In October of 2014 I made a dramatic change to my lifestyle. After years of being plagued by extreme eczema and asthma outbreaks I decided to cut gluten from my diet. It was a difficult change for me. I was the poster child for a gluten heavy diet. I baked sugary goods several times a week. My go-to stress relief was a donut and diet soda. I ate out almost every day for lunch, sometimes even for dinner. And my waist-line was showing a significant roll. I was addicted to food and it wasn't a pretty picture.
The summer of 2014 showed a dramatic increase in uncomfortable symptoms. I was covered in eczema, an itchy, burning rash covering most of my trunk, thighs, and inner arms and wrists. My clothes and bed sheets were spotted with blood every day and I had hundreds of scabs scattered around my body in varying stages of infection and healing. I became paranoid that I would develop a Mersa infection and avoided public restrooms like the plague. I also avoided showing much of my body, as I was so self-conscious about the way my skin looked. That summer I also began to suffer from frequent asthma attacks, afflicting me daily. By October I was at the end of my rope. I was miserable enough to make the change that would dramatically improve my life.
Upon advice from my allergist, I cut gluten from my diet. The results were almost instantaneous. The incessant itching subsided and I was finally able to breath. After about four months on the diet I was feeling a lot better, but the rashes never really subsided. I would still get periodic outbreaks which I could not explain away. I thought that I must be unwittingly exposing myself to trace amounts of gluten.
A friend advised me to see a naturopath. I was reluctant at first. What could a naturopath tell me that my allergist had not? I was determined to find answers, however, so I booked the appointment. After a full blood work screening, I was told that I was allergic to about ten other items in addition to gluten, the main ones being eggs, milk, oats, citrus, certain nuts, yeast and vinegar. This came as a huge blow. How was I possibly going to find anything to eat? What would I live on? My options were limited and depressing, especially to someone who was so addicted to the satisfaction of food. I ate when I was happy. I ate when I was sad. I ate when I was stressed. I ate when I was bored. I ate to entertain myself. I ate to enjoy myself.
Making the change was not easy. In fact, it was a nightmare. I cried. A lot. Finally after looking at a million food labels in every grocery store I could find, walking away empty-handed and depressed, I gave up the search for anything packaged that I was used to eating. I decided to focus on foods that I KNEW I could eat: whole foods, no packaging, no labels.
I started to experiment with different foods, finding vegetables that I had never eaten before. I explored new ways of preparing meals, with different combinations of veggies, fruits, nuts, and natural oils. I discovered exciting blogs and websites with creative recipes and inspiring stories. Believe it or not, I actually started to have fun eating again. But this time I felt different. My relationship with food had changed. Instead of using food as a comfort, I was using it to fuel my body. I began to see a dramatic change in how I felt physically. I was giving my body energy and nourishment, instead of filling it with junk. I developed a new respect for what an amazing machine my body is. And I felt grateful to my Father in Heaven for creating such a wonderful tabernacle to house my spirit.
I have learned so much as I journeyed through this process. I have learned about self control, self mastery, and self respect. I have learned that I am strong and capable. I have learned that I CAN do hard things. And I have learned that I am totally worth all the effort!
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My name is Heather.
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