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A Speech About Candida

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So, I’m back in college.  Wow.  That is so awesome!!  I’m going to school again!  I get to let someone ELSE teach ME!!  I love it!!  I’m almost done with my first quarter back in school and I compulsively check the website that lists my grades.  I’m doing pretty well!  But between homework and the kids, it doesn’t leave me as much time to write.  However, I was able to use my candida cleanse as a topic for a speech I gave.  It was frustrating though, because there was so much I wanted to say, but I only had 7 minutes, so I had to keep cutting things out!  And even so I went about a minute over.  But here’s a copy of the text of my speech. And here’s a link to the YouTube video of me giving it.

Candida
You get into your car in the morning, put the key in the ignition and turn it and you get sputter, sputter, petewee. Or you accelerate and your car hesitates. Or worse, you’re driving down the highway and your engine just dies!! Something is wrong with your fuel or something is keeping your fuel from getting where it needs to go. This is very similar to what can happen to us. If the food we consume isn’t properly digested it can’t fuel our bodies. Candida overgrowth interferes with this process. Bodyecology.com says that at least 70% of Americans have a candida overgrowth and most don’t even know it. A little over a year ago I discovered that I had a candida overgrowth. I worked hard to diagnose and then heal this problem. Luckily, candida overgrowth is a condition that can be easily remedied without any medications or medical procedures.
First I’d like to explain what candida overgrowth really is.
I. Candida overgrowth can affect many areas of your health and it can be caused by different things but it is relatively easy to diagnose.
A. Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions explains that Candida is a naturally occurring fungi in your intestines that helps to break down foods, but it can grow out of control and cause perforations in the intestinal wall that allow undigested food to enter your bloodstream. This is very bad. Food does not belong in your blood stream and it causes your immune system to go into overdrive. This overtaxes your immune system which can result in any number of auto-immune issues.
B. Candida overgrowth can be caused by many factors. Candida lives on sugar. Eating too much sugar or foods that metabolize as sugar will cause an overgrowth. In America today, sugar comes in many forms, so you really have to be careful in your label reading. For our purposes, sugar includes agave, anything with “malt” in it, anything with “syrup” in it, anything with “cane” in it, dextrin, anything with “ose” in it, fruit juice concentrate, honey, maple syrup, molasses, treacle or xylose. In addition to sugars, foods that metabolize as sugar, like wheat and alcohol will feed the candida. Lastly, anti-biotics kill both the good and the bad bacteria in your gut, throwing everything out of whack.
C. So how do you know if your candida has gotten out of hand? It can present in several different ways, depending on how bad it has gotten, your overall health and how your particular body reacts to it. Candidamd.com gives this list of symptoms to look for (slide 1). As you can see the symptoms can have quite a range. When I first went through a candida cleanse I was suffering from frequent migraines, depression, irritability, acid reflux, major sugar cravings (I actually used to plan ahead when I was out to make sure I always had sugar available, like an addict), and I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. The thing that made me look for answers, though, was when I suddenly got severe asthma that put my lung function at 52%!
Transition: Next I’d like to explain how to do a candida cleanse.
II. The first step in getting your candida under control is the hardest.
A. You need to go on a candida cleanse. Doctor’s disagree on exactly how long and which foods are most important to avoid (slide 2), but Fred Pescatore recommends cutting out all sugar, grains (including wheat, rye oats and barley), white rice and white potatoes, fruit, yeast, dairy, preservatives and artificial colors. And you can’t cheat your sweet tooth with aspartame as it weakens your immune system in general. You do need to be very careful cutting out every single form of sugar as it can cause adrenal failure. I recommend having about half a piece of actual fruit each day, to help prevent this.
B. Just because you have cut out most of the foods you are used to enjoying doesn’t mean that you don’t get anything fun to eat. For instance, candidadiet.com has some wonderful recipes. My kids still ask for avocado omelets as one of their favorite breakfasts! You can eat most nuts, meat, fish, and all kinds of vegetables. Some experts even suggest a serving of live culture yogurt or kefir each day to help rebuild the good bacteria in your gut. But be careful with this because the lactose in milk is essentially sugar. You can also eat buckwheat, millet, oat bran and quinoa. My family had a lot of fun experimenting with these almost-grains.
C. Another thing to consider during your cleanse is nutritional supplements. There are lots of supplements to choose from and it can be a bit overwhelming. When it comes to candida, there are 3 important categories; probiotics, omegas and anti-fungals,. Probiotics like L. Acidophilus and B. Bifidum help build up the good bacteria in your gut that the candida has pushed out. A good omega like cod liver oil or flax seed is a wonderful anti-inflammatory for your whole body. It can help your body just “calm down” from all the stress of its immune system battles. Anti-fungals like oregano oil and garlic help kill the candida. However, using anti-fungals can kill off the candida too quickly and you may start experiencing headaches, fatigue, gas, joint pain or other negative symptoms as the bacteria recedes. But this is only temporary.
Transition: Last I’d like to share how you can maintain the good gut health that you’ve worked so hard for.
III. Once you’re done with your cleanse, there are a couple of things you can do to maintain the balance in your gut and several things you should see as a result of all your work.
A. Once you feel like you’ve fought back the candida you need to re-introduce foods one at a time (slide 3). Choose a food that you’re missing and eat it once a day for a week. If you don’t notice any reactions from your body then continue to add other foods, one at a time, remembering that moderation is key. Good foods to add back in are beans, honey, maple syrup and non-homogenized dairy. You still want to avoid conventional dairy as the homogenizing process severely alters the milk’s molecules making it nearly impossible to digest.
B. There are a lot of foods you can add back into your diet once you’ve tamed the candida but if you want to maintain optimal gut health there are some “foods” that you want to avoid permanently. This doesn’t mean that you can never eat these things again, but you need to make them a rare addition to your diet. These things include processed foods, artificial preservatives and dyes and white sugar (try turbinado if you need sugar). Look for new foods to try, visit your local farmer’s market, experience all the whole foods that are out there, experiment in your kitchen and make your own amazing recipes.
C. Different people will experience different results of course, but if nothing else you will feel much better in general. Many people experience healthy weight loss and renewed energy. My asthma has been completely healed, I’ve noticed major behavior improvements in my son and his seasonal allergies have disappeared. You will find that your immune system is stronger. You won’t get sick as often and when you do catch something you’ll notice that your body fights it off much more efficiently. This past winter my family was sick maybe twice. Once with a cold which lasted for about 24 hours and once with a stomach bug that lasted for 72 hours. That’s pretty phenomenal for a household with 4 kids in it.
Transition: So as negative as candida overgrowth can be, you can fix it.
Conclusion:
Today I hope you’ve learned why candida overgrowth is bad, how you can overcome it and how you can maintain good gut health. Discovering that I had a candida overgrowth and then working so hard to correct it literally changed my life. It’s so amazing to me that something going on in my gut can have such a profound impact on the rest of my health! Thank you very much for your time.

Works Cited
Bodyecology.com. December 1, 2006. May 15, 2014. Web.
Candidamd.com. January 12, 2011. May 12, 2014. Web.
Fallon, Sally. “Nourishing Traditions.” NewTrends Publishing, Inc; Washington, DC. 2001. Print.
Pescatore, Dr. Fred. “The Allergy and Asthma Cure.” Wiley Publishing; Hoboken, NJ. 2008. Print.
Richards, Lisa. Thecandidadiet.com. 2014. May 12, 2014. Web.

 

Fish Oil

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I want to talk to you about fish oil.  Fish oil was the first thing I changed when it comes to medication.  Maybe I should back up a bit.  I was diagnosed as Bipolar Type II with mild obsessive-compulsive disorder in 1997.  I was put on Prozac, then Zoloft, then Celexa before we finally settled on Effexor as being most effective for controlling my depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (I’m pretty sure there were a couple more in there, I just can’t remember what they were).  I started with Depakote for my mania (which was relatively mild) and finally settled on Neurontin.  These drugs did a good job of controlling my “symptoms.”  I wasn’t running around, ruining my life and my credit (like I did in my first full blown manic attack) and I was able to get out of bed and generally function (unlike how most of my life went when I was dealing with severe bouts of depression).  But wow.  I completely lost my personality.  I didn’t notice it so much at the time, because I was so happy that my life was more under control, but later, when I finally got off of them, and my personality came back it was very apparent.  But more about that later.  When I got pregnant this last time, and was told to go off my psych meds because they would be harmful to the baby, I had been on some form of psych medication for 13 years.  And every time I had been pregnant in the past, and had to go off my psych medications, I had ended up relapsing on heroin (except when I had my daughter, probably because I didn’t realize I was pregnant until nearly halfway through the pregnancy so I wasn’t off of them for as long).  So the prospect was a scary one.  I started doing some research.  The first thing I learned was fish oil.

Triglyceride capsules and my chocolate flavored fermented gel.

Triglyceride capsules and my chocolate flavored fermented gel.

The “experts” aren’t really sure why fish oil works.  We know it does some major things to help alleviate inflammation but no one’s sure exactly how it helps the brain.  I read an interesting article that compares Japan’s mental illness rates (they eat about a half pound of fish a day) with America’s and it was pretty startling.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2012/09/16/does-fish-oil-really-improve-mental-health

My naturopath said that there is a film that goes down the center of your brain and in some people it kind of gets hard and crusty, but when you take fish oil it softens it up and allows information to pass back and forth from your right and left sides more easily.  But I haven’t personally read any research on that topic.

All I know is that when I started taking it, I started feeling better.  It’s like a fog was lifted from my brain.  I could think more clearly.  I made better decisions.  It was amazing.  And it only took about 2 weeks to start feeling some serious improvements.  And it just got better and better the longer I was taking it.  Over the last few years I have also learned more about fish oil and have been able to improve the quality of oil that I take and that has made a big difference too.

From my research I have learned that the very best type of fish oil is fermented cod liver oil.  It is most absorbable and gives you the most vitamins/benefits.  I buy one that is a fermented cod liver oil/butter oil mix.  This also gives me the most absorbable form of vitamin D outside of the sun on your skin.  If you don’t buy fermented (it’s very expensive) then I would highly recommend fish oil that is in it’s triglyceride form.  Some supplements advertise that they are in this form, but not all of them say one way or the other.  You can test it yourself with a Styrofoam cup.  Get your cup out and pour a little of your fish oil in it.  If it eats through the cup within the first 15 – 20 minutes it’s not going to do you much good.  This is an indication that it’s not in the triglyceride form.  All fish oil will eat through a Styrofoam cup eventually, but the triglyceride stuff will take around an hour or more to do it.

If you have any experience with taking fish oil, please comment here or on my FB page and tell me what benefits you’ve actually experienced.  They can do all the tests they want, but what really matters is what it does for you!

I wanted to share a verse with you that I came across in my reading this week.  It starts out very negatively, but please bear with me.  It shows one of God’s most amazing promises:

1 Corinthians 6:9-13 says “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of God.  All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.  All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.  Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them.  Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.”

Wow.  Do you see how awesome those verses are?!  That list of terrible people?  I was one of those.  In my Bible I highlighted all the things on that list that I have been.  It wasn’t pretty.  There were only 3 that weren’t highlighted,   and I’m not so sure about one of those three!  I was all those terrible things, but look what comes next and watch how Paul says it.  “But you were washed.”  “But you were sanctified.”  Not, “you were washed and sanctified and justified.”  Rather each phrase starts with it’s own “but.”  It’s like he’s saying, “yeah, BUT!” “It’s ok, BECAUSE!”  I’ve been washed!  I’ve been sanctified (set aside and made holy)!!  I’ve been justified (declared just and righteous)!!  Wow.  No where in there does it say that I fixed all those problems, the only one who fixed anything, was Jesus; He washed, He sanctified and He justified.  Praise God!!  But now, look at the next part.  “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.  All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”  God set me free!  He freed me from that slavery to sin.  I have freedom to choose for myself what I want to do and how I want to live my life.  But not all my choices are profitable ones.  Not all my choices will be good for me.  And some of those choices could slam me right back into that slavery.  I want to make good choices, I want to grow and mature, and I definitely don’t want to go back to being mastered by anything.  I don’t want to go back to being a slave of sugar.  But people can also be “mastered” by trying to “eat right.”  If I’m so obsessed with following my eating plan that it gets in the way of my fellowship (we can’t go to the potluck, they won’t have any good foods there!!) or my ability to serve (let’s take our own lunch to eat after we serve the homeless, because we sure don’t want to eat THEIR food) then I have a serious problem.  I would rather eat nothing but sugar the rest of my life than let my eating get in the way of my real calling here on earth.  But thank goodness I don’t have to!!  “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food but the Lord will do away with both of them.”  I eat food for my stomach’s sake.  For my gut health, for my body.  But I don’t let it master me.  Food itself isn’t immoral, but my actions around food can be.  It’s all about my motivation and how I interact with others.  I thought it was really interesting that the Bible even addresses these “little” issues like what we eat.  Paul has said some great things about letting what you eat cause other people to stumble.

I hope you are encouraged by these words and I hope you look at food in a new way.  And please let me know what you experience if you decide to try some fish oil.  Thanks for reading!

The Sugar Monster

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You may be wondering what an elimination diet is.  The point of an elimination diet is to eliminate one food or category of food from your diet.  Sometimes people do this permanently, like if they’ve become allergic to gluten they want to get all the gluten out of their diet.  But my elimination diets were to see which foods I was sensitive to, which foods were irritating my system.  The first food I eliminated was dairy.  This means no ice cream, butter, milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.  So, no milk for granola for breakfast, no yogurt snacks, no cheese sticks (one of my kids’ favorites), no milk in the gravy, no pancakes, almost no baking because it nearly all has some form of dairy in it.  This started me on a great obsession of reading ingredient lists.  Wow.  You will be amazed at what you’ll find.  I found corn syrup in my vanilla!!  WHAT??  Why in the world do you need corn syrup in your vanilla?!  And there is some form of sweetener in everything that comes in a package or a box.  Seriously.  So don’t start reading labels unless you’re prepared to make some changes.

Anyway, back to my diet.  I eliminated dairy for 30 days and at first I was really craving it!!  I’m not someone who drinks a lot of milk.  I’d have it on my cereal in the morning and then maybe once a week I’d have a glass of milk, but now I was jonesing for a tall cold glass of milk!  This was a warning sign that milk was a problem for me.  And at the beginning of my fast off dairy I was spending a lot of time in the bathroom.  But by the end of it, my digestion was better than it had been in recent memory.  Ok, so milk was an issue.

Next I did a fast off chocolate and caffeine.  I didn’t notice much, if any difference.  I stopped this one after 2 weeks and moved on.

I combined Dr. Pescatore’s wheat and corn eliminations.  Because I was pretty sure I’d have issue with both of these as I’ve had severe cravings for both.  So, for 30 days there was no bread, no oatmeal, no granola, no tortillas, no flour (I did start experimenting with coconut and almond flour at this point), no hotdog or hamburger buns, no cookies, no pancakes, waffles, muffins, biscuits, nothing.  This was by far the hardest of the eliminations.  But not only did I discover some sensitivities, but I discovered that my middle son (who is 6) also had some sensitivity.  His showed up as behavior problems.  After several weeks with no grains, he went to grandma’s house and had cheerios for breakfast and a hotdog in a bun for lunch and when he came home he was so disobedient and defiant he ended up being sent to his room within an hour.  Wow.  Way out of character for him!  I tested this again about a week later with the same result.  And once again, at the beginning, I was spending an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom, and had serious cravings.

The last thing that Dr. Pescatore suggests eliminating is salicylates.  These are found in aspirin and many preservatives, artificial flavorings and colorings, etc.  We had already decided that we didn’t want these kinds of things in our diets, so I didn’t have to worry about them.

So, other than the chocolate/caffeine category, I was sensitive to everything!!  That seemed awfully strange to me.  I mean, I’d never had any problems before and trust me, I never ate what anyone could call healthy since I was an adult.  How could I be sensitive to all these things?!  But my breathing was so bad, I was ready to try anything.  By this point the doctor had basically given up on me.  Nothing he had tried had made any difference except an unbelievably strong steroid that was not safe to use long term.  However, through a friend, I had discovered an essential oil that worked BETTER than any of the rescue inhalers he’d given me to stop attacks and regular old Ricola lozenges seemed to control the throat tickle coughing I’d get in the mornings from nasal drainage.  I figured what the heck, it couldn’t hurt and it would be cheap.  After all, it was a list of foods NOT to eat!!

In addition to the foods I was sensitive to I had to stop all forms of sugar, including fruit so I could stop feeding my candida overgrowth.  Wow.  Back to that label obsession??  You would not believe how difficult it is to find anything with more than about 4 ingredients that doesn’t contain some sort of sugar!!  Sugar can be called: sugar, barley malt syrup, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, corn syrup (basically anything with “syrup” in it), honey, cane juice (and anything with “cane” in it), dextrin, dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose (yep, lactose is the sugar part of the milk), maltose, saccharose (basically anything with “ose” in it), maltodextrin, molasses, sorghum, treacle and xylose.  I dare you.  The very next box or package of food or drink you pick up, check the ingredients.  You will be amazed.  When I was growing up, we decided which breakfast cereal to eat by how far down the ingredient list the sugar was since the ingredients are listed from most to least.  If sugar was the first or second ingredient, then it was only for a treat, not for eating every day.  But these days, the manufacturers get around that by using 3 or 4 different types of sugar so they use less of each type and therefore they can be further down the list.  So the first thing  I had to do was find enough foods without all these ingredients to feed myself and my family!  We mostly did this by cooking for ourselves and not buying any prepackaged food.

After about 3 days without any sugar I was jonesing BAD.  That candida in my body was screaming, “Feed me, NOW!!”  And my brain was screaming, “I need it, I need it.  I don’t know how to feel good without it!”  I have a history with drug addiction.  I have been addicted to both heroin and cocaine, and I’ve been told that these are about the hardest substances to detox from so I’m not exactly new to cravings, detox and addiction.  Now, physically, sugar was not as severe as other detoxes I’ve gone through.  There was no vomiting and night sweats, but mentally it was almost exactly the same!!  There was that itchy brain, I-need-something-I-gotta-have-something-or-I’m-gonna-burst feeling.  It was TERRIBLE!  I had started out by packing up everything with sugar in it into some bins but I was digging through the bins by that 3rd day so I finally gave away all that food.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  And when you’re used to rewarding yourself with a treat, it’s hard not to do that for yourself.

I had heard about stevia and we did use stevia some to have some sweetness during that time, but I have since stopped using stevia for anything except sweetening our homemade toothpaste.  There’s a couple of reasons for this decision.  First off, stevia is MUCH sweeter than sugar, so most companies add something to it so that the volume can be used straight across, cup for cup like sugar.  And usually what they add is dextrose.  Which is sugar!!  No good.  The other problem is that stevia may taste sweet, but because it doesn’t have any actual sugar in it it doesn’t help a sugar craving.  You see, sugar is essentially a drug in the way it works on your brain.  Take a look at this article about sugar and your brain: Sugar is a Drug

So you can see there are some more good reasons to get the sugar out of your diet.  But more importantly, when your mouth tastes sweet it sends a message to your brain to release more insulin to take up the sugar that it’s anticipating is about to enter your system.  Then, when no sugar is there it has to draw sugar from your organs to make up the deficit.  This is not good.  This happens any time you taste sweet without consuming sugar like when you use any artificial sweeteners or chew gum.

So you can see how sugar can become a slave master.  It works on your brain just like a drug, making you feel great and setting you up to want more and more.  And it feeds the candida and other yeasts in your system making everything get way out of whack.  When your digestion isn’t running smoothly, nothing else can work right.  Your digestion is like your gas tank, if you can’t get the nutrition out of your food it’s like your gas line is clogged.  Your body just can’t function the way it was meant to function.

It makes me think of 1 Corinthians 6:19 that says that our body is temple.  My temple was a mess.  I felt like King Josiah in the old testament when he had the temple cleaned out and they found the Bible in there and read it and went, “Wow, no wonder our lives are such a mess!!  We’ve been doing it all wrong!”  So now it was time to make it right.  Time to get my temple cleaned up!!

Freedom!!

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I swear I’m still going to talk about my journey, but first I’d like you to take a look at this quote from a Civil War historian:

Ultimately the black slaves were set free.  Theoretically it became legal as early as the first day of the year, 1863, in what has come to be known as the Emancipation Proclamation.

“The word spread,” in the words of one historian, “from Capitol Hill out across the city, down into the valleys and fields of Virginia and the Carolinas, and even into the plantations of Georgia and Mississippi and Alabama.  ‘Slavery Legally Abolished!’ read the headlines, and yet something amazing took place.  The greater majority of the slaves in the South went right on living as though they were not emancipated.  That continued throughout the Reconstruction Period.

The Negro remained locked in a caste system of ‘race ettiquette’ as rigid as any had known in formal bondage, and that every slave could repeat, with equal validity, what an Alabama slave had mumbled when asked what he thought of the Great Emancipator who’s proclamation had gone into effect.  ‘I don’t know nothin’ ’bout Abraham Lincoln cep they say he sot us free.  And I don’t know nothin’ ’bout that neither.'”

How tragic.  A war was being fought.  A document had been signed.  Slaves were legally set free.  And yet most continued to live out their years, and many of their children some of their years, in fear, saying, “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout that neither.”  In a context of freedom, slaves chose to remain slaves, throughout their lives.

                                             ~Shelby Foote, “The Civil War”

    Wow.  Did you catch that?!  A war was fought.  Blood was spilled all over the place.  Men died to set these slaves free.  And what did they do??  “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout that.”  And why?  Why didn’t they run leaping off the fields, doing the dance of joy in their ex-masters’ faces??  Fear and ignorance.  They didn’t know they were free and when they did, they didn’t know what to do about it.  They had never known anything but slavery.  They were, in many ways, like children.  They had always been fed and taken care of.  They had no idea what it meant to go out and get a job and find a house and raise a family and they were too scared to try!

    So I look to my own life to see if I can find some parallels.  I have been a slave.  I’ve been a slave to addiction, men, food, pride and many other things, I’m sure.  And more recently I’ve been struggling with slavery to sugar, to anger, and maybe even to some self doubt.  And what kept me there??  Fear and ignorance.  I didn’t know any other way.  Or I knew there was a way, but I couldn’t figure out how to get there.  I didn’t know how to stop giving my life to these things.  I didn’t know I was worth it.  I didn’t know, really KNOW that I had been set free.

Sugar 005

    “What?!”  You may be thinking, “Sugar?!”  Yep.  Nearly 10 years ago I read a book called “Potatoes, Not Prozac” by Kathleen DeMaisons Ph.D.  While reading this book, it became quite obvious to me that I was what she called “sugar sensitive.”  This meant that my body craved sugar and reacted even more severely to sugar when I ate it.  So I half-heartedly tried some of her suggestions and I saw a difference, but then the cravings would hit and I’d go out and buy a candy bar or two or twenty.  My high school best friend used to tease me that I had a stomach of steal.  I could eat anything!  The funny thing is, looking back, I think she had the same issue, only hers manifested as an addiction to simple carbs.  She could go a whole day eating nothing but carbs and could eat an entire loaf of bread at one sitting!!  I remember sneaking into the pantry as a child to fish lumps of sugar out of the sugar bin to eat.  I could make anything into a dessert.  But it didn’t really hit me that some of the other problems in my life were related to the way I ate.  It’s only recently that I’ve discovered just how important food is in the entirety of how you body (and therefor your mind) functions.

    All of a sudden, I can’t breathe.  I’ve never had any real problems with my breathing other than a little light, exercise induced asthma that never really bothered me.  And then last January I started getting sick.  I thought it was some kind of respiratory something.  It was hard to breathe and I’d go off coughing at the slightest provocation.  Lots of congestion, etc.  I finally went to the doctor after nearly a month of this, and she told me I had asthma.  Um, what?!  All of a sudden, out of no where, for no apparent reason, I have asthma?  I don’t think so!!  So she sent me home with an inhaler and an appointment with an asthma and allergy specialist.

    While I waited on my appointment, I got online to do some research.  And this lead me to the library (as it usually does), where I found Dr. Fred Pescatore’s “The Allergy and Asthma Cure.”  In this book he describes how sugar depresses your whole immune system.  In fact, according to Dr. Pescatore, 1 teaspoon of sugar can suppress your immune system by 56%!!  And I learned about Candida.  Candida is a lovely little yeast that everyone has in their system.  The problem is when you have an over growth.  It fills up your gut, pushing out all the beneficial bacteria that you need to properly digest food and get all the nutrients out of it.

    The book also talks about leaky gut and how eating over processed foods for too long can mess up your whole digestive system.  If this happens then partially digested food literally “leaks” out into your blood stream which triggers your body’s defense mechanisms.  If you continue to eat like this it’s kind of like setting your body at DEFCON 3 and leaving you there (for any War Games fans out there).  Your body is in a constant state of war, trying to fight off this stuff that isn’t supposed to be in your system.  If this goes on long enough you will start to develop one or more auto-immune diseases or other issues such as the ones listed in this quick chart about leaky gut:  http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/12052-leaky-gut.html :

1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome

2. Seasonal allergies or asthma

3. Autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s, lupus, psoriasis or ciliac disease

4. Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia

5. Mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, and ADD

6. Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema

7. Food allergies or food intolerance

    I suffered from 5 of the issues on this list!

    I finally got in to see the allergy and asthma specialist and found out that my lung function was at 52%!!  The doctor was appalled and didn’t understand how I was still functioning.    I asked him abut Dr. Pescatore and his book but my doctor had never heard of him.  So I tried the inhaler he gave me but I also started the elimination diets that are recommended in the book.  What I discovered was pretty amazing, but you’ll have to watch for my next post to see how I started walking in freedom from sugar!!

Why I started this blog.

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I love to write. I love to share ideas and hear opinions. I love to read and learn. I love to share what I’ve learned. I’ve seen many people; scared people, hurting people. I WAS one of those people. I remember hurting. I remember hating myself. I remember feeling so out of control. I remember searching for answers and not finding any!! Finding other people who had gone through what I had. Some of them in different stages of healing, some not, but still not many answers.

Fake it until you make it.”

Live life on life’s terms.”

Once an addict, always an addict.”

And a lot of what I heard just didn’t square with what I knew of God’s love and His amazing plan. I knew God was a God of second chances and of redemption. He is a healer and a comforter. And He wants to USE his children, not leave them sitting on the sidelines with an injury! So what did that mean?? I had a mental illness. I struggled with addiction. So was I useless? Was I already out of the game when it had barely started? That just didn’t jive with the amazing God of love who I knew. Something was wrong.

The first change I made was spending some time in an in-patient, Christian “life-change” program. This program turned my eyes back to God. I found a group of people who chose to dedicate their lives to God’s amazing work of saving lives. These people lived their lives as if the scripture was word-for-word truth! Imagine that! It was exhilarating. They helped me to act on my faith again. That beautiful simple faith that says “God will do what He says He will do.” I also learned about the lies, shame and fear that Satan was using to hold me down. The funniest part is that I was kicked out of this program!! They felt that I didn’t have the proper attitude to succeed. But that’s ok, that may have just been God telling me it was time to move on. Because the few months that I spent there reminded me of who God was and who I was and what was important. It got me looking in the right direction again . . . up!

Now I was clean and sober. And I was trying to reach for God again. I was headed in the right direction. I was going to a good church. I had a good support network. I was going to meetings, Christian meetings even. I was taking care of my kids. But I wasn’t thriving. I was . . . stale . . . stagnate . . . and holding on by the tips of my fingers. I was trying to fix my marriage, trying to MAKE it work, and it wasn’t. Then I got pregnant. And my husband disappeared. And I thought, “God, what in the WORLD are you doing?!”

Now getting pregnant was stressful enough, but the problem was that every time I got pregnant, I had to go off of my psych meds. And when I went off of my psych meds, I relapsed. This was not a good prospect. So I started doing some research. I went off the most dangerous of my psych meds and started taking a few supplements that wouldn’t interfere with the anti-depressant I was on. After the withdrawals were finished, I started noticing some serious differences in how I felt and how I handled life. A couple months later I stopped taking the anti-depressant and I was able to go to a naturopath who specializes in depression. She helped me craft a regime of supplements that made a HUGE difference. I started learning about how nutrition effects my attitude and my body. I started making changes.

In both of my pregnancies with my other two sons, I had relapsed. Being off of my medications was always more than I could handle. In my fourth pregnancy, for the first time ever, I had a pregnancy that was healthy all the way through. I delivered a beautiful baby boy, at home, without ever relapsing. Without even feeling the need to relapse. I think that experience, more than anything else, proved to me that I was healing. That God had healed some of my old wounds. He was moving and working in my life.

I kept researching on my own. I read blogs, I read books, I ran up some serious library fines!! I kept trying new things. And I kept feeling better and better. It was amazing. And then I moved into a new apartment and within 60 days I couldn’t breathe. I was having some serious asthma symptoms. I could no longer carry my 7 month old baby up the flight of stairs to go to bed at night without having a severe asthma attack. So I went to a doctor. And then I was referred to another doctor. They tested my lungs and tested me for allergies. My lung function was 52% of what it should have been! The doctor tried one medicine and that brought it up to 58%, then he added another medicine and brought it up to 64%. And he couldn’t find any allergies. He was pretty frustrated. After he put me on some super strong medication to “make sure it’s really asthma” and I got VERY sick, I decided I wanted to try something different.

I read a book about the root cause of auto-immune diseases. I decided to change the way I was eating. I mean I REALLY changed how I was eating. Basically I started eating nothing but meat and veggies. That’s it. Nothing processed. No sugar, no fruit, no dairy, no grain, no yeast. It was very hard. But I learned some more. I learned that I had a serious addiction to sugar. I mean, I had known that I was sensitive to sugar, but I didn’t realize just HOW bad the addiction was. I had some serious detox symptoms, but then it felt SO good to be free of that! I got my symptoms down to where they were no longer waking me up multiple times each night with asthma attacks. I still had to be careful, but I could live.

I knew I needed some professional help. But naturopaths are expensive and my insurance no longer covered the one I had seen initially. I tried to find one who would work on a sliding scale or a payment plan, but I had no luck. Finally after several months I found an office who was willing to work with me. I saw a nutritionist there and she changed a few things and we’re still working together, one step at a time. I was on the right track but I still needed some tweaking. My breathing has improved some more with the changes.

I’m still learning. I’m still changing. When I look back, I find it kind of amazing how God has brought me down this path. He keeps pushing me, showing me new things. And now I feel called to share these things with you. I know that there are hurting people out there who can be blessed by my story. I can give them hope and encouragement. And that’s what it’s all about. That’s the most important thing a person can do here on earth, reach out and touch another’s heart and help them to heal.

So this is my prayer, “Feed me, Yahweh. I want only the best you have for me. I need your sustenance. Feed me Yahweh!! Because I need only you!”

Hit the Mark

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This blog is my journey. It’s not here to show you “how it’s done.” It’s not here for me to say, “Look at me!! Aren’t I great?!” I’m not perfect. I don’t hit the mark every time, or even most times. But I keep on trying. The purpose of this blog is to show my journey. Where I’ve come from and where I’m going. And most importantly to bring glory to God, because without him, I’d starve. Feed me, Yahweh, that’s my prayer.