While my initial interest in paleo success stories had a lot to do with weight-loss, the further I have gotten into this lifestyle, the more I find my attention completely captivated by the success stories centered around healing. Even though I have experienced a number of health improvements since adopting a paleo lifestyle, and have seen tremendous health improvements in my family members, reading stories from others shows the impressive range of effects that this lifestyle can have.
One such success story that leaves me saying wow is Meghan’s from Just Enjoy Food. At the young age of 18 she had the maturity to take control of her health, and to take small steps over time to change her well-being for good.
Below you will find an amazing story with tips on how to carve out your path to health and recovery, no matter where you are at in your journey today. Plus, as a special bonus, Meghan shares her recipe for Nut Butter Fudge to help you think of food as a tool to healing. Enjoy!
I am sitting at my desk typing away at this post. My brain is thinking clearly so I can process all that’s going on around me. My digestive system feels good as I sit in my desk chair comfortably. I’ve had energy the whole day and it’s the afternoon. Today I have been reflecting on how thankful I am for energy, a brain that thinks clearly and a gut that isn’t hurting all the time. It’s made me reflective on the healing that has happened in my body and how far I have come over the last few years.
Today I am living life in my new season of healing. This season is one that I worked hard for and waited about 10 years to experience. Today’s experience wouldn’t have happened 5 years ago. Really good days rarely happened during that time in my life. I believe that I experienced nearly 10 years of symptoms and pain to be able to be an encouragement to you in whatever season that you are in, whether it’s in the trenches of your health journey, just starting, or also experiencing a new level of healing like I am now.
I had a passion for natural health that ignited in me around the age of 17. It was a very small flame that contained almost no information to build a firm foundation, but it was there. I believe having that passion starting so early in me and before I got sick was one thing that spurred me forward into a career in natural health as a chiropractor and health coach and what made me so committed to healing my body naturally.
I got sick at 18. There were many stressors that lead to that, but what happened after that was a very unhealthy digestive system. I started to experience something I’d never felt before: bloating. This bloating became severe and constant. My daily pattern was that I would wake up with a bloated stomachache that would get worse and worse throughout the day. It affected everything I did! My clothes didn’t fit well and didn’t feel good in my body. I was so bloated that stretchy pants still felt too tight. My appetite was huge and I had no hunger signals, which made me feel like I was starving regardless of how much food I ate. It affected my brain and I started experiencing debilitating fatigue, brain fog and sugar cravings. As I’ve learned, when your gut is on fire your brain is on fire. This went on for a few years.
My small amount of natural health information wasn’t enough to get me well because I knew so little, but it was enough to be convinced that my body could heal itself. This is when my healing journey really began. I was in chiropractic school, barely well enough to make it to most of my classes, but also with this determination to figure out what was wrong with my body. I read, searched the Internet, hired functional medicine chiropractors and flew around the country to learn at advanced healing seminars. I started changing my diet, detoxifying my body, and changing my mindset and how I felt about my body (healing is both physical and emotional).
I’ve made some significant changes to my lifestyle over this period of time. The bulk of my healing journey was four years long. Had you told me when I started that I wouldn’t feel significantly better for 4 years, I don’t know if I would have ever started the process. As I think about it… I still would have started because for me there was no other option than to become even sicker than I already was and that was not an option. I am not only healthier because of it, but I am all around a better person. My journey was deep with life lessons, and I want to share with you five lessons I’ve learned through healing my body. Whatever season of life you are in and in whatever state of health you are in, I believe you can learn and apply these lessons.
1. Your Body is Created to Heal
This is the core of what I believe about our bodies! We were so dynamically and robustly created. Our bodies are truly magnificent. Just think about that for a second. If you are in a health crisis now, realize that there is something interfering with the healing in your body. Looking for the root cause of the symptoms means you are looking for the interference (or source) of the symptoms. Symptoms are a manifestation of a body functioning at less than 100%. If you can believe that your body was created to heal, you can walk this healing journey through all of its ups and downs. We all have a different path to healing, but I encourage you to learn lots and any get help from natural practitioners or health program that you need.
2. Healing Takes Time
Is it just me or is TIME a 4-letter word in healing? We are in a quick fix and instant society and we want change immediately. I know I did! Most of the time our bodies took years to get sick. We need to set our mind that it can also take years to experience healing. True and lasting healing takes time and what we are looking for is healing that lasts. Throughout your healing you will see success. Celebrate your successes! Big or small, each of them is a huge deal! This will ease the weight of time when you have things to delight in.
3. Be Consistent
Being consistent is a major piece of walking a healing journey. Please don’t confuse consistency with perfection. Oh, there’s no such thing as perfection! That’s just an illusion. Trying to be perfect leaves us feeling deflated, guilty and worse off. Consistency is an overview of what you are doing and seeing lifestyle patterns. Healthy eating patterns, exercise patterns, mindset patterns. Being consistent is something we can do over our lifetime and something that you continually work towards. Guess what? They eventually become habits. If you are overwhelmed by a load of new information, please realize that we have all been there at one time. It’s called a journey for a reason. We are all constantly learning and making changes. Start somewhere and start with baby steps. You will be amazed at how far you come just making the next good and healthy decision. (Celebrate those baby step successes too!)
4. Be Thankful and Have Fun
When I look back at my healing journey, I realize it was often absent of fun. I was way too easily thrown back into feeling deflated and discouraged. I’m not naturally a bubbly and positive person, but I have learned that thankfulness is a learned habit. Find things in your life to be thankful for. I had to write lists that I could refer to often when I would forget. Fun is another thing that is important. Fun doesn’t mean you have to do a big activity or that it needs to be profound. A big activity would always wear me out. Find out what is fun for you and do that. One of the most fun things for me would be to go to a coffee shop with my headphones, jam to some good music, enjoy a cup of coffee and read a book for fun! (I’m such a natural learner that I’m always reading information and educational material). Another idea of a fun time is a good old-fashioned movie night. What’s your idea of fun? Now go do that!
5. Get Healing in the Kitchen
The kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in a house. So much happens in the kitchen: meals are made, tummy’s are filled and happy conversations are had. Food is something we know we need on a daily basis and there’s no getting around that. One thing I challenge you to think about is making your kitchen a place of healing. Stock your kitchen with healthy and healing foods and create a culture of health under the roof of your home. Once again, this doesn’t mean being perfect or not having treats. You can make so many treats with unrefined sugars (honey, maple syrup, dates) and grain-free flours and even gluten free treats. If you buy a treat food, have it be high quality even if it costs more. Feed your body with ingredients it recognizes! Eating healthy has lead me back to health but has also allowed so much freedom in my life. I don’t have cravings anymore, my body is healing, my appetite knows how to regulate itself and my clothes fit and feel good to wear! I’m so thankful for the habits that our family has and how we consistently choose an environment of healing in our home. I wanted to leave you a fun and healing recipe that is a favorite in our household! It’s for my Healing Nut Butter Fudge.
- 1 cup organic nut or seed butter (choose your favorite: peanut, almond, cashew or sunbutter)
- 3/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 3 Tablespoons hydrolysate collagen gelatin
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup raw honey
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- Line a 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
- Add the nut butter and coconut oil to a medium saucepan and heat over medium, stirring with a metal whisk until the coconut oil melts.
- Add the cocoa powder, collagen, salt and honey and stir until combined.
- Once the fudge is completely mixed together, take off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract
- Pour the fudge into the pan and put in the refrigerator at least 2 hours. Cut with a sharp knife and serve. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.