Why I Stopped Reading “Health” Articles

I used to start every morning by opening MindBodyGreen, a platform that posts health and wellness related articles. I would read multiple articles that would convince me I had one health ailment or another. The funny thing was that it was finally an article on there that got me to stop. The article talked about how sometimes you can’t figure out your health problems and that’s okay, but remember that you are not a doctor. No matter how many articles you read, Wikipedia pages you look through, and even books you read, mostly likely, you’re still not going to be a health professional unless you go to medical school or naturopathic school.

I found that one of the most dangerous things you can do is self-diagnose. Sometimes you’re right, but much of the time, you’re wrong. And even if you are right, you should check with your functional medicine doctor. I currently live in the capital of self-diagnosers, Boulder, CO. The people who live here follow all the food fads religiously and sometimes to the detriment to their own health. Now, Boulder is definitely not the only place where this occurs. This goes on in many places where people start to realize that they can’t always trust their western medicine doctor and they’re finally listening to their intuition. But when we read all these articles online titled “10 Ways You Know You Have A Candida Overgrowth” or “Here’s What You Need To Heal Your Gut” many people become obsessed with a health diagnosis that doesn’t even apply to them. Fatigue, brain fog, constipation, stubborn weight gain, and anxiety are symptoms that almost everyone experiences from time to time, and while they can definitely indicate that you have an underlying health condition, you might just as easily have just overindulged on cookies the day before, didn’t get a good enough nights rest, or been going through a rough patch in your life. We’re still so stuck on this western idea of getting a “quick-fix” that if we just figure out this ONE thing that’s wrong then we will cure everything wrong with our bodies. That idea doesn’t come from a holistic perspective when we’re just looking for the ONE thing wrong.

The internet is full of a lot of junk, please be conscious of the information you consume.

Our bodies and minds are complex and unique and we must respect that by not self-diagnosing ourselves. And like I said, sometimes you’re right. If you feel wholehearted that something feels off in your body, see a doctor, see a naturopath or functional medicine doctor. Take a few days to write down all your health-related symptoms and questions that are specific to YOU, not what you saw that article the other day or your friend told you that you’re feeling. When we read these articles, we can convince ourselves that’s how we’re feeling. You do not want to manifest symptoms you do not have. The internet is full of a lot of junk, please be conscious of the information you consume.

As we evolve and grow our view of health care, we must be aware of old ways disguised as new. We must look at systemic issues in our own health as we look at our society as well. I hope to bring together a community and safe space for those who have struggled with their health, but we must remember that our own physical, mental, and spiritual paths are our own and we must look within before looking for validation from external sources. While that seems contradictory to what I said earlier about making sure to see a doctor or other licensed health professional, it’s still important to look within yourself to hear what your body’s telling you and that most likely will not be found on the internet.

The other day I had a wake-up call when I read that maybe the person you know who believes they have every new ailment in the book might not be very in touch with their own body. And I kind of gasped because I thought to myself, “oh no, that’s totally me recently”. It was easy for me to believe every new ailment that gained popularity related to me because I just overall felt shitty most of the time. So when whatever I would read said “Do you feel shitty all the time? Well, [enter name of ailment] could be the cause of it!”, I would say “OH OH OH I feel shitty!!! This must be the cause! Thank goodness I finally know the answers to my struggle!”. Then I would shout to the heavens about how this was what caused my pain, my fatigue, my lack of feeling good. Then later I would find out I was wrong, it wasn’t that particular ailment, or if it was then it was just a small piece of how I was feeling. And I must give credit to the wonderful writers of these articles because they definitely do know what they’re talking about and it can feel extremely validating to hear the stories of other people who have also struggled with their health (and they even can create a sense of hope to know I can find answers to my own health mysteries too). But while the stories of their own healing journey can be helpful in certain ways, it’s when we become obsessed with finding answers for our own health in their stories that it can become destructive. Many people have found themselves orthorexic and having toxic relationships to food this way. I have been there too, I have created toxic relationships to food, I have felt an enormous amount of shame around my health.

Now I’m learning to listen to my body for answers instead of looking to the internet for those answers. And maybe you’re not like me and these articles have only helped you, then I say keep on reading them to your heart’s delight. But if you sense that they are not helping you, or you have started feeling toxic obsessions around reading about health and the body like staying up till 3 am on a Wikipedia binge with 20+ tabs open related to your skin biome (yes I really did that lol), then I encourage you to stop for a couple weeks and see how you feel. You might be infinitely more in tune with your body.

The Wellness Podcast I’ve Been Waiting For – Stronger

I’ve recently been pretty upset with the wellness, spirituality, and self-help community. To me, it’s been turned into a competition, filled with ego, just a bunch of fads, and another way to be exclusive. This is a community that’s supposed to, in my opinion, embody inclusivity, and provide heart-opening and validating practices. Many articles I see on health and wellness blogs or magazines have posts and articles with titles like “The Only 5 Ways You Can Feel Enlightened”, “If You’re Feeling Sluggish, Here’s The Essential Oils You Need“, or my least favorite title “You’re Not A True Yogi If You Don’t Do These Things”. All of these articles can exclude certain individuals, for example, I used to find myself reading these articles and saying to myself “Wait, am I not a true yogi because I don’t own something from [enter some new hip athleisure clothing brand] or know how to do [enter some advanced yoga pose]?”. Like what does being a “true yogi” even mean? I was under the impression it just meant you regularly practiced yoga. Now I’m careful to stay away from or take with a grain of salt media titled with anything that says its content holds the only way to do something or says I need some particular material items. Similarly, another experience I’ve had is people telling me whether or not I’m “enlightened” (I literally just groaned at the thought of this) because of my current choice of spirituality or my thoughts on the meaning of life. Frankly, I’ve been that person pushing my own beliefs on others too, but I’ve learned that these things are so personal to each individual. It’s fine to share something I’m excited about with another, but it’s not my business or my job to tell them they should practice or believe this specific belief system, practice, or ritual. I’m not alone in feeling excluded from certain practices because I didn’t fit these molds or some parts of this community not feeling quite right, but luckily some conversations are popping up that could support our understanding of what feels right in our minds and bodies.

An amazing new podcast released its first episode today that captured my feelings and validated many of the criticisms I’ve had about this community. This podcast is called Stronger by LIVESTRONG.COM and is hosted by Sr. Editor Michelle Vartan. The episode had the author Danielle LaPorte on the first episode and I was BLOW AWAY by their conversation as they talk about their incredibility important criticisms of this community and how to navigate the parts that could be taking advantage of you by genuinely listening to your body. When LaPorte says, “A real healer takes other people up with them” oh boy, oh boy, ohhhh boy, did this statement resonate with me. So many people come into this community looking to feel well and great and to find ways to live a life with vitality and resiliency, but we get so desperate to find the answers we can get lost consuming media or following trends that don’t ultimately align with our goals. Maybe we’ve been listening to some self-proclaimed “gurus” and/or we forget to listen to what are own bodies are truly telling us. Well, when I listened to this podcast, it just felt gosh darn good and pieced some thoughts together for me.

Like I always say, take with you what resonates, and throw out the rest!

If anything I’ve said has been on your mind, you’re new to the wellness/spirituality community, or you’re looking for a new podcast to listen to (or you want to start listening to podcasts!), you should totally check out Stronger! And, hey, maybe you like the current state of this community, and that’s totally cool too, my dudes! Like I always say, take with you what resonates, and throw out the rest!

I’ve listed the links to the podcast and Danielle LaPorte’s website below!

[link] LIVESTRONG.COM – Stronger – hosted by Sr. Editor Michelle Vartan

[link] Danielle LaPorte’s Website

Happy conscious media consuming!

Is Fluoride Killing Me Slowly

I’m a huge believer in the universe sending us signs. Recently, I’ve had many pondering about my health and I feel like the universe has sent me some signs to send me in the right direction. On a semi-related note, I started watching Grey’s Anatomy (which is AMAZING and I highly recommend to anyone who wants to go on an emotional roller coaster with the characters on the show to distract them from the emotional roller coaster of their life) and there was a patient in one episode of the show who felt immense pressure from her parents, but no matter how hard she tried, whatever she did wasn’t enough. Finally at one point in the episode Dr. Grey, while talking to the patient about how she is enough and shouldn’t be held to these ridiculous standards, says something along the lines of, “Life shouldn’t be that hard”. After hearing her say that line I burst into tears, dramatic, needed-half-of-a-tissue-box kind of tears. Hearing her say that triggered something in me and made me realize, you’re right, life shouldn’t be this hard. I have spent my whole almost-21 years struggling with digestive issues, chronic fatigue, depression, and weight issues. For someone who works out multiple times a week and eats a balanced diets, I shouldn’t be struggling this hard. There is something going on with my body and I am determined to find out what it is before it kills me. I shouldn’t need to be lying on my death bed before I get some fucking help.

Boulder Reservoir

So call me crazy, but I really do think of that episode Grey’s Anatomy was one of those signs. Another sign was when I’ve started listening to a podcast created by Dave Asprey, the creator of Bulletproof Coffee, who interviewed Elle Russ, a comedian and author of The Paleo Thyroid Solution. In this episode they talked about how current western medical doctors and endocrinologists tend to be extremely unhelpful when it comes to your thyroid health. Because of this, 60% of Americans with hypothyroidism go undiagnosed, most of those being women. Many of the symptoms and experiences Russ listed resonated with me. Once again, while listening to this podcast, I found myself crying, but this time on a public bus to the airport. One thing that really stayed in the back of my mind after listening to this podcast, and the whole time I visited my parents in California for Thanksgiving, was that they briefly mentioned Fluoride. It rang a bell in my mind because I’d remembered reading some posts writer by Lauren Geertsen on her blog Empowered Sustenance about the dangers of Fluoride. In the nutrition course I took while I still went to the University of Colorado Boulder (that I sadly did terribly in grade-wise because yay depression) was that we add Fluoride to our drinking water to help with dental health. In this class, the professor said that adding Fluoride to municipal water supplies was beneficial for the dental health of the citizens who lived in the areas it supplied water for, that Fluoride in drinking water was only possibly detrimental for people who sourced their drinking water from underground wells because of the high levels of Fluoride. Even then the only detrimental effect would be contracting dental fluorosis. The course didn’t touch on fluoride’s other effects to the human body. With some research and intense Googling, I discovered that Fluoride used to be prescribed to people in the 1950’s to suppress the thyroid gland, a gland in our neck that excretes hormones that regulates our metabolism, cardiovascular system, and growth development. Our thyroid health affects our energy levels, sexual health, weight, among many other things. It’s strange to me that very few people in America talk about how we casually put a thyroid-suppressing mineral in our water. Apparently, it’s even banned in certain places in Western Europe. Are American’s so concerned with the aesthetics of our teeth that we completely ignore how this could be affecting our thyroid health? In the town I grew up in, we had fluoride added to our drinking water at 1ppm which is 1mg per liter. In the town I currently reside in, the 2016 water quality report said that we have 4ppm in our water which is 4mg per liter. As someone who drinks approximately 2 liters of water a day, I’m ingesting 8mg of Fluoride a day, and that’s not including the Fluoride I’m accidentally ingesting from toothpaste and fluoride-containing foods. In study a published in the British Medical Journal on the ingestion of fluoride, all subjects who ingested the fluoride were found to have damage to the gastric mucosa, which is an essential part of the stomach lining that protects the stomach from stomach acid and lubricates food for digestion. After sifting through fluoridealert.com, I’m definitely concerned with how much fluoride I ingest on a daily basis.

twitter - drinking waterOf course after learning about the potential dangers of ingesting Fluoride I want it to gtfo of my drinking water ASAP! Apparently it’s not as easy as owning a silly little Brita, not that I or anyone I live with fills it anyways. Brita water filters use activated charcoal to filter tap water, which can filter out some chlorine and metals but not fluoride. But apparently it requires extra filtration, that usually ends up being fairly expensive. The only way to remove fluoride from tap water is through reverse osmosis, deionization, and using activated alumina. You can purchase certain portable water filters or install them in your home, which can add up to some pretty hefty prices. As a college student, this isn’t really a viable option for me since I will be renting for an indefinite number of years before I can find a home that I can install permanent water filters. Yes, I totally asked for a large portable water filter for Christmas, because I sure can’t afford to buy one myself. The one I’ve been interested in was recommended by my fav blog Empowered Sustenance in this article. Crossing my fingers that my parents are super rad and wants to support my health (hint hint fam that’s you). Another way you can avoid Fluoride is by drinking spring water. Some spring water can still contain fluoride, but you can find ones that have zero to 0.1ppm fluoride content. My only issue with spring water resides in how it gets to you. My local health food store sells gallon sizes of Colorado spring water from a Elderado Natural Spring Water, but they come in plastic containers. An option I’m going to look into is their delivery service so that I can reduce my carbon footprint by not buying plastic. The last option to remove fluoride is distillation, but ain’t nobody got time for that, especially as a college student. As someone who drinks a large quantity of water a day, this is going to be a huge change for me. Even my current Twitter handle is “drink more water pls“, where I frequently annoy my peers by reminding them to drink more water. Now I’m not saying don’t drink water, because it’s basically the essence of life and makes up about 70% of our physical human bodies, but I’m always a huge believe in that you should know what you’re putting into your body. No one thinks about how water can negatively affect your health, but I learned from an early age to question everything and this just solidifies that ideal.

Now I’m not saying that Fluoride is the main cause for my health problems, but it’s definitely a factor the universe has shown me to look more into. I’m determined, curious, and excited for where this discovery will lead me. I hope this has helped inform you more about your drinking water or at least supported you in seeing how the universe has been sending you some signs.