The Power of Food...My Healing Journey!

Recently, I have been compiling a list of people who have used unconventional methods to be healed of various chronic diseases. There are so many stories out there, it is exciting!  As I was reviewing the list this week, I realized that I had never written about my own journey to healing. So, today I am writing a condensed version of my health saga. I say condensed because to include every little detail would be quite lengthy and to boring to read. So, here goes my crazy story!

I have struggled with digestive issues all my life. Some of my earliest memories are of my mom giving me castor oil and drinking prune juice. Since I had been plagued with digestive problems as far back as I could remember, I did not know my life could be any different. It was only after developing a debilitating chronic illness that I began to understand the impact my digestive system had on my health. In a few short months, from September 2012 to April 2013, I was diagnosed with GERD, Bronchiactesis, MAI, Nocardia, and estrogen/progesterone positive Breast Cancer. (If you are curious about what some of these diseases are, I have definitions on my website.) From December 2012 to October 2013, I underwent four surgeries. This was a lot to handle both physically and emotionally.

Many of my health issues were very debilitating and life threatening. Even though I quickly recovered from my cancer surgeries, my lung infections and my digestive symptoms continually grew worse. During this time frame, I was prescribed a cocktail of medications including Nexium, multiple antibiotics, beta blockers, inhalers, etc. One instance, I was put on three extremely powerful antibiotics for six months. Another instance, I was placed on a strong antibiotic for a year. Most of the time, I was so fatigued I could barely walk. The life I knew had been taken from me and I no longer recognized the person I had become.  I felt like I was ninety years old. Since I was determined to remain positive, I was sure better days were coming soon. However, that was not the case.

In the midst of all my medical issues, the dreaded female change, MENOPAUSE, knocked on my door. Since my breast cancer had been estrogen positive, my doctors had no recommendations for dealing with my menopausal symptoms. This was the final straw! After four years of constant doctor visits and many different medications to help my lung disease, I finally realized I had to become my own health advocate. I was done with conventional treatment and I needed to try a very different approach.  In desperation, I decided it was time to seek a holistic doctor to better my health. As fate would have it, a holistic doctor had recently been recommended to me by a friend.

I was perplexed, and a little disappointed after my first visit with the doctor, and she suggested an elimination diet to reveal any possible food sensitivities. Her recommendation was to heal my digestive system. She said this should be my number one priority. I was desperate, so I complied with skepticism. Miraculously, only a couple of weeks into the diet, my lifelong digestive issues began to subside. During this time, I discovered my predisposed sensitivity to milk and gluten which had caused most of my digestive issues. What irony? I grew up on a dairy farm drinking whole milk.

The doctor also tested my hormones. The test confirmed my hormones were definitely unbalanced. In order to help stabilize my hormones, I started taking natural supplements and drinking herbal teas. In just a few weeks, my hot flashes and night sweats were almost completely gone!  I also began to notice significant changes in my energy, mood, lung function, and overall health! I was feeling so good after six weeks from starting the diet, I was able to discontinue all my prescription medications. Since then, I have not been back on any medications and I am no longer plagued with labored breathing or any other lung issues I previously experienced.

I am extremely thankful for discovering the impact eating whole, nutrient-dense food could make in my health. My personal experience suffering through years of chronic disease has given me a passion to educate people about the power of food and how food can act as medicine for the body.

It is my belief that you must be proactive about your health. I believe healing begins by eating whole, quality food, as well as other healing modalities like reducing stress, exercise and sufficient sleep. I believe these should be the first steps to prevent disease and the first steps to take when disease strikes. If you really want to be well, it can be as simple as changing what you eat!

Janet Steward