So here I am , one year after my MS diagnosis-how things have changed. Lifestyle and priorities have been altered, in a good and permanent way I hope.
1. Diet-out with the white stuff & in with the green!
Sugar, the white crystallized goodness. Highly processed, the anti-nutrient (it steals nutrients from your body). I used to be the baking queen-I loved making cookies just so I could scarf the raw dough. I liked sugar on my strawberries, sugar in my tea and candy corns. Addicted? Yes indeed. I wasn’t scared though, I did not have any negative effects from the sugar, aside from an anxious personality, short temper and an inability to sit still. I felt constantly spun up and looking for my next sugar fix. Yikes.
:cue calming music: Now I am more relaxed, more patient and less likely to snap at any moment. I have experimented with sugar alternatives-NOT the fake stuff! Agave nectar and honey mostly. I find I do not need as much sweetness (from my food anyway) in my life. It’s strange, since taking sugar mostly out of my life, I notice a huge difference in my temperament, when I have even a few roasted marshmallows, Mr. B teases me about it. He notices the difference and is scared. In fact, if he arrives home and I am anything but smiles and sunshine he looks me in the eye, and asks me if I had any sugar today in a voice that reminds me of my Spanish teacher asking me if I had gum in my mouth, a mix of disgust and disappointment. Not worth it!
Trading the white for the brown. I think gluten is not my friend so white flour and wheat have been removed from my diet. Brown rice, brown rice pasta and gluten free flours are my new pals now. I have had some really bad products (grainy and yuck) and some really great products (as good as the traditional). Being willing to try a bit of it all and not giving up is so important. I have to be careful though, just because a product is gluten-free does not mean it is sugar free. Trading one demon for another. Baked goods only in very small moderation (and preferably when I am not supposed to be around other beings!). How I miss cookie dough!
I have definitely learned to love my veggies. For a while I did a detox diet and was only supposed to be eating veggies and animal protein. Not very fun (wanted to stick my head under a truck tire for about 6 weeks, lost 7 pounds though!). I was also detoxing copper at the time so that was most likely the reason for the horrible thoughts. It’s amazing what I have found to do with vegetables. Grilling them is probably my favorite way to eat them. Brussels sprouts are fantastic. Grilled sweet potatoes. Carrot Cake Salad (recipes for all of these will be posted soon!). All delicious. All veggie full!
I have learned so much and the books (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver; The Omnivore’s Dilema by Michael Pollan; Gorgeously Green by Sophia Uliano; The Revolution will not be Microwaved by Sandor Ellitx Katz; Fit for Life by Harvey & Marilyn Diamond; an obscene amount of cookbooks and many more!) have changed my perspective, the common side effect of more knowledge! I have dabbled in raw, vegan, vegetarian & dehydrating. I think with eating, along with everything else in life, is best done in a balanced way. No extremes here, just healthy eating all around.
On a positive note, grocery shopping is much faster-I stick to the perimeter where all the veggies and fruit are. All the pretty colors, textures and flavors. Less trash too because veggies do not usually have a bunch of plastic packaging (I made my own reusable veggies bags by sewing three sides on a folded bandanna-ingenious if I do say so myself!) Clean and simple!
2. Chemicals-significantly reduced. My body is fighting hard enough as it is, I don’t need to be adding harmful chemicals, additives & preservatives to the battle! A great book for this journey was Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano.
Since the diet had changed, less chemicals were entering my body through my mouth but there are other places…
Female stuff. I had nothing but high-fives to give to my birth control pills. Lighter, consistent and scheduled periods-fabulous! A daily pill that gives me synthetic hormones, not so good for me. After finding out I had high copper, (commonly caused by smoking and birth control, among other things) the pills were stopped and alternative contraception explored. I tried a diaphragm (no), spermicide (yuck), condoms (NO) and finally VCF (fabulous). Vaginal Contraceptive Film-leave it to the French to come up with a product so fantastic, only three ingredients and super easy to use. I cannot recommend this product enough!!
Skin. Whatever I put on my skin I am quite literally eating. More label reading, the stuff in the jars is not pronounceable, let alone edible. So I have taken up making my own chapstick and toothpaste (recipes coming soon). Straight almond oil for my evening moisturizer, Badger Balm to replace my petroleum jelly addiction. No more anti-bacterial soap anywhere in the house. Disposed of the nail polish with formaldehyde, tourmaline and DBP. I replaced them with Orly polishes and they wear so well and look absolutely gorgeous. I feel pretty! I also found a body lotion that is thick and so moisturizing that has zero chemicals, sold locally and smells edible. The Orange Dreamsicle smells just like the orange/vanilla pop goodness and they can be found at Soulard Market and at email@example.com. Also at Soulard, I found a shampoo bar that I can’t wait to try from The Brende Family (1-314-773-6227). It smells divine and includes all pronouncable ingredients.
Air-since I breathe all the time, it’s important I am not breathing in stuff that is anything less than great for me. My household cleaners have changed to be primarily vinegar and baking soda (recipes to follow soon). No more phosphates in the laundry. Candles have all gone soy (a local soy candle company-Harvest Glow). Burn soy, don’t eat it! A breath of fresh air-aaaah.
3.Clear the clutter. What does this have to do with my health? EVERYTHING! A cluttered home, schedule and life is the result of a cluttered and chaotic mind. Clean it up! I am making room in my life for fabulousness, health & prosperity. I am lightening up (literally & figuratively). By clearing the clutter I am leaving less of a footprint behind when I am gone for my family and the Earth, creating space for better things and giving myself room to breath and think. I have become aware that away is not a place when I toss something. It’s out of my sight, but not somebody else’s. I don’t want future generations being stuck with my trash. Trying to find ways to purchase products with the least amount of packaging (bulk, reusable containers), buying local (USA made for sure, in my own state is even better) and composting. More label reading and awareness is a must! I also lightened the load in the trunk of my car. Less stuff back there helps save fuel and makes room for all of my reusable bags. I enjoy opening up the trunk and having enough space for a few people and a dog or two (just kidding!). Of course, when I am purging the items find a new home at Goodwill. Plus, whenever I drop off a bag of stuff I get to buy a book. A wonderful exchange!
I have also lightened my schedule. I used to spend hours in the car everyday driving from job to job. I disliked having any white space in my planner and thought the more activities I had proved my worth. I realized now my worth has nothing to do with what I do. It is who I am. I still have to remind myself of this almost daily. Less time in the car also means less cursing at other drivers, less blood pressure spikes and less overall anger. I have more time to enjoy the activities I do participate in and it’s amazing what I can get done when I don’t have a ton of interruptions and driving time. Space in my planner leaves time for doodling!
I have also cut, or significantly reduced, the time I spend with toxic people. Individuals that leave me feeling drained, negative or generally yucky are not the people I spend time with anymore. I am looking for friends who leave me feeling energized, fabulous and inspired-all the things I hope to do for them as well. Life is too short to spend time with those who drain me. I need energy for my life, and health!
Some of these changes have been easier to do than others. They are all works in progress. Two lessons: question everything. I need to look out for my best interests when it comes to my health, well-being and happiness. It’s my purpose on this Earth to live my life as fully and fabulously as possible. By living my life, dying empty and loving me madly I will be the best possible me for the world to enjoy. I can’t love others if I don’t love myself. I am enough. The second lesson: continue to learn & grow. I have read a ton of books this past year and have many more to read. There are fabulous blogs, websites and people filled with important information. I have learned so much and have so much to learn. This excites and empowers me to stay healthy and make a difference with the knowledge I acquire.
Cheers! To a year of possibilities & passion! OPA!