My Health and Wellness Journey
I kinda started my wellness journey about twelve years ago, but have stumbled many times along the way. For many reasons ‘like you do’. Life gets in the way. Then I became a mother to two miracle children and simply did not have enough time for ME.
Back then I use to call it dieting, now it’s a way of life.I was eating pretty much healthy or so I thought. I would eat anything which I think was healthy, but never ready meals. Ready meals are just not my thing. It’s the one British food habit I never adopted having born and raised in Guyana, South America where ready meal and fast foods were never a part of our culture. I would eat ‘healthy’ for three weeks, then the week before my monthly cycle; I would crave all things sweet, stuggy and full of carbs. My hormone was ‘way out of whack’, and was affecting every aspect of my life but of course I had no clue of what was wrong with me. I though that ‘it was normal’ to feel like it.
I always cooked from scratch, but never really take into consideration the nutritional value of the foods I ate, nor did I understood why it is best to eat certain foods at specific time of the day or month, or foods to avoid. Especially for me being a woman: like I do now.
I experienced a number of health issues all through my adulthood – looking back they were all hormonal related.
I was diagnosed with multiply fibroids in my early twenties but continued to live with them. In May 2015 I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst on my left ovary,that shock me to the core. However, I successfully eliminated it and two large fibroids through functional nutrition and lifestyle change.
I had five miscarriages before we were gifted with our two miracle children.
I always had a love- hate relationship with food for most of my life. I was always ‘dieting’. I did all the slimming clubs low fat, low calories diets and most of the fad diets of the times. I would lose weight and as soon as I stopped ‘dieting’ I would put all the weight back on plus tons more. I was hooked on the ‘low fat and sugar free’ so call diets. But never knew that it was doing more harm to my body than good. I remembered asking myself if my life would ever be different – if I would ever not cower over in pain from digestive and PMS, if I would ever be able to cut out the sugary junk and feel naturally energetic, if I would ever be able to carry a child, as I would miscarry every time I fell pregnant – five times in total. Or if I would EVER experience a full night’s sleep and wake up ready to tackle the day without relying on sugary snack to help me get through the day.
Then, a miracle occurred in my life when I started to look into the idea of holistic health. I had that ah-ha,light bulb moment where I realised that my health problems were the byproduct of a shoddy digestive system and imbalanced hormones. Since that moment, I’ve worked to turn my health around. I went on a pursuit of ultimate health and immersed myself in all of the tools that could mend my body from the inside out.
I began researching on a few Christian Medical doctors and other holistic practitioners who used food as medicine and all things natural to help their patients regain health.
You see, as a Christian I had the spiritual bit sorted (like most of us do). Like reading the scriptures, praying daily and all the common things that go with Christianity. But I never really paid much attention to what the scriptures said about nourishing the body with ‘real food’, herbs and spices, essential oils…..that God created and told us to eat and be well.
How I radically overhaul my lifestyle
In October 2015, I ‘accidentally’ or so I thought at the time, clicked an online documentary (9 part series) that would change my life. It was called The Truth About Cancer the Global Quest. It impacted me so much that I radically overhaul me and my family’s lifestyle. We chose to take a natural approach to our health and wellbeing.
My diet now consists of fresh and mostly organic natural whole foods, herbs and spices – I’m sugar, dairy and gluten-free and occasionally eat small potions of organic meat, chicken and fish. I choose my fruits and vegetables wisely and use the dirty dozen food list when shopping or I buy from the farmers markets.
I use good healthy fats in my cooking and baking like coconut oil, olive oil and ghee for cooking, avocado oil for dressing, and pure butter for spreads – No margarine! Fresh avocados in my smoothies and salads. And lots of raw foods!!
I now make my own skin care. Staying clear away from the chemicals and toxins found in many cosmetics, skin and hair care products. I love making my own body butters – they smells divine and good enough to eat. To make it, I use coconut oil, raw shea butter, raw cocoa butter, geranium, lavender and frankincense essential oils and beeswax.
I like playing around with essential oils!!
I use filtered water for drinking and cooking. We now use an air filter to filter the air in our home and a dehumidifier to extract moisture from the air. You can buy air filters here and dehumidifier here.
I love the smell of ylang ylang , frankincense and lavender essential oils and other essential oils in our home. And so while relaxing we would put a few drops in our diffuser instead of air fresheners giving off harmful chemicals.
Apart of my daily regime I also take a number of vitamins, minerals and supplements to support my health. I like adding wheatgrass, probiotics, chia seeds, kelp powder to my smoothies or juices. My favourite hormonal supplements are Shatavari and Ashwagandha. I usually add 1/2 tsp vitamins C powder to my water or take it in tablet form. Even the kids love it.
Our way of life in our home has changed and our children are getting used to it now. No going back!!
How my body reacted to my lifestyle change.
Six months after moving to England from Guyana , I developed a skin rash on my face and my body was covered with unexplained spots. My menstrual cycle changed from a normal twenty-eight day cycle to a fourteen days cycle, with very heavy bleeding. I felt awful and was very self-conscious. On top of that I gained a massive amount of weight over a very short period of time. I did not understood what was happening to me. Thankfully, many months down the line, someone introduced me to a lovely lady call Allison, who used holistic approach in women health.
She helped me to restore my body and gain my confidence back. She educated me about avoiding process foods, non organic mass farmed animal proteins like chicken, beef, pork and fish, and dairy. She will always say to me “don’t consume it if it’s not organic, because they are reaping havoc with your health”. Me and my friends nick named her “the no flesh lady” she was vegan by the way. She was truly a blessing to me at the time.
You see, my body had reacted to the change of diet and lifestyle after moving from Guyana to England. In my early childhood years, I grew up on a farm near the border of Venezuela among the Amerindians natives. My grandmother was from the Arawak tribe. So I ate mostly home cooked organic whole foods. Freshly picked fruits and vegetables – root vegetables like yams, plantains, cassava, eddoes, sweet potatoes, freshly caught fish from nearby non polluted creeks and rivers and wild meat hunted by the natives, eggs from the chicken we reared, cassava bread made by the natives. Me and my little sister Melisa would spend hours out in the fields picking and eating fruits, nuts and wild berries and so on. You get the flow? We grew up healthy, never got ill apart from not so frequent common colds.
In my mid teens, my brother Samuel, youngest sister Milesa and I moved to the city – Georgetown to continue our education. But as you can imagine life in the city was different in many ways. It was not as “pure” as in Kumaka/Mabaruma in the country where we’re from. But still fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and fish remained the order of the day. Mum made sure we ate pretty much the same kind of foods as we did back home in the country. She would send us a basket or a box of food every week with the passenger/cargo ferry, making sure that we had the foods we loved – ‘just like mums do’.
Fast food was never a big part of our culture back then as it is now. Snack for us was pickled mango, gooseberries, golden apple or just plain simple fresh fruits, plantain chips and tamarind balls and we drunk water or homemade fruit drink and juices. However, sugar was and still is a big part of our diet back in Guyana. It is one of the main produce for exports. We had occasional sweet treats and’ very occasionally’ chocolate treats. While here in the UK, foods are more highly processed with Trans fat, high in sugar and salt and added artificial sweeteners. Dairy and wheat are highly consumed as compared to Guyana. Fast foods and ready-made meals are very much a cultural thing here. So when the change came, my body screamed out loud for help.
Allison got me back eating ‘Real Foods’ and taking supplements and used a natural progesterone cream which she made herself to re-balance my hormones – and it aided weight loss too which was a bonus. You can buy creams from here.
However, after I got married and moved to Somerset, life changed and so was my life style.
Fast forwarding a bit…..I have developed food intolerance to dairy and wheat after a treatment of antibiotics from my third miscarriage in 2007. Later that year, I was diagnosed with an auto immune disorder call anticoagulant. It’s where small blood clots develop in the uterus; the placenta can be cut off; leaving the fetus void of the oxygen and nutrient supply it needs to survive. So this had caused me multiply miscarriages (five in total). Not only did I have to deal with the feeling of loss, confusion, and sadness, looking for answers and questioning God –why me? I also had to work through the resentment towards my pregnant friends, colleague or any women that would “fall” pregnant every time they sneezed. It has gotten better over the years, but some days it can still be hard. I had gained so much weight between miscarriages, so much so that my consultant told me I had to lose weight for a chance of a healthy and full term pregnancy – so I did. I lost over five stone through a weight lose programme.
How I overcame depression naturally
Later in 2008 I was diagnosed with depression and was signed off of work for a few weeks. My GP recommended antidepressant but I refused. I chose to go down the holistic route for my recovery. My husband did some research for natural supplements to help with my sleeping, low energy and mood swings. I used 5HTP , St. John’s Wort and Valerian Root and they worked wonders. I was back at work, but I hated going back (that’s another story that I won’t get into here).I fell back into depression after a fifth miscarriage and work related issues. That’s when I went to see my homeopath, Zoe Cook from Sunshine Health. She was ever so helpful and I didn’t even need the full treatment she recommended. (I met Zoe again a few years after at toddlers group, we were both mums then). However, I knew I had to deal with the Spiritual side of things too. So I booked myself into a Christian Encounter weekend at Fathers House in Shaftesbury and there I received spiritual healing to my body, soul, mind and spirit – renewed and restored. I fell pregnant with Hannah the next month. Praise God!!!!!
My pregnancy – how I used both medical and natural interventions
While all this restoration and healing thingy was taking place in my body, I had a light bulb moment. As a Christian, I call moments like these ‘ divine intervention or God inspired moments’. I began to research online about natural approach to pregnancy and miscarriage preventions. I found a forum where women with the same problem like me, sharing their stories. I noticed that they all used one common natural remedy called natural progesterone cream and reported that their pregnancies were successful. The same cream I used a couple of year before for resetting my hormones but stopped and never knew of this benefit as well. So I gave it a try, and let me tell you, by day three I felt like a woman again – regained energy, sleeping better, eating well and feeling sexy too. I used it every day all through my pregnancy. I changed my diet to a healthy and iron rich one, eliminating wheat and dairy out of my diet, I was intolerant to them by then anyways. Daily took folic acid, multi vitamins and probiotic supplements to aid a healthy immune system.
The medical intervention bit…!!
I had to be on total bed rest the whole time as I also had a cervical stitch around the neck of my womb in order to keep the baby in place – several miscarriages weakened my pelvis. I was classed as high risk and had to be monitored closely through out my pregnancy. I had to drink an aspirin and take a blood thinner injection call Clexane everyday, which I administer in my tummy myself until I was thirty-eight weeks.
The plan was to have a normal birth, but Hannah had other plans – I went into labour at thirty-six weeks.
My labour was going well or so I thought. Because I was classed as high risk, I needed to go to the hospital as soon as I started contracting so as to be monitored. To cut a long story short. I got there, me and baby were monitored for two hours and then was rushed into theater for an emergency cesarean section, because baby was in distress and I was at risk of hemorrhaging. I did hemorrhage and lost about two pints of blood. It was a traumatic birth. I had to stay in intensive care for over eight hours.( The mid wife brought Hannah to me briefly in recovery for a cuddle then fell back to sleep) I was given a blood transfusion and had to stay in hospital for eight days until I was fit enough to go home.
Fast forwarding a bit. First time mum with baby, no family around to help, home alone while Shaun was at work, still in a lot of pain and not very mobile. My food choices became less healthy, I just ate what ever was in the fridge and was quick to make. I gained weight on top of the baby weight. My health visitor told me I had post natal depression because I kept crying a lot, missing my family and feeling overwhelmed with it all. But thank God I soon snapped out of it and was feeling better and eating healthier.
Fast forwarding: exact a year later I fell pregnant again with Joseph and I had to go through the same medical intervention thingy again, but this time my consultant had plan my cesarean section at thirty-six weeks. This was because of my risk of hemorrhaging again and weak pelvic. All went well – Praise God!.
I never knew that all those medications, especially antibiotics I used during and after my pregnancies and miscarriages would have such a negative impact on my health. And my children’s health especially their skin and their immune system. You live and learn!!!