I could only quit SUGAR after understanding THIS

So, here I was, faced with the news that I had developed food allergies and autoimmunity, and that I just had to live with these facts and get prepared for a  slow ride into the darkness of ever-worsening disease. Refusing to accept this descent, I dug in and researched. I was suddenly fascinated with the question: How does my body really work?

All my life I had taken for granted that my body worked well –  I had never questioned how. But, now that it seemed to be breaking down, I had to know. I believe life is to be enjoyed and savored. I now realized that to continue this way of living, I better get in touch with the mechanics of this body, because it truly is our vehicle, our vantage point.

One game changing piece of information I discovered is: we don’t actually have one brain, we have two, and if that second brain is unwell, expect chaos.

The second brain is located in the gut, and communicates with the first brain (the one in the head) by a long nerve, called the Vagus Nerve.The Vagus Nerve begins in the brain stem, and wanders throughout the ‘viscera’, or the internal organs, specifically the organs of the chest, abdomen and pelvis. This is where the term ‘visceral reaction’ comes from – referring to a feeling deep in the gut.

What exactly is the gut? The GI (gastrointestinal) Tract is a hollow tube that runs through the body, from the mouth, through the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine or colon, and out through the rectum. This is the part of our inner body that is exposed to the outside world, by the things we ingest through our mouths. The Vagus Nerve is constantly using its sensors to see what’s going on in the gut, and sending messages back to the main brain about the state of affairs.

Interesting!! The term ‘gut reaction’ has a scientific basis. Does this have any connection to autoimmunity and allergies? Oh, yeah. I had stumbled across gold with this knowledge. Let me explain.

There is a section of the GI tract that has a whole lot to do with autoimmunity and that is the small intestine. The small intestine is a tubular structure that winds back and forth, so although it is called ‘small’ it is actually quite long. This very important organ has a wall that is not very thick, and that can be delicate. Large particles are not meant to escape this wall, they are meant to be broken down into tiny molecules that our body can use as energy. Anything we can’t use, is supposed to pass into the colon from here, and be expelled.

The problem arises when the wall of our small intestine becomes compromised, because when this happens, large molecules – usually protein chains – escape the intestinal wall and are released into our bloodstream. Now our second brain is shouting out, ‘Call in the troops!’ The troops – the immune system – rev up to annihilate these intruders. When this continues to happen over time, the immune system becomes overactive. In a later post I will go into more detail about how this eventually develops into autoimmunity and food allergies.

In this post, I am shining the spotlight on an unwanted visitor in the GI tract, one that I picture like an evil octopus –  actually, a team of evil octopi – that once introduced, will hold onto the inside of your gut, happy to have found such an awesome home. This evil octopi team is called yeast – once it’s out of control, the term is candida. And quite simply, the culprit is SUGAR. Sugar will destroy the intestinal wall and cause great havoc. That’s right, yeast will destroy the intestinal wall, making it permeable so that large molecules go where they are not supposed to go. Talk about a bad gut feeling.

In my year to heal, the first thing I did in January, was to totally eliminate processed sugar in any form from my diet. Was this hard? At first, yes. And let me tell you, candida is a real bugger to defeat. It took me 9 months to finally kill this invader, and only when I was victorious in this battle, did my hives finally stop.

Step one in your year to heal: Take your sugar bowl, tell it thank you for the good times, and throw out the window. And don’t look back.

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Become the Captain of Your Destiny

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I talked about how horrible I was feeling in 2013. I haven’t yet mentioned that I actually ended up in the emergency room five times. Each time, my face and/or throat were so puffy and swollen, that my husband and I thought I was going to suffocate. Once in the emergency room, they always pumped me full of Benedryl and a steroid, and the puffiness went down. They sent me away with the advice to take Benedryl, and the diagnoses of an ‘allergic reaction’. We walked out of the emergency room – usually hours later- with the knowledge that I had experienced some sort of allergic reaction, with absolutely no idea what triggered it. This left me in constant, mild state of panic.

My doctor ordered allergy testing, and a couple of things showed up, like oatmeal (are you kidding me?? I have been eating oatmeal my whole life with no reaction, until recently, I was thinking.) Upon doing tons of research, I discovered that our immune systems are like the armed forces, and we actually have four different teams. When conventional medicine does allergy testing, they typically only test one of the teams. So, mine showed that I was just fine with gluten, but I now understand that my body was strongly reacting to gluten with an immune system team, other than the one they tested for.

Keep in mind, that I have never had a problem with food allergies. Well, they tell you that allergies can develop at any time in your life, but they don’t explain why or how. They simply arm you with an epi-pen and tell you to have it on hand at all times, and that you can always call 911. That’s great that I am equipped to handle an emergency, but I was not okay with living my life on the edge like this. I needed to know why and how this change in my body had occurred. The answer surprised me. I will share it all on this blog, over time. I will also discuss how all of this relates to auto-immunity.

The result of my year to heal, is that I no longer experience hives, and I no longer live in fear of a horrible allergic reaction. It feels like a miracle.

Even if you aren’t experiencing full blown allergic reactions, like I was, your body may be having internal issues, and sending you subtle signs, that will later degenerate into disease. Not good. Where does this leave the average person?

I believe that a steady, slow healing program is in order for many of us. We don’t need fad diets that melt the pounds away quickly, or short-term solutions to looking or feeling better. A year is a good amount of time to give yourself for the healing journey, and then the new ways will be deeply ingrained, changing your life forever – and changing the last third of your life profoundly. I believe a total body, multi-system year of healing accompanied by lifestyle changes, can eliminate future calamities such as cancer, lupus, MS and even Alzheimer’s. In this way, we become captains of our own destinies.

When we are captains of our own destinies, life takes on a whole new level of intrigue. With elevated energy levels, we can pursue the things that make life exciting. We can learn to play an instrument or plan an adventure trip, for example. If we’re just struggling to get through the day, the bonuses of life seem overwhelming, like who has energy for that? When our systems are healed, and our bodies are working properly, even our way of thinking is changed in a positive way. We actually see the world differently. What once may have made us feel uncomfortable, or even anxious, now seems exciting and doable. We are truly driving our own ship, instead of simply holding on for dear life, and letting it drive us.

In the next post, I will explain the first step I took, in my Year To Heal.

Vibrancy Is Our Birthright

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Today, I wake up in the morning, full of energy – not a burst of energy that is easily expended and depleted, but a slow-burning, steady energy that sustains me through my day.

In 2013, this was not the case. That year, every day, no matter what time I went to bed, I woke up tired. At 6 a.m. the day loomed before me like an insurmountable Everest. I remember getting my kids up and fed and bathed, and looking at the clock and thinking ‘No way – 8 am – I will never make it all the way through this day!’ And then my body would fill up with a kind of panic. Because, I literally did not feel that I could make it through the day – my energy was too low. This was not in my head, this was a physical reality.

It didn’t help that I had to take Benedryl soon after getting up, in order to calm down the angry, red hives that covered my body. The deep love I have for my children was what got me through those days, that and sheer will. I would tell myself ‘you can do this’ over and over. And I was a stay-at-home mom whose job was to cook, clean, and care for my little ones. I put everything I had into their care. If I had been forced to leave to a job where I had to drive and get ready and interact with adults, there is no way I would have made it, in a situation like that. I simply did not have enough energy.

I know a lot of women struggle with fatigue. Is this just life, just the way it is? No. I have proved otherwise by regaining my health, clarity and energy. But, it is crucial to understand that our bodies are comprised of various interconnected systems. If one of these systems goes down, or is compromised, a chain reaction ensues. Fatigue is one symptom that things are off.

Do we want to wait until we are in the doctor’s office undergoing tests, hearing bad news? Because that is the inevitable outcome of a life lived under stress, or with a diet that is taxing our system to the point that a domino effect of collapse is occurring within us, silently.

The first step is understanding how it all works. This is our health we are talking about, our very vitality. It is paramount. We can’t leave it to the professionals to understand how we work – sure we can rely on them to be the experts, but we can have a good grasp on how our own bodies work, so that we can instigate healing for ourselves. As women, we have an invaluable tool in our box, and that is intuition. Couple this tool with knowledge, and healing is accessible to us all, no matter how sick we are.

Depression – not situational sadness that is a normal part of life – but depression, that bleak feeling of hopelessness, or that life is too boring or too flat, is a symptom that our internal systems are failing. Before we have total health collapses like MS or cancer, our bodies send us subtle red flags that something is off. These include depression, fatigue, weight gain or difficulty losing or gaining weight, , loss of libido and brain fog. These symptoms are not ‘just part of life’. There are situational reasons for all of these, but if there are no explanations for these symptoms, we should not have to live with them.

It is our birthright to be vibrant. We each have something to offer this world, and this world needs us now more than ever. We were born to be bright, imaginative, energetic beings, with a zest for being alive. Anything less, and we are being short changed. Let’s not get to the last years of our life and be filled with regret. Let’s not die slow, miserable deaths as our bodies finally collapse from years of inner disease that we simply ignored.

Let this be the year we ALL choose healing!

My next post will start to dive into the mechanics of how our bodies work – a fascinating exploration into the reality within.