My Health Journey
Ever since I was really young I have been a REALLY picky eater. It was bad. I was so thin and also had stomach pains often. Of course I couldn't be aware of what was truly going on. My mom tried so hard to teach us healthier habits, but my dad was the dessert king and lover of anything sugar. So therefore I grew up learning that. Why is it that it's so much easier to influence with unhealthy food than with healthy food? Well, that's a blog post for another day.
So fast forward to high school when all I ate was chocolate/candy bars, peanut butter, ice cream, corn tortillas, cereal and chicken. I can tell you right now that I cringe thinking about it and that basically NONE of that is in my assortment of foods today. Around 10th grade I became very ill. I went almost a whole week without eating because I couldn't keep anything down and was constantly in horrifying pain and unbearable nausea 24 hours a day. Not to mention I went through about 7 to 9 rounds of antibiotics per year because of my chronic sinus infections. Oh, and did I mention my gosh awful periods where I lost so much blood I was anemic and would scream out from horrific pain? I remember a specific time where I went to my mom in tears because I didn't know what was happening. I eventually learned to adapt to the nausea and stomach cramps and would just eat through them and end up with terrible bathroom trips. So they diagnosed me with (you guessed it!) Irritable Bowl Syndrome. I would be willing to bet that over 90% of the humans diagnosed with that have had a lazy diagnosis that puts a label on a bigger underlying issue. I remember going through 3 or more pant sizes in a day. I would wake up in the morning with a relatively flat stomach and by the end of the day I would get asked when my baby was due as I walked around with my pants unbuttoned and unzipped because they just couldn't hold the solid rock of a basketball protruding from my body.
So let's talk about after high school now... The summer between my high school graduation and my first semester of college I finally made it to my appointment with the gastrointestinal specialist. He then decided that I might have celiac disease and ran some blood tests (oh by the way have I mentioned that every single blood test under the sun had been run and all was "normal?") which came up negative, of course and then decided I needed an endoscopy done. Horrifying experience (another blog post haha!). Found that I may or may not have celiac. Dude, what does that even mean?! So I quit eating gluten. Felt great for a while. Then come my second semester of college I had to drop out and was sick for 8 weeks, laying on my parents couch in agony. I lost over 30 pounds and went through two different rounds of antibiotics those two months in addition to the vomiting. After all of that I learned that I couldn't eat dairy. Literally every time I have a speck of any dairy, I wake up the next morning with not just sniffles, a cough, or a cold, but a full blown sinus infection. Doctors cannot explain it. Cut that out of the diet and things were great for a while! Then I found out that I couldn't eat corn. What a sad day. Everything that is "gluten free" has a corn substitute in it at this time. Not to mention my love for popcorn.
A couple of summers ago I decided I was going to try and go back to college. I was so excited! I had to audition for the worship arts/singing program I wanted and totally trusted in myself to make it in. Until at the end of May I got a sore throat. It was nothing out of the ordinary.. at first. It never went away. I ended up at the doctor who said it was fine and gave me yet another round of antibiotics cause it "might be an infection." So about two months later and my audition fast approaching I was tested for mono and strep which came up negative. I had tried all sorts of food elimination at this point, all my essential oils, etc. Well I roughed it through my audition and made it (praise the Lord!)Three days before I start school I am supposed to leave to travel to be in my friend's wedding. I couldn't speak, eat, or swallow. I ended up in urgent care where more testing took place that was all negative. But I was given some lidocaine for my throat and steroid pills to reduce the swelling. As soon as I got back from the wedding I called and allergist and took time off of my brand new school to make it to all these appointments. Finally the day came for testing and wow did it reveal a lot. I was allergic to almonds, peanuts, soy, strawberries, legumes, dogs (my dog slept in my room with me), cats, and every pollen that God created on this earth. Now let's just talk about the irony of this for a moment. I consumed (daily) almond milk, almond flour, almond butter, and almond scented hand soap. In addition to that I had a strawberry smoothie with almond milk in it for breakfast every morning. I cut almonds and strawberries out and my sore throat went away withing 24 hours. I'm not joking! At this point in my life I decided that I needed to go paleo. No grains or legumes. Lots of meat and cooked vegetables.
This maybe worked for me for a while. It was definitely better than where I had been. But I truly didn't like meat. I had to choke it down because "I needed my protein." The problem I had with this was that I would end up eating a small amount of cooked vegetables and really nothing else because I couldn't stand the meat. I wanted to make it work. To be healthy. But I still had eczema and inflamed skin rashes all over. I will write yet another blog post on why I went from paleo to vegan. But long story short: this didn't work for me. And let me reiterate that last phrase: this didn't work for me. That doesn't mean that this won't work for someone else.
I did some more research and gut healing and how to fully heal your insides and what is best for your gut. I spent days doing this and trying new things and feeling like giving up and then back at it again. I had been super interested in eating raw and was eating mostly vegan, but not because I had made the choice to. Just because that's how it usually ended up. It was come and go for me. One day I sat down with my husband (not a vegan and yet another blog post for another day) and we talked in depth about it. How I felt that God did give us animals to eat, but I am appalled because I don't feel that He wants us to treat them the way they are being treated. It disgusts me to the point of making me sick to my stomach. We also talked about how I know that the antibiotics and hormones and steroids and all the other junk that the poor animals are pumped full of have been very harmful for my health. Connor told me that he would support me 100% in whatever decision I choose to make. I prayed and prayed about it. And I felt so silly for making such a big deal out of something that seems so not a big deal. But it is a big deal. To me it is. And it's not made as big of a deal as it should be. Well after that discussion I decided to do it. I quit meat and I quit sugar for real. Fast forward two weeks and my skin has cleared of eczema and rashes, no more dandruff or itchy scalp, my digestion is on point (that's a first), and I FEEL good. I cannot remember the last time I said that! After all the positive changes I knew I wouldn't be able to go back. I feel amazing, eat amazing, and I don't push the feelings of guilt down of eating a tortured animal.
This is my health journey and I am so excited to have you along for the ride as it continues to develop and grow and become.