Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Healing Journey

So, I’m a horribly inconsistent blogger, there’s no denying it. But hopefully, now that I am done with school and have figured out the ropes to my new job of Stay At Home Mom (well, as much as I’ll ever have motherhood of 2 toddlers figured out), I will have more time for blogging! Learning to balance the needs of my children (play, naps, healthy meals, etc.) is the toughest job I’ve ever had, and the most rewarding.

Anywho, what has really been on my mind lately is healing. It’s a LONG story…and I have a life, therefore I’m going to skip to the basics and spare you the detailed journey to the present point in my life.

My daughter has suffered with severe constipation since she was about a week old. I’m talking like only pooping once every 10 to 11 days, painful kind of poops. I also suffered with painful poops and constipation my entire childhood, but it got better as I entered my twenties and ate a more varied diet. Also, since the age of 12 (maybe 11?) I have been dealing with moderate acne that sometimes would almost clear (especially in the summer time when I was outdoors a lot) and frequently flare up. Both of my children have eczema and recurring yeast diaper rashes.

As I looked for ways to heal my acne (not gonna lie, this whole “health” discovery came from my pure anger and frustration at my acne not going away, hello I’m not a teenager anymore!) I came across dietary changes as a successful way to heal acne. The more I read, the more things clicked and the more a-ha moments I had. I started remembering things from my childhood that suddenly made sense, like chronic ear infections, daily tension headaches, constipation, acne, bloating, dizziness, etc. One discovery led to another—dairy free, gluten free—until I had read enough and came to the conclusion that I had leaky gut (and had thus passed it on to my children during birth). Yikes! As sucky as it was figuring out what the heck was causing my seemingly unconnected symptoms, it was nice finally knowing what I could do about it. A way to not only heal my acne, but my daughter’s constipations and my son’s eczema?...heck yeah! Turns out, the SAD (standard American diet) diet we were consuming is basically slowly killing us (and millions of other people). Kind of like you can smoke for 30 years before lung cancer finally finishes you off, or slowly be poisoned by asbestos before dying of cancer. My first thought was great, all I have to do is change our diet. Yeahhh…changing the way you eat isn’t that easy. See, I LOVE carbs, like I used to eat 3 bowls of cereal a day, it’s my favorite food, besides cheesy bread, pizza, and ice cream. You wanna know why it’s so difficult for most people?  Because bad bacteria in your gut are sending neurotransmitters (messages) to your brain telling you to crave sugary foods and carbs because that’s what the bad bacterium eat! Tricky, huh? And let me tell you, the first 3 days of eating a 100% whole foods, grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, nut-free, egg-free diet was HELL. I wanted BREAD! In any form! It seemed like each day I would cave in and “cheat” by eating a handful of peanuts, or worse- melting honey and peanut butter in the microwave to create a yummy gooey treat. Thus I came to the realization that this strict of an elimination diet was not going to work for me. It may work for many people, and I still think it is probably the most effective and efficient, but it’s not going to work unless I adhere to it 100 percent. So, I did some more digging, and found a gut-healing diet that is more on par with my life and personality (I have NEVER been able to diet-I used to joke that’d I’d rather work out all day than have to be on a diet). It is a temporary diet, like most elimination diets are, that my family and I will be doing for 2 weeks. We then reassess the state of our gut by slowly reintroducing problem foods (dairy, gluten, eggs, etc.) to see if we have a reaction. If nothing happens, we continue with our lives eating a whole foods diet (no one should ever go back to eating the SAD way). However, if there is a reaction, we continue with the special diet for 4 more weeks, than reassess again. The book that outlines this plan is The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health, by Dr. Mullin. It’s a fascinating read, even if you don’t follow his plan.

So, even though we (read I) failed at the GAPS diet in January, we have been eating a balanced whole foods diet, with the only grain being the occasional sprouted spelt muffins (home made, of course, with no refined sugar) since then. Some improvements have occurred: the children no longer have a yeast rash and it has stayed away for over a month, Prairie is pooping daily (sometimes 3x a day), my constipation has gone away, and Jaime and I have both lost a few pounds.

Anway, the point of this post is to bring you all (if anybody actually reads this) along on the journey with me; sort of like accountability partners. I am hopeful that posting my progress on the world wide web (with pictures, eek!) will give me motivation to finish. Because if I fail, I’m not only disappointing myself, but I’d also be a liar and failure to everyone else.

My health journey really started with my second pregnancy almost 2 years ago, but I am just now truly embarking on a healthy, healing journey to not only loose weight but improve my quality of life and that of my family.

Now, time to “before” pics:
3 months postpartum with Prairie (last March): I had lost all of the baby weight and was about 163lbs.
Hips: 41.5in.
Waist: 32.8in.
Thighs: 21.27in.
February 20, 2014, about 145lbs. Can you tell that I've been working out 4 days a week for the past 2 weeks?! I'm happy with the progress and hope it continues. Now, to heal the gut and banish constipations, acne, and eczema FOREVER!
New measurements
Hips: 37.5in.
Waist: 31in.
Thighs: 20in.