The Lesson | Prep Week #2 Write a New Health Story, Part 2

Part 1: Health Story Timeline

Slide #1:

Welcome to your weekly body-wise lesson: Write a New Health Story—talking all about your personal health story—the events and experiences that have shaped your health and how you feel today. 

Before we dive in, take a minute to think of your top 3 to 5 top health complaints or struggles right now. 

List them in order of importance—just 3 to 5.

Now think…how did these health struggles unfold?  What contributed to not feeling 100% in your hormones, immune system, gut health and more?

 That answer is part of your Health Story.

Slide #2:

Feeling unwell does not happen overnight…

Everyone’s health is a sum total of life factors that cumulatively work together…

This is why pin-pointing key events in your Health Story is one of the first steps for getting to the root causes behind any of your health challenges.

My life long bloating story is a perfect example of this. 

Slide #3:

My Story

For as long as I could remember, bloating after every meal was my norm, no matter what I ate. 

I eventually got diagnosed with SIBO—small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and yeast overgrowth—and I realized, if I didn’t want chronic bloating to be a lifelong struggle, I had to do some digging to figure out the triggers that set me up to bloat big time. 


Slide #4:


  • Trigger 1: Eating processed foods, diet foods, artificial sweeteners and sugar for the first 25-26 years of my life…

Slide #5:

  • Trigger 2: Eating the same foods every single day for years—chicken, sweet potatoes and broccoli. Repeat. Chicken, sweet potatoes and broccoli.  Eating the same foods everyday significantly decreases gut balance setting you up for bloating.

Slide #6:

  • Trigger 3: Overtraining and not sleeping enough—working out 2 to 3 times per day and sleeping about 5-6 hours per night sent my gut into constant “fight or flight” mode.

Slide #7:

  • And, Trigger 4: I lived in a moldy rental home the year before my SIBO onset—breathing in mold spores every day invited bacterial and yeast overgrowth in my gut. 

As you can see…my SIBO and bloating did NOT happen overnight. 

As you better understand your personal Health Story—the factors that led you to where you’re at today—the better able you can also begin moving in a new direction.


Slide #8:

Health Story 101

There are 4 categories in your life that influence your total Health Story. They include.

Category #1: Your Birth Story & Childhood

Hate to break it to you, but the cards were stacked against you in the first 2-3 years of life if you were:

  • Delivered by C section
  • Formula fed 
  • Given antibiotics
  • Or if you ate processed foods growing up

This was totally me!

Even if you only experienced one or two of these, your gut health totally took a hit. 

For example, did you know that breast milk contains over 7 different bacterial species essential for seeding a child’s gut, whereas formulas contain a big whopping…zero?!

And newborns delivered by csection typically lack strains of gut bacteria found in healthy children and adults. Instead, the guts of c-section babies are dominated by bacteria that circulate in hospitals?!

You’re not screwed for life if this was you too…just know it explains you and I have a little more gut work to do. 

Slide #9:

Category #2: Pre-disposing Factors—these are the genetic, environment and lifestyle factors that set you up for poor health—things like your mom’s genetics for Hashimoto’s…going to college and eating cruddy dorm food for 2 years prior to the onset of your gut problems…or spending many years of excessive drinking or not sleeping…you may not get sick right away—it slowly builds over time…

Slide #10:
Category #3: Triggering Events—specific events or triggers that act like a catalyst—directly onsetting your health imbalance—like taking a bad round of antibiotics…a bad breakup or job loss that rocked your world… or food poisoning from bad Chinese takeout…

 Slide #11:

Category #4: Ongoing Stressors—any current lifestyle, nutritional, medication and mental/emotional factors that don’t contribute to body balance or wellness….such as: intermittent fasting—when you’re body is already experiencing alot of stress…overexercising…sleeping 5 to 6 hours most nights……or drinking 3 cups of coffee every day…

The Key Theme in all these categories? Stress!!!

Slide #11:

Big Idea: Stress is #1 Driver of Imbalance

Stress is the #1 driver of all body and gut imbalance—specifically altering your HPA Axis— a fancy word for your “stress management system” that balances out your cortisol to stimulate  either the “fight or flight” or “rest and digest” response.

If your HPA axis is up-regulared from lots mental or physical stress, then it sends  inflammation throughout your entire body—including your gut. 

Part 2: Stress 101

 Slide #1:

What Stress Is 

Contrary to popular belief, stress is not just mental—in your head. 

Stress also includes physiological stress—stressors like under-sleeping, under-eating, overtraining, and drinking out of BPA-leeching plastic water bottles.

Technically speaking, stress is defined as “any event, threat, or tension in which environmental demands, internal demands, or both, strain or exceed your ability to adapt or recover from that stress”.

Repat: stress is defined as “any event, threat, or tension in which environmental demands, internal demands, or both, strain or exceed your ability to adapt or recover from that stress.”

Above all: Your body and your mind desire balance—homeostasis—especially if we want to be well and stay well. 

But…if we get out of balance in our lives, and stay out of balance, stress arises and influences our health.

Slide #2:

Modern World

Unfortunately, our modern world stands in complete opposition to how our human genes are innately wired to survive and thrive.

In the midst of work deadlines, takeout meals, artificial sweeteners, restrictive low-carb diets, getting less than 6-hours of sleep, and constant blue light screen exposure, our bodiesare constantly on high alert at all times of day— subconsciously sending out a “stress response” signals. 

As a result, we currently face the worst health epidemic of all human time!

More than 1 in 2 people have some sort of chronic disease or multiple health conditions that were unheard of 100 years ago!

Hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, asthma, PCOS, IBS—you name it. 

 Slide #3:

During the previous 200,000 years of life on earth, humans worked and played during the daylight hours, and rested and de-stressed during the nighttime hours. 

Humans lived in strong tribes and bonded communities. 

Slide #4:

They ate natural (unprocessed) seasonal and regional foods…they walked a lot, occasionally sprinted and lifted heavy loads—no chronic cardio marathons for them…and human found meaning and purpose in spirituality, nature, work, and family.  

 Slide #5:

Our ancestors’ primary stressors were things like storms and earthquakes…escaping bears and lions…occasional food scarcity from droughts or seasonal changes…and tribal disputes.

Fast forward to the 21st century and, Dorothy, we are no longer in Kansas!

Many people don’t even realize their body is stressed because mentally, they are not stressed out. However, physical stressors also play a role. 

Slide #6:

You can be sitting on a beach in Tahiti, no care or worry in the world, but your body still be stressed: Suffering from a leaky gut, eczema breakouts, allergies and blood sugar dips—relying on coffee and sugar for energy to function. 

Slide #7:

How Stress Works 

Now that you understand that too much stress is not great for our health… how exactly does stress work in the body?

After all, doesn’t it seem far fetched to say that drinking one too many cups of coffee can lead to an autoimmune disease flare up or chronic bloating? 

Not when you understand the brain-gut connection!

The brain-gut connection is the #1 reason why stress wreaks havoc on your total health. 

Slide #8:

The Brain Gut Connection 

In case you’ve been living under a rock: Your gut health is the gateway to your total health. 

In fact, nearly 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut, and your gut is your largest endocrine organ—producing and activating your hormones.

Additionally, your gut is often called your “second brain”—because you have over 500 million brain cells in the gut alone and 90% of your serotonin—your feel good brain chemicals—are also produced in there. 

Your gut is also directly connected to your brain by a nerve called the vagus nerve—the longest nerve in your body. 

The vagus nerve acts like a telephone line between the gut and brain, constantly sending messages back and forth between the two.

Hence, you can see why if you are stressed…your brain sends “stress signals” to your gut…which in turn affects your immune system, your hormone balance and your ability to digest, absorb and metabolize your food for all energy and life purposes in the first place!

Hello body imbalance!!

 Slide #9:

Sooooo…how well is your brain-gut axis working? 

This week, as part of your Weekly Project to complete your Health Story, you’ll also complete a short “Stress Scavenger Hunt” to identify any leading stressors that may be wreaking havoc on your brain-gut connection. 


 Slide #10: (dont need to list the mini bullets, i will list them, just the main categories – birth story, health history, etc.)

Stress Scavenger Hunt

To help you do this, go on a “Stress Scavenger Hunt”! Identify at least 5 to 10 stressors, triggers, circumstances, or events that comprise your own health story, your journey. These can be both mental, emotional and physical factors.

Write them down. 

Birth Story

  • History as a baby delivered by C-section 
  • Formula-fed
  • Processed food diet
  • Antibiotics

Health History

  • Bad car accident + pain killers
  • Worked nightshift for extended season
  • Traveled abroad and got sick
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Took birth control for a long time
  • Mono/EBV
  • Lyme/tick bite
  • Surgeries
  • Elective procedures (breast augmentation, botox, etc.)
  • Food poisoning incident
  • IBS
  • Low energy
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Diabetes/pre-diabetes
  • Chronic ear or throat infections
  • History of frequent colds or flus
  • Allergies/asthma
  • ADHD/ADD diagnosis
  • Gallbladder removal
  • Acne
  • Underlying gut pathologies (SIBO, parasites, etc.)
  • Chronic pain (joint, musculoskeletal)
  • Any other diagnoses in your health history (high blood pressure, ADHD, migraines, etc.)

Modifiable Lifestyle Factors

  • Blue light screen exposure (long times on screens)
  • Less than 7 hours of sleep most nights
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Overtraining
  • Lack of variety in exercise (i.e. doing cardio all the time without mixing it up)
  • Plastic container use
  • Lack of outdoor light, nature, and fresh air
  • Lack of play, rest, and fun (i.e. all work)
  • NSAID use (for headaches, etc.)
  • Birth control pills and contraceptives
  • SSRIs & other long-term drug/medication use (these damage gut bacteria)
  • Antibiotics
  • Circadian rhythm disruption (shift work, jet lag, eating at off times, oversleeping, all-nighters)
  • High caffeine or coffee consumption
  • Being overly clean (too much sanitation)
  • Poor glycemic control (blood sugar dysregulation—hypo or hyperglycemia) 
  • Inflammation (skin conditions, injury, unrelenting physical stressors)
  • HPA axis dysregulation 
  • Aggressive weight loss tactics
  • Jet lag
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Smoking (recreational drugs or cigarettes)

Environmental Exposures

  • Mold/mycotoxin exposure
  • Heavy metals
  • Work in a salon, construction site, or exposure to other fumes
  • Tap water
  • Fire exposure
  • Dental work with chemicals and metals
  • Living in a construction zone 
  • Exposure to chemicals and antiseptics in beauty, cleaning, and hygiene products

Perceived Mental and Emotional Stressors

  • Burning a candle at both ends
  • Saying “yes” to everything
  • Season of financial strain (recession, bankruptcy)
  • Going through a divorce
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Disconnected from community/meaningful relationships
  • Social media comparison/endless scrolling
  • Trying to be all things to all people/people pleasing
  • FOMO (lack of downtime for yourself)
  • Disconnection from community/meaningful relationships
  • Not talking about your stress (bottling it up)
  • Not doing things you love
  • Endlessly Google-searching answers to your health questions
  • News binging/negative news
  • Lack of purpose/meaning
  • Argument with a loved one or friend
  • Illness of a family member
  • Public speaking
  • Work stress
  • Sense of loss of control

Dietary Stressors

  • Frequent coffee/caffeine consumption
  • Artificial sweeteners (most commercial stevia included)
  • Sugar, high fructose corn syrup
  • Eating packaged, refined, or processed foods
  • Low water intake (less than half your bodyweight in ounces)
  • Poor quality supplements
  • Dehydration/low water intake
  • Eating too fast 
  • Not chewing your food
  • Eating on the go
  • Frequent eating out (more than preparing/handling your food)
  • High focus on calories, diet plans, and food rules
  • Lack of vitamin P (pleasure in foods)
  • Low carb intake (especially prebiotic fibers: resistant starch, soluble fiber, non-digestible polysaccharide) 
  • Low healthy fat intake
  • Lack of quality protein (amino acids for your brain)
  • Dairy (conventional) consumption
  • Conventional meat consumption (antibiotics, hormones)
  • Grains and gluten free processed products (with gluten cross-contaminants and additives) 
  • Binging and/or purging 
  • Restrictive dieting 
  • NOT listening to your gut (eating foods that don’t make you feel good)
  • Undetected food intolerances
  • Poor quality fats (industrial seed oils like canola)
  • Frequent eating out
  • Food additives
  • Pesticides, GMOs, and antiseptics in food
  • Food poisoning


*You don’t have to list everything, but include at least 5 stressors from your past and 5 current stressors in your present to visually see what has potentially contributed to you not feeling your best or being where you want to be. 


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