Thanks to everyone who has “liked” my posts, followed and checked out my page! I hope you have found something useful to take away and implement into your routines. If you missed some of this past week’s posts, check out the PowerHouse Purchase Apple Cider Vinegar and see how incorporating this product into your meals and beauty routine can benefit you! There’s also a yummy recipe for Chicken Sausage Stuffed Peppers and an awesome link to Firebird Bath and Body on Etsy for incredibly scented roll-on perfume oils. As for today, check out why I decided to go medicine-free and how I began my mind, body, and soul’s healing process.
I am healing. My body, mind, and soul took some damage (-10 XP lolz) from the lifestyle I was leading before moving back to my hometown for a bit. I was in a constant state of stress, and when I was resting, it wasn’t really restful. My first teaching job was very eye opening and shocking in many ways. I felt a bit naive entering the education system as a teacher after graduating. I saw what it was really like behind the scenes and I struggled with that daily. I took problems from school home with me. I couldn’t leave my work at work. I am a feeler: I am emotional and easily take things personally and/or take on others’ emotions. I wasn’t prepared for it and took my stress out in all the wrong ways that led me to this constant feeling of restlessness.
I began getting horrible headaches and couldn’t sleep. My doctor at the time put me on an anti-depressant in which he said would help with my migraines. I put on weight and was eating horribly. Not to mention drinking all the time to “unwind.” This led to more sleepless nights than I care to remember, and I always just felt in a fog. I felt guilty, tired, anxious, overwhelmed, and on edge all the time. There had to be more medicines or pills to make me feel better. What I didn’t need was more medicine, really. What was affecting my health was a constant whirlwind of emotions and actions that were actually exacerbating these clouds of negative thoughts and feelings.
My headaches became debilitating. I would go to bed with a headache and wake up with one. The worst I remember lasted 12 days. I had to go to the ER once because it became too much to handle. I remember a point in a time thinking, “If this is how I have to live my life for the REST of my life, it is not worth it.” My doctor then put me on a small dose of a medicine called Topamax for migraine headaches. He said he would start me off with a smaller dose and slowly increase it until my compound migraines subsided. Side effects to taking Topamax is extremity numbness, interference with short term memory, slow reaction time while speaking, weight loss, and many others including hair loss. Doctors recommend you take birth control because, “You definitely don’t want to get pregnant while taking this medicine.” Nothing was every discussed on what would happen to a baby if I were to reproduce while on this medicine, but I can guess that it would be pretty shattering.
Taking this medicine scared me. When I first began taking 50mg, within a half hour of consuming it I felt intoxicated. I had to go teach children, mind you. I felt like when I was communicating with co-workers I would constantly say, “uh, um” until I could react. Sometimes I would just forget what I was talking about! I continued to drink and eat pretty bad stuff while taking the medicine at first. My doctor then increased my dosage to 100mg a day because I was still getting headaches. I didn’t feel like myself. Plus, I was taking birth control which really effects my mood. I just felt short-tempered and mean all the time. This wasn’t how I wanted to live my life: regulated by pills and medicines to just function.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I found yoga about three years ago. Once you start REALLY concentrating on yourself and just feeling it all out, you begin to make other lifestyle changes. I continued to take my medicine but was also making better meal choices. In beginning to “cleanse” my body, I was taking out the garbage from my mind as well. In my last year at my last job, I decided I would go on a “workaway” vacation at a yoga retreat in Northern California. I sold and donated a lot of my belongings, packed up the rest and sent it with my parents, and left at the end of June 2013 to stay for a month in a tent in the Sierra Nevadas. I wasn’t sure what would happen after…
Staying at Pleasant Valley Sanctuary was a life changing event….And I don’t mean that in the cliche kind of way. It literally changed my life. We meditated twice a day, did yoga almost every morning, ate only two meals a day of the most organic natural foods you can think of and most of which we harvested ourselves on the property. We participated in Kirtans, breath work, building a light-straw-clay house, silent retreats, and discussions on our astral and cossal selves. When you open yourself up to these practices, your body and mind do some weird things to calm, heal, and right themselves. I remember eating all of the fresh foods and my stomach would embarrass me during meditation times: it would gurgle and grumble. I participated in fasts during silent retreats to intensify my meditation and to help my body heal. As for my mind, I was “seeing” things more clearly; my future, my present, my past. I began feeling more relaxed and was just letting things go. I used to constantly have a tightness in my chest which would get even worse when I was sad and mad. I felt that completely release while there!
I was SO nervous about going home. I had a lot of decisions to make when getting back. Should I keep my job? Should I quit just because I’m unhappy? Should I move? Should I date the guy I was seeing before hand? How will hanging out with my friends be if I decide to not drink anymore? How am I going to keep eating so healthy?? I packed up my little tent caked with red dirt and a dead scorpion on the bottom and flew to Boulder, CO before going home to visit friends. Immediately the temptations to drink, smoke, eat poorly were there in my face but I felt I could politely do my own thing in most situations. Maybe it wouldn’t be so tough after all….
I noticed a DRAMATIC difference from eating differently. I was leaner (I lost 12 pounds in one month), lighter, and my stomach in general didn’t feel so full all the time. I realized I absolutely did not need to be eating as much at meal time. This significantly changed my relationship with food. I still would eat meat, pizza, and other junky foods every once in a while, but I began doing it very few and far between. I began working at a greenhouse and nannying which all lent itself to these positive changes in my lifestyle.
Then….I somehow got another teaching job in Pittsburgh. I jumped at the opportunity and moved in with my boyfriend. Cooking for two can definitely affect your own personal food choices and options. Mike and I have found a balanced way to prepare things we both like, and he is incredibly supportive. However, I began slipping back into some of my old ways last school year. I wasn’t making the best choices, and I began having stomach issues. After A LOT of doctors visits, scan, tests, and everything in between I was diagnosed with Gastroesophageal reflux disease or better known as GERD. My stomach often felt irritated and bloated. I knew I had to stick to eating right to feel okay again.
The doctor wanted me to take an acid reflux medicine, and OF COURSE, I began my research. I am only 27 and starting a medicine like this would give my body’s control of its own acid production over to the medicine. That was a scary thought. I would eventually become dependent on these pills!! I decided against taking the medicine and just making more conscious food decisions.
Well, if I could choose NOT to be on a medicine for my stomach, I could choose NOT to be on Topamax, too, and just avoid my “migraine triggers.” Over the past two years, I had also noticed a significance difference in my hair’s texture and volume. I contributed it to Topamax. This past August I decided to go medicine-free and make better food and workout decisions. I now am so careful about what I eat and drink because I know it’s immediate effects. Three years ago, I wasn’t listening to my body. I was masking symptoms and making poor choices to feel a short term spike in my mental well being.
One important thing I have learned in the last three years is to just LISTEN. Listen to your body, your aches, your pains, your thoughts when you are idle. They are all interconnected and tell you more about yourself and what you need. Medicine may not always be the first fix for you. If you make simple lifestyle changes, you will see results as long as you’re listening.
My Sunday Smoothie for you this week is a NEW favorite of mine. I went to Turkey this past spring, and, MY! do they eat fresh, delicious stuff. Yogurt is a big part of breakfast and sometimes lunch and it is made from scratch. Bacteria is added to other ingredients to create the smooth yogurt a lot of people love. My coworker Rebecca who also went to Turkey with me actually made it herself upon returning! She suggested to me that I should try out Kefir which is basically a yogurt drink. It is filled with probiotics and calcium which can soothe irritated tummies. I figured I would give it a go….LURVED IT! I purchase strawberry flavored because it mixes well with other ingredients for a quick morning breakfast! Check out the following recipe and website to see how Kefir may help YOU out!
Strawberry Cinnamon Kefir Smoothie:
What You Will Need:
- about 5 frozen strawberries
- 1 banana
- 1/2 strawberry flavored kefir
- 1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon
- (optional) 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- flax seeds
What You Need To Do:
- Blend it all up, silly! This smoothie is so….smooth. Really, it’s like drinking silk. So good.
This smoothie is sometimes a life saver the morning after indulging in a spicy meal that I should have otherwise avoided. The cinnamon adds a spiciness to it…plus, cinnamon can help settle a sore tummy AND relieve you of a headache! Cinnamon is definitely perfect for me!
Here are all the things you need to know about the kefir you’ll be blending in. http://draxe.com/kefir-benefits/
I wish you the best Sunday of relaxation and unwinding and a great start to your new week! Cheers!
P.S. Start planning your trip to Turkey. It’s incredible.