Well, what the heck!? I am biting the bullet and starting a blog. Yep, taking the plunge to make public my everyday happenings involving the journey into true health, well-being, and happiness. There is so much to talk about, really. I live an interesting life, full of cooking, traveling, learning, nursing, hanging out with people, and of course my 3 wonderful cats: Pounce, Oliver Winston, and Nicolette. Most importantly I share my life with my amazing husband, Allen. He is the best. Truly.
You will find that I will probably talk about food… a lot. I mean, I eat all day, everyday. Always have. However, what I have put into my body hasn’t always been savvy when it comes to proper health and overall well-being, so I am going to start this blog with talking about my search for health.
I currently follow a paleo diet. Only meat, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds (98% of the time) for this girl. I would have never imagined such a lifestyle, but here is how it came about….
I grew up in the Midwest on the typical American Diet. School lunches, chocolate milk, white flour, and sugar…basically processed everything. Thank heavens my mom breastfed me… at least the first 2 years of my life were healthy! From ages 3-23 my diet was abysmal. When I was going through puberty I was a little husky, but nothing out of the ordinary. I was by no means “fat.” However, I was no picture of health. I always had to stop and catch my breath in gym class when we ran. I remember even going on hikes with my parents and feeling tired when I was 9 and 10 years old. Kids are supposed to have boundless energy, right?! Well not this girl. I watched plenty of MTV to keep me on my butt. I played sports year round, but I never was active outside of my sports time. AND HOLY CRAP COULD I EAT… I would put down an entire burrito in less than 10 minutes. I always had a clean plate. In fact, my nickname in high school was “garbage disposal” because I would finish all of my friends’ unwanted food. In high school I always felt tired and never felt like I got enough sleep. I always thought that I could feel better, but was active in sports and happy with my body and body image (despite gaining 20 lbs during my junior and senior year) so I did not take action.
College came around, and with that came the dining halls. Dining halls=processed food heaven. I never really drank in college, but I did eat and eat and eat. I was just as guilty then as I was in high school of eating copious amounts of processed foods. There was plenty of pizza, sandwiches, and chicken nuggets. I was sleeping 12 hours a night with anywhere from a 1-2 hour nap after classes. I thought it was great to take those naps. I did not know how other people got by with only 7-8 hours of sleep. That to me was an enigma. “Good for them,” I thought. By the middle of sophomore year of college, many of my clothes did not fit anymore. I thought to myself, “Hmmm that’s weird.” Can we say denial?
The walls came crumbling down around me one day when I was back home from college before my mother’s wedding. I stepped on the scale only to reveal the heaviest I had ever been. I thought, “That can’t be right.” I took off all my clothes, my ponytail, and jewelry only to reveal about the same results. NOOOOOOO!!!! How did this happen? How did I get here? Although I always had healthy body image, it didn’t change the fact that I finally realized that I was not being good my shell, and it was time for a change. It really peeved me that I had gotten to this point. Again, I was not fat by any means. However, I was on my way to getting there, and I knew that something had to give.
In 2007 I started where many people do. Weight Watchers. I thought, “Well my problem is I eat too much.” Partially true. I was eating copious amounts. So I did the online program and lost 15 lbs. Not bad. It was a start. Instead of 10 chicken nuggets, now I ate 3. A step in the right direction. In addition to smaller portions, my activity level was up as I started working for the airlines as a baggage handler. By the time my own wedding came around that summer, I was 15 lbs lighter and more toned than before since my habits changed. I was satisfied, but was looking for more…
About the beginning of 2008 I woke-up one day and decided to be vegetarian (Literally). All the years of accumulated information about factory farming just came to a head in my mind. I called my husband and told him. He was kind of surprised, but was supportive. I mean, it was “healthier” as well. No doubt I made some positive changes when I went vegetarian. I ate more fruits and veggies, but my diet was still loaded with grains. Eventually in 2009 I got really into “whole grains.” I read about how “healthy” they were, and I immediately switched from white wheat to whole. One thing I must tell you is that my entire life I have had IBS. However, when I made the changed mentioned above, it took my IBS to a whole new level (I won’t go into too many details, so don’t worry). I just attributed it to “you’re eating healthy so you’re going to fart more.” Ha.
During my four-year vegetarianism I had a six-month gig as a vegan, went back to regular vegetarian, and then in 2011 went to pescatarian. I did not feel the “optimal health” that I had been searching for. I was always bloated, farting, and cramps in every lifestyle I experimented with. I found a correlation with cow dairy and my IBS, so toward 2011 I started eating less dairy. It helped, but nothing worth oohing and awwing about.
Then in March of 2012 Allen and I did a two-week fresh juice fast. Why not? See if it helps… One thing that was a miracle was that I had no IBS symptoms during these two weeks. Praise the Almighty! But how could this be? What was the deal?
I went back to my pescatarian ways, and my IBS came back with extra wrath. I was miserable… so bloated and miserable. WHAT THE HECK.
I was desperate. I started going online to IBS forums, seeing if anyone had some insight. I saw many people had luck with a paleo diet… this was going against everything I had been holding on to as the “ideal” healthy lifestyle of being vegetarian. But I was desperate, and I decided to give it go.
One day in June 2012 I went to Chipotle. I got a chicken, rice-less and bean-less burrito bowl. I stared at it for some time. And then I ate it. And I lived. And then after two-days I had no IBS symptoms. None. And since then, I have been a happy camper.
The main culprit in my GI inflammation was wheat. I will be writing many more posts about what I have learned, gained, and lost in my most recent food journey. But this is my background story. And, now it starts…