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It’s a new year, filled with resolutions that most of us will only feel guilty over not keeping, so to prevent from putting myself in a situation that will only make me feel crappy, I gave up resolutions long ago. Along with resolutions, there are lots of sites sharing cheerleading-type messages of support, encouragement and cliché tips on how you can change your life. While I don’t do resolutions or cheerleading rah-rah type tips, I do believe in helping you along your journey by sharing a raw and honest account of how I overcame health issues through diet and lifestyle changes.
Three years ago I was too sick to get out of bed. I lost my job (which was really more of a career that defined my life), my 5 year old son was crying by my bed asking when I would stop being sick and I was on the verge of some very serious health conditions including heart disease and diabetes.
I was overweight, riddled with fatigue, had adrenal fatigue, was on the verge of depression and had a raging case of brain fog. I was a moody mess and I had a rampant case of Candida. Here’s what I knew: I had gluten and dairy allergies, I was intolerant to almost all grains, and my hormones and vitamin levels were all out of whack. I had been taking thyroid meds for 12 years, since being diagnosed as hypothyroid in 1998. What I didn’t know then was that I have Hashimoto’s, which is an auto-immune condition causing the body’s immune system to attack the thyroid gland. With the help of a Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist, we would correctly diagnose the Hashimoto’s and help get my health on track with food and supplement changes. The big concern was quieting my immune system so I stopped attacking my thyroid gland, which was causing many of the issues I was dealing with.
Over the last three years, I’ve worked hard to get my life back on track. I made some changes to the way I viewed life: I no longer value myself by my career path, but rather, by the person I am to the ones I love. I have a healthier outlook on life, and my stress levels are far less than I can ever remember then being. I’m taking supplements to address glandular issues and ensure my genetic deficiencies are in balance (read my post on KPU here).
Today I’ve lost weight, I’m sleeping better, my adrenals are more balanced, my hormones are better regulated, I have energy, and I’ve finally started reading again since the brain fog is (mostly) gone. I show no signs of having an auto-immune condition on my latest labs, which means I’m doing a good job of regulating my immune system flare ups. I avoid all grains, except the occasional rice and corn, and have been free of all food allergies for the last year. I’ve successfully completed a Candida cleanse which cleared up the candida and the mood swings are gone.
I share some personal stories here so that you can know that you’re not alone. I’m just a regular girl who was dealing with some very real health issues and had to look outside the typical Western medicine field to heal. I would love to help you along your healing journey, and hope my stories help you to know you’re not alone.
I have so many resources that I love to browse, especially Facebook pages including 100 Days of Real Food, Paleo Belle, Just Eat Real Food, Against All Grains, Deliciously Organic and Civilized Caveman. There are tons of other great Paleo resources, including Robb Wolf and Mark’s Daily Apple and if you’re looking for help on transition to a gluten-free life, Celiac.com is a fantastic resource, as is Kids With Food Allergies for tips on raising allergic kids.
And here are 3 quick tips that I try to keep in mind every day to help give me the discipline and drive to stay my Paleo course:
1. Be kind to yourself
2. Be aware of your limits
3. Believe in yourself
I stumbled upon the Paleo/Primal lifestyle when I tested positive for allergies to sugar, grains, gluten, dairy and some nuts. I gave up eggs and nightshades for the Auto Immune Protocol Diet, and I cheat occasionally on those to keep me sane. I never cheat on an allergic food – it’s not worth the risk of an auto-immune flare up, nor the crappy way I feel for a week afterwards.
In fact, I often think back to the old Weight Watcher’s mantra that my mom used to quote when she was forever dieting in the 80s: ‘nothing tastes as good as thin feels’.
My version? Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!
So remember, there will always be moments when you doubt yourself. When you question if you can do it – do I have the willpower to give up my sweets, booze and favorite treats? My advice is to take it all, a day at a time. Get through the first day, and then get a good nights sleep. Wake up the next day, and get through that day too. It’s easier to tackle when you break it down into manageable sizes. And remember, you’re probably going to cheat here and there, and thats ok. Don’t beat yourself up - that’s far worse than the effects of the cheating, I promise you that!
So feel free to use my mantra, which is adapted from WW anyway. Put it up on your fridge, your bathroom mirror, your desk at work… generally anywhere you need to be reminded that no food tastes better than healthy feels.
Jennifer Mansfield (301 Posts)
Hi, I'm Jen, and I launched InspiredEats after being diagnosed with several food allergies, and battling auto-immune conditions including Hashimotos, Adrenal Fatigue, Pyroluria and vitamin deficiencies. I have overcome most all conditions by following the Paleo Diet. My hope is to help so many others like me who are suffering and don't understand how to heal. That's the meaning behind my message: Eat.Heal.Thrive.
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