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Running on Empty

Updated: Sep 3, 2022

Why refilling your bucket is a win for everyone in your family.

We have what I suppose qualifies as a standard ice maker in our refrigerator/freezer combo, and I guess you could say we’re basically happy with it. The ice demands of our little family of 5 are fairly modest, and most of the time we seem to have more than enough. Sometimes I even have to dump the whole bucket when the cubes begin sticking together in one big iceburg-like clump. This past weekend however, when we had family in town, our ice surplus quickly dwindled until it became evident our ice-maker simply couldn’t keep pace with all these thirsty people looking for a nice cold drink. So I sent my husband out for some bagged ice from the Valero gas station down the road. Voila! Problem solved! We once again had an ice surplus, and our little ice-maker didn’t feel so much high stress pressure to produce. Now that our company is gone, it’s back to its usual production mode – not too much, not too little. All is right in the world.

So, here I am at age 45…and my body has performed quite well for me for decades. Really, I can’t complain one bit. No major illnesses, no serious hospitalizations, not even a broken bone (knock on wood). Maybe a pulled muscle every now and then, and of course the yearly cold or two, but otherwise I’ve spent my life feeling healthy, strong, active, and very confident about my body’s capabilities. Plenty of ice, so to speak. So much extra, in fact, that I felt little remorse about my poor dietary choices, my over-exercising, or those extended seasons of self-inflicted stress and sleep deprivation. SO MUCH ICE! My body can handle it! No big deal to dump some cubes here and there, right?

Well, that has changed recently, to the point where I now have this little routine of daily cocktail supplements helping me regain some ground as far as my health is concerned. My ice box was just about empty, and I was feeling it in every way. You might be thinking, “Well, if a paleo diet is so healthy and so nutrient-dense (FYI – I hear that from you all.the.time, Amy!), why have you resorted to taking supplements? Shouldn’t you be getting your nutrients from actual food and not a pill? Riddle me that.” Anyone who’s been keeping half an eye on my food posts knows how much I enjoy good food, and the high priority I place on nutrition for me and my family. Short of adding organ meats, clams, and oysters to my weekly recipe rotation, I honestly don’t know what more I can do in that regard. I can only eat so much quality protein. I can only eat so many leafy greens and fresh, local, in-season veggies. Heck, I can only eat so much! There are other things to focus on during my day and in my life.

“And so, here is the honest truth. Sometimes diet isn't enough. It just isn't.”

I didn’t realize how depleted my “ice-maker” was. Since my body has always taken what I’ve dished out, and because it has always bounced back after years of uninformed choices and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, I didn’t recognize the mounting effect of all these withdrawals I’d been making. I also didn’t recognize, until very recently, that I have family genetics that tend toward autoimmunity and unwellness. If I look to my siblings and parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents – – there is cancer, thyroid dysfunction, dementia, Alzheimers, Sjogren’s syndrome, Raynaud’s syndrome, depression, diabetes, gout….to name a few. And these are just the family conditions I know of. Somewhat myopic of me to think I would somehow be exempt from conditions like this, especially if I was repeating some of the same behaviors and patterns that lead to disease and sub-optimal health. In addition, I didn’t understand how many toxins I’m exposed to daily – from plastic to mold to fragrances to beauty products to fluoride toothpaste. But now I know, and I recognize the part I have played, knowingly or unknowingly, in my current situation. Time to put on my big girl pants and take responsibility. There’s no time for self-pity or blame. I’m owning it.

So now, along with 2 daily thyroid medications, I take Thyrostim to help my body utilize those hormones more effectively. I take Equi-Fem to plus-up my iron levels and Bio-D Emulsion to support Vitamin D synthesis, both of which were in the gutter a month or so ago. The Mo-Zyme is a supplemental source of molybdenum, a little-known essential trace element (like, from the Table of Elements that we studied in high school chemistry). Deficiency is rare, but because it helps with anemia, it’s part of my protocol for the next 30 days or so. Finally, the NOW digestive enzymes support my gut health by adding a little extra “juice” to promote better digestion. I’ve been following this routine for just about a week, and I feel like a new person already. My mood has stabilized. I’m not snapping at my kids or feeling overwhelmed by little things (like laundry and dishes in the sink and phone calls and unmade beds). I have energy and mental vitality to last the whole day again. Two weeks ago it was all I could do to get to my son’s afternoon nap time without wishing for a nap myself. I can sleep at night again, too, and there aren’t words to describe the difference good sleep makes! If I’m not careful about what I eat, my “leaky gut” will give me trouble still, but only when I eat a known irritant (dairy and certain spices especially), so I’m trying to be more patient and disciplined to let my gut heal before reintroducing healthy foods that, for now unfortunately, are not part of the plan. It’s been a frustrating season for sure. But I know what got me here, and I know what it will take to get me where I want to be. I won’t even say “back to where I want to be,” because I believe it’s going to be a NEW place, even better than before.

I say all this to say – – become a student of your own ice-maker. How’s your supply? How smoothly is it running? Have you been withdrawing lots of ice cubes in the form of self-imposed or uncontrollable stressful events without giving it time to rest and recover and catch up again? Recognize that it only has so much to give before it becomes overwhelmed by life’s demands. Don’t suck it dry, folks. Nobody likes lukewarm water.

If any of this sounds familiar, and you think you might want to learn more about nutritional therapy for you or a family member, please let me know and I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. There are trained consultants nationwide who can assist you.

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