When I made the decision to start the 11-week challenge, I said from the get to that I was peeling back the layers of an onion that needed to be peeled. Here is what I didn't know. I didn't know we would have weeks of illness, that I would fall or that I would be at the place where I've had enough. I knew that my line in the sand, my "enough" was here in the home and that as we move toward listing our home for sale (in uhm....a couple of weeks) that we needed to surgically remove some things that are hanging around like cobwebs in a haunted house. I didn't know my "enough" would come in the form of being really honest about some other things that needed to be addressed in my life. I knew it was possible, but didn't really see how this would go.
Repeatedly, you have read here that we cannot take care of others if we are not caring about ourselves. So, I, we, made the decision to begin the Whole 30 plan. We were gifted the book by a friend, I spent a few days looking at the book, Pinning recipes, talking to friends and we began.
Today we are past the 7 day mark and I wanted to share a few things for myself and for anyone considering making a diet change as part of your new year or part of your personal decluttering plan.
1. Eliminating gluten was easy for us as we don't typically have it in our home with the exception of an occasional (1x per month) pizza. We are going on nearly 10 years of low to zero wheat.
2. Eliminating corn is a bitch as I love chips and salsa.
3. Eliminating beans is not hard but I really am missing dips like white bean hummus.
4. Eliminating dairy has not been too hard.
5. I thought eliminating "hidden" ingredients would not be hard as we buy limited amounts of prepacked foods. In fact, if you are looking for corn syrup, MSG, hydrogenated oils, food dyes, nitrates, etc., then I am your girl. I can spot that stuff at 10 paces and we just don't have it in our home.
6. Eliminating sugar. Okay. This is where it is really hard. First, there is sugar for my coffee. Then there is the sweet tea. Okay. Then, there are hidden sugars that I was SO sure that we didn't have. There is sugar in my uncured, nitrate and MSG free bacon and polish sausage. There is sugar in my egg free mayo. Now, I am having to even more carefully go through every ingredient in every thing I purchase and it is a BITCH. Why do these things need sugar? No wonder we all have a sugar issue in this country. But, here is the cool thing. I have to admit that on day 6 I had a small meltdown and went to a local fast food joint known for great sweet tea and bought one. Actually, what I purchased was a half sweet and half unsweet tea. OMG. It. Was. Disgusting. I don't know how much of it was my body rejecting it due to eliminating sweet tea for a week and really watching for any extra sugars or if it was mental or if it is a combination. I just couldn't do it. And that is a good thing.
8. Eggs. Any of these plans are egg heavy. Last year I used the Virgin Diet for 30 days to find out what was aggravating my thyroid. Eggs. I have eaten eggs daily my entire life. Once I eliminated eggs I also found myself with no thyroid issue and no heartburn. The last 7 days I have been egg heavy in an effort to see if they still bother me the way they did. Yep. So, now, I am eliminated the eggs again.
We are forging ahead. I am very excited. I feel better than I have in a while. Below is a compliant meal of green beans, brussel sprouts, salmon cakes and mashed potatoes.
Hang with me as I get us back on track and healthy! If you are working through my clutter challenge or have made huge changes to your health, I want to hear from you!
Today I did something I should have done 6 months ago. I wrote a friend who is the President of a non-profit board that I have served on for nearly 4 years to tell her I am resigning. In February she took my place as President. My intention was to wrap up my service when she took over, but for the sake of supporting her and supporting the organization, I stayed on.
Now, here I am. It is mid-summer. And, I need some self-care. I have supported two non-profits, been building a business, raising two kiddos, loving a husband, taken care of extended family and facilitated a monthly women's circle. Whew.
I know I am not alone. We are all doing great things. We are all doing mundane things (I personally have some dishes on the counter that need to go into the dishwasher). Life is amazing and fun and exhausting and tedious. It is, in short, life.
But, we have a choice each and every day to choose our priorities. I know that I have a few more choices right now than some others and I am seriously grateful for that. But, the reality is that my priorities are:
To support these priorities, some things simply have to go. This morning I cut loose something that I simply can no longer allow to take my precious time and energy but thankfully, there are others ready to step into that place. That's the funny thing about life. I told the Universe last fall that I could no longer do what I was doing with that group. The options were to fold the organization or find someone else to run it. Spirit brought me someone else. Now, I am able to step back and let her mold the organization into her own vision and free my own energy from holding that space.
My challenge to you today is look at what is taking your attention.
Go in peace my friends!
There is an idea in the world that folks that have their stuff together do it all on their own with no support. This idea has slapped me in the face over, and over and over and right now, today, I call BS on it. Not that I have the appearance of having it all together (though some say I do), but I need help. In SO many ways. That's why in the fall, when I decided to read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, I sent out the call to other women, because I knew I needed their support and I had an idea that they might need mine. That's why last May, when I attended a large metaphysical conference, I asked Spirit for guidance and was pointed toward vibrational sound healer Shira Hunt and now see her on a regular basis. That's why this year's manifestation circle is done - well - in a circle of women who are also on the path to seeking all of the good of the Universe (which we need to counteract the bad).
Over the past few months as my path has begun to once again accelerate I have repeatedly hit a wall and just collapsed on the ground. It has been weeks of go, go, go with the kids layered with supporting others in their journey, layered with the Universe heaping prosperity upon me with clients layered with..... So, two weeks ago I emailed Shira and made an appointment. The week of the appointment I repeatedly sat down at my computer to send a cancellation email. I don't have the time for this or the money. I shouldn't need this. I just need to plan better or meditate more or whatever to keep myself going. But, looking back over the week and remember how I crashed on Monday after our manifestation circle on Sunday night, I new I had to go. The morning of the appointment as Nathan and I were preparing for our day he asked "What are you doing today"?" Going to see the vibrational healer. He simply nodded. It was the kind of nod that is approving and affirming. The nod that tells me that he knows that I need some support to keep on at this level.
As I got ready to leave I was given a message from my higher self. Commit. You have committed to your path. Now you have to commit to have support along the way from others or you cannot continue this work. So, I committed. When I wrapped up with Shira, I did something I rarely do. I made another appointment. When I say I rarely do this, I mean, I rarely do this. There is only place I will schedule out an appointment and that is at the dentist. Not kidding. Next will be a lymphatic massage with my favorite therapist, and yes, I'll make a monthly appointment with her.
Today, I challenge you. Whether or not you consider yourself to be a healer commit to healing yourself today. Commit to finding that Reiki practitioner or massage therapist or maybe it's the perfect yoga teacher for you. Whatever it is, find it. Give yourself this gift as you share your gift with so many others. Look for healing, within and without.
For me, I know I cannot continue to truly heal and support others unless I am healing and supporting myself.
There are two kinds of migraines in my world. The kind I can control and the kind I can't. I know, for many, if not most, folks, there is an idea that the onset of a migraine is completely out of your hands. But, is it? Really? There was a time I believed that as well. That all changed when I was in my late 20's and began walking the path of holistic healing by hiring local iridologist Brenda Starr determine the source of my chronic health problems which included constipation (since childhood), migraines, and various aches and pains.
For three months, Brenda prescribed a regime of supplements and a diet which eliminated wheat, gluten, dairy and pork. By the end of the time I had lost weight, cured my constipation and virtually eliminated my migraines. As soon as it was over I quickly went back to my old ways and my issues soon returned. I knew that the changes I had made were the "cures" to what ailed me but remained in denial for several more years.
Fast forward to about 2005 and I was still in a nasty cycle of digestive upset, migraines, sleep issues and more. I went away for 7 days for feng shui training and at the end of the week I asked for my health issues to be relieved and to be free from the things that caused me continued discomfort (note to self: ask for GENTLE release in the future). Boy, did I get what I asked for. Within 30 days I had severe abdominal pain and found myself in bed for approximately 3 days followed by several visits to my doctor which included a surgical scope to rule out anything serious. NOTHING. NADA. Following these procedures was an extreme yeast infection that cause temporary loss of taste and smell. Things were getting serious.
I knew my former spiritual teacher had opened a health and wellness center and was doing cleanses, colon therapy, foot baths, Reiki, you name it and I called her. Similar to what my iridologist had prescribed years prior, she put me on a cleansing regime. In addition, I went on an elimination diet. Not because she suggested it but because I could NOT TOLERATE most foods. I became vegetarian and gluten-free pretty much overnight - and it changed my life for good.
My migraines virtually disappeared, my gastro upsets and pains were eliminated. I've talked about this before when I have discussed being gluten-free. But, I have not told you the extent to which my migraines were alleviated by taking this road.
In 1999 my migraines were at their worst to the point that I became essentially paralyzed by one especially bad episode and my doctor ran scans to ensure that I had not suffered a stroke. Things continued this way on and off for years - until about 10 years ago in fact - and until I had the release that sent me into vegetarianism and the gluten-free world. This is when I realized that my migraines were largely a product of how I was living my life. Not completely. I want you to know that there are some types of migraines out of my control. But those daily, out of the blue, keeping me down migraines pretty much disappeared.
Now, let's get down to the details. I'm not going to be that person that says that EVERYTHING that works or does not work for me will work for you. But, I do want to say that for people with chronic health issues, sometimes getting extreme and sticking to it can work. So, for the two kinds of migraines:
1. Migraines I can control. These are the migraines that are food, stress or environmentally induced. Last Thanksgiving I made the conscious choice to eat Sister Shubert's yeast rolls at my hubby's family feast. In addition, I had cured pork and who the hell knows what else. I tried to limit my bad choices to those two things but as I decided to not bring my own food for once, I was at the mercy of those good Southern cooks. Based on the migraine that began the next day and lasted for three days, I would not be surprised to find out they had used chicken broth with MSG as well. (Migraine sufferers take note: MSG bad.)
KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS. I cannot state this enough. If you don't know where to start, do a Google search for common migraine triggers. I love onions. For years I thought it was odd that I would get a migraine after eating raw onions on a sandwich. Then, I finally found a list of common migraine triggers. Guess what? Raw onions is high on the list for most migraine sufferers.
Dehydration. DRINK WATER. This cannot be emphasized enough. I cannot tell you how many people I talk to about this and they insist they are hydrated, yet I NEVER see them with water. Sodas, teas, coffees, never water. They believe that drinking fluids hydrates them. Nope. I love my coffee and my decaf sweet tea, but the health benefits only go so far. Like all good things, too much coffee and tea actually dehydrates you and sodas are never a good choice (except when being bad and having pizza which means a migraine cycle).
Environmental triggers include perfumes or really fumes of any kind, cigarette smoke, diesel fumes. There are other environmental triggers as well. If you suffer from migraines, take note of your surroundings when they happen. Not everyone can control these things (for example, if you are a waitress in a bar), but if you can, eliminate these triggers from your life. On scents, I can use pure essential oils, but not all of them. Some well meaning essential oils trigger my migraines as well.
Lack of sleep and exercise. Burning the midnight oil? Guess what? If you are a migraine sufferer you are really doing yourself a disservice. Get 7-8 hours of sleep. Sleep goes both ways. Too much sleep can put you in a slingshot cycle and wreak havoc as well. Take a walk. I am a big believer in movement and vitamin D for good health and to keep chronic conditions at bay or at least manageable.
Stress. This one is tricky and is both controllable and uncontrollable. What makes stress controllable? Alleviating stressful situations (relationships, etc.) but more importantly, finding ways to MANAGE your stress (rest, reading a book, meditation, yoga, etc.) There is no one size fits all in stress management. Find what works for you and use it regularly.
2. Migraines I cannot control. There are essentially two kinds of migraines in my life that I cannot control plus an occasional third which I'll touch on briefly. I am loathe to say that there is something in my life out of my control. These uncontrollable migraines are weather induced (keep reading) and hormonally induced migraines that I get once a month when beginning my period. What do you do? I do what I can and just get through it. Water, good foods, rest, walking.....I usually have two bad days a month which is a big change from 15 to 20 bad days.
Pressure systems. What? Yes, pressure systems as in weather pressure. I live in a bowl in Nashville, Tn. We have the one of the highest migraine prescription rates in the ENTIRE nation. We are sitting in a unique place topographically speaking and regularly have two pressure systems lock horns directly over our fair city. About 4 times per year when we see EXTREME weather situations (like this week's 8-inches of snow), I get the migraine to end all migraines. In fact, that is why I sat down to write this post. I have suffered from a migraine on and off since Friday when the snow began. It took me about 2 days to realize what was causing this as everything else is great. Snow falling on Nashville.
And, here we are back to stress. It is an unavoidable aspect of life and can be out of our control. For example, last February my father had surgery which caused me severe stress. I am quite sure a migraine followed. Now, was the migraine stress induced? Or, was it the combination of things that accompanied that stress? Personally, I find that stress induced migraines go hand in hand with lack of sleep, poor diet choices due to things like running back and forth to the hospital, drinking caffeine to keep me going while making those long drives....see what I mean?
No one can promise full elimination of migraines. For those of us who suffer, it is often a tight-rope walking situation. But, what I can promise is that for those willing to go that extra mile and make some serious changes to your life, you can expect SOME relief. Find what works and make the change. You'll thank yourself later.
(This article is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice.)
(Affiliate links included.) Without sharing their story, as it is not mine to share, I want to tell you of a friend whose daughter was admitted to the hospital for a surgery and 21 days later is still there due to what appears to be a secondary infection in the intestines. I wish I could say this is the first time I have heard this story. A couple of years ago my MIL's friend went into the hospital for a hernia surgery and then was kept for an additional month due to a secondary intestinal infection which created septsis in her body.
My own stories (yes, stories) are similar. Each time I have had surgery (for my vascular malformation or my cesarean section), I have developed such intense illness in my gut that I wondered for years if it were just my own delicate system. No. No. No. It is the the challenge of how allopathic medicine addresses the tie between gut health and the overall health of the body.
I have had this conversation twice in the last week which is why I paid attention when I received Dr. Eric Z's email in my box this morning to the upcoming Heal Your Gut Summt. After promptly signing up, I decided this is worth sharing with my readers.
If you are wondering what the number one thing you can do to heal your body, to start today building a foundation - this is where you begin. Start healing your gut today!
I’m Dana Croy and I am a modern day mama. Balancing family and work is not always easy (not to mention a little self-care). Though being Mama to two fantastic kiddos is a huge part of my life, that was not always the case. I wear many other hats and invite to sit down and find harmony with me.