Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Healing Yourself, Naturally

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. 


  1. Dear Sarah!
    Please forgive me, my english isn't the best, I,m from a little country in Europe.
    I'm 3 months off the Xanax now, I was on 6 years and I'd C/T from this.
    I have the horryble right rib pain with right side back spasm and burning! The pain is so intense, I can't belive that everything are all right inside, but I had an ultrasoud like you, and it was normal. I feel that I have a hole inside under my ribs, and this bleeding! When the pain come, I feel vertigo and sweating too.
    I feel I will be die. I had a diagnosis 2 months ago shingles without rashes, but I'm sceptic while I'm in withdrawal. Didn't you have any rashes? I can't belive that is a part of WD! What a pain! I'm so tired and sad about this. I send you a link:
    What do you mean?
    How are you now? And what about your rib pain now?
    You are a great fighter, congrats!
    I wish you the best healing, with love:

    1. Hello there,

      I am so sorry for the late reply as I just saw this comment today! How are you doing now? I am 18 months free tomorrow and I feel I am slowly making more and more progress. The right sided pain under the ribs has lessened considerably. I still get occasional sweats and vertigo but also much less. I have shingles-like pain but not actual shingles. I had it though when I was a teenager. I thank you for your kind comment...i am slowly getting there but it has been a much longer journey that I had hoped for.

      All my best to you,

    2. Dear Sarah!
      Thank you for your answer! Still alive!!!:)
      I'm 8 months off now! Still it's hard, but hanging on... I get the rib pain, but rarely than like before. I gone slowly little better at 5-6.months, now I'm in a bad wawe in 6-7. I have hypoglycemic symphtoms, muscle spasm, -pain,
      -weakness, fatigue, oedema ocassional, etc... My sxs are the worst whit hormonal changes.
      You sad right, it's a very long journey. But we will healing! (HOPE!)
      I'm glad you are better!(I will follow your progress.:)

  2. Sarah,

    I can't tell you how much I relate to your words and the journey you've been through. Having gone through depression myself I now know how dangerously diet follows repressed emotions into darker places. This can create horrible cycles. I'm so inspired by your strength and will power. Way to do things right! xx Ursamare

    1. Thank you Ursamare,

      I am finally responding to comments - better late than never. Diet has been a life saver in my journey and I have an all new appreciation for GOOD food. Food that is colourful, herbs and spices. Thank you for your extremely kind words...since being off of meds I have rarely felt depressed - only exhausted from the withdrawal effects to the benzos...but I'm slowly getting there. Thank you again, Sarah