Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Giving Up Food, My Healing Journey

Have you ever been deeply passionate about something, and then had to give it up?

Pills Out Of Bottle
Photo by Ezran Kamal
It should be no shock to anyone who's read my blog that I am deeply passionate about food.  I actually looked up at some cans of BPA free coconut milk in the store and let out a deeply contented sigh at the sight of them.  Yup, I'm hooked on healthy and tasty food and I'm not ashamed to say it.

So what's all this about giving stuff up, you may ask?

About 4 1/2 years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  My doctors immediate response was to put me on a pill to balance out the need my body had.  When I asked if there was anything else I could do, exercise more, eat better, I was told a more than firm "No" and sent on my way with my drugs.

I hate being on medication.  It is a crutch for the body and a general annoyance to remember to take day after day, after day.  I hate being on medication, but compared to the alternative I found it a must.

The alternative was that I had so little energy I could barely get off of the couch each day.  I thought I was getting lazy, and was becoming ashamed of myself.

One time the doctors were working on regulating my dose when I was pregnant with my now 3 year old daughter.  I was visiting a mom's group and had to walk from the parking lot, all the way through the building, then up the stairs.  I barely made it that far.  Then I realized that I'd left something I needed in the car.  There was no way I could make it back to the car without a long rest, so a friend of mine went and got it for me.

"Having a low level of thyroid hormone affects your whole body. It can make you feel tired and weak. If hypothyroidism is not treated, it can raise your cholesterol levels and make you more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. During pregnancy, untreated hypothyroidism can harm your baby."  (source)

Symptoms of hypothyroidism can be: 

Feeling tired, weak or depressed
Dry skin and brittle nails
Not being able to stand the cold
Memory problems, or having trouble thinking clearly
Heavy or irregular menstrual periods

Basically if you've got hypothyroidism you really need to deal with it or there will be consequences. 

So back to doctors and food.  Doctors today usually have zero training when it comes to food and it's effects on the body.  At most medical schools such a class is a one coarse elective.  Bottom line doctors are generally not equipped to make recommendations on how you can get healthy with food.

Here in lies my passion, and my problems.  My problems being hypothyroidism, but also my passion for cooking and eating food, because you see the healing is in the food.  For many people just eating a diet full of healthy, quality fats, fruits and vegetables, and quality grains is enough to keep them healthy, and sometimes to even heal from various conditions.  However, when it comes to a condition that needs major healing this often isn't enough.

I'm happy, and deeply sad, to say that I am now on a 90% raw food diet in order to heal my hypothyroidism.  If this doesn't make sense to you then you should read my article called The Healing Diet for better understanding.

I fought this choice for a long time because I really like eating!  And who doesn't, right?  I mean who wants to turn in their bacon for a green salad?  The 90% instead of 100% is because I am still cooking for a husband and 3 kids, so my ability to make delicious food and not eat any of it has it's human limits.

The choice has become clear to me.  I can either be on so so medication for the rest of my life, or I can do everything I possibly can to heal my body.

This is not just about the food, although that is an extremely important part.  Here are the 5 areas that I deeply hate that I need to work on:

1) Eat as much of a raw food diet as possible.

Fruit And Veg2) Go to bed earlier to get better quality of sleep and allow for more healing time.

3) Exercise and stretch more frequently.  This builds the immune system.

4) Take a proven herbal regiment that will clean out the different systems of my body (liver, kidneys, lymph, blood, etc.) and should greatly help in the restoration of my thyroid gland.  This is going to involve swallowing large numbers of pills (herbs in capsules) 3 times a day.  Did I mention I hate swallowing pills?!

5) Get my amalgam fillings removed.  There is much said on each side of this.  Mine are mostly older and I would prefer to err on the side of caution and have them removed.  Some think this could be a real cause of my thyroid gland being suppressed.

So there is my 5 steps of misery that I am choosing to take on because I want my health fully restored. 

Ironically the getting more exercise and going to bed earlier are likely the hardest things I will deal with.

I've been doing a mostly raw food diet for about a week now and it's been hard to adjust to, but I'm getting there.  It's really hard to not be able to eat anything around me, so seeing something I shouldn't eat make me want it like crazy!  I think that will hopefully die down as I get more used to the diet.

My daily food regiment looks something like this.  All ingredients are organic as much as possible to keep toxins out while my body is being cleaned out...

Breakfast:  A fruit smoothie made with coconut water, coconut oil, spinach, and (if I can remember to add them) chia seeds.

Lunch:  Several kinds of nuts, maybe hummus or a small bit of lunch meat or raw cheese, lots of fresh vegetables (carrots, peppers, avoacdo, salad, etc.)

Snack:  Juiced vegetables and apples, nuts, or fruit.

Dinner:  A very large salad and a little bit of whatever else I made for the rest of the family.

I'm on the look out for raw food recipes if you've got one you'd like to share.  :)

You may have noticed that I'm a bit grumpy about all of this, and you're right.  My attitude is improving as I get more used to the idea of it all and keep my eyes on the prize.

Here's to getting healthier!

Natalie  :)

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