Whether you are a new follower of the FourFitSisters, or have been around a while, you know that for the most part, all of the sisters, and most of the hubbies and children are gluten free. Since my son's diagnosis with Celiacs Disease last June, we purged the gluten and wheat products from the household and started fresh - cold turkey- and have never looked back. And, have never felt better.
Even though we are continuing to feel good and healthy, I am the ever persistent follower of health and fitness and am always interested in knowing the most information I can about my body and utmost health. It is safe to say, that since I am a very healthy person, I have never had routine blood work done to just see how I am doing overall - looking at the body as a whole and checking on my general health. So far, I haven't had a reason to - which has been one of the most enlightening realizations since we started this journey.
The week before Easter, I met with the amazing Dr. Furlano to just get "checked out". I suffer from no physical ailments and I feel good 99% of the time. I am actually healthier than I have ever been since going gluten free. As a kindergarten teacher, I was ALWAYS sick (think: strep two times each year) and so far this year = not a single sick day for myself. To say these changes have been life-altering would be an understatement. Even though I have been feeling good, I wanted to dig deep into some of the things I have been noticing in my body and talk to this amazing healer about things I could do to continue down the path of health and healing after all of the crazy things I have done to my body over the past 32 years.
The only two "symptoms" I brought to our conversation are things almost every woman in America can relate to:
1. I just can't kick a bit of the weight I am carrying around
2. Sometimes I have unexplained bloating
These pics were taken days apart.
I am betting many of our readers can relate to these symptoms and would never warrant a conversation with a professional. I am so fortunate to have had my blood work done and get answers to why my body isn't functioning quite at 100% like I am hoping. The point of me sharing this info is because I WANT people to be PROACTIVE about their health and well being. I am so glad I didn't wait until I was 40 or 50 to look closely into my blood work. I am glad I chose NOW to see that I have some serious changes that need to be made so that I can live the longest, happiest, healthiest life with my boys.
Discovery #1: I have a sensitivity to Casein = no more dairy
What the what?!?!?!?! Never in a million years would I have guessed this or thought that my body wasn't agreeing with dairy. I have no outwardly symptoms (yet) - just the bloating when I eat a lot. Here I am feeding myself yogurts and cheeses and inside my body is battling itself - causing inflammation that eventually could have leaked out into other parts of my body - so thankful I caught it early...before the real problems started. My results were four times higher than recommended = with no sypmtoms! I am going to seriously miss my Talenti.
Discovery #2: My Vitamin D levels are very low
This is very common - especially after such a long, cold winter. I am taking 10,000 IU to get my body caught back up to where it needs to be (for the first month), and then after month two will continue with 5,000 IU. I also learned that it is very important to take Vitamin D with fat. If you don't, your body won't absorb it properly and it will just pass as waste. So, be sure to take your daily dose of D with some fats so your body can use it in the best way.
Discovery #3: My fasting glucose (sugar) is higher than we'd like
Now, I say "higher than we'd like" because technically normal range is up to 99. I was at 96. I am about to push past the plateau of what is considered the safe zone. This is coming from someone who considers herself a very healthy eater. Makes you really take a step back and THINK about all of the hidden sources of sugars that I eat daily. Too much fruit for sure, but all of the grains are contributors as well. We don't eat gluten, but we LOVE tortilla chips and other substitutes on occasion. I am working hard to continue to keep my grains to one serving a day, and keep my fruits under 1-2 servings - being sure to enjoy berries and bypass the higher sugar sources like bananas or pineapple.
Discovery #4: Hormones and birth control are very likely keeping me from my physical goals
I workout like a mad person, and I eat very healthy - mostly clean, except for the occasional birthday splurge and fun night out. However, even though with all of this hard work, I feel that my body never quite has the tight and strong look to it that I had "back in the day". When Dr. Furlano explained it, the light bulb really went on for me. She said that my body is in a constant feeling of being pregnant - that is the point of birth control, to trick your body just enough to think it is pregnant so that you don't get pregnant. I maintain a soft, "fluffy" layer over my body that I just can't kick. Your body isn't in "beast mode" when you're pregnant - it is meant to soften up and allow your body to do the things and make changes that you need to be able to do while pregnant. This doesn't happen to everyone. Some people react to the hormones just fine, but I am in complete agreement that my body is taking this trickery very seriously. In addition, I am seriously trying to rid my body of hormones for my long term health as well - in the research I have seen, hormones are a huge contributor to cancers (especially the female kinds) so I am serious about losing the "pill", "ring", and "IUD" methods ASAP. I guess it's time to pull the goalie. ;) We'll see what happens.
I sure will miss dairy. A lot. But I also find the information empowering. Knowledge is power - I am better equiped to move forward in my journey to being healthy. Everyone that hears about it says "That sucks," or "How can you live without it?" or "I can't imagine never eating ice cream again!" All statements that I totally agree with. But the thought of doing damage that can't be repaired, or inflammation leaking out of my gut and attacking other parts of my body down the road is such and easy visual to snap me back into reality. Change is hard, but it IS for the better.
My biggest take-away from this experience is that even a very healthy person can be fighting a hidden beast inside of them. Whether it is hormones, food sensitivities / allergies, weight management - tons of daily issues for people - you are the advocate for your body and your health. My Casein allergy was four times the normal range. FOUR TIMES. And this was with no obvious symptoms. Just think about the damage I could have done long term. I strongly recommend even the healthiest of people to take time to dig deep and look hard into your health and well being. Find a doctor that specializes in looking at your body in a holistic way. Invest in your health so that you can live well and therefore invest in others. Most importantly TRUST your instincts when it comes to your health and the health of your loved ones.
As always, we are open to questions and comments. Share with us what your journey is or ask about specifics that we have been experiencing. We are genuinely enjoying educating people on how to take the best care of themselves and their families.