My Health Journey

This is lengthy…but I pray it helps someone who is reading.  XO

Let me start by saying…I am not a doctor.  I am not a dietician.  I am not an expert. However, over the past 10+ years, I have been on a journey toward better health.  I was forced on this journey by a series of symptoms and ailments that started to interfere with my daily life.

I used to be a classic junk food junkie.  I was busy all the time (and lazy) so I often ate on the run…fast food, sodas, frozen meals...Hot Pockets.  I never had a huge weight problem.  Starting in my 20's, I always just had about 10-15 pounds I wanted to lose. At times I was motivated to work out and eat healthier, but I didn't even know what healthier was.  I was confused by low-fat, whole grains, whole wheat, soy milk, whole milk, skim milk, low carb, no carb, Atkins, points, South Beach, Splenda, and all the other things swirling around in the media.

In October of 2003, I was in a car accident.  My friend and I were at a stop light and rear-ended by a drunk driver going 30-40 mph.  We walked away from the accident in tact.  Just a little shaken up.  But what followed for me was years of neck pain, back pain, and chronic headaches.  I pretty much had a constant headache for 3 years.  I sought chiropractic care, physical therapy, massages, pain meds, muscle relaxers. The pain continued.  That moved into "pain management" which meant injections into the nerves in the back of my head.  I had MRI's.  I saw neurologists. I took nerve meds and anti-depression meds…all of which had terrible side effects.  Nothing worked.  I just didn't even know what it felt like to feel good anymore.  

In September of 2006, I saw an acupuncturist for the first time. This was when my eyes were first opened to holistic and natural methods for healing.  More than the acupuncture session…the most valuable part of my visit was somebody telling me…"You ARE going to get better.  You are healthy.  Now, get moving again."  I believed him. I gradually over the next year started thinking about what I put in my body.  I started drinking WATER.  What a revolutionary idea??!  

It took about 6 months…but my headache started to gradually lift like a weight floating off into the clouds.  It wasn't in my mind.  It had been real…and now it was gone.

I started to become more aware of my body and other symptoms I was dealing with that I had ignored.  I realized I still had "brain fog" everyday. I started to realize this wasn't normal.  I was tired all the time no matter how much sleep I got.  I couldn't stay awake during loud rock concerts, movies, Broadway shows, meetings.  I often came home from work and took a 2 hour nap. 

Then in 2008, I started having major pain in my bladder.  It felt kind of like a gas bubble at first.  Then maybe like a UTI.  Then full on bloating so bad that I couldn't button my pants.  I looked 6 months pregnant.  It was hard and tight and swollen.  It was so painful.  My doctor didn't know what it was.  It wasn't a UTI.  She referred me to a urologist who diagnosed me with Interstitial Cystitis (IC). She recommended medication for the pain.  She also recommended a semi-invasive procedure that is effective 30% of the time, requires pain meds, and if it is effective, would need to be repeated every 6 months.  Um…no thanks.  I politely asked, "What is the hippie way to resolve this problem?".  She dug in her file cabinet for an IC diet protocol but said most people don't stick to it…so take the drugs just in case.

All that to say…years later…I am healed of IC.  I am also healed from my chronic fatigue, eczema, chronic sinus infections, headaches/migraines, heart palpitations, cystic acne, keratosis pilarsis, and IBS.  I haven't needed an antibiotic in 5 years.  WHAT!?  I am a firm believer that the biggest factor in my healing (other than God) was cutting out gluten.  

I don't have Celiac disease, but I do have a severe gluten intolerance.  I had no idea that cutting out wheat/gluten would have such a positive impact on my life and health. I never thought that any of those symptoms/problems were related. 

5 years later…I am still gluten-free, soy-free, and mostly dairy-free.  I strive to eat real food that is free of toxic chemicals, additives, preservatives and GMO's.  I focus on nutrients instead of fat grams and calories.  Food has an incredible power to heal.  Am I perfect?  No…but I read labels and research more than I ever did before.  

Are you suffering from a chronic illness or just feel generally yucky on a daily basis?  While doctors are incredibly valuable and smart, they don't always have all the answers.  Do your own research.  Ask questions.  Don't just take a drug without thinking about the effects and consequences.  Get to the ROOT of the problem.  Find a doctor who will listen.  Maybe talk to a naturopath, chiropractor, or acupuncturist to get a balanced look at the problem. 

Quick advice to start feeling better today:
  1. Pray and believe that you are going to get better.
  2. If you are suffering from any of the above…cut out gluten immediately.  No donut is worth it.
  3. Decrease your toxic load:  Eliminate synthetic fragrances from your home (candles, plug-ins, fabric softeners), switch to natural cleaners, decrease the amount of plastic in your life and use glass as much as possible, minimize your microwave usage, start switching to natural beauty and bath products free of chemicals, dyes, sulfates, fluoride, and other toxins.
  4. Cut out soda.  Immediately.  
  5. Cut out anything artificial.  (Bye, bye, Splenda)
  6. Reduce or eliminate sugar.  (Especially if you're feeling sick)
  7. Reduce your amount of processed, pre-packaged foods. 
  8. Find a doctor who will have a conversation about nutrition and ways foods can heal.
  9. Get moving again.  Even if you don't feel like it. Exercise is your friend.

1 comment:

  1. I am so proud of you Allison! ( Yes, Allie is a cool name, but Allison is the 8.9 pounder I held in my arms for the first few minutes of life.) I am proud of you for not being a victim. A victim of neither the standard pat answers from medicine nor that of society. Many in your position might have collapsed on the couch and whined being on the receiving end of poor advice, worthless sympathy and a downward spiral of health.

    Instead, you took charge! First, giving yourself over to God's healing hands and then realizing (as any honest physician will do) that our body heals itself when given the opportunity to thrive. Educating others in their quest for health will be a ministry for you! while I have preached on the ills of gluten for 15 years, a new book I am reading explains the why. Our wheat today is frankenfood, (not to mention corn, soy and others). As such, it is probably responsible for the majority of the "new" ills of our day. Autoimmune diseases, increased and earlier diabetes, obesity, rashes, eczema, asthma, arthritis....some of which I too have been healed. And, according to Dr. William Wells, author of the book, cancer in its many forms are in part caused by our frankenfood society.

    This is LIFE! Each day is to be lived and enjoyed. I am so happy to see you doing just that!
    Love You, Dad