“It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”
That’s something we’ve all probably heard at least once (and perhaps may be sick of hearing), but it couldn’t be more true when it comes to the journey of health.
Two steps forward, one step back, and perhaps a few steps to the side.
For me, that’s exactly how my journey went – tweak, test, wait, lose hope, gain hope, etc.
But, with a great amount of perseverance and determination, I eventually got it right.
I ended up at the destination I so desperately wanted (good health) and so did our Friend, Marta.
I Had Allergies, Fatigue and Breathing Issues as a Young Child
I believe my story began long before I ever had issues with my bowels. I remember that I started getting really bad allergies to animals, dust and mold as soon as I hit puberty. I had the typical itchiness and fatigue until my mid 20’s.
It was then that I had a particularly bad strain of the flu multiple times within several months (unlike me). For the first time ever, my lungs were affected and I had a hard time breathing. I remember everything smelled and tasted funny and I couldn’t sleep. After seeing my doctor, I was diagnosed with reactionary airways and given an Albuterol inhaler and Prednisone.
The doctor told me I would suffer from this for the rest of my life…
Not good news.
I Relied on Inhalers and Medications Just to Get Through the Day
At 25 years old, I had the first of three children and was suffering much worse from my allergies. I routinely used my inhaler and took OTC allergy meds constantly.
After my daughter’s birth, I got a weird rash all over my body that 3 American doctors couldn’t figure out. It was tiny red itchy bumps everywhere! I was treated for scabies and dermatitis but nothing stopped it. The rash persisted for several weeks then finally went away after being treated with Sulfonamide by a doctor in Canada.
My other two children, twins, were born right after my 27th birthday. No weird rashes this time…
What a treat!
I Was Told Antibiotics and a Low-Fat Diet Were the Answer
I was working in a Horse breeding barn in my 30’s when I got another strange rash. This time, it was all over my face and it wouldn’t go away no matter what I tried.
After testing, it was found to be from bacteria inside my nose that had overgrown somehow. I was prescribed antibiotics and was on them for two full months before the rash went away. Not once did anyone mention replenishing my gut flora.
After that, I remember having issues with my bowels being runny all the time. My doctor guessed that I had an irritable bowel and told me to avoid stress and eat a healthy low fat diet.
As a Busy Mom, I Cared For My Family the Best I Knew How
By 2005, I was a very busy Mom. I was active, had my own landscaping business and was very conscious of my family’s health.
I was following the low fat/fat free diet and cooking for my family most of the time. I used Canola oil, Country Crock margarine and we only ate turkey and chicken (the cheapest I could find). We typically had rice or pasta with our meals and ate a lot of fruit and a few vegetables but nothing organic.
After a Tragic Event, My Health Proceeded to Get Worse
Right before my 40th birthday in 2007, my 12-year-old son died from an aneurysm that burst in his brain one morning. As you can imagine, it was devastating and I suffered greatly both emotionally and physically. I quit working and became sedentary and depressed. It was all I could do to keep going.
On top of that, I remember instances when I didn’t make it to the bathroom in time. I felt like I was falling apart.
Six months after that, life forced me back into the working world and it was over the next year that I became an office worker, sitting at a computer most of the time.
At least I was always close to the bathroom!
Edema Started to Set In
I was still following the low fat/fat free diet and eating what I thought were healthy foods. I didn’t cook as much and we ate a lot of takeout and delivery foods. It was then that I started having trouble with edema in my ankles and lower legs.
It first happened on a flight from Seattle to Ft Lauderdale in 2009. As soon as we landed, I felt bloated and noticed my ankles were swollen. During the cruise we were on, my ankles and lower legs were swelling as the heat and humidity hit me. I felt fat and out of breath everywhere we went!
On the trip back to Seattle, the kids called my swelling “cankles”. Not funny if it’s you. Since that trip, I’ve had ongoing issues with edema.
I Finally Received a Diagnosis… And a Whole Host of Medications
In 2012, I had my first gallbladder attack. Oh my… if you’ve ever had one you know it hurts!
I went with my doctor’s advice and had it removed during which the surgeon “nicked” my liver. This resulted in an extra-painful recovery and a subsequent CAT scan of that area. The scan was clear except for an enlarged lymph node, which led to a full abdominal CAT scan. That was clear except for an enlarged Terminal Ileum.
Without hesitation, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and put on Budesonide (Entocort), Azathioprine (Imuran) and, for a few weeks, Prednisone, an antifungal and an antibiotic.
I Left Feeling Insignificant, Alone and Confused
Interestingly enough, he never took a minute of his time to tell me exactly what Crohn’s disease was and what my long-term prognosis would be. I had to have the nurse call him back into the room to give me answers when I found out he was done with me. I remember feeling insignificant and out of control. At this time, I was still suffering from being overweight but had started eating a lot more raw vegetables and nuts in hopes of dropping some pounds.
I Developed Bowel Constrictions and Severe Joint Pain
In 2013, I had my first partial bowel obstruction. The constrictions started slowly then came regularly every 10-15 minutes until the blockage cleared. It was excruciating! After 3 days in the hospital and a short visit with my Gastro doctor, I had an upper GI and small bowel series of X-rays which showed several strictures along my small intestines. A week later, I was prescribed Adalimumab (Humira) injections in addition to the other meds.
After two months of injecting myself every two weeks with Humira, I felt like a cripple. The pain in my joints and especially my knees was unbearable! I had a hard time walking and going up and down stairs was virtually impossible. I remember asking myself if this was how it was going to be for me for the rest of my life. I was really scared! When I took my concerns to my Gastro doctor, he told me it couldn’t possibly be from the meds and to stay the course.
Really??? I knew then it was time to ditch that doctor!
I Decided It Was Time to Take a Different Approach
I hit the internet for some answers. I wondered why I was overweight when most Crohn’s patients were struggling to keep weight on. I found a story about a young man in England who had found a way to control his Crohn’s and his weight through his diet.
What a concept!
The bells started ringing, as I did more research and found more information on my disease and how to treat it without drugs. What I read about the benefits of good oils, eating organically and taking probiotics made so much sense! I finally could see a future without the debilitating prescription drugs…
I immediately stopped taking my meds, bought a good juicer, started taking OTC probiotics, eating organic food and drinking a gallon of pure water daily. I was still eating organic bread and grains but had no more crippling joint pain!
I Found the SCD Diet and Things Began to Make Sense
I felt so much better but I was still carrying more weight than I should. I went back to the internet for more info. That’s when I found the SCD Diet and learned more about how grains and other inflammatory foods impact the gut. I also read more in depth about gut flora and how intestinal overgrowth of bad bacteria can make healing your gut an uphill battle.
I performed a cleanse using a product called Candida Cleanse. Then, I started the SCD Diet, first with the chicken broth and grape jello squares then onto eating organic foods using the “List”. I actually carried it in my wallet and used it when shopping.
After Just 2 Weeks, I Saw a Huge Improvement
While cleansing, I felt pretty ill and slept a lot more than I normally did. I was tired and cranky most of the time. I had read about the Herxheimer reaction, so I was prepared for this. Luckily, it got less and less uncomfortable as I detoxed.
After a week or two, I started feeling better than I had in a very long time. My skin, hair and nails started to noticeably look and feel better. My joints were pain free and I had a lot more energy and clarity of mind. I started walking for 30 minutes a day and within a few months I had lost 30 pounds without too much effort…
Yay for me!
I Felt Empowered with All the New Knowledge
After the first 2 months, I felt as though my whole thought process around food and what it means to my body had changed dramatically. I didn’t crave the bad foods as much anymore and I felt healthier all around. I did eat more often but my portions were much smaller than what I was previously eating and were made up of foods that didn’t irritate my gut.
I felt confident and in control!
I Added Supplements and the Weight Continued to Fall Off
After 6 months, I realized I needed additional supplementation and started taking vitamins A, B Complex (with Methyl cobalamin as B12), C, D3 and K2 as well as Zinc, Magnesium, and Selenium which I still do to this day.
I started seasoning my foods with Real Salt, garlic, organic turmeric, coriander and black pepper and using organic cold pressed coconut oil and organic grass fed butter for cooking.
By this time, I had lost an additional 20 pounds!
I Had a New Lifestyle and Began to Live Life Again
After the first year, I felt like my diet had now become my lifestyle. I didn’t need directions or recipes to keep on track. My body had transformed into a much healthier and somewhat slimmer version of itself. I wasn’t out of breath after physical exercise and felt more confident in general.
Sometime between 2015 and 2016, I got back on the internet and did some research on how to get my probiotics naturally and subsequently decided to try drinking kefir milk every morning instead of taking a probiotic. It blends very well into smoothies or can be mixed with a little fruit and honey to improve the taste. I love it but it can cause constipation if you’re not careful…
I’ve Learned What I Can Tolerate… And What I Can’t
It’s been over 4 years now and, I will have to say, sugar has been the toughest thing for me to kick and I haven’t completely kicked it yet. I still have cravings and I do my best to make it a rare “treat” and not go overboard with more poor choices after that.
I will admit, I’ve made some bad decisions along the way. I’ve eaten pizza and burgers and drank pop even. I paid the price every time! I even tried re-introducing raw veggies and organic sprouted grains earlier this year and soon found myself bloated and experiencing pain in my joints and another partial bowel obstruction…
I should have known!
Learning How to Eat Out Really Helped Me on My Journey
It can be challenging to make the change to a healthy, non-inflammatory lifestyle. Temptations to divert from the List are all around. I find when I go out to eat, I stick with items like chicken or steak and just the cooked veggies or soup. I find that lettuce wrapped burgers with sautéed pineapple and Swiss cheese can be just as delicious as one with a bun if the restaurant will comply.
Cooking at home is a lot easier and I enjoy creating new recipes using items from the List. I love chicken broth and try to make it every other weekend. I find it’s a nourishing comfort food and I like to have 6-8 pints of it handy. I also am still hooked on grape juice jello.
I Am More Prepared Than Ever to Continue Fighting for My Health
I think I will be on this journey to health for the rest of my life. I’m not sure what exactly Crohn’s disease (if this is what I have) has in store for me but I feel much better prepared to deal with it using nutrition and supplements as opposed to the toxic substances in the prescription medications I used to take. I now use L Theanine and Valerian Root when I can’t sleep, and, when my allergies are really bad, I take N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) for my lungs and use a Nettie pot for congestion.
There are so many ways to heal yourself that don’t come from a prescription bottle. You just have to look!
Marta’s story is a great example of how knowledge, when put into action, is extremely powerful.
She did the research, took what she learned and applied it, and watched her life drastically change in just 2 short weeks.
Marta shows us how important it is to stay the course and not let the bumps along the way deter us.
Whether you’re struggling with multiple health issues or just want to feel your best, our eBook will walk you through how to successfully complete the SCD diet and get your life back.
What roadblocks are stopping you from becoming your best? We’d love to hear from you 🙂