You are what you eat! This really does have meaning in our world. Specifically, this has more significance in this country than possibly other places on this planet.
Are you the type of person that has to re-read an email multiple times before you send it and still have doubts? Do you struggle with how you feel about your productivity level even though you probably accomplished more before 9 AM then most? Do you have a chronic illness? Maybe there is more of a correlation than you even know and maybe your path to recovery involves letting go of the reigns some.
Listening to our bodies should be a priority, however we opt to ignore this wise old voice over and over again.
Many years ago I had very little awareness of just how chronic my anxiety had become. It took a rather blunt comment from a roommate to make me aware that what I was going through was not normal. Well it is pretty normal in the sense that most of us live our lives in a mental land where everything is bleak and dangerous. But this is far from what we can really be or should be in this life.
Proper food selection is about first having knowledge and secondly making a conscious effort to improve your health through good selection. There is one common theme when selecting food and it’s really about simplicity.
What if this is as good as it gets? A thought that truly haunts me somedays. To be honest, probably most days lately. For me this thought attaches itself to my health recovery, but in reality it can be combined with anything in your daily life that presents itself as pain. At the very heart of this poisonous thought are some very toxic emotions that will ultimately sabotage any real progress in your life.
The struggle comes from fear. Sometimes it’s extremely difficult to pinpoint just what I am afraid of as there are so many variables that come into play while recovering from illness. It seems though at the root of this is ultimately freedom that is in question. I do seem pinned down sometimes to a very distinct path and any deviation from this path creates pain. But being on the path also creates some pain of its own, just how much different is the real question.
These fears seemingly strike without any warning or care for timing. This could be a matter of having to say no to a simple offer to share a meal. The magnitude of fear that comes with that scenario is quite humbling sometimes. A lot of the issue surrounds food naturally, but I never would have thought that so much pain could come from having to restrict myself of food and even harder to watch others eat the things that I desire (or used to desire). Going through the airport is especially challenging with health issues. This country is just not really setup to cater to people with special dietary needs. Maybe the time is not too far off where the junk food eaters of this country will be the ones scrambling to find food when all that remains is organic whole food options. Times are changing though, but the selection is still very very limited. Meanwhile, watching people eat foods that use to be so common for me has become increasingly more challenging. It’s almost borderline annoyance and anger at just where we have landed in this country with the amount of fast and processed food. What about the actual symptoms though? The pains, diarrhea, blood, fatigue, depression, mood swings, anger, loss of hope and so on almost feels unbearable at times. This can impact anyone, even that very well adjusted person you know. The anxiety that comes with the bodily symptoms is rooted in our demise. Blood is never a good sign, but anyone who has Chrons or Ulcerative Colitis can attest to the strong emotions that this elicits. Good lord what must be going on inside me! But the net is the body does heal!
While I struggle with this now I haven’t always had this predisposition to see the very worst. Granted I had my mental health struggles throughout my adult life, but not on this scale. Illness really takes a toll mentally. I think the big takeaway for me is the first stage of having awareness that these thoughts and feelings that come along with them are there in the first place. So how did I come to this level of awareness? This journey has been a long one so far and while I cannot exactly pinpoint a day, I do have a general sense that it has surfaced at every hurdle I have faced on the recovery path. I will admit that even after doing a year and a half of GAPS diets is still very challenging indeed. I have reverted back to stage one GAPS multiple times and with it each time comes a very unique vantage point in my life. A point where I have to summon all of the courage I have. Summon all of the faith I have inside me to persevere through this next roadblock. But in the midst of all of this comes something really beautiful. A knowingness of sorts that everything is going to be alright, even if today seems bad. I think that we find our strength in the times of most despair. If everything was good in life, there would be no contrast. Nothing to compare to. Having this unique marker in life sets you up to really enjoy life; good or bad. There have been some very key things that have helped me to get to where I am at through this health journey. If you are just contemplating this non-western medicine approach, currently on the journey struggling or wherever you are, I think these tips can be helpful!
I am doing something a little different in this post. I am doing an exercise in a book called The Peace Process. One of the questions in the purpose section is to understand why you chose this health profession. I spent a bit of time reflecting on this and I wanted to share my thoughts.
I think I have been moving toward a health career my whole life and just didn’t realize it. My father was in a wheelchair ever since I was a young kid and my brother and I were really on our own when it came to those things that most kids enjoyed as part of a normal father son relationship. This shaped me more than I know and in a number of different ways. I think I went through a metamorphosis from total fear to self-reliance to something bigger and better, compassion. I didn’t want to be subjected to a life chained to a chair and like anything in our universe its about attraction. As a young kid there were a lot of emotions that I just didn’t understand and really nobody to tell me any differently. I certainly love my dad, but these emotions were just too much to handle at times. So essentially, where thought goes, energy flows. In some obscure way I think I manifested illness that came about during the heart of my youth and rocked me like nothing before. Through this process I learned more about myself in the fourteen years of illness than all of the other years combined really. I went through the grieving emotions very slowly and when things finally went from bad to worse is when I really started to look up! I found purpose! I found the “why”. I didn’t fully understand it at the time, but sitting across from a doctor late in 2014 with nowhere really to go except on more aggressive medications really fired something in me! This grew like a wildfire and suddenly I was in the midst of full blown change. I began to learn and re-learn just how my actions had resulted in this illness manifesting itself. I learned that I had really been blind for most of my adult life which is kind of where most of us live at in this country. I realized that people, doctors, organizations and the very entities that are in place to protect us were indeed failing me…failing all of us! Through my studies I began to achieve a laser like focus that helped me to connect with my true calling as a voice for a better way of life for all of us. One where we are driving the car! One where we write our own prescriptions to good health! One where we take back our personal power! One where we stop feeding into a viscous cycle of decay and greed! I do have choices and they are rather powerful and positive indeed!
I have not yet obtained my nutritional therapy certification on paper, but in my heart and my mind I am here to give something positive to the world. I have just started reading this book, but I can already tell its going to be a game changer. Finding our true why is the key and path to happiness! I sincerely hope for you to find your why in this life!
Ian Sandage is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who speaks from the personal experience of someone with autoimmune disease and the highs and lows of a health journey