There’s been a drastic change in my perspective on health lately. Much thanks to my pregnancy and midwife, and my passionate husband who works in a natural health and supplement store.
I grew up actively avoiding learning much about nutrition and how much of what kind of food I should or shouldn’t eat. A large part of it was I didn’t want to have to hold myself accountable. I didn’t want it to be a daily battle, or for it to consume my every hungry thought. I saw way too many girls constantly concerned about what they ate and never really enjoying it. I was also a ballerina and knew that was a potentially slippery slope. But I learned to pay attention to what my body needed and when it was unhappy with what I ate. And because I burned so many calories on a regular basis I could get away with more. So I largely depended on intuition and my energy levels rather than learning and counting calories.
My overall view of health was pretty vague and disconnected actually. Basically, I considered ‘healthy’ to mean ‘not sick’. And when it came to food, ‘healthy’ meant anything not full of sugar.
I remember my midwife asking me about my diet at one of my first visits, and advising me to not eat too many carrots because they were high in sugar. Carrots!!? Haha I knew right then she meant business about eating well! And it took the majority of my pregnancy to adopt a truly healthy diet of eating fresh and raw whenever possible, learning what greens had beneficial and essential minerals and nutrition, getting lots and lots of protein, and really limiting processed foods, gluten, and sugars. And I’ll tell you, I give credit to my son for motivating me to learn to eat well. Because I was well aware that everything I ate went to helping him develop, and had a direct impact on him.
At the same time as this, my husband had developed chemical allergies and was very sick. His immune system had tanked and he was vulnerable to everything. So we learned a lot about typical household chemicals and toxic chemicals in our house, furniture, food, cleaning products, personal products, and any kind of manufactured product, really. It was pretty drastic, but it gave me a good picture of environmental toxins; how our bodies adapt to handle them and what can happen when it finally gets to be too much to handle, and learning to reduce our toxic load in our home and in our bodies.
Being immersed in learning through both circumstances I really developed a strong perspective on health. Health isn’t a bandaid for the consequences of how we live. Health is our natural state, or homeostasis. And it requires maintenance, just like anything else in life worth caring for and keeping. It’s far better to live a healthy lifestyle that prevents decay and disease than to live ignorantly and seek out remedies once you start falling apart. In short, I got educated and took responsibility for my body’s health, for the sake of my own and my baby’s wellbeing.
And that’s what I really learned: health is about taking responsibility. I very purposefully ignored that responsibility growing up, until I became responsible for someone else’s life.
We are so engrained with this lifestyle that prioritizes convenience, pleasure, consumerism, and instant gratification. We want quick answers and quick fixes so we can make whatever choices we want and curb the consequences. The more I learn the more I see modern western medicine is very much shaped by this expectation and mentality.
No wonder it’s hard for people to accept the paradigm shift of a natural health philosophy thats grounded in responsibility and prevention. I included. It’s truly a lifestyle change.
But for me, once I started learning and educating myself, I’m so grateful I did, and I’d never look back. Being aware of how to best take care of myself is empowering! And I’m in awe of God’s design, how intricately complex our bodies are and what they are capable of overcoming. And I can’t wait to share more!