My Journey from Fibromyalgia to Food

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If you know anyone who suffers from any chronic symptoms for which no one has found a solution, please share my return-to-health story with them! I’ve included the video version below or you can access the written version by clicking here, instead.

Reducing the amount of food additives in my diet back in 2007 relieved my Fibromyalgia symptoms beyond my wildest dreams – I truly “got my LIFE back”!

Did you know, for example, that the flavor enhancer MSG overstimulates the nervous system, causing and exacerbating a variety of conditions…and that it can be legally HIDDEN in foods under DOZENS of innocent-sounding names like “NATURAL FLAVOR” and “YEAST EXTRACT”? (Click here to check out my “Eating Additive-Free” Natural Cookbook & Grocery Shopping Guide that I created to help you start reducing the amount of food additives in your diet!)

Please take some time to listen to the recording below to learn how such additives may be affecting you, and feel free to share this post with ANYONE it may help. (Oh, and be sure to subscribe to my blog over in the left margin of this page, so you don’t miss any of my natural living info in the future!)

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Asperger’s, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, OCD and Diabetes are no match for this determined mother!

Please give a warm welcome to Em, an amazing mom in Omaha, NE who will stop at nothing to give her boys the healthiest life she can. I had the pleasure of meeting Em recently, and I’m thrilled that she was willing to share her story with all of you here! I’m sure many of you will relate to her journey…from realizing that her boys’ health was suffering…to struggling for answers…and then putting in the hard work (and finances) it takes to implement the natural solutions she believes in so strongly…

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emberEm writes…

“My life changed after the birth of my oldest son in November of 04′. Born with many issues, one of our struggles became something called MSPI (milk soy protein intolerance). Which, after all was said and done from surgeries to NG feeds (Nasal Gastric feeding tube) left a lot of stress and confusion in our home, where new parents had to maneuver through a new food world. All that being said, when he hit 2 years old, we were told he’d out grow his MSPI and to feed him regularly – Even though he failed a conventional milk challenge with pasteurized store bought milk, we were told to feed him normally and see. By the time he was 4 years old, he had been diagnosed as “Failure to Thrive” for his entire life, had a diagnosis of Functional Abdominal Pain and was just a few days away from being in the hospital. He had no energy, was lethargic really, dark circles under his eyes and only wanted to eat macaroni and cheese and ice cream!

It was during this time that my youngest was born and also diagnosed with MSPI! I breastfed the entire time with him. Though he was so sensitive I literally was allowed to eat less than 10 types of food the entire year. None of these foods came from a box or can – this should’ve been my first clue!

dathenBeside myself with worry over my oldest son, I was talking with a friend who jogged my memory of an article I’d read when he was first diagnosed. The article explained that we begin to crave the things we’re allergic to. So, I took to the internet to find what I could and recipes that I could use if I removed the milk from his diet again. This is around the time I stumbled upon the holistic online community at Completely Nourished. I found a few recipes and promptly removed the milk proteins from his diet. Within two days, he was asking for second helpings of food. I added liquid vitamins that were easily digestible for his tummy (all gluten-, casein-, preservative-free, etc.). Within one week, the dark circles under his eyes were gone, he’d put on 2 pounds and most of his personality changed!

Diagnosed with Asperger’s, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, OCD, etc. I pretty much couldn’t think about his future – I knew what all of these diagnoses together meant. Well, just removing the gross processed milk proteins changed a majority of his issues! His tics were so bad that it would take him 5 minutes sometimes to finish a sentence because he’d tic, stop talking and have to start the sentence over. He was beating himself and had just expressed the desire to have coprolalia (This is what people think of when they think of TS). It was really bad. We removed just the milk and in 3 years, I have not seen his tics come anywhere near that degree anymore. Truth be told, now, when his tics are on a downswing, you wouldn’t even notice he has TS! To top that off, he went from 8 medications down to just 5!!

JaxSo, I went back and read Christy’s story again. I followed a few of her recipes and started to slowly cut out all those additives in his food and his brother’s food. We’re still not 100% additive-free, but we’re probably 99% additive-free now. We also made sure that their food was organic whenever possible as well.

Flash forward 3 years and my son was again being tested for Celiac. So, standing there holding him down for yet another blood draw, I realized that rather than keep doing this, it made more sense to just go gluten-free for him. So, we went gluten-free, too. Within 4 days he had what one neurologist termed “withdrawal” symptoms! It was awful really but, by the next day, just like when he was removed from milk, he was almost the little boy I knew at 2 years old!

Which prompted me back to Christy’s story here, where I poured over anyting that I could get my hands on. Then I went went back and got my geek on. I researched for hours sometimes on the internet about foods, GMOs, preservatives, etc.,  After a little over 2 weeks now casein/gluten free, my oldest is being titrated down on the dosage of 2 of his medications with the hopes that he can get completely off of them! My youngest, who was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in November of 2012, was originally put on ADHD meds during the day and awful Clonidine at night to help him sleep. Today, after just this short time off of gluten too, he’s now medication free! Unlike my oldest, who you wouldn’t even know had Asperger’s, you will notice my little guys eye contact problem and sometimes his communication issues, but, overall, his whole personality is different. He’s still a little wilder than the neighborhood kiddos, but nothing like he used to be.

em and kidsOn a side note, before I took them gluten-free and as preservative-free and additive-free as I could, I weighed almost 300lbs on the dot. I got whooping cough last year and couldn’t shake it. Went in a second time to the ER and had pneumonia. They sent me home with some antibiotics and strict instructions. Two days later, I got a call from my GP’s nurse. She told me that I was hands down diabetic, but that they needed to perform another test to be thorough. She read off my entire CBC to me and explained what all these numbers meant. While she did say that my illness would give some of these higher readings, it wouldn’t account for how high all of them were or why they were all out of control.

I found out that I had metabolic disorder, my adrenals were running on empty, etc. I sat there and realized that with two parents who had congestive heart failure, one of which had died at 61 years old from it…and my mother at 64 has already had numerous heart attacks, a stroke and 2 stents put in her heart…I had a choice to make!

As I sat there listening to my numbers being read off and listening to my children digging through their Legos in the other room. I realized that I could keep going the way I’d been going or I could die younger than my parents. So, I headed back to the Completely Nourished online community to find recipes and as much information as I could to get myself healthy enough to take care of my boys. To date, I’ve lost a tad over 40 pounds in 2 months! I have way more energy than I have had in years, and I’m emotionally happier and more together than I have been. My whole life has changed!

Had I not found Christy’s site or story here, I have no idea where we would be now. THANK YOU Christy! We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you! And, for anyone out there reading this…KNOW that diet DOES matter!”

One mom’s journey with recovering her son’s autism

As a person who took my health into my own hands and recovered from a chronic illness that doctors believed I would suffer with for the rest of my life (i.e., Fibromyalgia), I am always interested to hear about others who have done (or are trying to) do the same for themselves. Obviously what works for one person is not necessarily what will work for others. But if spreading the word about these recoveries helps even one person, then it’s worth taking the time to do so.
Please read below to learn more from Channa Brennon about her journey to help her son recover from autismAs always, the content included here is intended for informational purposes only. 
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The following was sent to us from our reader, Channa Brennon….
autism recovery“I am always so glad to share my story with others, as I wish I had someone tell me in the beginning how powerful and dangerous the foods we put in our mouth can be.  I learned the hard way as most of us do. My son at three and a half was like a ferrel wild animal. He was violent, couldn’t talk and would never sleep. He was in severe pain. He would wake up all night long screaming. He was diagnosed PPD NOS….which falls under the autism spectrum. This was not anything but relief for me as I knew something was wrong with my son and finally I had proof.
After I fed him anything his stomach would blow up like he had swallowed a basketball. His colon was paralyzed. It literally stopped working. He would only poop with enemas, and everything he pooped was the whole food pieces he had eaten. Nothing was digested.
Surprisingly, the doctors told me there was nothing to worry about. I knew better, and I searched and searched and prayed for answers. Finally I met a woman over the internet who told me about Andy Cutler chelation and diet. I leaned that my son’s gut was so inflammed that nothing could get digested. I learned about food allergies, and yes my son was allergic to almost every single food he ate, but I found out about a rotation diet and cutting out all the grains and any type of processed food. I also started chelation which I believe had a part in the autoimmune issues/food allergies my son had.
I got a delayed food allergy panel and tried to keep out the foods he was most allergic too. I also cut out all grains from his diet becuse grains are hard to digest . I found that in the begining, with so much damage in his gut, he did good on homemade veggie soups – this was all he ate for about a week until the inflammation went down. Some people might think it’s extreme, but if you think about the fact that my son was wasting away on all the high calorie food I was feeding him, I knew I had to try something different. I alternated this with bone broth soups. And, as he became better, I added in more variety of whole foods. His food was as “clean” as I could make it. That meant no flavoring and no processed foods of any kind. Just simple organic veggies and later on beans, fish, chicken and eggs.
My son has come so far from where we started. He can now eat grains. I buy North carolina rice and organic oats.  I am working on learning how to make my own cultured sourdough bread. I also subscribe to the Eat Right for Your Blood Type philosophy, as my son and I are both blood type A and we do better on vegetarian fare. So I make lots of bean soups. I soak and sprout before I cook. We eat tofu that is non-GMO certified, and some chicken, fish and eggs. My son’s gut has healed to the point that he can eat goat yogurt that I buy from the whole foods store. It is my one and only processed food I buy for him and that is because they are one of the few clean company’s. Otherwise, everything he eats is from scratch. I never give in to processed things as my son can’t tolerate it.  It seems in your mainstream grocery stores everything is made with GMO foods – corn syrup, sugar and soy.
Forward to today… my son is 75 percent recovered. With a clean diet as number one priority, I believe we will find complete recovery. If you would like to read more about my journey, my blog is http://www.healyourchild.wordpress.com/.  Thank you so much for reading my story! Please share with anyone who may find it useful.”

Additive-free diet ends lifelong battle with insomnia, fatigue & migraines (Cris Potter’s Story)

Many of you have read my personal journey of how I overcame years of Fibromyalgia symptoms by eliminating food additives from my diet; and I hope you will also take the time to read the guest post below from one of our readers, Cris Potter. We are incredibly grateful that she has taken the time to put into words her very own journey with food additives in an effort help others. It’s amazing what she went through over the years, and we are so pleased that she found a solution for herself! Please share with anyone who may benefit!

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Hi, I’m Cris Potter, retired social worker, and wellness enthusiast extraordinaire. I live in Oceanside, California, a community in San Diego County, with my husband, Dave, and our two kitties, Lily and Freddie.

I love learning, gardening, cooking, crafts, yoga, biking, and lots more.

My health woes began in 1958, the year I was born.

Don’t worry, I’ll summarize

Lifetime of insomnia, fatigue and migraines

Throughout the years, I’ve faced a lot of health challenges, but the most debilitating has been chronic insomnia.  It began when I was an infant. I am certain of this because my mother, a typical well-intentioned mom, brought me to a doctor because she had never witnessed me sleeping. I was under a year old, and she had literally not seen me sleep. At night, when she checked on me, I was in bed, singing. I sang a lot, according to mom. I suppose it was better than crying.

Throughout my childhood, I can recall that night after night, I lay in bed and listened to an old clock chime on the hour and half hour. It was a pretty chime, but I grew to dread it. I still remember thinking, “Oh no, three gongs, then one at the half hour, and oh no! . . . there goes four . . . ,” and on it went. By the time I was in grade school, it was clear to me that the remaining five members of my family were enjoying a night of sound sleep, something I knew little about.

When I mentioned my insomnia to my mother, she repeated the same thing the doctor had told her years before, “Some people need more sleep than others. You’re fine.” Not surprisingly, I was frequently exhausted as a child, and although I wasn’t diagnosed as such, I struggled with a learning disorder. My mother couldn’t understand why my three siblings easily made good grades, and I often didn’t pass. She was afraid of holding me back a year in school because I would be in the same grade as my younger brother. She feared I would be bullied and called ‘flunky’ for the rest of my days. So summer school was a must for me. It was awful, and it didn’t help me read any better!

When I was in the third grade, my father, who was in the military, was transferred to Japan. My siblings and I received numerous vaccines. Every week for several months, we went to a military hospital for a shot. At about the same time, I began to experience a lot of dental issues. My mouth was filled with silver fillings.  Within a few months of those events, I started to experience what I called, “The ants.” I felt as if there were swarms of ants crawling just under my skin. It was terrible, but not as bad as the chronic headaches that I had also developed. I was eight years old.

During those years, I became an outstanding day dreamer; and I continued to live in my inner world throughout the long nights. If you’re beginning to feel sorry for me, please don’t. In spite of my health challenges, I had a lot of fun. I was close to my siblings, and I had friends and a great ‘banana bike.’ I loved that bike! I really only had one problem – my health, or lack of it. Okay, maybe two problems – my poor health and my learning woes.

At school, I struggled along as best I could. Then, in the summer between sixth and seventh grade, a miracle occurred. I discovered that if I snipped a slit into a piece of white paper and isolated one line of text at a time, I could read pretty well. From that point on, everything improved for me academically – but not physically. I complained to my mother that I felt terrible most of the time. I can recall thinking, on more than one occasion, that I must be dying. My mother consoled me, took my temperature and told me that I was fine. But I knew it wasn’t true.

When the headaches got really bad, mom took me to several different doctors. It was clear to me that the doctors had no idea what I was talking about. Some of them actually scolded me for wasting their time. Since then, I haven’t been a big fan of our medical system. I have seen herbalists and naturopaths in the past; but the more I read about wellness, the more I decided to go it alone. Ironically, as a State of Alaska retiree, I have the best medical insurance money can buy. Yes, I would seek medical care in the case of a broken bone or trauma; but, other than that, I am not interested.

From my early teens and throughout the remainder of my life, I have been on a mission: To discover what was ailing me, and to resolve it. At some instinctual level, I knew it was the food. Knew it. The information seemed to be encoded in my DNA . . . I never doubted it, and I didn’t believe anyone who told me otherwise. Even so, it was a long and tedious road to wellness. Probably the biggest barrier to getting the fresh foods I craved was that my family had moved to Juneau, Alaska, when I began Junior High. There was very little fresh, whole food available.

I did my best, however; and, as a teenager, I grew wheat grass for smoothies in an indoor window box. I experimented with many different diets, supplements and health programs. I also started a program of daily exercise, a practice that I am still committed to. Even when I was terribly fatigued and had a roaring headache, I went to the gym. It helped me psychologically as much as it helped my physically. At times, I improved somewhat, but I still reverted back to insomnia, headaches and fatigue.

When I was in my early 20s, I moved to Anchorage, a much larger city. There was better food available, and I continued to study whatever health-related information I could get my hands on. I also enjoyed my life, worked full-time and got married to a great fellow, Dave. He shared my views on health, which was a good thing for both of us. Although I often didn’t feel well, I never gave up. I knew there was an answer; and I knew that, eventually, I would find it.

In the early 80s, I decided to have my amalgam fillings removed. I had eight of them, and I’d become concerned about the mercury they contained. I was fortunate to find a good dentist who could perform their removal safely. The fillings were so toxic that they had to be disposed of as “hazardous waste.” I continued to experiment with green smoothies, fasting, cleanses, etc. Little by little, I started to feel better. Even so, I still had plenty of setbacks. It was pretty frustrating.

My dietary changes

Around the late 90s, I came to the conclusion that the only way I could be assured of feeling well was to eat a strictly organic diet. Just about any commercial product, from condiments to canned goods, produced debilitating migraines and insomnia. I didn’t know what was in the food, but I knew that whatever it was, it was not being labeled. And I knew another thing: It was toxic.

I started making all of our food from scratch and using only certified organic ingredients. In time, I became a pretty good cook. Since retiring in 2005, and moving to California, I’ve made a lot of new friends who share my views on health and wellness. Some don’t, however, and that’s okay. When I connect with these folks socially, I bring my own food. I explain to them that, due to health challenges, I simply cannot eat commercially made food. If they don’t understand it, they at least accept it, and that’s good enough for me.

Research confirms my suspicions about food

It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve found scientific evidence for what I’ve known for years: That the commercial food supply in the U.S. is poisoned. Dr. Russell Blaylock is probably the best source of information on MSG (monosodium glutamate), which causes many health problems. MSG is in many processed foods, and it is not labeled. It is known to cause ADD, migraines, insomnia, fatigue, and many other health problems. I could go on and on, but if you haven’t already seen it, I’d recommend you watch Dr. Blaylock’s video entitled, “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills.” He also has a book on Amazon by the same name.

I’m also a big fan of Dr. Joseph Mercola, who has a great website, Mercola.com, and provides a free weekly newsletter. Dr. Mercola is focused on disease prevention, and he has a lot of excellent information on his site. These men, along with countless other professionals and citizens are working hard to get the word out to the public. Oh yeah, I don’t want to forget Christy Pooschke, whose website you’re currently on. I love to see young people like Christy spreading the word!

Consumer power

As a Californian, I am watching the debate to label genetically engineered foods (Prop 37) with interest. I have been an advocate for labeling for years, and I belong to numerous consumer groups that support labeling, as well as organic and sustainable farming. I never miss the opportunity to email or phone my representatives to express my views. My fingers are crossed that if Prop 37 passes, it will raise public awareness. I am hoping it will also set a precedent, and we can push for labeling of MSG, as well.

Since the 1970s, I have seen a steady grass-roots movement towards greater awareness of our food and how it is impacting the health of our nation. One thing that has surprised me from the onset, though, is how hostile many folks are about the notion that their food is unsafe.  Because my health issues were so extreme, I was willing to try anything, and I do mean anything, to become well. I guess some people don’t like the idea of change, and that’s okay. Another big issue, I think, is our cultural conditioning to ignore our health, turn it over to a doctor, and take a pill. To my way of thinking, that is a prescription for disaster!

No MSG for me!

One thing people have asked me over the years is: “How can you be certain it is MSG that is the problem?” It is an excellent question, and one I will answer now. I became aware of my severe reaction to MSG during the 1970s, when it was in Chinese food and more frequently labeled. Many times, when I developed a particularly devastating migraine, I checked the labels and found MSG present. I became aware of a cascade of events that followed a large exposure. It started with a headache that rapidly worsened, and I frequently felt an uncomfortable itching just under my skin. As the day progressed, I braced for the night I knew was coming. Sleep would be out of the question, and I often had an odd urge to move my body. It wasn’t unusual for me to take off running at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning when I had been exposed to MSG. It may have been dangerous to run at this hour, but it helped me recover faster.

As time went on, I became very familiar with the sensations that followed exposure to MSG. When I began to notice the tell-tale signs of MSG exposure, but I could no longer find MSG listed on food labels, I thought perhaps a similar product had been put on the market. I read labels religiously, and in fact, I recorded everything I ate for a number of years. I didn’t realize at that time that food companies could legally add unlabeled MSG to products by diluting it to 98%. When I learned that MSG had been added to baby foods for decades, an inner alarm started to sound. I felt pretty certain that MSG had been the primary culprit in much of my suffering.

I say MSG was the ‘primary’ culprit because I know that nitrates produce a similar reaction in my system. Most of the time, however, nitrates are labeled and easy to avoid. In my long journey from sickness to health, I did a lot of research on the food production in the U.S. My health challenges and my intuition told me it wasn’t ideal, but I found out that it was far worse than I could have imagined. The more I read about genetically modified organisms, nitrates in meats, not to mention the growth hormones, antibiotics and gmo foods that are fed to cows, I realized that I didn’t want any of it in my body!  As I mentioned earlier, I have only one guarantee for feeling well, and that is avoid all commercially made products. Because I know that there is no truth in food labeling in the U.S., 90% of what I eat has no label at all! Yes, I do eat organic chicken, cheese, and occasionally organic bread and pasta (imported from Italy); but for the most part, I make everything from scratch, and purchase only organic produce.

The good news

A word of encouragement here . . .  You can be well. Yes, it takes a lot of work and commitment, but the results are absolutely worth it. In my mid-fifties, I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life. Yes, I’ve had a couple of ‘MSG smack-downs’ over the last few years when I’ve gone to restaurants. As a result, I no longer eat out. On the rare occasions when I am socially obligated to eat out, I bring my own food in a baggie and do the old ‘switch-er-roo.’ Yes, I actually swap my organic food for what is on the plate. Having suffered for so many years, I absolutely refuse to have one more minute of sickness! Now I enjoy sound sleep every night and don’t get migraines any more. I’ve got tons of energy, too. I honestly believe that our bodies want to be healthy! We have control over what we put into our bodies, and we can bring about change. Every time you purchase food, you vote with your dollar. In a capitalist, consumer-driven society, spenders are king. Spend wisely.