The Art of Dry Skin Brushing

Another detox method I have used is dry skin brushing, which is also known as dry brushing. If you never have heard of it, it’s okay. I hadn’t either until a couple months ago when I tried it for the first time.

I’ll admit it sounds a little strange. I brush my hair, I brush my teeth, but brushing by skin – well that’s a little weird. But hey, I thought I would give it a try. Your skin is your largest organ, after all, and probably deserves a little TLC.

 What You Need

  • A high-quality dry brush
    • Look for one that has bristles made from natural, non-synthetic bristles
    • A brush with a long handle makes it easier to reach your entire back
    • You can find dry brushes in most health food stores or online

How to Dry Brush

If you’re like me, I didn’t really think there was a “correct” way to dry brush. But I was wrong. There’s actually a technique to it or what I like to say, “the art of dry skin brushing.”

Always brush toward your heart because this is the natural direction of your lymph system and helps with circulation and detoxification.

  1. Start at the bottom of your feet, then work your way up your legs brushing upward with long, smooth strokes.
  2. Brush your hands and arms, again brushing towards your heart.
  3. Then brush your back with upward strokes, as far as you can reach.
  4. Finally, brush your stomach and chest – using clockwise sweeps on stomach, following the direction of your digestive system.
  5. Take a shower.

Avoid dry brushing your face and other sensitive areas. You can adjust the pressure of the brush for the different areas of your skin. The pressure of your brush should be firm, but not painful. Your skin may be pink after brushing, but it should not be red or sore. Make sure to wash your brush every now and then!

Benefits of Dry Brushing

  • Helps with lymphatic drainage, removing toxins and bloat
  • Exfoliates, revealing smoother, fresher, more vibrant skin
  • Helps release stubborn lumpy areas (which may improve cellulite)

How often should you dry brush? Some people say to do it daily, while others say 2-3 times per week is sufficient. I personally think it depends on your skin. So, do what you think is best for you. But don’t forget there’s an art to it!

Stay lively my friends,

– The Lively Lymie

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Wash Your Mouth – Part 2

As I mentioned in my post last week, I’m going to write about another oral detoxing method and it’s called tongue scraping.

Tongue scraping is also an Ayurvedic cleansing practice, but it’s used to remove bacteria, fungi, toxins and dead cells from the surface of your tongue. If you’ve ever noticed a white coating on your tongue, you will probably want to look into this cleansing method.

How to tongue scrap:

  • Buy a tongue scraper, also referred to as a tongue cleaner. You can find one at most grocery stores, drug stores, online or your dentist’s office.

scrapers

  • Using the tongue scraper, apply light pressure and stroke a section of your tongue in one long stroke from the back of your tongue to the front.
  • Rinse the scraper. Continue to scrape sections of your tongue until you have covered your entire tongue (the amount of “sections” you break your tongue into will depend on the size of your scraper).
  • Scrape the other sections of your tongue until you have covered your entire tongue.
  • Repeat. Do this a few times until your tongue is free of the white coating and feels clean.

PicMonkey Collage

It’s important to note that brushing your tongue does not have the same affect as scraping your tongue. Brushing your tongue just moves the bacteria around, while scraping your tongue actually removes the bacteria. Scraping your tongue is important in preventing the toxins on your tongue from being reabsorbed by the body. Thus, improving your oral health and your immune system. It can also improve bad breath and your taste buds!

I found both of these methods to be fairly easy and inexpensive. Although oil pulling and tongue scraping can a little disgusting, just be glad you don’t have to wash your mouth with soap!

Stay lively my friends,

– The Lively Lymie

Wash Your Mouth – Part 1

images-1A major part of the second step in the Gut Thrive in 5 program is detoxing. I used a few different cleansing methods to help my body detox and get rid of all the bad bacteria, pathogens and toxins. The detox methods I’m going to write about in this post and my next post have to do with cleansing your mouth – and no I don’t mean by washing your mouth with a bar of soap (sorry A Christmas Story fans).

This week I’m going to be talking about oil pulling, which is an ancient Ayurvedic cleansing practice that is becoming a popular trend.

How to do oil pulling:

  • Put about 1 ½ tablespoons of sesame oil or coconut oil in your mouth. I used sesame oil because I was too lazy to heat up the coconut oil and I used coconut oil for many other purposes so it was nice to switch it up with sesame oil.
  • Pull the oil through your teeth for 10-20 minutes. Don’t gargle. Kind of push and pull it through your teeth so the oil can attach and pull out the trapped bacteria. Make sure not to swallow the oil!
  • Spit it out the oil, rinse your mouth and brush your teeth. You’ll be able to tell the bacteria was removed when you spit out the oil because it will be a white, thick milky substance (not going to lie, it’s pretty gross and displeasing to taste).

oil-pulling_mouthwashing-with-cat

Oil pulling can be done in the morning or at bedtime, but it should be done once a day for three to four weeks to be effective. My tip is to start with a smaller amount of oil and a shorter amount of time. Then slowly build your way up to the recommended amounts. You would be surprised by how sore your jaw can get or how 10 minutes can feel like an eternity. Oil pulling can improve your oral health, which in return can boost your immune system and improve the overall health of your body.

Next week I’ll be writing about another oral cleansing method, but you will just have to wait and see what it is. So for now…

Stay lively my friends,

– The Lively Lymie

I’ve Got 99 Problems But Swallowing Pills Ain’t One

The second step in the Gut Thrive in 5 program is the Pathogen Purge, which mainly consists of taking supplements. While I’m not an avid proponent of supplements, sometimes your body needs a little help to get the bad guys out – and mine needed a lot of help:

Phase 1 – Get Rid of the Bad Dudes (parasites, fungus, worms, etc.):

  • Before Breakfast: 1 pill
  • Breakfast: 7 pills and 2 droppers [full of herbal tinctures]
  • Mid Morning: 8 pills and 4 droppers
  • Lunch: 7 pills and 2 droppers
  • Mid Afternoon: 9 pills and 4 droppers
  • Dinner: 7 pills and 2 droppers
  • Bedtime: 4 pills

Total pills per day: 43

Total droppers per day: 14

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 Phase 2 – Reintroduce the Good Dudes (good bacteria):

  • Before Breakfast: 3 pills and ½ scoop of fiber
  • Breakfast: 3 pills
  • Mid Afternoon: 4 pills and ½ scoop of fiber
  • Dinner: 3 pills
  • Bedtime: 4 pills

Total pills per day: 17

Total scoops of fiber per day: 1

Each phase lasted about two weeks. In addition, I was supposed to take 1 tbsp. of coconut oil twice a day for both phases. This step also consisted of doing different detox methods to help aid the body in getting rid of the bad bacteria.

If I did the math correctly, I took over 840 pills in one month. I guess the agonizing days of being forced to sit at the kitchen table until I successfully swallowed a Skittle paid off. So thank you mom, because I may have 99 problems but at least I can say swallowing pills ain’t one.

Stay lively my friends,

– The Lively Lymie

“Oh! Sweet Nuthin’”

“Oh! Sweet Nuthin’” is not only the title of one of my favorite songs by The Velvet Underground, but it’s also what I find myself saying every time I go out to eat or get invited to a party where there’s food. Why? Well, the new diet I’m on for the Gut Thrive in 5 program is fairly strict at the beginning and therefore it’s difficult to find food to eat at restaurants or parties.

In addition, to not eating gluten or dairy, I’ve had to avoid:

  • Grains, soy, GMOs and processed foods
  • All sugars, sweeteners and refined carbohydrates
  • High quantities of starchy vegetables
  • Fried foods
  • Raw meat/sushi
  • Foods made with yeast
  • High-glycemic fruit
  • Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes
  • Alcohol and vinegar
  • Mold-containing goods like mushrooms, peanuts, pistachios,
  • Caffeine (except some green tea)
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and legumes (small quantities if soaked)

Everything I eat is also supposed to be cooked and organic if possible. Not everyone on this protocol’s diet is as limiting as mine, but because I’ve had so many health problems and additional food sensitivities I have to be on a more restrictive diet.

Like most people, I’m sure you’re wondering what I eat. Breakfast usually begins with a glass of warm lemon water, followed by a coconut milk smoothie with greens, collagen and a few raspberries. Lunch and dinner consist of some form of organic meat and roasted vegetables. Every now and then I’ll have homemade soup. If I’m hungry for a snack I will have a small green apple (green apples have less sugar and I’m only supposed to have one serving of fruit a day) or more vegetables. Throughout the day I drink plenty of water and will have a cup or two of tea (usually ginger tea). I also consume a lot of coconut oil because it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. In addition, I try to eat slower and chew my food more to help with digestion.

I’ll admit this diet has been difficult and not fun at times. It takes more time to go grocery shopping and to prepare my meals. I have to bring my own food when traveling. In fact, I pretty much plan my days around my meals since I can’t just grab a snack in the vending machine. But it’s caused to be creative. I’ve learned how to use spices to add more flavor to dishes and I’ve created new dishes such as zucchini noodle pasta with homemade pesto sauce, ground turkey and roasted veggies. The good news is I’ll eventually be able to slowly add in more foods and have a more varied diet!

As much as it’s disappointing to forgo free food at events as a college student, I’m fine with saying, “Oh! Sweet Nuthin” if it means I’m going to get healthy!

Stay lively my friends,

-The Lively Lymie

Little Piggies

Just when I thought I was getting healthy, I woke up in the middle of the night to the little piggies on my left foot screaming, “oww, oww, owwww.” This was over four weeks ago now when I woke up to an excruciating pain in my toes and discovered my first three toes of my left foot to be extremely swollen and red. I couldn’t put any pressure on my feet so I hobbled to the freezer, grabbed an ice pack and tried to pretend this wasn’t happening.

LittlePiggySock

Later that morning, I made my way to the athletic trainers who promptly said, “we’ve never seen anything like this before.” This was the phrase I wasn’t hoping for, but expected to hear as this is what I hear 99% of the time I have a health ailment. I was then directed to see the medical doctor on campus. She thought I possible jammed my toes (I did wear a little too small pair of boots the day before) and instructed me to follow the R.IC.E protocol, without the “C.” I rested, iced, elevated and took ibuprofen (which I never take) the entire weekend – and nothing.

I wasn’t convinced that having too small of boots initiated this problem, so I continued forward on my quest for answers. One doctor that it could have been from a toxic buildup as my body was still getting rid of all the bad bugs, so I tried medicine to help with toxic elimination for about a week – and nothing. Well actually, the toes in my right foot began swelling. I talked with another doctor who thought the inflammation could have been an insect bite or allergy, so I took other medicine for that for another week – and nothing.

I proceed to see another doctor who thought it could be gout, which is a form of arthritis that usually older men get. While I don’t possess either of those traits, I’ve had weirder things happen to me so I wouldn’t have been surprised. I drank jars of cherry juice and took medication for a couple of weeks – and nothing.

I knew nothing I was on for my current health protocol could cause something like this, so what in the world could it be?

Over spring break, I went home and saw more doctors. The cause of this mysterious toe swelling and pain-inflicting beast was eventually determined as a fungus and parasite infection (thank you comprised immune system). I started new treatment – and I’m waiting to see what happens.

Whether this works or not, I refuse to let this bump in the road stop me from getting healthy. I’m not stopping until my little piggies (and my entire body) sing, “yippee, yippee, yippee.”

Stay lively my friends,

– The Lively Lymie

Gutting It Out

In my last post, I mentioned I’m on a new health protocol to heal my gut and improve my immune system. The protocol I’m on is called Gut Thrive in 5, which is conveniently named for the five steps in the program.

The 5 Steps of Gut Thrive in 5:step1_vacuum 

Step 1: Slash inflammation by removing food sensitivities and changing your diet.

Step 2: Say goodbye to the bad guys (parasites, yeast, fungus, etc.) through a pathogen purge.

Step 3: Say hello to the good guys by re-colonizing your gut with good bacteria and re-educating your immune system.

Step 4: Heal your leaky gut by consuming foods that soothe and heal.

Step 5: Balance the hydrochloric acid in your body and learn how to maintain your good health to help prevent the bad guys from returning in the future.
step3_goodBacteria

Each step lasts a different length of time depending on how your body responds. It’s been two months since I started the program and I’m close to finishing the second step. This protocol has been difficult and frustrating at times. In fact, I’m behind the average pace of the program (probably because of the longevity of my problems). But I’m willing to gut it out if it means I’ll be healthy!

Stay lively my friends,

– The Lively Lymie

One Baby Step At A Time

urlThe other day I witnessed my niece take her first steps. Although small steps, they were significant to her. She would fall down, but she would get back up. She didn’t move far, but she moved. As I sat there watching her, I started relating the idea of “baby steps” to my journey with Lyme disease.

There were many standstills and stumbles throughout my journey. I went many months before finding the answers to my different ailments, just to discover most of the answers were incorrect. I was in a vicious cycle of feeling better, then worse and then better. On multiple occasions, I was told I was Lyme free and then told I wasn’t. However, I wouldn’t let these hurdles keep me from getting healthy. Every time I was knocked down I stood back up, brushed off the dust and moved forward. 714ef9dbfb2d463084643d01a37f629096dd5cd4004d2de1a2244d2524afee30

I’m finally done with my Lyme treatment, but I still have progress to make before I’m completely healthy. I’ve been on a new health protocol for over a month to heal my gut and immune system. Others may not have noticed, but I’ve finally feeling a little better – and that’s all that matters.

It’s easy to get frustrated knowing it’s been three years since I was diagnosed with Lyme and I’m still not healthy. But I‘ve come a long way and that’s because baby steps add up. It’s uncertain how much longer I have before I can put this all behind me. For now, I’ll just keep moving forward one baby step at a time.

Stay lively my friends,

– The Lively Lymie

I Scream, You Scream, No More Ice Cream

Long before it was “cool” to avoid eating gluten and almond milk was mainstream, I was told I could no longer eat gluten or dairy. I’m not sure if my heart sank more from this news or when I was told I had Lyme. imgres

No more toast with Nutella, team spaghetti dinners (a cross-country ritual) or my favorite dessert – ice cream. I never realized how much food I was consuming that contained these ingredients (that could be an entire blog in itself).

There were a few reasons I could no longer eat gluten or dairy:

  • Both can cause inflammation in the body, which can result in a lowered immune system making it more difficult to recover from Lyme
  • Gluten causes an autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland if you have Hashimoto’s
  • Bad bacteria like to feed off the sugar from dairy (so I also limited my sugar intake)
  • I did a food allergy test around the same time I was diagnosed with Lyme and discovered I was allergic to both ingredients

I’ll admit that a few tears were shed as I had a pity party. But with the gracious help from my parents and some researching, I was able to develop a new diet free of gluten and dairy. This was before there were multiple aisles dedicated to foods for people with dietary restrictions. While there were a few gluten-free brands in existence at that time, I lived in a small town in the Midwest with a grocery store that had a limited variety of food.

Over time, brands made more allergy friendly food. In addition,imgres grocery stores and some restaurants started carrying gluten free options. While I am very thankful for this, I think it’s important to note that these “gluten free” or “dairy free” items aren’t necessarily healthy. In fact, they can be worse than the actual food item because companies add nasty “filler” ingredients.

This was more than a diet change. It was a mindset and lifestyle change. It required self-control. I had to change my outlook from “poor me” to “this is essential for my health.” Little did I know that this new outlook would come in handy later on in my life as I’ve developed more dietary restrictions.

I just ask that you don’t feel sorry for me. Instead, enjoy a nice big bowl of ice cream for me – or an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s!

Stay lively my friends,

– The Lively Lymie

Bottoms Up! It’s Liver Flushin’ Time.

Another important aspect of my treatment plan was doing liver flushes. I would mainly do this every three weeks. This would aid in removing toxins from my body. It went a little like this:

Day Before Liver Flush

  • Went to grocery store and bought 8-10 grapefruits
    • I was lucky if I found enough grapefruits in one grocery store and I don’t think I’ve ever had so many cashiers look at me in confusion as to why one person would need so many grapefruits
  • Mentally prepared for the adventure ahead

Day 1 of Liver Flush

  • Made the different liver flush mixtures in the morning
    • One large mixture of freshly hand-squeezed grapefruit juice and Epsom salt
    • Second mixture of freshly hand-squeezed grapefruit juice for olive oil to be added later
  • Stopped eating at 2 p.m.
  • 6 p.m. – Drank ¾ cup of grapefruit juice and Epsom salt mixture
    • Tried to ignore all the people around me eating dinner 
  • 8 p.m. – Drank ¾ cup of grapefruit juice and Epsom salt mixture
  • 9:45 p.m. – Mixed ¾ grapefruit juice with ½ cup of olive oil
  • 10 p.m. – Drank grapefruit and olive oil mixture through a large straw and then went to bed
    • Worst tasting part of the liver flush – it was sort of like drinking warm salad dressing 
  • Woke up throughout the night to go to the bathroom

Day 2 of Liver Flush

  • 7:00 a.m. – Woke up and drank ¾ cup of grapefruit juice and Epsom salt mixture
  • 9:00 a.m. – Drank the last ¾ cup of grapefruit juice and Epsom salt mixture
    • This was finally the last liver flush drink
  • 11:00 a.m. – Drank fruit juice
  • 11:30 a.m. – Ate some fruit
  • 12:00 p.m. – Began eating some regular food again
  • Went to the bathroom throughout the day and eventually my liver was flushed
  • 6:00 p.m. – Indulged in some delicious food at dinner

Liver Flush Collage 2

Throughout my years of treatment, I probably did a total of 15 liver flushes. I never want to smell, see or touch a grapefruit ever again. But hey, at least I’m now confident I could win a competition for who can drink the most shots of olive oil – if that’s even a thing. Bottoms up!

Stay lively my friends,

-The Lively Lymie