My journey to wellness and gaining an understanding of the healing power of food has been without radical personal illness or crisis to stimulate individual change, however, without dramatic healing from obesity, cancer or injury, a subtle and gradual journey to wellness for anyone can still be an amazing, yet covert, feat.
I first became aware of nutrition in high school when my body was growing and changing rapidly during a time when my diet had changed severely due to a shift in parental households in 1983. My body screamed silently for sound nutrition while my distraught teenage eyes saw undesired height and weight gains. Combined with the general angst of youth and pressures for which I was unprepared, I developed a case of violent and daily bulimia which lasted five solid years. I made a feeble attempt to understand nutrition from the front introductory pages of The Joy of Cooking original cookbook...probably not the best resource, but it was what available.
In college I eventually overcame bulimia after working with a doctor who placed me on Prozac. The drug worked a miracle for me and freed me from the enslavement of absolute self-torture and addiction. Within the year I knew that I did not want to rely on medication to be stable, so I weaned myself off the anti-depressant. I gave myself permission to eat whatever my body craved and I subsequently gained the most weight I had ever carried....about 30 pounds more than I carry now.
Cravings to binge and purge began to creep back into my dominant thoughts which absolutely frightened me and I attempted to get placed back on Prozac which failed. I was desparate to find an alternate solution to prevent the bulimia from returning so naturally I went to the bookstore. I read about Prozac and serotonin. I learned that Vitamin B6 was a precursor to naturally produced serotonin in the body so I started self-medicating with copious amounts of B6 which helped me to feel like I was again on Prozac.
Knowing that this was not a permanent solution, I began to learn which foods were naturally abundant with Vitamin B6. This was my first real attempt to heal myself with nutriton. However, I was still smoking cigarettes (we had a 16 year love affair), drinking coffee, taking The Pill, ingesting artificial foods and drinking alcohol...all habits that leach vitamins and minerals from the body. At one point my facial complexion became so bad - a sign of such toxic overload and inefficient elimination - that I received a prescription for Accutane. It was during this time I was also fitted for prescription eyeglasses.
In my late 20's I knew that medication was not the answer and that there had to be a better way so I slowly started making changes. It wasn't until I was nearly 31 did I stop smoking. I had already stopped taking all prescription medications and regularly consumed dietary supplements. My diet was not ideal, but slowly improved over time. In 2001 I became pregnant and enjoyed nine months of the worst diet of my life. I ate and craved greasy cheeseburgers, candy bars and soda. I suffered from nausea and a tortorous case of low blood sugar. I had regular near-fainting spells while working and driving due to the weak nutritional support for a body hard at creation.
As so often happens, after the baby was born and I was now in charge of her diet, I began to look at food with very different eyes. I nursed her for 25 months which took its toll from the resources of my already compromised body. I began reading cookbooks for children's food which naturally lead to preparing these foods for the whole family: whole grain waffles, wholesome cookies, whole wheat pasta with basil pesto, freshly squeezed juice and the like. We shifted into a less-processed food diet yet we were eating from the full spectrum of foods and drink. My favorite meal came to be a grilled ribeye steak with a glass of Jack Daniels and flat Coca Cola.
When the baby was around two, I discovered the yoga community which influenced some healthier food choice awareness. When she was three and a half, I entered a massage school community which further exposed me to new and healthier food options. I opened my massage practice in 2006 and starting blogging on OneHealthyGirl.com in 2007. I am forever indebted to books, newsletters, people and classes who helped me learn the vital importance of personal food choices for wellbeing and longevity.
Today I am more fit and nourished than I've been since 1983. I've lived 29 typical years of struggling with food choices and understanding nutrition while suffering the consequences of ignorance. I've released excess weight, overcome bulimia, cleared my complexion, retired my eyeglasses and I avoid artificial and substandard foods, coffee, alcohol, soda, prescription medications and all supplements. At age 42 I am 5' 7" and roughly 130 pounds (I don't weigh myself so this is a good guess actually 129.6 - I got out the scale and weighed myself after 4 cups of matcha tea and a banana or two..good guess!) and wear a size 6. These numbers are meaningless alone and only have significance only in their relativity: at age 22 I was 5' 7", 160 pounds, wearing size 10 and ingesting three different medications and eating and drinking anything available without discretion.
I have no amazing "before and after" photos to share or miracle healings to report, only stories and knowledge from everyday living. But neither are there reports of cancer, diabetes, heart disease or obesity in this tale because personal prevention and awakening occured. I will continue to share my passion for the healing and preventive power of foods because I know this knowledge can spare pain, illness, chronic disease and unnecessary stress and expense for others. Good food can help anyone to have the body, health, and comfort that they desire.
Currently I am enjoying the benefits of eating the 80/10/10 way which has been nothing short of nutritional enlightenment for the body, mind and soul. I discovered Dr. Douglas Graham's book while recently studying for my PhD in Holistic Health and Healing with the University of Natural Health (a school of Natural Hygiene). For now, I believe it to be the pinnacle of eating ideally for the optimal health of the human body.
Be well, Carla.
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