On almost a daily basis, I cannot help but witness the suffering that occurs around me, and how it affects not only the ones we love, but the strangers that we see as well. I am very in tune with this because it is ingrained within me to try to alleviate the suffering in others – whether they want my help or not :). But I can’t help it, sometimes I am aware of products or lifestyle changes that people can do which would make a pronounced difference in their health and happiness, and if I do notice this, I will make an effort to share my knowledge. It may not work for them, but at least they now have the knowledge to try should they want to. I challenge you to do the same… and no, I’m not talking about telling people how to run their lives, but if you have a recommendation that has worked for you, please – reach out and share… it may just be the tip they need to initiate a positive life change.
My thought is – there are many things in our life that we cannot control (natural disasters and the stock market), but there are many things we can (our generosity and taking care of our body). We cannot view ourselves as victims because there is always something we can do to create a better outcome, and it all begins with our thoughts. Our thoughts are what push us into action – for better or for worse. To put this more precisely, I see people everyday who suffer from ailments, not being able to lose weight, and experience uncontrollable emotional roller coasters – and it all feels like it is out of their control. Well, I am here to tell you, my dear, it is not. I have been there, and believe me when I say – I feel your pain. Allow me to share my story…
For 15 years I suffered with chronic fatigue, irritability, anxiety, candida, and brain fog, and many times, their multiplied effect was debilitating. I went to western doctors and tried several eastern therapies… the latter of which would alleviate my symptoms but not permanently. I knew I needed to find a way for my body to mend itself because I could not sustain these expenses indefinitely. And the western doctors… well, they either wanted to put me on a ton of drugs (no thanks) or they walked out on me because I had the audacity to try and figure it out myself. The years compounded as financial stress and intensifying illness built up. Then finally, in my search to feel better, I found an integrative medicine doctor who told me, “Your career hasn’t panned out for you because your body couldn’t take it if it did.” That was the wake up call I needed to make my health a full-time priority. And not just for me, but also for those I love – my moods spilled over onto my relationships and were being strained.
It was time for a major change.
So I threw routine out the window, slowed my life down the best I could while caring for a business and two toddlers, and launched myself into a self-exploratory journey. For the first time in my life, I made my health and well being the focus of my attention, and it was amazing. I will save my mental journey for another time, but instead I would like to relay what I discovered to be the best medicine for my physical body and my moods. And I can tell you – it is not the impossible diets (the candida one was the worst!) or drugs, nor exercising like a mad woman. I almost felt silly when I discovered the one thing that finally worked, and it was right in front of me. We know this, we’ve heard this from time to time, and it is…
A diet of mostly organic fruits and vegetables, preferably raw.
I’m talking a complete switch in your diet. The goal is to cut out GMOs, gluten, sugar, and dairy, and concentrate your food choices to organic fruits and veggies, as well as wild fish and organic meats (‘natural’ isn’t regulated so seek out Certified Organic labels). I have experimented with this diet to find the right combination for me, and what I can tell you is Listen To Your Body throughout this process. We have lost the ability to sense how different foods make us feel. Once you clear out all other foods for two weeks and get back to the basics of eating simply, you will discover that once you introduce other foods, you will have regained the immediate ability to decipher which foods you are sensitive, intolerant or allergic. Just think – your body could be in a constant state of inflammation because you keep feeding it what it literally cannot stomach… this will only continue to exacerbate your symptoms.
Play around with the foods that make you feel good and try to eliminate the ones that cause you unease – it is a personal process and one that is eye-opening to say the least. I found what works for me is to eat veggie and fruit smoothies and juices for breakfast and lunch, then a more diverse but equally nutritious meal with my family for dinner, i.e. organic chicken and rice, sushi, fish tacos on gluten-free tortillas (coconut-based Paleo Wraps are super good). This way I don’t deprive myself, which, as we know, will only cause us to jump ship and return to old, bad habits. Find your own balance, what works for you – but make it a permanent lifestyle change, not a temporary diet. Just wait… you’ll see the difference, and it doesn’t take too long to feel it’s positive effects.
The great thing is: there are so many wonderful new foods that speak to this lifestyle – chickpea chips (no corn or wheat), delicious cold-pressed juices readily available, gluten-free just about anything… it’s a marvel at how our food products have evolved in recent years, and it is no accident – more and more people are suffering from the same ailments and food suppliers have adjusted to provide more choices. Seek them out – they are there and their foods are wonderfully delicious. I promise!
You may be wondering how I came upon such a diet. Well, I first read The China Study a few years ago, where Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Thomas Campbell spoke about the scientific studies they created which proved that switching to a vegetarian diet (or better yet, going vegan) could reverse many western conditions, including heart disease and cancer. Although I appreciated the book, it did not propel me to make an extreme change at that time in my life.
Then, a few months ago, my condition worsened when my strict 6 week candida diet failed me – I felt hopelessly desperate and utterly deflated. It was then that I happened upon a book called Medical Medium. Without having anything to lose, I bought it and was intrigued by the common sense it showed about the natural medicine in food and our body’s ability to heal and cure itself if given the right nutrition. Just think, you can actually cure yourself naturally and it is located right in the garden of your own backyard… what a concept.
Without anything to lose, I tried his strict 28-day cleanse (ok, not all 28 days of them… um, maybe half) and I couldn’t believe after three days how much better I felt. My symptoms finally started to clear and without any large herxheimer reaction (definition: bacteria die-off which creates a negative reaction within the body as toxins are expelled). I received compliments about how my skin was glowing and how naturally happy I was – and it’s because, I can finally say I was. And this was a huge accomplishment for me because I seriously felt like I had a frown permanently imbedded on my face for the past 6 years; I could not unchisel it no matter what I tried.
Since I started this lifestyle change, I have read a lot about the topic and why it is working – it all makes so much sense. Of course! Our food supply is loaded with toxins, toxins that our body cannot digest. When it is indigestible, guess where it goes? Yep, it sticks around, eventually breaks through your intestinal lining and begins to cause what is now known as leaky gut. And from there, it permeates every part of you – it finds the weak links in your chain, then transforms itself into an array of health problems in those area, ie acne, joint pain, sinus infections, etc. No wonder why the doctors do not know how to cure it; their pharmaceutical drugs cannot do anything to stop it and besides, they only work to maintain the problem- not cure it. Not only that, drugs only exacerbates the problem because they treat individual symptoms and not the root cause. Many of you probably take a host of drugs and unfortunately each drug has adverse side effects, and once they are put together, their effects are negatively compounded. And so, to put it visually, each pill is like a mini gas tank spraying dangerous heat on the fire. Your body is in a constant state of emergency.
I understand eating organic is expensive, but when you consider the cost of doctor visits and drugs, as well as the toll it takes on your body and moods, this is by far the cheaper way to go. And I also know that it is time-consuming… all that cutting, chopping, and peeling – I definitely spend more time in the kitchen then ever before. But consider this – how much time do you spend browsing the Internet or watching TV? I have learned to modify my habits to account for the added time I need to prepare foods, and it comes with the added bonus that I spend more time with my girls – showing them different recipes and how to prepare good foods. And, of course, they, too, receive the added perk of eating more nutritiously as well. Now they love gluten-free cereals, fruit smoothies, coconut milk, organic baked vegetables with fresh lemon, et la… and honestly, they haven’t even noticed the difference because I am not depriving them – organic just tastes better.
I noticed I have also become a better role model for my girls – they witness the food choices I make, how eating good is a priority in my life, how my body is in better shape, and how much more energy I have to play with them. The side effect is a better relationship with my girls, my friends, my family, and myself…
I used to live in a dark cloud for most of the time, a cloud I could not shake, which consumed most of my hope and joy. But now, my moods have become more consistent – I am happier, more present, more patient, and calmer, which does all of us good. I find the only time the dark cloud blows in is when I stray from my new eating regime. When this happens, it is an affirmation that my new diet works and that I need to refocus to get back on track once again. All you can do is your best, and do it without judgment or criticism when you slip up.
The decision is clear for me – I work hard to feel better so it is not worth it for me to eat processed fare or food with wheat, sugar and GMO, all which only makes me feel sick. I feel fortunate that my path has lead me find the antidote to feel better… I have been where you are, and it is miserable. Life can be better, you can be healthier, and you can be happier. And you deserve to be. So trust me when I say – please try to make an effort to eat as good as possible. Along your journey, add in a healthy dose of meditation, exercise, and “I like myself” talk, and I assure you you’ll quickly be on your way to looking more beautiful, feeling amazing, losing pounds without effort and just plain ol’ silly happy.
Just try it and see for yourself… you have nothing to lose!
In support of this lifestyle change, I wanted to share with you some really exciting businesses that are working to bring healthy food and ideas to you all:
The Daily Table is a phenomenal concept. It’s aim is to take the 1/3 of our food supply which is thrown away because of blemishes or due to a nearing expiration date, and they make them accessible to people who need a discount. They are the new competition to fast food chains and they are accomplishing it by making eating healthy more affordable. Please support their efforts so they can continue their growth across the US. Here is an interesting article about the venture.
Rawfully Organic is a wonderful company started by Kristina Gabrielle Carrillo-Bucaram. She is an inspiration in what she has created – a business focused on making local organic foods both more accessible and affordable in Houston, TX. From this initial venture, she has broadened her global horizons and created cookbooks, a line of juices, a blog, and more. Read her story here.
Kimberly Snyder is a nutritionist with a goal – she works on total health from the inside out. Learn how to optimize your digestion and what authentically works to get you to peak health – without all the struggle. She also has a best selling book called The Beauty Detox Solution.
I would be amiss not to share one of my all-time favorite food goddesses: Barefoot Contessa. Chef Ina Garten is not all about organic (which, of course, you can still use!), but she is all about gourmet-ish and fairly simple recipes that are delicious and come out perfect every time. She has some super yummy baked vegetable dishes, which are in constant rotation in the McIntosh household – try her baked butternut squash, cauliflower, and broccoli. All her cookbooks are tried and true and scrumptious.
To sum it up, you may not think that nutrition is a means to bring in more love to your life, and you may even be balking at the thought of parting ways with your spicy chicken wings dipped in bread and chocolate, but I am here to tell you from my own experience, through years and years of searching for ways to feel better with less ailments, that this is the best path to better health. Take baby steps, they are easier to navigate – the road map I provided you can help to send you on your way. Turn it into an adventure… once you get started, carve your own path to find what works best for you. Just promise me you’ll keep trying and won’t give up on yourself…
Do it for your family, do it for the love of yourself and your body. You deserve to be happy and healthy, and most importantly, why not give it a shot? You have nothing to lose…
It is the intention of this site is to create more love and less hate, so in order to protect the sanctity of this forum, I ask you to respect my judgment-free zone where everyone can safely share without worry of criticism. I welcome all productive and positive contributions to this open forum, in any way you wish to accomplish this.