Ashley James
August 08, 2018

The Quest for True Health with Ashley James

Life Stories

“Doctors don’t heal people, people heal themselves” is the most radical lesson I have learned in my life. In my teens and early twenties, I went to western medical doctors for my health issues and only felt worse as a result. The MDs I saw were great at handling acute issues, like infection and pain, but later my health would deteriorate further.

The doctors would overlook the root cause of the matter and instead treat the symptoms with drugs. The western medical doctors I saw would function like feckless firefighters treating the smoke and not addressing the burning fire.

Soon I found myself living with PCOS and later, type 2 diabetes and chronic adrenal fatigue. I was hungry all of the time, had brain fog so bad I could hardly talk in the morning, and often woke up feeling hungover and sick, even though I didn’t drink alcohol.

I was a prisoner of my own body in what is supposed to be the most vibrant years of my life.

It was 2008, and I had just married my wonderful husband. At 28-years-old the outlook on my life was bleak. We wanted children but were told multiple times that I could not conceive; I was infertile. I didn’t have a cycle, nor the energy to even be a good mother if I could.

My fatigue and brain fog were getting worse, making it difficult to apply myself at work.

Streaming movies online were somewhat still fairly new and Netflix had just released a health documentary called Food Matters. My husband enjoys documentaries, and I was desperate to find answers to gain my health back. It was the first big step in the right direction. We began to seek other food and health documentaries. We even saw Food Inc. in the theaters in 2009.

From everything we learned, I took away three actionable steps that we applied to our lives right away:

  1. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store (fresh fruits, veggies, meat) and avoid the inner aisles (mostly processed crap).
  2. Eat Organic and non-GMO (the new chemicals they spray on crops are now being linked to many diseases of toxicity).
  3. Vote with your fork because as a cohort consumer, you can sway companies to make big changes that will better the health of our bodies and our planet. Buy what you want to see more of and don’t buy what you want to see less of in this world.

Armed with this new, and yet simple info, we headed to Whole Foods, shopped the perimeter, chose organic and didn’t buy what we didn’t believe in.

At the time, my chronic infections were so bad I was on monthly doses of antibiotics. One month after going organic and avoiding processed foods as much as possible, my infections stopped.

I thought to myself, “If I can make one of my major health issues disappear in one month from going organic and shopping the perimeter of the store, what else can I heal naturally?”

I still felt horrible most of the time, but it was the first time in my life there was light at the end of the long dark tunnel. I could begin to finally see positive health results. Changing my diet and eating organic did more for my health in one month than ANY western medical doctor had done for me in my whole adult life!

I soon found myself researching and reading books by Naturopathic doctors. I found some NDs who mentored me. I took high-quality mineral, vitamin, omega, and herbal supplements. They guided me to listen to my body and further change my diet.

Five days into taking the mineral supplements, my hunger went away and my blood sugar began to balance.

30 days after going gluten-free (no barley, wheat, rye or oats) my body shed 25lbs of water weight from inflammation!

I cut out all processed sugar (including agave and honey) and all artificial sweeteners.

Three months later I was FREE of diabetes! My energy was improving and the brain fog was lifting.

For each little change to my diet, supplements, or lifestyle, I would see a shift in my life and health. My mood, my relationships, my communication would all improve.

Honing the skill of listening to my body and hearing the symptoms as I made these changes were crucial to my success.

An example of this would be tofu. I LOVE tofu. Not many people do. I know, I am weird! But as much as I love the taste of tofu, my body does NOT like tofu. I develop a horrible gut ache about 12 hours after eating tofu that lasts for 3 days!

And, if I wasn’t paying attention to what I ate and how I felt, I may just continue eating tofu and continue suffering. Or I would think I need to see a doctor and get some expensive scans and tests and exploratory surgeries. Maybe get on some drugs, which have side effects. All the while, it was an allergy to tofu.

In the last ten years that my husband and I have been on our quest for health and healing, we have learned many things and tried dozens of different healing diets, supplements, and natural therapies. I have been able to heal many of my health issues and because of this, people started asking me how they could also gain their health back. 

That is why in 2016, I launched my podcast, Learn True Health, where I interview holistic health practitioners to teach us all what actionable steps we can take to gain and learn true health!

I often receive fan mail from listeners letting me know the show has changed their lives and improved their health. I feel so grateful and blessed that I am on this health journey, that I can learn from my own interviews and all my listeners can join me in improving our health.

In a recent interview, an expert discussed the mind-body connection and the huge negative impact that stress has in creating disease. My guest shared that she has found stress to be at the root cause of anxiety, autoimmune, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome!

I think we don’t take stress seriously because we believe that stress is a negative emotion, that we don’t have any because, “I feel fine!” Stress is not an emotion. It is where your body is in relation to your nutrition, your emotions, your overall health and wellness.

I learned that if you are in stress mode, your body shuts down healing to send energy and resources towards immediate survival. It is called the Autonomic Nervous System’s Sympathetic Response, or as you may have heard it called, “fight or flight!”

We tend to run more in flight or flight these days and that in and of itself can cause a host of diseases - from hormone imbalance to poor gut health. They are now seeing that living in a state of high stress can cause autoimmune disease, disrupted digestion, and leaky gut.

But wait! There is good news. You can do simple daily activities to lower stress. Some of them are even free! And by doing these things daily, you can help your body to restore its gut health, hormone health, repair organs, have more energy, improve mental clarity and live longer!

Simple daily and weekly activities like:

  • Walk in nature
  • Deep breathe
  • Stretch/Yoga (class or find free videos online)
  • Watch 15 min of your favorite comedian on YouTube
  • Laugh and smile with friends
  • 60-second hugs
  • Listen to peaceful music or ocean waves (found for free on YouTube)
  • Garden or be in nature
  • Guided meditations/meditate/pray
  • Gratitude journaling
  • Spending time in your Sunlighten sauna!

Any activity where you switch off the stress response and find yourself in the parasympathetic nervous system response of “Rest and Digest,” which sends all of your body’s energy to heal and not to fight is what you want to focus on doing daily.

Four months ago, I purchased my mPulse Sunlighten sauna. While peeling back the layers of ill health over the last ten years and rebuilding a healthier version of myself, I discovered I have heavy metal toxicity that has been preventing my liver from helping me to shed unwanted weight and toxins.

Sometimes weight loss is not as simple as calories in, calories out. We have to consider the organs that make it possible to “burn the fat” and ensure they are functioning optimally! My liver has been a source of concern and handling the toxins that are released into my body when I burn fat has been an ongoing issue.

When one of my NDs told me I could bypass the liver by sweating out the heavy metals I was intrigued! She said I should get an infrared sauna to help my body sweat the heavy metals out.

I began to look into the benefits of sauna therapy and realized I would gain more than just detoxification. Sauna therapy, specifically with the full infrared spectrum that Sunlighten provides, creates a significant amount of relaxation, decreasing that sympathetic nervous system response and increasing healing for the adrenals.

Sauna therapy also decreases inflammation, increases cardiovascular health, lowers high blood pressure, and acts like a workout so we burn calories while we sweat!

I contacted many companies over several months and considered all of the options. I wanted a company that made a non-toxic sauna, that had low EMF radiation, that was proven to be effective, and that had a great track record for being a company that focused on health results. After a year of searching, I found that Sunlighten is the best company to help aid me on my healing journey!

Since beginning to use my Sunlighten four months ago, I have dropped 15lbs of excess weight from water and fat. I have felt an improvement in my liver health, a decrease in my stress, and I have gone down two dress sizes! The inches seemed to come off more than the pounds, which shows even after ten years of eating and living a healthy lifestyle, this sauna therapy has been effective at helping me detoxify and I am so thankful for that!

I am still on my health journey and I look forward to what a whole year of using my Sunlighten will do for my health as I continue to gently detoxify through sweating.

The health tips I gave you today are some of the reasons why I was able to reverse all of my health issues and healthfully, naturally conceive our beautiful and healthy son who is now 3 years old and the light of our lives. And best of all, I have the energy and vitality to be a great mom, thanks to natural medicine.

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WRITTEN BY: Ashley James

Ashley James is an entrepreneur, coach and podcaster. Through her podcast, Learn True Health with Ashley James, she interviews holistic health experts and naturopathic medicine practitioners. Her expert guests discuss how to gain health naturally through holistic medicine, diet, supplemental nutrition, and lifestyle changes.