New Healing Plan Now Available!!

Healing Plan 3D

Ta-dah!!!! It has taken me over a year to write it, but here is the Healing Plan for you at long last!

195 lurverly pages to help you get well from unresolving chronic illness. The five steps I took to get myself back from very few foods, chronic fatigue and body-wide pain when I couldn’t eat or take any foods, meds or supplements to get myself well. I had to find new ways; what I call: ‘nil-by-mouth’!

Those of you who have followed my epic journey via the Healing Series will know the research and effort behind this book – I thank you for bearing with me through the tears and joy!

Behind the scenes, I have been beavering away trying to pull it all together into something coherent for you. We have….

info iconNew Website Section

You can read all about the Healing Plan here on the new Mind-Body Medicine section of the website.

shop iconPreview and Purchase Ebook or Paperback

You can see a 16 page Preview, buy an ebook and even avail yourself of a paperback version (by popular request!). I’ve deliberately kept costs down to the same as the other Plans, despite it being bigger. The printed version is a little more but much cheaper than the Gluten Plan was – and I have brought the Gluten Plan down to the same price for the ebook and much reduced for the printed version now. Why? Because I want the awareness to continue and I think, as you’ll see below, the two main Gluten and Healing plans work really well together to form a combined functional and mind-body medicine approach so people will no doubt need both at some point. I daren’t combine them; the weight would kill a poor postie! Anyway, I hope it helps.

chatNew Facebook Group

Healing Planners will be able to join a new HP Facebook group for peer-to-peer support.

blog iconNew MBM Blog & Website

And, knowing that I will be wittering on about mind-body techniques, new research, tips etc over the coming months – much as I did with TrulyGlutenFree! – I have set up a new blog site at www.mind-bodymedicine.co.uk where you can register for email updates.

Phew! I have been a busy bee.

Reviews..

My pre-launch readers were very complimentary about the book, which so gladdened my heart. Some of them are still reading it, but here are a few choice comments for you so far:

“I think this is a tremendous health plan that seeks to educate people about the emotional and psychological components of chronic ill health. It teaches the link between the physical and mental and will really help those people who firmly believe this does not apply to them! Just making the effort to purchase and read the Healing Plan will be a big step forward in someone’s healing and recovery.”

“It really is phenomenal. I nearly wrote I felt it was better than the Gluten Plan but then changed my mind as that would be very unjust as I think the GP is fantastic too! But the HP is unique and very comprehensive in addressing a particularly difficult and sensitive topic.”

“I bet lots of people will cry reading this…”

“Another masterpiece!”

“This book is truly exceptional. You should be incredibly proud.”

Eek. How lovely is that?!

Putting it into context

The creation of the Healing Plan and my own healing ‘journey’ has sparked a whole re-think of my approach as a clinic to illness, actually, and I have been busy thinking all that through as well as doing the book. My next job is to spend quite a bit of time on streamlining the Purehealth websites to better direct people to the resources they need.

To that end, I have begun by creating a new Start Here…page on the Purehealth website to guide people. Here’s the flow chart I’ve shared there:

Home page flow chart

I was quite proud of that 🙂

Anyway, I’ve made a start and over the next few weeks and months, I will develop the resources and simplify a bit as I promised in my last blog post.

I hope you like the Healing Plan anyway – do let me know. I’m sure there will be typos aplenty as I went cross-eyed staring at it for so long – as did the beta-readers! So do let me know your thoughts and anything you spy.

OK, I truly hope it helps for you. Go and have a read about it and I’ll see you on the other side in the Facebook Group where we have Jilly, Julie and me ready to chat with you! After I’ve had a lie down….

I wish you much success in getting better. I never thought I would say I was ‘normal’ again. But I am – and that’s all I ever wanted. Isn’t it you?!

New Year Healing: My Daily Plan

naturopathy symbolIf you read my first post of the year (and well done if you did; it was massive!), then you’ll know that I am focusing on my physical body this year, having done tons on my brain retraining and subconscious work the last two years. My poor little physical body feels a bit left behind and needs a bit of TLC and rebuilding now.

Some of you asked me to share what I plan to do so here it is for you. This will evolve, I have no doubt and, as you’ll see, the physical work needs to be dovetailed with the work to keep my amygdala desensitised and new brain neural pathways strengthening so I can maintain my food reintroductions! It also needs to fit in around my work if I am to develop this chronic illness work the Universe seems to have chosen for me!

From a physical perspective, the aim is primarily to start encouraging better lymphatic flow, tissue and organ oxygenation, muscle flexibility and strength. I also have a feeling I am still holding trauma in the muscles and that needs to be released.

Time was when I was really strong, fit and lean, worked out several times a week with free weights and in the gym and had powerful upper body strength from all the massage and manipulation work I was doing in-clinic. Now, I feel weak, tight and congested much of the time.

I sit on my backside most of the day writing, reading and answering questions. When I was really thin, I had to sit on a few cushions as it was so bony-painful. I also had to wear lots of warm clothes as I was so cold. Now, the food is going back in and the pounds are piling back on.

This is to be expected – when the body has been in starvation mode for as long as mine has, it will happily cling onto every calorie you give it for a while until it feels it can trust you again. That’s a survival mode switch and there’s no getting around it. If you restrict your food intake, for whatever reason, the body just gets more efficient at storing and using what you do give it as fat mainly. That’s why food restriction diets don’t work.

Women are especially good at this. We are the ‘feeders’ of the babies; it’s our job to keep the species going, if you like, and we hold more fat deliberately so we can continue producing enough hormones to have and feed babies during the leaner, scarce-food times.

Anyway, I am being kind to my body and giving it some TLC and a year to get used to me eating again. Which it will.

The importance of Self-care

Image result for messy hair cartoonWhen we are in chronic illness mode, we tend to ‘give up’ on our physical bodies; we distrust it, don’t like it, blame it, even hate it. I know I did. That often translates into self-sabotage types of behaviour, which of course can be horrific for some souls, but it can very commonly be seen in simply avoiding looking after yourself in the ways you used to.

Part of this next healing phase for me is to restart some of those. I’ve had my hair done into a new style – braving a big proper hair salon with smells n everything – started massaging oil into my nails which are as dry, ridged and bumpy as sandpaper and today treated myself to some ‘proper’ hair products and bugger the chemicals. I used to model my hair, for goodness’ sake, and my family will testify to some of the weird and wonderful hairstyles I’ve had -including very high sticky-up ones, pink, sponged-green and even an M shaved into my hair. Oh yes, I had fun.

Someone said to me the other day that I’d had the same hair style ever since he’d known me. That is NOT good. I realised during this last decade or so of illness, I had barely even looked at my hair really, so I vowed to start with that in my self care and now I have.

I used to LOVE having long baths with a glass of wine, some music or a good book. In fact, I used to finish work, get straight in the bath and call friends or family for a chat. It was my ME time. Then, I started reacting to the bath products in the water, then to the water itself, then I had panic attacks even getting into filtered non-chlorinated water.

Recently, I have been able to start having baths again. The first few resulted in panic attacks. The next few I meditated and WHEE’d in the bath (I just wanted to say that!) to tell myself I was safe. Then I had plain baths and, today, I am up to ones with Faith in Nature bubble bath, a candle and a glass of wine (sometimes). To treat myself and celebrate my bath progress, today I used a voucher from my birthday to buy this bamboo bath rack:

Bliss.

Anyway, I share all that to illustrate the self-care point. This is all part of the physical body healing plan for this year. To make friends with my body again.

checklist iconDaily Healing Plan

So, here is my daily plan, such as it is, in case it helps you – I’ll point out all the new stuff too as I know it gives some of you hope and you ask me to (stop press: coming back here after I have written this post, I have even astounded myself at the number of new things!!):

Wake. Hot water and lemon (new) or ginger (new) or a coffee (bean to cup)

Breakfast: Smoothie with fruit, slowly adding greens (new), banana, a date (new), almonds (new), brazil nuts (new) and sometimes cashews (new), flaxseeds (new) and pumpkin seeds (new) all blitzed up with RO water (not got tap yet) in my blender. I make enough for one and a half big glasses. I might add supplements in to it as I get to them. I currently spray magnesium oil (new) on after a shower and have started working on adding the TGF core supplement protocol (new). I also want to add some spice like turmeric and have got some fresh root ready for the purpose.

Image result for Qi gong

Before starting work: if it’s raining, I do a 10 or 20 minute morning, energising Qi Gong routine. If it’s fine, I walk up and down the road, which involves two steep hills and a glorious view of the sea, more than enough to set you up for the day! If I’m having a crap, poorly day, meditation for 20 minutes. If I have a migraine, I can’t meditate; I lie down and read, watch Homes under the Hammer or sleep, depending on how bad it is!

Mid-morning: drink the other glass of smoothie. I am perpetually hungry – I assume to do with the insulin control loss of PCOS and the gluten related disorder causing malabsorption. I need to eat very frequently or I will fall over. Or kill P. If I’m really starving, I need more fat so I might add half an avocado and re-blitz.

More work til lunch.

Lunch varies. Usually omelette or egg-based (new) or left overs from the night before. Often fresh mackerel or fish from the harbour. I am trying to get back to salad. I went off it for a long while because of my mouth pain. You’d think chewing leaves would be easy, right? Nope. The grinding motion was really painful a lot of the time so I just stopped and ate soft, non-grindy foods instead – loads of cooked root veg and fish mainly. Even things like spinach (grindy) or broccoli (couldn’t bite through it unless overcooked which I hated) had to be avoided because of the mouth pain. It might be a slice of roast beef now too (new). I’d love to get soups or casseroles or (please) curries in and I’m working on that.

I might have an apple (new) or a pear (new) to finish my lunch with something sweet.

After lunch is my most vulnerable time of the day. I have learned to just rest if I can. I often meditate for 20 minutes and then do some personal bits and bobs such as cooking, ordering stuff, putting the washing on, looking stuff up etc.

I am ALWAYS hungry about half an hour after I have eaten lunch. I haven’t worked this one out. Adrenal crash maybe from the exertion of digestion or gastric dumping syndrome I’ve had suggested to me, but haven’t worked on yet (part of this year!). It doesn’t matter what I’ve eaten; it always happens.

I’ve tried everything. Nothing works like 2-3 squares of really dark chocolate (new). Maybe it is a magnesium need. (I just thought that as I wrote it as a craving for chocolate is often a magnesium need). Anyhow, that’s what I do. When I couldn’t have the chocolate, it was a nightmare; I’d feel like I was going to collapse to be truthful. I recall P had to have the chocolate ready for me to pop out of a clinic appointment with a patient and give it to me as soon as he saw my pale face run into reception lol. Poor P. When I couldn’t have the chocolate – or a magnesium spray or any supplements – my saviour: plaintain crisps came to the rescue. I somehow needed fat and the salt which is what makes me feel it is to do with my adrenals. I swear those crisps stopped me losing even more weight. I still have some occasionally in the afternoon.

Image result for hibiscus teaBack to work. I am trying a cup of tea here (new). I have so far had Golden Monkey black tea – very gentle. I have several new ones to try and started with hibiscus flowers today, bright red colour and bursting with Vitamin C. Focusing on anti-histamine and nourishing types such as lotus root, moringa and olive leaf as well as my faves like spearmint and licorice.

In this new year, after lunch and my break, I will be focusing on writing the Healing Plan and doing the chronic illness development work. That involves reading, listening, watching stuff and writing mostly. This year, part of my plan is to build up to going for a longer walk three times a week and listen to a training podcast. I have got several series saved up especially for this that I’m really looking forward to.

Of course, this has physical body benefits in terms of the walking, the fresh sea air and resting my eyes on the sheer beauty of where I am lucky enough to live. This increases lymphatic flow, oxygenation and muscle strength as well as overall cardio fitness. Listening to the podcasts is training, but it is also part of my neuroplasticity work to keep strengthening those new neural pathways that healing is not only possible, nor even probable; it is a question of time and putting the effort in. Listening to others’ stories and understanding how things went wrong for me – and many chronic illness sufferers – and how to turn it around is a big part of the therapy.

Sometimes, of course, it is best to use the walk as ‘movement meditation’ and just concentrate on what you’re seeing around you. It’s a balance and intuitive.

Come back in from walk. Check for any urgent emails, finish off anything needed. Once I’ve finished emails, if I’ve not done a walk, I will usually do a 10 or 20 minute evening Qi Gong routine to release stress. There are shaking exercises in this that I find really work for me; I feel miles more relaxed in the evening if I’ve done them.

Interestingly, so-called trauma release exercises usually involve muscle ‘shaking’ so I am starting with the Qi Gong routines, but may upgrade to TRE or psoas release exercises later on when I feel ready. These are specific methods of releasing stored trauma and stress from the body tissues. I have tried them but they are too strong for me currently. If I feel rubbish, I will have a bath or do some more meditation.

Go and have some tea. Nowadays, that could be fish or seafood, egg (new) or meat (new) with courgetti pasta (new), mini baked, jacket or boiled potatoes (boiled in tap water!)(new), mayonnaise (new) or tomatoes (new), mushrooms, cucumber (new) or root veg with greens such as spinach, broccoli or cabbage mostly. I might have a glass of wine (new) rarely if I feel like one – usually if I have a bath, see above!

I might then follow that later on when I’m watching the telly with a couple of squares of chocolate (new) or a portion of my current fave: a nut fruit crumble made using apples (new) and plums (new), ground pecans (new) and almonds (new) with either dates (new), coconut sugar (new) or honey (new) and a little grapeseed oil (new).

So, that’s the ideal and what I can do food and energy-wise so far. It doesn’t always work out like that, of course, for various reasons, mainly if I feel rubbish or have got loads of work on, but that’s what I am now aiming for most days.

And that’s a heck of a lot better than life has been I can tell you!

As I have said many times, you need to have a plan, you need to know what you’re aiming at and you need to put the work in to get better. This is not as simple as taking a pill, although if that’s all you can do for now, that is fine. Like me, maybe you can start with lying-down meditation and WHEE and, just by doing that, you will start to turn yourself around and point yourself in the right direction for wellness.

Image result for healthy and happy

For me: I am determined to keep all the ‘body balls’ as I think of them in the air. I need to keep the emotional trauma work going with the hypnotherapy, WHEE, CBT etc, maintain the mental, cognitive neuroplasticity work to strengthen those neural pathways, continue my ‘spiritual’ work with the meditation and connection to the Universe (the most weird and hardest for me to accept, but ultimately, the most change has come from this) and now add in the physical work to build nutrient levels and optimum physical functioning. Ultimately, this will also build into better social connections and stepping back out into the world as a fully-well person.

Just a wee bit to do there then – I swear this getting better lark is a full-time job!

This year, peeps – are you coming with me???

Who’s A Lucky Girl Then?

I am 🙂

After a week of feeling upset, sad and, frankly, ready to quit Purehealth for good, I have discovered how really, truly lucky I am.

One: I have a strong core that is not easily shaken by life now. This is very much in contrast to how I used to be. When I was in my early twenties, I was as strong and confident as an Ox – until I had a bullying boss who ground me down and staff problems in the shops and offices I was running for Holland & Barrett. My resilience took a bad hit but it eventually came back up, although never to full strength again.

This last week, I had another work knock-back and I found the way I thought about it was entirely different. Suffice to say, my resilience is back to my early twenties’ levels and probably even stronger. The work I’ve done with meditation, neuroplasticity and, not least, the treatments with Julie, have clearly not only put me in a really good healing state, it has made me much stronger at my ‘core’. If you have a strong core, (a bit like Pilates!), not much is going to make you fall down!

I suppose if this latest ‘challenge’ hadn’t happened, I would not have known my own strength, so I accept the issue as a Universal message I was meant to get and am thankful for it. Now. It did take a few days😉

This actually ties in with a post that popped into my Inbox this morning from Rick Hanson. I’m sure he won’t mind me copying it here for you – it’s on his newsletters which you can subscribe to here. In fact, I will be talking again about him funnily enough in a day or so because I’m adding his programme onto the Stress Factsheet, so more of that anon..

What can you do when you’re shaken?

I’ve been to New Zealand, and really respect and like it. There’s a Maori term – turangawaewae, “a place to stand” – that I’ve come back to many times.
I’m sure I don’t know the full meaning of the word in its cultural context. But at a basic level, it’s clear that we all need a place to stand. A physical place to be sure – hearth and home, land and sea, a bed to curl up in – but also psychological or spiritual places, such as feeling loved, a calm clear center inside, knowledge of the facts, compassion and ethics, and realistic plans.
This is our ground, the place we rest in and move out from . . . even under the best of circumstances. And when you’re shaken by events at any scale – from changes in your health to changes in your country or world (here’s a recent post you may find relevant: Take Heart) – then it’s especially important to find and hold your ground.
How?
Start with the body, and the feeling of being here. The sensations of breathing . . . heart beating . . . going on living . . . feet on the floor, back against a chair. Whatever is true now can never be taken from you.
Then, silly as it may seem, it can help to reassure yourself about the immediate survival and welfare of yourself and those you care about. Check in with your kids, your friends. Separate thoughts and fears about the future from the reality of the present. Remind yourself that at least in this moment you and they are still basically OK (of course, only if this is genuinely true).
Know that you stand in a web of relationships even if it’s tattered in some ways. Others do care about you. There is camaraderie with people who are also shaken.
Establish as best you can the relevant facts. What is currently true? What caused it – particularly the causes that will continue? What is likely to happen in the future? But watch out for obsessing, blaming, or catastrophizing. When things are shaky, it’s easy to get revved up in thoughts and analyses, let alone imagined arguments with people on Facebook or TV (speaking from personal experience).
Sort out the impacts of events on you, and on others. Be concrete and realistic about consequences for yourself; don’t under- or over-estimate them. Also recognize any sense of injustice, moral outrage, compassion, or concern about how others will or could be harmed. This is often the most upsetting aspect of a situation, and naming it to yourself is clarifying and grounding, and sets you up to do something about it.
Not an easy thing, but in a way the art is opening your heart to the likely suffering of others while closing your head to those who are trying to get into it to rattle, frighten, infuriate, or confuse you.
Start figuring out what you are going to do in three areas:
* Personal practice – Stand in what feeds you. Like petting your cat, making soup, meditating, loving others, or giving thanks. Guard your attention; disengage from news, websites, or interactions that add little value and mainly just upset you.
* Protecting your own interests – Focus on what’s in your control. If these apply: take a fresh look at your health, insurance, finances, loose ends, and plans for an emergency. Make a list and work through it. Personally, I find that action eases anxiety.
* For the sake of others – Without falling into righteousness, I think it’s important to be confident about what you know is true and about your values. Why is it that the people who are most ignorant of the facts and most casual about how they’re harming others are often the ones who look most assured, whether it’s across a dining table or on TV? Claim and stand your ground with moral confidence. Not wasting time in dead-end arguments or “feeding the trolls,” but identifying actions that will make a difference – at whatever scale is accessible to you – and then doing them.
Last, know you are not alone. Whatever you are dealing with, from a personal health problem to a worry about a child to a deep concern about global events, other people right now are also dealing with it or something similar. We stand together on common ground.

And that brings me onto number two of how  lucky I am:

Two: I have a community of friends and ‘family’ in Purehealth who bring me even more strength and have my back. This week, they have demonstrated it wonderfully to me.

Christine (Facebook & TGF Supplement woman) and I have been noticing that the groups were quieter than normal for the past few months. So, I asked if people wanted us to keep the groups going or were they getting their support and answers from elsewhere -which I truly don’t mind, but I didn’t want to keep the groups going if they weren’t needed or being used anymore.

Had we had our day, I wondered, should I start shutting up the groups and think about winding Purehealth up after more than 25 years if I am no longer needed? Had I done my stint? Had others surpassed what I could give maybe?

I wasn’t prepared for the answers, and they actually made me cry. I’ll share a few here for you; again I’m sure they won’t mind:

“Please don’t close Purehealth. You offer us all so much and it would be devastating if Purehealth didn’t exist any more. Whoever or whatever upset you is getting a virtual punch in the face lol!! 
 
“You gave my daughter her life back Micki. She’s gone from not able to get out of bed to 4 A levels and a little job as a waitress!!! I tell everyone about you. If you ever feel like that again – send me a message!!!! You are an incredible person who changes lives xxxxx
 
“Ooh no, please don’t close this group!! You all feel like family and the info, help and support it provides is invaluable.
 

“Noooooooooo – we need you!

“I’m sorry your thinking about closing Purehealth and I hope it doesn’t become a reality as you have considerably helped me in getting my life back on track and turning a major corner and I am sure I am not the only one who would be deeply affected by it’s departure.
 
 
“Your work on PureHealth is such a great resource for so many people – it has so much helpful information, all on one website. It’s brilliant… I hope you know how much appreciation there is out there for you and your work – maybe we haven’t shouted it loud enough – so . . .
THANK YOU!!! 😊
 
 “Oh, Micki, it would be such a loss if you were to close Purehealth completely. Practitioners like you (open-minded, caring, knowledgable, willing to take a risk and explore new avenues of healing) are so rare and hard time to find these days. And this group is such an important meeting place for those of us struggling with chronic and autoimmune disease. I have several groups that i belong too and learn from, but this is my most important one. .

“This is a lovely community and tremendously helpful to each other. Which is all thanks to Micki and her knowledge, publications and caring, compassionate practice.

“..please keep the group open. So fantastic info that I would struggle to find anywhere else and lots of great support

“No way baby! This is my secret group of Truly smart people! (TSP) That’s why you keep it small, there are so few of us, right Micki?

Gulp. That was just a few of them. That told me!!

I think I had better carry on then. Onward – and with renewed vigour, strength and determination to make it better than ever.

Thank you all so much. I am truly a lucky girl🙂

Music Heals

Music notes on white background  I’ve just written a piece in the forthcoming Healing Plan (yes, I am still writing it!) about music and its importance in your healing, er, plan.

At various stages, music of different types became very important to me. I knew when I was really depressed and ill because I couldn’t bear to listen to music. I still find that works today as an indicator when stress is getting to me. I realise I’ve not had the radio on for a few days or something – that’s normally the first sign.

Then, at other stages, I needed extremely calming music, inspirational music, dance music to lose myself to, the sound of a piano to soothe me, nostalgic music from various stages of my life when I was either traumatised or happy. In short, I used music a lot to help me along the path to healing.

One of my favourite things when I was teaching my Sparkle Programme (for people who’d lost theirs!) was to make students sit or lie down and listen to a multi-layered piece of music and try to follow one strand/layer all the way through and ignore the rest. This is like a kind of meditation when you can’t meditate, if you like. I find it incredibly powerful and, thankfully, so did they. It takes practice but the practice is actually the meditation, if you see what I mean.

And it doesn’t have to be classical music either, unless that floats your boat.

Most often, in class and personally, I used one of my favourite bands: Leftfield! In fact, the Leftism album has followed me around in life: from lying on the floor with my partner at the time in complete darkness just experiencing it for the first time, to using a track from it to set scrolling images in a presentation to motivate staff when I had a ‘proper’ job at British Gas as a PR for a couple of years, to it creating a joyous feeling whenever I listen to it in the sun, to today writing to it often! It simply makes me dance in my head. Try it – its dance music but give it a go.

A softer piece of music – which I may in fact get married to next year! – is the soundtrack from The Piano by Michael Nuyman. I’m sure it is based on something by a different composer but I don’t know who – if you do, please let me know! Whatever, it gets me in my heart every time. I use it often to bring stuck emotions to the surface and it invariably leaves me feeling better and smiling – even if through tears.

Ok, so how did I get onto this subject?!

I saw this interesting piece from Yasmina on Music Therapy and it set me off. And, as I say, I had just written a bit about music in my own ‘journey’ in the Healing Plan. It’s a tough write this time but ultimately very satisfying as I pull together the strands of what helped and what didn’t. Though I say it myself, I am quite proud of myself for both doing it and being objective enough to analyse it for you to get something from, I hope!

Anyway, go and read Yasmina’s piece here too:

Music Therapy Helps Lower Histamine

Enjoy x

Recovery Bloating!

Image result for bloating One of the things you need to be prepared for when you start eating foods again is bloating! As I sit here, I am holding about 8 kittens in my stomach area.

Image result for kittensEh, kittens? P and I measure the size of my stomach in number of kittens to make it feel better!

Anyway, when you have been on a very restricted diet for several months or years and you lose a lot of weight like I did (almost 3 years on 20 foods, heading for a size 6), your body is really going to know about it when you start eating again!

You have basically been literally starving – poor macro and micro nutrient levels mean body systems slow down and you become very cold, fatigued, bony, periods stop or become erratic etc.

I began to think of it a bit akin to how anorexics must feel and suffer. And, as it turned out, my PTSD-triggered hypersensitivity was a form of eating disorder I think although I hesitate to call it that; probably more ‘disordered eating’, although I am not certain what the difference is. In fact, I overheard P telling someone how much better I was the other day and when they asked what it was, he said ‘a bit like an eating disorder’so it is clearly a kind of shorthand for what happened, an easy way to explain it, even if that wasn’t quite it as it started with a purely physiological TGF problem to gluten.

Anyway, yesterday someone liked the post I did When Will I Get Better? and I followed their blog as I often do. The top post was on recovery bloating no less and resonated with exactly how I am feeling! Have a read here:

The Truth about Bloating in Recovery

As you’ll see if you read that, the author talks about the inevitability of the body bloating when you start eating properly again. And, wisely, advises not to let it throw you back into disordered-eating thinking patterns.

I confess, a part of me has body dysmorphia – we discovered this in treatment – and this bloating has certainly made me think abut stopping eating again or at least consider cutting things out again to stop the bloat and fat feeling. This is not good! I am never going there again but it IS hard to deal with the bloating and weight gain, which happens so quickly, that it is quite normal to wobble a bit (in more ways than one!), but if we are aware it will probably happen, we can be ready for it and have a cognitive way of thinking about it ready.

For me, as a nutritionist, this is how I justify it to stop myself slipping back: ‘well, what did you think was going to happen when you reintroduced food? You needed to put weight on and you are doing. Your body doesn’t trust that it is going to get food now and has to re-learn to trust you. In the meantime, it is going to hang on to every bit of nutrient you are giving it. And when you put more food in, the gut flora is bound to change, you won’t have enough stomach acid or enzyme production to cope so OF COURSE your gut is going to struggle. Dur..!” etc etc.

That is exactly how my mind is working currently. I wanted to share it with you so you’ll be ready for it too when you start eating more foods again. Give your body – and mind – a chance to adapt and find its level. I anticipate it will take a good few months and will happen each time I put a major food group back in. And, now I can tolerate supplements again, I shall support my digestion, gut flora, vits and mins more speedily.

In essence, today’s lesson is: Bloating and weight gain will happen until the body finds its level again. Don’t let it faze you.

I need to listen to my own advice 😉

When Will I Get Better?

Brain iconAh, the sixty million dollar question, isn’t it? I read an interesting post from our friends at SCD Lifestyle (the ones who do the leaky gut prog here) and the start of it made me remember something I was going to write about. Let’s begin with what they wrote:

Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of questions along the lines of: “When am I going to get better?”

I get emails like this all the time:

“Hi guys, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 5 years ago and I started SCD 2 weeks ago. So far my energy is better and my diarrhea’s been cut in half. My only question is: when am I going to heal? Do you think I even will be able to? Right now I can only eat 8 foods.” – Christina

I love this question. Mostly because when I was sick 7 years ago I spent endless hours trolling Google trying to find the answer myself. So I’m going to share some of the writing I’ve done about this before… because I could reply back with any number of cliché inspirational sayings we have, like:

  • “It took a long time to get sick and it takes a long time to get better”
  • “This healing process is a marathon, not a sprint – you’re doing great!”
  • “Everyone has a custom diet that works for them… you just have to keep testing until you find yours”

Each of these reassuring clichés is completely true, but what I love about Christina is: she already started the diet. She already accomplished the most difficult part of taking control of her health by overcoming thoughts in her head like “What if it doesn’t work for me?” or “I don’t have time to cook all this food.”

Starting the diet is not only the first step, but it’s the most important one. Christina is going to be just fine.

How do I know?

She cut her BM’s by 50% in two weeks.

50% Improvement Is Dramatic

Sure, she’s isn’t healed yet, but let me put 50% improvement into perspective for you.

Imagine you finished a new project at work and it was fantastic… a total home run. The following week, your boss calls you into his office and says, “You did such a good job on the last project I’m going to double your salary and give you a 200% raise.”

What would a 200% raise do for your life?

Doubling your income would be pretty awesome, right? Maybe make things a little easier…

Well, so would a natural 50% reduction in your symptoms.

How true is that?! But also how true is it that we often can’t see that improvement for what it is? I am often faced with people who have made really significant improvements in their symptoms and diet, but who can’t see it. All they can see is what they’ve still got left to do and they fail to celebrate how far they’ve come.

It reminded me of what is termed ‘catastrophising’. I did a lot of it, and catch myself still doing it. It helps me to know that, in fact, we are programmed to do it.

Whilst I was reading around for the healing series, I read a lot about the negative bias in our brain. Essentially, we are programmed to look for the danger in life – it’s what kept us safe and alive as a species! – but sometimes it can get a bit out of control.

I think it was Rick Hanson’s work that made me most aware of it. You can read his blog post series on it here:

Confronting the Negativity Bias

In some ways I was aware I was doing it, but eventually it became a habitual and very unhelpful way of thinking. I would wake up every day and my first thought was along the lines of : ‘well, I wonder what I will have to cope with today?’, ‘what symptoms will hit me that I’ll have to get through today?’ etc etc, ad infinitum. I literally steeled myself for what was going to hit. (And I do mean literally there – I became very tense, muscle-stiff, steeled, rigid if you like..) Of course, in some ways it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. You become what you think most…

Now, of course, it is totally understandable when you feel crap and in some kind of pain mentally, emotionally or physically much of the time. I’m not judging myself or you (OK, a bit myself, I admit!). But, I did find I had to become aware of it and make actual conscious efforts to turn it around; to stop it being habitual thinking, a conditioned, almost Pavlovian response. It was part of my healing process to realise what I was doing and to stop it. Easy to say, tough to do.

It is very difficult to try and see the positives in life when you feel so rubbish. I know. That’s why people tell you to write what you are grateful for every day in your journal when you go to bed and such like. It is trite as heck. But it actually works. It is part of the neuroplasticity training, if you like: changing a negative neural pathway that has developed a deep groove with overuse of the negative thinking and building a new positive pathway and repeating it over and over in various ways to strengthen it more and more. It takes time.

Part of my therapy with Julie was a complete fight as I tried to turn this catastrophising around! Oh we argued like heck sometimes. She challenged my thought processes and I defended them to the hilt, of course. We rarely came to an agreement there and then but it seemed to percolate down over the next week or so and I caught myself challenging myself – and of course chuntering about Julie who had invariably been right. Not all the time (she’s reading this and we don’t want her to get a big head ;)) but most of the time. Tsk.

Anyway, I can only tell you what I understand by catastrophising, so I asked ‘our Julie’ for her take on it for us. And she wrote us a new blog post! Have a read here:

Catastrophizing

Ok, so she spells it with a z and I spell it with an s. I had to check that, of course, pedant that I am – you can use either. Phew, thought I was going to have to change all mine!

Anyway, Julie gives some useful tips to help you notice you’re doing it and stop yourself. The bit about not assuming things will be the same every time is a good one. I remember when I started to reintroduce foods again, I was panicking I would get the same reactions as before until she said to me: ‘Why would you think you are going to react? That was before your treatment and this is afterwards. You are totally different now.’ That was very powerful. It worked and it was true and I still say it to myself all the time – building a neural pathway. Lesson learned.

Julie gets it absolutely right in her last bit:

Allow yourself to examine the evidence, searching for real facts not assumptions, and never base the future on the past! Just because something was, does not mean it will always be.

Begin to believe that, and in so doing, your brain will rewire itself and start to run a new programme in the mind and within the body; a new programme that promotes health and wellbeing.

There endeth today’s lesson; hope it helps. In essence, to answer the question we started with ‘When will I get better?’, turn it around a bit and instead ask:

How much better are you already?

Then work on the rest.

You WILL get better, believe it.

How Does Hypnotherapy Help Food Issues?

As you know, I used clinical hypnotherapy myself to help get from fewer than 20 foods back almost to normal now, yay :).

I asked ‘our Julie‘ as she has become known to tell us a bit about why it works so well and she wrote a blog post for us on it! Of course, people are different and will need different – and usually several concurrent – approaches to chronic illness, which I will be detailing for you in the upcoming Healing Plan (92 pages written now :))

At the start of my own healing ‘journey,’ I said I would take whatever the Universe wanted to send me to help me get well and I am so glad I didn’t block this in the end; I almost did!

Anyway over to Julie – she sets out a quite different view of how she sees food sensitivity developing. All I can say is it worked for me! You can have a free chat with our Julie here if you want to.

Food Intolerance, Chronic Fatigue and Migraines

When I work with food intolerances, I look beyond the obvious, the gut; I look within the cellular structure of the body for the problem – problems that are almost always caused by past stress and trauma, both of which are highly toxic to the body, and it is here that I find the answers. So how does this work?

When we go through drama, trauma, pain and suffering, much of the trauma is held within the body on a cellular level. That energy, whether it is memory or the emotion of the event, is stored. It produces toxins which leak, over time, into the system. Gradually, being under constant pressure from attack from these toxins, the system begins to go into defence mechanism, and eventually it begins to shut down.

People find they begin with a few intolerances, usually the obvious ones of dairy and wheat, and gradually, these increase to other food groups. Life begins to get smaller, more and more restricted, until food eventually becomes the enemy. The battle ground is drawn, antibodies are on hyper alert constantly, and the defence mechanism of the body is at war with food. Sufferers usually spend a fortune on various nutritional experts, many tests, try a multitude of different things, and many work, but it is a combination of the biochemical approach coupled with hypno/trauma release/brain retraining that really works.

So how do we get rid of it?

I begin by working with you to release, clear and eliminate emotional baggage within the body and mind. Then we move onto negative beliefs and patterns within the thinking. Gradually empowerment and confidence are restored, balance begins to come back to the body, and it is at this point that we begin to ‘talk with the body on a cellular structure’.

Sound weird? Yes! Does it work? Yes! Although there are no guarantees of course, and everybody is different. In every client I have worked with, I have seen significant improvements, and in some cases, a total reversal back to full health.

What happens is this: your subconscious (which knows absolutely everything about you!), under hypnosis, begins to show you where the toxic energy is stored within the body – maybe in your arm, your leg, your chest.

Let’s take an example – you were screamed and shouted at as a child, heard awful things that a child should not hear – the energy is stored in your ears. You saw things you should not have seen – eyes. You experienced physical abuse – could be anywhere. You experienced sexual abuse – again anywhere, not necessarily just within the sexual organ areas.

The body holds these memories within the area of abuse and leaks out toxic energy over years and years. You may feel the result of that within the exact location – constant weakness in that area, or you may not. Often, the toxic energy leaks out into the body and makes it’s way into the gut. The gut feels under attack and goes into defence mode. It becomes increasingly sensitive, almost paranoid to anything, and begins to attack anything that comes its way, leading to food intolerances.

Pressure builds, leading to migraines. Migraine-HeadacheEnergy is dark and heavy, debilitating, leading to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

CFS

Your body will find its own way to react to the toxins, moving you towards the one that is the easiest for the body to cope with. Whichever one it is for you, it doesn’t have to be this way.

By working to release these different pockets of toxic energy in the body, balance can gradually be restored, and wellbeing and freedom to eat what you want, returned. At the same time as the body is being freed from the trauma, the cognitions (beliefs and thoughts) are also being changed, a reprogramming of the subconscious and body begins to happen.

It is usually a fairly lengthy process, often over many weeks or even months, but eventually, you get there. My work is a combination of conditioning, reprogramming, CBT, behaviourism, psychodynamics, emotion code, energy release, Reiki and intuition. It may all sound very ‘airy fairy’, but it works!

yay
Clients usually work with me weekly, for the first 6 weeks, then move to fortnightly, gradually increasing the gaps between sessions until the work is complete. Often this work is not easy. It can, and often does, bring up memories from the past, painful memories.

The work can be intense, draining, emotional and exhausting. Yes, it’s hard work, but isn’t your illness, your life restrictions, your energy restrictions? Are you willing to take a chance to find your wellness?

Have an open mind and call me for more information. I offer a free consultation to all clients to talk through the issues, have a chat about how it works and get to know me a little. If it feels right for you, then we book 1 or 2 sessions initially, then review.

What Is an ACE Disorder? Is Your Chronic Illness The Result of a High ACE Score?

Brain iconHas your childhood – or adult experience even – subconsciously triggered your chronic illness, or could deeply-buried beliefs you built then be stopping you from getting well now, maybe? I was asked this question many times over the past few years.

I thought it was a crock, quite honestly.

But then I had no choice in the end but to look at my chronic fatigue, multiple food and chemical sensitivity from a brain, emotional and trauma point of view. And found the answer or at least most of it!

So, when I am talking to you all on emails and the Support Calls etc, nowadays I make a point of asking if there was any so-called ‘trauma’ in your childhood or as an adult before the onset of your illness. It is stunning me actually how many times the answer is yes.

Trauma means different things and everyone has some!

Ok, let’s get this out there right now: ‘Trauma’ does not just mean the severe abuse and violence stuff, although sadly, there seems to be a lot of that about, but other forms of trauma also count such as not feeling loved or wanted, feeling unsafe or alone, humiliated or bullied, put down, ignored, neglected physically or emotionally, and more besides. If it felt traumatic to you, then it was traumatic.

And, yes, everyone has some trauma at some point; that’s life. The point though is when and how did it occur and were you in a position to build resilience against it? Many do, of course, but it seems to me that a lot of the chronic illness cases I am dealing with nowadays did not.

ACE triggers physical brain change, a lowered lifespan and the autoimmune disease risk is HUGE!

The plain fact is that if a vulnerable person (such as a child under 10 or a low-self-esteem adult) suffers regular events that are traumatic to them, the brain undergoes actual epigenetic changes which then make us much more susceptible to stresses. The whole stress and hormonal cascade drip, drip, drips over time to create a chronic inflammatory state – and BANG – illnesses start in later life – late 30s/40s onwards, most often.

Most experts believe all illnesses are inflammatory to some extent so it is no wonder that a person with a high ACE score has a likelihood of living 20 years less than someone who doesn’t! And get this one: a person with 2 or more ACEs has an average 75% increased chance of developing some form of autoimmune disease.

That is a huge and stunningly important statistic given the ‘epidemic’ we are currently experiencing in autoimmune disease.

Have you got a high ACE score?

If you have a chronic health disorder, especially one relating to fear (ie. phobias), loss of safety (eg. agoraphobia), reactivity (multiple sensitivity, light, noise etc), pain (especially fibromylagia types), anxiety, depression, fatigue, cardiovascular or autoimmunity, please don’t do what I did for 3 years and ignore this aspect of illness because you’re convinced your problem is entirely physical.

It IS physical – blimey, I’ve felt the pain, trust me! – it IS a measureable brain and hormonal change issue, it IS hypersensitivity in many different ways and it IS solvable!

Basically, your pain, sensitivity, stress and inflammation switches are turned on too high and we need to turn them down again. The rest of your symptoms are most likely down to the consequences of those eg. adrenals and thyroid out due to hormone changes and autoimmunity, pain due to inflammation and reaction to things, nutrient deficiency as you need so much because of a constant inflamed state – that means fatigue and nothing much working very well.

You see how it all fits together?

Anyway, when I’ve been trying to chat to people about whether they may have an ACE disorder or trauma-triggered illness – and they have been looking at me gone-out! – I have found it hard to explain it. Effectively, you need to identify if there is an ACE disorder likely and work on that to turn yourself down and change your brain – literally – as well as work on the symptomatic consequences of it. That’s tough to get across, trust me!

So, I have written a new factsheet on ACE for you so I can at least say ‘read this!’. I’ve included resources such as the ACE questionnaire so you can find out your own ACE score, plus videos, ebooks and articles for you to watch and read to start turning your illness around as part of the ‘knowledge therapy’ you need to do for this type of illness.

My next job is to add my own healing plan to it so that you can see precisely what I did to get from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and multiple food and chemical sensitivity to chocolate, eggs, wine and spuds again!

Don’t dismiss it for ages like I did – do the questionnaire and see what your score is.

Go here to read the new ACE Factsheet. I truly hope it helps.

Healing Series: Cognitive Hypnotherapy Course

5 Week Hypnotherapy Course  I saw today that Yasmina (Low Histamine Chef) has again opened up enrolment for her five week cognitive hypnotherapy course with the hypno who helped her: Hazel Gale.

Very kindly, Yasmina sent me a free copy and allowed me onto the Facebook group so I could do it myself and see if I liked it for all of you peeps.

I did.

BUT…I have some tips for you if you plan to do it too.

Why hypnotherapy?

First, some background: as many of you now know I used several techniques to change my hypersensitivity to foods – and life in the end – and I am now pretty much well with all foods except the grains and dairy going back in now and life is, very happily, returning.

The techniques I used – I counted 43 over 2.5 years! – basically revolved around calming the amygdala down, doing various forms of neuroplasticity brain retraining and hypnotherapy of several kinds.

It worked.

And I am now trying to pull together just how it worked so I can suggest ways forward for you. So far, I have rewritten the start of the new Healing Plan about six times – and the reason is that I have realised the order you do things in is really important and I keep changing my mind because, of course, I didn’t do it in the order I should have as I was making it up as I went along! Now I have the benefit of hindsight.

For example, I went straight into things like limbic retraining a la DNRS and Gupta and had to stop as it made me much worse – at that point. I had to go back and do the amygdala work much more before I could cope with limbic stuff. And then, it was only after the amgydala-calming was a daily established routine and that brain retraining had begun in earnest that I felt able to then start addressing learned behaviours, unhelpful beliefs etc – and that led to an outpouring of trauma, leading me ultimately to being diagnosed (3 times before I listened I was SO sure it was purely physical; I’m a nutritionist, what can I say..?) with PTSD and went through trauma therapy.

It was the hypnotherapy – with the lovely Julie Poole who, of course, is now part of our new virtual clinic team for you – that got me through that bit. I would not have got well without it, or her. Full stop.

Not all hypnotherapy types are the same!

So, when Yasmina sent me her original hypno course, I thought it would be quite similar to the stuff I had already done. It wasn’t. Cognitive hypno feels very different but, I discovered, is just as powerful. Here’s me thinking: ‘I’m through this’ and then I think it was even doing the first week’s written assignments – ostensibly to help you try and establish the core of your, in this case, histamine sensitivity – that I realised I had more to come up and deal with. I had a very strong emotional reaction to something that came straight out of left field and I was poorly with the usual physical reactions to emotional trauma for some days.

I didn’t see that coming. And, neither did quite a few people on the Facebook group. Hazel and Yasmina – and everyone, in fact – were very supportive for people who had emotional releases/trauma/enlightened moments, whatever you want to call it, come up, but it did make me think and reaffirmed my belief that this is powerful stuff, it does indeed work but I think you have to do it with the right kind of support and at the right time when your mind and body is ready to cope with it.

Hazel I think gained quite a few individual consultation patients as a result and was indeed there to offer support! I went to see Julie, of course, who sorted me out. Others did it on their own.

The timing needs to be right

Anyway, I think if I hadn’t have already done a lot of amygdala-calming and been somewhat aware of the emotional triggers/causes of the illness – and learned techniques like WHEE I’ve talked about before to lower emotional and physical reactions to such work – I may have had a tougher time of it. I definitely got the impression that the realisation that there was trauma underlying the sensitivity issue came as a shock to some people and they reeled and tried to cope with the fallout.

Of course that has to happen, but my advice is to be ready for it, have some techniques to hand to help you, have someone you can work with through it if things you don’t expect come up. It’s powerful, it works, but it ain’t easy, I can tell you.

Do it, but do it right for you

So, my advice is going to be: I will be including Yasmina’s course in my smorgasbord of things to do in the Healing Plan because it is well put together, has excellent resources and will help. But, it will be only after doing other things and I will be recommending you work with a practitioner preferably or at least have one ready if you need one. Not everyone will, but I have to say it.

Well done Yasmina and Hazel for putting together such a powerful course with a high level of support, which I’m sure must have knocked them for six let alone the participants! Some people had massive turnarounds, some lowered their sensitivity significantly, others are still working through, but I think probably all got something out of it from what I could see in the Facebook group comments.

Anyway, you can join the new course here if it feels the right time for you, and I look forward to including it in the Healing Plan when I get a chance to finish rewrite the start for the seventh time!

Listen and Start Changing Your Mind

Brain iconAs you know, I am starting to write our new Healing Plan for chronic illness after I turned around my own hypersensitivity to foods etc using pretty unconventional routes for a nutritionist!

Anyway, one of the keys I found to getting better was using various techniques to change the way my mind was perceiving food, illness, things I became fearful of on a very subconscious, automatic level. The posh scientific term for this is neuroplasticity brain retraining, snappy huh?

I found as I am writing the plan that this crops up time and time again, and one of the best ways I found to do it is not some complex brain retraining programme, but consistently reading, listening to audios and watching videos about relevant subjects to kind of ‘immerse’ myself in healing stuff. It goes in, trust me.

Part of my programme was to read, listen or watch something every single day, even if I did it whilst cooking the tea or putting the washing on. It is REALLY important to constantly give your brain the right messages to help it change. This is not positive thinking; it is so much more than that; it is about weakening the established conditioned responses and neural patterns in our brains and gradually building new ones that will take over.

During  my ‘journey’ (I must find a different word for that, ugh..), I kept my eyes and ears open, literally, for stuff I could ‘do’ as part of this. The 21 day Chopra meditations were key to that and so were well-chosen books and videos, although the summits we seem to have tons of now weren’t even happening when I started 3 years ago. I wish they had been.

Soul of Healing Summit

I have no idea if this will be any good, but I have signed up to listen to the Soul of Healing Summit which starts today – sorry, I only just had chance to look at it properly. You can’t listen to everything, I know, but there seems to be enough in this to give you some really good neuroplasticity work to concentrate on whilst I write the plan for us. Combine it with the free 21 day mediation that also starts today, see here.

I hate the names they give these summits as it can put people off , and you don’t even have to agree with everything the speakers say – but your subconscious is listening to the right kind of words and messages, and that’s the really important bit.

It starts today for free and, as per you can purchase and listen in your own time if you want to. Why not have a go and try and do one per day for the next few days as part of starting to change your brain pathways?

You can find out more here: Soul of Healing Summit. And you can purchase here – it is $59/about £45 currently but that tends to go up as the days go on. This is an affiliate link for me if you do end up purchasing because it helps me offset the time and thousands I have spent on testing all these things for us, so thank you.

Anyway, take advantage of things like this as they come along – it is part of your healing strategy to read, listen and watch as much as you can for the next year or so. These summits can be a real bonus! Get started on building new neural pathways. Off you go…!