Today, and most days, I am grateful for my hair, skin, eyelashes, fingernails, lungs, and my body in entirety. However, most days are not all days, and there was a time in my life were the bad days outnumbered the good.
Let me begin as a child, as all good “this is when it began” stories come to exist. I was a stout, round child, to put it nicely. I have talked about this before as well on this blog, because as a girl, this isn’t always what’s expected or accepted in society.
But what does an eight-year-old care what society standards falsely frown upon?
I only cared about where I could find my next snack, but my unhealthy snacking habits only lasted so long before my body came to a screeching and aching halt. It simply could not digest another McDonald’s french fry, and I became pretty sick. My skin was covered with acne, my hair and eyelashes were thinning, and my asthma was terrible. But the worst part was the never-ending abdominal pain.
I am still recovering, and although my skin has cleared, my hair has become long, and my asthma has given me freedom, the stomach aches remain into my teenage/adult years. In an effort to rid the ailment, I tried several different dietary changes.
No meat. No meat, and no dairy. No meat, no dairy, no eggs. No meat, dairy, eggs, or gluten (bread, pasta, cupcakes?!). No meat, dairy, eggs, gluten, and of course, I haven’t eaten a peanut or tree nut since I became deathly allergic to them at age two..
All of this change and restriction threw me for quite the loop, but today I have found the perfect dietary solution, and yet I continue work on it constantly: just listening to my body.
It already knows what makes it feel anxious, achy, sick, or nauseous. It also knows what brings happiness, energy, and tranquility. There is no secret food, no recipe that cures the illness of being disconnected with one’s body.
These days, I’ve tried to improve this connection and communication, but it’s still a work in process. Between diet and exercise and stress and anxiety, there is so much to be done, but I’ve already come so far from the unaware snack-loving child I once was. Today, I am thankful that I have built this body to resemble who Madeleine Rheinheimer is.