How many times have I done this? Technically this is the first time, again. Let me explain. I have battled with weight my whole life. Every fad diet, every exercise program, if i could afford it I tried it. It wasn’t my weight that made me rethink food. It was my kids.
I have two kids with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA). I hit a wall when drugs were not working for my 5 almost 6 year old. I felt guilty for the amount of side effects I was choosing for them to calm the disease. Something needed to change, and that was when I started to question all the past advice on natural healing. If I have tried every drug, and got second opinions and they still weren’t better, what did I have to lose? So I started researching and trying all kinds of things. To keep it short, here is what I have learned over the past five years:
- Some chiropractors are good and some are quacks.
- Some natural paths are good and some are quacks.
- Some supplements are good and some are quacks.
My point is, I truly believe that everyone is different and somethings work for me and my kids that don’t work for others, and somethings work for others that don’t work for us. AND in the mix of that there are a lot of quacks. I think the most overwhelming thing that I have ever done is learn about natural ways. There are so many opinions and ways to do things. How do you know where to start? How do you know what is legit? How come some of the most basic information on nutrition never been taught?
So from this point on I blog, to document my trials and errors. My wins and my losses.
Lets highlight a past win.
Five and a half years ago, at my my desperation, I learned about essential oils and the powerful medicine that lies within them. In that time, I also started to realize food matters. You are what you eat! YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! Junk foods make you feel like a junky. This thought crossed my mind and I started making a connection that food is a drug. I watched a documentary that explained how manufacturers make food to be crave-able. (Food, Inc. – 2008) I started to understand that chemicals are put in food to make them last longer on shelves so the manufactures are more profitable. I learned that they add chemicals to make the food taste better, and more importantly to make you eat more and crave them, so they can make money. I realized I am addicted to a lot of food. So I took a leap and went on a Paleo type eating lifestyle. No processed sugars, no sodas, no artificial anything. It only took a few months of eating and oils to see the healing process begin in my kids. Over a year we lived in bliss, eating real, feeling real, and most important for the first time in their lives stared having remission of there JRA.
And now a loss.
One vacation and it all fell apart, slowly. Yes it was as simple as not wanting to be the foody freak when grandparents want to buy ice cream for their grandchildren.”I am not a cold-hearted prude to deny ice cream to a child.” I thought. We also indulged in all those yummy crave-able foods we hadn’t had in over a year. That was the slippery slope, because when I didn’t instantly see the disease come back, I began to doubt. Maybe food doesn’t matter. And as I like to believe now, I once again became a junky.
It didn’t take long for disease to come back.. with rage. About 6 months of eating not-so-good-for-you-foods, my youngest sons JRA came back so strong. So I tried to clean up the diet with the easy foods, no milk, ice cream, no candy, no chips.. the list goes on. To be honest though, this time in my life became very hectic. We were getting ready to move, and I was working, and my kids just needed to eat and I didn’t have the energy to put into it. So tv dinners were allowed, boxed dinners were allowed, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches allowed. I mean it was so much better than what I was eating before so I allowed myself to just exist. It isn’t good for you, but it could be worse right? And with this thought, we kept the JRA active but manageable and we existed.
Fast forward another year, and another move. This time my oldest flared so bad she couldn’t walk. She had kept her disease at such a low point she had forgotten the pain of an inflamed joint. And my youngest wasn’t doing much better. He is even more lucky with having eczema, and bouts of Alopecia. This was my wake up call. I have gained weight, I feel sick and tired, and my kids are sick. My husband isn’t feeling his best and he has high blood pressure at 36 years old. It’s time to change.. again.
I started doing internet research, and this time my eyes kept catching the words RAW, and or Vegan. Never in all my life would I even consider such an option. In fact I had read a book “The China Study” a few years back and completely dismissed the idea of not eating meat.. I mean come on! Meat is important. And Bacon tastes so good. This time though, something was different. I was hearing new facts about how important fruit and vegetables are. I started watching more documentaries on Netflix, having no idea what they were about. All of them screaming the same things but with a twist of their own agendas.
So in a nut shell this is where I am at on my journey. I am not just following one mantra. I follow my own, while continuing to research others who have an overwhelming knowledge and advice. I am clean eating again, but I am eating in a way I have never eaten before.
Prepping is important. I did not shop for a week so we could eat through the remaining food in the house. I did not want any temptations around when you have the worst cravings. I also started juicing for my youngest son a month before, because he is my sugar baby, my carbo kid.. and I wanted him to start adjusting to new flavors so it wasn’t such a shock.
Note to self, I should have done this with all my kids.
Day 1 was pretty awesome because I was soooo excited to rehab my body. I wasn’t hungry at all and noticed a dull headache in the evening.
Day 2 started good. I couldn’t eat all the food that was recommended. It wasn’t because it was bad it was because I wasn’t hungry! The detox hits me this day with fatigue and a major headache, by the end of the night I felt hungover. The rest of the family are all reacting in different ways as well.
The 3rd day my oldest son was pissed at all the vegetables, and kept asking why he couldn’t eat a hot dog. My 2nd daughter is starving herself because she wants to be good but hates everything. She wants to eat Vegan more than anyone in the house but has the worst times with textures. We have open dialog & starving is not a option. I modify meals and thankfully she is still alive.
Day 4 I really started to notice how beautiful food is. I went to the book store and picked up four books. I am feeling pretty good, and SOOOO not hungry. I love food, and there is something indescribably satisfying about real food, it satisfies!
My youngest has been sick today. No fever but threw up, I don’t know if he got some random bug or a severe detox. Today is also New Years Eve, and we are invited to our friends house. I was so grateful they supported our new eating habits, and I even enjoyed the glass of wine so much more. WHAT? Wine? Remember I am following my own rules here and it was amazing!
I was also really impressed with my oldest son, who was offered a hot dog and said no. I don’t expect them to be Vegan if they don’t want to. I do want our bodies to heal and then in moderation would be ideal.
Today is DAY 5. Detoxed, and learning to live.. I mean eat all over again. I have had more energy today that I couldn’t even sit for to long. My youngest bounced in our room this morning with a big smile on his face and exclaimed “I FEEL GREAT!” (So I think his issue was detox rather than some bug)
My plan is to be Vegan and Raw-Vegan as much as possible and only having animal proteins on occasion. We Juice for breakfast and lunch or if we have a salad for lunch we juice before dinner. I couldn’t handle the idea of a juice for dinner so we have been exploring Vegan dishes that are packed with nutrition.
Tonight we made sushi. I added ground almond for extra protein. My boys were so happy my oldest hugged me and said “thanks Mom that was exceptional!”
From what I read, I am not sure my lax attitude will be a success at healing the JRA, but from past experiences I have faith that REAL food heals.