January 2011 - my month to break down old habits and patterns. I've come so far over the past 4 months that the only place to look is UP, and I've decided that it's time for me to thrive. I'm jumping in with my whole heart and soul. Here's a recap on what I've been through in the past 2 months, and why I've started my January "detox" plan.
Back to October
Since my last updated health post, I've forged ahead - but not as diligently as I should have. At the end of October I went to California again for 3 weeks. During that time I was extremely fortunate to have access to the healing foods I needed. My good friend Deb cooked free range bison, bone broth (you can find her recipe here), and eggs for me, plus I had access to fresh raw milk, colostrum, butter, and yogurt, which I consumed daily. It was soooo nice to be able to purchase these nourishing raw dairy products because in Canada they are not sold in stores (except raw cheese). In addition to all that I required for my therapeutic diet, I indulged in plenty of sugary goodies - raw and cooked vegan treats. I stayed away from cacao (victory!), but yeah, I was eating too much sugar.
Sugar Coated Confusion
Upon returning home I tried to get back to a lower sugar diet, and experimented with using stevia in dessert recipes in conjunction with coconut (crystals, nectar, and dried). I got into using a LOT of stevia and was proud of myself for using this "zero calorie, zero glycemic index, and zero carb" sweetener. In fact, for a month or so I was going crazy dumping droppers of stevia into my medicinal and herbal teas all day long, thinking it was acceptable. I didn't realize it at the time, but having this sweet taste in my mouth around the clock was triggering my sugar sensitivity and addiction big time.
Here's what my homeopath, Denyse, explained "our focus for you was to bust up the addiction to sugar, and forms of the taste of extreme sweet like stevia, xylitol, honey, grains, all have trigger sites on the cell that are similar in the pattern of addiction as to other addictive substances...its not that stevia and xylitol is bad, one day you will be able to play with these again, its that the trigger for sweet pulls you into a cycle of wanting more, because they are natural it gives the illusion of being "natural and okay", and keeps you in the cycle of craving, desiring, and manifesting the symptoms of sugar (or sweet) addiction."
Despite the fact that I was eating sugar, my overall health remained greatly improved. By November my strength and energy had returned, my digestion and elimination were great, zero headaches, zero menstrual cramps, my mood was much more balanced, a healthy outlook on life returned, and my skin cleared up except for a persistent rash around my mouth that had been developing for a while. Denyse explained that it was a sign of my digestive system rebalancing and that a rash would naturally manifest itself at one or both (getting a rash on my tushy was a possibility too, but fortunately that didn't happen to me) ends of the "digestive tube". In addition, for the first time since being a vegan, my body started warming up! Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have been extremely cold for as long as I can remember.
I continued eating animal products, taking specific homeopathic remedies which have changed regularly and are very specific to each individual (so I will not be giving names of what I am taking - one person's remedy is another's poison), supplementation, and energetic healing work by my friend Pam. In these regards I was doing well.
Pushing Past Fears
I admit, there have been times in the past few months where I've questioned everything. "Is this the right direction? Can I follow through? Do I really have to chew my way through all this meat? Is this weight gain normal?!" It brought me to tears at times, and support became crucial. My mom has been instrumental in helping me see that I am a new person as a result of all the changes I've made, and has encouraged me to persevere. Talks with Denyse always helped to set me straight too. On a particularly rough day she listened to my frustrations and once again explained how "the body is till going through its rebalancing stages. Some water retention is natural, flush it with lots of water and take X remedy." Then she said something that really struck me "Sometimes you have to go back to the low place you were at, to see how far you've progressed". That was my "ah ha" moment where I knew I couldn't turn back. It was NOT an option to go back to the physical pain, depression, high anxiety, crazy mood swings, and thoughts of suicide that I had endured only months ago.
The Weight Debate
An approximate 10 pound weight gain has frustrated me to no end, but then again it's not surprising with all the dietary changes. In the summer I effortlessly lost some weight, and was starting to be pleased with where my body was at, even though I felt far from "perfect" (time to drop the idea of perfection!? Uh yeah).
I went from Diet #1: lots of cacao, spirulina salads, fruit, and nuts (although I had whittled down my nut intake greatly in the summer), to Diet # 2: meat, fish, vegetables (cooked/raw), yams/squash, dairy, and eggs in addition to the salads, nuts, and fruit.
So now my body feels too big and I feel self conscious, but I'm working on getting over my issues around my weight and understand that things will balance out. After all, my metabolism was sluggish and I'm still working to rebalance. What's interesting is that even though I've gotten bigger overall, I think it's a combination of muscle and fat, not just the latter as I thought at first. I can feel the muscles (particularly in my legs) being tighter - and it's certainly true that I'm stronger. I'm back to the full power yoga routines I was doing before getting sick, and then some. I'm also teaching yoga again.
Building My Blood
In the middle of December I got some updated blood work done. Denyse wanted to see where my numbers were at, and how she needed to adjust my homeopathic remedies. She was thrilled at the progress I had made! My iron is still a little low, but everything is back to where it should be. Now we are working to cleanse my liver, bring my iron to normal, continue to rebalance my digestive system, and clean the candida from my body.
One Last Culprit
In the past month a bit of fatigue has came back. Growing anxiety also started creeping in, and my body went through uncomfortable puffy/water retention spells which were annoying and made me feel even bigger. I finally realized the culprit... Slowly my sugar intake grew, and I was consuming too much once again. Much less than I did in the past, but more than I should have been eating nonetheless, and I had the feeling it was stressing my body. Denyse said it was time to let go of the sugar completely for a while because it was having the same effect that the cacao had on me.
Cacao Free/Sugar Free Diet
No one had to tell me to stop eating sugar and cacao for a while. I know that it's the last critical component to becoming truly health again. The day after Christmas I decided to jump in all the way. On December 26, I stopped eating ALL sugar - even stevia/fruit, and all cacao. Tomorrow I'll get into more of that. But I can tell you this. I'm going extremely strong - and with sugar being my #1 favorite food, I never thought it was possible.
Healthy, strong, and happy in 2011!