My journey to healthy living has been long and often lonely, but yesterday I posted that I started juicing a week ago and got a HUGE response from so many friends!  My in laws gave us a Nutribullet for an early Christmas gift, and I began using it for 2 meals a day.  Crazy thing is I am down a dress size, no longer bloated, my headaches have decreased, I am almost completely off Tylenol and caffeine, I’m sleeping better and my blood sugars are AMAZING!  I am a happy girl indeed!

I decided to put some of the details that were asked in the post, yet as I started, I think this will become a mini series on gluten free living, detoxing, juicing and how to naturally shift to a healthy lifestyle.

If you haven’t read my journey as to why I live gluten, grain and sugar free, make sure to pop over HERE.  In a nutshell, I have a severe gluten intolerance and I am in the process of shifting my ENTIRE life around to try and get my health back into a better balance.  (Easier said then done my friends)  I want to make sure that everyone understands that what I explain here on this blog is from my own personal research, my own personal testimony and shared experience.  If you are like me and have a medical condition, please consult your doctor! 

With that said, I want to share a bit of my childhood, so that you understand the reasond I am so personal and passionate with my health and choice of eating.  I tend to be wholehearted and extreme in anything I do, so I hope you find my zeal hope-filled and inspiring!

To understand me a bit, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the young age of 3.  I’ve been in and out of the hospitals growing up, with a number of life threatening comas which should have taken my life.  The Lords hand was on me, and I see that He saved my life to touch and impact others with His life.  I’d like to share vulnerably a bit our my own journey and hope that it meets you wherever you are today.

I started “sneak eating” as early as I can remember.  As a diabetic, you are told what you can eat and how much you are allowed to consume at certain times of the day.  Yet my sweet little sister was allowed to have all sorts of yummy and decedent food that I “wasn’t allowed” to have, and to my adolescent brain, that wasn’t fair.
I became obsessed with food.  Addicted.  Consumed.  It was often times all I could think of.  I would strategically sneak into the kitchen when my mom was out of the room and consume as much as I could in a short amount of time.  That lead to constant upset stomach aches, high blood sugars and a mental battle that would follow me into adulthood.

Fast forward 25 years or so and you find me at the ripe age of 28.  Migraines were weekly battles and my sugar addiction was out of control.  You see, the pesky thing with sugar is that once the cycle starts, it is vicious, aggressive, and near impossible to control.  I was about to move to Atlanta Georgia for a semester of school, and before I left, my chiropractor suggested getting off all sugar, grains and gluten.
(Gluten, what the heck is that? And how will i survive without SUGAR!)

I decided to try it, seeing as no amount of Tylenol could even remotely touch the headaches. Within the first few weeks I experienced so much energy  I was floored to keep going.  Just 3 months into living gluten, grain and sugar free, I was 22 lbs lighter, walking with nearly NO headaches and sleeping better than I had in years. I ate a diet of clean & lean animal protein (organic when I could afford), nutrient rich organic vegetables and limited amounts of low glycemic index fruits and berries.  It was INCREDIBLE!

I moved back home to finish my last semester of school and life happened FAST when I quickly became engaged to my love & best friend Justin.  Throughout that season of graduating college with my him living and serving an orphanage in Brazil, planning a wedding and cross country move, I slipped from eating as clean as I once did and fell back into old habit patterns.  We arrived in Atlanta in the Fall of 2012 and a few short months later I was nearly bed ridden with sickness while doctors couldn’t figure our what was going on.  I was fighting migraines again, chronic fatigue, sleep disorders, malaise, brain fog and social anxiety and felt just downright MISERABLE.  Weeks turned into months and months turned into almost a year until we figured out the greatest attack against my system was a teensy little thing called: GLUTEN.

Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. (Wikipedia)

At this point we were living almost 80-85% “gluten free”.  You know, making sure we “sort of” watched out for it.  It made sense to eat ALMOST completely off gluten, but I had never actually researched the affects and symptoms that can come alongside of someone struggling with a gluten intolerance.

The intolerance can be linked with a myriad of symptoms such as:

  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Chronic diseases
  • Skin eruptions, eczema, cold sores, acne
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Congestion
  • Anxiety
  • Moodiness or irritability
  • Headaches or migraines

When NOTHING else seemed to be working, I had been in and out of meeting with dozens of specialists here in Atlanta and tons of blood work drawn, my husband had the most simple of suggestions one night.  He said “well babe, since nothing else seems to be working, what if we just cut out the gluten for a few weeks and see how you feel?”

Made sense to me…
So we did it.  But not the 85%.  Not even the 96%… NO.  We went 100% gluten free.  We purged the house.  We read EVERY label.  We stopped eating out in restaurants (I almost died).  And you know what?  Within 2 weeks my symptoms had decreased and I was able to function for the first time in MONTHS!!!  That’s all it took!  No doctor could tell me anything otherwise and as we have now been gluten free for 3+ months, we are never going back.

SO… Why did I share all that??
I want to take the next few posts to develop the understanding and issues that gluten, (sugar, grains, processed foods…) bring.  Know that since eliminating it from my diet, so many other symptoms have dissolved, and my body is on its way to healing.  Did you know that it takes 7-14 days for gluten to exit your body once introduced, and symptoms of bloating, weight gain, severe stomach discomfort and fatigue can be onset within the hour of ingestion.
Gluten is NO JOKE and not just a “fad diet” gimmick.  Even if you don’t suffer from an intolerance like I do, the way gluten is processed in wheat etc these days, most bodies do best in eliminating it from their diet altogether.

SO, that’s a teensy introduction to my journey.  It has been long, and I am only in the beginning stages of my healing, but I am on a mission to LIVE as full as I can TODAY.  I have struggled with food for my whole life if I am honest, but I know that I am meant to LIVE and LIVE abundantly.  At this point I will do whatever it takes to LIVE each day to its fullest.  My hope for these posts is where other men and women who are on the same quest for health can come together, share stories, encourage and inspire one another.

I hope you stay tuned these next few weeks as I share a few tips and tricks that I have learned along the way and share your own successes and struggles.  We are ALL in this together and none of us are alone.  Make sure to comment below any questions or testimonies of your own victory!

Follow up post to come in a few days!
Until next time,