Eat, Drink, and BE HEALTHY!

 If we’re being honest, no one enjoys talking about stomach issues.

But if we are REALLY honest, we have to acknowledge they exist.  Otherwise, we could be staring down the barrel of a heavily loaded gun.

I only say this due to my own experience which seemed to drag on for an eternity.  Really it was just a year, but when you feel terrible, can’t find answers, lose weight, and start believing you’re going crazy… a year feels like an eternity and then some.

If you’re suffering with any of the following:  fatigue, insomnia, emotional instability, weight loss, digestion trouble, anxiety/stress/depression… please read on for the sake of your health.

I am NOT a doctor, this has just been my own personal experience, and none of my experience includes medication.

March 2013. 
I noticed my body was starting to react differently to food and life in general.
*** Disclaimer:  I never handled stress well and in my career, well, it kind of snowballed.  However, I have learned that while stress/anxiety MAJORLY impact your stomach and digestion, this was only a piece of the puzzle. ***
SO back in March 2013 I began attributing my slight weight loss to stress.  No big deal.  I wasn’t “The Incredible Shrinking Girl” and yeah, I could stand to lose a few pounds, especially in my stomach.

June 2013.
My inability to handle stress, and the amount of life situations going on all at once began to spiral out of control.  I wasn’t sleeping.  I was hardly eating.  I felt TERRIBLE ALL THE TIME.  Friends thought I was under stress, some even told me they thought I was just going crazy.  My family (and close friends) knew I was under stress and worked so hard with me to get a grip.  As the summer progressed, so did my downward spiral.  By July I was noticing all my clothes were hanging off of me.  Again, “just stress” I told myself.

August 2013.
I spent the weekend with my parents at a church conference in Denton, TX.  As soon as I saw my mom, I knew something was wrong.  More like, as soon as she saw me, SHE knew something was wrong.  During that weekend it became apparent my stomach was tolerating next to nothing and she began to doubt it was “just stress.”  She begged, pleaded, implored that I see a doctor.

But I didn’t have insurance.  And I wouldn’t until Labor Day.  I’d also had the summer off so I didn’t have the finances to see a physician and go through extensive testing.  Friends of my parents began offering to pay for my medical expenses after they saw/heard how concerned my parents were about my declining health and nearly 25 pound weight loss.

(At 5’4″ and 133 pounds at my heaviest — when all this started — I was never a large person.  And that 25 pound loss REALLY stood out.)

September 2013.
20 minutes after speaking with a general practitioner I was assigned a CAT scan and given a referral to a GI specialist and had so much blood drawn I was surprised I had any left.  This GI specialist, “The best of the best in the Midwest,” she promised, would get to the bottom of it all.

October 2013.
2 scopes and 2 biopsies later I was told “you’re anorexic and you need to take better care of yourself; your GI system is fine.”  I lost it.  I literally had a meltdown.  All those people who had called me crazy… they were right… and here was the medical proof.  I still struggled to maintain food, I was still losing weight, I still cried all the time, I still couldn’t sleep.  My mom was determined this was NOT just in my head, that while yes, I needed to get a grip on dealing with stress, there was still something else going on.

With her support and encouragement, I started tracking what I was eating (meager as it was) and how I felt after eating various foods.

I learned my body reacted best to fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish.  My body could NOT tolerate pasta, most carbs, processed food, dairy, sugar… So long most foods.

December 2013.
This time when my parents saw me, the reactions were much more positive.  I was still smaller than I had been a year ago, but I was much healthier and not gaunt like I had been in August.  I had SO much more energy, I was sleeping a LITTLE better, and I was becoming happier/less irritable/less emotional.

Present day….
I STAY AWAY FROM WHEAT ENTIRELY.  Otherwise, my body goes into total chaos.  I still have to be very careful about the foods I eat.  But that’s just fine with me if it keeps me from feeling and acting miserable 24/7.  While none of my blood work or biopsies or tests EVER showed Celiac’s or gluten intolerance, my own experiences have PROVEN that my body cannot handle wheat, dairy, or many other processed foods.

Sure I indulge every so often, but I do so knowing full well what the consequence will undoubtably be and I just have to brace for impact.

My story may not be yours, maybe you read this all just to think “Yup, she’s nuts!”… but I KNOW I’m not the only person who has faced this ordeal and to those who have gone/are going through it, you’re not crazy – you’re not broken – you just need to look at your diet!

What you put in it ABSOLUTELY matters!  Even if you don’t have “health issues”… be mindful of your food consumption, know what’s in your food, know where it comes from, know how it helps/hinders your body!

ALKALINE FOODS
I also learned that keeping my body as alkaline as possible (read:  non-acid pH level) also greatly affects how I feel and my ability to think during the day.  Google “alkaline foods” and you’ll see just how many foods will be your new best friend.  Promise.  Having an alkaline diet has the following benefits:

  • Improved energy levels
  • Healthier teeth & gums
  • Reduced pain & Inflammation
  • Slower aging
  • Improved immune function
  • Cancer fighting (tumors can’t survive in an alkaline environment)

If you want to read some REAL scientific ramblings on it, there has even been a small government study on the topic which you can read here.

Mmmmm!

My “go-to’s” for an alkaline diet include:

  1. drinking baking soda water (1 tablespoon to 8 ounces of water)
  2. drinking organic, raw Apple Cider Vinegar (1 tablespoon to 8 ounces of water)
  3. eating 1/2 cup of kimchi as a snack or before meals (read about the benefits here)
  4. eating as much raw fruit & vegetables as possible, at EVERY meal
  5. NO WHEAT  (I’ll talk about this more on another day…)

Like I said, I AM NOT A DOCTOR, I’m just sharing my personal experience in the hopes that anyone else suffering with these issues can find hope, health, and healing!

To life…
~Charlie

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