Saturday, September 3, 2011

Student First

For the last three weeks I have spent time relearning many things about my health and how to truly take the best care of my body.

Which means, I am once again the student.  

For years, I have comfortably filled the role of teacher.  A role I love and continues to challenge me to seek the truth not just for myself, but for all those I love and have taught over the last 8 years.  However, in order to be a great teacher, one must always be willing to remain a student.

I had to be willing to let go of what I thought was the best way for me to regain health, in order to learn all that I can now.  What I am learning is helping my body heal one day at a time.  I am thrilled to be the student once again.   What an awesome journey this continues to be.  I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for all that I learned and followed.  I needed the knowledge that I clung to and lived by to heal some major health challenges I was facing.  However, the time has come where the lifestyle choices I was making were no longer helping my body and I began to feel sick again.  

Seeking optimal health is a journey – it means that along the way I must be willing to go where the path is leading even when I truly believe the path I am on is just fine.   Guess what?  I don’t want just fine!   I want the truth and to walk on the best road for my health. 

AS TRUST HIMPhoto credit Ashley Sisk 

I don’t believe there is only one way of eating forever when it comes to health.  I believe there is one way to heal for a season (and that is how I have lived for the last 8+ yrs.).  And when that season ends it is vitally important to know what is best for your body from that day forward.  No season lasts forever and when we try to force them to remain, the consequences can be very damaging to our health.  In more ways than we ever imagined.

That is what has happened to me.  Living as a vegan suited me well for almost 9 years.  But then as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I found out it was no longer helping me heal my body. 

Until I was able to find out what my body was lacking and needed, optimal health could not be attained.   Nor was I ever going to heal what has caused me much suffering for the last 16 yrs of my life.   Sure my digestive tract has been working much better for the last almost 9 years.  But I still had my fair share of issues when I ate certain things.  Which didn’t really make sense to me.  My adrenals seemed to get more and more shut down over time and I began to have many issues with my menstrual cycle.   I already knew that my adrenals produce too much cortisol – which tells my body to stay in a state of fight or flight all day long.  Let’s say that alone is pretty exhausting.  But add in parenting 9 children, being a wife and all the other things I do each day – my body was starting to feel over-stressed more and more. 

My new health journey began in July when I went to a new chiropractor in MD.  He is a gentle older man and his staff was lovely.  He mentioned to me that a vegan diet has it pluses and minuses.  That I might want to consider learning about the A.S.H Diet and Inflammation Free Diet.  I should mention he is a fourth generation chiropractor and very wise.  So I took his recommendations and wrote myself a note to check them out when I got home.

But before I left the office his receptionist began to tell me about other supplements that might help with the challenges I face.  Meanwhile, a patient of his introduced herself and she shared her personal journey with me.  Then she offered me a card with a name of the naturopath that has been helping her heal from some major health challenges that were similar to mine.  I tucked the card into my pocket with the information the chiropractor gave me and promised myself I would look at them both later that night. 

A week went by before I took the time to investigate all that he shared and to contact the naturopath.  I was not surprised what I learned from the books he mentioned and knew that I would need serious data for me to make some of the changes suggested in the books. 

Within hours of me reaching out to Sara an email arrived back and we quickly dug into what was going on with me.  By the time she had my second email she wrote back, “I’m confident the testing I do and the program put together from it will help your body heal.”   Sorry for being doubtful after hearing stuff like this before, but I needed more than her confidence that her program would work. 

However, it didn’t take long before I knew God clearly had sent me to this naturopath and that she would be used to help me truly heal my body.   We went back and forth many times via email and were excited to meet the following week to do my hair test.   Let’s just say she is a blessing from the moment I met her and continues to be a gift from God in my life. 

Sara has already helped me retrain my thought processes, so that I could open my mind to what my test results showed.  Most of it was not a surprise.  I knew my adrenals were taxed.  I knew my thyroid was struggling because of it.  I knew my digestive tract still wasn’t working as it should.  I knew that was affecting my gallbladder. I knew that my adrenal fatigue is what has been causing my erratic BP issues over the years. I knew all of that.  What I didn’t know was how badly.  I didn’t realize how depleted I was in so many vital nutrients and how toxic my body was in others.   The one that has been giving me the most trouble is copper.  You can do a search on the health challenges associated with high copper.  You will be amazed how much this one mineral effects our health.  

The results showed that I needed to be 100% gluten free (GF).  This wouldn’t be too hard since I was already eating 85% that way.  It also showed that my body needed animal protein.  I had already been prepared to hear this because Sara mentioned that to me after discussing my current health challenges.  Many were similar to hers years ago.   That was a much tougher thing for me to hear after being a vegan for almost 9 years.  Again, she was prepared for my reaction and had to deal with the very same news.  She was a vegan/vegetarian for 15 years.  So she knew exactly how I was feeling and how I would feel for the weeks to come.  More confirmation she was the exact person I needed to be working with to help me heal many things going on.

After our 2.5 hour consultation, I left her office with hope and yet, many questions.  She has been diligent to answer every single one and help me understand what is already happening to my body as I make the changes suggested from the results.  I began a new supplement regimen and added in a few things that will help my body rebuild my immune system.  It is weakened because of my adrenal issue.   She has helped me find the best homeopathic remedies as well.   Sara is also teaching me how to help build up our children’s immune systems so they can fight off things much easier now that they are in school.

My closest friends and family have been unbelievably supportive on this journey.  Our children have done amazingly well with adding in new foods.  I am so proud of them.  I have learned how to cook things again that have not been on our table in years.  Only this time I’m cooking them with the purest and most organic ingredients.   We are loving the addition of animal protein in our diet.  They can’t thank me enough for the delicious, fresh and varied lunches they receive everyday in their lunchboxes.  Their friends and teachers are amazed at what I pack each day as well.   I am thrilled with the 10 dishes I create for them each week and I know that I am giving them exactly what their bodies need to be fueled up for learning!  

I am NOT eating dairy.  Nor will we be adding that back in.  We will not be eating any pork products either.  Everything we have added back in is organic and in the purest form I can find.  It is NOT the main portion of our diet either.  We are still eating a plant based diet with animal protein added into our meals.  Which for us has been a wonderful addition.

We are beginning to test the children now.  A few at a time and will make adjustments necessary for them to get what their bodies need as well.   The key to optimal health is not just four things:  drinking enough water, using the best salt, eating healthy fats and exercise.  Those are all integral to our health.  But we need to be doing them in the right ratios for our body chemistry and be sure that we are getting the right minerals to help our body function optimally.   The only way to know what your body needs is to get the hair analysis done.   It is not as expensive as you might be thinking.   It is not covered by insurance.  Yet, it is worth every penny we paid to have it done.  NOTE:  I agree with the comment below that one should practice the eight laws of health:

  • Wholesome nutrition, proper exercise, enough water, adequate sunlight exposure, keeping ones life in balance (i.e. not going to extremes), breathing plenty of fresh air, getting enough sleep at night (preferably in the hours before midnight), and having faith that God will take care of everything.

Had I not found out what I did – my health would have increasingly declined and I would be dealing with much bigger challenges than I already do. 

I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing what your body needs and doesn’t.   Only then can you truly be on the road to helping your body be balanced.  The beauty of this program is that it constantly changes.  Why?   Because you constantly change every four months.  Your body is never the same.  So what it needs now, it might not need in four months.  I don’t want to overload my body with the things it doesn’t need just because they are healthy to eat.  Nor do I want to deprive my body of what it needs just because I chose to live a certain way.

I am so thankful that many of my friends and family are also working with Sara.  They too are finding that the road to health is not what works for everyone – but what works for their body.   This is not eat for your body type.  This is eat for YOUR body.   Eat to live not live to eat. 

Rest assured that your plan will be just for you.  You will be taking the supplements your body needs and as it heals, adjusts and balances. Your supplements will change too.  

I will be sharing many of my favorite recipes in the coming weeks.   I will also share what my test results show in 3 months when I get tested again. 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Sara.   Together, she and I will support you on the journey to heal for your body.  



  1. Glad to read you are finding the answers you need. I am a fourth generation vegetarian on my mom's side and a third generation vegetarian on my dad's side. My childhood diet depended heavily on dairy. But as I grew to adulthood, I discovered my body just did not tolerate dairy very well at all. Three of my five children react adversely to dairy as well. However, we continue to use organic eggs, from our own chickens, as the animal protein to supplement our diets.

    By the way, you mentioned four keys to optimal health. Being raised Adventist, where there was a big emphasis on health, we were taught eight laws of health - wholesome nutrition, proper exercise, enough water, adequate sunlight exposure, keeping ones life in balance (ie not going to extremes), breathing plenty of fresh air, getting enough sleep at night (preferably in the hours before midnight), and having faith that God will take care of everything. Just thought you'd find it interesting.

    Wishing you the best journey to health and praying you reach your goal. God bless! :)

  2. Thank you so much for your comment.

    I agree with the eight laws for health. Again, thank you for sharing them with me.

    God bless,

  3. I am so glad you are finding the path to help you and the kids. I will continue to learn from you as well, big cuz! Love, hugs and kisses to all!!!

  4. Thanks for your honesty and vulnerability on this post. It is EXACTLY what I needed to hear right now as I got off the phone after an hour conversation with my vegan friend!

    Can't wait to read more that you post! I am exactly where you are. I just did five separate health posts on what led me to my current eating plan.

    Funny my word verification is GUTtalan!!!

  5. Am enjoying following along on your health journey Jill! Off to have a cup of Tulsi tea!

  6. This sounds vaguely familiar, as in I think I read this, but never commented. :)

    I'm so blessed by being able to follow your journey, and seeking what God would have me do as well... I'm thankful that God led you to Sara - for both you and so many others out there who need her!

  7. I have been trying to become a healthier me. I have a long journey. I certainly could use your prayers.


  8. Jill - thanks for giving me the link to your blog! I think it's very inspiring what you are doing and trusting in God heal your body! Thank you for the reminder that somethings are good for your body for a season but are constantly changing. I hope and pray that your healing journey will be fruitful! :)


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