Earlier this week, I posted this note on Instagram talking about my health & how, after a bit of a scare, I have resolved to make health – mental & physical – a priority again. About 10 years ago, I was living in Amsterdam and suddenly developed these hives all over my skin. We are talking face, neck, chest, legs – it was beyond gross & to say that I was freaked out was an understatement. Overnight I had gone from this happy, healthy, 18 year old to seemingly allergic to everything. I went to a clinic and after much awkward translating (I absolutely do not speak Dutch and the sweet Pharmacists’ English was a bit rusty) I was told that I had leprosy. LEPROSY.
Naturally, I ran home, WebMD’d myself, confirmed I either had Hoof & Mouth, some weird gut thing, or indeed LEPROSY. I called my parents, cried, flailed about, probably drank some wine & felt sorry for myself. About a week later, I flew home and went to six different specialists who confirmed a) I didn’t have a contagious skin disease and b) I needed to calm the eff down but who couldn’t really tell me what was going on.
We were living in Texas at the time & my mother-in-law hooked me up with this natural pharmacy (if you live in Texas, go check out People’s Pharmacy – it is a magical place) and I don’t think I have ever come so close to meeting a wizard in my life. My skin was so bad, that I was wearing G’s basketball shorts & XL shirts because anything touching my skin hurt.
This magical Pharmacist ran a bunch of tests, talked to me about my diet, rubbed a sulfur cream on my arm, and told me that I had what is called Leaky Gut Syndrome (remember that weird gut thing I could have had instead of Leprosy, that’s it) (also, why does it have to have such a gross name?!). Basically, because of intense medicine I was on as a child (I was severely asthmatic) there were holes in my stomach lining and the natural bacteria in my gut was leaking out into my blood stream and my skin was telling me to shut my shitty diet down and start taking care of myself. After I cried, told him that he was a wizard, and awkwardly hugged him a million times, he put me on an elimination diet that pointed out what foods my body liked (fish, vegetables, nuts, grains, all the stuff your Mom tells you to eat as a kid) and what it didn’t like (French fries, red meat, cheese, basically anything fun).
Fast forward 10 years and I have been living a healthy little life as a vegetarian who eats a feck ton of French fries, cheese, and doesn’t take her stress levels seriously but works out regularly so I think it’s all fine. Until about a week ago, when I had the worst outbreak of hives I have ever had. This time it is so severe that WedMD now tells me that I am surely going to die — note to self: never, ever WebMD yourself LET ALONE when you are freaked out. And ABOVE ALL ELSE, don’t look at the freaking pictures.
Basically, I got really freaked out because the hives and various other symptoms were potential warning signs for much bigger, scarier things so I have decided to get very serious about repairing this gut of mine. If you look at the symptoms of an un-treated LGS, I bet there are a few things you can relate to:
Inability to focus, Poor memory, Brain fog, Irritability, Anger, Dizziness, Depression, Crying spells, Panic attacks, Low libido, Persistent extreme fatigue, Hyperactivity, Cravings for sweets and alcohol, Insomnia, Poor coordination.
Acid reflux, Bloating, Flatulence, Nausea, Diarrhea, Constipation, Stomach cramps, Indigestion, Burping after meals.
Acne, Cysts, Hives, Night sweats, Psoriasis, Eczema, Dermatitis, Fungal infections of the nails & skin, Athlete’s foot, Body odor.
Persistent cough, Mucus in throat, Sore throat, Sinus congestion, Chronic post-nasal drip, Flu-like symptoms, Hay fever symptoms, Sinusitis, Asthma.
Eye pain, Itchy eyes, Sensitivity to light, Blurred vision, Bags under eyes, Ringing in the ears, Ear infections.
Recurring yeast infections, Recurring UTI’s, Cystitis, PMS & menstrual irregularities.
Frequent colds and flu, Allergies, Sensitivities to food, fragrances and chemicals.
The reason I wanted to talk about all of this is not to freak you out or tell you that you probably have LGS, but to say that my life is changing and with it the website. We are going to put more of a focus on health – -physical, mental, and otherwise. Being an adult is really freaking tough sometimes and I think that we tend to put our minds and bodies last and that can have pretty shitty long-term effects.
While this will always be a place for thoughtful living, quick and easy recipes, and life lessons for the gal on the go – we want to refine that focus a bit to talk more about how to deal with stress well, what recipes to have in your back pocket when it’s a Thursday night and you don’t want to cook but you still want to be healthy, and we are bringing in more experts to talk about different things (like clean beauty) to help encourage a thoughtful lifestyle – inside & out.
If you made it this far – YOU WIN! If there are recipes, topics, questions about lifestyle practices (like, what the freak is Ayurveda?), or anything else you would like to read about, please, please let me know. The internet can be a weird place, but I hope to carve out a little niche to walk through thoughtful living in a fun, approachable way.