Please be prepared to press your play, rewind, and fast forward buttons! You also may want to pause.
Over the years, my life has always had ups and downs and often my health would reflect these ebbs and flows. But, unfortunately there was a stage of my life where my health took a nosedive while I was still looking up and feeling mentally great! My health was not reflecting my feelings of exuberate energy and outwardly glow.
Here is the beginning, which at first I thought was the end. It was my 30th birthday and my husband planned a surprise roller skating party for me. He thought it would be fun! Shortly into this nostalgic party, I softly landed on the floor. I emphasize softly because I truly landed without much force. Within minutes my knee swelled to the size of a grapefruit and I could barely walk. I refused to go to the doctor because I had plans to continue my active birthday weekend with a bike ride and hike the next day.
Well, I crawled out of bed the next day with an even bigger knee. I spent the morning at the doctors where they drained the blood (OUCH!!) and where they braced me up for the next three months. My kneecap was broken!!! OMG! I am a yoga teacher, a runner, a walker, a….how could this be?
After visiting the orthopedic, we decided I should have my bone density checked. (Side Note: This was no easy process. Insurance carriers do not want to pay for tests performed on 30 year olds, if they are typically performed on 80 year olds.) Six months later, I was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis. I was told that I had the lower spine and hips of an 80 year-old woman!! My life instantly changed! I was told I could no longer snowboard, mountain bike, golf or even fold over. My head was spinning!! Unfortunately, there is no miracle drug to fix this!
At the age of 15, I made the life changing decision to become a vegetarian.
Warning!! I am not suggesting that vegetarianism caused my osteoporosis.
I quickly replaced steak and potatoes with Twizzlers, potato chips, pretzels and a lot of ice cream. Oh and I forgot diet coke! This unhealthy lifestyle lasted through college and most of graduate school. I started adding in a lot more fruits and veggies, but I was still consuming a boatload of crap!
Press Fast Forward…
By 25, I had a laundry list of stomach problems. Surprise! Surprise! I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowl Syndrome, Inflamed Intestines, Acid Reflux and Growing Ulcers. I was a vegetarian; how could I be in such bad shape? I decided I could no longer live with the pain or live with the medicine required to mask the pain. I was ready to make drastic changes and I did!
The drastic changes in my diet improved my overall health significantly! I became a vegan and cut out those daily bowls of ice cream, which caused extreme pain. I cut out gluten getting rid of the pretzels, animal crackers and cereals in the house! It was all going and the shelves were filled with much more produce! I felt amazing! I slowly found my new favorite foods that did not bother my belly and it felt great to eat with comfort once again.
I found those favorite foods and ate ONLY those for about seven years. I found my favorite fruits and veggies and stuck to them. Very rarely, would I try something new. Don’t get me wrong, anything that went into my body was lean and green: apples, beets, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers… My house always looked like a grocery store produce department, but it was missing some items from the rest of the store. There were no legumes, avocados, nuts, seeds or grains.
These years of underdeveloped clean eating habits led to a long list of nutrient deficiencies. I soon needed to get weekly B12 injections, needed mega doses of Iron and almost everything else. Breaking my kneecap was not the first fracture and was definitely not the last. Tibias, metatarsals, ribs…, everything seemed to break with little or no impact. I thought I was doing the right thing?? After years of trying to find the cause of my osteoporosis from specialists, who do not have answers, I decided that it has been partially caused by my years of less than stellar eating habits.
I am not writing this to get sympathy. I want to spread the word to help you and others. And, again, I am not blaming vegetarianism or veganism. I blame my ignorance.
Fast Forward To Today…
I have decided that breaking my kneecap was one of the best experiences of my life. It started this shift to respecting my body and learning not only what I need to take out of my diet, but also what I need to put in it. It also further developed my love for yoga! I could do some amazing yoga poses with a knee brace on. I learned to love my body for all its strengths and its weaknesses. I learned that I needed to listen to my body and prepare it for my life of constant movement.
My shelves are now filled with nuts, grains, seeds, avocados and so much more. Variety has become the spice of my life. The juicer still gets used a lot, but now I make a mean guacamole and hummus too! I am sharing this because I want you to take a minute to reflect on not only what you need to take out of your life, but also what you need to add in. We have become a society focused on elimination diets, but often forget to think about what vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need. Next time you food shop, remember what foods go in the cart is just as important as what foods stay out of the cart. Make today happy and healthy!
Change your diet…Check out my Detox Workshop and learn how to add in the foods you need in your life rather than just take out.
Change your life…Register for my upcoming Freedom From Fear SUP Yoga Retreat.
PS- So many people helped me along my journey, but it took one special lady Dr. Kristen Bentson to help me wake up fully. She took the time to analyze and recreate my vegan diet that has improved my strength, energy and my glow! Make sure to check her out! XO