Health Journey Update + My Take on Functional Medicine
Guys! This is a post I’ve been dying to write/share for a while. You’ve probably noticed me dropping hints about it again and again for the past couple of months… My health journey, my hormone imbalances, my functional medicine doctor, the supplements I’ve been taking, and my road to finding complete balance again.
The reason it’s taken me several months to sit down and write this post is because I wanted to try my new routine out for long enough before I declared any changes or gave you any super concrete details… Health is such an ever-evolving process, and even though I work with a lot of rockstar health professionals, I can only speak from MY experience and I never want to give you info that isn’t 110% thought out and from the heart.
(A.k.a: I’m never going to be one of those Internet people that claims to know everything about everything. I can be interested and share my experience, but I need my experiences to fully happen before I can fully share!! Ya feel me?)
So — here it goes…
My Health Journey & My Take on Functional Medicine
Let’s begin where it all started — about a year ago, I was pretty unhappy with my health. I had “broken vegan” nearly a year prior, and was eating all sorts of foods I hadn’t touched in years. Red meat, sugar, poultry, eggs, you name it. I was still health conscious and very careful about organic/local/healthy compared to the average person, but for me I had strayed a little far from what I know I need to do/eat in order to feel my best.
I didn’t FEEL like myself. My stomach hurt terribly, I was bloated, I had gained some weight, my skin was a wreck, and no matter what I tried, I felt like my hormones or SOMETHING inside of me were preventing me from getting back to the balanced, happy, content state that I so craved and had found in the past with ease.
30 Days of “Clean”
I tried a 30-day “Clean” cleanse by Dr. Alejandro Junger, and after 30 days of two smoothies a day and a salad with lean meat and veggies… Literally not one thing about me had changed. My bloating, my weight, my skin, my general feeling of non-lightness and not-my-usual energy… It was all the same, and I wasn’t feelin’ too hot.
The moment my holistic nutritionist, Kelly Leveque, heard that nothing had changed whatsoever after I did the Clean cleanse, she told me I needed to see someone to figure out what might be wrong. My body just wasn’t functioning properly. So she referred me to her functional medicine doctor, Dr. Lekkos.
Trying Functional Medicine
At the time I remember feeling hopeful-ish but also kind of at a loss. I had seen tons of doctors by that point… gastroenterologists, acupuncturists, general physicians, nutritionists, colonic hydrotherapists, Eastern healers, on and on — no one had been able to solve my issues and I really wasn’t sure that anyone would be able to at that point.
This is also after YEARS / a lifetime’s worth of stomach issues, food allergies/intolerances, and general discomfort that had forever gone undiagnosed. I wasn’t too hopeful that anyone would have the magic answers for me.
Then in came Dr. Lekkos — after my first meeting with him I could tell that he was going to go above and beyond to try to help me. Our first consultation was nearly 3 hours long, and I wound up not only telling him about my current health issues and my life history of food issues, but also about the anxieties in my life that were driving me nuts and causing the problems to be even worse.
He listened and assured me that he could help, and after he explained everything he was going to do, even I was hopeful that we would find something. He ordered extensive rounds of blood work, a cortisol saliva test, a stool test to look into gut bacteria, and a SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) test to cover all of the bases.
Functional medicine is a totally different approach than anything else I’d ever tried. It’s an individualized, “inside out” approach that focuses on the PERSON rather than the symptom. Dr. Lekkos’s goal is to balance the complex interplay of our bodies’ internal physiology. It’s about the longterm, not the short term.
I LIKE IT.
Taking the Tests (Or not…) LOL.
In typical Jordan fashion it took me WAY too long to get the tests done… I’m talking 6 months long, but in my defense it’s also during the time that my book came out. 😉
Plus, I think a part of me was still holding onto a shred of hope that I could solve my problems on my own or that they would just disappear. That didn’t happen… but it was a nice thought for a while there, hehe.
Right after I ran the LA Marathon I knew it was time to finish the last of the tests and find out what was going on with me. I still felt so off, and while I didn’t feel quite as foggy and gross as I did initially (due to a few diet changes), I still knew I needed guidance and some serious answers. So I sucked it up, finished the tests, sent them in, and waited (sort of patiently, but not really) for the results to come in.
Then I started getting super excited about what the results might hold… And before I knew it, it felt like I was preparing for something far more exciting than a doctors’ visit. I knew I was about to get answers about my health and my body that I had been trying to get to the bottom of for 15+ years.
Getting My Results!
When I went in for my results, Dr. Lekkos couldn’t have been nicer about how long it took me to get the tests done. We joked about it, and then we dove into the mountain of paperwork that held my answers. I knew it was all important, but I also knew that some parts were going to be super pertinent to changes I needed to make, and others would be a litttttle over my head. I’m telling you — the blood work was super extensive, in a good way.
The MAIN things I found:
There were a couple of massive things I learned from my test results. One of those was that I had a PARASITE in my stomach, and who knows how long it had been there. It was likely causing/worsening a lot of the issues I was having, including the bloating, pain, indigestion, acid reflux, food intolerances, etc.
So I immediately got on an antibiotic for that, and just recently completed another round! Knowing that I am parasite-free is such a huge relief, especially knowing that I would have never even known about the issue without the tests that we ran. I probably developed it from food or water contamination… Which freaks me out, considering I still don’t know where I got it or how long it was inside of me. Eek.
A few other big things I found out were that my hormones were indeed out of whack. My estrogen was high, my progesterone was low, pregnenolone was low, and my cortisol (stress hormone) was off-the-charts high in the mornings and then dipped down in the early afternoon.
Talk about all over the place!
So he started me on a bunch of natural supplements to remedy the hormone imbalances, and I have been feeling a lot more leveled out lately. I also stopped drinking coffee, which I think has helped massively as well!! Going coffee-free keeps me more grounded and even-keeled throughout the day… it’s been a real game changer.
Another big finding was the food stuff. I didn’t have nearly as many allergies or intolerances as I’d thought… But the ones I did have were the ones I had known all along but had never had the REAL answers to. Now I know for sure that I am intolerant to gluten and dairy (of course — they both make me crazy nauseous/bloated), and there were also some surprising ones in there like eggs, mushrooms, cranberries and chicken.
Cutting eggs out of my life has helped a ton, and now weirdly I can’t even look at them without feeling weird (lol) — but knowing that my body was having a bad reaction to them is the knowledge I needed in order to take control and take care of myself properly.
That’s the thing. Knowledge about our bodies is power, and without that knowledge we are kind of helpless. We have to take the initiative to get the help we need — whatever that might look like — and once we do, we are much better off and equipped with the tools to be KIND to our bodies and help ourselves achieve balance again.
My main priority in life is to feel healthy, balanced and whole in my body… Because when I feel that way, I am able to be fully present, enjoy life to the fullest, be the most passionate about my work and relationships, be active with ease, and so much more.
It’s so WORTH IT and so important.
SEE A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE DOCTOR!
If you live in the LA area and struggle with stomach, hormone, or general issues I would highly recommend seeing Dr. Lekkos in Santa Monica. He is a LIFESAVER, and I have referred so many people that I care about to him because he truly works in an innovative and incredible way… He is the first doctor who has ever TRUSTED that I feel as crappy as I do, and has ordered the tests and done the work to bring me the answers that I’ve needed.
The big update now, is that I feel great.
I feel BALANCED and whole, and closest to that wonderful balanced state that I have desired and missed for so long when I didn’t feel well. I want that for ALL of you, and for me I know it will require continuing to be diligent and stay on top of it.
I also work closely with an Ayurvedic practitioner to help keep my stress levels down and make sure I am in a balanced dosha state with food + lifestyle, and I see a therapist regularly to also keep my anxiety down — it takes a village, I’m telling you, but it is so worth it.
So worth it.
YOU are worth it.
I hope this helped you if you have ever experience any of the issues I have… Especially post-eating disorder I know it can be so hard finding balance again, and I am always here if you have any questions. Love you guys, and cheers to #BALANCE and health and happiness. 🙂
P.S. I am happy to write a post about the exact supplements I’ve been taking and the roles that they each play if anyone would be interested. Let me know below if so, and I will work on that! XO