Thursday, May 24, 2012

What is Healthy?

So I think I am in a period of transition. I recently went back to school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a health coach, and it's causing some shifts.

That's right. The sick girl is going to tell other people how to get healthy. Go figure! But no, really, it's an idea I'm very excited about. What I most want to do is support families who have children with special needs that benefit from a special diet. In short, there is a great deal of evidence that conditions such as ADD/ADHD and autism may be improved by dietary changes and intervention and I am totally fascinated by that.

Throughout the journey, I've been promised by the school that my life will be revolutionized as well. And it's already happening. Even before I started my studies I had been contemplating changes to our diet. For me, I want to eat much more plant based. For my son, I want to feed him in the healthiest way possible, and that means questioning some of the nutrition "facts" we've been raised with (milk does not always do a body good, folks!). For my husband this means the poor guy is kind of along for the ride as I do all the shopping and cooking... but I want this to be a good thing for him too, both for his health and for his happiness (the man loves him some hamburgers!). So, I can't just make sweeping changes in the house without an uprising. And that's really okay. Slow is better anyway.

Here's the hard part of the conversation: I also want to support my husband to be as healthy as possible because there's a lot on him as our primary financial provider and, let's face it, the one who may at some point solely care for our son. That is not a pleasant conversation. But it's in the back of my mind, always.

And then, there's me. What does it mean to be healthy when you are sick? I have two different thoughts on this, kind of like a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.

The little devil reminds me that I was raised on tofu and sprouts and home made yogurt (nasty stuff!) and, well, I got PH anyway! There is a limit to what diet can do and prevent. So screw it, raise a glass, pass the nachos!

And then there's a much more practical side that reminds me that to best fight PH, the rest of me has to be in the best shape possible. Thankfully, I can exercise right now and I love it, so that's good. And I really do love healthy food, unusual foods, and to cook. Eating very healthy is a huge job. There are political and social consequences to consider with the food industry, and I want to vote with my dollar with what I buy. There's the planning and prep. There's making a green smoothy one day and really liking it, and trying something new the next day and gagging and spitting it out. And some days I'm going to have to remind myself that this is worth it - that it will support me to be in top fighting shape for this PH battle.

You hear people say that if you have your health, you have everything? Or you have something go wrong and they say, "Well at least you have your health!". Well, by any definition, I don't have my health. And yet... maybe I do. Because I can still move around and make wise choices and make a decided difference in my outcome. So, screw that quote, because there's more than one way to look at this big picture.

Oh, and if I could loose these damn extra pounds, that would be nice too. Because I am certain that as stubborn as my body has been, if I could shake them, it would be so much better for my heart. And a healthy heart is the ultimate goal here.

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