My relationship with my health, with food and food allergies has been an interesting one over the years. As I started having children I realized certain things about the body’s ability to compensate for major changes. Things like pregnancy and childbirth gave me a whole new respect for how smart our bodies actually are.
But then things started to go wrong. I was suddenly having reactions to foods I had previously eaten. With every pregnancy something strange happened to it. First it was my hair going from wavy to actually curly. During my second pregnancy I fought a particularly difficult case of pneumonia which left me with asthma /reactive lungs after the fact. After my third pregnancy I was hospitalized with a particularly nasty intestinal infection and my gut hasn’t been the same since. The fourth and last time I was pregnant I became allergic to chocolate and many other foods, and also started having frequent and intense migraine headaches.
I started paying more attention to my body – how it felt and reacted to foods, sleep, exercise, and stress. The medical professional in me went into research mode, and I have spent the last ten years or so experimenting with different variables to see how my body would respond. I cut out gluten and felt quite a bit better. Less joint swelling, clear head, clearer skin. Next was dairy. Better digestion, more energy, and it totally got rid of my postnasal drip!
I started practicing more consistent yoga and adding in meditation, became a Reiki Practit, and started working with essential oils, massage, and acupuncture. I also began studying mindfulness, resilience and the power of the mind/body connection both in creating disease and the ability to heal. I started going through EMDR therapy and learned amazing things about the mind’s ability to compartmentalize traumatic events and the body’s ability to store emotions in our physical being.
Then came the proverbial nail in the coffin. I watched a documentary on Netflix called “What the Health” followed by “Forks Over Knives”. While I am savvy enough to understand that every filmmaker has an agenda, these films were still pivotal for me. I have seen things I can’t un-see, learned things that have informed my health and my life choices.
I am now mostly vegan. I occasionally eat eggs and rarely eat dairy, and I’ve never felt cleaner, healthier or more clear-headed than I do now. The fact is, the human body will attempt to compensate for harmful foods, substances and choices for only so long. Then it begins to change. It begins to break down. It begins to become dis-eased. Usually by the time disease hits we’ve done a lot of damage that takes a long time to undo.
I now help manage a Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation program and my job is to teach people what it takes to change their diseased bodies into healthier ones, how to manage stress and eat a healthier diet. I work every day with doctors, pharmacists, dieticians and exercise physiologists to design individualized health and exercise programs for our patients. I may not have heart or lung disease, but this is a journey that I myself am on as well. It’s a journey we are all on.
This isn’t a soap box, it’s just my story. If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s this:
You only get one body, so take care of it!
Be healthy. Be happy.