Digestion means so much to the body as a whole. Digestion of food is important for how our body is nourished on a cellular level. What you eat dictates how you will perform, your energy expenditure, and how you feel in the physical realm. A faulty digestive system can lead to malnourishment, a compromised immune system, and long term health consequences. Most people, however, do not really take into consideration how they feel about what they eat. The energy behind the foods we consume play a significant role in how well we absorb nutrition just as much as the food itself.
As someone who has experienced the ups and downs with autoimmunity, I can tell you first hand that although your diet is very important, your stress levels and your emotions behind your health plan play an even larger role. For years I ate the most meticulous diet. Everything was organic, gluten free, all natural, and non processed. Although I've dipped my toes with different dietary theories, I've always followed a wholefoods diet with the occasional indulgences here and there. I was never a big alcohol consumer and I gave up drinking coffee 4 years ago. I have nothing against coffee.....it just wasn't for me anymore. I have lived an active lifestyle for over 25 years as an avid gym goer, runner, and fitness enthusiast. I go to bed at a decent time.....some say way too early but it works for me. And I practice, as best I can, meditation and mindful awareness. So you can imagine, with all of these health practices in line, why in the heck would I end up with autoimmunity. Why would my thyroid go kaput on me? Why would I end up with an ulcer?
Here's the thing? Regardless of the diets we follow. Regardless of the fitness plans we routine ourselves with. And regardless of how large our knowledge base is......none of us is immune to the threat of chronic stress. We can temper it as we go along, but truly if we do not mitigate the stress itself, then we will not be able to mitigate the physical ailment that will eventually come to be. And I'm here to tell you, as a colon hydrotherapist who sees this day in and day out, who's personally experienced it myself, there is no cleanse, no diet, and no physical activity that is going to wipe away the actual stress itself. Yes, these things are all amazing tools to help you balance your stress, but if the stress itself isn't dealt with, the intensity of your activity, combined with the stressor itself, can wreak havoc on your body.
So in answer to my question....how did I end up with the autoimmunity.....The answer is stress. Chronic, long-term, debilitating, gut wrenching stress. Hey, life happens. Sometimes bad things in life happen. It's nothing personal. It's just life. But if we take it personally, then we start to become extremely reactive. Our bodies start to tense up. We start to feel restriction within our minds and our body. We start to experience the physical-ness from this restriction. And then boom.....the manifestation, or symptom, starts to rear its ugly head. We officially have something to go and get diagnosed.
The compounded stress that I had in my life for years upon years became overwhelming. I used diet, working out, and intense running and training as a way to hide from the stress. But as soon as I was done, I still had life to deal with. I still had work, family, and biggest of all, myself, that I needed to tend to. And I wasn't doing a very good job of it. It shows up little by little. The signs that we don't really pay attention to. A few minutes of sleep start to get shaved off in the middle of the night. Your appetite slowly starts to change. You might get a little snippy but if you're a woman you'll just say, "geesh, I must be getting my period." Until you start saying that all the time and it doesn't cut it anymore.
But then the more noticeable symptoms start. Suddenly you've lost 10 pounds instead of 2. Suddenly you're waking up in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep at all. Suddenly your noticing changes in your menstrual cycle, digestive health, and energy during your workouts. Anxiety starts to become prominent. And the biggest one for me was changes in skin tone and hair loss. But still, after going from doctor to doctor, they weren't able to find anything wrong with me. NOTHING!!!
Yesterday I went to see my endocrinologist. I have the best doctor that I could possibly work with. He's not a naturopath. When it comes to my thyroid, I go to the thyroid expert.....and actual endocrinologist. I have been on thyroid medication for about 8 years now. Working with this doctor has been a great experience. We found my tipping point for medication and balancing myself and the most important thing was that he really took the time to listen to me yesterday. I felt heard and cared for. But of course, nothing new showed up from my most recent blood work. And although he is going to check a few things out, we really talked about my stress load and how it has sent me backward these past 8 months. It doesn't take much for me and so I need to be extra conscious of my participation in certain activities and the energy that I surround myself with......people, places, and things.
We can't get away from it. It will find us if we don't cut it out. For me, where I see the greatest benefit, is to shut down my mental browsers. Cut the outside chit chat and quiet the mind. Meditation has been great for me. I takes dedication. But so does eating healthy. It takes commitment but so does working out. And it takes a promise to yourself that there is nothing more important than that you feel good.....because feeling good is the source of all the good that is to follow.
So these days when I say "Remove, Rebuild, and Restore," as much as I believe in the powerful transformation that can take place by eating a completely wholefoods natural diet, and doing cleansing practices, the greatest cleanse you can do is to
- Remove the toxic burdens of stress in your life. Find your way to a peaceful environment. If you're feeling chronic stress in your life, something's gotta go. Those who say it's easier said than done haven't done it to experience the fact that it really is easier to let it go than to keep holding on. Give it a try.
- Rebuild your relationship with yourself. You deserve to be happy AND healthy. It starts with a higher level of consciousness. A belief that you deserve all these things. Quiet your mind. Step out of your head and into your body. Simply closing your eyes and taking 20 deep breaths right into the bottom of your belly can help relax the nervous system and help to reset your response to external sources.
- Repair your body by being in a place of allowing this time. There is a gap between the beginning and the end. You didn't just wake up one day not feeling well. There was a time period that it took for your symptoms to present themselves. So be patient. Allow. Allow. Allow!!
Health is a state of mind. How you feel about yourself will show up for you in the choices you make about your dietary habits as well as the job you choose, the people you surround yourself with, and the overall lifestyle you choose to follow.
Best In Health,