My definition of "healthy" has definitely changed throughout the years.
I would have told you I was "healthy" as a teen but now that I look back I recall spending more time than I should have rolled in a ball on my couch rubbing my stomach (clockwise), taking a lot of Tylenol and having at least 4 cavities every time I visited the dentist. In college I also would have said I was "healthy" but I would get flu-like symptoms any time I had a drink and probably only went #2 twice a week. (TMI?) In my early twenties I used to constantly get dizzy and, since that was a symptom I really couldn't brush under the rug, I started to try and make some connections. I decided it was caffeine and switched to Sprite instead of Coke. Clearly I was super "healthy";) After becoming a massage therapist in my mid- twenties my definition of "healthy" started to change dramatically. I learned about the importance of energy and bodywork as well as how our bodies actually function. And, then the most important thing ever happened - I became a mom to three amazing girls. Suddenly I was in charge of my babies' health and it was time to step it up a notch. Their lives were in my hands.
I'd say I was doing at least a half decent job at keeping everyone mostly well until my youngest, 5 at the time, slowly started having symptoms that eventually developed into what seemed like a stomach bug - every. single. day. It was so scary and awful and I felt helpless. Thank goodness, my amazing pediatrician Dr. Mumper diagnosed her almost immediately with Celiac Disease (you are THE BEST Dr. Mumper!). What? Gluten free? What's that? We were thrown head first into the World of Food.
It took some major adjusting and education to get us off and running and after going gluten free my child did get a little better. But, not all the way better and I discovered early on that it wasn't going to be as simple as that. I became a relentless health detective - tracking all her crazy symptoms (pains, rashes, racing heart, muscle aches, fatigue, anemia, sleep anxiety, etc.) and trying to find a cause and effect for why she still didn't feel 100%. A friend gave me a fridge magnet that says, " A worried mother does better research than the FBI." So true, so true. My daughter and I became a food team and I would eat like she ate so she wouldn't feel alone. We played around with every healing diet known to man. SCD? Check. Low FODMAP? Check. GAPS diet? Check. We tweaked and tracked her progress and tweaked again and it was working! Some symptoms lessened but most disappeared completely. Unbeknownst to me, I was actually starting to feel better too. I was so laser focused on my daughter's health that it wasn't until a friend asked me about MY various complaints (clearly I complained a lot) that I even took notice of the changes. My hip pain? What hip pain? My chronic earache? What earache? Over the course of figuring out what was causing my daughter's symptoms we apparently figured out some of mine as well! It was such a subtle shift that I didn't even realize it had happened. And so it began - I couldn't deny it anymore. My brain officially latched onto the undeniable REAL connection between what goes in our mouths and how our bodies feel.
That was over 10 years ago and I'm happy to report that we are both now in a great place. Of course things crop up. There are always new symptoms to look into within the family that send me back into FBI research mode because, like every parent/wife/sibling/daughter, my family's health is the most important thing in my life. Just this last year brought on another serious health challenge when my husband was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. Yes, an enormous gut punch for sure. Again, the focus immediately became a deep dive after his diagnosis - what brought this about? What can we work on to get him back to health? We began the FBI researching into cancer 24/7. You can believe that nourishing from within is the first line of defense in our house! This story definitely deserves it's own page so I won't continue with it here - but I'm so thankful to report that with ALL the lines of defense that we employed he is currently cancer free. And, once again, diet and lifestyle have proven their powerful healing contributions to health to our family.
I've learned so much over the years and continue to learn. I know now just how critical the gut-brain connection is. I've learned that really we are mostly made up of bugs (scary but true!) - and if you don't pay attention to your various microbiomes they will bite you back - quite literally. I've learned to track, connect the dots, and stop looking for a magic pill. I've learned that the old school sayings like, "You are what you eat" and "Let the food be thy medicine" are SPOT on. I've learned that we can't just separate our body into parts and treat each organ as if it's disconnected from the rest of our body. (I have to thank my mom here for being the most amazing person ever and for also guiding me to think holistically early on.) And I'm learning that it always seems to come back to - just keep it simple. Cut through all the noise, the newest fancy diet crazes and the Facebook ads for quick fixes because they don't exist. It might just take some good old fashioned hard work, nourishment and time for your body to heal.
The health journey continues for our family but now we feel empowered. There will always be more to learn and we will make missteps along the way. But we know our health really is in OUR hands. We don't always have to be our genes. Yes, they load the gun but our diet and lifestyle pull the trigger. We CAN make changes that impact how we feel and how our health will be moving forward. It's just that simple. But only you can do the work. No one else can do it for you. I'm here to be your partner in health and personal FBI researcher. Because really....what else is more important than your (and your loved ones') physical and mental health?
So enough about my little story....
Tell me yours.