After years of battling with my health- handfuls of medical procedures, buckets of pills, and countless pain-filled days, I discovered my way back to me. The Whole30 diet educated me on what my body needs.
The photo on the right is one-year post diet change with no significant weight loss, but clearly a change in my body. I mean, it looks as though my eyes grew! But really, my cheeks just shrunk!
A dear friend of mine, Ilyssa Herrington of Westerly Style, also suffers from long-term illness. She had found healing and management through some dietary changes- what may seem to some as impossible.
What seems impossible to me is living in pain, unable to fully enjoy life. So what if I can't eat a glazed donut on National Donut Day? I'm not stuck at home or gripping my side- I'm out hiking, traveling, and working. I'M LIVING!
Before I started my journey I read It Starts With Food by Dallas Hartwig. It helped me to understand WHAT and WHY I was doing what initially felt like torture. The cliff notes is that what we put in our bodies has an effect on our body function. In all simplicity, DUH! Right? But then why do we eat so much crap? And why do food producers put so much shit in our foods? But seriously, did you know that Cheetohs are basically pure MSG and are completely carcinogenic? Or that a lot of animals are pumped with hormones that create problems in our bodies? Or that corn basically has no nutritional value and can impair your digestion?
I have to admit that I didn't actually complete the 30 days, mine was more of a Whole21.
What I came away from my experience with was a better understanding of my body's specific needs and issues.
I am highly prone to inflammation, and I now know what foods have positive and negative affects on my body.
- do not eat at all unless willing to suffer huge amounts of pain
- black beans
- pinto beans
- avoid most of the time but ok to eat some of the time.
- nightshades: tomatoes, eggplant, green beans, garbanzo beans, peanuts...
- sugar (this is the hardest for me)
What I do eat
- vegetables, and lots of them recently we have started eating more veggie meals and I am loving how my body feels. We also reduced our red meat intake. Greens greens greens greens! Kale chips, green smoothies. Greens!
- protein- primarily chicken, turkey, and fish. Bacon every once in a while, but it's not a staple.
- fruit- we looooove fruit in our house, especially berries and as many avocados as we can when they're in season. Lately, we have also taken a huge likely to freshly squeezed juice. We even bought one of these.
- dark chocolate! Trader Joe's has the best dark chocolate for such a great price. Less sugar, more fiber.
- rice, sometimes- maybe once a week. But it is usually brown or quinoa or something within that range. I love white rice, but it just doesn't do anything good for our bodies.
- we have also recently replaced peanut butter with almond butter, and as an ex-peanut butter addict, I'm happy to report that it was not a difficult change!
Do you see how I made the DO eat list full? It is important to be encouraging to yourself. To be excited about what you CAN do/eat instead of sad over what you can't. Mind set is huge.
The biggest trick was just not replacing gluten-full carbs with gluten-free ones. Sure, I have a sandwich or cookie here or there, but bread and carby sweets are not regular visitors in our home.
After a year of these diet changes, I got myself into full remission for the first time in 14 years and never felt better!
I've also recently integrated essential oils into my diet. Did you know that lavender is anti-inflammatory?! Neither did I and it is my favorite flavor and scent! Each morning I put one drop of each digez and lemon in water, then one drop of copaiba under my tongue. They are intended to increase and strengthen digestion. I am also a huge fan of probiotics for digestion which I take in pill and kambucha form daily.
I am never going back to my old ways of curing nausea with toast and wondering why I was nauseous again the following day.
That being said, I know it's scary. I know it's hard. I caved in more times than I would like to admit. But I know you can do anything if you put your mind to it and value your health.