My daughter is back in school, and within only days of returning, she came home one day and said, "Mommy, my throat hurts". Uh oh.
I've "blogged" about it before, but since becoming med-free over a year ago, my husband and I set out on a mission to better ourselves from the inside out. After spending half of my life on various antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, and even rounds of antibiotics for bronchitis years ago...I felt the need to give my body a boost. I was ready to treat myself to some extra love and attention. And I needed to make a big lifestyle change.
The first thing that left my "lifestyle" was the pop. I was not a big pop-drinker as a kid or during my early teens...but as soon as I began to socialize more and go to parties, in came that brown soda. Coke was my favourite. When I was prescribed Prozac at the age of 16, I became manic on it. Every night I would wind up like a toy and go go go all night long. And it was that cherry red can that kept me company. By morning I would crash and once awake I'd find Coke cans on my bedside table. It was a vicious cycle which did not last thankfully, as my parents quickly found that particular medication was only make things worse for me. My love of Coke returned when I became pregnant with my daughter. I didn't drink much of it during my pregnancy as I knew it wasn't the best choice for my baby's health and development but the year following her birth my craving for Coke grew and by the time we owned our first home 2 years later, I would say I was somewhat "addicted" to Coke. I drank it daily and craved it from the moment I woke up.
With Coke, comes that need to have something salty with it. Although we ate fairly healthily on weekdays, we had what we called "Crap Nights" on Friday nights and sometimes Saturday nights. "Crap Night" could be anything that was...crappy. Chicken wings, pizza, wraps (but with cheese and breaded chicken), hot dogs and french fries...food with little to no nutrition.
When I began to experience tolerance withdrawal from Clonazepam (but didn't know it at the time), I attributed it to the food I was eating. So with the Coke, the food quickly followed and I cut out most "crap" from my diet. Initially it was fried food...so gone were the bread chicken fingers and chicken wings...but quickly I began noticing I was having issues with dairy. It wasn't consistent, but it happened enough that I decided it was time to cut it out. So long pizza!
Interesting fact: I was reading an article in the past year or two about Coke and the caramel colouring used in it (as well as any "brown pop"). It contains 4-methylimidazole, which is carcinogenic.
So now, at the age of 34, I am dairy free (aside from yogurt), meat free (but I will eat fish), POP FREE (haven't had one in close to 3 years, not even a sip), fried-food-free, and alcohol free (which was never an issue to begin with). This is what works well for ME. I think if you are going to make improvements in your diet, it needs to be realistic and you have to be prepared to make some big changes. Long gone are the "potluck parties" for me where I can gorge on jalapeno poppers and pizza. If I go to a party and it includes dinner, I need to make sure I contribute a side dish I know I can eat. And that's okay! Sure a few people my roll their eyes at it when Sarah doesn't touch the delicious bits and bites that surround the table, but I AM okay with my decision and I NEED to follow through in order to feel good inside. If I cheat, I will pay for it - and it's not worth it. I have sometimes said to my husband, "it's so frustrating! I'm hungry and just want to be able to pop in a pizza but instead I have to cut up veggies, cook chickpeas, etc, just to have a meal!". So now I try to get in the habit of cooking things I enjoy and stocking up the fridge so I can just reheat meals for myself.
With this new lifestyle, I have noticed I fight bugs quicker. I don't seem to get all these mystery-bronchitis-bugs I once had yearly. And gone are the days we popped antibiotics or even Advil for a cold and/or flu. When my daughter came home that day with her sore throat, out came the Apple Cider Vinegar. A teaspoon of ACV and a small glass of warm water and she is good to go! If she is sick then we try to get two doses in her per day. We also add crushed FRESH garlic to her lunch and/or dinner (best raw, not cooked), get plenty of water in her and cut back on the sugar. And sure, it took her over 2 weeks to fully fight this past bug (the cough was stubborn and lingered), she did fight a horrible earache (which could have been an infection) with garlic drops in her ears as well as garlic cloves placed in her ears. We kept it up for an additional 2 days once her ears felt better just to play it safe, but the ear pain itself was gone completely within 18 hours of using garlic.
Interesting fact: Sugar only ENCOURAGES bad bacteria to grow...so try to steer clear of freezies and ice cream when you or your child have a sore throat. Stick to a warm tea with honey that soothes the throat, gargle with salt water, or chow down on toast with honey and cinnamon on top (the 2 combined help fight off colds and soothes a sore throat within minutes of eating).
There are SO many ways you can better yourself from the inside out. The key is to do it for YOU. I will never go back to "Crap Nights and Coke" and although the convenience of it is nice, it's not what makes my body feel good. The changes I've made - dietary changes, Chiropractic care, meditation, Reiki (mainly self Reiki), and acceptance - have all helped me become who I am today...and as I continue to heal from the damage these meds did to me over the years things will only get better.