I feel like this is getting into Zen slogan territory – Chop wood, carry water… Empty bucket, fix backlog. Actually, for us MTHFR folks, this could be tantamount to a personal mantra guiding us through life.
Emptying Your Bucket
Your bucket, you’ll remember, is all of the stuff that is happening to you right now. It’s anything ongoing that your body is dealing with. It includes lots of things that happen all the time in the background, a few things that you can change or modify, and the rest we can just chalk up to life.
- Metabolism of food
- Daily maintenance of oxidative balance, hormone levels, fluid balance, neurotransmitters, and all the amazing things your body does without you being aware.
- Healing, cell turnover, and cell regeneration.
- Immune defenses against viruses, bacteria, molds, fungi, yeast, parasites, and other pathogens,
- Pollutants in the air, water, food, self-care products
- Food additives – artificial colors, flavors, sweetness, preservatives, etc… (fixable)
- Ingested Irritants – especially food sensitivities (fixable)
- Dehydration (fixable)
- Nutritional deficiencies (fixable)
- Lack of sleep (fixable)
- Sedentary lifestyle, work, or habits (fixable)
- Too much UV exposure (fixable)
- Work, family, and life stress (life)
- Big changes – moving, marriage, births, deaths, new pets, new jobs, loss of jobs, financial changes, relationship changes (also life)
This part of the Empty Bucket, Fix Backlog mantra comes down to making conscious decisions about your health. This is the 99.9% of healthcare that has nothing to do with your doctor and everything to do with the decisions you make throughout the day. Will you have the extra helping of mac and cheese? Another martini? Two more hours of TV at night? Another glass of water? This is the part that is entirely under your control (and often feels entirely out of control).
It comes down to valuing your health over the momentary pleasure you’re going to get from that bag of chips or the candy bar in the checkout line, and also knowing that if you make decisions that prioritize your health 90% of the time, the other 10% can slide. There is and always has to be room to be human.
Bear in mind an optimal diet has lots of room for treats, you just have to know what is a treat your body can handle vs. one that triggers the worst for you. This is where working with a great practitioner, health coach, or ideally a healing group on the same journey, like the MTHFR Academy where you can get help from a group of peers to stay on track.
In terms of biggest-impact changes, for MTHFR folks, balancing methylation is always the biggest because that is the heart of the problem with the MTHFR mutation. After that, eliminating food sensitivities and working on your sleep have the biggest and most pervasive impact on your health.
Fixing Your Backlog
Your backlog is stuff that used to be in your bucket that your body didn’t have the resources to deal with at the time. The only safe way for your body to handle something that it doesn’t have the resources to address at that moment is to store it, wall it off, isolate it, and otherwise keep it away from vital tissues. This isn’t ideal – your body would rather eliminate it completely, but sometimes that isn’t an option. For MTHFR folks who haven’t had good methylation balance, it may not have been an option to deal with lots of things for a very long time.
What I’m really saying here is that we MTHFR folks have a lot of baggage.
Your backlog may contain:
- Heavy metals
- Hormones we couldn’t process
- Plasticizers, pesticides, herbicides
- Synthetic fragrances, parabens, petroleum products
- Persistent organic pollutants
- Tissue repair/remodeling
- Sleep deficit
- Unaddressed cell regulation (this can be destroying cells that are dysregulated or cell regeneration)
- Chronic or subclinical infections of any type
- Chronic inflammatory processes
- Genetic repair
You may have spotted a couple of big differences between your bucket and your backlog here. One is that your bucket has things you’re aware of. These are stressors that you probably recognize and have some awareness of. Your backlog, on the other hand, is mostly made up of things you don’t know about at all. They were once in your bucket, but they passed through the bucket a long time ago. Another big difference is that nothing in the backlog is under any kind of conscious control. Even addressing the backlog is unconscious – your body will do it when it’s ready and has resources, but it’s not really your brain’s decision.
This means there is nothing you can really do to encourage the processing of your backlog. In good news, your body will happily get to it as soon as it has some resources available so balancing your methylation is also the biggest and most important step here.
If there is anybody reading or listening who is thinking “ok, Amy, but what do I actually have to do to balance my methylation,” here’s the super quick and dirty.
- Join Genetic Rockstars or MTHFR Academy so you have the support of other people who are on the same journey.
- Eliminate folic acid from your diet – this is fortified foods like wheat and sometimes corn products, and also from your supplements first thing.
- Add good food sources of natural folate – things like beans, avocados, asparagus, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and marmite.
- Begin with a background of other B vitamins without folate or B12
- Add a B12 that suits you
- Add 5-LMTHF
- Adjust as needed.
That is really the crux of it! Thanks for listening today and I can’t wait to see you in Genetic Rockstars. Also, I’ll be taking a break from the podcast for the month of August, but we’ll come back the first Sunday in September with Season 2. In Season 2 we’re going to walk through a year in the life of the MTHFR journey, starting with your very first steps.