I am not a doctor. I am not a certified nutritionist. I am just an average girl who has questioned authority and the concept of “normal” for as long as I can remember. I can sense when things just ain’t right. The chronic health problems suffered by many, the alarming rates of autism, ADHD, behavior disorders, the fact that everyone and their grandma has cancer, the fact that there is a pill for everything but a cure for nothing just ain’t right. We have come to accept these things as normal. But is it?
I was sick a lot as a child. I must have had a cold approximately once a month. I’ve lost count how many times I have been on antibiotics. As a junior in highschool, I had a sudden onslaught of various physical problems. I developed severe allergies to dust, pollen, and animal hair. I remember, during spring I couldn’t even be outside because my eyes would tear up and my nose would pour snot. My skin became extremely dry, and my eyesight began to deteriorate at an alarming rate. I had headaches all the time. My eating habits were disgusting. That year I also experienced the worst depression of my life. By the time I was in college, I had become accustomed to colds, allergies, severe menstrual cramps, headaches, stomach problems, constipation, diarrhea, depression, and chronic fatigue. It was normal to me, and the few doctors I had mentioned my symptoms to couldn’t help other than to offer pills so I just ignored it. I was in college full time, working full time, and in a relationship. So I didn’t have time to focus on my pain. I resolved to get on with my life.
My health was at its worse the following years after I graduated from college. I was in my early 20′s but I felt like I was 80. I was working with children with autism and related disorders, and some of the parents were into “special diets” for their children. I had heard about vitamins and gluten but never really looked into it. Sometimes, parents asked me about nutritional methods but I had been trained to regurgitate the “fact” that only applied behavior analysis was proven to help children with autism. Everything else, including special diets, was unscientific and not proven to help. Hearing so much about alternative therapies, I decided that one day- when I had time, of course- I would research the matter for myself.
I should mention that, by this time, through trial and error I had already figured out that what I ate was the difference between feeling horrible and feeling ok. For example, as a teenager I suffered from very painful menstrual cramps. One day at college, I was too busy to eat. I just drank water all day. By the afternoon I noticed that my cramps were not as bad as they usually were. So for the next couple days I followed my intuition and ate very light meals- mainly salad and fruit. I was amazed at how much better I felt. After this realization, I started my own tradition of avoiding meat, dairy, and greasy foods during my period. It got to the point where I no longer had to pop 2 Tylenol every couple of hours. Soon, I stopped needing anything because I stopped having painful cramps.
Ok maybe that story was too much information. Moving on…
I was married in 2008. My husband, although not yet into organic food, wasn’t a huge fast food eater, saying that fast food made him feel gross. So we started eating “healthy.” I say “healthy” because at that time, we thought eating healthy involved eating more salad and less fast food. Although this is a good starting point, in order to be truly healthy you have to change your entire way of thinking about food. For example, as you will find out on this blog, fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar does. Also, you might think eating a salad is good for you, but if the salad dressing is filled with sugar, soy or canola oil, and chemicals, you are doing your body a huge disservice. There is a huge difference between “healthy” food and healthy food. More on this later.
I remember hearing the word organic. I never really knew what it meant. So I went online and researched it. Basically, organic food is natural food, raised or grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, genetic engineering, growth hormones, or other chemicals. About 4 years ago, I asked a friend of mine- she was into eating healthy- what she thought about organic food and we came to the conclusion that it may be better, but definitely not worth the price. However, I made a mental note, that one day- when I had time, of course- I would research organic food in greater detail.
Because my husband and I seek truth on every level, we are highly critical of all information we come across. And through years of study and recognition that the world is a very corrupt place (politics, medical system, law enforcement, the global business arena- you name it) we assumed there was probably something up with the food system as well. So we researched. After we were convinced that organic food was indeed healthier for our bodies, as well as better for the environment, we slowly started purchasing more and more organic food. Then we got into supplements. Juicing. Detoxing. Raw food. Those were fun years of improved health and experimentation with all kinds of alternative diets.
But we spent a lot of money. Since we were doing this on our own, a lot of things were trial and error. I would not change anything though, because I have learned so much about health, and the amazing human body. But I do want to spare people the headache, stress, and confusion surrounding the hundreds of health food fads out there. Don’t get me wrong, I believe alternative medicine has answers for whatever condition you are suffering from, but you need to make sure you are doing the basics first. Changing your diet is the first step. If you don’t notice a huge improvement in your health just by changing what you eat, then you can utilize other natural therapies.
I will leave you with this: Believe it or not, our Creator knew what He was doing when He created the earth and the human body. The earth is filled with an abundance of resources that promote health and healing. Our bodies actually posses the capability to heal themselves! I’m not talking about weird, supernatural, twilight zone stuff. I’m talking basic nutrition and natural living.
I used to wonder why, at such a young age, I was sick all the time. The Bible says that one of the reasons we go through trials is so that we can help other people when they go through the same thing. Through much prayer and searching for the truth, I believe God has granted me wisdom in this area. I am so passionate about natural health! Not only is there research backing natural approaches to health, but I have used myself as a guinea pig. I have cured myself of many things doctors could not, just by changing my diet! Proper nutrition and avoiding chemicals is the best way to stay healthy. Medicine, in my opinion, should be used for emergencies. True health is not about avoiding every single bad bug out there. True health is about having a properly functioning immune system so that the body can identify and naturally fight off illness.
I had a rough start at life. Health problems and traumatic experiences. But with natural living I have become so much healthier, spiritually and physically. I’m not 100% yet. Maybe I will never be- after all, we live in a fallen world. I still have some minor health issues that I’m working on. Also I now have a daughter- a former micro preemie- with her own health issues that we are working on. So I’m on a journey. And I invite you to take this journey with me!
Allegra has a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, specializing in skills development and reduction of behavior problems in children with autism. But she also has a passion for natural health and spends almost all of her free time researching ways to increase health naturally. In April 2011, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl- a micro preemie born 3 and a half months early. For the last year, she has been a stay at home mom and has become even more involved in natural approaches to health. In 2012, she started the blog, Healthful Inspirations, to share her experiences with natural living as well as current research on alternative medicine.