Six months ago, I started eating unprocessed foods that are yeast-free, mold-free and sugar-free. You can read my previous monthly check-ins here.
In my four- and five-month check-ins, I reported on the successes I’ve been having, along with a few struggles. Because some of my symptoms — namely aches and pains — returned when the season started to change, I was worried that all my symptoms would reemerge as we settled into winter. That’s been the pattern for several years, which is part of why it’s so hard for me to say goodbye to summer. I’ve come to associate the change in seasons with a change (for the worse) in my health.
This month, I am happy to report that my health is optimal. We’ve officially welcomed winter here in Kansas City, and none of my chronic symptoms are rearing their heads. I haven’t felt this good during the winter months since we moved away from Kansas City in 2004. I am living without pain, without headaches, without foggy thinking and memory problems, without dizziness, without fatigue, without insomnia, without depression and anxiety, without respiratory distress, without gastrointestinal symptoms, and without urinary tract problems.
I’ve seen another change worth noting. The cramps associated with my menstrual cycle have disappeared. This is significant because I used to have terrible menstrual pain. In his book Fit for Life, Dr. Joel Fuhrman states that this will happen when following a high-nutrient, low-calorie plant-based diet, but I didn’t believe him. Many experts make health promises that don’t pan out when I attempt to achieve similar results. But in my case, what Dr. Fuhrman said was right on, even though it seemed too good to be true.
Overall, my body has become more resilient, as evidenced by my ability to recover from stressful and traumatic events as opposed to succumbing to them. I may feel an uptick in symptoms during a stressful time, but that doesn’t mean my system will be overwhelmed for months on end. I also know how to better care for myself when I experience symptoms. I no longer throw my hands up, feeling helpless to intervene on my body’s behalf.
Over the past few weeks, my husband and I have had friends over for dinner. I’ve prepared everything we’ve eaten from scratch, which allows me to hone my cooking skills and gives me an excuse to spend time in the kitchen. Cooking has become my favorite occupational therapy, and socializing with friends keeps me from moving too far into my own introversion.
I continue to read about health and nutrition. I am currently making my way through Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, by T. Colin Campbell, coauthor of The China Study. In the book, he says nutrition is the “master key to human health.” Think about that. You may be fiddling around with all the other keys on the key chain, but if you aren’t using the master key, you will never open the door to health.
I have been so struck by the effect proper nutrition has had on my body and mind that I am bringing nutrition into my life in new ways. I continue to volunteer for a local community garden that feeds homeless families. I am also taking classes in biology, chemistry and dietetics so I can have a better understanding of human nutrition. Finally, I am using my experience in health communications as a means for transitioning into a career in health education and outreach.
Six months. Endless transformations. I can’t wait to see what month seven brings, when we’ll be knee-deep in winter.