High On Vitamin L
You will never heal your body without loving yourself.
LOVE comes first.
If you read my About me page, you know that I have struggled with pain and complications from surgeries gone wrong and medication that has caused different body parts to stop functioning properly. The healing process is something that takes time, proper rest and a healthy state of mind. In order to heal, self love and acceptance comes first.
While training for a triathlon, I broke my sesamoid bone and elected to have foot surgery. After the surgery, however, my foot never healed properly. I’ll never forget the day I woke up and tried to get out of bed. As soon as I planted my foot on the floor, the pain I felt was unbearable. It felt like my foot was on fire and, when I looked down, I saw my foot... bright red, immensely swollen... with puss oozing out from where the doctor had made the incision. This is not the sort of thing you want to see first thing in the morning. When I went to the emergency room, I learned that I had a staph infection. I was treated with antibiotics via a PICC line delivering the medicine straight into my veins. I stayed in the hospital a few days and was discharged.
I kept waiting to feel better and heal but that never happened. My foot continued to become more and more swollen and the pain never stopped. After about a month, I learned that the staph infection had gotten into my bones and I had to have an emergency surgery to clean out the infection. After the surgery, my life continued to change for the worse. I was on a PICC line receiving antibiotics for a total of 5 months, I spent 2.5 hours a day for 4 months in the hospital receiving hyperbaric treatment and I had 2 nurses that would visit me at my home weekly to dress my wound and administer more medicine. At that point, I wasn’t able to be the mother and wife that I wanted to be. I wasn’t able to do much for anyone. I was attached to a PICC line and a 7-foot pole holding up bags of antibiotics that took 7 hours a day to administer. I couldn’t play with my 3-year-old daughter or my 4-year-old son. I missed out on snow days with my kids, baking with them, making play-dough with them and playing with them the way I envisioned.
After about a year when things started to look a little better and I was able to be more independent, I caught strep throat from one of my children and was back on antibiotics. This was the final straw. As soon as I took the antibiotic, something in my body stopped working. It seemed that my gut couldn’t take any more antibiotics. My stomach became distended and I reacted to everything I put in my mouth. My digestive system was not working. I was lethargic all the time, foggy, and not myself. I became depressed and still had pain in my foot! I went from doctor to doctor and no one could understand why I was so distended or why my body was storing so much fat despite being on a low-calorie diet. I was diagnosed, misdiagnosed, and diagnosed some more. I tried western medicine doctors, functional medicine doctors, doctors that studied integrative medicine, natural healers, acupuncture, Ayurvedic doctors. I tried every diet you could think of. One year went by, two years went by, three years went by…. Still my body was not functioning properly and my foot was still in pain. I was angry and confused because my body was not healing.
During this chapter in my life, I met a body worker in Arizona who touched my foot and asked me if I loved myself and if I loved my foot. I could immediately answer the question about whether I loved myself… that was easy, I do love myself. Answering if I loved my foot, however, was much harder. I realized that my negative feelings were preventing me from healing. I was upset with myself for choosing to undergo an optional surgery. I was upset with myself for trying to rush the healing process and I was upset that I was getting worse and not better. I was discouraged when I looked in the mirror and saw what was happening to my body. After my time in Arizona, I made a truce with myself. I decided love both myself and my foot. I decided to be kind to myself and I forgave myself for having elective surgery. I let go of the anger I was carrying and I started to love my whole self. That is when the true healing started. Being able to let go of negative feelings opened up space in my heart to heal. I realized that I have always had everything I have ever needed. I just had to connect to my true self and disconnect from the negative feelings I had been holding onto. I was able to accept myself for who I had become and accept what was happening to me in the present moment. I could now respect myself and I trust in my healing.
To date, I am still not 100% healed, in fact I am not sure I will ever be. My body's reactions remain a mystery. In many ways, my healing journey has helped define my life purpose. It has changed how I live my life and inspired me to reach out to others. I have learned to find a deeper love within myself, one so powerful that it makes me want to spread it throughout the world. We cannot heal without loving ourselves and accepting ourselves for who we are at any given moment. As Huey Lewis says… “it’s the power of love”.
Have you ever stopped, quieted your mind and connected with yourself to answer this question… “What do I love about myself?”
Go ahead and answer it. Hold on to it and shine for the rest of the day!
Know your food
Have you ever given any thought to what’s in your food? When we eat meat we are ingesting far more than just the simple animal proteins we may be expecting. Our meat is affected in so many ways; how it is raised, what it is fed, how it was treated. As the old adage goes, we are what we eat and knowing more about our food helps us make better choices!
The next time you take a bite of a hamburger, you might want to ask yourself: Do you know where the cow came from? On what farm it was raised? Was it an industrial farm? Was it a sustainable farm? Was it an organic farm? What food was it fed? Were there any hormones or antibiotics pumped into the cow during its lifespan? Was it raised in a stressful environment? Did it roam around in a field or was it confined all day long?
All animals are affected by how they eat, how they move, and even their moods. It is now generally accepted that farm raised animals that are allowed to move freely and fed a natural diet similar to what the animal would eat in the wild are far healthier. Science shows that animals that are raised in unnatural industrial farms and feedlots with restricted movement and that are fed an abundance of toxic, fattening foods, result in incredibly stressful environments that create sick animals. Consumable product that comes from sick animals makes for sick people, regardless of whether or not they taste good or are “enhanced” with BBQ sauces, seasonings, etc.
Livestock and poultry often receive hormones and antibiotics for various reasons besides illness, including speeding up growth of the animals, and preventing disease while allowing the animals to be kept in unhealthy crowded spaces. Using antibiotics this way can result in the breeding of “superbugs” — bacteria that have evolved to resist the antibiotics being used. The bacteria can be found on and in the animal and, during slaughter, these superbugs can then enter the food chain. Ultimately, the evolved bacterium ends up in our kitchens or in our guts. If these resistant bacteria cause illness, it may be more difficult to find a working antibiotic for treatment.
On the other hand, organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides: fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic," a government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards.
While at a restaurant, here are some questions you might consider asking your food server to help you choose the healthiest of choices!! Its your time to take ownership of what you ingest.
Where is the food sourced?
What food options have been previously frozen?
What is the freshest entrée on the menu?
Is this made in-house?
Are these foods organic?
What kind of oil and butter do you use?
How are these fruits and vegetables cleaned?
A good rule to remember: do not just put food in your mouth because it tastes good. When putting food in our mouths, always keep in mind the importance of knowing that it is what your body needs to feel good. Knowing the source of where your food comes from can help you navigate what to eat. You have control to put clean food in your body. Be empowered and keep yourself constantly educated to make the choices that are best for you and your body!
Information sourced from:
As a way to visualize how food enters our system, we painted how we imagined the digestive process to be and how the food affects the body. This was a fun exercise to open dialogue about food and our relationship with it in context to our digestive system. You can try it too!
Ryann Morris is passionate about food and nutrition. She strives to inspire others to be more mindful of food and the effects it has on their bodies. She is a graduate of both the Ayurvedic Nutrition And Culinary Training (ANACT) program at Bhagavat Life and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) where she was certified as a holistic health coach.