Cleaning Up My Diet Saved My Life
Rather than enjoying the youth and virility of my 20s, some of the 'best years of my life,' I suffered from a decade of chronic illness. It started with severe leg swelling and chronic pain on a daily basis. By mid-afternoon, I carried what felt like bricks of water in my legs. On top of that, I was plagued by horrible digestive issues that left me feeling sick, lethargic and just plain gross. This was what I suffered with before I started my journey of detox, which led me to feeling younger and more energetic than I had felt in over a decade.
Every person deserves to feel alive and healthy. Unfortunately, toxins prevent us from this overall feeling of wellbeing and they've become an inevitable part of our modern lifestyles. When I first started detoxing it was considered strange by many people because our society has made the word 'Detoxing' a taboo by connecting it to weight loss through extreme juice diets and other harmful, weight loss techniques.
As a society many of us aren't detoxifying to our potential because we are exposed to too many toxins each day and our bodies are burdened; some of us cannot remove these toxins fast enough and they are causing everything from arthritis to autoimmune diseases in our bodies. This is due to the overwhelming amount of toxins in our air, water, food, cleaning products and beauty products.
Toxins are harmful substances that are produced to kill living, organic, materials. Unfortunately, due to their presence in our daily life, they have established a home throughout our body and take a toll on every single one of our organs and many of our bodies are not able to detox and remove these toxins without some support.
A detox is about taking an active role in stimulating your body's ability to cleanse itself of these harmful toxic substances. Though our bodies are detoxing every second, they can be overwhelmed with toxins and not able to cleanse. Change starts with understanding how toxic you are, where your toxins are coming from, and what they could be doing to you and your family from the inside out.
However, the scary part is that the can of insect spray under your sink includes a warning on the label for toxins, but the conventional (non-organic) blueberries you purchased from your food store won't contain a warning for toxins even if they contain trace amounts of the same or related toxic compounds. We may worry about our kids falling off a bike but we aren't as concerned by the toxic substances that our bodies absorb over time from mouthwash, receipts, carpets, cosmetics, clothing, water, food and mattresses.
Toxins can also impact your ability to lose weight by slowing down your metabolism, decreasing your ability to burn fat and slowing down the time it takes for you to feel full. The goal of detox is to eliminate toxins from your body fast enough to prevent much of this decline while eating antioxidant-rich foods to nourish your cells.
Many people are willing to accept feeling just 'okay'. They expect to be tired. Detoxing through working with Integrative Medicine M.D.'s is not just a way to prevent or heal illness; it can also bring a level of vibrant, energetic health that you may never have thought possible. Detox is the link to better health that I believe is missing in Western medicine (and trust me, I spent almost a decade extremely ill working with the best Western medicine doctors and Mayo Clinic who had me on numerous drugs and pain killers to cover up my symptoms of toxicity).
We all have organs built for detoxing, however, they have had to get used to the mass amounts of toxins that we overload them with daily. Your liver and kidneys do their part in getting rid of toxins and other unwanted wastes in the body. Although, no one really knows for sure how much waste their own body can actually eliminate unless they are tested through an Integrative M.D. for specific tests such as a urine heavy metal test or a urine mold test. I would love to believe that our body's detox processes successfully removes all waste from our bodies, but numerous studies and our own bodies suggest otherwise. This is why I believe, and am living proof that supporting your body with detox can be vital to your health.
How To Detox
A good place to start cleaning up your lifestyle is with your food. You have more control over what you put in your mouth than what type of air you breathe in. Start by eating organic fruits and vegetables from the Dirty Dozen without pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals. You can also eat organic meats, poultry and dairy such as cheese so that you are not ingesting growth hormones or antibiotics from the animals. I am a dedicated organic consumer now, but I wasn't always. It wasn't until I researched and learned what those pesticides and antibiotics and growth hormones were doing to my mitochondria in my cells. Now, I always purchase organic veggies. Earthbound Farm is my favorite organic vegetable and salad brand and Applegate is my favorite organic poultry brand; they're both sold nationwide at almost every health food store, Whole Foods Market and other large chains.
How Detoxing Healed Me
My health story is the story of a real detox. I'm not here to scare you and make you crazy about the toxins everywhere because sadly, it's impossible to avoid them all unless you live in a bubble, but there are ways you can help your body limit your exposure to toxins and regain your health and energy.
My poor health was solely due to the toxins my body was exposed to and could not remove. When you are 25 years old, have 40 lbs. of leg swelling in your legs every day from fluid and the doctor hands you water pills to cover up the symptom, you have no other choice but to keep fighting.
When you have myositis in your leg muscles and you can barely walk, you manage by going on steroids but knowing there is an answer. When you are told you have leukemia (which I didn't) and that you need TWO not one bone marrow biopsies because your bone marrow is hypo plastic, you do it and you cry and you hang on for dear life but deep down inside you know you don't have cancer. When you have c-diff colitis and you're on morphine and given 24 hours to live, you simply fight your way through the pain because you know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. When you realize at 30 years old, the doctors missed your diagnoses of Lyme disease for almost a decade, you want to cry and give up, but you don't. You detox and regain your life and your health. When you're diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and you see your ovaries covered in cysts but your Integrative MD says it can be healed you believe him. And you heal.
The moral of my story as I've mentioned to you is that toxins are nearly everywhere — in the air, in certain plastics, even in your shower curtain. It may seem that toxins are inescapable. But don't despair. If you can learn anything from my story, it is that there are ways to lessen your contact with toxins and lead a healthier, cleaner life.
I often write about the struggles I've faced the last few years, how I truly healed and how I work with clients on healthy eating and building back their immune systems. I also help people understand how Integrative Medicine can truly save your life; I list out the tests you can get for internal inflammation that Western Medicine does not run and give guidance to clients when they're getting false negatives from Western medicine blood work tests, CT Scans, MRI's, etc. (like I once did). These are the tests that gave me answers; these are the tests that saved my life.
Was it easy? Heck no. Did I miss out on my 20s? Well, I don't look at it that way. I learned a lot, quit my corporate job and now I am living my dream. My goal is to help others who are frustrated and exhausted with Western medicine and can't get a diagnosis or are on pharmaceutical drugs to mask the symptoms of their diagnosis. There is hope. There is an answer. Breathe and remember to keep fighting until you get an answer because your answer IS out there.
Want to learn how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.