Paleo

Life Lately

Hello friends! I’ve got a sort of “stream of consciousness”-like update post for you all today.

It is officially summer vacation in my neck of the woods and something tells me that this is going to be a hectic summer! Between moving to a new city in late July/early August (see this post), opening an antique booth with my Mom in the NC foothills, and closing out a another school year – it’s already been a little crazy.

When I first committed to my new job and the move to Raleigh, one of the first things that I thought about was budgeting. My next thought was about wellness. Really, it was! Ever since my family and I first did Whole30 back in July 2017 and began following the Paleo lifestyle afterwards, there are certain ingredients, products, and recipes that we have kept in our lives. Although I have strayed from Paleo a lot lately, this way of eating and living is one that I truly believe in and feel strongly about. Whole30 and Paleo taught me how to start listening to my body and to pay attention to what I was putting into it. Which brings me to my next little story…

I recently had a wake-up call of sorts with my health and it forced me to open my eyes and see just how far I had strayed from the healthy lifestyle that I once had. I was never the perfect Paleo person, but I was pretty diligent for several months! But life happens, you tell yourself that a little treat here and there wouldn’t hurt, and before you know it…your clothes are back to feeling uncomfortable and you just feel off all around.

A couple weeks ago, I went in for a physical. Sadly, I can’t even remember the last physical that I had because it had been so long and I had fallen into the practice of only going to the doctor if I truly felt really sick. I had some blood work done but rather than having a completely fine bill of health, my results showed that my thyroid levels were abnormal. That certainly got my attention.

I knew a little bit about thyroid issues but did a bit more research and realized that some of the things that I had just written off as normal for me or simply due to my work environment or eating habits were also signs and symptoms of abnormal thyroid levels. My PA wanted me to wait a week to come back in for a full thyroid panel so I made the decision that for the next week, I would eat completely Paleo. Now, it ended up not being 100%, but it was pretty dang close. When I went back in for a full thyroid panel, my results came back normal (with a more than 6 point drop).

Of course, I truly don’t know if a week of eating mostly clean foods is actually what caused the normal readings but I can’t help but think that it definitely played some role. While I am super grateful for those normal results, this whole thing is super convicting for me to get back on “the bandwagon” and keep Paleo a regular and central part of my lifestyle. In a society that paints the unrealistic and damaging picture that we have to constantly be on the move and that what is quick and convenient is not going to harm us, we ultimately have to be bold enough to stand up and say enough. Enough of mindlessly filling our bodies with junk and feeling like junk in return, enough of burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the fact that what we put into our bodies does have a direct impact on our health.

Rooted

It’s not something I’ve really posted much about here in this space, even though I have a whole post category dedicated to it – food + wellness. But this is a subject area that has taken up a lot of space in my mind and in my heart for nearly a year now.

Rooted

It was Memorial Day weekend last year when I finally thought to myself that I’d had enough. I’d had enough of my poor eating habits, my stress-induced snacking, and the way I felt as a whole. There was no one particular ailment or symptom, just a blanket sense of not feeling at home in myself, if that makes sense. That’s not to say that I am completely there now, but I am proud of the growth that has happened in the past year.

When I did my first Whole30 in July 2017, it was my hope that it would change my life and it did. Sure, there were physical changes on the outside from the 30 days and from the transition to Paleo immediately afterwards but Whole30 truly changed my entire mindset on food, nutrition, and what it means to truly be well.

I’ve read before that people who are Enneagram 9s (like myself) often feel most at home in nature but also have an intrinsic need to be rooted and settled, in harmony with the world. I definitely have seen this at play in my own life the more that I have studied the Enneagram and as I’ve found myself on this wellness journey for the past year.

The feeling that has been steadily cultivated within me is this deep desire to be connected to my body and truly know it well. We live in our bodies day in and day out but we don’t always know what our bodies are telling us or stop and think about what our daily choices could be doing to it. We don’t slow down enough to pay attention to how we actually feel. My post-Whole30 life has been characterized by a lot of label-reading, research, and intentional reflection on what I eat and how I can best practice self-care. Overall, I would say that I was especially diligent in the immediate days and weeks after July but around the beginning of this year, I began to get slack. Gluten, grains, and dairy suddenly were creeping their way back into my life more and more often but I kept trying to make excuses for it and tune out the ways that my body was trying to tell me that it wasn’t liking the things I was feeding it. Until I couldn’t tune it out anymore, that is.

At the beginning of April, I had two episodes of heartburn in the span of 4 days. If you are a frequent heartburn sufferer, I am SORRY. I can’t even imagine experiencing that discomfort more than what I did. And truthfully, I don’t know that my heartburn experiences were food-related (I had switched an allergy medication in this same time frame) but I’m sure it didn’t help things either. It might sound silly, but it was truly a wake up call for me. I needed to really get more diligent and intentional with my health again.

When I had the second episode of heartburn, I was away in Greenville, SC with my best friend (which didn’t help things) and the next day, we were walking through downtown. I was still feeling a little discomfort from the night before. We came across a wellness store (Pure on Main) and I instantly wanted to go in and see if I could find something that could help me. As I had laid awake with the heartburn, I had searched online for any and every remedy and I had come across many potential avenues. These two episodes were enough for me to know that I didn’t want to feel this way again. The common thing that came up multiple times in my research was aloe vera juice. After a helpful conversation with the employee at the wellness store, I left with a bottle of aloe vera juice and feeling like quite the hippie. But at this point in my wellness journey, natural remedies and supplements were/are so much more appealing to me than pills.

So now each night before bed I mix 4oz of Lily of the Desert’s aloe vera juice with a little bit of apple juice. Sure, I haven’t experienced heartburn again but I’ve also noticed that I just feel better since adding this to my daily routine. Not only is aloe vera juice great for heartburn/acid reflux but it has a whole host of other benefits like digestion support, anti-inflammatory properties, and support for heart health too.

So, all of that to say (since this has turned into a sort of “stream of consciousness”-type of post) – this is where I am at the moment with reference to health and wellness. I’ve come a long way from this time a year ago, but I am definitely trying to be intentional and mindful so that I don’t revert all the way back to old habits. There are a lot of things in life that we can’t control, but when it’s something like our health and the way that we feel each day – there are definitely things that we can do to influence that. And for me, what that looks like at the current moment is aloe vera and looking at getting back in the habit of going to yoga!

It’s my hope to start sharing some more posts on the topic of wellness and healthy living in the future, especially with my renewed interest and passion for it!

Freedom

This week has felt like a sort of “farewell tour”, which I think is kind of funny. On Saturday, July 1st, my parents and I are embarking on our first Whole30. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been eating different foods and going to certain fast food chains in order to have my favorites from there “one last time.”

Sure, I know that this is just thirty days.

And that saying “goodbye” to certain meals is kind of sad and a little dumb.

But I’m really not going into this month ahead with the mindset that it is truly just thirty days. It is my hope and prayer that it becomes forever.

My relationship and my attitude towards food has long needed an overhaul and I have literally prayed that this new journey will bring some major changes to my life. My plan right now is to shift over to a mostly Paleo diet once Whole30 is done. I first became interested in the Paleo lifestyle back in 2015, but I truly believe that God needed to change some things in my heart and in my life before I could fully commit to pursuing it.

I’ve seen God move in my life and in my heart in beautiful ways over the past four years and I’ve experienced far too much with Him in that time to think that He wouldn’t see me through this too.

This concept of “wellness” and “living well” isn’t just about health. I think that to truly be well, we have to feel it in our bones. Live it from the depths of our soul. You see, I’m not viewing this journey as strictly a food thing. Scripture tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

And I’m seeking freedom.

I’m seeking a relationship with my Maker unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I’ve tasted and seen of the kind of peace and joy that He provides in some of my darkest hours, but I am human. I fall short, and sometimes I return to a state of thinking that I can do it all. That I have some control.

I need to be consumed by God. I know that He desires my heart and that He delights over me with love and singing (Zep. 3:17), and it’s high time that I learn how to seek Him and fall that deeply in love with Him too.

For some, a Whole30 is just something trendy to do and something to post about on Instagram. I’m sure I’ll be doing that too, but I’m doing my best to see this as the starting point of a grand adventure. An adventure towards finding favor, friendship, and a deeper relationship with the Lord. Every journey begins with a single step, and I pray that this is mine.

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