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Educated Freedom of Choice

Three years ago, I had Stage 3 Kidney disease. I saw a kidney specialist on a regular basis. Then I developed severe digestive problems, diagnosed with SIBO, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, and was forced to change my food choices.

I don’t live with blinders on and choose to have an open mind when it comes to healing my body. Maybe it’s the years living with my daughter as she suffered with terminal liver disease. I hunted for cures for her in every arena leaving no stone unturned. I learned a lot.

I have been an emotional eater all my life, born out of seeking comfort, finding it in bread and butter, sugar and salt. I battled gluten intolerance for years which helped lessen the battle, and eventually my food choices backfired and my symptoms worsened.

Over my life, I have struggled with depression and anxiety, suicidal ideation, lack of confidence and self esteem and a general feeling of malaise. I certainly have experienced life situations that warranted these emotions, and with a lot of self-reflection have made some significant changes in my inner world.

I got slammed with Fibromyalgia back in 1999 that stripped me of my ability to move without unrelenting pain. I lost my job; lost trust in my body; lost my identity in a successful career and went into major debt. I was bedridden for months not able to prepare meals, manage a household and personal hygiene was a significant problem.

I was on cocktails of psychopharmaceuticals helping me deal with it all. I became addicted to Effexor, a drug that relieved me of Fibro pain. The drug helped me regain some stability in my life but I spent 15 years battling withdrawal symptoms to no avail. Out of desperately searching for help, I found The Road Back, an organization offering free advice and guidance to help with withdrawal from psychoactive medications.

I’m not touting this because I’m bragging. I’m speaking up because it’s time to lay the cards on the proverbial table. The biggest change I have made to dispel diagnoses of kidney disease, depression, anxiety, digestive problems, headaches, and unrelenting pain was the change in my food choices.

Food is a difficult thing to talk about because it’s like money, once the topic is brought up, people get territorial about the emotional grip they have on what they eat. I believe food changes are so problematic for people. It’s hard to give up something that soothes us.

When I limited my gluten intake, I felt like the inner war in my gut stopped. It took longer to understand and figure out what other choices I had which I eventually did.

Then dairy had to go. I hear people say all the time, don’t ask me to give up my cheese. I wouldn’t hear of it. It’s your choice. Dairy for me clogged up my digestive tract, and I believe so many other body systems that fogged my thinking, weighed down my emotions. Then corn went and soy and chocolate. I can feel the bristling as I speak.

Over the last two years I sought help from an intuitive nutritionist who helped me understand I was lacking digestive enzymes to help me manage the food I was eating. I then found Dr. Mark Mincolla, a naturopathic physician who recently wrote a book and produced a movie entitled The Way of Miracles as he demonstrates his discoveries of what food can do to us and how to make changes.

The changes in my diet have been dramatic. Granted, I was pushed to the wall in pain and constant discomfort. Pain is a great motivator. I started this new plan in the spring of 2020, it was a journey letting go of foods that I thought were helping me and found they greatly contributed to inflammation in my body, in my joints, my organs and all other systems. I was eating foods and reacting to them without knowing it. My food choices slowed down my body’s ability to function. My food choices were poisoning me even though they came in clear wrappers, looked delectable and are available everywhere.

Changing food choices is not an easy journey. It bumps up against my inner child’s grip on safety. This journey disturbs my ability to socialize around food if I choose to join in with others. Now I socialize with people and the food is the minor role. Now I spend holiday get-togethers enjoying the people and fueling with the food that helps me function better. My thinking is clearer. My body is happier.

Now my job is to stay in the plan, ride the waves of change and continue to advocate for my mind, my body and my spirit. By the way, the kidney disease is all gone. SIBO is all gone. I choose to navigate my life using food as my fuel.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you for your revelation on a lot of what you have been through. As I was meditating, I was thinking of the name of the poem by Maya Angelou entitled Phenomenal Woman. A poem like that should be written for you. The reason that many of us that continue to come back each morning is we have been willing to reveal parts and pieces of our journeys. The desire and willingness to reveal ourselves has been a teacher, and we teach each other and learn from each other with the many realizations we have had. I am so aware that this is such a unique group. It is next to perfect.

  • I’ve never really been interested in space stuff but I had a revelation this morning. One of the things they do in spaceflight is to orbit around the Earth a few times to gain momentum for the next part of the flight. What a metaphor for this group. We’ve had the luxury of depending on you for 500 days, and if we want to continue on our journey, it’s up to us to leave the orbit using the momentum of this group and fly off.

  • I found this group by similar circumstances with digestive issues and a nutritionist. Food is medicine in some ways. Diet is so important in what you are eating. Greens are important. Thank you.

  • Thank you. It’s good to hear where your journey with food has taken you. Unfortunately, our society doesn’t put much importance on healthy eating. When Covid started, I put myself on a strict diet and lost weight and feel better than I have in a few years. A friend told me that people don’t like hearing that because they think I’m being judgmental of them. It is an interestingly difficult thing to talk about. Thank you for talking about it.

  • You reminded me of my last supervisor. Whenever I did good work, she was intimated and said you are making me look bad. No, they are making themselves look bad. Thank you. This has been an amazing journey. We are bonded now. No doubt our paths will cross in some form or another. About three years ago, I had my first meditative group experience and I loved it and attended regularly. I was about three months in when it was announced it would end. I was crushed, it had made such an impact. It happened again with another wonderful place, so I feel I’m used to changes. All good things come to an end. I appreciate the time and effort invested into this group. I’ve grown so much from all the sharings. It’s been an amazing journey.

  • Shirley says: We are going to put a book together based on the blog readings and reflections. We aren’t going away. We just won’t have a daily Zoom practice. It has been very taxing, yet very rewarding.

  • I echo many words here. I love the space metaphor and the revving up. A couple of days ago, I used the word stunning about the change. But there is also a joy in me that you are taking care of yourself and gifting yourself with this change and from the requirement of producing. It’s a huge move, to look at something you love dearly and let go of at the same time. I can relate to that when I let go of the women’s choir. The physical exhaustion and heart had to come together in a way to live together. I thank you for that. In terms of today’s reading, our spiritual selves have a life of their own and our package of human and spirit work with us. Negotiating the peace and finding healthy ways to move forward are important. I honor how you pursued new learning all along, were curious and dove deep. I love how you give us these book titles and movies. I’m eager to share today’s links. The affirmation of healing in multiple ways is loud and clear. Thank you so much.

  • Thank you so much. This was a powerful reading. I read an article in The Guardian about the gut microbiome. In a few years, western medicine will look so different because it’s going to be focused on specific probiotics to deal with everything from digestive issues to depression. So much is happening in your gut and so much is yet to learn. You spoke right to it, with the work you are doing with Dr. Mincolla. You are redoing your gut biome to make your gut functional and healthy. In a smaller way, I am doing the same thing. I love the line you spoke about your inner child’s grip on safety. I’ve had to deal with that all my life having been somewhat abandoned as a baby. It’s led to a life of being addicted to so much, to alcohol, to food, to people, to love, to shopping, to chai tea latte. To get off each addiction is like a whack-a-mole for me to release them all. A spiritual solution is needed to deal with my addictions. You had such clarity in your reading today in terms of how to heal our bodies at the physical, emotional, and spiritual level. For me, it has to be all three levels in order to have serenity and peace. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Great topic. I was looking at a list of seven foods to avoid for better brain health, and only one was I actually avoiding. I’ve got work to do. As someone who also made the conscious choice to be gluten-free for the last 13 years, it did change my life. I was doubled over in pain; this was after I ate vegetarian sausages packed with gluten. In reflecting on food, I also have to reflect on growing food which to me is the antidote to feeling disconnected from our food and energy sources. I had a dream that I was dismantling a house. One of the rooms was completely full of plants and my job in renovating the house was to put the plants outside. An interesting metaphor. You don’t want to be growing the plants in your own body soil. I can have that outside my body and take in what I need.

  • I’ll miss the group so much. I’m grateful for what you have done all these mornings. I’ll miss everyone. I loved seeing the happy look on your dog’s face, like he was approving what was being said. Animals are so sensitive, they can feel the energy.

  • Thank you for joining us. I appreciate what everyone has said. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being part of this community. I’ve been wanting to write on this topic for a while and today was the day. I remind you to be gentle with yourselves. Change is always happening. No one is going away. We are all connectable. It’s something to keep in mind as feelings come up. I’m grieving as well about it. I am going through my own process. I wish you all well. Be gentle.

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