Dark Horse 2013

Dark Horse 2013

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Food For Thought

The other day I heard very disheartening but very true statement: "In the United States we have a disease management system, not a health care system" This statement made me think about the fast food, candy, soda, alcohol and the millions of dollars companies will put into advertising these products.

 These products are all hurting us. They are all causing disease. And the worst part is, no one really cares.

When it comes to not caring, I am one to blame. I have a track record of auto-immune diseases, illness, and injury; receiving my first auto-immune diagnosis when I was 16. How did I get this way? Well I am probably genetically predisposed to some of it, especially how my body reacts to food. Random food sensitivities aside, my main problem is sugar. That's right I admit it. I am addicted to sugar and it is killing me slowly.

For the most part, I would really like to be following my diet plan to a T. But sometimes it is just too hard.  Not only are the billions of dollars of food marketing weighing down on my unfulfilled stomach, so are broke college kid problems and societal pressures.

I may not go for that McDonalds burger that looks so good on the 10 billboards I just passed on the highway, but I could sure go for those skittles that are sitting right at the counter when paying for my gas.

With all of these pressures weighing down on me, it is very hard to keep a strict diet at all times. Even now that I understand the health risks and see a nutritionist, I only half-heartedly am following my diet plan. This is difficult because when I slip and eat badly, I feel badly and my symptoms come back. Then I just get frustrated because I did all of that strict diet work for nothing. THEN my friends and family think that I am frustrated at them, when really I just feel like crap again. So they will all go out without me because they feel that is the best way to go about things.

Actually as I write this, most of my friends are out at bars or eating fancy dinners. They will come home and they will tell me all about the fun that they had, wishing that I come and join them. This is the absolute worst. These people that are so close to me have no idea how badly I want to join them. I even do go out sometimes, letting my diet slip and then feeling shitty for a few days after. But no one understands how I really feel. So jokes are made about how I diet and how "I'm in good enough shape so it must just be all in my head".

Unfortunately this cycle starts and restarts over and over. It has been a constant battle of mine for the past year, and it is time for me to take a stand and stop it.

I need to somehow stop this cycle. Right now I am 20, and at the end on the summer I will be 21. I am currently taking 7 pills a day to manage my diseases. 7 pills at the age of 20......that scares the shit out of me! Where will I be at 30? 40? Will I even live to old age? Will I be well? Will I be happy??

Unfortunately these questions are ones that I feel like many of Americans are asking themselves. They have the same pressures and do not know where to turn for help.

Somehow I need to get away from this backwards health care system in the United States. I need to put my foot down and be strict with this diet stuff. Because in reality, it is the only light I can see at the end of my tunnel. If I want a drug-free life that I can live fully for years to come, I need to do this.

But in order for me to do this, I need some help. I need some self confidence in my ability to get better. In order to do that, I need to have friends and family that will fully support this change. Right now I don't feel fully supported, and it is extremely difficult for me to go about this diet without the fear of losing great relationships with people. I know that many others who have been dealt the same hand as me feel the same way.

So please, if you know someone who is trying to make a lifestyle change, give them your support. 

Even just confident statements and reassuring that you are behind them 100% are enough to keep them on the right track. I know that is all that I am looking for. No matter what it takes, I am still going to fight on. I am going to try my best to stay away from the pressures and to be fully committed to making my lifestyle health change.

5 comments:

  1. My hat's off to you for wanting to make this change and not letting the majority and mainstream trends influence your life. Motivate yourself to be better, and only surround yourself with positive influences. Most of what you say in this blog sound very familiar. And because of that, I'll make a few suggestions. If you haven't already, read a book called 'The China Study'. If you don't have time, watch the supporting documentary called 'Forks Over Knives'. Lastly, try to consume a whole foods, plant based diet. Or at the very least, learn the benefits of the lifestyle. There's a lot to be said regarding the connection between diet and disease. Do some research. Best of luck with everything. Stay positive.

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  2. Melissa, you know for the most part what you need to do to stay healthy. As someone who has been on this same path for 10+ years now, I know what you are dealing with in terms of lack of support. It's very difficult to be the one person who goes against the grain and makes a different choice, especially when you are young, and the people around you, the people you love are putting toxic substances into their bodies, and saying how much they enjoy it. But I hope you know I admire and support you! You are making a choice for your health, and along the way I am sure you are inspiring people, it's just hard for them to admit that their decisions could be better. Keep following your path, and don't get discouraged or down on yourself when you make a "mistake". Life is about balance. Take each opportunity you have to choose a food as a chance to nourish yourself, and make mindful decisions. Don't worry about what anyone else says! I know that you can do this. Ok, that was a super long response, but you hit my passion button. :) ~Jozie

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  3. Melissa,

    I too am in the same boat as you (cancer at 13/14, dealing with the repercussions of that and everything that follows for the lifetime of survival afterwards). I found your blog by chance and am glad I have. It seems that we tend to be harder on ourselves because we have higher expectations of ourselves (it means survival for us). Not allowing ourselves to fall through that downward spiral of beating ourselves up is very difficult. One thing I have found to help me through my poor eating habits and decisions (I too am addicted to sugar) is to find a way to log everything in order to watch what I am consuming in real time. It tends to make me more accountable for the things I put into my body. I use a phone app called myfitnesspal and for me it seems to really work well. I can't tell you how many times I have resisted eating some piece of junk because of this accountability (not to mention you can follow your intake of vitamins, nutrients, etc). Check it out, although somewhat convoluted at first, with a little immersion into it, you will be able to implement it into your daily routine relatively quickly. I am sure there are other apps out there that do the same function, but this is the one that works for me though. I hope you feel better...

    -Alex-

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