About a year ago, I wound up in the hospital due to chronic migraines.
As soon as I was released, I went straight to the pharmacy. I had been given prescriptions for Vicodin, Valium and Percocet, and my painkiller of choice was Vicodin.
My first day home, I experienced another migraine, so I took one pill as directed.
To my surprise and relief, the pain was gone in 10 minutes.
Back then I didn't know anything about preventative methods, so I continued eating and drinking whatever I wanted.
Despite my “magic pills,” I still got migraines everyday. I was taking up to four pills a day, until one afternoon my health took a turn for the worse.
It was about 3pm and I was dealing with one of the worst migraines I’d ever experienced. I felt nauseous and light headed. I was throwing up and could hardly get out of bed. I was in extreme pain, and cancelled my training appointments.
So, as usual, I took a Vicodin in hopes of alleviating the pain. Twenty minutes passed and the pain hadn’t stopped. I thought my body had developed a tolerance to my normal dosage, so I decided to take another pill. Within five minutes I knew I'd made a mistake.
My breathing was faint, I could barely feel my heartbeat, and I couldn’t move. I laid in this comatose (but panicked) state for over four hours. I had no idea what was happening.
Eventually the effects from the drugs wore off and I was able to muster up enough energy to go in the bathroom and throw up. I was so panicked that I made an appointment to see my doctor the next day.
He later informed me that I had overdosed.
Thankfully it wasn’t fatal, but it was definitely a wake up call: I needed to make some life changes immediately!
I was already exercise conscious and was typically in the gym five days a week, but I knew there was more I needed to do. I had been taking multiple workout supplements and eating what I thought was a balanced diet: chicken, steak and fish.
My doctor recommended I keep my weight low and reconsider my supplement choices. So I stopped taking supplements altogether and began looking into ways to get my nutrients through my food.
As a trainer, I knew how diet is to overall health, so I reevaluated my food choices. I began researching how animal-based products affected the body and my discovery was shocking.
I had no idea that what I thought was a balanced diet was actually harming my body. I didn’t know that the medicine I was taking to combat my illnesses was making them worse.
I watched documentaries (Vegucated, Food Matters, Forks Over Knives and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead), which explained the significance of plant-based diets and their effects on health. I watched Food Inc, and researched the food and drug industry’s stronghold on society.
It took about three months, but eventually I changed my eating habits completely. These days, I no longer look for medications to heal me, I use food for that. I don’t get flu shots for sickness prevention; green juice is my new prescription. I don’t classify myself as a vegan or vegetarian, I’m just very aware of what I put into my body. My diet is predominantly organic whole foods and plant-based and I feel better than I ever did. I no longer suffer with migraines (although I still get the occasional headache), but it’s nothing a shot of wheatgrass can’t help.
If you're struggling with any health decisions, my suggestion is to do your research. Look to what makes you look and feel the best. Remember, good health starts from the inside out and no matter what you do, you can never out-work a poor diet.
Published March 18, 2013 at 9:16 AM