04 July 2011

This year I'm looking at freedom from a slightly different perspective

Today on July 4th (the U.S.'s Independence Day) I'm reflecting on the many freedoms I enjoy. I'm also reflecting on the more personal health-related freedoms I hope to enjoy in the future as my body heals. Ironically, just this last week I had a follow-up Skype appointment with Dr. Cook to discuss my latest blood test results.

I was happy to find out in my appointment with Dr. Cook that my Vitamin D levels have risen to 47 (I was at 10 just prior to surgery). That's a very good sign things are headed in the right direction. However, I wasn't very pleased that my lab results showed my body hasn't responded to the thyroid medication. But Dr. Cook assured me that I had been on a very low dose and the next step was to slowly increase the amount I'm taking daily to try and get results.

I was also pleased to have Dr. Cook tell me that a new physician, Dr. Howard, has just joined his staff at Vital Health Institute. In fact, Dr. Cook said he'd just added Dr. Howard's bio and philosophy to the Vital Health website that very morning. Dr. Cook told me that if after another couple of months my body isn't responding to the meds as he'd like, Dr. Howard would be able to join the case to look at things on an even more granular level.

After my appointment, I headed over to the website to read up on Dr. Howard, an Integrative and Function Medicine physician. I was very intrigued and impressed by his philosophy (click here to read it) as well as his background and credentials (including almost two decades as an ER doc). I feel like I'm in good hands with all the staff at Vital Health, but to have Dr. Howard joining them seemed like an especially choice blessing.

The next day after my appointment, another serendipitous thing happened. A posted link on Facebook led me to a very eye-opening presentation (see below). As I listened, I felt like I was being given me more tools and information to improve my health. I sent the link to Hubby, and after watching the video we decided to spend that evening shopping at two local sources I researched online (Lunardi's and Whole Foods) to purchase organically grown produce and organically produced dairy and meat products including one of my favorite foods and calcium sources, cheese. My life would seem very bleak without cheese. Because of my past issues with an eating disorder, eating is often more of a chore or a "to-do" than a pleasure for me. So I was determined to find organic versions of every staple I enjoy so I wouldn't trigger any of my old issues.

Because my endocrine system is already teetering on the fine line between wellness and non-wellness, I needed to find dairy products and meats that were produced without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, synthetic growth or breeding hormones, antibiotics, and genetically engineered crops in livestock feed. That's a tall order. But there are brands like Organic Valley that do meet those requirements.

Lunardi's had some Organic Valley products and organic meats, but not much. I was pretty discouraged as we exited that store. However, our shopping trip was a success thanks to Whole Foods. I was able to find an organic version of everything including sandwich meats like turkey and ham as well as American cheese! We came home with butter, whole wheat bread, meats, cheeses, cherries, strawberries, apples, spinach, lettuce, and more. I've spent the last 3 days eating this wholesome fare and it's been a treat instead of a chore.

Yes, buying organic means we'll be spending more money. But I can't afford to go back to where I was 6 months ago. And Hubby and I figure since we won't be eating out anymore at any place that doesn't serve completely safe foods for me to consume, the money we save from that will go toward all the organic foods we buy. And we'll probably end up saving money in the long run.

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