Monday, November 15, 2010

Welcome to Whole Foods, Whole Life!

Sometimes our lives take a turn we don't expect. Sometimes we have to experience the depths of darkness to truly understand light and joy. And in the moment of intense trial, I don't know how much we appreciate that. But as we push through, we can see how we are being led through those challenges to learn, to gain empathy, and to eventually have an impact on others who may have to go through similar challenges later.

I have been on a journey with my health the past year and a half that has been bumpy and rocky, but at the same time has brought much learning, growth, strength and happiness. Opportunities are unfolding that would not have been possible otherwise. Because of my experience, I have started taking courses with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I will become certified to be a holistic health counselor. I have started this blog in conjunction with my studies to impart information that I am learning and to share the vision of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, "to play a crucial role in improving the health and happiness of Americans, and through that process, create a ripple effect that transforms the world." Yes, I've always wanted to help transform the world...that's why I pursued a Master of Nonprofit Organizations degree before I had children. So now I just need to develop a nonprofit arm of my health coaching business. And voila, it will all come together :-)

To give you a sense of this journey...

I gave birth to four darling girls within less than 5 years. Yes, insane, but true. All in my 30's. And as you can imagine, it took its toll on my health, physically, as well as emotionally and spiritually. About 10 days after the birth of my 4th, I started experiencing some nausea/dizzy spells that were really concerning. After a couple of episodes I realized that it was associated with my digestion. Then started the 10 months of going from doctor to doctor, from test to test, with little to no results. I started with allopathic physicians and ended up at a holistic doctor, as well as a naturopath. They were able to provide more answers for me and their philosophies made a lot of sense to me. After a few months I was eating only a few foods, as most of them seemed to be causing reactions. Through some testing, it was indeed confirmed that I had developed a sensitivity to many, many foods. Another test that provided us with some information was a test taken by my holistic doctor for Candida (a yeast overgrowth). Digestive issues are very common when this yeast overgrowth is present.

Even though we had this information, the long and short of it is that things didn't seem to be improving. In fact they turned drastically worse by the end of the year. I had lost so much weight that it was now becoming dangerous. It was then that I met a naturopath who was able to, literally, get me on the right "path". If I ever wondered why I didn't meet her earlier in the journey, I remind myself that things happened in the exact manner that they were meant to happen for my maximum growth and learning. I hit rock-bottom and was immediately blessed to be able to start the rocky road UP. (Some weren't sure of my fate at that point.) This journey held within it some of my darkest days and I almost shudder when I think back on them. But I don't let my mind go there much, except for to be grateful that I have been able to experience so much healing in the past 11 months.

Throughout the significant learning, one learning has been key. And that is the fact that food has healing and medicinal properties and eating whole, unprocessed, organic foods can bring us to a much greater and vibrant health. I desire to help people understand how changing their diet can have such a large impact on their health, physically, as well as emotionally. How feeding their bodies with nutritious, whole foods will heal them or help prevent them from developing many chronic illnesses that are so rampant in our society today.

I recently listened to a lecture from Dr. Walter Willet who is the chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. He said that Type 2 diabetes is 92% preventable! Hear this, almost NO ONE needs to get diabetes. Heart disease is 81% preventable. And colon cancer is 71% preventable. (If you're interested, I can provide you with further details of that study.)

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is making us sick. And it truly is SAD! It does not need to be that way. I am still working on my healing, but I have come a long way. And I want to give others my hand to help them on this road of change. It is not easy, but one thing I can tell you is that it is very worth it. I hope you will continue to join me as I post information that may be of benefit to those who are interested in preventing or managing disease through diet and lifestyle!

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