Brief summary of show:
In this episode, Lizzie Ens joins me to talk about adrenal fatigue, managing stress and balancing our cortisol levels.
Lizzie Ens, former amish girl who chose to jump for a better life and future. Now Board Certified Nutrition Practitioner, personal trainer, author and speaker on a mission to make an impact. Lizzie helps people get more energy, get better sleep and rebalance their hormones by focusing on whole body healing so their body can function at its best.
Listen in as we talk about:
[1:55] Our relationship with caffeine
[4:00] How high levels of stress impact our body
[5:40] Feeling 'wired but tired'
[8:20] What adrenal fatigue is
[11:05] What you can do to support your adrenals
[14:50] Her journey into this space
[19:20] Is it common to leave the Amish community?
[19:45] How her upbringing influenced her life in a positive way
[22:50] The health factors of growing up Amish
Notes from Natalie:
Seeking Health: www.natalietysdal.com/favorites
Adrenal guide: https://info.undietyourself.live/adrenal-support-guide
Connect with Lizzie
Connect with Me
View Transcript for this Episode
Natalie: Are you tired of feeling exhausted, stressed, and unable to perform at your best? Do you struggle with hormonal imbalances and adrenal fatigue? If so, this is the podcast for you.
Natalie: Hi everyone. It's Natalie. It's summer and I'm working on some new things for the podcast and the website, but I'm also committed to bringing you health topics like the one you're gonna hear today.
This episode's pretty special. We're talking about adrenal fatigue and hormonal issues that cause you to be exhausted. It's something I know a lot of you struggle with and something I've struggled with as well. But it's special because my expert has an incredible story. Lizzie ends a board certified functional nutritional practitioner who will share her expertise on how to rebalance your hormones and achieve whole body healing is joining me.
She's also an author and formally part of an Amish community in Ohio. She left or escaped, as she says, and started her journey as a board certified nutritional practitioner, a personal trainer, author, and speaker as well. Lizzy helps people get more energy, get better sleep, and rebalance their hormones by focusing on whole body healing so their body can function at its best. I know you're gonna learn and be inspired by her today. Take a minute if you would please to join me from my newsletter. The link is in the show notes and subscribe to the podcast so you'll be notified when it comes out each week.
Hi, Lizzie. Good to have you on the show. Thank you,
Lizzie: Natalie. I'm so
Well, I wanna talk about a topic a lot of women don't think about when they're tired, exhausted, burned out, and they're not sure why they go like me for years straight to a cup of coffee. Thinking this is gonna solve my problem, or an energy drink, or whatever it is.
And it might actually be something more. So let's talk about cortisol levels, adrenal health, and some of those topics that maybe we're not considering when we don't have energy.
Lizzie: Absolutely. This is my cup of tea.
Natalie: That's good. Tea is better than coffee for you, by the way.
Lizzie: Yes, tea. Tea is better. Although I am a huge coffee drinker.
Not like, okay, I'm not gonna drink like a pot a day or anything like that. But there's something about the experience of a cup of coffee for me, me, me too. Where you know, get up and I'm just like, I gotta have this moment. Like it's the
Natalie: experience more than the caffeine for me.
Lizzie: No, I, I, I said this a, a few weeks ago, I said, I, I did this 72 hour fast and I couldn't have coffee.
And I realized during that fast how much I like actually rely on that. Like, I, I wake up and I'm, I am energetic. I'm good to go. But I, I cra that, that caveat, I wanna have that experience. Yeah. And going on that detox, I was like, oh man. Like I realized how much my body is actually using that caffeine.
Yeah. For my energy as I'm going through the day, I had to take naps.
Natalie: Wow. But even so, that little bit of caffeine, and we'll get in here to the cortisol and things, but that caffeine. But for me, again, when I wake up, I wanna smell that coffee. I have to just kind of, I'm a slow, it's a slow process in the morning.
I wanna sit, I wanna read for a few minutes and I, I just want that. That comfort?
Lizzie: Yes, I don't know what it is. I is. Is it something that we've been like programmed to believe and think, I don't know. Probably. It's experience. It's an experience.
Natalie: So it's a little bit of coffee, of course, caffeine, whatever it is.
Fine. But when that's not doing the trick.
tell us about what these other issues might be. I know for me personally, high levels of stress. And cortisol, it's that fight or flight and your body is just continuing to fight. And how that's, that can cause problems in our, in our system.
Lizzie: Yes, absolutely.
So when we are, are stressed, and like you said, the cortisol goes up. And we go into that fight or flight. And as humans, we have not been taught how to just like bring it back down as soon as that danger is over. Mm-hmm. So like an animal, if you go out into the wild, let's say a tiger, for example, and the tigers chasing the deer, their cortisol shoots through the roof for the deer because the fight or flight comes in as the tiger's chasing the deer.
As soon as the tiger stops chasing the deer, the deer's fine. He walks away, cortisol drops back down, and their bo, their body is back into homeostasis. Whereas for humans, we don't know how to just bring it back down because we're remembering that and we're gonna stay in that fight or flight. For hours, sometimes days.
Yeah. So for example, like if you've been in a car accident and if something really, really traumatic happen, you're gonna stay in that fight or flight for a long time because we haven't been taught how to bring it back down. So then what happens is you start spitting out all of this cortisol and you only have so much.
Yeah. And then it's a downstream effect of, okay, now your adrenals are gonna start getting depleted and you're gonna start like being tired. And you're also gonna get to a place, and I don't know if you've experienced this or not,
but I call it the wired and tired. Yes. So yeah. You're like, I'm so wired, but I'm so exhausted.
Yeah. And I, but a cup of coffee is not, the caffeine is not gonna do anything. Yeah. But what you wanna see really in the cortisol is you want, your cortisol should be at it's peak in the morning. So when it's at, it is peak in the morning, that's when you should wake up. You have that energy just naturally.
You have a clear mind, you're ready to go. Not in a fight or flight setting. It's just where it's naturally supposed to be. Mm-hmm. And then it's supposed to gradually drop throughout the day. You still should have energy, but it creates this nice owl. And by evening it converts into melatonin so that you can go to sleep.
Natalie: Oh, interesting. So if you're not getting that l or that drop in cortisol later in the day, what happens?
Lizzie: So when you have this constant like rice and fall of cortisol or this, this fight or flight, what will happen is you may have a low cortisol in the morning and then a spike in the evening and it's flipped.
Mm-hmm. So if you find yourself in the evening being like at like seven, eight, or nine, you're like, this is the most productive time of my day. I have energy and I can get stuff done. There's a very, very good Jan that you got a spike of cortisol in the evening. And you just go and get stuff done and then you also have trouble falling asleep.
Makes sense. Cause you got that cortisol. But then the next part of it too is if you're finding yourself waking up in the middle of the night, two to 3:00 AM every single night, and you're awake for an hour, you're just wired and you can't go back to sleep. There's a good chance that you got a spike of cortisol at that point in time because of some imbalance that's going on internally with the body.
Could be a blood sugar drop so when our blood sugar drops too low, we'll actually get a spike of cortisol. To bring homeostasis back into the body, cuz that's the body's job is try to do everything it can to bring things back into homeostasis. Well, when blood sugar drops too low, the body goes, oh my gosh.
Like, things are not where they need to be and I need to keep you safe. So cortisol fight or flight comes in and you wake up in the middle of the night and you're like, well, I'm water
Natalie: awake. Yeah. Yeah. And then you can't get back to sleep, and then you're tired all day, and then you get that vicious cycle.
Lizzie: Yep. And it
Natalie: just keeps going. So let's talk about the adrenal side of this
then. So if your adrenals are fatigued, what does that mean? Is the cortisol affecting the adrenal glands? And how do we, I guess more importantly, how do we fix that?
Lizzie: Yeah, so there's two ends of the spectrum. There's the spectrum of too much cortisol and it's just always spitting and you just, you're just like up here the entire time, and then there's, I have none like, and you're just completely exhausted, both ends of the spectrum.
You're going to be exhausted. It's just that one has way too much cortisol and the other one has none. Hmm. And so that starts to really, really affect the adrenals. But also you have to remember that with the adrenals in the cortisol, you have your other hormones connected with, with that you have your D A G A, you have your cholesterol, you, so those are like backbone to your adrenals and your cortisol is this whole.
Complex system, but what you wanna think about when it comes to your adrenals, how do, how do you fix it? Well, one, you have to allow yourself to rest. So, you have to let your body get to a place where it's like, maybe you're gonna have to take a nap every single day for a while in order to give your body the rest that it needs.
But really there are some really, really simple things that you can do too, which is bringing in specific vitamins and minerals that help supply the adrenals with the nutrients that they need in order to heal. So, Many women do really, really well with a good adrenal supplement for a while. You don't wanna stay on it forever, and what I usually have my clients do is, They'll do like a cycle of being on the adrenal supplements and then we just keep them around for a week that they're like really, really stressed and they have a lot going on.
Yeah. They give their body those nutrients, those vitamins, during that stressful time to keep things from going wao, just keep, keep them fat. So, yeah. And if you're in like extreme adrenal fatigue, you're probably gonna have to give. Coffee up for a bit until you get to a place where it's stable and if, if you're someone that's like really relying on coffee, that's
Natalie: the hardest part.
Yeah. To have to rely on it every day. It's one thing to have a cup or two in the morning. Yeah. But to drink it throughout the day. Any type of caffeine. Probably
Lizzie: isn't great. Usually that's like stage three or stage four adrenal fatigue. So how
Natalie: do we know, I mean, I see a doctor who does blood draws and can see these things, but how do you work with clients and how would you suggest for someone who suspects they are having cordial issues or adrenal issues to monitor this?
would you suggest they just go buy an adrenal support type vitamin, which is what I do. What would you
Lizzie: suggest? I, I would suggest you get levels checked before you just like, you know, go out and say, Hey, I need these. Because the way that I work with my clients is I, I do lab work. I look at their labs and I do a pretty in depth panel, and then I work in the functional field.
So when I'm, I don't know what kind of doctor you see. Mm-hmm. But in the functional field, the way that we look at things is the body as the entire system. So when I'm looking at labs, it's like a puzzle piece. It's like looking at like, okay, where are the dots connected? So if you have, let's say example, like a thyroid issue, it's never just a thyroid issue.
There's a downstream problem that's happening and we have to connect the dots on why that is, and then look at the root cause of those issues and work our way through from there. So it's like focusing on healing the body. From the inside out versus like just looking at things externally or looking for diagnosis.
Cuz a lot of times what we wanna look at is for those missing pieces. Where's the body deficient? What, what's deficient? Because we have symptoms, our body symptoms that we're having, if we're tired, if we're bloated, if we're cranky, like whatever it is. If we are having very specific symptoms, It's just your body telling you Yeah.
That there's something off. Yeah. And we need to figure out what it is. And so looking at the labs, looking at the cortisol, I can't believe how many doctors don't check cortisol.
Natalie: It's astonishing to me. Yeah, I I did recently a saliva test for cortisol, suspecting that my cortisol levels were high and and then did a follow-up blood test.
They were a little bit different, but we think it was possibly because I was having some hives and I was using a a cream that probably threw off the saliva test. Yeah, it was a anti itch cream, so it had something in it, and so you have to. Really know who you're working with, what you're doing, and, and go to someone who will, like you, analyze every bit.
I'm a big believer in that too. I mean, you can, you can start taking a medicine or a vitamin, but it might then change something else and then you've created another
Lizzie: problem. Yeah. And, and you have to consider also if someone's on birth control mm-hmm. It could affect their cortisol levels, it could also affect lots of other things.
Yeah. But that's something to, to understand is like, Certain types of birth control may affect your cortisol levels as well. But it, it's really, really important to not just go out there and just buy like the next best supplement because someone said that it was gonna be good for you. You have to look at what's going on internally, what your body really needs.
So when I work with my clients, I, I'm typically not telling them, Hey, I want you to go buy these. Supplements and get on this supplement regimen before I look at their, their labs. And then once we look at their labs and we go, okay, here's what your labs are telling us. And let's be honest, labs aren't like the final answer to everything.
They're just a part of the puzzle that we are putting together. But when we look at those laps and then get them on a good nutrition plan, And we get them on some supplements that they need in order to bring things up to where they need to be. It's amazing what happens.
Natalie: Yeah. Well, I wanna take a little step back because I think your story is fascinating and you've been doing this and helping people I know for a while, but you've also written a book and you have an interesting background.
So tell me a little bit about how you got where you are now.
Lizzie: Absolutely. So I, I do have a book. Thank you for bringing that up. Escaping my reflection got published last December. uh, it's a memo more about my story. I grew up Amish and Ohio had like the most strict upbringing in the Amish community.
We had no electricity, no indoor running water, no plumbing, like up houses were outside. And just really, really hard work. And then I, I escaped when I was 19. I ran away so,
Natalie: You just ran away. Yeah, so I was
Lizzie: that easy. I ran away in the middle of the night. So I actually actually it was 10 o'clock at night and I was working at my, my sister's house at the time.
I wasn't even at home where I grew up and I couldn't tell anybody that I was leaving.
Natalie: You knew you were about to leave though. You had planned it
Lizzie: that day. So I, I, I was in Ohio and I, I was dating a guy from New York and we didn't have phones or anything like that and, but our form of communication was writing letters to each other and we would see each other maybe like twice a year, something like that.
And this time, this specific day was, it was my turn to go deliver my letter to him that he would get later that week. And when I got to the mailbox, there was a note in the mailbox. From him and he, he said that I left. I ran away with my sister and her boyfriend yesterday, and if you wanna leave, you can come join us.
We'll come by tonight at like 10 o'clock and we'll pick you up. If you don't wanna leave, it's fine. I'll come by later
Natalie: and I'll talk to you. Is he Amish as well?
Lizzie: Yes. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, so I waited until that night, until like the, my sister and her family went to bed. I went upstairs, pretended like I was going to bed because I.
I was so afraid that someone would be suspicious that I was gonna be leaving cause I, I couldn't leave if, or tell them, if I tell someone they're going to do everything in their power to, to keep me there. So I, I pretend like I'm going to be to bet, but I go upstairs and I take my covering off and I write a little note to my family and I tell them that I have to go.
And I, but then I climbed out the window onto a roof and I was gonna jump off this roof, and it was a 15 foot roof at least. And I, I sat there for about 30 minutes contemplating like, how am I gonna jump off this roof and not
Natalie: break a bone?
Lizzie: And eventually got enough, I got enough courage to say, all right, this is my, this is my only way.
Natalie: And I jumped. And you made it. You didn't break a bone?
Lizzie: I did not break a bone. I made it. I ran and I and I left. And that was 19 years ago. What's today? May 31st. I think it was May 31st, 19 years
Natalie: ago. Oh my, wow. Yeah. Did you ever look back?
Lizzie: So I never looked back in the form of, I wanna want to go back. I do see my family, so my, my dad, he passed away when I was 13, so my mom is still there and I have 18 siblings and there's, yeah, there's, there's four of us that left.
Natalie: had, did your mom birth? 19 children? She did. Oh my goodness. Where were you in the mix?
Lizzie: I was right in the middle. I was number nine and I have a twin sister, and she was number 10. Yeah, my mom had three sets of twins.
Natalie: Oh, okay. So, so she had what, 16 pregnancies or something like that? Still.
Lizzie: Wow. At one point, at one point she had five kids in diapers.
Natalie: Could you imagine? No, no, no. So you do speak with your family now?
Lizzie: Yeah, I go, I go see my mom about once a year. When I go back to. Ohio, I see her. I don't see a lot of my siblings just because they're all over the place. And that's a lot of siblings and I, most of them, they wouldn't even want me to come to their home.
Hmm. If they were at home, at my mom's place, when I go home and see her, they would say hi and talk to me, but I don't think they, they would want me to come to their house.
Natalie: Is it very common what you
Lizzie: did? Yes, it is. But in, in. The overall realm of things, the percentage of people that leave is still pretty small.
Hmm. Yeah. You know, there's a lot of people that do leave, but, but still, like, if you think about how many people are there and, and how many people leave, it's still pretty small
Natalie: percentage. Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah. Were there things about your upbringing that have helped you in your life now? I'm
Lizzie: so glad you asked that question.
Yes. Yes. I, so, I, I told you a couple weeks ago, I did the 72 hour fast. Mm-hmm. And when you do, when you do a fast, where it's only water, it makes you, it, it's a spiritual experience. It makes you go with and Realize some things about yourself that you've never, you know, found out before. So I did this with a mentor of mine.
He, he was like, Hey, I do these 72 hour fast, would you do one with me? And I said, yes, absolutely. I like a good challenge. But I also went in doing it in a way of like, okay, this is not about me trying to lose weight and. You know, get into a specific sizing like that. That's not the purpose here. The purpose was for me to see what my body is capable of and what my mind is capable of, and what I can learn.
So after that experience, he asked me, what is it about this fast that you learn about yourself, and how is that connected to your past and your upbringing? Mm-hmm. And I said, it took me like two seconds and I said, oh, that's easy. It's order, structure, and discipline. Because we had, we had order, we had structure and we had immense discipline.
So we didn't have TVs, we didn't have technology to, you know, get like, Focused on that instead of our work. So it was getting up every morning. You go milk the cows, you feed the chickens. Then everybody comes in and we all have breakfast together, and then there's work and whether it's gardening, sewing, canning, any of those kinds of things.
Lunch comes around, the family all comes together. We eat lunch, you go back and then we take a nap. We would take a nap after lunch, and then you go back to work. So, And then dinner comes around, everybody comes in again and we have dinner. And then after dinner it's the evening chores. You go back and you, so you have that consistency and that structure and that discipline every single day.
And that is something that so many people are missing in, in the world. And if you wanna be successful in your health, if you wanna get to your goals, whether it's your health or your business, anything like that, you have to have those three things.
Natalie: So you appreciate having, I. Learned those things. Having had that, I was actually more curious about just the natural way that you grew up from eating, from the land, having fresh milk, like, you know, as a nutrition, a person who appreciates that it's actually harder to find that in our world today.
You know, I can, I can go to Whole Foods or I can go to whatever market, but. I was thinking that you would say something about appreciating the land and the way, the healthy way you grew up.
Lizzie: Well, so there's healthy parts to it. Mm. But there the biggest, one of the biggest misconceptions about the Amish people is that they're healthy.
And you think they, you think they would be, because they do grow their own fruits and vegetables. They, they do get some fruits from like we had this like fruit orchard that was closed by and we would buy like, Big baskets of of fruits cuz we had a large family that was a, that was a lot of fruit to grow.
So my dad did have an orchard, but it didn't provide enough for all of us. And so we would buy that from, from a local orchard. And we obviously raised our own animals. We had three to 400 laying hands, so we had all these eggs and we sold those and we had huge vegetable gardens in the summer and we would sell tons of vegetables in the summer as well.
And then obviously the farming. And all of that. So they do use the land, they u they utilize all of those things really, really well. It's the way that they cook their food that makes the healthy part of it go away, which is very, very unfortunate. But they're not taught how to not cook like that. Mm-hmm.
So if I were to make, you know, some green beans at home, It would be boiling them and then making some kind of creamy gravy to go in with them. Hmm. And lots of fried foods. So you had, if you got fresh chicken there, it was gonna be fried and butter and flour.
Natalie: Oh, I see. Didn't realize that.
Lizzie: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So lots of fried things like that.
You, we have fresh milk, we made our own butter, we made, we, we did all of those things. But it's the way that they make their food that sort of like takes away that part of it. And they use tons of sugar. Mm. High fructose corn syrup, you know, just like plain white sugar, like, and lots of flour. So we had, we always had pies or cookies or cakes every single week.
We would make those things
Natalie: in any community, in any culture. Yeah. You make choices, right? Yep. Yep. In how
Lizzie: you, there's, yeah, and I, I have so much gratitude. And respect for what my experience was and, and the things that I learned. And I know that there's a lot of things that I learned when I was there that I'll always have with me and I'll always be grateful for.
And it's something that a lot of people in the modern world are, are missing and they're craving it. They want it, they wanna know how to go, go back to the basics, which is something that I, I teach my clients is like, you don't have to overcomplicate things. You can just keep it simple. And learn how to balance your plate with some protein, some complex carbs, some vegetables and healthy fats, and figure out how I help them figure out like what that looks like for them and keep it, keeping it super simple like that so that it doesn't feel like they have to be on a diet.
Yeah, it feels like it's just a lifestyle that they can sustain. It's not tied to anything specific except for like what makes their body feel
Natalie: good. Mm-hmm. Well, it sounds to me like you, you have blended your past and technology in the modern world that you live in now, but have found the order, the discipline, how important that is, and you found a, a really good balance of those
Yes, absolutely. And I, I, I've just recently discovered that a little bit more, so I'm like starting to implement it and teach it a lot more cuz I realized like, this is the thing. That so many people are missing. And for me, I, I was trying to figure out like, what is it? And I, I realized that, oh, it's because we didn't have Netflix.
We didn't have any other options. We didn't have video games. There was no options for those types of things. It was just no. And not that, not that those things are bad in a way of like, you should never have them, but
Natalie: too much of anything. Yeah. Be it sugar or Netflix. Yeah. Can be really bad for
Lizzie: you. You have to have that balance.
And then you have, at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, how are your habits serving you? Like, are they helping you propel forward and move towards your goal? Because a lot of people think that they just need to stay motivated and be motivated to work towards goal, but motivation without execution and discipline is nothing like your motivation's gonna come and go.
Nobody. I'm not motivated all the time. But if I remember why it is what I do, what the reason is behind that and the discipline and keeping that structure behind it, that's where you will go to the finish line because you're gonna show up even on the days that you're like, I'm not
Natalie: motivated. Yeah, that's so true.
Well, I know there's a whole lot more to your story and that's in your book, and I have a million other questions I could ask. But I wanna encourage people to learn from what you wrote, and I'll put that link to buy your book in this show notes. Yes. Where can people find you, either for the book or for your services in helping in helping them with some of the other topics that we've talked about in cortisol and
Absolutely. I have a free adrenal guide. I'll send that to you and you put that in the show notes for anybody that wants to grab that. My Instagram handle is Lizzie Ends Wellness. Very active on there. And if you message me, you'll probably get a response from me in there. And then if you want to have a consultation with me, you can grab my link and book a call with
Natalie: me and I get to meet you.
Great. Well, Lizzie, it's such a pleasure and thanks for teaching us a little bit today and for sharing your
Lizzie: story. Absolutely. Thank you for having me.