Tuesday, February 24, 2015

living and living well

my dad listened to country music. he would tap his fingers on the steering wheel keeping the beat and singing along on the long drives between my mom's house and his every other weekend. it's funny, sometimes a country song will come on in the grocery store or when i'm flipping channels and i find myself singing along and there's no way i should know the lyrics except by hearing it when i was in the backseat of my dad's car all those years ago.

two months ago i joined the masses and made plans to be healthier in the new year. i've made some small changes that have had big positive impact on my health. and i'm amazed at my body's ability to adapt to these changes, but also to signal me when something isn't right. if i pay really close attention, i can tell when my body is trying to tell me something. [pretty cool how God designed us.] and there's a line of a George Strait song stuck in my head.

"there's a difference in living and living well..."

the song goes on and isn't relevant but that one line is ringing in my ears. there is a difference. living well is being intentional about living healthier. and sometimes that means making sacrifices. for instance, chocolate and coffee.

last fall at a routine dentist check-up my dentist freaked out, sent me to see a periodontist "right away," and ordered a biopsy on what she called "lesions" on both sides of my tongue. not going to lie, i freaked out, too. LESIONS!? i can't even. literally.

thankfully the periodontist was not the least bit concerned, clarifying that i do not have lesions. the white lines on the sides of my tongue is oral hyperkeratosis, which is actually very common and nothing to worry about. i was going for periodontist appointments about every other month to he could check on my tongue, and i also was fitted for a new night guard to wear when i sleep to prevent me from grinding my teeth, clenching my jaw, and causing further "trauma" to my poor little damaged tongue.

all the while, my tongue hurt. the white lines would flare up and would bother me almost all day almost every day. at night i would apply thieves oil to the lines and the pain would go away until the next day. this went on for about two months. in that time, i was eating whatever, drinking more peppermint mochas and coffee than water, you know...living.

then, one morning early in january when my husband brought me my mug of coffee, i didn't want it. i was all "no thanks" and even as i said it, i was stunned. i LOVE coffee. i NEED coffee. what is wrong with me!? it was like someone flipped a switch and suddenly i didn't want, need, or love coffee. the smell of it- the beans grinding, brewing first thing in the morning- it does nothing for me. i can't even try to understand this phenomenon.


around the same time in january, one of my friends challenged me to do whole30. together, we committed to 30 days of no dairy, no sugar, no grains, and no legumes. this was not my first whole30 rodeo; i already knew i could do it. ...now that i think of it, i had just gone OFF my strict whole30 regime at the time of that crazy dentist appointment last fall. hmm.

by mid-january, i was off coffee, dairy, sugar, grains, and legumes. drinking more water, no more starbucks. and you know what? my tongue did not hurt anymore. the white lines are still there, but they are barely visible.

also? no more headaches. my skin cleared up. my tummy doesn't bloat or cramp after meals. i sleep solid every night. i don't crave sweets.

my body was giving me signals and i was on high alert, ready and willing to make any changes or sacrifices i needed to be my healthiest self and feel my best. even if it means life without chocolate and coffee. my body was letting me know THIS is what it feels like to live well. 

here are a few of the changes i've made to intentionally live well:

// no chocolate: i had a hershey's kiss the other day while prepping the kids' valentines. almost immediately, my tongue lines started stinging. i'm severely limiting sugar in all forms. my friend shared an interesting thought with me the other day-- she said our children and our children's children will look back at our generation in disgust at how much sugar we consumed in the same way we look back at past generations in disgust at how much they all smoked cigarettes. think on that!

// no coffee: i made the switch to hot tea! i love it. i like a good mate in the morning and a rooibos in the afternoon. my body appreciates the caffeine decrease. and since i'm off coffee and espresso, and i'm allergic to dairy = no $tarbucks. i don't even know who i am anymore!

// water: i aim for 50-60oz of water every day, and i've been pretty good at reaching that goal. it keeps my skin clear and my body flushed of toxins. dehydration is a common underlying cause of a lot of ailments-body aches, fatigue, and headaches!

// no carrageenan: please research this common additive and it's problematic effects on our bodies. it's in a lot of foods and drinks, even toothpaste! as soon as i learned about it, i stopped buying anything that has it listed in the ingredients. just say no to inflammation! [what is carrageenan]

// essential oils: we diffuse oils in our home daily, and we use oils topically. i use frankincense and jojoba as a moisturizer on my face every day! we use essential oils to soothe symptoms of all kinds. the young living starter kit has everything we need on a daily basis, and i order the thieves kit for my essential rewards. if you're curious about oils or want to try a sample, just email me.

// limited grains and legumes: i noticed after whole30 when i ate rice or beans, dull pains in my stomach and feeling bloated. not sure what's up with that but it's enough signal from my body to tell me to back off!

// elderberry syrup: our family takes a dose of elderberry syrup every day. black elderberry is a powerful little berry that is antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anticancer. all the anti's we need! [what is elderberry]

// apple cider vinegar: i drink an ounce or two of apple cider vinegar (with the mother!) every morning. i mix it with hot water or sometimes just drink it straight. the taste is strong and takes some getting used to, but the health benefits are far worth it to me.

// shakeology: i am back on the liquid gold! (the cacao doesn't bother my tongue at all) you know what i love about shakeology? it's clean, it's nutritious, it's filling, and it's DELICIOUS. i have some samples if you want to try it! just email me. i'm also part of an online nutrition and fitness accountability group with amazing prayer warriors and they are helping me stay motivated to eat clean and exercise regularly.

my body is so thankful for these small sacrifices and healthy choices. good ol' George is right: there's a difference in living and living well.

"I have come so they may have life. I want them to have it in the fullest possible way."

"haven’t you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that he lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you. For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God because he owns it."

"live well, live wisely, live humbly."
james 3:13