Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On health...

     People (especially young of age) don't really pay too much attention to health issues... Maybe it's not right of me to generalize so I will just refer to the people I have been in contact with, one way or another...and I will include myself to that list.

     Never had any major health issues (that I knew of), grew up in a house with healthy(ish) habits, learned some information about the do's and dont's of tending to your health, just never really thought it would be an interesting topic for me to investigate a little more... Growing up I did all the harmful (normal?) things like chain-smoking, alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation, malnourishment (against all efforts my mother used to make to convince me to stop putting all the crap with a nice label in my mouth), medically unattended hormonal pills (had to get to that at one pint), etc. etc. etc.
     Still...I thought I was on the top of the world, and I did not care about what may/may not happen to my body in some distant future. I chose to ignore the small attempts my body had made to warn me, that the distant future, might not be sooo distant after all...the weight gain, the skin changes, the lack of hydration, the flaky scalp issues, the nails breakage, the nails discoloration... As long as nothing was painful or didn't have a temporary fix, nothing had me worried.

    Fast forward about 4 years to the present day. I quit smoking 3 and a half years ago, right after meeting my non-smoking (now) husband, alcohol consumption had been drastically reduced as soon as I got myself out of the environment I was used to, stopped using the pill after a minor freak-out with the occurrence of breast cysts caused by excess estrogen (passed after a few months) and got left with the rest of the previously mentioned symptoms...the moderate obesity, the crazy skin ups and downs, the nails breakage and the flaky scalp issue. Since living together, marrying and discussing the possibility of starting our family, both my husband and I started noticing our interest in healthier living had increased.

    And we started to mumble around trying to figure out what is working for us,  started to ask (ourselves) the right questions, move a little(although far away from sufficient), eat a little better (although still having sweets and sugar by the spoon), you get the idea.
    Although we seem to be on the right (but slow) path to healthy living, we were soon faced with the hypothesis that we, actually, have no idea about the direction we are headed in and our bodies are not going to support us (me) much longer...

    That is right. After some general testing and a discussion with a doctor from a cellular research and diagnosis clinic (we just happened to stumble there cos it was nearest to our house), I was told that certain indicators in my blood had shown a massive unbalance on a cellular level. I am going to skip the part in which I tell you how my husband and I had to pull the words, explanations and advice from our very unsympathetic German (sorry!) doctor, to the fact that  the meaning of this result was nothing but a damage to my cells, causing my body to generate energy burning the wrong kinds of 'fuels' (bla. bla. bla.) and potentially leading to the occurrence of cancer cells. Starting...ahem...NOW!

     CANCER. Not the word you would ever want to have to hear in a discussion with your physician!!! Of course he immediately calmed me down, I DO NOT have any form of cancer at the moment and the situation was totally reversible. I kept my calm, because life thought me to be calm and analytic in such stressful situations, but seriously??? Cancer was an option in my not that distant future??

     I asked our doctor what might have caused this 'situation' in my cells and his answer was not going to make me happy... Poor lifestyle choices. Poor dieting. Ingestion of chemicals, processed foods, pesticides, other modern life toxic factors... (I may or may not have cried in anger at myself for doing this to my own body on the way home.)

    And the next question was 'what kind of lifestyle changes and medication should I be treated on' ? Then the good old doctor prescribed a prolongued treatment with vitamins, probiotics and natural plant extracts, suggested I try a diverse diet consisting of foods of organic provenience, less chemically enhanced produce, advised I get tested for food allergies, against my saying that I never had an allergy in my life (except for penicillin) and after a while I should be OK.

    Words can not express the confusion, anger and annoyance going on in my brain those 2 weeks in the beginning of November 2012.

     As you would expect, I rapidly came over myself and directed all the anger at the doctor. Was he mad? How dared he tell an apparently healthy 27 years old that they may get cancer and then treat this 'condition' with vitamins?? Although I did started my 'treatment' and started paying attention to the labels of the produce I purchased and got myself to pay the extra cents for Bio and Eco eggs, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, salads, milk and joghurt,etc, I was not convinced that this can be right.

     In the meantime the 'totally unnecessary' allergy test showed that I have a strong allergy to eggs and cow milk products. Huh?? Then I was sure this doctor was either insane either just after making me buy a whole bunch of costly supplements that I 'don't really need'. Eggs and milk? No person In their right mind could believe that, so I asked a couple of other opinions. In my own country. In my own language.

     Needless to say the conventional doctor laughed the whole problem away, reassured me that this German doctor may only be following a procedure for research purposes and that there is no testing published in a medical study or journal to his knowledge that can say that a person has a higher or lower chance than others to develop any form of cancer. He laughed even more when I showed him the supplements and vitamins I was prescribed as treatment and mentioned that vitamins, although can not harm the body, they most certainly DO NOT heal anything. Then I asked a third opinion from a presumed genetics and cellular something-something expert and a fourth from a gynecologist and they all agreed that I had no reason to worry.

     Under the pressure of having my mom completely terrified of this whole situation and my own fear of accepting that the first doctor may have had a point, I accepted the other doctor's and expert's opinion, as well.

     I started to only sporadically continue taking my vitamins and probiotics until I eventually stopped in January.

    But see, the thing is... I am still not really resting assured. I have avoided eggs and cow milk, limited my intake of processed foods, started buying and liking Eco and Bio produce, but still not 100% sure that I am doing all the right things for my body and the quality of my life.

    This may sound funny to some people, but this past week, after watching a couple of food related documentaries it hit me. I AM this person they are all talking about.  I find myself in every example they give. SO could it be that all this non-sense about being what you eat and taking control of the direction your own health is going to could actually make sense?

    I am starting to believe it does. I am starting to believe that this whole vegan-raw-ecological-bio-superfoods movement exists because some people found it out and decided it is worth spreading around. I believe that the multibillion  medical and pharmaceutical companies have no interest in making people healthy, because health = no financial gain. I believe that even doctors are being manipulated (willingly or not)  into prescribing drugs rather than starting any treatment with good nutrition. I believe that the only reason this aforementioned movement has remained underground is because of financial interests that trumped the interest of helping people and supporting the body's natural capacity to heal itself.  I believe that conventional medicine and brand-medication has more often than not, proved itself inefficient. I believe that while we can not control the politics behind medical education and care, we do control educating ourselves, feeding ourselves and eventually healing ourselves the best ways we find appropriate. I believe that all my friends and family should at least have this information and the knowledge and then decide what they want to do with it. I believe knowledge and education are the keys to leading happy, healthy lives, maybe even cancer-free. I believe I will start taking my vitamins and supplements every day and that I will pay a visit to my German doctor. I believe making the right choices and following what you believe in is not that hard and more people should try it. I know I will.

Good luck and good health everyone! :)

Food matters
Hungry for change
Food Inc.
Jamie Oliver's TED Award speech 
Supermarket secrets and deceptions 1
Supermarket secrets and deceptions 2

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