4 things to keep SAD away

SADIt’s here! The darkest day of the year! Most people aren’t celebrating it. But let’s! Because it only gets brighter each day from here on out, right? And we’re that much closer to glorious spring.

Unfotunately, today also marks a time of year when many people struggle with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

It affects millions of people a year. And if you happen to be female, like me, you are more likely to be affected. Although, there are plenty of guys who struggle with it as well.

I’ll never forget experiencing SAD the first winter I lived in Boston six years ago. It hit me like a ton of bricks. We had a toddler and baby at the time. I remember feeling like I could hardly get off the couch, much less accomplish the long list of things I needed to each day.

Brance and I decided to research what I could do naturally to help first. If how I felt didn’t improve in a reasonable amount of time, I planned to visit my doctor.

Thankfully, once I began to make changes, things almost immediately improved for me!!

Here are four simple things I did (and continue to do) to keep SAD away.

1. Supplement with Vitamin D3 (3,000- 4,000 IU daily).

I do this in the summer as well, usually taking a little less because I’m getting some D3 naturally through sun exposure. (Although, word to the wise, sunscreen will block your ability to absorb D3)

2. Spend 20-30 minutes outside every day.

I even did this during the coldest months while living in Boston!! I’d bundle up in a down coat and many days wear snow boots too, ha. It’s so important to be exposed to natural light and especially in the morning, if possible.

3. Exercise for 15-30 minutes a day.

I have been so, so good to do this for the last six years… until 2 months ago. Ugh. We moved and I have been balancing a lot. I want to get back to this, though. Because it really does help!

4. Supplement with Magnesium (200-400 mg) or soak in Epsom salts (to naturally absorb Magnesium).

I swear by this. I have struggled with anxiety for years. And when I finally added this to my regimen (Vitamin D3 supplementation helps a lot as well), the anxiety completely disappeared. In my book, anxiety and depression are evil twins of the same mother. They often accompany one another.

I hope these 4 things help you enjoy this darker time of year more!

SAD can become a serious condition. If it has for you, I would recommend seeking medical help.




2 Things that make me forget I have UC

Probiotics help Ulcerative ColitisI feel incredibly blessed to feel SO WELL these days— completely normal and like my “old self”. And with little (1/2 a dose) and very safe medication to boot! No steroids or other meds with awful side-effects or visits to the hospital. Not even a SINGLE symptom at all!

I was diagnosed with UC (Ulcerative Colitis) a couple of years ago and it made my life much more difficult. I felt miserable and was afraid to go anywhere. Ugh. Anyone who has this autoimmune disease will know what I am talking about.

Not only do you suffer with the common symptoms associated with UC, though. Which are bad enough. Anytime you’re dealing with autoimmunity there is a host of “random” symptoms that can plague the sufferer too. Recurring fevers, joint pain, fatigue, flu-like symptoms etc. are all common.

But, pinch me!! I feel so fortunate that I found something that REALLY WORKS to help me feel so well with this disease.  It’s too good not to share with my dear readers and for you not to share with those you love. It’s just THAT good and easy!

While UC is chronic and here to stay, I stumbled across this simple regimen that in recent months has made me often forget I even have UC at all. Crazy, right!?! I feel that AMAZING.

The two things I do are… Continue reading

Cure Ulcerative Colitis

Cure Ulcerative Colitis
While technically you can not Cure Ulcerative Colitis, it IS possible to experience remission and to live symptom-free with little to no medication—for many of us. (When I say cure, this is what I am referring to! We’ll call it cure with a little “c”.)

I can say how wonderful it feels to no longer struggle with UC!  Getting here has been a big, big blessing for me and my little family of four.

I know what it is like to be in the bathroom over a dozen times a day, completely embarrassed to leave home. I know what it is like to suffer from autoimmune related fevers and aches and swelling and joint pain. AND I know what it is like to feel like my normal, healthy self again NOT constantly having to scope out the nearest bathroom. Oh man, there is nothing like it!

For me, it had everything to do with food, despite my gastroenterologist’s claim at diagnosis to the contrary. Thankfully I was skeptical and began experimenting with my diet almost immediately. What did I have to lose?

Desperate to feel better, I have tried all kinds of diets from gluten- free to paleo to the specific carbohydrate diet, with varying results. But NONE of them has worked nearly as well as what I have settled on. Which is SO simple by comparison and super effective. My doctor is very pleased at how well I am doing (I am currently on little medication and in remission to boot!).

Not only did those other diets NOT stop all of my symptoms, they made me feel all kinds of awful in the process… low blood sugar, exhausted, foggy-headed and dizzy, etc. Plus I am thankful to have discovered something that works and allows me to live a relatively normal life. Some of the diets I tried were so extreme I had to carry my food with me everywhere in a cooler—I could never eat out or pick up something quickly at the store or even have dinner at a friend’s house. It was very complicated and NO fun!

In case these may help you too, here are the 5 simple things that I have done with my diet that have helped me cure Ulcetative Colitis (with a little “c”)…

Continue reading

Vitamin D Cured Anxiety (my story)

shadowBefore Vitamin D…

I was someone who unfortunately spent years of my life in a state of worry and angst. During those anxiety-riddled years, I was a shadow of a person. Anxiety paralyzed me and controlled every aspect of my life.

Back in the day, it was so bad, there were times I would leave college classes and go home early because of irrational fears.

In the past, every single decision I made was controlled by fear—fear of what people thought or fear of what might go wrong. Fear of fear! It was insane. Just ask my poor husband who patiently listened to a lot of it.

I would spend weeks, at times months, fretting and ruminating over decisions or about a relationship or conversation or anything, really! There was ALWAYS something or someone I was tied up in emotional knots about.

And let’s not even talk about social anxiety. I’ll just say that it was all-consuming and off the charts.

As you can imagine, this was a terrible way to exist.

BUT, thank goodness, I am also someone who has experienced a major transformation and has left anxiety almost entirely behind!!! Sometimes I still can’t believe it. It truly feels like a miracle has transpired and I am grateful beyond words!! To tears even. (Those who have wrestled with anxiety in the least will understand why.)

I am sorry if I talk about this too much. But the transformation that I experienced is one of the major reasons I began this blog two years ago. It’s been so amazing, I want to share this with everyone I can—to shout it from the rooftop (or blogosphere:)!  Because if even one person is helped, then my vulnerability and humble blogging efforts will be worth it.

I know what it is like to feel terribly controlled by anxiety and the circumstances of life. It was slowly, but surely, sucking every bit of joy right out of living. And I know what it is like to feel free of anxiety’s pernicious grip. I want other people to know that freedom as well!

Oh man. There are few things in life that are better!!

Mom with Child in Backpack by the PierVitamin D helped!

So, what did I do? We’ll, there are a couple of things that have turned the anxiety ship around for me. But the number one thing I did was Continue reading

My 7 Favorite Dairy-Free/ GF Treats

pastelI have been all or mostly dairy-free for the last 9 years.

One of the things I initially found disappointing was the number of desserts that I had to abstain from.

It seemed everywhere I turned people were offering me dessert (which was incredibly thoughtful), yet they always seemed to have dairy in them. Ice cream, cake, cookies, pies, chocolate bars—you name it—dessert and dairy seemed synonymous.

I try not to eat sugary foods too often. But from time to time it’s nice to enjoy something sweet, right?! Here are 7 dairy-free treats, in no particular order, that don’t compromise on taste one bit. My dairy eating husband loves many of them too. And they are all gluten-free, as well, if that is important to you. Continue reading

The supplements that have changed my life

vitaminsSupplements have played a huge role in helping me reclaim my physical and emotional health.

With their help, I have been able to banish depression, anxiety, foggy-headedness, exhaustion, poor sleep etc. AND drastically improve my sex-life, boost my happiness, increase my energy levels, and improve my cognitive skills and memory.

Shortly after I began supplementing, I will never forget telling my husband Brance, through grateful tears, that I felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G–better than I ever had in my entire life. It was as if a fog had lifted. But I didn’t need to tell him, he could see the difference.

The difference was night and day. It felt as if a miracle had transpired and I was SO grateful. Anyone who has felt as bad as I did and has had this kind of transformation will know exactly what I am talking about.

Yet, I don’t want to paint an unrealistic picture here. The differences that Brance experienced from supplementing have been more subtle.  He didn’t feel as poorly as I did before. Brance was already clear-headed and didn’t struggle with depression or anxiety. He has mostly noticed an improvement in his energy levels and sleep.

Because I feel SO much better because of the supplements I take, I often talk about them and blog about them (hello Vitamin D3!!!). So, I often get questions about the supplements and brands I take. I thought it might be helpful for me to compile all that information in one place with Amazon links. Here you go.

My daily supplements

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Sandal-ready feet

sandaled_feetHaddie and I wandered through the sandal isle of a department store downtown Boston this afternoon. Abigail was “working” with Brance at our new house and it was just the two of us. We had fun looking at the different styles together.

It seemed a little ironic. Although there are beautiful pink and white blossoms on our trees, it was a shady 55 degrees outside. Not exactly sandal weather, right?

But it’s coming. And we are eagerly awaiting sun and sand and sandals.

So, in anticipation and preparation of warmer days to come, I thought I would share my tried-and-true foot softening trick.

It really, truly can help with even the worst of callouses. We all know that callouses are just one of the “lovely” things that come with the territory of getting older. And by older, in this instance, I mean anything over 20!


Foot softening trick

To do this, you’ll need Continue reading

8 health tips that have improved my life

health tipsWhen it comes to health and nutrition I try to approach it with balance.

I try not to be difficult or inflexible —the person with a long list of demands and things they won’t eat. (I realize this is very personal and what works for me may not work for another. Especially someone with life-threatening allergies!)

Also, I don’t want staying healthy to take over my life. I don’t have the time to devote hours a day to health and nutrition and research. I am lucky to have a couple of minutes here and there.

BUT, there are some small changes I have made that have paid off big when it comes to my health and wellbeing. They have made a huge difference in how I feel both physically and emotionally (two things I am finding more and more are closely related).

Here are eight “little” things I have done to help bring better health to my life. I’ll call them my “balanced” health tips :). Continue reading

Vitamin D3 keeps you well

So, the last week or so, a cold traveled through my little family. First it was Abigail and then Haddie. Finally, Brance came down with it, worse than the kids–a runny nose that has lasted for days and days. (He’s still carrying tissues with him on our anniversary getaway.)

And I waited, expecting it hit me any day.

It seemed unavoidable. I had been planted with slobbery, sweet kisses from my sick niece (the cute source of the cold :). Then, I accidentally ate a bite of the girls’ food in the midst of high fevers. AND received a sniffly, loving kiss Continue reading

Vitamin d cured my anxiety and depression

A Life EnjoyedDo you struggle with anxiety or depression? If the answer is yes, there is a good chance you are vitamin d3 deficient. Many people are and are completely unaware.

I was. And supplementing has made the BIGGEST difference in how I feel, hands down.

Cure is a strong word. But I would say that this has made a 95% difference in how I feel.

It has been like a miracle for me. Social anxiety, feeling down, irrational and obsessive worry, low self-esteem, mood swings etc. melted away almost overnight when I began taking vitamin d. (D3, not d2. There’s a big difference!)

imageI remember walking through our Boston neighborhood, shortly after I began supplementing, thinking, “Wow. I haven’t been self-conscious once this whole walk. So weird, but so good. This must be what it feels like to be normal.” It felt amazing :).

And not just that. I swear it feels like it made me smarter, raised my I.Q, ha. Anyway, it cleared away the “cobwebs” – brain fog – that I had come to accept as me. I always thought that my sluggish, indecisive ways were part of my DNA. Come to find out, a vitamin d deficiency can make a person that way.

GillihanI first discovered the wonders of vitamin d over 2 years ago. I had an especially tough winter and decided to begin taking it to see if it would help with some depression I was struggling with. It helped with the depression and so much more. I felt Continue reading