March 16, 2016

Goodbye Medication—How A Diet Changed My Life.

pills The amount of things that have happened in my life that I would dub “life-changing” could probably be accounted for on one hand.

But the one thing that will always come to mind first, will be my health journey. The journey when I finally figured out, through much trial and error, how to take control of my body—and not taking control of it by popping handfuls of pills each day.

Taking control of it in such a way that I no longer had to depend on any medications. Taking control of my health in a way that didn’t come with a long list of side effects or an expiration date. Because living with chronic pain is detrimental to not only the bodies physical health but mental health as well.

I am not saying that the lifestyle I followed is the only way or even the healthiest way, as every single persons body runs differently.

But this is my story and how I brought my autoimmune disease into remission and kicked all of the prescription bottles to the curb for good.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was 17 years old. Crohn’s disease is an auto-immune inflammatory bowel disease. Parts of the digestive system get swollen and have deep sores called ulcers.

Having an autoimmune disease is the epitome of being your own worst enemy. Autoimmune disease causes your own immune system to not only attack itself, but to create antibodies against your own tissues in the process as well.

Once I was given a diagnosis I was forced to start countless medications. I took daily Crohn’s medications, steroids, antibiotics, ulcerative colitis medication, pain medications, and immune blocking infusions every six weeks. At one point I was up to taking up to 17 pills a day and receiving infusion treatments every six weeks.

I found a mediocre amount of relief through the medications. I still hurt, I still had constant stomach issues, and I had an overall feeling of exhaustion almost constantly.  But still, I was able to get out of bed and attempt to lead a somewhat normal life.

After living on the medications for a little over a year and a half, I got to the point of anger.

I had absolutely no control of my disease. I constantly felt tired and weak, my body ached, I had almost constant lower back pain, bad headaches three to four times a week, constant stomach issues and I was struggling with anxiety.

I had began experiencing side effects from many of the medications that I was taking in the form of joint issues, breathing difficulties, and constant skin irritation. I was constantly sick because the infusion treatments I where prescribed worked by literally killing my immune system.

I was calling into work about once a week on average either because my Crohn’s was flaring up again or I had picked up yet another stomach virus, cold, or I was just having a day where the thought of getting out of bed made me want to cry because my body hurt and all I wanted to do was sleep.

Getting to this point of irritation with my body made me decide to go out on a limb and begin eating a Paleo based diet.

In a nutshell, eating Paleo means eating real. Real food.

This meant for me that I completely eliminated grains, dairy, refined sugars, processed foods, beans and legumes, starchy foods (potatoes), certain meats (processed), and harmful oils (corn, cottonseed and peanut) as much as possible.

After seeing such noticeable results from my lifestyle change, I began researching testimonials of others who have achieved remission from their diseases by changing the way they eat. Not only through paleo but other mindful eating lifestyles as well.

It is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.” ~ Robb Wolff

Changing my lifestyle and eating a Paleo based diet is the best thing I have ever done for myself.

Since I have began my new lifestyle I have not had a single Crohn’s flare up (two years and counting).

The constant stomach pains, headaches, back pains, body aches, and extreme fatigue I used to live with daily have completely stopped. A year ago I was able to stop taking all pills and to also stop taking the immune blocking infusions.

It is truly amazing what this lifestyle change has done for me and my body. I never would have thought eating clean could impact every aspect of my life.

So many of my past doctors killed my hopes of having a normal life by reminding me I had an unpredictable disease— that all I could do for it was take my medicine.

I lived as a slave to the pharmaceutical industry, experiencing harsh side effects from the medications that don’t even bring full relief. So before losing your hope with your health, read into different lifestyle changes you can make.

There is much trial and error, but overall watching what you put into your body is going to make a bigger difference than you can imagine.

Author: Emily Cutshaw

Editor: Sara Kärpänen

Photo: Tim Gillin / Flickr 

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