First, I want to tell you, I love Raw foods and eating Paleo. You don't realize how good true foods can really taste when eating processed and oil saturated foods. Some (many of them family members) think that I am crazy for the way that I eat, but I can tell you - REAL food can taste REALLY good!
So here's my quick "About Me" moment. First off, the introduction- My name is Julie Dehn and I am a recovering carb lover, soda drinker and french fry eater. I am 39 years old and I am sick and tired of being sick and tired!
I guess I could moan and groan and say "I have had the most miserable life because my health sucked and now I can't eat anything fun" but I won't. Don't get me wrong. I do get those weak moments where I feel so totally sorry for myself because while running the kids here and there, I can't stop by McDonald's to pick up a couple of doughy hamburgers to quickly fill up my growling stomach. But then I think, "Thank Goodness I can't stop by McDonald's!" because if I did every time I got a craving, think of all of that horrid inflammation that would riddle my body and potentially cause horrible diseases later in life such as cancer, heart disease and/or diabetes.
I happen to be one of those lucky individuals (and no, I am not being a smart ass) who can feel inflammation any time I eat anything that my body views as poison. I have always had inflammatory problems. My symptoms are probably similar to the symptoms of millions of others out there. I am aware that I am not the only one; that I am not special when it comes to my aches and pains, my confused insulin production or the ringing in my ears. The only difference between so many of the millions out there and myself is that I have decided to listen to what my overly sensitive body is trying to tell me. It is letting me know that if I put crap in it, I will feel like crap and eventually, my true health will be crap. How wonderful is that? I have my own internal hot meter telling me when I get in the red zone and should not eat something. My body screams when I eat poison and so I try not to eat it. I hate feeling horrible, so why would I eat something that makes me feel.....horrible?
I have friends and family members who tell me that I need to see a doctor because every time I eat something bad, my body reacts so extremely. Unfortunately, the doctors were never able to help me while I was growing up and I don't think they could help me now. So, I explain to them in my exasperated tone - if I have a reaction, I have to stop eating the food I have reacted to- that simple. And then I put the knife in and twist it just a little bit by saying- "At least when I am your age, I probably won't have to take the medications you are taking, or have the surgery you just had or have a wonderful hospital stay (Ok, here I'm being a smart ass) like your stay last year because I will do everything I can to keep control of my body to ensure it does not get disease ridden". And they again remind me that I am not an MD and I obviously don't know what the heck I am talking about. Did you know that doctors are only required to take one semester of nutrition? And by the way - the curriculum is written by the prescription drug companies. I have taken control of my own health by doing tons of my own research and I have decided that the foods that I put in my body will be for the benefit of my body. I want to ensure that I will have to see a doctor as little as possible and that I will never pay off my annual deductibles. I want to be as healthy as possible up to the day that I die because I honestly believe that it's not about when I die but how I die.
Now, understand, I am not perfect. This week was an emotionally difficult week- I ate rice, popcorn, dairy and peanut M&M's to ease my depression. And now I am even more depressed from the food hangover that is plaguing me, not to mention the gurgly stomach, restless leg syndrome, headache and overall fogginess. I have relapses into dietary hell at times - I am only human.....Shhhhhhh! DON"T JUDGE ME!! But then, though I feel like all I want to do is eat more crap, I pick myself up, do a quick cleanse and continue on my way with eating the way that my body wants me to eat.
OK- a quick overview of my dietary story. I have always been sick. The doctors told me it was all in my head while they gave me lots of pretty blue, red and purple pills. I had thousands of tests. I was told I could never have kids (Apparently, my husband's little guys were never informed). I was extremely thin especially while pregnant with both of my kids. Four months after giving birth to my son, my youngest, I gained roughly forty pounds. Bam! Just like that. Some symptoms got worse; others got much better; new ones started. And then, in 2005, my sister told me she thought I had Celiac. Of course, the blood test IgA showed up negative but the intestinal biopsies showed up positive. I call myself one of the lucky ones because my test actually showed up positive; a rarity when it comes to Celiac testing- way too many false negatives out there. If my test would not have shown up positive, I seriously doubt I would have made such a serious life change. So, I had the Celiac diagnosis and though things seemed to get better for awhile, nothing really changed. I was soon 55 pounds overweight, I still often felt like crap and I was always tired. I started studying natural health, took a couple of classes at CNHP (Certified Natural Health Professionals), got a job at the local health food store and slowly started manipulating my diet. In February 2012, my sister told me she was doing a juice cleanse after watching a video called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead - I told her she was absolutely nuts; I would never do it. I woke up feeling crummy the next day and immediately started my 60 day juice cleanse. After about the 14th day, I started feeling awesome. Throughout the entire juice cleanse, I lost over 35 pounds but I continue to remind myself that it's about health, not the vanity of looking thin. My health dramatically changed for the better- parts of my body that I could not heal were finally healing. I slowly started incorporating foods back into my diet and really started realizing that my body did not like the majority of foods I was forcing on it. I had already gone through periods of eating mostly raw and had done a ton of research on the Paleo diet, so it wasn't hard for me to make the transition. I will tell you, I have tried living without animal protein but I do not do well as a vegan. Even with supplements, I get extraordinarily lathargic, so I have incorporated some meat protein into my diet. I will also admit, I like cooked foods and I'm not willing to give it up. I decided I would be too much of a hypocrite if I tried to represent myself as just a raw foodist so I am incorporating eating both raw and Paleo into my daily life and into my daily blog.
Oh, did I mention I graduated from culinary school in 2007 (right in the middle of my discovery of true healthy eating). I worked on the line at a fine dining hotel restaurant for almost a year and then I ran my own catering business for awhile. Unfortunately, I lost my love for cooking because I couldn't enjoy the fruits of my labor. Now, I am having lots of fun creating raw dishes and cooking Paleo meals. My daughter commented tonight on how happy she is that I am finally getting my food groove back on.