Tag: health

Started From the Bottom, Now We Here: my story, health and gratitude

Maybe it’s some rainy day introspection, or some mercury retrograde vibes, or the fact that I am confined to the couch today “resting.” Being sick this week has been a poignant reminder of why I made many decisions these last four or five years. Granted I can’t fully compare surgeries and hospital stays to a three-day virus, but the feelings are strangely similar. It’s a reminder that I take my health for granted on days that it is good. I never want to go to work or the gym, until I am unable to.

For those of you that haven’t heard my story, in 2012 I ended up in the hospital with a diseased appendix, and was having surgery to remove it the next day. It had been failing me for weeks or months, and I mostly ignored the symptoms, pressing on through my new job and life in Maryland. Unfortunately, there were two more surgeries after that one, a result of some complications. Scar tissue, abscesses, a blocked intestine, and infections close to spreading to my blood had me in the hospital for weeks. I narrowly missed all of this happening a few months before I got my new job, when I didn’t have any health insurance. I still don’t know how I got so lucky. I eventually came out the other side, only missing one organ and in a few thousand dollars in debt instead of tens of thousands.

After I recovered, I started taking my health much more seriously. I read piles of books and countless blogs, went vegan, and started what is now ETM Health. While I am no longer vegan, I do still follow a mostly whole food diet, low in sugar and processed foods. I met my now husband in 2014 and he taught me a lot about exercise, running and strength training. In July of 2017 I graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition as a Certified Health Coach, after a one year program. All of these things have become such a big part of my life now that I don’t think of them much anymore.

But today, as I’m forced to not move much without spurring a coughing fit, I’m taking a few books off my shelf. These were with me at the beginning and I’m excited to crack them open again. I’m going to nurse myself back to health, and use this week of a reminder of why I do what I do.

I wanted to share this with you all, and hopefully spur you to reflect on your health today. Take a moment to be grateful for it, and think about how you can show your gratitude this weekend through some healthy choices. Go for a walk or run, make some good food with your loved ones, and take a break.

With love,


P.S. These are the book titles if you want to check them out:

Fight Back with Food, from Reader’s Digest

All is Well, by Louise Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz

Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies from National Geographic

Three Ways to Take Care of Your Body in Times of Stress

When we’re going through a difficult time, or stressing about something in our life, we tend to throw our “healthy habits” out the window and jump on the survival mode train. When I talk about making healthy decisions that support mental wellness with people who are struggling, there is an initial resistance. That is partly due to the way that I approach the subject, because I am known to be overenthusiastic and a fixer, a doozy of a combo. People also think that I’m trying to erase or diminish their difficulties. I want to make it clear that this is not at all what I am attempting to do. I fully believe there is a spiritual component to life struggles, and to health issues as well. But we are also in human bodies that have brain chemistry, and there are ways to maximize healthy body chemistry and ease the literal pain and suffering a person is going through. And, more importantly, reduce lasting damage to a person’s health from stress and mental anguish. You will come out the other side of whatever you are dealing with eventually, and your body will thank you then for taking a little better care of it.

Three Ways to Take Care of Your Body in Times of Stress:

Exercise – Move every day, especially outside if you can. The endorphins and sunlight will reduce cortisol (your stress hormone) and help to keep your sleep cycles regular.






Add foods high in magnesium and vitamin B6 to your diet – Magnesium helps relax muscles and is found in avocados, spinach and dark chocolate. B6 assists in the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps the body deal with stress and anxiety. Bananas and salmon are great sources of B6.






Consult your toolbox – Pick a stress relief technique that works for you and use it often. Yoga, meditation, tapping (EFT), journaling, and therapy are just a few options. Read a book for fun or get an adult coloring book and color away. You may have to experiment with a few different ones to see what makes an impact on your mood.


Three things seem overwhelming today? Start with one, commit to it, and try more when you’re ready.

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