My Health Journey
Posted in Lifestyle on Monday Jan. 18, 2016, 10:43 a.m.
Although I rarely wrtie about ymslef and the reasons behind this blog, and my desire to reach as many people as possible about the benefits and tasty-ness of being vegan, I know that personal stories are pretty mucht he msot powerful tool towards making a difference in this world. So I'm going to step far out of my comfort zone and talk about my health journey!
Let's start with when I started getting into what I thought was a healthy lifestyle. In High School, I was an athlete, on the soccer and badminton teams, plus I worked out every morning with my mom, while also riding my bike to get to my part-time job. I was very active, but also very afflicted with self-image issues, so much so that I restricted my caloric intake to about 800 calories a day, most days. I also binged. I truly belived this was healthy. This disordered eating pattern with all the exercise, plus being a full time student with involvement in other groups, meant that I never stopped. It's crazy to me now thinking back how I even managed to keep up with any of it!
Once I hit college, I stopped 90% of the exercise I was doing. That combined with the college lifestyle, meant I gained a bunch of weight. But I was somehow able to lose it again through a combination of dieting and inconsistant exercise, and smoking. Doesn't sound too healthy right? I thought at the time that my health depended solely on being a certain weight. I got obsessed with it again. I dropped out of school, for other reasons, and started a job full time. I also got caught up in doing drugs at this point, mostly ecstasy and speed pills. My addictive personality had me doing every weekend, and sometimes for a week straight of no eating or sleeping. Extremeley dangerous patterns. I even dropped to the lowest weight I had ever been, I felt good about that at the time, but little did I know I was causing long term damage to my body.
Once I got out of the drugs and abusive binge/restritive eating patterns, by removing myself from my environment and moving away a few thousand kilometers. I gained a lot of weight and started feeling ill. My digestion was terrible, I had a ton of issues sleeping and my period was extremely painful. My anxious tendencies came out and I started having panic attacks. I was over 220lbs at this point.
One day, I had enough, I couldn't keep going like this and I knew there had to be an answer somewhere. I had already forgone using any kind of pharmaceutical at this point, even OTC pain medication. So I started researching...
I began by dieting again, through caloric restriction I was able to lose some weight, but nothing significant. Then about a year later, I got back into contact with an old friend who introduces me to Veganism. I know this is going to sounds corny, but I felt like I had finally come to a real answer, and the ethics and environmental issues it addressed also vibed with me. I immediately became a vegetarian and over the course of 6 months transitionned to eating a raw till4 high carb diet, with many fully raw days. I lost over 50 lbs, my skin cleared, my digestion improved greatly and my period issues got better. I felt so good and I was finally feeling less daily pain.
This lasted for quite some time, I started having digestive issues again, and cut out gluten, which again vastly improved my day to day life. Now I still have a lot of pain to deal with, simply going vegan wasn't a full answer to my health issues, but it gave me hope to having days go by without any pain. I've had some flare ups again recently and am working with a doctor and holistic practices to heal. I've found that lots of greens, raw, cooked or juiced always helps. Eating a whole foods plant-based diet is what makes me feel my best, with plenty of raw foods. Anytime I deviate from this, I start feeling sick again. Also, because of my digestive issues I have a harder time absorbing nutrients, so I've had to deal with anemia symptoms as well, which I am now trying to manage with some supplements like mollasses twice a day and probiotics through kombucha and other sources.
My journey isn't over by any means, btu I know that a steady and consistant effort towards maintaining a clean whole foods diet is what helps me the most! It tooks years to get me to where I am and a quick fix via medication isn't what I want. Long term results without crutches is a much more appealing solution, in my eyes. While I am using the medical system to my advantage, I do believe that nature has the power to heal us.
There are a few things that I've discovered for myself. Drinking water is VITAL to health and healing. I must drink 3 liters of liquids a day to stay hydrated. Eating enough is also very very important, at least 2500 calories a day of whole foods, including 1 to 2 pounds of greens. Getting enough sleep, I usually need at least 8 hours to function well. Exercise: while its really hard for emt o stay consistant, exercising at least 30 minutes a day actually boosts energy and well being. Everything improves when I move my body every single day. Mental health is something so many people neglect. Meditation, self-improvement exercises and talking about what goes on in our heads is a hige part of our health and it will affect other parts when taken care of.
While many days I find it difficult to keep up, and I do slip and flail a little, it's getting back up, regaining balance and keeping forward motion that is the most important, not just for health but for life. I'm still on my journey to true health, mind, body and soul.
What's your story?