Grief, A Year Later


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Oof. This is going to be a hard one to write. Even as I just sit thinking about the general last year of my life tears start to come to my eyes. 

Last year was hard. 

It was a year full of upheaval. Full of loss and grief. Change and fighting stagnation. Sadness and joy. 

This time last year I put down my cat, Patches. I have never made a harder decision in my life. Moving to Paris was easier. Buying a car was easier. Nothing has torn at the fabric of my soul so much as that decision. I frequently still mull over whether I made the right choice. And I keep reminding myself that I did. 

Patches was in her 17th year. She had been my cat friend since I was 12. Her illness came on fast. It was inconclusive and not diagnosed. She had fits where she could barely breathe at the end. But she was still my grumpy lady, knocking over water bowls, watching TV with me, and purring. She certainly didn't make the decision easy. 

I play those images, Patches sitting on the couch, those last moments before the vet put her down, over in my head often. Sometimes I bring them up purposefully, most of the time accidentally. Does that seem tortuous? It is. (If I wasn't crying earlier, I certainly am now.) But it is also a reminder that I don't take anything lightly. This life can be over so quickly, and we better make the most of it while we can. 

Patches' passing was the catalyst I needed for change. I was stuck. I had moved to New York for a job I thought I would love for a long time. My interests had evolved quickly in that year, though, and I felt a deeper yearning to move into the healing space, to give my time and knowledge to helping others find balance in their bodies. 

For a few months after Patches passed, my thyroid function tanked deep. It was all I could do to get out of bed and go to work. I have never felt so physically exhausted as I did then.

About a month later, I adopted a 5-month old kitten, and she quickly broke up the stagnant grief that was forming. Cricket was (and still is) a ping-pong ball of energy. After coming home to find my room in pieces one day, I questioned if this kitten was the best move. I had an appointment with my facialist, Melanie Herring, and talked about it before our session. As I laid on the table, Melanie doing her magic, she said could feel that this kitten was a good thing for me. I needed something, and someone, to break things apart. To break the grief. And that was Cricket.

While this past year has also included the passing of a beloved aunt, quitting my job, moving to a new city, struggling to find a new job, balancing two jobs, and getting accepted into herb school, that grief over my baby cat Patchy has still been there. Still is there. Sometimes I call Cricket Patches. Sometimes I confuse their images in my brain when I think of Cricket. I have to remind myself that it's Cricket, not Patches, who waits for me at home. 

Has my grief transformed? Wholeheartedly, yes. It has softened. It is not gone. Nor do I really wish for it to be. If I'm honest, I want to hold on to that image forever--the image of my last moments with Patches--to remember what I have lost, the consequences of each decision I make, and the joy that comes with loving. 

I'm not sure what my future grief may look like. I will love and lose again. That is the nature of life. But I will hold on to each precious moment and tell my loved ones how much I care for them while I can. Even if that's just giving little Cricket an extra treat tonight.

 

If you are grieving, reach out. Find someone to talk to. We cannot do this on our own. I am infinitely grateful to the friends and family who have been there for me this year. 

The Magic Art of Tidying-Up


 Before & After Tidying | Photo from Lisa Tselebidis

Before & After Tidying | Photo from Lisa Tselebidis

Before I moved from New York, I had the opportunity to have my friend Lisa Tselebidis, a Certified KonMariOrganizing Consultant, help me “konmari”the heck out of my apartment. If you are unfamiliar, the KonMari Method is a decluttering and organizing approach created by Marie Kondo -a Japanese professional organizer who wrote a best-selling book called "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up". The suggestionof the book is to only keep those items around you that spark joy. It was such a pleasure to have Lisa help me through this arduous process and I thought I would share my takeaways here in case anyone wants to attempt this for themselves (or hire Lisa for help)!

The Process

Marie Kondo recommends tidying by category(not by location) – a key element of the KonMari Method.The five categories are clothes, books, papers, komono(miscellaneous items) and mementos (sentimental items) – to be followed in that order, from easy to more difficult. We fully processed one category before moving onto the next one. Everything of one category (or sub-category if the entire main category was too big) was laid out in one space. For instance, all (and I mean ALL) of my clothes on my bed. This way you see everything you own (and how much you own) more fully. From there I would pick up one item at a time. If it sparked joy, it went into one pile. If it needed something done, like bringing a pair of pants to the tailor, it went into another pile. If it was able to be donated, it went in another pile. And if it was trash, it went in a bag. And once all of the items were separated into the various piles, we organized. I learned a great folding technique that revolutionized my dresser. We put my komono into labeled clear bins so I can see everything that is in them and don't have to hunt for things. Surprisingly, I didn't really have to purchase any containers, but was able to use what I had at hand or was able to get from work.

 The Magical Folding Method | Photo from Lisa Tselbidis

The Magical Folding Method | Photo from Lisa Tselbidis

Takeaway 1. Detach Emotions from Things

As you can probably tell, this wasn't all accomplished in one day. Over the course of 7 sessions, Lisa helped me hone in what I was really feeling about my stuff. I am a keeper of things. I have always been a keeper of things. Especially small things, like shells and little wooden animals. And those things weighed on me without me even realizing it. I think I felt most guilty when it came to my books. I love books. I love receiving them as gifts. As my interests evolved, however, I had all these beautiful fashion books with no real interest in wanting to keep about 90% of them around. Most of them were gifts, which is definitely the hardest aspect of letting go. I always assume someone is going to ask me if I still have that gift they gave me so many years ago. I'll have to explain to them that I no longer have it and then I will have disappointed them. Lisa opened me up to thinking about how my gift-givers just really want me to be happy, so keeping something around because it made me feel guilty or obligated was doing the opposite of that. I'm still working on that one, but detaching the stuff from the memories is how I get the clutter-free room I want.

Takeaway 2. Keeping "Just In Case" Items for Too Long

Another big issue I had was around keeping things "just in case". This is an inherited trait as my Mom who is a quilter has a closet full of fabric scraps for "just in case". While there is nothing wrong with this, especially if you have the space and it's well organized, my "just in case" items were overwhelming. I narrowed down to the items I really wanted to keep around and got rid of the things I no longer saw a future need for. 

Takeaway 3. Intentional Purchasing

This is probably the biggest takeaway for me. Declutteringand organizing with the KonMari Method is supposed to be a once-in-a lifetime happening and from then on you only bring items that spark joy into your space. Perhaps you'll switch out books you no longer want, or get rid of unnecessary papers, or clothes that don't fit, but you should never have to completely overhaul again. This is my goal, too. Seeing how much stuff I had opened my eyes to the many nonessential things I was holding on to. This process made me realize the power of my purchases. Every thing I buy, from small things like a keychain to big things like a rug, are made with the intention to keep for a long period of time, and be something that I love. My Aunt Lynn used to say, "If you don't love it, don't buy it." It's been my mantra for a while, but it took seeing my room the way I wanted it to be for that to really sink in. I have the capability to love a lot of things, but now I think about if this purchase fits in with how I want my room to look, how I want my life to look.

Takeaway 4: Don't Underestimate Labeling

Having things nice and organized in bins is great, but the labels are AMAZING. Lisa made really simple labels for my bins using brown paper post-its and tape, but she included everything that was in the box. Not just "Stationery", but "Postcards, Card Sets, Stamp, Stickers, Seal & Wax...". And it makes me so happy. No longer wondering if my stickers are in this box or this box, but perfectly labeled to know what is where. 

Takeaway 5: Ditch the Brand Labels

Labels are really annoying to peel off. BUT! If you can get them off of your jars and other containers, it really does make the world of difference. This may seem to contradict my above statement, but I'm speaking of brand labels, the sometimes-bright-colored-covered-in-words labels. Marie Kondo sees labels as an added layer of noise in our home. I LOVE going label-less. It doesn't mean I have no idea what is inside of the containers, but I am able to add my own simple label (I've been using washi tape) that cuts through the brand names and hundreds of words that would otherwise be there. And if you can't get it off, cover it. Use some brown paper or other pretty paper that you have to wrap around the outside and secure with tape. This process takes time, but it doesn't all have to be done in one day. You can start the process little by little, room by room. 

I'm so happy that I was able to go through this process with a guide. Lisa really helped me to not only sort through my feelings by asking the right questions at the right time, but her ideas helped me see my stuff in a new way and how tidying can actually be freeing. It's freeing to know where everything is, not be burdened by stuff, and move through life without things all over your floor! I'm not going to say I'm 100% perfect (my dresser is starting to accumulate a few things), my goal is to stay tidy and organized and THAT is improvement. 

 Before & After Tidying | Photo from Lisa Tselbidis

Before & After Tidying | Photo from Lisa Tselbidis

Have you tidied your room using the KonMari Method? I'd love to hear your experience in the comments below. And be sure to follow Lisa on Instagram where she shares organizing & KonMari tips or visit her website.

 

Can't


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I'm in a time of transition. There's a lot I can't really tell you yet, but I want to share some of what's been going on for me in this time. Something keeps coming up for me as I process my wants and desires for my future, and that's the word "can't". As in "I cant't do this. I can't understand that. I'm not able to do that. I'm not enough for this." I'm really struggling to understand where this comes from.

I've always prided myself on being a little fearless. I moved to Paris two days after college graduation knowing two people there and had a hostel room booked for 10 days. Did I cry every day for a month? Yeah, but I still did it. I started a career in the film industry knowing nothing about it. And eventually I thrived there. I moved to New York within a month of getting a job offer. Can't has never seemed to have a place in my vocabulary, and yet this year it has dominated my thinking. I can't stay up late or my thyroid will hate me. I can't eat that pizza. I can't learn the science of herbalism. I can't do [insert a host of things here]. What is it about experiencing weakness in my body that has wounded my confidence so much? 

I struggle with this more because this year I've kind of lost myself. Or at least lost the person I thought I was. This weekend I listed all my favorite fashion books for sale. The books I begged my mom for, spent so much money on, and thought I would have forever. Getting rid of them feels like I'm getting rid of the old self just a bit more. And it is painful. I don't really know what I want anymore. I have vague ideas but no solid trajectory. Nothing really to stand firm on. And I'm terrified. Who am I without my love of fashion? What do I love? What do I like? I'm grieving in so many ways. There's a lot I want to know about my future and about myself. I guess this post doesn't really have an end except to say I'm trusting in this process and trying to have patience with it and myself through it all. If you're finding the process a little tough to get through, know you are not alone. Be patient. I know all will be revealed in due time. 

Ladybugs + Processing Emotions


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I heard that ladybugs come at moments when we need them. I chanced upon this one on one of my favorite herbs, red clover, and was waiting to find out what it could speak to in my life. Apparently, ladybugs caution us to not rush into striving to fulfill our dreams, but to enjoy life as it unfolds. Funny how those things happen sometimes...

Things have been really hard lately. I can't remember the last day that I haven't at least teared up once or full-on cried. I had my first therapy session this past week. The first thing the therapist said when I sat down was "This was a big step." And she's right. It was a big step. It was admitting that I can't process all the thoughts in my head. That I need someone to help me make sense of what I'm feeling. My emotions are so surface-level that I can cry at a moment's notice. It hurts, y'all. The grief. The anger underneath the grief. The lack of trust in the unfolding of my future. The need to hold on so tightly and have it all together. I just wanted to write this short note to remind you (and me) that you are not alone. If you are hurting, if you are broken, there is always someone experiencing the same thing as you. Thank God we were not put on islands all by ourselves. This is also a reminder that sometimes the best thing you can do for others is to take care of yourself first. It's just like they say on airplanes about oxygen masks. Sometimes you need fall apart to be built back up, but reach out. Ask for help. Feeling emotionally unwell sucks (trust me), but the good news is we don't have to be there for long. I'm so thankful for the family and friends I have around me who have been patient in this time and respond when I reach out.

Notes on Grief


I've been trying to think of what to write to you for a few weeks now. I want to tell you that I'm doing fine. That I have the answer of what herb has been getting me through my grief. That I have all the answers of how to move through this time with strength and peace. But I have no answers for you. The only things that have helped get me through this loss have been my faith in God as my comforter and the love, support, and kind words from my friends and family. So this is what I want to tell you, because I don't want to leave things unsaid, as if I will just jump back into talking about cooking and face masks without acknowledging that something awful happened:

Almost three weeks ago I had to put down my best friend of 16 years, a grumpy, chubby, weird, and so sweet cat named Patches. The loss has been devastating. I walk in the house every day expecting to see her wide-eyed sitting on my bed ready to greet me. But she is there no longer. My heart is broken in ways I didn't quite know were possible. Everything feels tinged with a sadness and a wonder in its value in my life. I still feel somewhat guilty in smiling or laughing and I remember how much joy P brought into my life and I can't help but smile. Her sweet face made even the worst days better. One day I will get another cat, and it won't be P, and I will get through it. I will learn to love deeper through the love that she has given me. 

So thank you, friends, for your kindness during this time. It has meant so much to know I'm not alone in this.

Reflections on Eating


 Creamy Cocoa with Sweet Potatoes Soup from the Soup Cleanse Cookbook by Nicole Centeno

Creamy Cocoa with Sweet Potatoes Soup from the Soup Cleanse Cookbook by Nicole Centeno

What do you eat when you grieve? This week has been hard. Not only has the country felt like it's in a state of upheaval, but I've been going through some personal issues as well. The health of my sixteen-year-old cat, Patches, has started to decline with no cause as of yet and this week brought not great news. I can either spend a ton of money and put Patches through a lot to find an answer, or I can try an antibiotic and steroid and hope for the best. The possibility of losing the cat I've had since I was 12 is one of the hardest things I've had to face as an adult. Making the choice for someone else about how they want to live (or go) is not a decision I feel capable of making. For now, we're going to try some antibiotics and say some prayers. 

As I reflected on my week, I started to notice a pattern in my food habits. This week I made a few batch soups from Nicole Centeno's Soup Cleanse Cookbook. They were a lifesaver! They've been breakfast and dinner and lunch, at least one to two times a day. Quick soups easily heated up on the stove feel so comforting to me and help me not to worry about what I will be eating. I think that's the hardest part of eating when you feel sad. When you don't feel the energy to cook, but need to eat, what do you do? When you are reduced to only eating for the need to survive, does that make the act of eating meaningless? I've tried to practice more mindfulness in my eating habits, but I just couldn't seem to focus. I also noticed how much I eat when I feel sad (and bored). Once I noticed this habit I was able to start asking myself, "Do I feel hungry right now?" If the answer was no, I shut the fridge door (or gave into a cookie, I mean, let's be real, I'm not perfect!). I'm going to start asking myself this question more and hopefully be able to listen to what my body wants, and not what my mind is craving. 

What do you eat when you are grieving? What do you eat when you are sad or heartbroken? Do you eat at all? I'd love to hear how you deal with eating during trying times or ways you've started to break patterns in your food habits. 

Sometimes I Need to Hear Things Twice


Sometimes I need to hear things twice before I REALLY hear them. Such was the case this past week when I attended The Class by Taryn Toomey on Wednesday. They mention on the website how cathartic of an experience The Class can be. The sounds, movement, and sweat can really get emotions flowing. While in the cool down after intense cardio, I contemplated what I needed to leave in the room before I headed back into the world. My mind immediately jumped to something Erin Stutland says in her "Soul Stroll" audio.

"What you used to think was hard is now easy. Just see if you can take on this idea that it's easy. That life is just getting easier. " 

These words brought tears to my eyes. As crazy hard as the workout was, my life has been feeling harder. It's been so hard to see my face breakout. To see my thyroid hormone plateau at an elevated level. To not know if something I eat is going to make me feel terrible. But as I sat there on that mat and heard those words again (which to be honest, I've heard them at least 20 times), I realized I had a choice to make. I could either choose to let my life feel hard or I could choose to let my life feel easy. I don't know about you, but I want any easy life. Does that mean I won't have bad days? Of course not. But choosing my health is an easy choice. Choosing to not eat specific foods because they can disrupt my body's processes sounds like an easy choice. Is it challenging? YES. But it is the easy choice to make. I keep thinking how hard it is to have to watch what I eat so carefully. And is this going to be life for as long as I live? It probably will be. But that doesn't mean it has to be hard. It may feel hard for awhile. Hard to figure out what my body responds well to, but it will get easier. The more I pay attention to how I feel with certain foods, exercises, and daily habits, the easier it will be to stay on the path of health. 

3 Ways I (Try to) Cope with Anxiety


I wrote the post below while sitting on a plane heading back to New Orleans for Christmas. I'm going to be honest, it's pretty personal, and possibly TMI. It also feels good to post it knowing that the people who need to read it will, and anyone else will just know my digestive system a little better. Also, to my cousin Charlotte who sat next to me on the plane, if you read this, sorry and I love you!


At present, I'm sitting on a plane with Debussy in my ears while still hearing the screeching cry of a baby a few rows away. And I am feeling that baby's pain. Maybe not that much. But I'm uncomfortable. My stomach is popping little gas bubbles all the time and I can't figure out why. Yes, those zucchini potato latkes at the airport may have been a bad idea. But why? They were oven baked. Nothing weird. And the few fries I had? Not out of the ordinary. Somehow though immediately upon consumption I felt terrible. Sharp stomach pains then annoying bloating and gas. And then I ate some banana bread. And some dried mango.

I've been having weird stomach problems for a few days now and it's something that comes and goes. Overall, my digestion is better. Better than it was last year. Better than it was 6 months ago. But I'm going home. And that brings anxiety. Sometimes I am the strongest disciplined person, able to say no to the things I don't want and know will make my body feel awful. But lately I've been giving into cookies and sugar and things I know I don't want to consume. The anxiety I've been feeling over going home, over the election, and the stress my family has been under because of it has taken a toll on my strong will. I want comfort. I want mac and cheese. I definitely don't want kale. I want a po-boy and bread and cookies. I want bacon. These are things that have never made me feel good. So the question becomes how do I move through this? How do I cope with anxiety and the stress I feel I'm under? Well, I'm still figuring that out. 

One thing that seems to work well for me is writing. Even a few minutes helps release a lot of tension that I feel. Writing this now I'm consciously having to unclench my jaw just from the build up of anxiety that's manifesting itself in my body. 

Another thing is breathing. Consciously, deeply breathing. I'm a breath holder. It's unconscious but sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe. 

Talking (and usually crying whilst talking) has also become a big part of moving through this season. I'm a very emotional person anyways but this season has brought an uptick of sharing my feelings with others and looking for support and someone to talk it out with. My sister has been a big part of this as well as a few other dear friends without whom I would be a mess. I'm also looking forward to potentially seeking some professional guidance in the new year. 

This outlet of talking is also coming forth in community. I've set up a meeting this month for women who have (currently or otherwise) health issues and need space to be supported by other women. As I've reflected on this year, I've realized how far I've come, while also feeling like I haven't moved at all. I've been getting a lot of advice but I see the need to just vent and cry and be comforted in the unknowing of what my health looks like and will look like in the future. If you're in the NYC area and interested in participating, please email me at the address in the About section. There is no better time than the present to hold each other up and give comfort and support.

For You...


I've realized that I still have a lot of grief over the election, which has also translated into grief over the Dakota Access Pipeline and general humanity (elephants being born without tusks because of poaching, etc...). If you're feeling the same, whatever side of the aisle you fall on, I invite you to discuss it here in the comments, or text, email, message, Instagram, Facebook me, and let's talk about it. I know I'm not alone in my feelings and you aren't either. 

 

**P.S. Please refrain from any insults or unkind words. We all process things differently, and I hope we can allow each other the space to feel whatever feelings we're feeling in a kind, inclusive way. 

Why I Pet Patches the Cat Everyday (And Other Forms of Self-Care)


Whatever side of the aisle you fall on, this was a hard week for a lot people. We're all searching now for a little peace in this increasingly chaotic world (or maybe you're still protesting and that's okay, too). We're wondering what we can do to get through this, to heal, to understand, and to move forward in a place of strength and solidarity. I want to make this space comfortable for any person from any party to be able to bring who they are in an open dialogue, so I will only touch on politics to say I'm still in denial. I still feel as though I am in a dream, still sitting and watching it all unfold at an election party. But I'm not there and we must move forward. How? Day by day and step by step. 

One step I would like to offer up is self-care. You may be hearing that word a lot right now, mostly coming out of the wellness industry. I think Renee Byrd from Will Frolic for Food said it best, "Self-care, for me, is about developing comprehensive, preventative, daily practices that lead to improved long-term emotional and physical wellbeing." It's the little things or habits that we incorporate into our daily lives to bring a sense of calm or do something meaningful for our future health. When I add fermented ginger carrots to my food, my digestion doesn't miraculously feel amazing, but I know that it is improving the way I will feel further down the line. 

It may be reading your Bible before going to work. Repeating affirmations to yourself before you step out of bed. Making a cup of coffee in your special mug and enjoying it before frantically trying to get dressed. Spritzing lavender pillow spray before going to bed. Spending a few minutes petting your cat or dog. Maybe it's adding a few drops of a flower essence, tonic, or tincture to your morning cup of water. Holding a crystal in your hands or putting your feet in grass to remember your connection to the earth. Whatever it is, repeat and repeat again. The amazing thing about our minds is that they are malleable. New neural pathways can be created and we can interrupt our way of thinking and put in a new thought to create positive change.

Here's a few things I do to create a practice of self-care:

Ashwaganda, turmeric, and lemon tonic in hot water made in my special bowl and mixed with a chasen (bamboo whisk). This adaptogenic (stress-balancing) and inflammation-calming tonic is good for my body, but also is a small dose of meditation. Japanese tradition says creating a bowl of matcha refocuses your concentration from your thoughts to the movements with the whisk.  

Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic form of full-body self massage that not only stimulates the lymphatic system, but connects you to your body. I use cold-pressed sesame oil or calendula-infused apricot kernel oil, but you can use any oil you like. I also occasionally use Naturopathica's lavender body oil as it is extra stress relieving. The practice is usually done before a bath, but can be done before or after a shower. *Beware of slippery tubs if massaging before the shower. (See more here.)

I touched on this earlier, but fermented foods are finding a big place in my self-care practice. I am in love with Hawthorne Valley's fermented ginger carrots to throw on EVERYTHING or Miso Master's chickpea miso to add into soup. Building up my gut health is so important for my overall health. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said "All disease begins in the gut," so I'm taking good care to build up happy, healthy bacteria for my mind and body. Kombucha, kefir, yogurt, or sauerkraut are also great additions to any daily food routine (although I would limit kefir and yogurt to 2-3 times a week because of the dairy). 

Pet my cat named Patches. This is going to make me sound like a crazy cat lady and that's okay. I'm usually alone in my apartment and having another creature here is so comforting. We've been together since I was in 7th grade and my sister will tell you we have a weird connection (at least I think she will). She knows when I'm hurting and knows when I really need a snuggle. Petting or combing her, especially her favorite spot, the head, is a way that I honor her place in my life. 

These are just a few ways I'm starting to practice self-care. However this practice manifests for you is perfect. It's all about what works best for you, what fits into your schedule and creates calm, and what brings you the most joy. I've been trying to strive for perfection in this and do these things everyday, but some days I forget and that's okay. You'll know to do it when you need it.

I'd love to start a conversation with you and help you find a self-care practice to incorporate into your daily life. Or maybe you're an expert at self-care and want to share your practice with others. Use the comments below and let's start a dialogue of support. We're stronger and better together. Whatever you're feeling, please keep an open mind and utilize words of kindness instead of insult. 

From the Beginning...


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I want to begin with how I got to now and why I'm starting this blog.

Since I was a kid I've always had bad skin and a bad digestive system. I just never connected the two. In high school, my dermatologist put me on skin treatments that exacerbated the situation so I let go of the (expensive) creams and stuck with good ol' Clearasil. But nothing changed. For years. Instead, my hormones were imbalanced, my digestion was inflamed, and my skin was a mess. 

As a 24 year old, I began having terrible cystic acne, the worst IBS symptoms for a time, and developed menstrual cramps that made me feel like I could pass out. So I turned to the gynecologist and dermatologist for help. My gynecologist found nothing wrong, but my dermatologist said that the jaw/chin acne were clear signs of an hormonal imbalance. So she put me on a birth control pill to balance my hormones. My acne cleared and my insane cramps went away. Miracle! It was like magic. And I was telling everyone how I had been healed and recommended they do the same if they experienced any similar symptoms. 

Cut to 3-4 years later, skin still free from cystic acne, but painful cramps every so often and low energy, I learn from Nicole Jardim that my miracle pill is just covering the problem like a Band-Aid on a giant gash. My body is tricked into thinking it's pregnant (are anyone else's alarm bells going off???) and what I thought was my period is just bleed-through. The pill I had put my hope in was nothing but a lie. Here starts the drastic change that would ensue. 

A blood test later would reveal I also had hypothyroidism (possibly Hashimoto's autoimmune disorder, but more on that later), a vitamin D deficiency, and high cholesterol and triglycerides. I started working with a naturopathic doctor for three reasons: get off birth control and balance my hormones naturally, calm my digestive system, and improve my thyroid health. 

Now at about five months later, I've been off birth control for 3 months using food and supplements to balance my hormones. This is a work in progress, however. My period has become regular and cramps have subsided and I'm thankful for that. My thyroid health has improved and my energy has increased. My digestive tract is much happier than before and still somewhat inflamed.

So here we are. My mental and emotional state during this transition has taken more time to process than my physical health. I want to explore that, too, since they are so interconnected. I want to use this space to discuss these topics and my progress more in depth. If you have questions about what I'm doing, I want to explore them with you. I believe in community. I believe in a shared life. So share with me. Tell me how you feel healthy and well.  

P.S. Two books that helped me begin my journey were Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore and Woman Code by Alissa Vitti. I will talk about these books more in depth later, but if you need a place to start, these are great reads that really get to the heart of the matter.