Daphne Javitch, Holistic Nutritionist - Internal Flow for a More Vibrant Life: Relieving Stagnation By Activating Flow
Patient Awareness Day 2019: HEALTHY MIND & HAPPY PELVIS
Living Your Best Life With Endo
March 10, 2019 (8am - 5pm)
Einhorn Auditorium, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City
I don't have a slide show, I have a handout like your kindergarten teacher, which I'll give at the end of the presentation. I'm such a fan of Amanda's, I can't believe I'm going after you.
I want to first just start by saying what a privilege ... Gosh, I can't cry at the beginning. What a privilege it is to be here today for so many reasons. My son was born just over a year ago at Lenox Hill Hospital, so I'm having some very empowering, distinct memories being here. Also, to speak at this event, it's such a sign of progress to be included in this conversation. When I was diagnosed with endometriosis, I don't think anyone asked me a single question about my nutrition or my lifestyle, so just to be here gives me so much hope, and is so exciting to me. So thank you everyone for having me. I'm thrilled to be here. I'm shaking. Hopefully this goes well.
Okay, so a couple things. I want to talk a little bit today about some practical tools, so that people can really walk away with a couple actionable items that we can start incorporating into our daily lives. I'm going to get to that, but I just want to kind of briefly touch on my story to contextualize my approach and why I'm here.
I'm a holistic nutritionist, and I really work as a nutritionist and a lifestyle guide for my clients. I also have an Instagram called Doing Well, where I give sort of really what I consider approachable, accessible tips and tricks for living a healthier life, creating health in the body, and optimizing our daily choices. I used to work in fashion. All of my 20s into my mid-30s I worked in fashion. Shortly after I was married in 2014, I was rushed to the hospital — many of you might be able to relate to this experience — and ... Oh. I just want to backtrack. I worked in fashion, and I have to say, to be completely honest my kind of idea of health was visual. I was like, I'm slim, I work out, I'm healthy. Also I think when you live in New York, you kind of think you're healthy, I don't know why. It's almost like this idea of, I have access to great restaurants, I'm healthy. There's SoulCycle, I'm healthy. So I had this kind of what I now perceive as warped understanding of what health was. Didn't really think so much about the fact that I smoked 15 cigarettes a day, had debilitating period pain since the age of 13, and like Amanda mentioned, I just thought it was normal. I thought I had bad luck, basically. I was one of those girls who had bad luck with my period.
So I was rushed to the hospital in 2014, where they discovered that a cyst had ruptured on my ovaries, and they also identified a lot of other cysts there. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 endometriosis and advised to have an immediate surgery. Kind of by the grace of God I had just started working with a nutritionist, and I was sort of exploring a healing lifestyle, and I said, "I just want to take a little bit of time and address this naturally, before I jump into surgery," so I just took a minute.
Over the course of six months, I got really really deep into what I would call a cleansing lifestyle. It's not what I would necessarily suggest to a client who emails me, but it's what I did. What happened was, over the course of those six months, I saw symptoms that I had struggled with my entire life go into remission. For example gas, which I thought was totally normal, bloating, digestion issues like constipation, diarrhea, things like that. And also I went from taking 12 Advil on the worst day of my period to at that time taking one Advil my entire cycle, which for me was like, something is happening here. That was sort of my a-ha moment, where I went from really focusing and kind of obsessing on my external, to suddenly becoming aware that there was this internal potential inside of me, and that health was really an internal situation.
So what happened was, I became fascinated and curious and seeking and learning and studying all of the things I could about natural healing. At a certain point, I thought, "My gosh. This is what I think about all day. I'm so passionate about this. How can I turn this into a profession?" And that's when I started studying with teachers. I went back to school. I became certified as a health educator, and became a nutritionist, let's say. I guess ... because I like to call myself a guide.
Anyway, so that's my story. I just want to say, just to be clear, a couple things. One, I did end up having a laparoscopy to ... I was trying to get pregnant for two years, and to kind of decongest the area. And I also ended up, after trying to get pregnant for two-and-a-half years, and doing everything under the sun from ... what's the one where they put the sperm in you?
[crosstalk 00:05:40] IUI.
IUI. From IUI, to like shamans, and all that stuff. Finally I did a cycle of IVF, and so gratefully, had a successful cycle. The reason I bring that up is because I don't like to say, "Cure endometriosis," I really focus on managing my symptoms and improving my daily life.
The other thing a couple people have mentioned, and it's really worth repeating every single talk, is that we are all so unique. Okay? We have different conditions, we have different symptoms, different lifestyles, different inherited energy. So for me to stand up here and be like, "I did this, this, this, and this" would actually be maybe interesting, because people love hearing what you did, but it wouldn't necessarily be helpful. So I really thought, "What are the most helpful things I can share with this group?" And I started to determine what was the defining factor in my healing journey, and that was flow. Okay? So creating flow in my body and in my life. I'm still working on the in my life part, you guys.
So a couple things. I'm going to touch on the areas in our life where we can incorporate flow, for ... In my lifestyle that I practice, to me, what flow, movement, chi, those things are vitality, vibrancy, youth, longevity, healing, whereas stagnation, congestion, accumulation, I associate that more with aging and disease. And endometriosis as we know is a form of accumulation in the body. Those of us who have endometriosis, we want to really emphasize and encourage this idea and this visualization and this kind of embodiment of flow.
I want to also touch on something that Amanda mentioned that is like one of the founding principles of my approach, which is really it doesn't matter what you do for five days out of 365. You can do the most extreme juice cleanse for five days. What matters is what are you doing on a daily basis. So some of the things that I talk about are going to sound like, "Girl, you're so basic." But just try doing it every day. Because consistency is what heals. We like to heal through repetition. When we talk about things like will, and the struggle to be healthy, really we always want to focus on the concept that health is about improvement. It's about doing better than we did yesterday. It's about doing better at the next meal than we did at the last meal. It's not about moving to Santa Monica, doing 17 tea ceremonies and having a whole new life, right? We ride the subway, we have real lives, we have children, we have jobs, we have relationships, we have families. These things can interfere with our lifestyle. It's lifestyle. It's meant to include your life, okay? So we got to start with the basics, and do them every day.
So the first place that we have the most control over creating flow in our life is through what we eat and drink. Because it's a lot easier — I'm going to eat my skin brush now — to control what goes into your mouth, than it is to control how much wi-fi for example we're exposed to, or pollution, or radiation. So we want to kind of empower ourselves where we can, and that starts with what we eat and drink. I'm totally on board with the building blocks that were just set up, I'm so glad, with all the foods that Amanda laid out.
But one thing that's insanely powerful is hydration, okay? Hydration is so key. Dehydration is not the same thing as thirst, okay? The thing that's weird about being hydrated or dehydrated is that you actually don't realize that you need water until you start drinking water. Once you start incorporating water into your daily life, all of a sudden you're going to wake up and be like, "Oh, I'm so thirsty." So the thirst is kind of hidden in there until you start bringing water into your life. Some of the lesser-known signs of dehydration are fatigue, irritability, dull skin, hunger between meals, headaches, constipation. You guys, we got to talk about poop. It's like an icky thing for some people, but it's a huge part of healing, okay? Anything that alleviates constipation, we want to go for it. Another sign is dark yellow pee. We want our pee to be like a light yellow, or clear.
So those are a few signs to look out for. What I recommend generally is to aim to drink two to three liters of flat water every single day. I feel like if three liters is your goal, you're going to hit one-and-a-half, probably even two, which is fabulous. Another great tip to keep in mind is to take your body weight in pounds, divide it by half, and drink that amount in fluid ounces every day. So for example if you're 150 pounds, you want to aim to drink 75 ounces every day. So it's another kind of quick way to figure out how much water should I be drinking.
One of the things I love about water, and the other things I'm going to talk about today, is that it's a really simple basic tool that you can incorporate when life gets stressful, when you go on a business trip, when you're on vacation. It's not like you got to pack your whole suitcase of 45 supplements and your whatever. I was like your ThighMaster, I don't even know if people have a ThighMaster any more. But it's just kind of like, it's available, right?
So drink it how you like it. People get very caught up in the nitty-gritty. Should it be warm, should it be cold, should it be lemon, should it be plain? It's like, just drink it how you like it. I prefer it to be flat water, because gassy water, bubbly water, can create a little bit of air in the colon, which sort of slows down the flow, but that's a great mocktail. That's how I have my bubbly water. Anyway, so when you incorporate and increase your water intake, things that you can expect are glowier skin, more energy, better poops which we talked about. And it's so crucial, because cleansing is about what comes out of the body, right? It's not so much about putting $1500 worth of supplements in your mouth, it's more about having an amazing poop every day. Just to be real. So you can expect better poops. And since it helps curb hunger and cravings, because a lot of times hunger is actually a sign of dehydration, it really actually helps us avoid grabbing packaged and processed foods which are often the things we grab for between meals. So it's kind of like a built-in way to upgrade your diet because you're going to move away from these packaged, processed foods. Hopefully.
The thing that I love about health and healing is that you can always go deeper. I read somewhere on Instagram, like new levels new devils. So at this point I just want to say I am working in health, I have a healing lifestyle, but I have my new levels new devils too, every step of the way. So what's exciting is there's always somewhere new to go.
So after we get that three liters of water in every day, the next thing we want to start doing is eating our water, which means increasing water-containing foods, which are your fruits, your leaves, and your vegetables. That's kind of to deepen and achieve a more cellular hydration. We want to think of these as living foods. Uncooked foods are living foods. They have enzymes, which have like spark in them, and they kick up debris in the body and they help pull and sweep the colon clean. You want to think of them almost like a little intestinal broom inside of your colon.
Sometimes it's true, we will notice, especially — well, we'll get to the health conditions, but — we will notice sometimes a little bit of gas, bloating, indigestion, when we introduce these foods. That's absolutely normal because these are such activating foods. A lot of times, that's transitional gas, transitional bloating. Just because it's like all getting kicked up. It's like when you clean your house, and halfway through you're like, "What have I done? It's like worse than when I started." But then that should eventually start to come out. Now obviously certain health conditions, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's, you might want to start with lightly steamed, and work your way up. Even a blended salad. It's not my thing, but some people love it.
Okay. So eating your water ... We want to always keep in mind, we want 70% of our plate to be leaves, veggies, plant foods. 30% of our plate to be denser, more grounding foods, like those grains, those root veggies, animal protein, beans, legumes, all the amazing things. Fats, well fats can be plant foods too, so that can go in your 70%. That's kind of what Amanda already talked about. There are also so many other benefits of eating plants which we'll hopefully get into next year at this conference.
Okay. The next thing I have ... Oh, that's my time. Okay. The next thing I want to talk about are some lifestyle tools that also assist flow in the body. I brought my dry skin brush which some of you might be familiar with, or maybe even use. I love this tool, partly because I threw this in my bag and brought it with me today. It's portable, it's affordable, it takes two minutes to use this. Whether or not the benefits are so dramatic, I love this tool. One of the things that really helps us get on track and stay on track is doing something every day that sort of sets the tone for our day, and makes us feel like the day has a positive influence, as in going in a good direction, right? So this is a really good way to stay rooted in your routine. Again, when life gets out of control and you can't eat optimally, grab your skin brush, grab your water.
These are some of the benefits. This is a cleansing tool. It activates lymphatic drainage, so ... I'm a little nervous explaining this in front of all these doctors, but the way I like to think about lymphatic drainage is almost like the cellular sewage system in your body. It's very scientific. We have hundreds of miles of tubules in our body that use lymph fluid to pull toxins from our tissue to our blood, and that's called lymphatic drainage. You may have heard of a lymphatic massage, or a lymphatic facial. You just want to think toxins are getting out of me. So this brush also activates circulation, so again that's another form of movement, flow, and improves the appearance of your skin. It exfoliates, it unclogs pores, removes dead skin. Really nice for stress relief, it's like a light body massage, it's tingly. It feels good. Don't forget that touch strengthens the immune system, right? So even just being aware of every part of our body every day, and just having some perspective on having all these parts of our body, is an amazing practice every day.
So I'm just going to do a little demo. Because people get very obsessed, again, with how, what direction ... it's not so important, for real. You just want to buy a natural organic brush, and you want to apply a firm but not painful pressure. You could even start with a dry washcloth. You want to brush towards your lymph nodes, so here, here, and here. You want to go up your arms, I go up my legs, I go gently around my breasts, my armpit. I like to go down my tummy to encourage waste to come out of my body. I spend a lot of time on my butt, and my thighs, and I do my thyroid. It really takes like a minute. Sometimes people are like, "I don't have time to skin brush." And I'm like, "You really do have time to skin brush, you guys." It takes two minutes, it feels good, and then you want to take a shower and rinse off any debris that's been lifted from the surface of the skin.
Oh my gosh, I have so little time, and there's two things I want to touch on really quick. The next one is physical movement. For a lot of us, this can be very intimidating, because sometimes we're just in too much pain to go out there and move. Also another symptom of endometriosis can be depression. When you're depressed, it's really hard to motivate to get up and go outside and move your body. So I just want to say that physical movement doesn't have to be like a Barry's Bootcamp class. It could literally be 15 minutes of stretching. It could be making an amazing playlist and dancing in your apartment or your house for 10 minutes. It could be taking your dog for a 30-minute walk, making a call going for a walk, walking with a friend. On those really tough days, it could even be just putting your legs gently up the wall and allowing the blood to flow in another direction.
I really hope that you take with you the idea that health is about improvement, okay. There's an expression that perfection is the enemy of progress. I really love that expression. We want to just do little things, and do them every single day. The last thing I want to talk about when it comes to flow is energetic and emotional flow, because stress is such a huge part of our toxic burden. That can be from a relationship, or from a work situation, or a financial situation, or a family situation.
But as women, and I'm trying to use inclusive language, but let's just say as women mostly, we tend to have a really negative voice inside of our head, and we're not even aware that that is like a kind of gremlin chipping away at our immune system. It's really not productive. So of course I'm not going to stand here and say, "Stop talking negative to yourself," because that's insane. We live in America and they made us this way. But I want to say we want to really try to limit how much air time we give our gremlins, or as I like to call, my mean girl inside. If that means allocating five minutes a day where she can talk, and then you just have to turn the volume down, mute her, that is what that is. I find for me, I like to pivot and redirect my attention. So when I get into that evaluating, kind of ruminating place, I like to just put my attention somewhere else.
I will say, it's a cliché but it's so true, that being of service is one of the most healing things that we can do. That doesn't have to mean, although it can mean, volunteering at an organization, it could just mean calling a relative who's lonely or elderly, or being there for a friend who's a new mom, or going through a hard time, or even just putting your attention on cleaning out your closet. I just bring that up because a lot of times we focus so much on these external activities, and we forget that there's kind of like a bitch inside being mean to us all day long. That's not doing us any favors. So that's the last area where I encourage people to focus on flow.
I just want to add that going through, navigating endometriosis, this is a very mysterious condition. This is a condition that changes. That can be really challenging and difficult, and it does bring up a lot of emotions. It brings up rage, sadness, frustration, despair, excitement, encouragement. all of these things. It is important to feel those emotions, so I'm not by any means saying, "Just flow out." I'm just saying feel the feelings. Almost like a cloud passing over the sun. And let them pass. It's important to experience them and try to let them let go so that they don't accumulate. It's also really important for us to ask for support, to accept support which can be very difficult, and to find our tribe.
I hope that we can continue to share our stories, communicate and connect like this. I'm so thrilled and grateful. Thank you so much for listening.
Oh, my handout. You guys. I'm going to pass out my kindergarten handout. This is a checklist I share with my clients. It's 13 simple actions that you can take with you. Save it in your phone, maybe take a picture. And this is stuff that, again, you can do when life is feeling too busy to be the perfect eater, for example. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you for that enthusiastic and entertaining presentation. That just goes to show you how a gynecologist processes the word flow. We think of menstrual flow, but you were talking about chi and other things. We're going to take a break now, and there'll be gongs that will sound when it's time to come back and listen to the next group of speakers.