Lately I’ve been hearing or reading about friends, clients and family members who have mysterious illnesses. I had zero intention of sharing my journey to health, but for those of you who have been searching for answers to no avail or who have given up I want to let you know there is hope.
Here’s my story……
Over the course of our lives, we all get sick, I just seemed to get sick more than most people and always chalked it up to the flu, food poisoning, or stress, but in 2013 when I went from being sick once a month to every few weeks to every week to almost daily I knew something was really wrong with me.
Looking back there were many times my body let me know I was sick, like the time I blacked out in the food store or slept on my bathroom floor for 3 days, which was followed by being bedridden for weeks (Thank God for my amazing husband who took care of me during that time). When that episode happened in 2010 I actually went to my doctor and another doctor and another doctor, but nobody could figure out what was wrong with me. Eventually, I felt better and stopped searching for an answer, but in 2013 I could no longer deny that I was sick and it wasn’t the flu.
Based on my experience with doctors years prior I had zero desire to become a pin cushion again or pay to hear “nothing is wrong with you,” but this time around I had to find out what was wrong. Well, not to my surprise after visiting countless doctors and spending thousands of dollars over the course of a month I heard those dreaded words “nothing is wrong with you” and was handed a stack of prescriptions for my symptoms, which most days were equivalent to having food poisoning.
I literally thought I was going crazy because something was wrong with me, but medical professionals were saying I was fine because they couldn’t find anything wrong. I started googling my symptoms, which in itself will make you crazy. I stopped eating gluten for a few days but didn’t feel any different. I was willing to try anything and this time around I wasn’t going to give up until I had an answer.
My next stop was a Nutritionist, who turned out to be my savior, my hero! She traveled down the same path as I did knew exactly what I was going through and within a month found out what was wrong with me. I had HEAVY METAL POISONING!
Initially, I was filled with excitement because I FINALLY had an answer, but then I had a hard time wrapping my brain around heavy metal poisoning and understanding how it could make me so sick.
Come to find out I’ve been sick almost my entire life, my first dose of metal was most likely given to me by my mother during pregnancy, which she can probably thank my Grandma for her dose who can probably thank my Great Grandma for her dose and so on. Then throughout my life my body collected metals from the environment, food, water, make-up, personal care products, and over time certain metals built up in my body and made me really sick. (Ever have dental fillings or a flu shot with mercury?).
So now what?
The first step was to heal my gut, which if I had to guess 75% of American’s have a leaky or unhealthy gut, so I started eating organic, free-range, grass-fed foods as much as possible and removed grains, added sugar, and processed food from my diet. I also started reading labels, holy cow refined sugar is in EVERYTHING. In addition, I take A LOT of vitamins and supplements to the tune of 20-30 pills a day.
Eventually, my gut was healthy enough to start heavy metal detox through a form of chelation, which is a VERY long process, but each passing day I feel better. In fact, on my good days I feel better than I ever have in my life, which just goes to show I’ve been unhealthy for decades and never knew it.
While being sick absolutely sucks I really feel like it was a blessing in disguise because my family has become so healthy. Regular doctor’s visits are non-existent, my husband lost 20lbs. without trying and my boys no longer complain about stomach aches unless they stray. Plus, the food we eat is amazing, better than anything I’ve ever had at a restaurant.
I was hesitant to share my story, but I really want people who are hopeless and in the same or similar situation that I was in know there is hope. It may take weeks, months, years, decades, and countless people in the health industry to get answers, but they are out there, so do not give up.
I often think back to when I gave up in 2010 and wish I hadn’t because I’d be so much healthier by now and so would my family, but I’m trying not to dwell on the past and be thankful for my future.
I wanted to end this by sharing a list of things I’ve learned so far on my journey to health:
- We have to take charge of our own health, we shouldn’t settle for a stack of prescriptions.
- Our bodies are incredible machines that can heal so many things if we give them the right fuel.
- Heartburn, acid reflex, IBS, depression, etc. are NOT normal, it’s your body’s way of saying something is wrong, so don’t cover it up with prescriptions.
- There is no quick fix or miracle pill for better health or weight loss.
- “Diets” are not one size fits all. While I don’t eat grains or refined sugar I do eat dairy and meat, which works for me, but it may not work for everyone.
- There is a time and place for counting calories. I personally don’t count calories, but I see people around me who are trying to get healthy or lose weight and skip lunch so they can have a piece of cake after dinner. My advice to these folks is stop counting calories and start counting chemicals and sugar.
- Our bodies burn sugar or fat, so if we don’t eat sugar our bodies will start burning fat.
- Removing grains from my diet has significantly reduced my inflammation, which in turn has helped with my joint problems. On a pain scale of 1-10 I use to be at a 6-7 on a daily basis and I’m now at a 3, sometimes even a 2.
- I was LAZY and full of excuses. I use to blame my lack of exercise on my joint issues or not having enough time. I still don’t “exercise,” but I did start making time to ride my bike 3-6 times a week to improve my health and clear my mind. Within a month I ended up losing 2 pounds of fat without losing weight, which was a bonus.
- A lot of vitamins and supplements are packed with junk like sugar, grains, and chemicals.
- Eating healthy is NOT more expensive! Our monthly food bill has gone down significantly. The initial expense to clear my pantry hit my wallet hard, but within 2 months I was saving hundreds of dollars.
- Prepping and planning meals SUCKS, but it’s one of the keys to saving money, time, and sanity.
- Antibiotics not only kill your bad bacteria but also your good, which explains why I’d constantly get sick a few weeks after taking antibiotics because my bad bacteria came back faster than the good.
- Kids will eventually get on board with healthy eating. I told my nutritionist there was no way my 12 year old would give up Gatorade, uncrustables, mac n’ cheese, or chicken nuggets, but he did. Not only does he read labels he refuses to eat any type of fast food and pretty much eats like me now. Today his lunch consisted of a grilled chicken ceasar salad (homemade ceasar dressing and chicken marinated/grilled in homemade italian dressing), hard-boiled egg, banana, and organic apple juice, all of these items were chosen by him. My oldest son usually eats a grain-free sandwich wrap and takes some type of fruit, also his choice.
- Educating yourself and your family will go along way. Knowing what you’re putting in and on your body and your family’s bodies is extremely important. There are days I feel like I should have won an award for being the worst mother. My kids never asked to go to McDonald’s or for Gatorade, I took them there or bought it for them. I’m the one who taught them their unhealthy eating habits, I was the reason they were sick and had stomach aches and it breaks my heart to know that I did that to them.
- The days of running out the door or going on vacation without a food plan don’t exist. I’ve only been out to eat 4 times this year and it’s been a struggle because I’m nervous about what’s in the food plus my husband and I cook better than what they have to offer, but it’s been getting easier. However I turned into that person I hated serving as a waitress, the one who asks a million questions, but I want to know what I’m eating and I quickly learned I can’t assume just because I’m at a “fancy” restaurant that everything is healthy and made in house because it’s not.
- Most days I want to throw in the towel because I hate cooking and feel like a short-order cook, but keeping my family healthy gives me the motivation I need.
Last but not least…..
- When you purchase a new mattress you need to let it “off-gas.” I learned this the hard way, I didn’t realize all of the chemicals in my new mattress were being absorbed into my body as I slept and they made me sick. Of course, after a short conversation with my Nutritionist she figured out why I was getting so sick again and sure enough within a few days of removing my mattress from the house I felt better.
If you have questions about my journey to health or need help with yours I’m here for you! Having a support system is one of the keys to my success, without my Nutritionist, friends, and family I would not be where I am today.