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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Journey To Wellness

This may be a little off topic from my regular posts, but it's where I am in life and I feel like it's a topic worth sharing. It's a journey I'm just beginning, and only time will tell where it will take me...and what better place to document my progress than on my blog, and maybe get some accountability to stay on track!? I hope you'll follow along and if you have any personal experiences, or advice to share, please do! Even better, why not join me, and we can help each other.

Making life changes that lead to health and wellness.

I have never been one to go to a doctor on regular basis, and very seldom go to a walk in clinic when I have a cold, sore throat or  other minor issue. I know that I am allergic to penicillin, amoxicillin, and sulphas, so it seems pointless to go to a doctor when I can't take most of what they will prescribe! However, about three years ago I had a complete physical, and found that I had some more serious health issues beginning...I had high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and low liver function. The doctor wanted me to go on medication, but also said some lifestyle changes would help each of these issues...losing some weight through a better diet, and being more active were at the top of the list. I didn't want medication, so I said I would make the necessary changes. I don't drink, smoke, or use any medications, so those are all a plus. I went home determined to do better, but life happened, I got busy, and all my good intentions went by the wayside.

Recently, I had a health issue that required a visit to the doctor. 
My mouth had been sore for a few weeks, and then I got sick with a terrible cold and irritating cough that lasted a couple of weeks. Before I even went to the doctor, I had figured out that I had Oral Lichen Planus (Yes, I know, it's never good to google your own symptoms!) I won't go into detail, but this link explains what OLP  is-
Oral Lichen PlanusIt's thought to be an autoimmune disease, and can be triggered or made worse by stress. I'll be seeing a skin specialist in November to confirm the diagnosis, which is done through a biopsy. 

Something else that showed up when I saw the doctor was high blood pressure...which may or may not have been caused by white coat syndrome! Whatever caused it, it got my attention....and reminded me that I can't just ignore health issues. 

And that is where this journey began.

The hardest part for me, always, is the physical activity. 
I am not an active person, and at this point, I haven't come up with a plan that I feel I can stick that may be addressed in a future post. I'd like to start walking more, but, my focus for now will be more on nutrition, and finding ways to help my body heal itself. 

Although I didn't keep up with my daily exercise routine from a few years ago, I did make some changes that I have continued, even if only sporadically....we bought a juicer, and I started making fresh fruit and veggie juices...and found some delicious combinations. Sometimes I just throw in whatever is on hand and come up with what we call caboodle juice! One benefit of having a sore mouth is it has helped me to get back to doing more juicing!

I also started having a smoothie for breakfast a couple of years ago...usually a banana, blueberries, and some milk...not completely healthy, but way better than corn flakes or toast and jam! I'm now switching to meal replacement shakes that are specifically formulated to support balanced glucose uptake, normal insulin activity, and slow the absorption of high glycemic foods.

Quitting also one of my goals. I had stopped drinking coffee for a time, but unfortunately started up again. At this point, I drink about two cups in the morning, but plan to switch to herbal teas.

Concerning the Oral Lichens Planus
The only treatment seems to be to manage symptoms. What I have been doing is making my own mouth rinse, using tea tree, lemon, and peppermint essential oils. I'm also applying Frankincense to the sides of my tongue and inside my cheeks...wherever there's discomfort! I don't know if these oils can help with OLP, but I do know there are many benefits of essential oils, so I think they are worth trying. I use other essential oils for various purposes, such as pain relief and help with sleep, and I may experiment with more for the lichen planus, but until I have time to do some research, these are the ones I'm using.

STEP 1 on this journey to wellness 
Start taking supplements....12 to be exact! Brian is joining me in this one. Our vitamin package arrived yesterday, and we started on them this morning. They are prepackaged, making it easy for Brian to take his to work with him, and there's no reading labels or counting to make sure we haven't missed any.

This is the list of what we are taking.

Intermittent fasting is something else I've been researching. Basically, I try to keep my meals within a 6 - 8 hour window, ...somewhere between 10 am and 6 pm. This allows my digestive system to rest for a longer period than a normal night's sleep. A 16 hour fast is not difficult, and from everything I've read, the health benefits definitely make it worth trying. I've fasted in the past, and always feel better for it, and I know that cutting out snacks in the evening is the best way to lose weight. Not that weight loss is my main goal, but it IS important to my overall health, so I'm recording my weight today at 155 lbs. (*edited* Make that 160, according to the clinic scale!)

Of course there is one other aspect of my life that needs to be addressed, and that is reducing stress. 
I don't have a specific plan for that, since we can't afford to move to a quiet cottage on a deserted island, but finding some time for just Brian and I wouldn't hurt. Spending more time in prayer and Bible reading, I'm sure would benefit..... Maybe getting back to my songwriting would help's always been the best way for me to express my thoughts, feelings, and own form of therapy. I'll let you know how that goes!

That's all I have for now, but I hope to make a post in about a month to record any progress or changes I notice. In a few months, I'll go back to the doctor for another physical, to see if there's a change in my blood work.


anita said...

Sounds like a very good plan. Reducing stress will be very important. Maybe you could walk the dogs for exercise?or maybe that would be stressful. I take schisandra tincture everyday and have for years now and think it helped me improve my health.

Michelle said...

I don't have any great advice for you. I have to work at being active, too. I try to limit my sugar, at least most of the time. I'm like you in that I try not to go to the doctor. I hope you're able to find some relief.

Deborah said...

Anita, We have so many dogs in our neighbourhood, I don't even try to take our dogs out of the yard...but I may get Brian to walk with me. I get pain in my knee, but I'm hoping one of the supplements we're taking will help that. I've thought about walking on the track at the gym too.
I'll have to look up schisandra tincture. Thanks!

Thanks Michelle! Yes, cutting out sugar is a big one...especially in the summer when I want an Iced Cap!

Ruth Hiebert said...

I wish you all the best in this endeavour. Changing longtime habits is not all that easy.A couple of years ago my doctor basically said I would not lose weight so I set out to prove him wrong. No,I am not slim or even where I'd like to be, but with only small changes to my habits,I have lost about 20 pounds. I feel good about that.

Deborah said...

Thank you, Ruth, and good for you for proving him wrong! I agree, old habits are hard to change, but hopefully I have the incentive I need. Thanks for stopping by.