Alicia Hess on How to Build Resilience in your body.May 19, 2022
When it comes to our health, we often think of resilience as something that we need to develop in order to bounce back from setbacks. However, resilience is actually much more than that – it’s about having the strength and flexibility to withstand challenges in the first place.
And when it comes to our bodies, developing resilience is key to maintaining our health and preventing disease.
There are many things we can do to build resilience in our bodies, but one of the most important is to eat a nutritious diet. Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods helps to ensure that our bodies are getting the nutrients they need to function optimally.
(The following text has been transcribed.)
Hello. Hello and welcome to Camp Talks Resilience. My name's Kim Hayden, and I'm your host today. And I'm super excited that you have chosen to share your time with me. Be it during the livestream or in our post production on our podcast channels, anywhere from I-tunes or to iHeart to Spotify, you name it. We're everywhere out there. But the whole goal here at Kim Talk for Resilience is to bring you that message of resilience. Sometimes we're talking business, sometimes we're talking health, sometimes we're talking family. But it's always through that positive lens to make your day just that bit better. So today we're talking about health because you know what? I need a little bit of support. Everybody out there can just be a wee bit healthier. Today, we've invited Alisha Hess to our studio to share with us. She is a family nurse practitioner and a virtual health consultant, which is very interesting and probably was in high demand during this past few years. She recently left conventional medicine and reshaped her focus on utilizing a functional medicine approach to help highly motivated women combat their constant battles with bloating, fatigue, inflammation and weight gain. And it could never be too soon to have an amazing woman like you. Alicia in the studio, welcome.
Yes, thank you for having me on.
Awesome. So you think this is going to be really fascinating because when we think of medicine. So first of all, Western world, we think Western medicine about everything. Give me a pill. Give me this, give me that. And then we think medicine all hands on. And yet over the last few years, we've seen this huge shift on how we engage even with our family doctors. Like, if you weren't on death's door, you called in and got a consult before you even went to the doctor's office to tell me or share with me how you work with assessing medical or needs or health. Virtually. Take me through that.
So virtually as a practitioner you can it depends on really the route that you're going. So the route that I have ventured into is more holistic, functional, So that gives me more acting as a health consultant, more flexibility into the reach that I can get. And I can virtually, you know, online see clients anywhere in the world because I'm not limited to the state that I'm licensed in. I'm offering my expertise and health and with my experience over the last decade to help others be more intuitive with their eating to help them discover things they might need to be changing to improve their health and prevent chronic disease. Because, you know, you want to take care of things before they get bad.
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Preventative. Everything's in the preventative space. And when you talk about something more holistic. So walk me through a little bit. First of all, you got to gain their trust, right? Get them because we've got to step outside of our traditional mindset. Is there a pill that can help me lose weight or, you know, should I take something in because my back aches and all this is there step one to get people to kind of take that that back stepping away from the traditional medicine, the stepping into a space and reevaluating why their back hurts, you know, why they're not sleeping. So he shared that kind of the whole process, how they explore what they're actually going through.
Yeah. So that's basically the first thing that I do is after I have my initial conversation with a client and get and engage what exactly their main concerns are and their main goals. I send them a very detailed health history form going back to their birth, their childhood exposures, family history. Very deep. Dove into their health history, their habits, their sleeping, their stress levels, their lifestyle. Just kind of getting a bird's eye view at their throughout their lifespan on what things may have happened throughout their, you know, as they were growing up or, you know, maybe they had a very stressful event or even the birth of a child and all of a sudden your health has changed. So just kind of getting a more holistic view or whole body view of what's going on. And looking at my main things are hydration. You know, are you hydrating well? Has your nutrition? Are you eating the right foods? Is there something you're eating that maybe you're sensitive to or having intolerance to that you weren't aware of? How's your routine? Are you sleeping well? How are your sleeping habits? How are your stress levels? So a lot of these things that you don't really get a chance to explore in the conventional, you know, traditional doctor's visit because you're so limited on time and you're also, you know, you maybe get a 15, 20 minute visit to explore part of it and then they say, okay, well, let's try this. Try this pill, which is kind of like a Band-Aid for your symptoms. It doesn't really take care of the underlying problem or the root cause of the problem.
I mean, medication is good for defensive issues like diabetes, right? Diabetes may have multiple things, but if you're type one diabetic, you need medication. Yeah. So we're not here to say, I don't want anybody to take away from this that we're here to circumvent any, you know, proven medicine that is needed for. Yes.
But I am curious, though, and I'd love to have your weigh in on this with the state of economics and this is this is a weird thing, right? This I know that inflation is grinding on people and this is now affecting food. Now, you're talking about food and what you're feeding your body. Healthier foods tend to be more expensive. What is something that is a cost effective health food that we could incorporate into our diet like three times a week? That is just really a positive plus add to our body.
So anything you want to think whole clean food. So your fruits, your vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and you know, everyone always. And it's a good idea to go organic, mainly because you're limiting the pesticides and herbicides that are exposed in those farms that those fruits and veggies are growing. So if you're eating them, you're probably also getting traces of those pesticides and herbicides that can mess with your gut. Now, on that note, I know organic foods can be expensive. There are ways to work around it. There's a really good resource by the Environmental Working Group that kind of gives you an idea of which foods during which time of the year you could get away with not being organic to save your money there and give you some health or cost effective options Also, just having that perspective that even though healthier food items may cost the dollar to more kind of having that perspective, that eating healthy early on is going to save you a lot of medical bills and medication costs potentially in the future.
Well, and. Okay. So first of all, before we move off of food, do things chickpeas, chickpeas, tell me, are they really that good for you? Everybody wants to give me hummus and chickpeas. So are they really that good for you at chickpeas?
Definitely not a bad food. They're actually on one of the I utilized therapeutic nutrition for clients and to chickpeas is definitely on that list. It's definitely healthier than tips. And that's it. Yeah.
And I actually learned how to make all my own hummus so I can do roasted red looks. I can do. I just like for some reason it's just better when it's not already done in the store.
Yeah, right. Cooking fresh is always best, especially when it comes to condiments and spices, dressings a lot of those condiments at the store are loaded with, you know, high fructose corn, syrup and preservatives. So when you can make your own dressings and seasonings, that's really beneficial.
And I just want everybody to know that you can go online and you can look up any seasoning. You can look up anything like taco seasoning. It's like anything you want to make. You can look them all up and make them do all your own blends. You can even go online if you want to do olive garden's dressing, you can actually make. Yes. So we talked food and finance. One of the ways that I think that is a great way is that a great fit within everything you're talking about. Is community gardens. I know we have community gardens here in Canada. Is there many opportunities across the United States or do your clients ever see opportunities to participate with a community garden?
You know, that might be less of a thing over this. You know, this side of town. I'm in Florida. I mean, we have local farms if you're living out in that area. But unfortunately, I don't see a lot of community like freshly grown produce stands around here. And the ones that we do have are not great. So you do kind of have to venture out a little further, probably to spend half the day going out, going to those fresh local fruit veggie stands.
A great idea.
Well, I know that in New York, they actually have a mandate coming down by 20, 30, that there are certain ratios of rooftops and everything. They have to be used for certain purposes. And one of them is community gardens. So the goal is. Yeah, which is I would think that that is I know that there's a whole push on it for local parks to have local gardens in them and things like that. Here is something to look into. Yeah.
Well, we actually have what we call it the Saturday morning market, so we do actually have some vendors on occasion that sell their fruits and veggies from their farm. So that is one option. I just yeah, we have.
Absolutely a farmer's markets. Everybody should know this. Farmer's markets are so good on so many levels. A, they help reduce your stress because you can just mingle and enjoy be the money goes directly into your neighbor's pocket and see it's fresh, it's clean, it's coming as clean as it's going to get, but it's coming to you fresh right so there's this like positive energy around it. So I've talked a bit about finances and stuff because we talk a lot about resilience. We also look at women as this whole entity, right? We have our life, our love and our business, right? So everything's there with the economy where it's at, with the world of where it's at, knowing the finances and the emotional triggers that are out there, the division within our social media, the division within our politics, all of this is creating this cesspool of stress. I call my stress pool, you know, inside. Can you share with us what are some of the side effects that we could easily identify in our body that is being triggered or activated by stress? A, what are a few things that we could do to stop instead of stop, drop and roll? It's like, you know, stop, pause and breathe. Like, can you share with us how you could deal with a client who is dealing with? I mean, the world is crazy. So how do we deal with this?
So stress, you know, it's a very psychological, neurological thing. And the first thing I believe that it affects is our gut. Our gut has a lot of neurotransmitters and what we call the enteric nervous system. And when that's affected, it can throw off a lot of things it can cause, you know, irritable bowel syndrome. So think of when you're nervous for a test or maybe you're nervous for a podcast. You kind of get like those butterflies and your stomach. You just feel like you're running to the bathroom or you feel sick to your stomach, kind of the same concept. So if you're exposing yourself to stressful situations or exposing yourself to potentially environmental toxins or those potential foods that your body perceives as toxic, those are kind of the symptoms that you will feel first from the gut. So you might feel bloated all the time. Your energy levels may be down near if your gut is irritated, angry or inflamed, it's not going to absorb the nutrients that you are. Even if you're eating, you could be eating the healthiest, healthiest things, being very active you know, feel that you're doing all the right things. But if your gut is not in the right place, you may not be absorbing all those nutrients. So healing your gut is a big thing. And other symptoms, depression, anxiety, ADHD, have all been linked to impaired gut health as well. So that's why my focus is on taking that deep dove into a client's history and seeing what it's going on that might be affecting that gut and other things that can be causing inflammation in the body. So joint pain is a big one. A lot of autoimmune conditions can be related to or can be worsened by stress or poor eating or gut health. So it all kind of just ramps up into that area.
They're absolutely and they say, you know, it's gut instinct. Right. And that actually comes from the fact that we have all these guts not just to pass your bile through. Right. So it's not that it literally has receptors that connect with other parts of your body and your brain and your emotions. What can we do? So I've heard apple cider vinegar. Everybody says apple, shut up, apple cider vinegar in the morning. Now we have a guy here that turned his brewhouse into a vinegar distillery. That's all organic. So I did get his. He's got a malt maple one that's really good for cooking. And then he had an apple cider one. So we hear apple cider vinegar for your gut. Tell me what are some things that we could do that are, you know, medically founded. Right. Versus all the Facebook are quick fixes.
Yeah. So I will say apple cider vinegar. That is a good little routine you can do in the morning. You put one or two tablespoons and a glass of warm, warm water, preferably a room temperature water, maybe a little bit of lemon drink that in the morning. And it kind of helps with your satiety. So helping you feel more full through the morning. Of course, you still want to eat a good breakfast. The only thing is if you're not really a Vinegar fan, may not be your thing, but there are a lot of benefits to apple cider vinegar as well and probiotic probiotics. A lot of people have heard the benefits of that. It comes in many forms. You can get live refrigerated probiotics. There's one I recently discovered called Dr. D's down here. It's at a store called Publix. I don't know if you have Publix in Canada. But it's really good and it helps support the normal micro biome in your gut. So the normal bacteria that any of that sometimes if those bacteria get out of whack because of, you know, maybe the way you're eating or the stress, the probiotics can help support and keep those good bacteria from overgrowing and causing a lot of those symptoms. So prebiotics probiotics apple cider vinegar, making sure you're saying very hydrated. Those are some well known studied supplementation. These are easy things that you can do supplementation.
So let's go down this rabbit hole because we've been hearing a lot about too much can be too much and that some are not good. And even if you get at a discount and I know like in Northern if you go to Michigan you go to Canada, if you go to the Dakotas where we deal with longer winters, right. We're talking vitamin D deficiencies, things like that. What are some things that we can do around what are some kind of rule of thumb when we're looking to put supplements, to have supplements as part of our daily routine?
So supplements can be. So what I do is I usually look into it because supplements are only beneficial if you're absorbing them well and if you're taking them correctly, because if you're taking too much, your body's just flushing them out and they're not really doing you any good. The best source of supplements, all your nutrients, minerals, vitamins. It's going to be from eating a rainbow of colors from your fruits, your veggies. I call it the phytonutrient spectrum so you can get tons of nutrients from blueberries, spinach, strawberries, blueberries have been shown to benefit those with arthritis or joint pains and just getting kind of a rainbow of colors. You know, get your reds, your blues, your greens, and they you know, you can get great supplements just from your natural or what you find out. And, you know, back in the paleo days, we would eat from the land. So that would be fruits, grains, vegetables, that kind of just going back to that foundation and making sure you're getting all of those nutrients and then working with somebody, whether it's a doctor or practitioner, to identify any possible nutritional deficiencies and then looking into what supplements you may need.
So get a baseline first. A baseline first. Absolutely. When we look at so I'm going to tackle one here, that's a personal one to me. Menopause, man. Oh, my foot. Oh, I have seen in literally 90 days I have lost probably close to a sixth of my hair volume and the textures shifted. And I was getting really freaked out until I realized and I remembered, okay, this is what it's something it's like the reverse of what happened when I was 14 and went through puberty. Puberty, right. So I'm very, very, very covetous about my hair.
Well, your hair looks great.
I'm an old hairdresser from Wichita, Kansas. I love me some good hair. So what are some you know, because you have the natural it's almost like it's the weirdest thing. And I've tried to explain that the like the hot flashes, which I've been blessed. They haven't been overly hard or anything like that. I haven't been overly affected aside from knowing that there were shifts happening in my body by seeing it in my hair but when you do get a hot flash, it creates it's almost like a radiator heating up starting at the bottom of your feet. It cycles up your body and then it goes back down you can almost feel it cycling up. But then now. So what are some things that a woman in menopause can do to help just manage this right? Is it because it is such a disruption to your body chemistry, right? It's like you're changing again. Yes.
Yeah. Those hormonal fluctuations can really just wreak havoc on your body and how you're feeling and how your symptoms.
How you sleep, like. Yes, my cycle for the heat actually happens while I sleep. I don't notice anything during the day. And then about 2:00 in the morning every night now for three months, I go through this like all the covers have to come off and I'm, you know, so what are some things that you see that women could maybe eat that help with their kind of rebalancing of their, their hormonal balances?
Yeah. I mean, I wouldn't say I'm a menopausal or hormonal expert, but definitely can land some tips for reducing those hot flashes and of things to avoid triggering those menopausal symptoms. So that's like avoiding caffeine or alcohol or spicy foods at least a couple of hours before bed, because that can trigger some hot flashes. And even just during the day limiting your intake of caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, wine. Unfortunately, you know, I know from I.
Well, yeah. And the older you get, the faster it goes, right to your gut literally thickens your waist. So it's like I think we all. I'm not going to say all these would say that the world probably needs a detox after COVID.
Yeah. But if I'm living indoors and, you know, we've been exposing ourselves to.
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And you eat that comfort food you eat so that, you know, it's not good for you, but you eat it because it's the only thing you feel that you have control over.
Yeah. And those carbs, you know, those refined processed carbs are not going to help with hot flashes either. So it's best to just not keep those foods in your pantry. That way you don't resort to them and instead go to your fridge and take out some fresh veggies. Those fruits, those clean, lean proteins like salmon, chicken, you know, red meat's not terrible. A lot of people, you should avoid red meat, but I love my steak once in a while.
Actually, I have a bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand, and my doctor says I should eat red meat four ounces once a week because the iron in red meat is the most readily, readily absorbed into the system. So, I mean, I have the exact opposite conversation and I know we probably just offended a vegan or two, but I don't.
Think I work differently. You know, they're if they're vegan or vegetarian or they're all about meat and fish. You know, I work with everyone's preferences.
Well, I them that's why I ask about chickpeas because, you know, a lot of people think chickpeas is a protein. Correct my correction on that and that it's a kind of a good substitute if in the sense of giving you your daily protein I guess it's yeah.
And that and fiber as well. So the more protein and fiber you get in your diet fiber is really a big one that helps you maintain and sustain your energy because if you're just having simple carbs, your blood sugars and your energy is going to spike and then it's going to come down as your body quickly digests that versus if you eat something more like chickpeas or something that has a lot of fiber in it, like those whole grains or something like instead of white rice having quinoa, those have more fiber, they digest more slowly. So you don't get that crash and burn and you're staying fuller longer and you're sustaining your energy for a longer period of time.
Well, I used to make my old or my middle one had all sorts of issues around anxiety as a child. So there was a study out of, I want to say Berkeley around swimming and how it can negate temporary anxiety because it mutes the auditory, it controls the vision. It likes it, it controls the senses. So my son swam competitive swimming and we would make surfer sandwiches or diver sandwiches, whatever you want to call them. And that's basically peanut butter, banana and honey right on a sandwich. Huge hit of energy and we got to a point where we were having chemo operate because he needed the protein. All right. Just because there's so many breads out now that you can get all those grains in so is there any like any particular like tell me perfect dinner, what's the what's the perfect dinner for you? What's on your plate?
So perfect dinner for me when I have the time is a if you want to compare a portion of protein to about the size of your palm. So whether that's chicken or salmon or, you know, once a week red meat if you'd like and then you want to add a vegetable. So I would say broccoli, broccoli or Brussels sprouts. Well, speaking of hormones and menopausal symptoms, what you call cruciferous vegetables like those vegetables that have those strong odors, you know, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, those are all great for helping with your hormone balance. So somebody yeah. So somebody is having issues with that because it helps regulate your estrogen levels. So a lot of women that do focus on rebalancing hormones will talk about those cruciferous vegetables. I haven't tried it myself. And broccoli, but that's the thing. You can try to help with those hormonal fluctuations. And then, of course, you want a healthy carb. So say sweet potato, a bit of olive oil sometimes. I'll sprinkle a little cinnamon on there, add a little sweetness so just having those three, you know, your macronutrients, your proteins, your carbs and your fats, because fats are not a bad thing. You just know after using healthy fats. So with that avocado or omega threes from salmon. Well.
Olive oil and I think after the whole 1980s tab soda you know lettuce diet, I think we've all learned that fats are not a bad thing that's what kind of fat you get broccoli. I have to say I am huge like I could eat plates of broccoli and it's my favorite. I don't know why.
That is broccoli me.
It's like my jam. I love broccolini but you know I think I think the one thing I think that was really good and I'm hoping people got a chance during COBE it was to reconnect to their kitchen, learn to love the kitchen. I'm an avid cook. I love taking care of people. Oh. Discovered during COVID Sweet potato, savory, sweet potatoes. Have you ever done your potatoes? Sweet potato, savory?
Is that sort of like mashed.
Mashed with a dollop of sour cream and chives? Oh, my.
Gosh. Oh, that sounds so good.
That with that, with some broccolini and then whatever meat or whatever you want. So good, so good. Now you don't even need the money. You want to put the cons in it if you put chopped because in it to give it texture and that nuttiness, you don't even need meat now because your pecans are a great substitute for that, correct?
I think you know what I've got in the old school. Yeah. I remember I grew up in the age of Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig Taps. So do you know where by the time 30, you know half the 20 year olds we're going to have some sort of bone deficiency because they have no point.
Yeah. Yeah. That's one thing I like to talk about too is that standard American diet or what some people call the standard American diet or the sad diet because it's full of this process of artificial foods and that's just wreaking havoc on our bodies. So I tried to get away from that and I used to be the person that was like, whatever you know, you're being dramatic, stop now, some people would just be kind of what's the word I'm looking for like Snooki about. But now that I'm learning more about how, you know, this fast food and packaged processed foods, how terrible they are for you, I've definitely learned to make changes to just get those out of my well.
And a lot of our restaurants are trying to make strides in how they feed us. So like even when Wendy's brought up the big potato as an option to the French fries. Right. So we are seeing I think the challenge is, it is having that support network having a mentor in your corner like yourself, and then that you have this almost like this other person that is with you when you're making those challenging choices because we know what we want. Yeah, exactly. So, Alicia, can you share with us where we can find you and you know, just give us all your information so people can connect with you.
Yeah. So there's a few ways you can find me. I see that you have my own website, right? Right down there. Gives you a little bit more info about my background, what I do, my mission, my goals. I'm also on social media platforms, TikTok and Instagram. My Instagram is underscore. I am wellness. I think you've had that somewhere. And TikTok is kind of my main platform where I'm posting a lot of educational videos and we're kind of silly, funny, but I also turn it into more educational information. And there's some videos that have just blown up because it's mostly those videos that people can relate to, like going to the doctor and not really being heard stuff like that, or what's another one that really lives. But those are my three main areas where you can find me.
Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing your time with us. Yes, and just hang tight. I'm going to let everybody go here again. Kim Hayden. I am so incredibly grateful, thankful and blessed every day that you choose to share your most valuable resource, your time with me and my amazing guests. So again, thank you for joining us here. KimTalks resilience. So be sure to like, subscribe, comment and share. Even if you don't like it, comment, share it. I want to hear it. All right. Until next time. Thanks for joining me.
Alicia Hess is a family nurse practitioner and virtual health consultant. She recently left conventional medicine and re-shaped my focus on utilizing a functional medicine approach to help highly-motivated women combat their constant battles with bloating, fatigue, inflammation, and weight gain!
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