In my own personal experience, I discovered that what I consume really does matter, especially if it's a consistent pattern. Four years ago, I came to the conclusion that something had to change or else my health would suffer the long-term consequences. Was my wellness important enough for me to change my eating habits? Could I increase my overall quality of life (physically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually) if I eliminated specific ingredients from my diet?
Truth be told, the #1 reason I made radical changes with nutrition is because I had suffered greatly and became desperate for restoration. It was April 2011 when I noticed red sores inside my mouth. At first I thought it was ulcers from eating spicy foods. What caught my attention was a few weeks later when a few sores turned into a mouthful of twenty red, inflamed sores covering the inside of my gums, lips, and tongue.
The physical pain was so intense that I couldn't eat, drink, talk, or sleep. Of course, I tried every natural remedy that I could come up with, but this stubborn condition was relentless. Long story short, the excruciating pain took my life hostage. I was home bound for six dreadful weeks and could not function.
At one point, I sought professional help with my oral surgeon who claimed this condition was brought on by stress. SAY WHAT!? In reality, stress had never involved this much physical pain to the degree of causing me a disability. Therefore, I knew there had to be another explanation, which set me on an extensive search for real answers.
Ironically, at the exact same time I encountered severe symptoms, including digestive distress, bloating, backaches, insomnia, urinary frequency, urinary urgency, bladder spasms, pelvic pain, anxiety, depression, brain fog, joint pain, constipation, and my fibromyalgia flared to a whole new level. I cried out to God. I begged for a healing. I prayed for Him to give me wisdom. Each day was a battle to survive and I was holding onto a shred of hope.
My answer to prayer came in the way of Facebook. No joke! God sure does work in mysterious ways. In complete desperation, I listed my agonizing symptoms in a post. I asked if anyone knew what could be at the root of this condition. Looking back, I do not recall who it was that mentioned Celiac Disease, but I do remember a few people saying that my symptoms sounded like a gluten sensitivity.
Prior to this, I had never heard about Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance. I had no idea what it involved, but this led me to educate myself about it. One by one, I gained new insight into this auto-immune disease. While it was extremely helpful to become more knowledgeable about it, my lack of health insurance prevented me from getting tested.
Without a diagnosis, my next best option was to simply clean up my diet and go gluten-free. Although this may sound simple, it was quite challenging, due to everything imaginable containing gluten. To my surprise, I discovered that the inside of an envelope in which you lick to close it does contain gluten. Also, gluten is contained in medication, beauty products, toothpaste, condiments, beverages, and most foods that I ate on a daily basis.
When you consider gluten, think of it as glue, which has a sticky consistency, such as with dough to make bread or pizza. In this post, I will not go into the medical or scientific background of gluten or Celiac Disease. My main point is that hidden ingredients (wheat, oats, rye, and barley) were wrecking havoc in my physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual health.
In order for me to regain my health, it required these steps:
1) Look outside the box.
2) Do thorough research.
3) Educate myself about ingredients and how it impacts health.
4) Become my own wellness advocate.
5) Take the first step of action to clean up my diet.
6) Lean on God and my faith to be restored.
I am not suggesting you go gluten-free or radically change your diet. What I am saying is that only you can determine what necessary steps of action may lead you to improved wellness. The choice is yours. Nobody can make it for you. It is up to each individual to decide for themselves how much their health is worth. In my own experience, I believe we can not put a price tag on vibrant health. There is no amount of money that can replace wellness.
For those who are interested in making positive changes in their diet, here are some ingredients to consider. Please do your own research and learn as much as you can about how each one may impact your health for better or worse.
1) Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
2) Artificial Sweeteners
4) Monosodium Glutatmate (MSG)
5) Artificial Flavors & Colors
6) Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
7) Gluten (wheat, rye, oats, barley)
Our nation overeats. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), more than 78.6 million of U.S. adults are obese. We put toxic fake foods into our bodies, but wonder why we are sick. We continue a vicious cycle of consuming the wrong ingredients along with having a stressful lifestyle, yet question why cancer is so rampant in our nation. Most of our society lives in fear and believes they have no control.
My positive message is that we do have control. We need to take back ownership of our bodies and minds. Do not blindly eat something without first checking the ingredients to see if there are potential side effects or long-term damage. Be conscious of what you are consuming before you go to the grocery store or dine out.
Most importantly, take the initiative to gain more knowledge because it will empower you. Understand your options so you may be in a better position to make an informed choice. Ultimately, our choices in nutrition can greatly impact our lives so we may not merely survive, but thrive.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The information on my blog are based on my own personal experiences, my own opinions, and facts that I gathered during extensive research. It is not to substitute medical advice of physicians. It shall not take the place of a medical evaluation, diagnosis and/or treatment, nor is it intended to prevent or cure you from a disease or disorder.