My life today is different from when I woke up eight years ago in horrific pain with autoimmune disease. My life is so different now that it’s hard to recognize me as the same woman. And other than getting ill, the changes have all been good!
I sometimes joke that one of the best things to happen to me in my life was that I got autoimmune disease.
Don’t get me wrong. If I had a do-over, I would have learned all the things I have learned since that moment, BEFORE I got sick. I would have learned them in time so that I would have avoided all the pain that I went through and have now gotten past, and before my autoimmune disease was irreversible.
Although I no longer have pain, I will always have autoimmune disease.
But getting sick certainly caught my attention. It was the 2x4 hitting my head that I couldn’t ignore. My toxic load toppled over the top; I had to react.
I broke up from a long-term toxic relationship; I found another that was perfect for me, and he is my true partner. I married him five years ago.
I have guested on over 100 podcasts, and I have discovered I love sharing my story and helping others.
I sold my jewelry business and have jumped “all in” to share what I learned about health with others that need the information.
I published my first book It Feels Good to Feel Good, Learn to Eliminate Toxins, Reduce Inflammation and Feel Great Again, and it has won 13 awards. A new updated version has just been published on Amazon.
I have spoken in 15 summits to share my story and information, and I am scheduled to do two more.
I have started my local community access TV show called It Feels Good to Feel Good, Futureproof Your Health. It will debut in March 2020 in my immediate community. This show will then become a podcast in mid-2020 on RHG TV/ Voice America, and I will also be including interviews with others who got sick, made lifestyle changes, and returned to relative wellness.
I have started my private Facebook group of the same name as this book, Feeling Good Living Low Toxin. The group has people with chronic illnesses looking for solutions to ease their pain, Moms who have sick children, pregnant women who want to birth healthy children, women who want to do all the right things before getting pregnant, and also health coaches who want to learn more about toxins and how they are impacting their clients health.
My goal is to give hope to others with chronic illness and to moms raising children. Changing their lifestyle can make a significant improvement in their health. It is also to help well people stay well before their toxic load topples over the top into illness. My total goal is to impart knowledge to everyone so that they do NOT follow my path to illness. I want to reach others BEFORE they get sick.
I didn’t plan on any of this when I got sick. None of this would have happened if I were still well.
It’s been a long journey back to the light.
It started with a conventional MD running tests and then running more and yet more and finally calling me to tell me:
1. Nothing was wrong with me.
2. She was going to prescribe steroids to me.
3. I needed to seek mental therapy if I wanted to be pain-free; otherwise, I would be on the steroids for the rest of my life.
Hunh? Why would I take steroids if I had a mental condition?
I knew I hurt. My pain was the worse I had ever experienced. Every joint and every muscle in my body hurt. So, I KNEW something was wrong with me.
And why would I take steroids if nothing was wrong? Unfortunately, I hear similar stories all the time from others who are seeking help from conventional medicine, and their doctors are throwing pills at them or dismissing their symptoms.
I just read a comment from a functional MD that the best thing that could happen to conventional medicine is if all the conventional MD’s got a serious illness. They would have to figure out how to help themselves. This is how most functional MDs became “functional.” They got sick and looked for a better way to get themselves back to health.
I just read a statistic that most oncologists would not follow their own protocol if they got cancer. (This, of course, depends upon the type of cancer.) Conventional medicine is broken, but there are holistic approaches we can each take to support our own bodies.
At the time I got sick, I owned my own jewelry business and had a well-trained loyal staff, so I turned my business over to them and dug into the research to figure out what was wrong with me.
I didn’t even know what I was looking for.
The net result was that I figured out I had an autoimmune disease (the diagnosis was verified by a functional doctor a year later.) I researched and discovered many of the keys to my health. The functional MD I found looked at my body from a different perspective than my conventional MD, and immediately started looking for the root causes of my disease.
I discovered there were two things I could do for myself, and these are the same things that you can do for your own health whether you are well, or you are sick. I could lower my stress, and I could eliminate toxins. I found ways to lower my stress, and I shared the early things that I learned to reset my parasympathetic nervous system in my first book. It’s so important, I have shared it again in this book. My cortisol was so low by the time I got to my Functional MD. I was almost to Addison’s disease. She recommended easy ways for me to rebuild my DHEA and to lower my chronic fatigue. Under her guidance, Shilpa Sayana, MD lead me back to relative wellness.
I then dug into where the toxins were. What were they, where could I research, and what would I replace them with? In the end, I eliminated hundreds of toxins from my life. And, this was the significant part, I replaced them all with low toxin items. If you choose to follow my path, each toxin eliminated is a step back towards health. Health can happen, but you need to commit to not follow our American lifestyle and diet.
I shared all this in my book, It Feels Good to Feel Good, Learn to Eliminate Toxins, Reduce Inflammation and Feel Great Again, which is the manual that I wish I had when I got ill. In the back of my book, I list all the Functional MD’s that I now follow and continue to learn from. It’s a great list of references for you to utilize.
I wrote my first book to help others who found themselves in my situation, without hope, frustrated and very sick, and not knowing where to turn. I have met so many people like me. So, I returned to school at 67 and became a health coach so that I could help others. I am now 71, and I am feeling better than I did at 50.
Like others with autoimmune disease, I am a work in progress. My current issue is that I got mold in my body from working in my off-site jewelry office in the last year. The mold was growing in the wall behind where I sat. The mold is being stubborn, and it does not want to detox out of my body. This is a setback I didn’t expect but am working to overcome. The mold has reminded me of the days when I first got ill with autoimmune disease and how it felt to feel lousy. This complication starts with healing my liver, which I am concentrating on now.
My first book is a wonderful guide for anyone struggling with chronic illness. We can do so much ourselves to encourage our bodies to heal that I had no idea about before getting sick. Finding the hundreds of toxins that I eliminated took five years of research, and the book gives others a jump-start to follow my lead to return to health themselves.
I just revised It Feels Good to Feel Good, Learn to Eliminate Toxins, Reduce Inflammation and Feel Great Again (2020) to include all chronic illnesses because I now know that this information is critical whether you have an autoimmune disease, cancer or heart disease. The book discusses all the things that you can do to change your lifestyle and feel great again. I learned that the body wants to heal; we need to give it the right building blocks so that it can do that.
In the revised book, I added new findings, and I included a chapter on Blue Zones because my information truly is for everyone, whether they are struggling with any chronic illness or not. Blue Zones are the National Geographic study about the five areas in the world where people live the longest and what people in these zones have in common. There is so much to learn from that study.
There are also new statistics that make toxins mind-boggling, and that proves my point. Keep in mind; it can take up to 20 years for inflammation to grow in the body to the tipping point of toxic load.
These are the statistics:
• 53% of our children are suffering from a chronic illness. This is a frightening statistic. Real food can make our children well, but the standard American diet is making them sick as hell.
• 30% are overweight.
• 16% of our children have learning disabilities.
• 11% of our children have asthma.
• 10% of our children have ADHD.
• 8% of our children have food allergies. There are no statistics on how many of our children have food sensitivities.
• 5% of our children have seizures.
• 2% of our male children have autism.
• By the time our children are five, they can have as many as 7 pounds of chemicals in their little bodies, according to Mark Hymen, MD, a leading functional practitioner. No wonder they are getting ill, their little bodies cannot handle all these toxins.
• The new statistics state that a Millennial’s health peaks at age 27 and then goes downhill.
• Gen-X’ers make it until age 37 before their health starts to decline. Still totally frightening.
• 10% of the population currently has diabetes.
• 33% of our population is pre-diabetic and will have diabetes in five years.
• 39% of our population has or will get cancer.
• 53 million Americans have an autoimmune disease, and they are mostly female. (This includes 1 in 5 females and 1 in seven males.)
• We are 37th in the world in health. And yet, we spend more on healthcare than any other country in the world. And our healthcare system is broken. Our healthcare system cannot keep up with the expense of the rapid rise of chronic illness in our country.
• Newborns are often being born with more than 287 toxins in their bodies, which they are inheriting from their mothers’ bodies through the umbilical cord. Of the 287 chemicals that were detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.
• Childhood asthma rose 300% in 40 years (GMO’s exacerbate allergies)
• Childhood leukemia and brain cancer rose 40% in 40 years
• American couples dealing with fertility issues rose 20% in 10 years
• And Boomers, my generation, accept that they should live a life of pain and pills. And they are stuck; they don’t want to change or be “deprived” by giving up what is making them sick.
What gives me hope from all of this?
• 52% OF ORGANIC BUYERS ARE MILLENIALS.
• It doesn’t have to be this way. There are things each of us can do as individuals to change the tide.
Finally, our government is not protecting us. They are heavily influenced by Big Agriculture, Big Chemical, Big Pharmaceutical, and Big Food. I got angry about this in the beginning, but then I figured out that we need to join together and create the change we want to see. We have more power than we realize. The Institute of Responsible Technology says that a 5% shift in spending habits will begin to change what is happening. In the last three years, I have seen the needle slowly start to move.
My first book does not go far enough. It is discussing what I did in my immediate environment to clean up my life, my body, and my health.
Feeling Good: Living Low Toxin in Community and Everyday Life addresses the fact that we do not live in an isolated bubble, we live in a community, and living a low toxin life out in the community is more complicated. I have now been doing this, really, as self-defense, for more than three years. Living “clean” is something that I have figured out because I do not want the pain back, and I am a very social person. Community often means “eating.” I interact fully now within my community in a way that does not interfere with my commitment to keep toxins as low in my life as possible, and in this book, I want to share all those tips. It is also common, once one gets one autoimmune disease, to get multiple autoimmune diseases, and I wanted to ensure that this didn’t happen to me. In other words, I was very motivated to figure this out.
I now want to share this all with you. Once you clean up the toxins in your immediate life, these tips will help you avoid getting flares, they will help you minimize the pain, and they will help you minimize the progression of the diseases.
Living out in the community is swimming upstream. America eats the SAD, the Standard American Diet, which is loaded with toxins, synthetic ingredients, and fake food. The SAD does not offer our bodies any nutrients and instead serves up a healthy amount of synthetic ingredients that the body does not recognize as food. (SAD is processed food, fast food, factory meats, and junk food.)
Ever think about how a restaurant can have such a vast offering? Restaurants now often serve meals that they get in baggies, pre-prepared, that they microwave, and these meals are jampacked with nonfoods and synthetic ingredients without much food value. These prepared restaurant foods are loaded with toxins at every level, from the vegetables to the meats in their meals. And there are ingredients that have been added to all these foods that are unhealthy, and worst of all, addictive.
Even healthy restaurants often use unhealthy ingredients like their choice of oils. It’s important to know what questions to ask and what to do to avoid these unhealthy ingredients.
Most restaurants use conventional produce, which means, if the produce is on the Dirty Dozen list, they are laden with nasty pesticide and herbicides that our bodies are not meant to process, and that are making us sick.
I had to figure this out; these foods made me ill. Yet, I refused to give up eating with my friends, family, and business associates.
I want to share all the tips I have discovered so that I can still thrive in my community, and I want you to be able to thrive too. It can be done; it just takes planning and some honest conversation. After a time, it becomes a way of life. So much of our social interaction takes place over food. Figuring out how to still participate in the social occasions of my life has been a growing experience.
I cook 90% of what we eat. I have learned a great deal over the last three years that I want to share. Food quality matters and I want to explain what that means and how I utilize that information. By cooking (or my hubby cooking), I can control what goes into my mouth and into my body. I want to share some of my tips about cooking most of our meals.
As a society, we have just gotten into bad habits. We are not making our health a priority. We are making convenience a priority. We need to go back to the way our great grandparents prepared their food.
It does not take that long to cook real organic live food, and the rewards are enormous.
There is a new definitive book out on toxins by Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, “The Toxin Solution: How Hidden Poisons in the Air, Water, Food, and Products We Use Are Destroying Our Health--AND WHAT WE CAN DO TO FIX IT,” HarperOne; Reprint edition (February 27, 2018), which gives all the scientific evidence that verifies what I discuss in my first book about toxins. In general, this book offers information so that when you adopt a low toxin life, you understand clearly why that is important for your health and the health of your family.
There is also important new information available about Epigenetics. They have discovered that no matter what genes you have inherited from your ancestors, you have some choice whether to turn on the switch and get that ailment or leave that switch off. It all has to do with lifestyle habits. Healthy habits keep the light switch for genetic diseases turned off. Living a life eating synthetic and toxic ingredients and surrounded by toxins turns the light switch on. If you have gotten the disease in your genetic makeup, you have a choice. I can’t tell you how often someone has said to me, “I won’t win. I inherited bad genetics. I was dealt a bad hand. I am going to get the disease that I inherited, so none of this matters.” Au contraire. You control your environment, and your environment can control whether or not you get the disease.
Cleaning up the toxins in your life may not influence your health so much that you avoid getting whatever the disease IS in your genetics. There are other factors that influence your health. What it does do, is support your body so that it can build defenses against the disease and support your body to get through it. That in itself is worth all the tea in China.
One of the big push backs I get when I am out speaking about health is that eating healthy is expensive. I will share all my tips on buying healthy food on a budget. But think about it. Since it is now proven that toxins are creating ill health and disease, you can pay now, or you can pay later. As one organic farmer said, “Have you priced out the cost of cancer lately?” If you can avoid getting a chronic illness later in your life, it becomes very cost-efficient to eat as low toxin as possible and to eliminate the toxins in the rest of your life now.
I don’t know where health insurance is going in this country but learning how to live low toxin is an insurance policy unto itself for your future and the future of your families. Our politicians are not discussing this because there is too much money flowing between Big Food, Big Ag, Big Pharma, and them. So, own this yourself, don’t wait for someone else to protect you. You protect yourself and your family.
Finally, some people tell me that discussing toxins is boring. I had to laugh because when Dr. Joseph Pizzorno speaks at Integrative Medical Conferences, he hears the same thing. And he hears that it is depressing. All I can say is knowledge is power. And we need to know where the toxins are lurking so that we can “futureproof” our health. It isn’t boring to stay healthy. And besides, “It Feels SO Good to Feel Good!”
Toxins may be an inconvenient truth, to borrow a phrase, but in the end, it can save your health and your mind. This allows you to grow old with grace and to prosper. Do you want to grow old with dementia and illness and pain, or do you want to thrive until the end? Since, at one point, I lost my health, I can tell you how I want to grow old, and everything you will learn about living low toxin is worth it in spades.
I am in a group on Facebook for a compounded drug called Naltrexone or LDN, and it is the closest thing to a “magic pill” that I have come across. It works extremely well for me, but I added it after I did everything in my power to clean up the toxins in my life and to lead a healthier life to eliminate my pain. This pill took me over the finish line to a pain-free life. If you struggle with chronic pain, I recommend that you investigate this medication with your doctor.
The drug is compounded (it comes from a compounding pharmacy), and although it works very well for me, it does not work as well for others in this Facebook group. You must be willing to clean up your environment and lifestyle if you want to live a pain-free life. Then this pill takes you over the finish line.
I know that we are all different, but I got to thinking, many in this group have not cleaned up their lives or adopted healthy habits. The medication implicitly states no alcohol on the label of the medication, and yet many are still drinking.
Health must start with healthy habits. And many in the group are getting more autoimmune conditions. This is not unusual if they still have a “leaky gut.” Multiple syndrome autoimmune conditions are not unusual. The “magic” pill won’t avoid that. The “magic” pill cannot be the only remedy. It’s not that magic.
Eating organic live food of all the colors of the rainbow from a farm as close to you as possible and, if possible, in season, is the real magic pill. You control that. You don’t need a prescription to buy that and eat that way. And if you remain healthy, your wellness bills, in the long run, will be much more affordable.
The Naltrexone does not take the place of healthy habits; it should be an addition to healthy habits. Perhaps this is the reason the pill works so well for me and not so well for others.
If you follow these tips and live a low toxin life, your body will celebrate. Learn to listen to your body, and it will make implementing these tips so worthwhile. And living a healthy life solves a multitude of health issues and gives your body a strong foundation to thrive.
One final thought and this is important. YOU are responsible for your health and for your child’s health. Not your doctor, not your grocery store, not your farmers market, not your friends, not your druggist and certainly not your politician. You. And you are responsible for teaching your child good health so that they can grow up healthy and then teach their children all aspects of good health. Talk to your child about the importance of being a healthy influencer with their friends. The child’s school is not responsible for their health, and again neither is their doctor. Many of these people play a role in health but own it yourself and be actively involved. It’s your body and it’s your child. Teach your child to take care of their body so that they have a happy place to live.
Put healthy habits into place now and reap the benefits. Nothing can beat healthy habits and a low toxin life.
To your health, with hugs, Cheryl