125. Creating a Fertile Life with Erica Hoke

By on November 17, 2020

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The Do a Day Podcast from Bryan Falchuk

Twelve years ago, Erica Hoke was told that she would never have children. Now she has 4. Complete Miracles! She had every infertility issue that you can name. Including stage 4 Endometriosis fibroids, PCOS and factor V Leiden. Just to name a few. Get the picture? And, although she didn’t know it at the time a double mutation of both genes of MTHFR. She and her husband
wanted a baby more than anything in the world.

At 35, she was NOT a candidate for IVF and had less than 1% chance of conceiving naturally.
So, she opted for aggressive surgery and started researching on how to boost your fertility
naturally, and what affects your fertility. What she found would be the beginning of a lifelong
passion.

What she found was everything affects your fertility. The food you eat, the products you use on
your skin, the laundry detergent, your make-up. Everything. So, she started finding healthier
chemical free solutions. She started acupuncture for fertility three times a week. Her symptoms lessened. Then one day she got a positive test.

Now she’s committed to helping other women and families do the same. Teaching them how to advocate for themselves, educate themselves and take a path that is less sure, but feels better. She teaches them how to REBEL against a system that promotes sick care and recognize ways that they can restore their power and health.

A note for clarity on my intention with this episode. I’m not implying that you can solve any fertility issue with healthier living. I share this to inform people that healthier choices, like those Erica talks about, can help, and may – as in Erica’s case – be the unlock you need. If you’re told there’s no hope, there may be. And, if nothing else, you may live better with less pain and other issues from these changes, so it’s worth it no matter what.

Key Points from the Episode with Erica Hoke

  • Erica found herself in her early 30s married, and wanting to start a family
  • She was also one of the 1 in 6 women who suffers from infertility
  • As she and her husband looked into their options, they found that Erica’s case was more extreme than for some, making IVF and other fertility treatments not options for her
  • This inspired Erica’s work today, helping empower and education women about their infertility to help inform those who may be getting mis- or insufficient information about what they can do
  • In Erica’s case, she had been diagnosed with almost every infertility issue know, including Stage 4 Endometriosis, PCOS, Uterine Fibroids, Thyroid Diseases, and a double-mutation of MTHFR and Factor 5 Leiden and Epstein-Barr.
  • She addressed what she could, like removing fibroids, but the doctors said she was not a candidate for IVF due to her age and other issues
  • IVF is often people’s backup plan if they are having struggles with fertility without knowing that it isn’t always an option
  • IVF is also extremely expensive, and people put themselves in difficult financial positions when there may be other paths they could take if they knew about them
  • Erica felt something deep inside of her that she was meant to have kids and to give birth to them, and decided not to give up when she was told IVF wasn’t an option
  • So she dug deep into other paths to work on, including acupuncture, meditation, therapy, visualization, changing her diet and nutrition
  • These are all things that are worth doing regardless, but were especially valuable in Erica’s case
  • Part of Erica’s back story, that is very common amongst women with fertility issues, is trauma, often including sexual abuse
  • This can show up in so many different ways, including eating disorders, poor lifestyles and more
  • This means addressing the mindset and emotional side of the equation is so critical
  • Erica was determined to leave no stone unturned, and that was the reason she was able to make progress and go on to give birth to four healthy kids
  • One thing she found was the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org), to find sources of chemicals that could be impacting her fertility and overall wellness
  • One particular thing she mentioned was The Clean 15 and The Dirty Dozen from EWG, which is an annual list of 15 fruits and vegetables that you can eat non-organic without concern, and 12 that you should not eat if you can’t eat organic (things like potatoes, tomatoes, grapes and strawberries)
  • She moved from what she was putting in her body to what she was putting on her body, like lotions, bug spray, hand sanitizer, soap and shampoo
  • Things put on the skin are in your blood stream within 2 minutes, and in every cell in your body within 20 minutes
  • Erica shared a startling fact – the average woman puts about 300 chemicals in her body daily, and the average man puts about 80 – most of them are hormone and/or endocrine disrupters
  • The one thing she said we can all change out that would be so helpful would be laundry detergent (and dryer sheets, fabric softener, etc) because we’re in our clothes or in our clothes 23.5 hours a day
  • We talked about why visualization helps, and Erica gave the answer clearly – if, in your mind, you don’t see something as possible, then it won’t be
  • It took about 9 months of work across the board to see a change and to feel better
  • She still wasn’t quite where she expected to be for a 35 year old woman in terms of energy levels and feeling well, so she went back to her doctor to ask to go deeper on her thyroid function despite her thyroid numbers looking ok
  • She specifically changed things in her diet and lifestyle to support her thyroid and started to see progress on her energy and overall feeling of wellness
  • Erica had her first child, and then had twins 27 months later, meaning she had three kids under 3
  • That made things very intense, plus her husband traveled for business, putting more strain on her, putting her PTSD on fire, as she put it
  • She had already been a Type A, intense, driven person, but having the three little kids to care for triggered her emotions, stress and anxiety in a whole new way that she had to work to manage and manage the impact of
  • One thing she learned through all the “bad” things she removed from her diet was that she also needed to look at what “good” things to add, which was the next part of her self-work and a major part of the work she does with her clients
  • For example, if you eat food with pesticides on it, those chemicals kill off your gut flora, meaning you need to look at how to support your microbiome so that gut health-related issues don’t arise
  • We talked about CBD, how it works, what role THC plays in it and what it takes to remove the THC and keeping the CBD functional in your body
  • You don’t want the THC in there because that’s the part that makes the drug a drug, but you can’t simply remove it as the CBD no longer can affect your cells positively, so Erica solved for that with her own CBD product that replaced the THC with essential oils so it is healthy, safe and can still work
  • We talked about how it can seem “hard” to be healthy, but often this is about our not realizing the time and cost we put into the “easy” way we’ve been doing things
  • Erica’s Factor 5 Leiden issue lead to having a DVT (deep vein thrombosis or blood clot) when she was 33, and then lead to pregnancies not taking
  • She shared that some women will suffer multiple miscarriages before their doctor thinks about checking for something like a clotting disease
  • Because it is easy to check for and do something about, Erica tries to raise awareness to safe women from having to go through repeated loss like this
  • She also talked about how we can start to work on the things Erica helps people with bit by bit, and don’t have to hit the hardest things first. We can work into being better and getting better
  • Erica shared her top 5 recommendations for supporting those struggling with infertility
    • Test for Factor 5 Leiden
    • Add a Probiotic
    • Change out your laundry detergent
    • Pick a category and clean up the inputs, whether food or personal care
    • Engage in mental health work

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