Sacrifice for health; why I gave up coffee
What do I need?
I can tell you one thing I don't need. Coffee. Umph. That hurt me just a little as I typed that out. I love coffee, I truly do. I love the taste, the smell, coffee cake, coffee ice cream, everything coffee! But do I need it? Apparently not. Why, you might ask? Why would any sane homeschooling mother of 3 young kids WILLINGLY give up coffee?
The only logical reason; discipline and health. Now I get to fill my super cute mugs with things like green tea and coconut oil, or bone broth. ;)
Before I had Jude, I worked for a Chiropractor and his wonderful family who taught me a great deal about life and health. One thing I always remember him saying was, "pain is a great motivator". You see, people will inherently put off the importance of their health until they are forced with greater consequence. The symptoms of greater consequence will often come in the form of some kind of pain. My symptoms over the past year were nagging and increasingly persistent and painful. For me, it takes a level of pain and persistence to creep in before I am willing to invest in my health and take care of myself instead of only focusing on my family.
I know what you are thinking... maybe.
Bre, I thought you LOVE clean eating. And working out. And all that healthy stuff.
Yes, I do. I have truly enjoyed and have been drawn to all things health for the past 11 years, but I am continually learning and growing to find out what that means for me. Even though I was eating a gluten-free and mostly Paleo diet, one thing after the next continued to ail me like a domino effect. What were they you ask?
Well, I have talked before about how a doctor had diagnosed me with IBS when I was 18. Bleh. Constant battle, but I had found ways to manage those symptoms with probiotics and cutting out gluten... or so I thought. Over the past year that cramping had increased where I felt like I was always bent over to a 90 degree angle, bloating came back and then I also started having intense constant heartburn and it made me terrified to eat anything. I also started having a lot of joint pain in my elbows as I laid down in bed at night, which made it hard to get comfortable. Then muscle pain. I just turned 31, what was going on? I had also gone to the doctor 4 times in 1 year for bacteria that kept reoccurring and the last time I went in February, I had 2 strands of bacteria in which I was prescribed antibiotics. I did not fit the bill for any reason they give as to why I might keep getting this bacteria and to make matters worse, the only solution from my doctor was to take the same antibiotic twice a week for 6 months as a preventative. That didn't sit well with me. I was exhausted, in a funk... oh and just to add in a couple more symptoms we can throw in brain fog (I felt like I could not concentrate or stay focused on anything) depression and anxiety.
I prayed often for God to give me strength and wisdom on what I could do to combat these things I should not be dealing with at a young age. I believe with all my heart that He gives me the strength and renews my mind when I am reaching out to Him for strength.
I know that mind body and soul work in perfect harmony. I know that God created our bodies with intricate detail and every organ, cell, nerve and limb works for the whole body to function as it was created and designed to function. Every part has a purpose.
When my body is not in good health, my mind struggles and so does my soul.
As I began researching my "symptoms" I came across possible things like SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth), IBD and a wide range of possible auto-immune issues. I had mentioned in a previous post how my family history has a wide range of auto-immune diseases. So I began reaching out to family to see if they dealt with the severe heartburn and some other issues I had been dealing with as well. All of them could relate on some level, but the solutions were not very encouraging.
One night I had been mindlessly scrolling through Instagram when I came across something on my cousin's (whom I had only met one time) feed about gut health. So I reached out to her in hopes that she could provide me with some helpful information to lead me on the right path. She was super sweet and asked if I had ever heard of Candida and Leaky Gut. I had heard it mentioned, but did not know a lot about it. The next week I spent researching and listening to podcasts on the subject and felt as though this giant puzzle was finally starting to come together and make sense. My cousin is a health coach and lives in California and told me she would be glad to help me out, but told me that it would be a commitment. I politely declined the offer and let her know that I was figuring it out and had already ordered several supplements on my own (remember that stubborn spirit I told you about).
I wish I could regurgitate all the amazing information you can find on candida overgrowth and intestinal permeability (leaky gut), although I realize it may not be as fascinating to you as it is to me. So, let me just remind you that your gut is the organ in your body that breaks down every aspect of whatever food you eat. Whether that food is good, or poisonous to your body.
1. The gut is a microbiome that should harness an 80/20 balance of good/bad bacteria. Due to the processed, sugary, pill-filled bodies we have learned to function in, this balance becomes way off track causing the bad bacteria to overgrow.
2. When nutrients are broken down to be properly distributed to the rest of your body for optimal function, not only do you have the bad bacteria hindering the distribution of good nutrients, but your gut lining has been broken down through a series of antibiotics, illnesses, stress or other causes, then toxins and small particles are "leaking" through and getting distributed through the bloodstream.
3. This results in attacks against the weak links in your genetics or immune system slowly wreaking havoc not only on your digestive track, but also every other organ in your body, including your brain. Most people would call the gut the "second brain" because of the major function in plays in the body and our overall well being.
Is your mind blown yet? Have you checked out now? Ok good, because that is just a small bit of information.
Back to the story.
After a month of trying to "figure it out" on my own, I felt like several things had gotten better, but at the same time I was still struggling with heartburn and some other symptoms and feeling frustrated that it had not all magically gone away. I continued to research and was lead to several documents explaining how important it is to cleanse your gut before you try to heal it, which makes total sense, and it felt like the missing piece for me. Why would anything resolve if I am just putting nutritious food through dirty pipes? So I reached back out to my cousin Sydney because I realized this was not something that I wanted to take on by myself.
I have committed to doing a cleanse that may take 28-42 days and then working on healing my gut for an additional 3-6 months (no it is not plexus). The first stage of the cleanse involves eliminating all sugar (honey and maple syrup included), processed foods, gluten, fruit, soy, dairy coffee and alcohol. Has it been difficult so far, yes. Some things were much harder than others; coffee and fruit namely. Whole30 what?! I think that was just a warm up for me.
However, I would rather spend a season of denying myself certain foods than a lifetime of feeling terrible and not having energy or my health to be the best version of myself for my family.
So what do I need?
I need discipline— I have always believed you can do anything you truly set your mind to, and if you want it bad enough, you can achieve it.
I need support— There are so many things I love to try to prove that I can do on my own, but to have support, someone checking in on you and cheering you on, is SO valuable.
I need my health— I want to continue to honor Christ through the foods I put in my body and the way I take care of it. When I do not have a healthy body or mind, not only do I suffer, but others do to.
I need Christ— Philippians 4:19 says, "My God will supply every need." This is a promise in the bible. When you need strength, when you need to be renewed, when you need joy, you can be assured that if you go to Christ for your need, he is ready and able to meet that need. Not just meet it, but to do so exceedingly and abundantly above all that you can ask or imagine.
Don't be so stuck in your own way, that your needs are stifled and your health suffers because you feel like you do not need help.
I am not a doctor, so take all of this with a grain of salt in experience, and know that I truly respect doctors. My best friend is a doctor. But I know so many relatives who feel stuck and hopeless in their health journey. I also know, you have to be at the place of motivation, and sometimes it takes some form of pain to get you there before you seek other means of health.
Whatever your outlook, whatever your journey, I hope you can be encouraged in these words:
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." —Hebrews 4:15-16
I have had several questions just from my Instagram posts and thought I should let you know what I have been up to a bit. I am not doing this to lose weight at all, but simply to feel better and to heal my body. My journey is not over, and I will be sure to let you all know how it goes when I have reached the other side. I am extremely hopeful at this point and hope you feel encouraged to see what your best health may look like for you!
I would love to hear any questions or comments you may have! Please feel free to message me on Facebook, or email— email@example.com
Have a great week friends!