Leaving the SAD Behind

standard-american-diet

For the first time probably in history, WE are more the cause of our diseases than anything else. Remarkable isn’t it? You would think that a 1st world country, a global superpower, and a technologically advanced and highly educated nation could figure out how not to kill themselves. Yet, with the Standard American Diet (SAD) a majority of the population in this great country is suffering from diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. . . . . and, the leading cause of these diseases is our diet and lifestyle.

In the 1800s and early 1900s, plagues, poverty, unsanitary living conditions and food contamination caused most of the diseases in this country. New discoveries in recent decades such as penicillin (1928), antibiotics (1930s), and the advancement of medicine and sanitation have increased our life expectancy. Only to a point, however. If we don’t change our thinking about health care, I believe that the life expectancy in this country will start to decrease, if it hasn’t already.

Longevity is not the only goal of health care, ‘quality of life’ should be as well. There is no reason why Americans should not be living a long life AND thriving. Who wants to live to 90 with dementia or Alzheimer’s?  Who wants to be on a long list of medications, or suffer from chronic pain?  Certainly not me.  However, this scenario is not uncommon for elderly people today.  How sad an existence.

Americans of all ages suffer from a poor ‘quality of life’. How many people in your circle of friends experience things such as extreme fatigue, chronic unexplained pain, brain fog, anxiety and/or depression? And how many are on some kind of antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication? That would be close to 100% in my circles. And until recently, I was one of them.

I am not a physician, I recognize my limitations. I am not currently nor do I plan on ever attending medical school.  I have no formal certification or degree – yet. What I have been doing is my own independent research for about 6 years.  And I am currently studying to become a doctor of naturopathy. The field of natural healing is exciting and fascinating to me. God knew what He was doing when He created us. He gave us everything that we need on this earth to live a long healthy life. The further we stray from ‘nature’, the more diseased, out of balance and uncomfortable we will be.

We must learn THE TRUTH about health.

My Story

At 33, I was sick all time, 40 lbs overweight, depressed and I had no idea why. I had eaten pretty well all my life (so I thought), so why did I feel so crappy all the time? I had exercised 4 to 5 days a week since high school, so why couldn’t I lose any weight? I had 2 beautiful daughters, an amazing husband, a loving church family and great friends, so why was I so depressed?

I went to numerous doctors, none of which could help me. I tried just about all of the antidepressants at one time or another. At one point, a doctor told me that I had bipolar (which I did not!) and put me on Zyprexa. So, my brain pretty much turned to mush.  I might as well have been catatonic. Another doctor put me on the antidepressant Effexor, that is known to increase anxiety, a side effect that she neglected to tell me. This doctor increased my dose each time I told her that I wasn’t feeling any better, and I started having panic attacks. I was spiraling out of control.

A couple of years prior, I had started my own business as a wedding photographer. As much as I loved the work, it was very stressful. During wedding season, I worked 8-10 hours almost every Saturday. And being on my feet all day Saturday caused me to be useless on Sunday. So, my weekends were shot. stress-workplace-top-reasons1Between the front end of the business, marketing myself, and the back end, follow up work with edits and wedding albums, not to mention things like paying bills and taxes, I was working well over full time during the busy season. With 2 little kids at home, it was too much, especially with the condition my body/mind was in. So I forced myself to keep it together until the last wedding of the season.  As we walked to the car from the reception hall that evening, I started to sob. The very next day I went to the hospital. Lights out . . . . I was done.

My body and my mind quit. I spent one night in the hospital on the mental health floor. It was the worst night of my life. Once they discharged me, I was told to come back for outpatient group therapy 3 times a week. I went to one meeting and realized that it was a joke. It was the blind leading the blind. They taught that you have to make yourself happy. Wow! Were they really saying that?! Talk about an oversimplification! That isn’t healing, and ‘happiness’ isn’t the goal, wellness is.

Fixing ‘the plumbing’

After months of 1 on 1 therapy with a wonderful Christian psychologist, I was still not getting any better. She recommended that I see a new doctor in their practice. He was a psychiatrist who specialized in biochemistry. He was interested in body chemistry, and blood . . . lots of blood. The lab technicians knew him as the ‘vampire doctor’, because he required so many vials of blood for the many things he was testing for. I wasn’t overly optimistic, but I was desperate for help. After he looked at my blood work, he knew what was wrong with me and how to fix the problem.

I was so deficient in so many things that it was a wonder that I was still functioning at all. He explained it like this; the plumbing in an apartment buildingplumbing-companies gets clogged. Very little moves the way it is supposed to through the pipes. We needed to unclog the pipes, so the water can flow as it was designed to. It was the first time that I had been told something by a doctor that made so much sense. Conventional doctors just throw a pill at you and call it ‘health care’. Putting something on top of a clog may help temporarily, but it doesn’t fix the problem for long, and it usually causes other problems. So, he put me on a bunch of supplements to get things moving until we could fix the plumbing. In a matter of weeks, the depression lifted. In a matter of a few months, I dropped 40 lbs effortlessly!

Thus my journey out of my ‘SAD’ existence began; my journey back to reality and back to living. No more would I ‘drink the koolaid’ of what my doctors, the government, and the media were telling me. No longer would I believe that doctors are the only ones that know anything.  No longer would I blindly do whatever my doctor told me to do.  What is done to my body and put in my body is my choice, and mine alone.  The sole responsibility for my health lies on me.  So, I began researching.  I starting becoming familiar with topics like methylation, leaky gut syndrome, food allergies, food additives, inflammation, modified foods, hydrogenation, heavy metal toxicity, pH balance, and whole foods.

This journey began 8 years ago. I am still working with my doctor because my body is still not fully absorbing iron, and I am not making enough dopamine. He currently thinks the cause is heavy metal toxicity. So, no, I am not completely fixed. But, I am living again . . . . praise God! I am not angry or impatient with my doctor for taking so long.  It took 33 years to screw up my body pretty thoroughly, so why should I expect it to be repaired overnight?  My theory is this; the body is an amazingly and ridiculously complex system and I doubt that we will ever fully understand it.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

Things that I have learned and topics of future blogs

  1. Dairy isn’t good for you
  2. Meat isn’t that good for you – it increases your risk of cancer and heart disease (yes, even lean poultry and fish)
  3. We can get all the protein and calcium we need from vegetables, nuts and seeds
  4. Human beings were meant to eat mostly vegetables and some fruit
  5. The germ theory is wrong* (see below)
  6. We cannot trust the FDA, RDA’s, ADA (American Dairy Association), USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), AHA (American Heart Association), the food pyramid, registered dietitians, food commercials, pharmaceutical commercials, the health department, our doctors, or the public schools in regards to health education.
  7. Processed food isn’t really food – food comes from the ground, not a factory.
  8. Fat isn’t the enemy, sugar is
  9. The only person that can keep you healthy is YOU

* Louis Pasteur developed the germ theory of disease in the late 1800s.  However, Claude Bernard, argued that disease was caused by variations in the host’s internal milieu, or “terrain,”to which the microbes responded by changing form in order to survive.  According to this theory, the vitality of the host was the principal factor in disease. Relatively small changes in the internal environment made the “terrain” attractive and hospitable to different types of invading organisms: a weak host not only “invited” invading organisms to take up residence, but actually cultured them, inducing their changes into pathological forms.  On his death bed Louis Pasteur admitted Bernard was right and the germ theory was wrong.

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