How to begin a Health Journey
Updated: Apr 17, 2020
Frequently asked questions -
What were some of the first things you did on the beginning of your health journey?
If there is one thing to do what would that be?
I get asked this all the time. And there are so many things that I did and still do to work on my healing that it is just impossible to narrow to “the one thing to do!”
For years, I have been improving my nutrition, lessening toxins, and working with different practitioners, healers, doctors.
Does anyone remember when I was crazy enough to open a restaurant called “Organic Cafe” in Rio de Janeiro, before the term was even coined as a thing? My biggest struggle was to find suppliers since even the certification process was still new!
It wasn’t just a quick fix or one thing that I did.
There isn’t a treasure map healing route to be discovered. Oh!, how I wish there was!
And everyone’s healing & spiritual journey will look different.
But if I were to summarize tips to live a healthier life it would look like this:
Take care of your soul, you are a spiritual being living in a human body, remember that!
Take time to discipline your mind. Much more healing can come from the power of your mind alone. Way more than we give it credit. Learn to meditate, to breathe, to listen to your body.
Connect to your heart. Seriously.
Make personal connections. We are social beings and having a net of loved ones that “get you” can truly heal many wounds.
But since we are embodied and soul searching needs a healthy vehicle, this is what I suggest you do for your body:
Reduce inflammation. Find out what could be causing it. Sensitive foods? Allergies? Heavy metals? Chemical sensitivities? Toxic relationships? Overbooked schedules? Hormonal imbalances? Test, don’t guess!
Eat whole real foods at every meal.
Eliminate trans fat. (Found in processed foods, anything that has partially hydrogenated, hydrogenated, or mono and diglycerides on the label.)
Support gut health. You need to poop at least once, ideally even 2 or 3 times a day.
So if you are not, work on that! You have to feed the good bacteria and make sure you are not hosting unwanted critters in your gut. (Parasites, worms, fungi, yeast, bacteria.)
How do we take care of our gut? I know I sound like a broken record…
Step 1, figure out if you actually have an infection. Do a gut test. (Sorry the ones conventional doctors’ orders miss A TONE of things…)
If you do, address that, if you don’t, move to step 2.
Step 2, eat real foods that will promote a good ecology inside your gut.
Step 3, add some prebiotic (To feed good bacteria) and probiotics.
Balance hormones. How?
Step 1, dial in your sleep. Be in bed by 10 and for the love of God sleep at least 8 hours EVERY NIGHT. No excuses here. If you want balanced hormones you HAVE to start here. More on that in the future. For now, please trust me on that! Your hormones will thank you. There are a few supplements that may help you unwind and get into deeper sleep until you address the root cause of why you are not getting enough Zzzz...
Step 2, get your stress and sex hormones checked. (Cortisol, melatonin, testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, DHEA)
Step 3, get your thyroid levels checked. Full thyroid panel please (Just checking TSH will not tell you much). You might need to beg your doctor to order the full panel or find a new practitioner.
Step 4 Reduce stress. Yeah right? No kidding, this is actually number 1 on the list. Stress comes in many forms. Not just work stress, but emotional stress, physical stress, spiritual angst, life purpose…
I had multiple reasons why my hormones were off, and I did use some adaptogens like ashwagandha, rhodiola, mushrooms etc.
But remember, you can’t hate your job, be in a toxic relationship, eat like crap and expect everything to fall into place if you take a few adaptogens!
Dial in exercise. Not too much, not too little. Figuring out the perfect amount for you is the key to begin healing. Especially if you are dealing with any kind of adrenal issues. Remember that exercise is a form of stress on the body. It can be a good stress or just plain exhausting burden that could prevent healing.
Healing is possible from a plethora of illnesses out there. Work with a doctor, nutritionist, healer, therapist, counselor, do some yoga, find what best resonates with you. Everyone’s journey will look different and unique, just like you are. Just know that there is hope and a path for everyone once you decide to take the first step!
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Isabela Fortes is a
Board Certified Holistic Health Expert, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher Level II, Certified yoga therapist.
She is a mother of two and works with client in Southern California and virtually anywhere in the world.
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