The only substance I have ever felt powerless to (no, not chocolate) Diet Coke. The sickly sweet smell ... the sting of that acidic liquid in your mouth ... the hiss of the carbonation ... Yes. Addiction. I have "quit" Diet Coke SO many times over the years. "THIS is my last one." "Maybe I should wean myself off and just have a few sips a day until this intense NEED dissipates." "It's just not good for me ...  I HAVE to stop - this time it's for real."          
You prioritize health in your life. You commit yourself to figuring out what your body really needs. You *know* that those toxins and chemicals are horrible for you - I know. But what is it that kept pulling me back under that wave? Addiction. Thankfully it wasn't crack or heroin but I sure got cranky when I couldn't get my "fix".

There is a huge amount of scary information about the dangers of Aspartame.  Also called Nutrasweet, it is in so many diet food products on the market.  Take out the calories - add in the poison.  It is potent faux sugar (and neurotoxin) that actually increases appetite and causes us to crave sugary foods.  

Aspartame makes us fat. "I'll have Diet Coke", we say after we've ordered the salad with grilled chicken - with the fat free vinaigrette - on the side. We're being so good. Avoiding all of that sugar that we know goes straight to our hips. But instead we are drinking gallons of poison monthly and expecting our bodies to lose weight?

Fat is protection. When our organs get overwhelmed by all the junk we eat and drink (and breathe and rub on our skin), all of the excess toxins that are floating around in our systems get corralled into our fat cells. In fact, our body is so strongly against these toxins being free to roam, that new fat cells will be created in order to store more of those chemicals! This happens to protect us from the toxins that can do damage to our organs over time. 

 This junk is not food. It is not recognizable in the small intestines ... there are no nutrients to extract to help the body function. So it travels to our liver and kidneys to be filtered out and excreted. But there is just too much and our poor organs get overwhelmed. So - more fat cells come to the rescue! If I didn't have all this chub - protecting me from toxic overload - I might be dead already. So thanks, fat cells, for buffering me from my own horrible food and drink choices. (Now, can you get off my hips?)

Fat acts as a buffer for our pH too. Junk is highly acidic. Sodas, processed foods and sugar are all acid forming when we ingest them. (There is such a wealth of info on balancing pH levels in our bodies - I'll have to give pH it's own post or two!) Our body craves balance. We will feel well when we are in balance and, if we're paying attention, then we will definitely feel unwell when we are out of balance.

Aspartame is poison.  My symptoms of brain fog are magnified by drinking - even a little Diet Coke. The aspartic acid speeds up the firing of neurotransmitters in the brain and upsets brain chemistry. That feeling of rapid fire in your brain is part of what makes us feel addicted. More then just a jolt of caffeine - we are addicted to that little buzz of brain activity. And then we come crashing down when that chemical rush wears off and we feel ourselves fizzle out. That's when we get a craving for the very thing that caused the upset to begin with. Vicious cycle anyone?

I am committing to ingesting only the things that my body will recognize as food. Nutrients, proteins, carbohydrates, fats. Nourishment that helps my body run the way it was designed. No chemicals and toxins that make my poor organs flip out and add to my hips and belly out of shear panic that I'll be overloaded. So, Diet Coke ... it's been a long run, but - now you're dead. Better you than me. ; )

(cola photo by piyato)

Dis-ease. Yep. I am ill at ease with my body. In the midst of an autoimmune flare up with "angry inflammation" causing pain and tightness in my joints and muscles. I'm walking through mud with weights on my arms and legs. I feel my eyelids closing while watching tv, or typing, or driving (yipes). Brain fog is my constant unwelcome companion. I have to chuckle at myself when I hobble around in the morning. I thought I celebrated my 33rd birthday last April ... was I mistaken and it was actually my 83rd? Or was I hit by a truck and somehow forgot?

Disease and chronic health conditions can make you feel robbed of your youth and completely confused about what on earth you can DO to help yourself. Somebody - tell us what to do. We want some answers. When you google search and 47 results stare back at you, waiting to be clicked ... where do you start?

I think it has to start with questions. You need to become a student of your body. What symptoms am I feeling? When did this start? What foods did I eat prior to this flare up or set back? Did I miss taking one of my supplements? What stressors have I been faced with lately? How has my sleep and water intake been recently? You can't look for answers until you've asked the right questions.

Every body is unique. Some things that are "happy-makers" for one individual would set me back with 2 days of body aches or digestive upset. Food sensitivities, genetic makeup and personal preferences are all very important when laying out a healing plan. You can find a ridiculous amount of crazy ideas that someone has run with - and achieved success. That same cockamamie idea could work for 50+ others with glowing results. But then your BFF and you give it a try to break your frustrating weight loss plateau and you gain 7 pounds? Hmmm... now THAT wasn't in those amazing testimonials! Every Body is unique.

Get to know yourself. "Hey self , it's me. How are ya? And have you seen my youth around here anywhere?"

(pill photo by graur razan ionut)
After hearing a new diagnosis... guessing at the spelling while writing it down so that you can "google it" when you get home... sitting overwhelmed and crushed when you realize these diseases and conditions are life changing. What do you do now?

Endometriosis, Autoimmunity, Morbid Obesity, H.S., Low Blood Pressure, Hypoglycemia, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Systemic Lupus ... these are the words I have heard from my doctors.

I'm taking charge of my own illness with a lifetime of seeking wisdom - learning how to heal.

This is my journey to Health and Wellness - Rising from the mud to reach for the sky and bloom!

(photo by Lavoview)
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