Friday, March 8, 2013

Starting Over

All diseases begin in the gut - Hippocrates

KeepitLuce is about to become a health and wellness blog. So, if you can handle my crazy discoveries, keep reading. Otherwise, it's about to get real in here health-wise, so be prepared!

The last two weeks have been an insane roller coaster of sickness and education for me. I reached my lowest point with ulcerative colitis, mostly due to the fact that I was instructed to take a medication incorrectly. However, for months, I have wanted to truly understand why my gut is the way it is, why MOST of us in America struggle from illness of some description and what helpful effects the drugs that are handed to us so freely actually provide.

I don't have to tell you that we're a society of instant gratification. We put bandaids on relationships and avoid seeking counsel. We work on a surface level, few of us ever achieving dreams because to admit them would be too scary God forbid we fail. And we eat to make ourselves comfortable, or uncomfortable depending on whether or not you feel you exercise enough. We believe in fast fixes and live on the edge of insecurity and breakdown.

I am more than willing to admit that some of you reading this don't live that way but, as a culture, that's what I see. I've been fighting it for a long time, but the ease of comfort food, half-hearted excercise, getting by work-wise and somehow trying to manage a house and relationships take over so much of the time. And I don't think it is ironic that this disease has brought me to my lowest point as a human to really get a hold on why I'm here and what I'm doing.

Whether you consider yourself a spiritual person or not, I think we are all aware of the pull in ourselves to be better, to live for more and in the vein of my spiritual convictions, to treat our bodies as a temple. I've been reminded of that constantly and let me tell you, I don't know about yours, but my temple is in need of some renovations.

When I was first diagnosed with this disease, I was young, couldn't fathom giving up delicious food as I was just beginning to enter the world of foodies, I was in an unhealthy relationship and for goodness sake, I was in my first year of college and my Dad had just survived a really close call with a brain tumor. Just getting through that first year of medications was enough for me. I weaned off of the meds, felt great, ate normally and was in remission for four years, attempting the Maker's Diet once or twice more along the way until this past October. Then it hit me like an eighteen wheeler heading down a Texas highway and the doctors said it was my fault for not being on a maintenance medication. Well, they were right, but I knew that if I would have stuck to a consistent diet and a more stress reduced lifestyle, I could have possibly avoided it on my own. I felt that guilt, dealt with it, started taking medications (paying for them out of pocket thanks to an Rx coverage mixup) and didn't see true healing or results.

When I sat down in my GI's office last week and he explained to me that I would get my life back if I started Remicade, I blinked twice, filled out the paperwork and went home. I didn't think I was that close to losing one of my intestines. I didn't want to start on what some call the chemo-drug, lose my hair after overuse and possibly develop heart failure or lymphoma. I sat with that information for two days by myself, hoping and praying for a different answer and went to my next appointment with a naturopath. He was more encouraging, accepting the severity of my situation and the damages prednisone has been doing to my body, but was hopeful and began me on a regimen of something like 20,000 IUs of vitamin D, a soluble vitamin B and enzymes to increase my immune system's strength, restore my adrenal glands that have been working overtime and penetrate through the bacteria that lives in my body. As I began to understand that although conventional medicine is sometimes brilliant, necessary to save lives in some situations, and the easiest fix for our ailments, I began to truly realize that all of the antibiotics and painkillers and immuno-suppressors that we throw into our bodies are just a cover up. They don't heal, they reduce the symptoms and leave our bodies starving for a real cure. They are a quick fix and they provide long lasting harmful effects. It is kind of a beautiful picture of our lives as beings, too. We have a choice as people to cover up our outward ailments OR we can truly treat them with Love and Hope and Peace. After that appointment, I resolved then to get off of the meds and made a somewhat hasty and foolish decision to do so right away, resulting in a huge flare two days later.

In those two days, I recalled a friend's suggestion to consider the GAPS lifestyle. I looked at it again, resolved to do it and continued with research. I have spent the last week in complete disarray, looking up every possible testimonial for drugs and diet and surgery, fighting depression over the state my body is in and what it will take to get it better, considering ways to taper off of my current drugs, getting G to purchase a blendtec for us, talking to friends, updating family, and trying to get my head to stop spinning from all of it. Luckily, I was able to cancel the week and be home in Delaware while G is away and my trusty Mother has been by my side the whole time helping me to unwind the confusion and make a solid plan.

Now here's what I want you to know. Good bacteria and bad bacteria live in the world, and to acquire some of the good, we usually have to deal with some of the bad. But that delicate balance we require in our gut, is crucial to our entire body. And the more I study GAPS, the more I understand the gut and brain connection and how restarting and restoring your gut can not only cure diseases like mine, it also has the ability to completely remove allergies, to aid in depression and to even help children with autism (as it was created for.)

Back to our society : we believe in low-fat, carbohydrate free living and now some are beginning to get on board with diets like Paleo/Primal as they have begun to see the value in eating whole, sustainable foods accompanied with full fat, well -sourced dairy, oils, and butters that actually aid in digesting proteins and other more complex foods, creating the healthy lining of our intestines that we need. The science of this is fascinating and I can spout off a ton of reasons why you should consider diet change even as a healthy person, but I'm going to let you do that research on your own.

However, if you feel like your brain and your gut need recharging and you are willing to take time NOW to repair the damage that has been done, let's be friends. Let's hold each other accountable. My journey with GAPS starts now. Join me if you like and if you'd rather not, keep reading my posts! They will still contain healthy, everyday recipes for a traditional American diet and may spark an interest in you to eat more whole foods, as they were intended to be.

As this post is mostly for my friends and family, thanks so much for your support. I'll love any of you who still consume white flour and you know you'll find me making cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning because I still believe there is nothing better than kneading bread for those you love. I hope to make it through this introduction diet and grow into a new, healthy lifestyle that we can all share in! Love you all.