Thursday, November 4, 2010

Victories and Frustrations

It has been 11 months now on my health journey. I am down nearly 50 pounds, which is great, but it is not why I continue. I have learned much over the last 11 months about foods that can help, and foods that can hurt. I continue, because I feel better than I have ever felt in my life. I continue, because I see positive results in my family. I continue, because at least 3 members of our extended family have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. I continue, because of health issues that I thought the doctors should be able to "fix".

Good health is not the result of doctors "fixing" problems. Good health, comes from a lifetime of taking care of yourself, listening to your body, and giving your body good fuel. Good health is not convenient, and does not come out of a box or a bottle of pills. I have learned that you really have to be committed to good health. Don't get discouraged, though.

First, let me tell you that I do not count calories. I do not follow some fad diet program that has strict rules about carbs. Those programs may help you lose weight in the short run, but they are not about gaining health. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to have lost weight, but I am more thrilled about feeling great. Did I mention that I ran (well jogged really) yesterday for 20 minutes straight? I have never been able to run in my life. I know now that, as a child, I suffered from exercise induced asthma. I couldn't run, because I couldn't breathe. No one really understood what was wrong at the time, and no one could help me. Now that I understand how to train, how to breathe, and proper techniques, I am running for the first time in my life. Oh, and I'm enjoying it.

What do I do, then, you ask. I look at ingredients. There are a few ingredients that I avoid at all costs. The first one is soy. Do not take my word for it, but research soy for yourself. You will soon discover why I avoid that one. You might even find some information in my past blog posts. That is harder than it sounds, too. Go to the grocery store one day and pick up any package of food. I dare you to find one that doesn't have soy in it.

The second thing I avoid as much as possible is dairy. I do eat organic (or raw milk) yogurt. When I say I, I really mean that my goal is for my whole family to be dairy free. This is where the frustrations come in. Frustration #1 is due to the fact that my family LOVES dairy: pizza, ice cream, cereal with milk, etc. If it's made from milk, they love to eat it. Frustration #2 relates to dealing with others. It is easy to explain to others why I don't do soy, but most still aren't willing to try it for themselves. Dairy, on the other hand, has such a good marketing campaign that it is very difficult to get people to buy not having it if you are not allergic or lactose intolerant. What I tell people is to try it for a month. Then, go out and have pizza and ice cream and see what happens. Most people, however, are not willing to commit to that for even a month. Really, you would be shocked what the results would be. It does affect everyone differently, though. The benefits in our family have been different for everyone. I have stopped getting sinus headaches (a little salsa helps with that too). My husband has stopped snoring. I can tell when he slips up and eats something with dairy, because then I can't sleep due to the snoring. My son has stopped being constipated.

The most difficult part is breaking old habits. As I write this, my children are sitting here begging to go to a fast food restaurant. I think it is most difficult for my 12yo. I spent 11 1/2 years of his life, living conveniently. The first six years, I was working full time. We ate a lot of boxed microwave meals, fast food, and frozen pizza. I quit working full time, but old habits are hard to break. We continued on the same pattern for a long time. When he was 3, he started suffering from chronic ear infections. My chiropractor tried to tell me to take him off dairy. I refused. That would be too difficult. Plus, that couldn't be the answer. The doctors would fix him. I can't dwell on that and live in regret. The only thing I can do is move forward, and know that I am doing the right thing now. As you would expect, the husband is also a difficult one to convince. After 11 months, I think he is finally starting to see the light. I think he also understands a little more now the danger of diabetes. He knows that it's the right thing, just misses some of the old foods. He doesn't, however, miss the acid reflux.

The bottom line is that, after 11 months, I am more determined than ever to raise my family to be healthy, naturally. This is not intended to be medical advice. I am simply sharing my journey and what I've learned on it so far.


Steph said...

Way to go. Very proud of you! Inspirational! Ironically, the WV is un-deli! :)

Melissa said...

Awesome post! Well done!

Tiffany said...

You have reminded me that I need to get back on the health wagon. I did so well for a long time (maybe 6 to 9 months) and felt great but I have since completely and utterly fallen off the wagon and I feel like garbage. Now to get back on...I'd love to talk sometime!
BTW--I discovered that I also have a dairy allergy. I have had feet problems for 9 years and when I stay off of dairy my feet problems disappear.