I have hesitated in writing this post, because, I am in no way a doctor, I have no intention of helping someone self diagnose, etc. BUT, I wanted to share my story, somewhere, so here it is.
Some of you have been around since my running journey began, some have been here at the start of my whole food, real food journey, and watched my food choices evolve over the years. My love of a good burger and fries hasn’t changed, but that burger and fries looks a little different these days! I’ve been eating “Whole Foods” and relatively healthy for several years. Most people would have though my diet was great, and I was doing a great job of fueling my body. Maybe I was at the time, although looking back, I would tell you I always had stomach issues. Not debilitating, but I thought it was normal to feel terrible after a good meal:-). And my digestion was SLOW, uncomfortable and definitely not in the optimal category! But I had NO idea! I did however have blood tests the few times I made it to my annual physical that showed some “interesting” numbers. One being my cholesterol. It was always over 200, around 215, BUT my ratio was good and it runs in my family so I always just wrote it off to genetics.
Then we moved to Auburn, Daniel turned 4, and my hormones went CRAZY! It hurt to workout, I didn’t want to be with anyone, and yet I felt utterly alone. I decided I needed help! I had also had another physical, and my numbers were not so great. My cholesterol was about where it always was, my iron was LOW, Vitamin D LOW, and I had some funky blood counts that I was told didn’t really mean anything given I wasn’t having other symptoms.
SO, I found an AMAZING local naturopath(turned friend), and explained to her that I felt like a crazy person! She was able to help me with some supplements, and I felt like a normal person again. We talked about diet, but when I told her what we ate(it was summer, veggies were abundant:-) and comfort food doesn’t sound good in the heat:-)) we decided I was doing ok there.
Fast forward to January 2016 after India, and our hospital visits, and life’s craziness I was having some health issues that I wanted to address, and I was TIRED, all.the.time, I never would have told you I was chronically bloated, but I was. I had no drive, no motivation, I had periods of racing heartbeat, and I just didn’t feel good. I was working out, doing what you are supposed to, but my body was depleted. So I went into my naturopath, she ran some tests, and the results showed, inflammation, and not the good kind of high cholesterol to have as well as other deficiency’s. I wasn’t in immediate danger, but my numbers indicated I was at risk for developing problems later, and I could be better.
So she said the words I was TERRIFIED of, “Why don’t you try an elimination diet.” I said, “What do you mean by elimination diet? What do I have to give up?” Mind you, I pretty much was considering this already, as I had researched Paleo, the Virgin Diet, and various others, but I had quickly dismissed them because, I WAS NOT WILLING TO GIVE UP CHEESE, BREAD, AND COFFEE for any amount of time! So she gave me the list, sugar, gluten, dairy, soy(which I mostly avoided already…or so I thought!), coffee, alcohol, corn, white potato, AND anything I ate everyday, SO that added eggs, turkey meat, and some other things I probably can’t remember now. I believe my first response was, “So what CAN I eat? Like for breakfast? I can’t have eggs, or oatmeal, or gluten, so???” She recommended a vegan protein shake, or some non gluten grains like Teff(not my fave), or quinoa(which became my go to). SO I told her I was going to die without my bread and cheese, but I would try it. I am sure she was laughing at me, but she loves me so she didn’t say anything!
I went home, told Tom and probably WHINED a lot! But, of course, I LOVE food, I LOVE challenges, I LOVE to cook and I wanted to feel better! So I spent time on Pinterest, and spent some time researching food, etc. And soon I was excited to try some new recipes. I still was skeptical about breakfast! I shared my food pics on Facebook, and away I went! Turns out breakfast doesn’t have to look that much different from other meals:-). I found protein, veggies, and greens, yummy and satisfying in the morning! I kept my one cup of coffee in, because I did. And within DAYS I felt like a NEW person! I kid you not, I am pretty sure I had told Dr. Cari MANY times my digestion was fine, IT WAS NOT. Because I all of the sudden felt like you were supposed to after meals. I wasn’t sleepy immediately after eating, I didn’t feel bloated, only satiated. It was LIFE changing! And I LOVED the half an avocado I was supposed to eat daily, in fact avocado has become my cheese! AND I DON’T MISS CHEESE! (Well ok, maybe a good Humboldt Fog, or creamy Brie) but I can TOTALLY live without it! The removal bread actually was a non event and most gluten free options didn’t satisfy, so I wasn’t missing it, except when I was tired and we were busy and picking up a pizza would have been super easy!
Obviously, everyone I see daily or on a regular basis was hearing me share about this amazing journey I was on! But, most people responded with, “That’s crazy! I could NEVER do that!” I am known amongst friends as a foodie, and someone who spends more time than normal, or than most people have, researching, prepping, and cooking food, which may be partially true, but my life is busy too and I fit it in/look for quick options as well! I have tried “cheating” but it didn’t go well. I am now that person who asks a million questions at restaurants, who needs a special meal at events, etc. But if I don’t do it I pay for DAYS, so its worth the trouble. Anyway, you can probably guess that not too many people joined my elimination diet bandwagon, but some have listened and did their own gluten free elimination, or other things and have had great results:-). I don’t believe EVERYONE needs to be gluten and dairy free, but I do believe in a nutritional reset or Detox if you will is great, and that a lot of us are suffering and don’t realize it.
I couldn’t have done all my triathlon training without this shift in the way I was fueling my body, I just wouldn’t have felt good, and I would have missed many workouts due to fatigue, and tummy issues! So even though I missed my tri, I still entered my 40’s in the BEST shape of my life! I didn’t need to lose weight 18 months ago, but I apparently did need to lose some bloat and my body has settled into what I guess is it’s ideal weight, considering the scale doesn’t budge, no matter how much I eat, if I’ve overindulged in gluten free, dairy free desserts:-) or wine, or even beer or workout…And my clothes fit SO much better! I used to count calories, now I eat A LOT and I feel great!
SO why this LONG post(thanks for reading all the way through), I recently went in for my long OVERDUE physical with a traditional doctor, AND for the first time in a while(with the exception of Dr. Cari’s tests which showed everything moving in the right direction) I had COMPLETELY normal blood work! Not one level was outside of the normal range! My cholesterol…was 159!!!! Down 66 points from my “normal”! It’s been steadily dropping for the past 18 months or so, but wow that is HUGE!!! So there you have it, not only do I feel amazing! But the numbers are there to show that I have reversed my “red flag” numbers:-). I’m super excited! I am now fully gluten and dairy free, and mostly soy free (there are still a few things I eat that have it buried way in the ingredients). But most of the other things have been added back in with no problem! I do occasionally do a corn fast because, in reality corn does not do my body good, but my family loves corn chips, corn salsa, and sometimes I like a corn tortilla.
***A little less than a year ago I was introduced to Arbonne, my good friend is a consultant, and we met up for lunch. I LOVED the skincare, but was hesitant to try their nutrition. I knew it was gluten free and vegan, as well as free from GMO’s and soy, but I am naturally a skeptic, so I just thought it couldn’t be THAT good. In doing a little of my own research, I found the ingredients to be very similar to the vegan protein I was already using, so I became a little less skeptical:-)
So I tried some, maybe about 6 months ago…I was SUPER happy to have this support with my new way of life, and my now permanent(for now) way of eating. I use the products daily and recently did the actual complete detox, it was such a great reset! The shakes are yummy, and full of vegan protein, as well as other vitamins and minerals, I add in a scoop of greens, which gives me a rainbow of nutrients, and fiber along with a healthy fat, and some fruit, which makes it a yummy meal. The probiotics are SUPER powerful and have really helped me and Tom! We LOVE the energy Fizz for a non sugary, non crashing pick me up! All the products have been incorporated into our life, and we really enjoy having safe, plant based nutrition that is quick and easy, and safe for me! I have recently switched all my sports nutrition over to their Phytosport line as well I have been super happy with how it works and makes me feel, and I have had NO tummy upset, which is not the case with most sports nutrition! My kids use the hydration sticks instead of gatorade;-)
I would never tell someone not to visit their doctor, for a health issue, and this is just my experience. But, I do believe food can heal, and I have seen amazing results for others on the Arbonne Detox and healthy living program. I am SUPER passionate about helping people who need a reset, to get the support, and some safe yummy products to make the detox, or new way of looking at food, easier and enjoyable:-). I think the 30 day Detox gives people who look at me like I am crazy, and feel like they can’t do what I do, a feasible plan, with lots of support, recipes, and tricks for getting this done, amidst working full time, kids crazy schedules, school, etc. Which is so great, because I think it can help a lot of people feel better and get back on track with their health! I did this alone, but now I know I could have had support, recipes, and Energy FIZZ to help;-). And like I said I use these products regularly, for our whole family! I loved it so much I jumped on board and became a consultant! I have learned SO much about the company since February, and have fallen in love with the people and the company itself, aside from the great products! I am part of a GREAT team! I am excited to see how this opportunity to share products and this business will provide new opportunities for the ministries, God has and will put on our hearts:-)