Sunday, March 20, 2011

thinking about going raw again

Do you ever get little "nudges" from the spirit?  You know, when you can't figure something out and you kind of put it on the backburner of your mind for a bit to let it simmer?  Well, that's what I've been doing with eating raw food lately.

When all this thyroid madness started two years ago, I got no answers.  I didn't even know I had a thyroid problem then.  The doctor I had at the time didn't know enough about the thyroid to recognize that there was a problem and that it was somewhat serious.  So, I decided to focus on what I could do for the time being, and that was improving my diet.

Wes and I chose our family focus to be "health" last year (and it was our minor the year before, so it was more of a two-year focus).  We learned a lot about nutrition and raw food.  It is so interesting to me how food works to heal our bodies.  The body itself is just fascinating to me, but the way food works to make the body healthy was the information I needed at the time, so that's what I focused on.  I started just by eating more fruits and vegetables.  Then I learned about green smoothies and we started drinking them every day.  About the same time, we started to drink Monavie.  Two weeks after the Monavie, I was off all my asthma meds and rescue inhaler.  I felt fabulous!

Then I got pregnant with Jonah.  I had a fairly easy pregnancy the first two times, but this time was different.  I was EXHAUSTED!  And I know how pregnant tired feels.   This time the fatigue was so much worse.  But I chalked it up to being a mommy of two busy boys and just feel in love with my bed.  I was sicker also, and my symptoms were slightly different and a lot worse.  I didn't think they were abnormal, but I was pretty sure Jonah was going to be a girl just because my first two pregnancies were so similar.

Lucky for me (and Jonah) that my pregnancy with untreated thyroid disease went off without a hitch right down to delivery.  My healthy, bouncing baby boy was born healthy and ended up being the best nurser I've had so far.  I had no idea the risks we'd really been under since I didn't know about my thyroid problem yet.

I continued to feel great and lost the baby weight quickly and easily from just eating well.  No dieting, no deprivation, just healthy eating and moderation.  And later on, I exercised also.  I fell in love with kettlebells during my pregnancy and faithfully did them up until my recent diagnosis when I was forbidden to do them for the time being.

Why did my thyroid problem go undetected for so long?  Why did I feel better if I didn't receive any treatment?  I've hear that pregnancy can improve autoimmune symptoms about half the time, because your immune system is suppressed so your body won't reject the baby.  Maybe this is why I felt good.  Maybe it's only part of it.  Why did I continue to feel good months after Jonah was born?

Do you know what I think?  It was the raw food and greens I had in my diet.  I never was 100% raw either....more like 60-80%.  The rest of my diet was full of whole grains, legumes, and quality protein in what I felt were the right proportions for me (about 5% of my diet).  I slept well and didn't need as much sleep as before.  I've read that this is because it's easier to digest fruits and vegetables and greens than lots of meat and bread. 

I've heard the quote that goes along with good health is "energy begets more energy" and I have to say I completely agree.  When I exercise, I am tired, but I end up having more energy than I would if I hadn't exercised.  If I take 5 minutes to make a smoothie in the morning rather than pouring a bowl of cereal, I have better energy all day, and I naturally craved healthy foods.  I seriously felt like I was so healthy and that I could eat that way happily my whole life! 

Fast forward to these health issues.  I truly think it all was stress-induced.  Wes' schedule during the holidays was more than I could bear, on top of the changes going on with our upcoming move, and having a new baby, etc.  I was happily surviving not realizing that I was depleting myself more and more each day.

Once I was diagnosed, I was told to stay off of raw foods so I wouldn't have any allergies (this is funny to me because my scratch test was slightly better this time around and I chalked it up to my healthy eating).  I was given an Epipen "just in case" because there have been a few case studies of anaphylaxis with Oral Allergy Syndrome.  (There have also been interesting studies on using small amounts of offending foods in the mouth to build an immunity to the foods, and I believe I was naturally doing this my whole life.)   I was hesitant to do so, but told myself I wouldn't worry about it because it was temporary and I could stick it out.

Here I am two months later and I struggle to eat more than a few fruits or vegetables each day, and I never eat greens, because I don't know how to eat them cooked, and I'm still scared to eat certain foods.  I've tried to just ignore it, but it's getting to the point where I feel completely depleted and I know a lot of that has to do with what I am eating.

I came across this website last night.  I've seen it before, but I had pushed it from my mind.  But last night, I felt so inspired and hopeful.  I felt like maybe raw food could be the beginning of better health for me.  It's been the one thing I've struggled with right around the time my health deteriorated.  It's also the thing I was doing right when my health was so good before.

Wes and I talked and decided that we would go back to raw - slowly - while being off gluten (doctor recommended) - for the next month and see what happens.  I will start with smoothies when Wes is home (to ease my anxiety) and go from there.

I really feel good about this.  I've been thinking a lot about the feelings I've had about my health throughout my life.  I know my body.  I have always been right.  Back before I had my tumor removed, I kept telling my doctor I though I had one and they wouldn't listen and just kept giving me medicine.  Four years later I went under the knife for emergency surgery to remove the tumor that had grown so large that it was making my ovary twist and lose its blood supply.  I knew I had a thyroid problem and the test was positive, even though I didn't understand at the time.  Right before this happened, I started to think I should try going off gluten for a few weeks and see if I felt any different (I felt great...I was mostly curious).  Now I wonder if that was a little signal from my body telling me that it needed that.  Now here I am going off gluten.  (Apparently, if you eat gluten when you have an intolerance, it can prevent your body from absorbing vital nutrients and minerals - in my case vitamin D, B-12, and selenium - so going off of it should help my gut heal and be able to absorb what I need once again.)

So, I think I'm going to try following my gut and drinking smoothies again.  And exercising.  No kettlebells yet (not willing to risk permanent damage to my heart), but some light biking and yoga and weightlifting.  My body needs tlc right now, so why am I feeding it garbage and expecting it to heal?

I am going to take Hippocrates' advice, "Let thy food be thy medicine."  I am going to give my body green smoothies, and a plethora of cooked veggies and fruits that will gradually change to raw.  I hope this will help.  Maybe this is the missing element I've been wondering about.

Here's to faith, hope, and green smoothies.  Cheers!

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