(I just want to disclaim that I am not a medical professional, nor dietary specialist, the following is based on my opinion and experience.)
Did you know that at the root of every illness is inflammation? I was pretty shocked to find this out, it felt like a secret I was the last one to discover. But all over the web, there are articles that are claiming that by going after inflammation, as the root cause of sickness, you can improve your over-all health.
I have struggled with many obscure health problems since I was very young, and after having kids, it seemed even harder to stay healthy. When my now 9 yr old daughter was diagnosed with Junior Onslaught Type 1 Diabetes, it pushed us to get healthier as a family. The more and more education we got grew the sense of responsibility for our own health, as well as our five children.
Last year I was desperate. I had been getting on virus after another and seemed I hadn't had a "well" day in months. It was a total relapse because I had been doing pretty good up until September of last year. So in January of this year I went on a fast seeking the answer to what was causing my body's immune system to be so weak.
I discovered the "Anti-Inflammatory Diet". There are several online, but the one I chose to try was Dr. Weil's. Take a look at the pyramid if you are interested. I am a very visual person so I don't want to read a book- I want to print out the pyramid and follow it.First let me share my symptoms pre-diet.
- All over body pain (diagnosed at age 22 as Fibromyalgia)
- Body aches that felt like I had the "Flu", but all the time
- Tension Headaches (with or without caffeine)
- Regular Sore Throats
- Regular Sinus Infections
- Abdominal Pain
- Lack of over-all energy
So I went to the hospital at one point and was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and Hormones out of balance. I got put on medication for both in November of last year. The abdominal pain went away and my energy level did increase a little bit, but not enough. The doctors said that it could take up to six weeks for my energy level to go back to normal. Well, it had been 8 weeks and I was not very much better! So thats when I took matters into my own hands.
here's what I did...
I fasted on Fruits and veges for one week, then juice for a week, then water for a week. I began adding back things into my diet according to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. I went by the Pyramid on Dr. Weil's Website very strictly for three months. During that time I was really praying about what was right for me. I felt like "wheat" was not a problem for me, as I didn't experience any changing in my body the days I tried it. I also decided meat was not for me. Even thought the diet allows organic chicken and beef, for me I didn't feel like it worked.
I want to explain, that when I started the diet, after my fast, about early February, was when my body changed. So I can not say it was not totally attributed to the fast. However, I didn't lose weight during my fast or feel better. I felt worse. My body ached, I had bad headaches, I just pressed through. The first week of being on the diet though, my pain decreased 75%. Yes, that is right, my pain went down significantly within days!
In two months, I lost (not trying) the last 15 pound of my baby weight that just would never come off. By April, I had so much energy I felt ten years younger. I have felt so good ever since. In fact, I just had a head cold last week that was my first viral sickness since April compared to two-three colds/flus per month!
My physical and emotional energy is actually higher than it has been since before I had kids. I feel like I am at the prime of my life again.
here's what i learned...
- Corn is evil. Stay away from all corn products and bi-products. This is Corn Syrup, Corn Oil, Corn Starch, and the dreaded High Fructose Corn Syrup. This is hard for me as Sour Gummy Worms are my favorite, and every now and then, no big deal, but corn is mutated and not a real vegetable. So take that and modify it some more, you get the picture. I highly encourage you to research it. For me, Corn was the secret to my immune system kicking into gear. When the corn went out, I was able to fight sickness quicker and my energy and metabolism increased dramatically.
- Sugar hurts. We all know sugar is bad, but when I cut it out in conjunction with corn, my body pain left. I mean left.
- Soy, ah. I'm really going to miss you, soy. I loved soy milk and soy products like boca- burgers and such, but every time I ate them I felt so sick after wards. My tummy bloated up and I felt like I was getting the flu. Maybe I have a personal allergy to soy, but it is a "no-no" on the diet as a leading cause for inflammation.
- Dairy slows me down. When I add dairy back into my diet, I feel like I'm dragging in the mud! Not to mention my sore throats and mucus returns with a vengeance. I am pretty convinced that dairy is the cause of my throat problems and sinus problems. I use to be an avid yogurt eater, I miss yogurt, but I like singing more than eating yogurt :) (*If you struggle with Allergies and mucus problems, may I also suggest trying ALJ - by Nature's Sunshine, talk to your local Natural Food store for recommendations - but DO NOT take if you are nursing.)
- Meat also slows me down. You are suppose to feel energized after you eat protein, but meat never makes me feel 'good'. So I just do the wild fish on the diet and that works for me. I have also done some organic eggs here and there without any problems.
My whole family is pretty much off dairy now, and they only eat Poultry and Fish. We have removed all products from the house that contain Soy and Corn. So as a family we are trying to go after being Dairy, Corn, and Soy Free. Sugar here and there and meat some exceptions, but the main three bad guys for my immune system seem to have been targeted.
You may be wondering about the medications... well on the diet you need a lot of Omega -3, so I did add a daily Omega 3 Fish Oil tab as well as Enzymes and Pro-biotics to my regiment. In picking out my vitamins I noticed corn and whey in the vitamins!! Ahh! So I had to buy my vitamins at the Natural Food Store. I also found out my Thyroid Medication had whey in it!! So I went off of it and started a natural homeopathic for Thyroid. Contact me if you are interested in Thyroid info. But just so you know, I have been off the medication since April and I feel great! No side effects. So I was very enthusiastic to share that when you target the Inflammation it takes care of a multitude of problems!