up on the list after  being advised to see a new practitioner who could help with these issues and also aid with nutritional counselling. I think they helped a bit, but honestly, I didn’t see that much of a difference in symptoms, so instead of getting a refill, it was suggested to try a loose leaf tea that had a lot of de-bloating and gentle herbs, instead of swallowing a supplement. Tummy-ease is fantastic!  I really love the minty flavour and with the various herbs, it actually seems to work as a calming agent as well.
Loose leaf teas

Also, I was advised to change the way I prepare food. For a lot of us, it’s interesting to note that raw food is not all it’s cracked up to be.  I used to snack on raw carrots and veggies, so that has changed. Everything is warm. Even fruit, I either chop up to cook on the stove or microwave. A few extra steps, but worth not having a stomach-ache.  Although no pic, I also take a nice heap of ground flax with my cereal in the morning, which has been a great addition.

I'm still for the most part dairy-free, which I do think has helped and I've cut back a lot on red meat since it can be quite difficult to digest. I'm eating more plant-based style, but I still do incorporate chicken, pork and fish a few times per week.

Sleep. We’ve had a weird relationship over the last few years. I’ve been in “fight or flight” mode for a long time. I really started to notice my quality of sleep decline and if you’ve ever woken up feeling like someone took a vacuum and sucked all the life force out of you, and not even a cup of java helps, you get my point. I was advised to try a natural sleep aid called Pascoflair, which has a well-researched herb in it with passion flower. The product is supposed to calm down your nervous system and promote a restful sleep. After taking it for several weeks consistently, I did feel a lot calmer, maybe too calm at times. Within about a half hour of taking it, my eyes started to close and that’s all I remember.

Truth be told, I did notice some heart palpitations after taking it and then once again when I woke up in the morning, so I am not sure if that is from my normal anxiety or if there was an ingredient in there that didn’t jive with my system.  It’s a bit of a mystery there. I tried to take it only a few times per week and that symptom weened off a bit, but I still felt a little uneasy.  Also, I don’t doubt that maybe there is some level of "placebo effect" happening in some form or another, but i’m okay with knowing that.

To be on the safe side, we swapped the tablets for a gentler sleep remedy.  I was given a sleep tea called Nighty Night tea in loose leaf format, which has ingredients like: skullcap, valerian root (known for aiding in sleep), passion flower and other herbs. I cannot say that it has solved the sleeping issues for me entirely, but when I take a cup, it does relax my body, so then I proceed with my nightly stretches, meditation and guided imagery to quiet my mind for sleep. It also helps having some nice cuddles.

I am feeling positive that my body is slowly healing from a physical and emotional perspective. I still have bad days, but i’m human. Stress really is the ultimate destroyer. Whatever you need to do, get it under control. I am fortunate that I found so many great resources to guide me along the way.

I will update again soon!

*I should mention my usual disclaimer to make sure to always consult with your trusted  healthcare practitioner(s) before starting any kind of vitamin, supplement or sleep aid.*

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