My Journey Through The World of Functional Medicine Pt 3

I’ve been nursing a flu/cold since last Thursday. And, while I feel much better than I did at the onset, I leave on my 12 month adventure in 2.5 months and my health is one of the only things that matter to me at the moment.  I need to be in top health before I start this adventure of a lifetime.  This weekend my goals are fairly simple:  

1) complete this blog

2) rest and

3) binge watch Season 7 of Blacklist.

I met with Dr. Binning (functional medicine) earlier this week to go over my urine (Organic Acids Test) results. I was excited to go over these results, as this is the final piece required to determine move forward steps on my treatment – on my way to better health – mainly increased energy, not feeling so fatigued and the sense of having to nap 2x per day – like I don’t have one foot half in the grave.

IMG_4592
Western Medicine

In this blog, we’ll go over my results – as best as I can recall them from my appointment with Dr. Binning.  I find the way the body works – ridiculously fascinating – it’s a marvel! I’m always eager to get to my appointments so I can really get to the root cause of what’s going on with my body and better understand what I need to do to feel like the old Tina again!

Let’s begin shall we?   This gets very technical and medically – just a heads up.

This first page of my results talks about energy production – that is – how do I get energy from carbohydrates, fats and the actual energy producing cycle (citric acid cycle or krebs cycle)?

IMG_4671

The pattern that I have is that of someone who is losing sensitivity to insulin, so I’m not making energy from my carbohydrates anymore – the reason is that lactate has right shifted.  Whereas,  Pyruvate, which should be higher than Lactate, isn’t even showing up! How close am I to becoming diabetic?

“Medicine’s a funny business. After all, dispensing chemicals is considered mainstream and diet and nutrition is considered alternative.”
Charles F. Glassman, Brain Drain The Breakthrough That Will Change Your Life

Pyruvate feeds into your citric acid cycle which makes a lot of energy.  Lactate doesn’t feed into this cycle, it goes into something called your Cori cycle and your Cori cycle is a stress induced cycle.  It makes energy (not that much). It makes it very quickly and the net yield is actually lower than the output is, so we’re not meant to use it for a long period of time.  I’m (clearly) using it for a long period of time – I mean have you seen my life – it’s not a wonder LOL.

Screen Shot 2020-01-11 at 2.24.48 PM

B-Hydroxybutyrate  – when this molecule is present it is signalling for my cells to burn fat as fuel.  Good thing – this signal is being sent.  We have to improve this to assist my body in creating more energy.

IMG_4672

Now (above) we’re looking at how well my cells make energy – and what we can see is that my results are all right shifted and Fumerate doesn’t even show up!  The best way I can describe this (and how I understood it) is that if we think about this as an 8 cylinder engine in a car (because there are 8 markers)  4 of them may be misfiring (or on the verge of having problems) and 1 isn’t firing at all – it’s not even getting fuel in that cylinder.  All in all, it seems I’m lacking in amino acids, coenzyme Q10 and some minerals like magnesium and manganese.  So, we have to address these deficiencies to help improve the output of energy in my cells.

IMG_4674

Now, when we look here at B vitamin deficiency, the a-keto 8 — this deficit is for B1, B2, B3 and B5 – which is close enough to being low for me.  It means I need some.  The rest of them seem like they’re in decent ranges.

With methylation – this is the process by which my body can activate things – B12 is bordering on low.

IMG_4675Now we look at the brain here – neurotransmitters – not a lot of brain inflammation, and, the one marker shows a lack of amino acids.  My dopamine is right on the limit of being low.  Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that gives you more drive, makes you feel great, your get up and go, your motivation chemical.  I’m not burning through ANY – so that means I’m likely not making any – wow!  It may be that I lack tyrosine OR that I’m lacking iron, B6 – any of the co-factors that lead to the production of dopamine.  What the results show is that I’m not using any of it – and if I’m not using any of it – I probably don’t have any.  

IMG_4676Detox — upper results are pretty good which shows low exposures to chemicals and that I’m able to clear them because they’re not building up. Pyroglutamate is ok. Sulfate is pretty low which shows a low ability to make Glutathione – because I am lacking the resources (the demand is high).  It is your body’s most powerful antioxidant and it’s used to neutralize the damage created by toxins and stress.  What is creating the demand?

IMG_4678

Yeast/Fungal – when we look here we see 3 different things that indicate there’s an overgrowth.  What I found interesting that that everyone pushes probiotics this – probiotics that — when in fact you only NEED them when your body is deficient – any mine is NOT.  Taking probiotics would in fact create an imbalance in my body.  It’s not going to help me to take more of something I have a lot of.

The results show SIBO – (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), a (serious) condition affecting the small intestine. It occurs when bacteria that normally grow in other parts of the gut start growing in the small intestine.

AND ….

here’s an answer I have been searching for …. for YEARS … since I was diagnosed with anemia — my small intestine IS NOT not be able to absorb nutrients, causing my anemia!!!  My GP did not investigate this far – he queried as to what the root cause of my anemia was — but did not dig.  They went up the heavy menses route – which I believe was the correct route to investigate and when it yielded no results – it fell off the radar and I was left with uncontrolled, chronic anemia.  Take iron tabs – anemia improves  — stop iron tabs — anemia eventually returns.  Not to mention how hard iron tabs are on your system/intestinal tract and taking that much iron throw the rest of your levels off.  Here it is — what I have been asking for YEARS, what is causing my anemia?  SIBO – malabsorption.

On this result we also see that there is a positive – I have no invasive yeast – and there was not invasive yeast in my stool results either.  So, we need to prioritize the SIBO stat.

I’ll be meeting with Dr. Binning to go over prioritizing what I need implement.  The first thing we are introducing is Grass Fed Beef Organs (Liver, Heart, Kidney, Pancreas, Spleen) supplements – which is a more naturally sourced iron (traditional peoples, Native Americans and early ancestral healers believed that eating the organs from a healthy animal would strengthen and support the health of the corresponding organ of the individual).

I am so happy that I finally have some answers. I don’t look at these results as what’s wrong with me.  I look at them as an opportunity, an opportunity for improvement, to get my health back – to get back to me … you have NO idea how happy this makes me!

As you struggling with a chronic condition?  Are you not getting the answers your looking for?  Have you considered functional medicine?

If you’re interested in reading the first 2 blogs on my functional 
health journey, you can find them here:

https://mybetterlifeca.com/2019/12/14/my-journey-through-the-world-of-functional-medicine-pt-2/

https://mybetterlifeca.com/2019/12/01/on-health-the-world-of-functional-medicine-pt-1/

 

What’s The Connection Between INTEGRITY and LITTERING?

I spent last weekend in New York City (NYC), I was attending a leaders course in Manhattan with 350 of the eastern seaboard’s most brilliant, inspirational beings, like no kidding – this powerful group is up to big things!

While we were out and about enjoying our lunch break, we spent some time walking about Madison Square Garden, walked up to the Chelsea High-line and had a awesome chat about “getting your life” in front of The Vessel by Thomas Heatherwick.  During our strolls, however, I couldn’t help but to notice all of the refuse that littered the ground. Like, it was everywhere and I could’t help to think that all of this trash was caused by “civilized” human beings.  And, to be frank, it infuriated me.

And then I got to thinking about the different places I’ve had the pleasure of traveling and about the different cultures, the way we all live our lives.

I visited Japan 2 years ago and I tell you (if you haven’t been), it’s one of the cleanest, most organized, respectful places to visit, and live apparently.  I have two friends who live in Japan and the love it – they are both Canadian – and they both suggest we have a lot to learn about different issues of our Western societies.

This is what my friend Linda has to say – she lives in Mitaka, a suburb of Tokyo.

“Living in Tokyo Japan for over 2 years and it still surprises me that a city of over 35M is so clean with such a big focus on recycling. Similar to most residents, I often carry my recycling back home with me for proper disposal, and as a foreigner still learning the Japanese language, I have received notices from the recycling officers when my recycling doesn’t meet the proper standards. I am grateful to be living in this beautiful country”.

I don’t understand why people litter, honestly I don’t, it’s just not necessary.  And, I’m not making anyone wrong here, I’m looking more for what’s missing, rather than what’s wrong.

Could it be a lack of integrity?

So what is integrity?  The Cambridge Dictionary’s definition is:

  • in·teg·ri·ty : “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness: “he is known to be a man of integrity”

Could it be the level of integrity in which we operate in life?  Could that be out?  Of course it can be! And, what I’m really present to is that WITHOUT INTEGRITY NOTHING WORKS! Literally, nothing works!  Now, integrity is not morality nor is it ethical – they are not colapsable.

I started taking a hard look at the level of my integrity, I always viewed myself as a rather integrous person.  I always try keep my word and when I can’t keep it, I try to honour by letting the person know ASAP that I cannot keep it.  I’m never late (my philosophy is that if you’re on time, you’re late) and people have always said that they can count on me to be there.  I’ve always made that a priority in my life, then I started looking at what’s missing – where is my integrity out? And, I had to actually say to myself  “Self, admit it you have no integrity” and I was like boom – face slap!

I got real with myself, confronted myself with some real truths — for example, I am pro-environment yet I still continued to use plastic utensils and don’t use carry a reusable coffee cups = lack of integrity.  I had a terrible falling out with a friend, because I was a drunken twerp last year and took MY crap out on her and I never got complete with that.  I never called her to apologize, I sent her a quick text and then left the friendship slide, complete lack of integrity.  I had convinced myself that these things were fine, and that I was ok with it.

Everywhere I looked I came to see that I had things I needed to clean up with people in my life and what that allowed me to do was have true authentic conversations about where I was out of integrity and being really committed to cleaning up the “messes” the better I felt – like a weight had been lifted off of me.  I started by apologizing to people, by connecting with people I had lost contact with, by buying reusable bamboo cutlery and napkin and keeping them in my purse (I also gave a set to a friend of mine – and enrolled 2 other friends to start using bamboo or carrying their own metal cutler.  Another friend agreed to purchase bamboo toothbrushes).  I literally started restoring integrity with velocity.  Folks, I literally have never loved being so wrong (to be clear my actions were wrong, I wasn’t making myself wrong and holding onto it) LOL – it really was empowering to get complete with things.

And, you know what I got out of cleaning up this LACK OF INTEGRITY? I really got the impact on the other person, I really got to see what it was like over there with them. And when you really get to get what’s it’s like for someone else, it’s empowering and you start to change the way you want to behave.

“An important aspect of my word to myself is my word to others. For example, when I give my word to someone to meet them at a given time tomorrow, in effect I have also given my word to myself to be there tomorrow at the appointed time and place. Likewise with any time I give my word to others, I have also given my word to myself to be good for my word.
If I hold myself up as a person of integrity and do not honor my word to myself, it is highly unlikely that I will be able to be in integrity with others”.

~ Werner Erhard 

So, What Does Lack of Integrity Have to do With Littering?

Everything!  Integrity is what you do when no one’s watching.  It’s when you do what’s right, even when it’s difficult.  It’s in taking a stand for what you believe in. It’s throwing your trash in the litter bin.  It’s recycling your bottles, paper cups and newspapers. It’s in taking your trash home when there isn’t anywhere to properly dispose of them.  It’s in picking up the trash when you are able, tidying the public washrooms counter before leaving them and by leaving the people you talk to better than when you met them —  it’s about being an extra ordinary human being!

📷:  from last weekend in NYC

And, just like that, without even realizing it – I managed to intertwine two of the things I love and that I’m passionate about – integrity and the environment – and the ability to be fully self expressed! WOW!

What would your life look like in the space of living a life of more integrity?

How freaking powerful of a human being would you be?  

Who are you going to go clean up with right now?  

Oh, and PS:  as human beings, we’re never 100% in integrity – there’s always somewhere in our lives that integrity is out or missing. The difference is, we can always live life more integrously.

Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 2.13.18 PM.png

What Do You Do to Enhance Your Life?

⚠️ I am a ridiculously PASSIONATE person, I don’t think that anyone who knows me would disagree. That works to my advantage the majority of the time and at times to my disadvantage … sometimes I need to be dialled down or be more mindful in the way that I communicate 💬 my passion, and, it’s all part of who I am and what I am working on – on transforming my life into one that I love and that I’m passionate about and MOST OF ALL … THAT I CREATED for myself.

The things that I’m working on aren’t to change who I am or the life that I have – I love MY life and I am truly blessed, I’m grateful for that every day

I do these things to ENHANCE myself and my life, not because there’s anything WRONG with me or my life. I want to be clear, some people have suggested to me that I’m constantly “on the go” because I’m “always reaching for something”. While I hear that point of view on the outside looking in, it’s simply untrue,  because there’s nothing wrong with me to change, I’m perfectly awesome just the way that I am (WE ALL ARE). I believe that we all have room to transform ourselves and our lives into anything we truly want. That’s who I am and what I stand for

IMG_8795

One of the many things I have been dedicating my time to in the last few months is The David Suzuki Blue Dot Movement 🔵, in addition to passion projects I’m assisting with for Love Train ❤️🚂  and She Stands – End Bullying 🚫.

I love helping, I love seeing people succeed. I devote my time to people and projects that are important to me. I want a better world and love seeing that there are so many other passionate folks out there creating businesses, foundations, workshops, events, causes – people that I know and am personally aligned with MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN LIFE EVERY DAY. I’m so honoured to be part of their causes and dreams 💭 and for the stand they’re taking in making the world 🌎  a better place.

These are the things I’m working toward and that I’m working on — moving to SEAsia isn’t just about a year off to travel ✈️ for me – it’s to work on creating change – volunteering for programs there that help clean the environment, educate and getting to know them and their community – how I can help.

It’s to try to do my part in making a difference and taking a stand for things that truly matter to me.

What are you passionate about? What things to do stand for?

Super Soul Sunday Thoughts🧡

I wanted to share authentically with you today for #supersoulsunday

I’m often told by people “you’re so strong” , “you’ve been through so much, and have come through the other side better”, “I wish I had your strength”, “you look great for your age” (and thank you, I think I do too – for any age – not just my age 😉).

I’m grateful that people can see that in me and that side of me. I’ve worked hard to get to the point that what you guys see is the end result of my digging deep. Things always look “awesome” on social media – “oh look at her, she’s having the best life”, or “she’s always out with friends or doing stuff and going cool places”.

And, that all may be true – but what most people do not know are my insecurities, regrets and the choices I am intentionally making each and every day to make ME a better version of myself and create a life I want, not the one I inherited.

We all tell ourselves stories everyday, stories like  —  “I’m this way because ….  I had a tough childhood, my ex was an addict, I was cheated on …. “and the list goes on. But those are just the stories that we live in because they’re comfortable but they’re not the truth per se. Yes, those things DID happen, but they aren’t happening now! They happenED.

The truth is feelings and stories aren’t a good barometer of what’s currently going on. The question is “Who am I being about it? “ We tend to get stuck and guide their lives and decisions based on our FEELINGS and our PAST.

We’re currently living life with our view of life determined by our past. If you’re letting your feelings dictate your life, try coming at it from a different view.  It’s your view of life that gives you what’s possible, so get out there and live your best life!

You deserve it!

IMG_4828

At Transformation

img_3507

A few years ago, I went through a period of transformation.  A time where I was forced to do some intense soul searching and dig deep.

I had always been Tina daughter, Tina sister, Tina wife, Tina mom, Tina worker.  I had spent years defined by those roles, as many of us do, that I didn’t even know who Tina was!  I mean I loved being those things, but, after separating from my then husband, someone at that time I had been with for 16 years (since we were 16 years old) I was now single, and raising my two girls pretty much solo.  You’d think that since I became a mom at 19 that I’d be out partying and getting a little crazy (I did do that, it came a bit later).  But that wasn’t what I chose to do immediately afterward.  I spent a lot of time in those following months, staying in alone on weekends, reading, watching chick flicks, enjoying a glass of wine, reflecting and searching the world wide web for anything on how to do me! After all, who was I?  What were MY interests?  I didn’t even know – most of my interests were my kids interests or my exes interests.  What made ME happy?  What did I want from MY life?

17990691_10155030908085168_9023561088869871015_nYou know when you’re stuck and it feels like your life is a disconnect that a good self help/discovery book is where it’s at.  Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was the beginning of my transformation.  I followed Elizabeth through her pleasures in Italy, her devotion in India and love in Bali.  Although tempted, I skipped the mounds of pasta meals but started to meditate and get acquainted with Hindi mantras,  heck I wanted to do the whole Ashram thing myself.  I listened to Alanis Morrissette’s “Thank You India” on repeat.  The book touched me so, to the point that I got Om Namah Shivaya tattooed on my left hip as a constant reminder to myself to honour The Divinity That Lives Within Me, to Bow to Shiva My True Identity.

I was on a roll … and I loved it.  I picked up a great Riesling and then picked up every single Robin Sharma book on the market!  Chapters loved me lol.  Discover Your Destiny.  This book gets you hooked at the first line … “You are far greater than you ever dreamed of being.  And, no matter what you are experiencing in your life right now, trust that all is good and unfolding in your best interests.  It may not look pretty, but it is exactly what you need to learn for you to grow into the person you have been destined to become”.   Wow!   I couldn’t put it down, all I wanted to do was keep reading to watch the choices and decisions Dar was going to make and how I could apply these lessons to live my highest life, and be my authentic self — I wanted a life of authenticity.  My copy is dogeared beyond belief and I still refer to some passages and quotes from it to this day.  Heck, for a few months afterward I kept it in my purse, and when I had a moment or needed to take a break, I’d open up one of the dogeared pages and and read from it.

Here’s a  link to a free excerpt of Discover Your Destiny:

http://www.robinsharma.com/product-samples/pdf/Discover-Your-Destiny-1.pdf

I’ve read most of his books, I find him to be a truly inspiring human being! Truly magnetic! He’s the kinda guy I’d like to morph into a little gnome and carry around in my pocket and he’d spout out inspirational thoughts throughout the day like,

“Hey Tina:

•Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow ~ Helen Keller

•Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive ~ Matt Cameron

•Change your thoughts and you change your world ~ Norman Vincent Peale”

If you haven’t read any of his powerful books, I’d encourage you to give some a try. They are life changing!  (oh and if you believe in serendipity – I got a chance of a lifetime to see the one and only Robin Sharma as keynote speaker at our Arbonne Canadian National Conference in 2013 – talk about destiny! – whoop whoop!)

I was on my way – I was feeling good, I was getting in tune with moi and I was discovering that I not only liked me, but that I loved me.  That me and only me was in charge of my life and destination. Personal growth starts simply by becoming a better version of your former self everyday.  Step one successfully accomplished (well at least acknowledged – personal growth is a lifelong journey!).

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 10.16.02 PM.pngNext, I was going to tackle getting out of my comfort zone – life begins at the end of it don’t ya know!  Most people live their lives in their comfort zones, afraid to change, afraid to step out of the comforts of their norms, their regular routines – that are safe, where they know all of the rules of the game.  I realized that we set these limits ourselves and that we keep ourselves locked in because we typically dread what lies in what we don’t already know.  I admired folks who shook the status quo, who took chances, who weren’t afraid – I admired the people who jumped!  I didn’t need to stand on the sidelines and admire … I could jump too!

Shortly after, I stumbled across a poem that I saw posted by George Strombolopoulous, I forget what exactly he was posting about, but I think his mom had this poem by Edgar Guest hung in their house.

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 10.58.14 PM

Authenticity, integrity .. this poem struck a chord with me so much that I tattooed the last six lines on my right ribs.

I started redefining my norms, what was possible — becoming authentic is an individual mission, I mean how can we be who we truly are if we spend our time and attention being something we are not for the purposes of the approval of others or being fashionable for instance?  I started by listening to my inner self and kicking my fictional self to the curb.  I found that my life was simpler when I was more peaceful inside, when I made the right decisions for the right reasons.  I decided to end friendships that were not healthy, started surrounding myself with people who were supportive and likeminded, and started making a plan for the next chapter – following my own compass.  I had some friends who were definitely instrumental in helping me through this transformation (shout out to Stacey and Selena), friends definitely helped.

I ended up getting three more tattoos – I’m now a walking billboard for positivity and growth.  And, yes – when I’m by the pool or at the beach, people will stop and ask to read me lol.

Hey, listen, I’m not here to preach that because I am striving to be a truer version of me that my life is perfect, it’s not, no one’s is … it’s filled with just as many challenges as everyone else’s, life will continue to throw us curve balls, but I’ve now learned that it’s how we deal with those challenges that determines the quality of our lives.  I’ve really forgotten this lately … but thankfully life’s a journey and I can continue to make strides. Tomorrow is a new day.

~ “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” – Tony Robbins