These are my siblings. In 1995 my sister, Heather, was diagnosed with psoriasis, an auto immune disease. Her symptoms started with flaky dry skin on her scalp. She has tried medication to manage her symptoms: Enbrel, Cocentyx, Humira and in her words “Taltz tried to kill me.” Fast forward 24 years and now she is experiencing, brittle nails, bleeding from dry/cracked skin, an infection along her jawline that started this summer and was perplexing to all of her doctors, and probably the most difficult hair loss. For years my Aunt, who is a nephrologist and now wellness practitioner, has told my sister to cut things from her diet. However sometimes that can seem like a lot of work for maybe little to no outcome. (And we all know STRESS is a factor) Its hard to wrap your brain around something sometimes until you try it yourself.
This winter, pre-holidays, my husband signed us up for the “30 days of healthy living challenge” through a company called Arbonne. “What?” “Why?!!!” The holidays are filled with special treats, happy hours, and extra well…..everything. The program asks you to cut out: alcohol, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, gluten, coffee, MSG and nitrates. To say I was reluctant would be an understatement. However in an effort to support my husband and encourage healthy eating habits I obliged. It is safe to say that I lost my will to live within the first 3 days. In fact Mike begged me to have a cup of coffee sometime during day 2. Coming from a long line of stubborn humans, I rebuffed his request and continued on.
Then I started to notice changes. First my skin started to look better. I am a self described coffee and sugar addict. I reward myself with these items. In the morning with coffee and at night with a sweet treat when the kids go to bed. My puffy under eyes slowly went away. Then my friends, THE SLEEP! I just thought that after years of having infants I would never be able to successfully sleep through the night. Its not uncommon for me to see the clock 4-5 times a night. Then sometime during week two of the cleanse. I slept from the moment my head hit the pillow till my alarm went off the next day. It was glorious and life affirming. My mood was becoming more even also. The benefits were starting to far outweigh the things I missed.
At the end of the program you are supposed to introduce foods slowly and find what ones bother you the most. My husband and I definitely found that we have different “triggers”. Coffee, much to my chagrin really affects my mood. Beer, gives Mike a rash around the base of his neck. The general consensus between the two of us though was, HOLY COW! By simply cutting out or being aware of the amounts of these foods we were eating our quality of life has improved.
CUE my sister. Well for better or for worse I am making her do the challenge with me. So here we go on Monday. 30 days from today we will hopefully have some more positive results to show. I am hopeful, confident that this challenge will give her clues to things in her diet that affect the severity of her symptoms. Wish us luck! Also thanks to my brother for helping me with this blog!