Remember when I told y’all about how I decided to go gluten-free after being diagnosed with this condition called dermatomyositis? Well a few weeks ago I had my six-month checkup with my rheumatologist (aka rheumy), which is a doctor that specializes in treating rheumatic illnesses such as myositis, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other similar autoimmune conditions.
My usual checkups consist of going over my latest test results (I get blood work done every month to monitor my health condition) and summarizing how I’ve been feeling physically since my previous checkup. Thankfully, all is well. I’ve been off my meds for two years now, and that’s 100% due to my faith in God, maintaining a positive mindset and changing my eating habits.
While I was ill three years ago, I discovered through research that gluten — which is found in wheat-based foods — is an inflammatory substance that people with autoimmune diseases are better off avoiding. After eliminating it from my diet and loading up on lots of anti-inflammatory foods like ginger, fruits and veggies, and omega-3 oils, I immediately noticed an improvement in my health — my energy had increased and my inflammation had subsided faster than my doctor had initially anticipated.
Ironically, my rheumy seemed quite surprised (actually more like confused) when I mentioned being gluten-free during my most recent checkup. She was genuinely interested to learn why I had decided to cut gluten from my diet, as if she was completely unaware of the harmful effects it typically has on people with rheumatic conditions.
When I gave her my reasoning, her response was, “Oh, that’s interesting! It’s so expensive to go gluten-free.” My response to that was, “Hey, I either pay now or pay later.” She simply smiled and nodded, as if she had nothing valuable to add to my statement.
A few things I’ve learned through personal experience:
- The mind, body and spirit are ALWAYS in sync. Which means when one is sick, they all are sick. In my particular case, my body had become ill, and so had my mind and spirit. During the time I had started developing symptoms (body), I also found myself falling into a deep depression (mind), which had caused me to begin losing my faith in God and making poor decisions (spirit). But once I started seeking God for clarity, I gradually got stronger in my spirit, which caused me to develop a positive mindset towards my situation and ultimately improved my overall physical condition.
- The body has the power to heal itself. Illnesses, allergies and other physical reactions are only a reflection of what goes on inside of the body. And what goes on inside of the body is a result of what we allow into it. That’s why our diet is so important. We have to give our bodies the proper nourishment and nutrients to keep it healthy and running the way it’s supposed to.
- Don’t solely rely on the doctor’s orders. Because most of them are trained to believe — and make us believe — that prescription drugs are the only answer. Yes, medicine is helpful for a lot of things, but it’s not the end-all-be-all because the human body is naturally designed to protect and revive itself. So look past the prescription bottle. Listen to your body. Research different foods that may cause or contribute to certain symptoms you may be having, and try cutting them from your diet for a while. Also, look into which nutrients you might be deficient in, and try loading up on your intake. See how you feel. Develop healthy habits and know that it is ultimately for your benefit.
Like I told my rheumy, you either pay now or you pay later. For many of us, that statement is much easier said than done. But when it comes to our health, it should honestly be that simple.