Especially now that I am feeling 75-85% well depending on the day, I am often asked what worked for me in my healing journey. Documenting everything would require a book, but I’ll start with what I think were the top five game changers for me: diet, coaching, meditation, prayer, and coffee enemas. I know! Eeew! Poop! I find them so great though and I’ll explain why.
My constellation of health challenges includes Lyme and co-infections, parasites, autonomic dysfunction, and mild tachycardia. I operated under a fibromyalgia diagnosis for years before being diagnosed with Lyme in 2013. I want to share this for folks who are curious. Some of it may be relevant to you regardless of what your health challenge is.
Diet. I went gluten free and thought that was great but it was finally cutting out all the other things my body didn’t like that really made a difference in my day-to-day. A lot of us have leaky gut which means there are A LOT of things we can’t tolerate. The good news is that you can heal a leaky gut. So, even if you have to give up cheese, wine, and cider donuts for now, it may not be forever and working on healing your gut now may support you in enjoying those things in moderation in the future.
I figured out what to eat and not to eat by using the elimination diet outlined in Recipes for Repair. It’s designed to help you learn what does and does not trigger inflammation in your body. I liked it because, unlike other elimination diets, you never have to stop eating food. Because, as I learned later, I was full of parasites, I had to eat a lot of food to function. I could basically eat all day long. The nothing but juice or smoothies for three days required by a standard elimination diet felt like a huge barrier. I also didn’t have to go completely grain-free on the diet because it allows brown rice and a homemade gluten-free flour mix. While paleo diets are a great healing tool for many, especially you auto-immune kiddos, being almost paleo has been a good fit for me.
Life Coaching. I hired a coach with money from savings when I was super sick and unemployed. I wasn’t even sure how I would pay for the whole six month contract but I had enough for the first three and that seemed like a good start. It was by far the best investment I ever made in my healing. At the time I was coming off my fourth health-related burnout and I didn’t want to crash and burn again. I felt that there had to be a way to make a contribution in the world without working so hard that I fell apart. While I was initially very skeptical of life coaching, I trusted my coach Jeremy to help me figure out what that magical career path might look like. I did figure it out but the most valuable thing I got out of coaching was seeing clearly where I was getting in my own way. I was terrified of asking for support. I grew up understanding that it was something you just did not do, like picking your nose in public or accepting seconds from a dinner host without being asked twice. Even though I was so sick that taking a shower and caring for myself was really hard, and my parents lived overseas, I would not ask my friends for anything other than borrowing their vehicles to go the grocery store. Everything else felt like too much. I would literally lie in bed with the phone in my hand, wanting to dial my best friend, sobbing because I felt like I could not make the ask. Since getting coaching, I have built an awesome support team. And, since I have started asking for what I need, my friends have a better understanding of how they can help and they regularly offer support. I moved three times in 2016 and friends helped out every time. Recruiting that help took just an email and a few text messages. My family is also much more supportive now that I am open about how I’m feeling, and ask them for what I need. Life is easier and WAY less lonely.
Meditation and Prayer. I began meditating in 2014. A housemate took the time to show me his practice and a few months later I finally started doing it myself. I started with 10 minutes a day, in bed, in savasana (lying down face up) first thing in the morning. I used the Headspace app and then Insight Timer. When I started feeling better, I transitioned to sitting up and today I practice in viparita kirani because it helps my feet stay happier throughout the day. It has definitely made me calmer and way less stressed. All my biggest triggers, from family to doctor’s appointments to standing in airport security lines, are so manageable now. I’m so much more present to myself, my body, and the people around me. Even on the days when my meditation time is full of jumping, racing thoughts, the day is better than if I hadn’t done it at all. In March I also began praying each night before bed, on the recommendation of a Vodun priestess. I was not given detailed instructions. I was simply told to light a candle next to a glass of water and ask for support in curing my “monster,” which is what she called my illness. I usually express gratitude and ask for support. A few times I have asked for answers in my dreams and have then had really enlightening dreams. And, if nothing else, I have noticed is that I sleep better after I pray.
Coffee Enemas. These are especially good for folks with Lyme because they stimulate the production of glutathione which helps the body detox and get all the toxic garbage (dead bacteria, heavy metals, dead parasites, etc.) out. Coffee enemas are prescribed by holistic practitioners for people suffering from candida, cancer, fibromyalgia, parasites, and chronic fatigue. Probably other things too! I have found that much like drinking coffee, the enema gives me a nice little boost in the morning. I personally can’t handle drinking coffee anymore so it is nice to have something to put pep in my step. Even on days when I wake up feeling like a pile of bricks, post-enema I feel like a normal person. It takes time, about 45 minutes a day if you include brewing the coffee, but I’ve found it to be totally worth the time. Coffee enemas can be dangerous if administered incorrectly and they aren’t a good fit for everyone. Definitely don’t try them without the support of a practitioner you trust. If you aren’t sure how to find someone who can support you with it, send me an email.
I also practice yoga at least three times a week and get acupuncture every two weeks to keep my internal energy moving. I find it really supports everything else I'm doing for my wellness. Acupuncture has really helped me with acute issues like fighting off a virus or getting good night's rest when I've been struggling with sleep. It can also provide a great reset after traveling or a particularly stressful time. I went weekly for six weeks after Trump's inauguration.