It feels like this year was all about returning to simplicity. Early in the year we started working with Marie Wittman – founder of Movement for Fertility™. Having studied with Katie Bowman, the ancestral movement guru, she got us thinking about all the ways that our modern lifestyles are “movement deficient.” Our bodies are designed for walking all day then squating, bending and reaching for food. But instead we sit all day and pawn off our natural movement to machines or other people that do our chopping, cleaning and hunting for us. Marie helped us to see how eating healthfully is not enough if blood and nutrients aren't reaching the tiny capillaries throughout our body, including our pelvis – the site of sex hormone production. This caused us to think about walking and stretching in a whole new way. We've always been big walkers (and stretchers - we're both dancing enthusiasts), but now we bring a different awareness to these activities, with particular attention to our alignment and posture. We feel so strongly about this approach that we've added Marie's work to our new Fertile Ground program.
Health Take-Away #1: Walk more. Sit less. Vary your movement as much as possible throughout the day. Ditch the heels. Walk barefoot whenever possible.
Later in the year Amy got a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – an autoimmune condition that attacks the thyroid. It prompted her to try the Auto-Immune Paleo (AIP) diet – a protocol that is intended to help heal the gut and reduce inflammation. The results were amazing. Not only did she reverse many of her thyroid numbers within three months of starting on the diet, but the increased consumption of healthy fats and proteins throughout the day helped stabilize her blood sugar – leading to the best energy levels she’s ever had. Although Kim isn't dealing with the same health issues, she has also been experimenting with adding more fats and proteins to her meals. One of her favourite new recipes is one from Meghan Telpner’s Undiet Cookbook that includes adding avocados and hemp seeds to a blueberry smoothie. It's the only smoothie she's ever had that actually keeps her full all morning (you can find the full recipe on our blog here.) Lastly, Amy has now gone four menstrual cycles without cramps – a record for her. The AIP diet may seem restrictive, but for Amy it has been a totally worthwhile tradeoff. Now, many of her fertility and birth control clients are experimenting with the diet with similarly positive results.
Health Take-Away #2: It’s not about the health “label” (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free), it’s about eating in a way that supports health. For many with hormone-related problems this means maintaining stable blood sugar levels throughout the day and reducing inflammation.
It’s a cliché to say that stress is a detriment to our health, but the importance of self-care and stress management were really brought home for us this year. Many of you know that Amy moved internationally twice in 2015 - from Oxford back to Toronto and then from Toronto to Boston. She’s now heading into another year with a move ahead (this time more permanent) to Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Relocating is incredibly stressful. It has called on us to deepen our stress management habits and ground ourselves in what is called “radical self-care.” For Amy this has involved shamanic rituals and meditations (some of which she learned at her Way of the Melissae retreat earlier this year) as well as adding more play to her life (tight-rope walking!). For Kim this has taken the form of expanding her kitchen skills (and becoming ritualistic about her Sunday fridge organization and food prep for the week) and running. She ran her first 5 km race a couple of months ago! We’ve also done a lot of journaling – trying to start and end the day with gratitude and affirmations. One of the greatest challenges is figuring out how to build and maintain new habits and how to return to them when illness or travel derail us. To help with this, we’ve turned to the advice of Gretchen Rubin and James Clear.
Health Take-Away #3: Habits are gold. What we do every day defines us. Be intentional about your habits, and always make sure your habits are building your health, not tearing it down. When you fall off the wagon, forgive yourself, smile, and get right back on.
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Kim & Amy Sedgwick love to discuss sex, periods, and all the other things we’re not supposed to talk about. The co-founders of Red Tent Sisters and ecosex.ca, they’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet and have become a trusted resource for women seeking natural (effective!) birth control, a more joyful sex life, and an empowered journey to motherhood.