My Path to Wellness
I started off with a very medical mindset that didn’t include wellness at all. It was that age. I grew up in the 80s, when it seemed like technology and medicine was going to fix every thing that was “wrong” with the human body. We were seen as weak, incomplete, needing to be fixed, and destined for disease. So why not?
It seemed very reasonable to me that I should have asthma, bad knees, a bad back, and itchy skin. Didn’t all humans have problems? I had my share. I used to joke with a friend, who also had bad knees, that had we been born in paleo times, we would surely have been killed off early, since we weren’t fit to survive!
Is that wellness? Living without symptoms?
But what if none of that was true? This post is about my journey from the medical mindset to the holistic one. What triggers and choices helped me to see a different way of approaching my health? And what did it take to move from a place where I regularly took a half dozen medications, to taking none at all?
I was diagnosed with asthma at 5 years of age. Running around and playing soccer, my parents were worried that my chest was rising up to my chin. They took me in, I was diagnosed with asthma, and given a rescue inhaler. Over time, that one inhaler became three, and I added on a pill for a short time.
The whole time I was doing that, I was basically only treating my symptoms. It worked to control them, but at what cost? When I was younger, every time I had an ear infection, my parents decided to treat it the conventional route, through antibiotics. These antibiotics, I now know, probably wiped out the flora in my gut, which is what predisposed me to asthma in the first place. It may also have contributed to the aches and pains I had later.
Knee pain showed up for me early on, when I was about 9 or 10. I started taking ibuprofen, and when I was diagnosed with Osgood Schlatter’s disease, I took even more. That pain lasted for quite some time, until about 2 years later. By that time I had developed lower back pain.
It wasn’t until I was done with college, working as a personal trainer for 24 hour fitness did I start to get an idea that I should change my food habits. And that didn’t start until I wanted to lose weight, and thought all I had to do was exercise it off.
Nutrition can affect health?
So I changed how I ate. I dropped milk out on a suggestion, and my asthma started to get better. This was after I’d discovered meditation, which had started me to thinking that maybe I could change how my body reacted to asthma. When I got better at meditation, I learned that some of the asthmatic reactions I was having were based on emotional reasons. That is, when I was worried about having an attack, I would have one!
But back to eating. Dropping milk helped reduce congestion in my body, and asthma started to take a back seat. I still carried an inhaler around, but it got better. While in Chirorpactic school, I dropped other things that were inflammatory. By this time, I had managed to stop taking any medication except for the occasional rescue inhaler puff.
“Barely” in pain
My knee pain and lower back pain were under control, but not quite fixed. After chiropractic school, I discovered barefoot shoes. I learned that the foot is, by and large, designed very well, and able to handle stresses like walking and such quite naturally. It doesn’t need arch support! I had grown up with flat feet, and was wearing orthotics that I’d gotten from my chiropractor ten years prior.
After making the switch to barefoot shoes, my knee pain all but vanished. My lower back started becoming more stable. Now I’m in even less pain.
After that, I switched over to paleo eating, which involves no processed food, lots of veggies and meat. No grain are involved, no legumes, and I’ve added back in only high fat dairy. I went from being someone who was hungry ALL the time, to someone who skips meals on a regular basis, to activate my healing mechanisms through fasting. The itchy skin I mentioned? Gone. And I can maintain my weight effortlessly. I also have tons of energy at any time, for any activity.
You can do it too!
Today I am living with no medication, and I feel better than I ever have before. I am also the oldest I’ve ever been. I owe it to meditation, paleo eating, functional exercise, chiropractic, Nrf2 Activation, and barefoot shoes. Did you see medication anywhere in there? No. Because I take none. There is a reason that I distrust medicine as healthcare. My own personal experience is that when I left it behind, and sought to enhance my body’s own healing ability, I did better than ever.