My adventure down the road to holistic health began with a lot of poor habits, emotional stress, and physical strain. My husband enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2010, 6 months after we were married. Our first anniversary was spent apart while he was at MCRD San Diego. So many different emotions were up in the air- I missed him, I knew that life was going to drastically change from that point on, and I somehow knew I was not nearly prepared for it all.
Huge adjustments were made in our eventual relocation to Camp Lejeune, difficulty finding gainful employment for myself, emotional strain of field operations and deployment work-ups, and the on-going battle to walk closely to Christ in the midst of trying circumstances. Little did I know I was setting up a perfect storm for my entire immune system to crash.
My diet at the time was largely determined by convenience rather than nutritional content; if it was quick, easy, and tasted good, I ate it. I made a lot of pastas- especially boxed pastas with pre-packaged seasonings and sauces. Frozen foods were also a mainstay. My time with my husband was precious to me and I loathed spending it in the kitchen on time-consuming food prep.
Probably because of all the emotional ups and downs, I ate a lot of sugar as well. Sugar makes me happy! Happy is good, right? Ice cream lasted five minutes, maximum. Cookies and desserts were so prevalent, I could have put the Girl Scouts to shame.
When we did have home-cooked meals that didn’t come out of a box, they were at random hours of the night depending on when my husband would get home from work. I frequently skipped breakfast all together, or postponed it until noon. If the latter was the case, then I wasn’t eating lunch until 5:00 pm and that made dinner at 9:00pm, just in time to hop in to bed with a belly full of un-metabolized junk and then start all over again the next day.
Sleep was another anomaly; either I didn’t sleep at all, or I napped so frequently throughout the day, I couldn’t complete basic household tasks. The emotional factors of depression at being away from home, anxiety of being in a new and unfamiliar city and loneliness of my husband being away kept me in a continuous swing between no sleep, and too much sleep. Caffeine kept me going as I functioned on a diet of predominantly carbohydrates and starches with very little variety.
I was on a lot of different medications as well, most of which people don’t really consider to be a big deal. As far as NSAIDS were concerned, I popped them like tic-tacs for everything from carpel tunnel syndrome, menstrual cramps, and frequent migraine headaches. Since I got married I had tried three different birth control pills including Reclipsen, LoOvrel, and Yaz. The Doc at the Naval Hospital actually prescribed the Yaz when I had mentioned not having luck with the other two I had tried. Birth control pills and I didn’t get along; they failed at regulating my cycles to the point that I just kept a stocked cabinet of pregnancy tests because there was no way to tell if my period was just late or if it was LATE late.
I functioned, but just barely. Honestly, I didn’t realize I was on a low plane of functionality because I didn’t know there could be anything better. I had been raised to think that Western medicine has a pill for everything, so long as you can afford it. I was finally at a point in my life where my wallet wasn’t empty, so I took pills for just about everything. I was setting myself up for some serious burn-out, mentally, physically, and spiritually.