Welcome back for my second installment of Cultivating Health! I shared my story with you in part 1. What a journey this has been, with daily insights, new steps forward, and progress in a short time. A LOT can happen in a month, friends! In keeping with my word for 2023, and knowing little by little steps add up, here’s what happened over the last month.
February Steps Forward:
— First and most importantly, I got a new diagnosis on my neck. After years and years of being treated for degenerative disc disease, which I still have, a new doctor revealed my pain is coming from my left trap! This new orthopedist took a different approach, dug deep into all my records, and wooosh – a new and correct diagnosis! Finding out I’ve had steroid injections and unnecessary pain for years was not the most fun thing to hear, but you guys — in a way, GOD HEALED MY NECK. In a miraculous and sideways turn of events, this is the healing I’ve been praying for. Multiple doctors have told me that it was my disc pressing on a nerve in my spinal cord, and she saw a different picture. I walked out of her office like…
I cried, clicked my heels, and called Ari in shock. My upper back/trap imbalances are very treatable, and I am elated! The best thing that happened this month with my health was seeing a doctor who took the time to dig deeper. I’ve already started PT for this with a new therapist, which has been exciting!
We could just stop right here with this post. Nothing quite compares to this, but there was, indeed, much more this month. Affiliate links are used in the post – enjoy!
— Ari and I got our biomarker results and had a chat with the nurse and nutritionist from the lab. This included genetic testing specific to mutations in the methylation cycle, food sensitivities, antioxidant protection assay, and a panel of micronutrient levels. This has been insightful for both of us, specifically learning about the methylation cycle. I have the MTRR variant, and Ari has COMT. Ari and I both have the MTHFR variant, something we now know we’ve passed to our kids. These all significantly affect how we process (or don’t process) folate, B vitamins, and many other things. I’ve learned a ton from this podcast about MTHFR.
— Ari got hardcore. Before I go any further, let me note that I started this journey feeling like a sponge and so pumped about all I’m learning. I’ve been on a whole new path, one that feels full circle back to my personal training days. I did not expect Ari to take to any of this as someone who doesn’t love change. I’ve sometimes wondered if he’ll tire of me talking about functional medicine, but he outpaces me every time. He has been able to stop his blood pressure medication (huge!). He weaned off his PPI (proton pump inhibitor) for acid reflux, which he took for decades without a second thought till now – like me. And, if that wasn’t enough, he was convinced by our learning to stop drinking coffee. God has put a new spark in both of us to use the days we have here with our children as best we can – in the best health we can. We’re listening to podcasts at night, reading books, swapping notes during the day, and doing things we never thought we’d do (like going to get redlight therapy before our Valentine’s dinner date!?). I’m proud of Ari and amazed at the renewed energy he has already. The kids have even encouraged him, noting how much more energy he has. We’ve done as much as we can safely without more expert input, so we are talking to a functional medicine doctor we love soon. We can’t wait to hear what he says. We’re in this together!
— So, on that note, Ari wanted to get us WHOOP’s for Valentine’s Day. Our friend who owns the gym down the street has one and can’t say enough about it. I have wanted to track my sleep and recovery and considered the Oura ring, but ultimately went with the WHOOP for the added fitness features. We watched a lot of comparison reviews and asked friends who have both. You get better overall data with the WHOOP that has already proven useful in the two weeks we’ve been wearing them. I can track many factors (how much protein I get daily, morning sunlight, contrast therapy, stress levels etc.) and see how they impact my sleep and recovery each night. As I continue to gather data, I’ll let you know what patterns I see! Have you thought about getting a WHOOP? We used our friend’s code for a discount, so I’ll share mine here for you, too. Get a free WHOOP 4.0 and one month free when you join with my link.
— We swapped our salt out for Redmond Real Salt.
— We are taking several new supplements, which I’ll discuss in a future post. Ari is a fan of his morning AG1, and I’ve been piecing together what fits my body’s needs from Pure Encapsulations, Thorne, and others. If I were to pick the number one supplement Ari and I talk about the most, though, it’s magnesium. Magnesium deficiency causes a whole host of complications (more in a future post, but start here), and it’s a low-risk supplement with a ton of upside. Ari loves Magnesium Breakthrough from BioOptimizers, and I’ve been adding Magnesium Glycinate from Pure Encapsulations before bed. We have both been sleeping better and recovering faster. I listened to two podcasts where health professionals I trust raved about Magnesium Breakthrough. My husband is such a fan that anytime someone has a booboo or really any problem in our house, he looks at me and jokingly says, “Magnesium?” with a smile. I’m always looking for discount codes on things, so here’s one for BioOptimizers. Use code LARA10 for 10% off.
— I’ve continued lifting weights and making strength gains. I can finally do a plank-to-push-up with more ease.
— I changed to a savory breakfast after 20 years. Friends who know me well, you know this was a big deal! Ha! I’ve had everything from chicken with kale and avocado salad to eggs and purple sweet potatoes. It has been a whole new world for me in the mornings.
— Ari and I joined Restore Hyper Wellness. We are loving it! Our favorites are red light therapy, PEMF, and infrared sauna, and we recently had our first intramuscular injections. Again, a whole new world for us.
— I started taking ice baths at home to help with recovery and inflammation. Josh thinks this is especially cool (pun intended) and loves to help me fill the tub with a few pitchers of ice. Okay, mostly, he loves seeing me squeal when I get in the water! We call him “Ice Man Josh” as he also has taken the job of counting down for me when I plunge. Some favorite resources are this podcast and the book Winter Swimming.
— Ari and I have been a little blown away by learning about nose vs. mouth breathing.
— We swapped out our old Teflon cookware set for a few select Our Place and Caraway pieces. This has been a game-changer. First of all, we have far less cookware now. When you have just a few good pots and pans, you don’t need as many. I am cooking far more than I used to, and these non-stick surfaces make it easier and more fun. I rarely need to oil pans, and they clean like a dream. While the care instructions took some getting used to, this has been one of the best investments in our health. Our Lodge cast iron has also been an adjustment, but worth it. Oiling the surfaces after cleaning is second nature now, and the high heat capacity gives me some variety in cooking modalities, specifically for meat.
— Figuring out how to filter our water was a priority this month after looking at our local water report. Yikes! After much research and MANY recommendations, we bought the AquaTru system. We aren’t ready to commit to a whole-house set-up, so this was a solid first step. This reverse osmosis countertop system is easy to use and comes with great reviews from people we trust. We add back trace minerals with Hi Lyte. Highly recommend the AquaTru! Clean water is the best foundation.
— I learned how to properly store my vegetables (video). Our fridge looks like a garden some days with asparagus, dill, and rainbow chard in water-filled mason jars!
Good Things This Month:
— I feel happier and more energetic. Learning about my neck, the needs of my genes, and starting new treatments has been a gift.
— Ari feels better and is happier, too. We’re having fun.
— All of this progress is spilling over to our children. They are enjoying the new foods we’re trying and how much more energy both of us have.
I’m excited to keep learning and taking small steps forward. I’ll look forward to a quick check-in next month.
Your turn! How are you cultivating your health this year? Any favorites?