Food Detoxing

Medication and illness don_t own me anymore. I own my life. And my life is spectacular!

This week’s post is kind of off topic from what I usually post about, which is either the writing life or striving to live a life of love and grace. But it’s a topic that has made such an enormous difference in my life that I have to share.

Feed Detoxing.

From as far back as I can remember—from the time I was 23-years-old, to be exact, but we won’t say how many years ago that was—I’ve battled anxiety and panic attacks after a traumatic event. Shortly after that I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, living daily with pain. Some days were much better than others. I was on a number of SSRI’s throughout the years, discovering that they were also prescribed for fibromyalgia, exchanging the side effects for being able to live a functional life. I was also on a pain medication for “my” fibromyalgia.

As the years progressed, I also battled hypoglycemia, sometimes having spells so severe I was near fainting. Add to that IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), typical of someone with anxiety and/or fibromyalgia, and I was living a cautious life of what I could and couldn’t do, where I could and couldn’t go.

Finally, I got fed up with the pharmaceutical industry and my need for a drug to help me live this gift of a life I’ve been given. I wanted to live it fully and completely, without abandon, without worry, which you can imagine is difficult when you have GAD. (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)

Just another label I was determined to kick to the curb.

No Labels!I’d decided to no longer own these diagnoses by calling them my anxiety, my fibromyalgia, my IBS, etc. They weren’t mine at all, and I was done telling myself they were or allowing the medical profession to lead me to believe this.

Please note, I’m not saying medication for illnesses, mental or physical, is a bad thing. Sometimes medication is necessary. But I think it has become a crutch, a way of making life easier rather than better. Easier and better are not synonymous.

I’d done some research on nutrition and made the decision to use food as medicine.  Two 90-minute sessions with a nutritionist changed my life in unimaginable ways. She taught me what foods aggravate the conditions that plagued me and which helped. She looked at my blood panel and showed me what supplements my body was lacking, further aggravating the conditions.

For three weeks I was to cut out all gluten, all dairy, all processed foods, all sugar, and coffee, eating only clean, whole foods. It was a complete change from the way I’d been eating and took some getting used to. Sugar was by far the most difficult. It felt like I was an addict craving my fix. Sadly, that wasn’t far from the truth.

I was given a specific regime of supplements to take, among them magnesium citrate, 3000 mg daily of fish oil, 5HTP, zinc, methylated B-12, L-Glutamine, and digestive enzymes. Since I’m not a big meat eater, she suggested a plant-based protein drink as well, since dairy was out.

Fully committed, I stopped off at the health food store on my way home from the first session and purchased what I needed to get started. (I had already begun weaning myself off of my pain medication and SSRI weeks in advance.) During those three weeks of abstinence from all of the possible trigger foods,  the pain and anxiety all but disappeared.

I’d never felt better in my life!

After three weeks was up, I began re-introducing each of the potential trigger foods I cut out at the beginning of this plan, one at a time, to see which affected the symptoms of each condition. It took one day to see that dairy was a culprit. Pain took up residence once again. During this process of reintroducing each of the foods, I found gluten to be another culprit. I found too much sugar to just make me sluggish and not operate at my best capacity, which seemed to instigate pain.

With my new way of eating, no dairy or gluten and limited sugar, and taking my supplements, I’ve been completely off of all medication and have never felt better. I live the life I’ve always dreamed of, and since I sleep better than I have in a very long time, I now have energy that had been lacking for years. I go where I want to go, when I want to go there, and do what I want to do.

Sunrise

Another bonus? I no longer use food for comfort. When I eat, I pay attention to what each food item I’m eating is doing for my body and how it’s helping me. It’s changed my attitude about food from that of comfort to sustenance and nutrition.

Medication and illness don’t own me anymore. I own my life. And my life is spectacular!

 

Pet Therapy

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Man’s best friend.

While this may seem to be a bit off-topic from what I typically write about, it ties into well-rounded health, peace and happiness.

If you own a pet–or if a pet owns you, as is the case in my house–it’s easy to see why there are careers in pet therapy, facilitating healing through the love of animals.  Not only do animals make us happy, they can make us healthier.

Studies have shown that animals can help with depression, anxiety, fatigue, aid in the healing process and coping skills from mental health illnesses, heart disease, and even cancer.

They’re known to help and bring comfort to hospital patients, victims of crime, and military vets.

As for me personally, coming home at the end of the day to find my little Pomeranian anxiously jumping on her hind legs as I come through the door, nothing but sheer excitement to see me, brightens my mood from the most difficult day.  It can lift a fifty pound boulder right off my shoulders and crush it to a pile of silky sand at my feet.

Ninety-nine percent of the time I make it a point to come home on my lunch hour as well. Yes, to let her go outside to do her “thing,” observe and explore the back yard, and get some fresh air, but equally for a shot, my “fix” of the pure joy she brings to me.

It’s on those mental health days I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that snuggling under a blanket, good book in hand, and cuddling with Roxie, who is overjoyed with having me home, giving me kisses and unconditional love that only animals have a way of giving just perfectly, that heals and strengthens my heart and mind.

She sees me at my ugliest, physically and emotionally, and loves me anyway. Complete acceptance and forgiveness. Her enthusiasm for morning play as she bounces and buries her nose beneath the covers, burrowing her way across the bed like a groundhog, brings that first smile to my face to start my day.

In the midst of a bad day, I’ve never been able to not “turn that frown upside down” and smile when an email pops up with pictures of animals and babies.

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A heart can’t resist smiling, tensions easing, gratitude bubbling to the surface, when we see the innocence and feel the peace from such pure love. The kind of love God knows we crave.  And the kind of love that He provides through His wonderful creations, finding joy when His children are filled with joy.  Amazing God.

All is Grace.

Thankful Thursday – Every Breath of Life

Every sweet breath that fills my lungs from the moment I wake up in the morning until I wake up the next.

I’m grateful for every breath that isn’t my last.

And for the power the act of breathing holds, the benefits, the gifts, the blessings.

meditate

Meditation has taught me to be conscious of each breath that pulses life, to be mindful of the power each one holds, giving this God-given and blessed heart life.

Mindful breathing calms fear and anxiety, allows for focus on the path before us, encourages gratitude, and fuels the body with renewed energy as it fills the cells with oxygen. It’s a simple, automatic action that has the power to transform your life.

Serenity

“A lifetime is not what is between
the moments of birth and death.
A lifetime is one moment
Between my two little breaths.
The present, the here, the now,
That’s all the life I get.
I live each moment in full,
In kindness, in peace, without regret.”

Chade Meng, Taoist poet

All is Grace.