Way before Health Revolt, I had a career in television production, then found myself in a French culinary school. I learned all the classics – Escoffier’s mother sauces, moules marinières, coq au vin, cassoulets, crêpes, and soufflés. More importantly I learned how to put food together based on the science of taste, and how to build dishes that please the palate for a reason.

krisI cooked in France, then produced two shows for the exploding Food Network. I co-founded a production company called Fresh TV, then married my prince and moved to Montana. In an effort to get pregnant after 40, I went gluten-free and started cooking lighter,  nutrient-focused meals. Now, with two hungry sons, my life revolves, in part, around what to feed my family. I like to keep things easy and good-for-you.

And thanks to Kate, I’m a much better version of myself. Kate helped me focus on overhauling my diet, achieving new levels of health and fitness, and living a more balanced life. I’m stronger, healthier, happier, more energetic, my hormones are coming into balance, I sleep better, and take care of my boys with more patience. My family, my marriage, my friendships – all of it is just plain easier.

Check out Health Revolt’s nutrition section for some straightforward recipes. You’ll find nutrient-dense, tasty dishes thanks to well-chosen ingredients and easy cooking techniques. You’ll add to what you probably already have in your kitchen.

 

Are you thriving? I wasn’t. Here’s my longer story.

After having two boys, I was happy enough, but my energy levels were crashing. I was often tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed. I was taking an antidepressant for PMS and relying on sleeping pills. I’d had a long struggle with secondary infertility followed by the wonderful victory of conceiving naturally, and my plan was to try to let my body get back to a “natural state of health” somehow. But the truth is I was a sad, emotional wreck. I tried working with my (now former) OBGYN toward a solution but nothing worked. That’s around the time when I found Kate.

At her suggestion, I read The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, MD. A few hours in, I’d answered Dr. Gottfried’s “symptom quizzes” with an overwhelming majority of “yes” answers. If I’d checked three or four symptoms in each category, that would have been closer to “normal,” but I was marking 15-17 out of 20 on each.  

At Kate’s suggestion, I made an appointment with a naturopathic doctor in Bozeman. “I help women like you all the time,” she said during our first meeting. A few weeks later, cortisol and blood tests confirmed I had adrenal fatigue at a “depressed” level which was causing low cortisol and low progesterone. I also learned that I was borderline “insulin resistant” which causes low cortisol and low progesterone to drop even lower. Also my thyroid and testosterone levels were low too. Not surprisingly, all this contributed to my downward spiral of low energy and trouble stabilizing weight.

Stress is the root cause

So, that was a lot of “low, low, low” to contend with, but it also offered more insight into why I just didn’t feel like myself. Thankfully Kate, who is a master at integrating data to better understand the root cause of health and wellness issues, distilled it to one potent answer: stress was the root cause of most of my challenges. And physiologically, stress is stress, no matter the source – it can be emotional stress, chemical stress (toxins), stress caused by work or working out, stress about dieting, life changes, or anxiety about anything. Your body doesn’t know or care about the cause of stress, but when there is too much of it, problems can easily cascade.

All at once I felt grounded in an unsurprising epiphany. We have all heard that health and wellness problems boil down to stress. Of course. We have all read that stress must be managed or it can take over. Of course. It seemed painfully obvious, but treatable.

Possibility of healing

A big realization: maybe I was feeling like a failure for a reason. I couldn’t help wondering if I had experienced adrenal fatigue before infertility, or was adrenal fatigue a result of infertility? Or do most 45 year-old moms simply have adrenal fatigue? Now that I better understand adrenal function, I can confidently answer “yes, yes, and yes.” Also that it doesn’t really matter. What mattered is that I was fully engaged in helping my body through a resoundingly “low” phase.

My naturopath suggested a new diet, lots of supplements, bio-identical hormones, and a few lifestyle changes like taking naps, walks, and making time to do what makes me happiest. Kate suggested I read The Adrenal Reset Diet by Dr. Alan Christianson, NMD. In his book he recommends using a unique combination of food timing, steadily increasing carbohydrate intake throughout the day while eating proper portions of proteins and healthy fats, to help balance your hormones naturally. I loved it, it quickly defined how and what I ate, it provided dietary structure. It became my “new normal”.

Much improved

I have overhauled my fridge, pantry, and medicine cabinet. I eat clean, nutrient-dense foods. I now understand that you have to eat healthy fat if you want to lose weight. I can make sense of nutrition labels, and I’ve learned where high fructose corn syrup and sugar hide. I go for natural sweeteners, crave kombucha, and make cauliflower pizza crust on a regular basis (even my boys like it). I’ve started teaching cooking classes with a new confidence and sense of purpose. One of the most unexpected improvements I have noticed is growing patience. My husband and young boys appreciate that one!

Looking back, the idea that I could enter perimenopause – the years leading up to menopause – smoothly, with no issue, without coaxing my body along, seems ridiculous. After struggling with secondary infertility, of course my body needed more than calcium and a multivitamin to thrive. Pre-Kate, two local doctors told me pretty matter-of-factly that I would be shocked by the number of women in their mid-forties who were struggling with the same issues. With my world feeling like it was coming apart at the seams, this was not all that helpful. I guess that’s why I’m writing this. There is another way.

Making all of these changes has not been a straight line. While I feel more capable, some days are a struggle. My adrenal levels are still too low, but I’m working on it in a way that makes sense with supplements and bio-identical hormones. And each time I take them, I’m grateful to Kate for helping me put together the pieces of my own health and wellness, and make educated choices to improve. I’m not in perfect health but I’m getting closer, and closer feels great. Apparently once you help your body remember what it’s supposed to do naturally, it can learn. Hopefully I won’t need to rely on supplements and bio-identical hormones forever.

Getting guidance from Kate felt like a fundamental re-orientation compared with the path I had been on. She is an integrator and life coach, a true “wellness guru.” I’m thrilled to be on board at Health Revolt!

To our good health,

Kris Larsen Stewart