It seems like a lifetime ago that I started my commitment to follow Eat To Live 100% and I never could have anticipated that just 3 months later, I would live and feel like a normal person.
Last year was beyond a nightmare for me. CFS is generally progressive and can be caused by any number of underlying issues or food sensitivities.
This time last year, I was unable to work and struggling to run my own photography business to make ends meet. I typically would wake up between 9 and 11 feeling like I had been kicked in the head. If I tried to get up earlier and drink coffee to open my eyes, it would trigger PVC arrhythmia that has sometimes sent me to the emergency room. My insurance of course, didn’t cover enough diagnostic testing to see a cardiologist. At night I could NEVER sleep and would toss and turn whilst munching on melatonin.
How I longed to go to the gym or take my bike out. I would shuffle though a few errands and then drift back to Facebook, because at least I could sit down. My muscles were weak and my joints swollen, so a simple walk would frustrate me and cause me pain. I gave everything I had to my photo shoots, and tried to keep up a social life but by the evening I felt so tired I had nothing to say to my friends. I didn’t want to call people and be negative so I stopped calling them at all. Some days I would get bursts of energy, spend it all and then pay it back for days later. I clung to every sporadic surf session, walk and gym visit with a mixture of hope and despair. My friends offered me jobs and I would constantly be calling out because I was in bed all day, weak, feverish and sometimes with extreme nausea. I lived to sleep but it never satisfied me.
I had read every book on nutrition and thought I was doing my best. Gluten free muffins, Kashi cereal for breakfast, brown rice pasta for dinner and even salads at lunch time. To me, there wasn’t much more I could be doing. Maybe I needed more Abx for Lyme disease or an underlying infection. I ran a gamut of blood tests with my PCP which showed immune markers. Even though my insurance didn’t cover any further visits I decided not to pursue any single diagnosis because at this point there were numerous problems with my blood work and health that indicated something was wrong on the holistic level, rather than an individual disease.
What I didn’t realize was that the pain I felt often after eating was my body telling me my digestive system was seriously out of balance, which was destroying my immune system. The sugar I used to feel alert was feeding a massive overgrowth of the wrong kind of bacteria. 3 months on Abx for Lyme had destroyed my immune and digestive system including filling my body with dead cells that needed to be cleared out. A toxic diet when I was younger had left permanent damage. Using an elimination diet, Eat to Live’s guidelines for the foods I CAN eat and a few juice fasts when I felt toxic, I have a life again.
At first I resisted posting too much because I was so afraid I would wake up and feel awful again. I religiously stuck to my grain free, nightshade free version of the plan and took things one day at a time. I forced down green smoothies. I took my Vitamix on a ski trip. I ate 5 papayas a day in Hawaii. I made mistakes and reacted violently to eggs and dairy in processed foods. But I kept picking myself up.
Today it is 3 months since I started my journey. I truly credit my success to finding like minded people on Facebook and checking in every day to stay motivated and keep a clear idea of what my health goals are.
I naturally wake up between 7 and 8 now and have no trouble falling asleep… usually at 10 or 11. I start my day with affirmations and a gratitude list, because despite the cold weather I enjoy being awake for the first time in years. I have 3 jobs now and am back in graduate school which was a huge gamble because I applied when I was just starting my new diet. I am able to keep up with everything and take my dogs running on the beach. The swelling in my knees took the longest to heal but has made the biggest difference in my life as I can be as active as I like. I am back at the gym regularly and look forward to biking daily when the weather breaks. I waste time on Facebook still but it’s optional, I can see my friends just fine.
Changing the way I eat and treat my body has changed my whole world. Now nothing is impossible to me. I want to run 5ks, surf around the world and take long hikes with my dogs and there is no longer anything holding me back as long as I stick with my dietary program and make sure I get a fair amount of rest. I’ve learned to say no and to treat myself right.
I just went to see a new PCP and my blood work came back perfect. Best part – NO AUTOIMMUNE MARKERS! My new doc is a Functional Medicine doctor and has many patients who have changed their life though diet. Apparently gluten, dairy and food additives found in processed foods can mimic any number of diseases and cause massive inflammation. Anemia I had when I was eating meat is now gone – B12 and D3 are good bc I supplement often with Emercen-C drink.
My typical diet is super simple: unlimited fresh fruit/green smoothies for breakfast. I figured out how to make almond flour crepes but the strangest thing is when I eat dry foods such as baked goods and pasta, I find them too ‘dry’ and get uncomfortable with a stomach ache. I am so used to fruits and vegetables!
Lunch: unlimited Salad, Steamed Vegetables, Fruit, nuts, seeds, beans
Dinner: Sometimes skipped to allow fasting, steamed veggies/smoothie or veggie soup.
Can’t say I feel deprived at all as being in bed every day when I should have been at the beach is deprivation. Eating foods that my body likes is just the right thing to do, regardless of what everyone around me thinks and eats! My new challenge is learning to let things go and let people be right when they challenge plant based diets – but given how much Eat To Live helped me it’s hard not to get passionate! At just 3 months in, I am so excited to see how I feel in the future!