A Short Break

I am taking a short break through the end of this week.

Psalm 30:5B “: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” I read something similar to this verse once, “There will be a day when laughter comes to those who mourn.” I know this to be true, as I have mourned the loss of many in my family.

Thank you so much to everyone for your thoughts, prayers and condolences. They are truly appreciated.

 

Blog seasons

I’d like to thank everyone for their prayers. Sadly, my relative passed away. I’m protecting the privacy of the family until they decide when and how they will make the announcement. Please continue to pray for them as they become adjusted to their new normal. I will miss them very much.

Guest Blogger – Wholefood for a whole life

Some of you already know a little about me from previous posts sharing stories from our lives or from talking with me in comments. For those of you that aren’t familiar, I’m Robbie’s youngest daughter, Melissa. Mom asked me to “guest blog” today about my health and diet after many of you have shown interest in learning more. While this is the condensed version and I’m going to keep it mostly to my journey, as well as how to get started on a whole food plant-based diet, I suggest getting a beverage of your choice. It’s time to settle in and get comfortable. If there’s a lot of interest I will be happy to do more guest blogs as requested. If you enjoy what I’ve shared with you, be sure to reply, like, and reblog to let mom know you want more!

I’ve always been a very active and health conscious person, yet I struggled like most people, with the misinformation that regularly bombards us. I worked out and ran daily, regularly did calisthenics, ballet, hiking, and ate what I thought was healthy. I would splurge, drinking soda or eating sweets, but never thought it was doing much harm with occasional treats. All of my life I’ve suffered from autoimmune troubles that would cause pain or injuries. I chose to reconcile myself with this and live my life to the fullest anyway, not letting it stop me or slow me down. In my 20s I contracted Lyme disease; regretfully the doctors didn’t realize what it was and took months to treat it appropriately. The long-term damage to my joints and nerves were irreversible. Given I already suffered from autoimmune concerns, this added more complications and frustration to a growing list of health troubles. A few years later I suffered multiple herniated discs with sciatica that caused nerve damage in my foot, with some loss of feeling and weakness. Despite all my efforts with exercise, physical therapy, and staying active, by my mid-twenties arthritis and inflammation was already a problem in several major joints. At this point, not being physically capable of doing my normal activities and exercises, anxiety and depression started sinking in and becoming unbearable. The realization hit me that exercise and an active lifestyle wasn’t enough, I needed to help my body to recover and be strong enough to fight off the decline that was rapidly descending upon me. The thought nagging constantly at me was, “If I’m putting into my body things that cause inflammation every day I’m making it harder for my body to actually recover!” Something had to change.

The first step, I thought, was to remove soda and overly processed sugars entirely from my diet. This was much more difficult than I imagined it would be. Should be simple, just drink or eat something else! The problem is your body becomes accustomed and, essentially, addicted to these sugary bombs of endorphins. I had to gradually wean myself off the sodas and work hard, over several months, to lower my intake of processed sugars. While I started to regain some energy and mental clarity I was still regularly in pain and would often have a multitude of flair-ups. I spoke with my physical therapist and doctor, they would joke, “If you were overweight we’d talk about diet, but you aren’t so let’s focus on your exercises.” The exercises helped, but I was only getting by. I wanted to thrive.

By what I believe to be a gentle nudge from above, I stumbled on to a review of the book, “How not to die” by Dr. Greger. At first, I was skeptical. I study science, mostly behavioral, and with this education and experience, I’ve learned to question everything. Dr. Greger was thorough enough to include information to look up every single study he talks about in his book. This sent me down a deep, twisting rabbit hole of science and information that was not readily available to me prior. I buried myself in research and regularly visited his website while cross-referencing everything back to the studies themselves to read through all of them for any inconsistencies. I desperately wanted to prove it wrong. My doctors never spoke about diet as an option, they totally discounted it. How can any of this be true? Milk causes inflammation? Eggs are not healthy? Meat is a carcinogen?!? Processed meats are listed as Group 1 carcinogen (the same as Tobacco and Asbestos, according to WHO)? Yet time and again the studies and research showed this could be true, everything Dr. Greger said (and everyone else I looked into) was true. To solidify my resolve I watched “Forks over Knives”. While much of it is a bit over the top I felt like I had finally woken up, I had taken the red pill and was no longer in the Matrix. I couldn’t unknow what I had learned.

After a lot of soul-searching, I made the switch. Gradually I cut all animal products out of my life. There were ups and downs, many times I fell back to old habits, but I stuck with it as best I could. I started by removing meat, then eggs, eventually milk and cheese. The cheese was the hardest one to let go. A few months later I eliminated most processed foods in general and sustained a predominately whole food, plant-based diet. After some time of fully plant-based, it became easier to adjust recipes and make meals. Everything was becoming second nature and it wasn’t a daily struggle of, “What on Earth do I make for dinner?!” As time went by something amazing happened, my anxiety was mostly under control and the pain I lived with most of my life was subsiding. I called my mother and said tentatively “I don’t want to jinx it mom, but that constant nagging pain of level seven or eight I’ve always had? I actually forgot about it for several days. I haven’t had pain, sure normal aches, but not MY aches.” As I continued on this path my energy levels increased, mental clarity and sharpness heightened, the pain was minimal, and overall I was thriving. I was once again able to do my workouts and be more active which allowed my body to heal more and continue on a better path to recovery.

Do I believe everyone would have these results? Honestly, I don’t know. Do I believe everyone could benefit from a whole food, plant-based diet? Absolutely! Will it cure all your troubles? I’m not a doctor so I can’t say if that’s possible but I can encourage you to look into it yourself. Listed below are some websites and links to pages that helped me along my journey. I’m listing only Dr. Greger’s pages because he has the science and studies to back the information. If anyone is interested in other suggestions I will happily share those as well. You’re welcome to ask questions here and if there’s interest I’ll return for a Q&A or more guest blogs. The most important information I can give you is to do the best you can for you and to allow yourself to thrive. Don’t fall into a trap of “getting by.” Stay positive and keep striving to be the best version of yourself.

Dr. Greger’s site
https://nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, which greatly simplified my transition
https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/

We will address questions and comments on Tuesday, June 26th.

#Forksoverknives  #Drgreger   #hownottodie   #plantbased

Friday Flashback

This is a repeat (of a repeat). However, after Kate Spade died, plus a few other deaths this year from suicide, or possible suicide, I feel prompted to post it again.

This post was a very difficult and painful one to write. I wrote it three days after Robin Williams died.

It is one of the most open, honest posts I’ve ever written. If by sharing my experience, I help someone else, it will have been worth it.

Thursday’s Thoughts

I haven’t had access to the internet for several days now, and though I had heard about Robin Williams’ death, I had not read or seen any reports. I know there have been countless stories, blogs and remembrances almost everywhere, and I know too, that this is late, but I feel led to share my story.

This won’t be easy for me because the memories are painful, but they are invading virtually every thought.

Quite a few years ago, my husband and I were going through some growing pains in our marriage. He was a career soldier, and I worked and cared for our three young children. I was managing a large apartment community at the time that had some pretty significant perks. Things were becoming tenuous at best and indescribable at worst. Due to my very dysfunctional childhood, fear, imprudence and immaturity, I decided I could care for our three children and myself and asked him to leave. He decided to request and received, an overseas tour.

I continued to work for the property management company until several months later when I was offered a job with a great deal more pay in another city. So, I packed up myself and three little ones, and we took off on a grand adventure. Little did I know.

Fortunately, I was able to enroll my little ones in a before and after school care that included evening hours. I began working 10-14 hours a day 6 days a week with little to no time to rest, much less make friends and become part of the community. Initially, I loved my new job, but things started slowly unraveling.

Work became a haven as I could handle what was going on there easier than I could handle home and all its demands, not to mention the loneliness and isolation I felt.

The company I worked for started laying people off and in true last hired fashion, I was laid off. I received a decent severance package, to include continuation of insurance for a short period of time.

Without realizing what was happening, I spiraled into SEVERE depression. As time went on, I was less and less able to handle even the smallest of day-to-day tasks. The kids were still going to before and after school care, and I was just trying to make it through the next 10 seconds without feeling like I was drowning a very slow and excruciating death.

And then one day, I seemed to have clarity of thought and action. I decided life wasn’t worth living and in a bizarre (though typical ideation) I began to systematically prepare everything for my death. Insurance was checked to see if it covered suicide (it did), I found a sweet, older Christian couple to care for the kids long-term, contacted Red Cross to find out what they would need to notify my husband and went to see a friend I made where I had worked.

My friend and I talked for a little while and then, for reasons unknown to me at the time, they asked me to go home and stay there until they came by later that day. I agreed and went home.

I know now that my friend, although not a Christian, was being led by God. This friend had a sister who had committed suicide and was able to recognize in me, through their heartbreaking experience, what I was doing, even though I didn’t. I was saying, “Good-bye.”

Later in the day, my friend came by to see me and was able to talk me into getting help.

I wish I could say this experience worked a miracle. I wish I could say I had not tried to commit suicide before (first time I was 13). I wish I could say I am free of depression. Unfortunately, I can’t. I continued and still continue with debilitating depression. I did learn one thing though-how to recognize when the depression is getting out of hand and to seek help right away.

I also learned, even when fleeing from myself and the Lord, the Lord is still there just waiting for me to return.

I cling to certain verses now.

John 16:33b King James Version (KJV) 33b In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Philippians 4:19 King James Version (KJV) 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 15:13 King James Version (KJV) 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Psalm 31:24 King James Version (KJV) 24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

Psalm 30:5b King James Version (KJV) 5b  weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

And so many more, I can’t even begin to list them all.

There’s a lot more to my story, but I leave you with this: If you are hurting, lost in sadness, overwhelmed by life, feel like you can’t go on or a million other things that leave you feeling hopeless or helpless-get help. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you-GET HELPI cannot stress this enoughPlease, oh, please GET HELP!

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/c/84292/70431/money-insurance?ic=506011

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/cf/slideshows/what-to-do-when-you-are-depressed?ic=obnetwork

http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources/#Hotline

National Suicide Hopeline
Phone: 800.784.2433

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Phone: 800.273.8255