How my Health and Nutrition Obsession Started

How my Health and Nutrition Obsession Started

I grew up in Puerto Rico where there was not much knowledge in nutrition and healthy habits, but there were many natural remedies. My interest in reading self-help and home remedy books started as a teenager after experiencing health complications at a very young age. My health issues began in my teenage years, but my real obsession for health, nutrition, and natural remedies started in my mid-twenties after many health issues arose. As a young adult and mom, I felt tired all the time, weak, in pain, and like I was 10 times older than I really was. All I wanted was to figure out what was wrong with me and how to fix it. When I didn’t receive many answers from my doctors, I decided to start doing my own research. Since I wasn’t prone to prescription medications anyways and had an inclination to natural remedies, my journey as an obsessed researcher began.

I still remember how my mother and grandmother would make these concoctions that worked wonders. Sometime in the 1990s, during a hot Summer day in Puerto Rico, I came down with some sort of flu. I must have been 11 or 12 years of age. I was feeling weak and had a very high fever. My grandmother asked me to lay down, then started applying an oil concoction on my feet. The oil had a very strong smell to it, at the moment I had no idea what it was. Later in life, I found out it was an oil of “camphor”. She then asked me to put on socks, bundle up and go to sleep. “But it’s the middle of the day and it’s hot!” I complained. But grandmother said I had to, so I did. After falling asleep around noon, I woke up a few hours later feeling refreshed, energized and with no fever whatsoever. That was my first experience with natural remedies, and I was impacted at such a young age.

Shortly after that experience with my grandmother, I ended up in the hospital with gastroenteritis. I remember I felt bad because my sister was chosen to represent our small community in a parade, as a princess, and my parents and I weren’t there to see her. As my sister was getting ready that day, I was running to the bathroom nonstop. I don’t remember much after that, except being in the hospital with an IV attached to my arm. After I got dismissed, I remember being very hungry and asking my mom to buy me treats. She gave me soda crackers, apple sauce, and ginger ale for a few days. I never understood why soda crackers, apple sauce, and ginger ale until I started learning about nutrition in my adulthood (which I’ll explain in a bit).

After these experiences, I started paying attention to my mom’s remedies and even reading some of her self-help and natural remedies books. I found all the remedies so intriguing. I started learning all sorts of remedies and would look up different symptoms just for fun. In the core of my being, I knew natural remedies work wonders and it’s a better alternative to prescription medicine in some cases.

When I had my son at age 21, I realized I don’t react well to certain medications. I remember being in the hospital after my C-section asking the nurses for pain medications. After the nurse gave me one of the strongest pain killers, I had a massive panic attack. I was shaking, couldn’t sleep, felt paranoid and much more. I remember calling the nurse asking her for something to calm me down. Not sure what she gave me, but the way she put it was, she gave me a medicine strong enough to knock down an elephant and wasn’t sure why I was reacting that way. A few years later I ended up in the hospital for something else and I had a similar reaction. I remember wanting to rip out my IV and just run away. I imagined myself as a crazy run-away woman in the hospital. Thank goodness I was able to internally calm myself down and waited until the doctor came to see me. That day I decided that I was going to avoid visits to the hospital as much as possible and that I would figure out how I could deal with any symptom in a natural way.

My health and nutrition obsession began. After my mom’s natural remedies books, as a young adult, I subscribed to Prevention magazines. Shortly after that, I started buying their books and other books they recommended. I was determined to learn all about health, wellness, nutrition and how it was related to my conditions. I read, Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, Bottom Lines Health Breakthroughs of 2013, New Choices in Natural Healing and more. A few years and many books later I decided to join the largest nutrition school, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2015. After graduating with a Health Coaching Certificate in 2016 I was excited to share with others what I had learned about health and nutrition.

Little that I know, life had other plans for me. I was feeling extremely ill. I started presenting symptoms in 2016. I felt mayor daily headaches. Doctors diagnosed me with Chronic Migraines. Even though inside of me I knew that migraines weren’t the case, but I was desperate for relief. After months of daily headaches, I decided to give their suggestions a try. I tried every medicine, physical therapy, chiropractic and more. Nothing was working. A few months later, my headaches started going away on their own, but a new symptom arrived. Now my feet were hurting. I was immediately diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and was told to stretch and exercise my feet. Then my hips and lower back started to hurt. “What now?” I thought to myself. I finally told my doctor “I feel like I’m 90 years old, what’s going on with me?” At that point, every inch of my body was in pain and sometimes I couldn’t walk or get out of bed in the morning. After many tests were done, I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease in August of 2017.

And again, the researching begins. “What the heck is Lyme Disease?” I asked myself. I never learned about this in my books or in school. I became, once again, obsessed. One of the first books I found was Unlocking Lyme by Dr. Rawls. Even as an MD, he as well had struggled with Lyme Disease and all its symptoms. He precisely described what is Lyme Disease, how what and why one gets symptoms while others don’t. Plus, he shares his journey and how he overcame the disease using practical solutions. Learning about Lyme was fascinating to me. Although some days I despised the symptoms I had to go through, in a way I loved learning about it. I learned that optimal health is much more than balanced nutrition, it’s also detoxing, eliminating food triggers, replenishing the gut, lots of self-care and more. It opened up a whole new world for me. Soon after I meet Ariel Wachowiak, a health practitioner that took my health to the next level. She is a Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturist that specializes in Lyme Disease. With her help, I was able to learn about herbs, botanicals, traditional Chinese Medicine, recommended nutrition for the disease and more. That’s when I learned that the digestive issues I experienced at a young age had followed me all throughout my life.

The Gut and Immune System. With the help of Ariel and Dr. Rawls book, I learned that 80% of our immune system lives in the gut. When our gut (digestion) is compromised, so is our immune system. And with a weak immune system, our body can’t help us fight against disease, which can lead to the growth of bad bacteria, pathogens and even parasites in our body. With their recommendations, I started implementing gut healing foods, herbs and more. One of them was ginger. Which is why many people associate ginger ale with being good for the stomach. I told you I’d get back to the ginger ale. As for the soda crackers and apple sauce, my mom gave me, the starch in the soda crackers help absorb the acid in the stomach and mashed foods like apple sauce are easier for digestion. Plus, apples are great to open up the gallbladder ducts that help eliminate toxins. It’s all an overall win-win.

Today, thanks to my obsessions and research, I’m glad to say that my symptoms have improved more than 50% and I’m well on my way to remission. I’m excited to have a long-lasting good relationship with my body, nutrition, overall health, and wellness.

Thanks for reading.

Wishing you much health and happiness,

Mayra – The Nutrition Dork

A real woman

A real woman

A real woman…

A real woman can have a pouch because she is able to carry a baby when/if the time comes.

A real woman can wear her stretch marks with pride. She knows they are scars of growth and show how her body changed from girl to woman or from woman to mother.

A real woman knows it’s ok to have saggy boobs because she’s knows they are there for a purpose.

A real woman has strong big arms because she’s able to hold her babies all day. Plus, she still have the strength to lift them up as they get older and fall asleep on the couch.

A real woman is allowed to have dark circles around her eyes. As caregivers, mothers, wives, and/or professionals, their dedication is endless and many times puts others before her own needs.

A real woman can decide whether or not she wants a career or be a stay at home mom or both.

A real woman can choose not to have kids and/or get married.

A real woman can have grey hair and be proud of her years and wisdom.

A real woman can love her body, enjoy eating foods and still be healthy.

A real woman can have rolls on her body and be proud of it.

A real woman is allowed to love herself, know her worth, be proud, without being conceited.

A real woman is not perfect. She has flaws, makes mistakes, keeps learning, and keeps growing.

A real woman should never feel embarrassed of her scars, her uniqueness, and her body.

A real woman is beautiful in all ways, shapes, and forms.

A real woman just is.

Dedicated to ALL the women in the World. Never forget that you are perfect and beautiful exactly how you are and/or choose to be.

Written by Mayra Luz Colón
Artwork by Instagram artist @ariises

I thought I was going to die.

I thought I was going to die.

I’d like to ask you…
Have you ever wondered how it feels to live with a chronic illness or auto-immune disease? Like how it really feels… mentally, physically, inside and out? If you’ve never been diagnosed you probably don’t know exactly how it feels, but I’m sure you know someone that does and can resonate somehow. I’d like to share some insight into how it feels using my own journey as an example.
Why?
Because regardless of whether or not you have a disease… we all have a story, we all have traumas, we all have felt symptoms at some point, we are ALL in this journey through life’s ups and downs, and we are ALL in need of connection, empathy and support (whether we know it or not). This is WHY I share, this is why I desire to create awareness, this is why I do what I do. And I share this not to make you feel bad about me or anyone else, or to seek attention or make anyone feel guilty. I share this in hopes to create awareness about disease, it’s symptoms, it’s origin(s), and most importantly, in hopes of inspiring more empathy and compassion towards one another.
As human beings, we need to stick together. Whether we like it or not, we all need each other, collectively and energetically in order to survive. Through my toughest years, I tried doing it all alone, I tried to be tough… And it wasn’t until I opened up, mainly because I was too weak to do it on my own, that everything changed. The suffering is gone, the pain is gone, the depression is gone, the anxiety is gone… Now it feels like I’m just flowing through life and I must share. Now I feel like I’m always meeting the right people, always at the right place at the right time, and like the next steps (in health and life) just open up. What I need will always show up! No matter what it is, I just need to trust. And TRUST…ing has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve ever learned in my life! But we’ll talk about that another time.
For those of you going through something right now, a disease, a trauma, a situation or whatever it is… I hear you! And I’m sending you good vibes and a virtual hug!

As I always say;
“You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”
Now back to the story of when I thought I was going to die…
First, let me introduce myself in case we have never met in person or you just don’t remember me. In the picture above, I’m wearing my favorite tee-shirt that says, “Heart of a Warrior” (because I do). My name is Mayra, as of today I’m a 37 year old Latina living in Buffalo, NY. I consider myself a Nutrition Dork & Lyme Wellness Warrior. I’m obsessed with GOOD Food, Natural Healing, Holistic Health, Wellness and Spirituality, anything to do with Arts, Oh, and dancing!! I’m definitely very multi-passionate.
Back to the (never told before) story…
It all started over 16 years ago after I had my son. Even though I had a normal pregnancy, I didn’t know that the hormones and overeating would push me over to dis-ease. From 2002 to 2017, I suffered from every symptom you can name (well not all, but a lot). I suffered from depression, digestive issues, fatigue, migraines, thyroid disease symptoms, weight gain, auto-immune, joint pain, and more. At some point during this time, I became obsessed about figuring out why I kept getting symptom after symptom. So I did what I do best, research, research and more research.  After being a self-thought nutrition and fitness dork for years, I finally decided to join the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2015. The more I learned the more my passion to help others with their nutrition, fitness, and weight loss goals. I felt called to help heal the World. I also became a Turbo Kick instructor in 2012 and then a Zumba Instructor in 2016 (because I was equally obsessed with fitness too). After graduating from IIN late 2016 I had many aspirations, goals, and dreams.
Little that I know, that disease was creeping in…
You see, those ups and downs with my weight (and symptoms) were just the start. Disease doesn’t just show up out of nowhere, it can take up to years if not an entire lifetime to present themselves in a chronic way. No matter what I did and how much I tried, my health kept decreasing. I was clueless and unaware that my immune system had been compromised YEARS ago. And to heal that, it’s was going to require much more than fad diets and exercise alone. I was also unaware that, in 2011 I was bitten by a Lyme infected tick and was never treated. You see, Lyme disease takes advantage of a weak immune system. As it takes over, it will slowly cause a number of symptoms and wreak havoc in your health and body. 
It wasn’t until 2017 that I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Progressive symptoms started years before that, but I didn’t present chronic symptoms until late 2015. It started with mild headaches, then daily headaches for a year, then joint pain, chronic fatigue and exhaustion, and all of that was on top of all the digestive issues I had since I was a child. Needless to say, I felt like crap!  In total, I spent over 16 years feeling a disease of some sort and was always trying to figure out what was going on. All I wanted was to figure out how could heal myself naturally.
I felt like I had tried everything. I kept bouncing from doctor to doctor, to treatments, to natural remedies, to physical therapy and more… I must have tried it all (or at least felt like it). But symptoms kept progressing. My body was in so much pain it was hard to even walk at the end of the night, and would wake up without feeling like a ton of bricks fell on me. I got fed up one day, called off work and made a doctors appointment. I walked into the doctor’s office in tears as I told my doctor “I can’t take it anymore, I feel like I’m 90 years old!” I literally felt like I was dying!
After many many tests, my doctor said, “I’m going to do this one last test and if it’s negative I may have to send you to a specialist.” This is what I heard “I don’t know what to do with you anymore.” Honestly, I was devastated! But to the blinds eye, I was OK!
It was very hard and frustrating (inside) not to be able or afraid to express what I really felt. When I did I got weird looks (like I was making things up) or people would just change the subject. Not that I talked about it a lot, because I wanted people to see me as the “strong”, “independent” woman I’ve always been. I kept telling myself “I got this” but honestly, deep deep inside, I didn’t believe it. I cried myself to sleep sometimes or just couldn’t sleep because I was lost in negative thoughts thinking I was dying.
When the last test came positive to Lyme, it was kind of a relief!
My first thought was “What the heck is Lyme?” I was relieved to know I wasn’t crazy and was making all these symptoms up. At least I had a name to what I was feeling (not that it really mattered). I quickly found out that Lyme is a complex disease that is not easily treated with western medicine.
At the moment I didn’t know it was actually a blessing in disguise. It was what I had unconsciously asked for to get me where I want/need to be. Again, this is a story for another time (I have lots of stories).
As the “let me research this” kind of person I am, ALL of it lead me to a path of self-discovery. A path I may have never taken if it wasn’t for this diagnose. A path of FAITH, TRUST & SPIRITUALITY.
I decided to put my business to a side and focus on my own personal healing journey and self-improvement. I surrounded myself with like-minded and positive people, hired an Integrative Medicine Practitioner, read books, joined programs, and learned everything about Lyme disease, holistic modalities, spirituality, and more. I’ve learned to connect the dots and equally balance my mind, body, and spirit. A year later, although still in the journey, I can say that more than 50% of my symptoms improved, and I’m feeling better than ever from the inside out. I know now that the best is yet to come. (happy dance)
Now, my energy is UP (no more meds of any kind). I wake up energized, I go to sleep and wake up with a positive and grateful attitude, my mood has improved, and I truly feel GOOD (which is my priority). Doing things that make ME feel good!
My mission has completely changed since 2016.
Now my mission is to help end suffering. To help people (that I call warriors) take back their health and life from disease, reduce and get rid of symptoms forever. For those that allow my support, my goal is to create a shortcut and avoid the many many years it took me. Because I realized, we don’t even need a diagnose to start healing and improving our health.
Together we will figure out what works best for you and kick-start a healing journey that doesn’t take 16 years. Help provide the guidance, support, and motivation you need in order to stay consistent and achieve living a better quality life.
Because we all deserve to live at EASE!
Again, the reason I share all of this is; because I know I’m not alone. Far too many people are suffering in silence because they think no one will understand. To those I want to say, I UNDERSTAND! And you are not alone.
If you resonated with this post, I invite you to stay in touch. Either via email or social media. I will be sharing lots of great holistic health and wellness resources, nutrition advice, recipes and more. Although email will definitely have its advantages! You’ll get first dibs, great resources and content (like Tasty Tuesday’s recipes) that I will not share on social media.
You guys are my tribe and for that, I appreciate you! 🙂
I’m opening up my calendar to be of service. If you could use a vent, or some inspiration, please send me a private message and let’s chat! I’m all ears (free of judgment), you can tell me anything!
To schedule a call visit: http://nutritiondork.com/letschat/
If you made it this far, I appreciate you. Thanks again for being here with me.
Wishing you much love, health, and happiness,
Mayra

Facts to consider about Nutrition

Facts to consider about Nutrition

Choosing the right nutrition can be a confusing thing. At the end of the day, we must choose what feels good to us. It is important that you are aware that NUTRITION is the most important thing in our diets. Consuming nutrient dense foods is what will help us achieve the best health and vitality. I’ve created a summary of FACTS to consider when choosing our foods. 

Things to keep in mind: 

  • No single diet is right for everyone. Diets are sophisticated and we all have different needs. 
  • The majority of our diets only consist of foods with a caloric value and some macronutrients. Most of the time we are missing out on nutrition.
  • We also need superfoods and supplements aka “medicine” and super-herbs in our diets. These are the keys to longevity.
  • Superfoods help ensure you are getting enough minerals and other macronutrients required for optimal function of the body.
  • Super-herbs are what help build immunity. They are the weaponry that helps stack the odds in our favor for being able to protect ourselves against diseases and illnesses related (mostly) with aging, particularly calcification in the body.

I can’t tell you what “diet” is right or wrong for you, only you can decide what is right or wrong for you. Your personal diet is going to depend on your own personal needs, being informed/aware of the different diet modalities and the pros and cons of each. As you develop yourself as a student you start finding your own answers and you start developing your own momentum. Request a consultation and/or seek help from professionals that can help guide you in your journey of self-discovery. 

The ideal percentage of foods we should be consuming:

  • 80% plant-based:  Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, flowers, herbs, superfoods, seaweed, grass, fermented, etc.
  • 10% from the animal kingdom: Do not over consume. Choose meats and animal products that are not commercialized and conventionally, farmed and processed. Ideally, meat and dairy should be farm raised and organic. Beef should be grass feed and chicken should be anti-biotic free, hormone free and farm raised. Dairy can be raw and organic bought from a local farm. If you are vegan or vegetarian, it’s recommended you learn and aware of the nutrients you are missing. (See below)
  • 5% mushrooms: Medicinal mushrooms like reishi, saga, great mushrooms and more. They give us the nutrition that we need.
  • 5% from the insect kingdom: Honey is the most popular.

If you choose to be vegan or vegetarian, these are some things you should consider:

  • There is a 10% of nutrition you’d have to make up for. Nutrients found in animal products that you’d be missing.
  • Make sure you supplement protein, vitamin b-12, and vitamin k-2. 
  • Raw dairy and real grass-fed butter are alternatives to gain those nutrients without killing the animals.

In Conclusion, the human race consists of all different types of people with different eating habits and it will always be that way. At the end of the day to each their own. We do the best we can and encourage each other to be the best we can.

Wishing you much health and happiness,

Mayra

 

Resource: https://www.davidwolfe.com/

My Story as a Health Coach feeling Dis-Ease

My Story as a Health Coach feeling Dis-Ease

I have been studying nutrition and holistic health practices for over 7 years now and I still continue to learn. We really never get to know it ALL! 

Right now I’m learning specifically about Lyme from a Doctor that had Lyme disease himself. When I was diagnosed with it in August 2017 it really took me by surprise. I had no idea what it was and the complexity to heal / get rid of it. 

Before being diagnosed, as a Health Coach, I thought I was doing everything “right” but seeing little results and constant relapses. By trying to do things my way I was ignoring what my body was trying to tell me. 

I felt I was on this weird roller coaster ride and many times I asked myself “what the heck is wrong with me?” 

I kept gaining weight and feeling like crap no matter how well I thought my nutrition was and doing everything “right”. I felt like a failure so I decided to take a break from Health Coaching and focus on myself. 

During that time I tried many different things trying to figure out what worked for me in health, life and business. 

Last year was a year of growth, learning experiences, getting to know myself and true purpose in life. 

When I 1st graduated as a Health Coach September 2016 I thought I had it all figured out. Never thought life had a whole different plan for me. 

It wasn’t until I started following my heart (true self) that things started to fall into place. I finally discovered the real reasons I wasn’t getting well and how to fix it. 

You see, when I tried to do life following my ego everything went “wrong”. Although I call those learning/growing experiences. (“I didn’t fail, I grew.”) It didn’t feel good going thru it. 

But when I truly started listening to myself, my body, and inner being, it’s like I was always being guided in the right direction, meeting the right people and being in the right place at the right time. Yes, there are curve balls but I now handle them is such a non-stressed grateful sort of way. Never losing my faith and vision. 

Now my health is heading in the right direction with significant improvement in the last 5 months, my business plans are focused and clear, my mindset has improved and I just feel like a whole different person. 

Before I always felt like I was swimming against the current and like everything always went wrong. Now I just let go of control, allow myself to be guided, set intentions, have faith, and continue to work towards my goals in health and life in a “Flowing” type of way. 

I no longer stress on things not going my way and learned to let go of the things that no longer serve me. 

Honestly, without coming from a place of ego, I do feel like I have a heart of a warrior!
I’ve heard before that God only gives his toughest battles to his toughest warriors and I really believe that is true! 

Many others in my situation would have given up and accept their reality (symptoms/illness) as it is. I say this not to judge anyone but in hopes to inspire, give hope and support to people in similar journeys.

I know now that everything happens for a reason and the reason I’m strong is because it’s my life’s purpose to be so. 

I know now that my mission in life is to create awareness and give people the hope they need to start and continue a healing journey to a thriving, energized and symptom free life! 

Our journey never ends as we will always keep improving and It’s up to us as how we live our lives. 

Full of love, joy and flow…
Mayra

Soy is NOT a Health Food

Soy is NOT a Health Food

Soy milk has enjoyed an undeserving health label in recent years. According to Dr. Mercola, the Chinese have enjoyed the health benefits of soy for centuries. The difference between the healthy soy that they eat and the soy that we get here in the United States comes down to fermentation. Fermented soy is good and healthy, unfermented soy is downright dangerous.
Why? Our soy is genetically modified to stand up to poisonous pesticides. The studies are showing that the damage is showing up in the 2nd and 3rd generations instead of those who are originally exposed. Even if you have organic soy, (only about 5% in the USA), it is dangerous. Soy has estrogen components and phytic acid.

SOY THAT IS OKAY TO EAT
Organic soy products that are fermented like;
Natto, tempeh, miso and fermented soy sauce (tamari).

SOY THAT IS NOT OKAY
Over 90% of the soy in the US is not fermented. Shocking to think that soy gets such a good reputation without ever thinking or considering the facts behind the good and the bad! Tofu is not fermented. There are a lot of foods that vegetarians eat, like tofu, edamame, soy yogurt, soy cheese, soy oil, soy burgers, etc. These are not healthy.

This is the part that just makes me sick to my stomach. The most troubling soy food to me is something that a lot of people feed their kids on the advice of their doctors. What is it? Soy formula. Research finds that the amount of manganese found in soy formula for infants causes brain damage in infants and behavior problems in adolescents. The manganese found in soy milk is 200 times the amount found in mother’s breast milk.

I found this on Dr. Mercola’s site….

“The best-selling brand is Isomil (Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories), followed by Enfamil ProSobee (Mead Johnson), Nursoy (Wyeth-Ayerst) and Alsoy (Carnation).
According to Crinella and Tran, the discovery of potential harm from such products began in 1980 when a federal agency then called the Food and Nutrition Board established safe and acceptable values for manganese in adults, toddlers, and infants.” See Dr. Mercola’s Site for further reading.

Some of the illnesses associated with soy are cancer (specifically, prostrate and breast), brain damage, infertility, thyroid disorders, infant abnormalities, immune dysfunction and severe allergy. Soy is an endocrine disruptor and it disturbs regular cell formation.

Silk bought Chinese soybeans for years, building a commanding share of the soy milk market, before substantially decreasing its support of organic agriculture altogether. Few Silk products are certified organic anymore, and some are processed with hexane, a neurotoxin. While the green “USDA Organic” seal is gone, hexane-processed soymilk can still be labeled “natural,” and if it contains organic ingredients, the label “made with organic ingredients” is still used. You just have to wonder how these things can be sold to us.

Stay aware, stay informed, be mindful. 

Wishing you much health and happiness, 

Mayra

Resource: The Health Coach Group

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