Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Journey to Rawesome Health!

History of My Health
At the age of six, I was diagnosed with acute asthma and chronic bronchitis. The kitchen cabinet looked like a drugstore containing all of the drugs I consumed, i.e., Tetracycline, Penicillin, Erythromycin, and a bunch of others I can't remember. As I got older, the pharmaceutical industry came out with the handy dandy little inhaler - so fast and convenient. It became my lifeline, along with an inhalant steroid.

Throughout childhood, I was not allowed to participate in physical education or exercise because it triggered my asthma. Well, actually, I had exercise-induced, allergy-induced, weather-induced and emotionally-induced asthma!! Lucky me. If I laughed too much, I wheezed, if I got upset and cried too much, I wheezed. If I walked outside in the cold, my bronchials shut down. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

My diet consisted of pancakes or waffles or French toast for breakfast, usually doused in syrup with hot chocolate. Lunch was typically processed lunch meat on white bread and a container of milk (yuck) and some piece of fruit or a "Coffee Cake Jr." Dinner was the standard meat, potatoes and veggie. Very rarely did we have salads. After dinner and clean-up, we would park ourselves in front of the TV and eat Wise Potato Chips with French Onion dip. Before bed, we'd have a hot chocolate with chocolate chip cookies. When I think about this diet compared to what I know now, I cringe.

When I was in my early 30's and my sons were ages 2 and 4, I was under a lot of stress. I was running a home-based business and my toddlers were, well, let's just say they were curious, energetic and rambunctious. The stories I could tell would fill a whole other blog! : )

I came down with the flu/bronchitis/borderline pneumonia/pharyngitis/sinus infection. I was breathing with 28% lung capacity. The doctor wanted to put me in a hospital in an oxygen tent. He prescribed:

1. Prednisone - a synthetic
corticosteroid drug.

2. Theophylline - also known as dimethylxanthine, is a
methylxanthine drug used in therapy for respiratory diseases such as COPD or asthma under a variety of brand names. Due to its numerous side-effects, these drugs are now rarely administered for clinical use.

3. Robitussin with Codeine or methylmorphine-an
opiate used for its analgesic, antitussive and antidiarrheal properties. A potentially serious adverse drug reaction, as with other opioids, is respiratory depression. This depression is dose-related and is the mechanism for the potentially fatal consequences of overdose.

4. Ceftin - an antibiotic - its most common side effects are
diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headaches/migraines, dizziness and abdominal pain.

5. Inhalant Steroid

The side effects from this combo of drugs was overwhelming. I was so miserable, I wanted to die. A client who was into nutrition came along in the nick-of-time-and wrote out a list of things she recommended I do. Armed with her list, I headed over to the health food store and with the help of the store owner, took my health back into my own hands. From that day on, I was done with doctors and drugs. My journey into natural healing began.

I started out with herbs and supplements to support my respiratory system. Although I was still using Aerobid (an inhalant steroid) and Proventil (my daily use inhaler), my health was improving. Then I progressed to liquid vitamins which really made a huge impact on my health. I sailed through three years (and flu seasons) without getting sick and I thought I was invincible. I started walking, then graduated to running the walking path at a local park, but when my shins started hurting I shifted to wilderness trails. I was feeling great. It was the first time in my life that I actually exercised and I was loving it!

In November of 2003, I got sick with a really bad case of bronchitis … to the point that my husband and mother-in-law wanted to take me to the emergency room. I refused, knowing that a trip to the hospital would result in me being put on Prednizone, and that was not happening. I loaded up on Echinacea, GoldenSeal, Garlic, Vitamin C, Elderberry, Slippery Elm, Zinc, etc… I got through it and was feeling better. But then I got sick again! It was not as severe this time around, but I was still concerned about why my immune system was so weak. I decided to research the side effects of Aerobid and was not happy with what I found. The #1 side effect was Glaucoma. Both my mom and aunt have glaucoma and I surely don't need to contribute to that potential problem!! The #2 side effect was depressed immune system. BINGO!!

I immediately ceased using Aerobid. Within two weeks, I was no longer able to run the trails. I’d make it about 1/10th of a mile and I was gasping for air as my bronchials were constricted. One thing I did not mention is that as a child, I was allergic to trees, grass, dust and mold. I was now living in the country (vs the beach) and the trails were wilderness trails – surrounded by trees, grass, dirt, weeds, mold, dampness, you name it! I started puffing on my Proventil more and more … as much as 20 – 40 times a day!! I kept one in my truck, one in my purse, one under my pillow … those inhalers were everywhere! I was concerned about the amount of albuterol I was inhaling, so I went to see a Naturopathic Doctor.

The ND was amazed when he took my blood pressure and found it to be low ... especially since it was right after I took a puff on my inhaler! The fact that I have low blood pressure is a blessing and probably what has kept me alive while inhaling copious amounts of albuterol for several months.

The doc said he could help me and asked me if I could handle eating a raw food diet. I told him it depended on what he meant by “raw food” while visions of sushi (BLECH!) and raw meat ran through my mind! He told me raw fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds and I enthusiastically said, “Oh yeah! I can do that! I LOVE fruits and veggies!” Thus began my raw journey!

I learned that as long as I stay HIGH raw – not eating ANY cooked foods – I need NO drugs to keep my asthma under control. I was fine with that until I started dropping weight. I started out around 128 pounds and after 30 days I was down to 116 pounds which was fine.


Once the weight started to come off however, it snowballed. By December, I was down to 106 pounds and my husband accused me of trying to escape our marriage by disappearing!! Lol.

When I hit 102 pounds I was starting to get concerned and several people, including my mom, sister and chiropractor told me I looked sickly. I was down to size “0” jeans and they were getting loose. Where was I going to go from here, the girl’s department?!! So, I started to eat some cooked foods again that I thought would be okay, such as baked potatoes with flaxseed oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and broccoli florets or steamed salmon. Eventually, I progressed to eating Mickey D's Asian Salads. The downfall came when I started adding fries to my order ... then hot apple pies... then chicken wings ... The next thing I knew, the asthma was rearing it's ugly head and I was back on the latest and greatest drug for Asthma – Advair.

I put on 45 pounds!! FORTY FIVE!!! I ended up gaining twice as much as I lost, but I can't blame that on SAD (Standard American Diet) alone. I went from being a SAHM to working full-time. I went from being physically active at my farm to NO physical activity (sitting in traffic 2-3 hours a day, and at a desk for 8 hours a day, and then crashing on the sofa from exhaustion when I got home). Then I was in a motorcycle accident in July of 2008 that "grounded me" in more ways than one! Let's just say I got up close and personal with the asphalt and spent the next 1-1/2 months in bed (two weeks of which I was in a wheelchair). That incident certainly contributed to my weight gain.

So now I’m back again for Round two! I'm looking forward to getting healty, healed up and happy again. Actually, I'm happy most of the time, but I'll be much happier when I'm back to my ideal weight and health. I'm also looking forward to riding again!

I'll be posting current pics, weight and measurements as I commence with my 30 Day Raw Challenge.