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.
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!