Copyright © 2016 7Dayz, LLC
Written by Monica O. Jackson
Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed are those of the author, Monica O. Jackson. The medical information on this site is provided as a personal story and is not to be used or relied upon for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any relationship to the author or a patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis and treatment.
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My journey from receiving a diagnosis of Pre-Diabetes to achieving a healthy and fit lifestyle started back in 2009. When my doctor delivered the upsetting news, I can’t say that I was terribly shocked because I do have a family history of diabetes on my father’s side. Although it caught me off-guard, it didn’t devastate me nor did it compel me to change my lifestyle. But looking back and knowing what I know now, I should’ve changed everything.
I have been a television news anchor and working in entertainment for most of my professional life. Researching and knowing the story-behind-the-story is normal for me. So, the question was…what wasn’t I understanding about my own health?
The symptoms that led me to believe that something was very wrong were actually quite clear. They included shaking upon feeling hungry and feeling like I was walking on a slant…meaning I didn’t feel like I was walking upright even though I was. I would also have bouts of light-headedness. Consuming carbs made me feel drunk…as if I had consumed alcohol in excess. In fact, carbs would also cause me to fall asleep for about three hours, regardless of the time of day! I know that I was sleeping for that long because my husband began to time me after noticing the effects of eating carbs. Why didn’t I see the signs sooner?
Honestly, in the beginning, I wasn’t making the food-body connection. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Also, upon consuming any type of foods other than carbs, my stomach immediately began bubbling, followed by heartburn… and then total discomfort. And as if that wasn’t enough, once my meal was digested, I was left with pain and often severe stomach bloating that would last for days. Finally, I came to my senses. I knew I had to seek medical attention… pronto!
Upon alerting my former family doctor about my troublesome symptoms, she ordered a series of blood tests, and the results showed that I was definitely Pre-Diabetic. So…what exactly is Pre-Diabetes? As I understood it, Pre-Diabetes is a “pre-diagnosis” of Diabetes – a red flag, a warning sign. The blood glucose level (blood sugar level) is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough to be considered Diabetes.
My doctor prescribed a drug called Metformin. Metformin, which is marketed under the trade name Glucophage (among other names), is an oral Diabetes medicine that helps to improve blood sugar control in the treatment of Type-2 Diabetes. My doctor told me that this medication was one of the most effective treatments for Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes on the market. So, I thought I was all set… take the 850 milligram pills twice a day, every day, and be done with it. It never occurred to me that I needed to make drastic changes to my lifestyle and diet, add a daily workout regimen and replace all the vitamins and minerals that were naturally depleted from my body over the years. It never occurred to me because those all-important factors were, surprisingly, never explained to me by my healthcare provider.
My doctor simply gave me a chart and told me to follow the food portion control recommendations and I should be ok. Honestly, I think my doctor did the best she knew how, but for someone who was suffering the way I was, it really wasn’t enough. That said, I want to make it very clear that my story is not meant to slam my healthcare provider… it really isn’t. Instead, I’d like for you to view my personal journey as a call-to-action… to serve as an inspiration for others. My goal is to motivate you to become knowledgeable and become a strong advocate for your own well-being.
So, getting back to my story. Starting from 2009 until May 2016, I took Metformin everyday as instructed by my doctor. Even though Metformin did help me, there were times when it made me sick to my stomach. Although my sickness wasn’t as severe in the beginning, it progressively got worse. And, when Metformin did make me sick, I was out of commission for the day. There were times when I had to leave the set in the middle of the newscast because I had become nauseated which was often accompanied by vomiting, sweating and diarrhea. I was miserable. I have to admit that 2014 and 2015 were two of the worst years of my life!
In addition to the sudden onset of nausea that would happen on a regular basis, I began to gain weight like nobody’s business. During that period of time, I was suffering with hot flashes that would leave me soaking wet at work and at different times during the day. And even though I wasn’t eating the healthiest food in the world, I wasn’t eating the worst either. I was minimally consuming alcohol as a social drinker and, happily, I’ve absolutely never been a smoker (my maternal grandmother died of lung cancer). Honestly, I really didn’t understand what was going on with my body.
My health began to spiral out of control so horribly that everything I ate and drank caused me pain. No kidding! If I drank water, I would experience bloating, pain, and explosive diarrhea. If I ate a salad… bloating, pain, explosive diarrhea. If I drank a glass of wine… bloating, pain, explosive diarrhea. Oh, did I mention my reaction to dairy products? OMG! Yeah… even though I’m now on the road to good health, I still can’t tolerate dairy products, including butter. Now I know…for sure…that I am lactose Intolerant. Baked food, boiled food, grilled food, fried food, vegetables (raw and cooked), desserts, soda, mixed drinks, coffee, tea, candy, chips… all caused bloating, pain and explosive diarrhea. I think you’re getting the picture. I felt that my body was slowly, but surely, rebelling against me and I still couldn’t understand why.
The crazy thing about my health situation was that I religiously followed doctor’s orders and had all of the milestone medical tests for a woman in her forties that were recommended by my doctor. You know… we’ve all heard it throughout our lives: When a woman turns 40, she’s supposed to get a yearly mammogram, a yearly blood panel, a blood pressure check, a cholesterol profile, a pap smear, an eye exam, skin check (for moles) and an immunization check.
Well, I did all of those tests, and I couldn’t understand why I was still suffering. The tests always rendered favorable results, so I was at a loss. Outside of the Pre-Diabetes, my tests results always indicated that there were no other medical concerns. Since I reside in Las Vegas, I had access to some of the best doctors in the country and I did consult with them. So why was I continuing to suffer? All I could think about was, “when was this phase of my life going to end?”
Well, little did I know that my cry for help was about to be heard! It was by a local Wellness Doctor! Yes, a Wellness Doctor. I know, I know… Wellness Doctors are still considered a mystery to some in the healthcare industry, but when I’m done telling you my story, you’ll have a whole new outlook on this frequently overlooked sector of the healthcare industry. I’ll bet that you’ll seek out the nearest Wellness Doctor in your area, so that you can get started on your road to peak health and wellness, just like I did.
So, what exactly is a Wellness Doctor? Well…although there are many types of practitioners, a Wellness Doctor is a holistic physician who has been trained and licensed in conventional medicine, and has also received additional training in enabling your body to heal from the inside out. A Wellness Doctor utilizes all forms of health care from conventional medications and encouraging lifestyle changes, to patient education on prevention and self-care that promotes overall well-being and health.
MY FIRST STEP
Let me start out by sharing a little bit of wisdom that I picked-up on my long journey to good health. When you’re going through a crisis in life, don’t keep it to yourself… share your struggles with others because you never know when and where the solution to your problem may fall right in your lap… and that’s how it happened for me.
It was approximately a year ago when a female friend was dealing with some health issues of her own. She shared with me how she decided to go to a Wellness Doctor because she wasn’t getting the results she needed from her traditional doctor. She was dealing with some medical issues that were really keeping her down.
My friend told me that upon her first visit to her Wellness Doctor’s office, she had to complete a very lengthy questionnaire that was required for all patients. Once she was done with the questionnaire, the doctor went through it to get an in depth look into her issues. After reading her answers, the doctor developed a detailed report. He proceeded to order extensive blood work and extensive urine tests that would confirm his diagnosis. He prescribed a series of vitamins, minerals and hormones… all from a compound pharmacy. He referred her to a nutritionist who changed her diet, and he put her on an exercise regimen, specifically developed to cater to her needs. Once her test results came back…Eureka! The doctor’s theory in his report was confirmed, and he put her on the fast-track to good health. She was ecstatic! She is now living a very healthy, fulfilling life.
After hearing my friend’s story of recovery, I was motivated to get in touch with her Wellness Doctor. But, before I committed to going, I was curious about a couple of things. Did he take insurance, or was this a pay-as-you-go kinda deal? Well, turns out it was a pay-as-you-go kinda deal, and my insurance wouldn’t cover a single test. Yikes!!
To be honest, the tests were very expensive… about $600.00 for each one… and I need three tests. However, my friend said that she had to make the difficult decision to get the tests done, in spite of the cost, because she was fighting a losing battle when it came to her health. She was overjoyed, though, to find that she wasn’t crazy after all, and that there really was a solution to all of her health issues. She had become an advocate for her own health, and she was committed to the idea that she may have to make some financial sacrifices along the way.
So, after hearing her story, and actually seeing the results of her treatment, I thought, “well, if he helped her, maybe he can help me.” And, even though my problems were totally different from hers, I was certainly willing to give it a try, regardless of the expense.
My physical discomfort was getting progressively debilitating and conventional medicine was not helping me at all. I had to make a decision… and I had to make a decision fast.
Now, let me say this… I know you’re thinking that taking on the financial burden of such an expensive endeavor was easy for me because I have a great job. I get it! However, I was in a situation where I had to decide that even if I didn’t have a job and a husband, I would have had no choice but to make this happen… even if I had to borrow money to do it. Sacrifices would have to be made because of what I knew for sure: At this point in my life, there is nothing more important than my good health. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re lookin’ death square in the eye, you’ll find a way. And I knew that death was comin’ for me…and I was scared. I knew that there could be no more excuses.
I began to develop a new philosophy about life, and it helped me move forward. I decided that — when it comes to my health, I can either pay on the front end or on the back end.
Paying on the front-end meant taking healthy, preventative measures to ensure the best results. What was becoming increasingly evident to me was that paying on the back-end could mean dialysis, blindness, knee replacements and possibly a slow, painful death within 5-to-10 years. O yeah…when I tell you I was in trouble…I WAS IN TROUBLE!!
The handwriting was on the wall. It was looking like if I did not do something quickly to change my habits, the latter was going to be my fate. So all of a sudden, the $1,800.00 seemed like an appropriate sacrifice to have to make in order to save my life.
By the way, what was looming over my head was that my paternal grandmother died from complications of Diabetes. She was a southern woman – born and bred – and she was from a time when people didn’t fancy changing their ways of eating. It was not in her DNA. She loved the Southern cooking of that time. So, even though she was diagnosed with Diabetes, she never changed her ways. She ate fried foods, cooked with lard and she ate fatty meats and bacon on a regular basis. Unfortunately, she became legally blind, had two knee replacements, and was on kidney dialysis until the day she died. What a sad, horrible way to go. I decided that I was not going to follow in her footsteps and live like that… nor for that matter, die like that. Honestly, I knew how to do better and became unafraid to take preventative measures.
So now you know! The first step to getting on the path to becoming healthy and reversing my Pre-Diabetes was seeking help from a qualified practitioner.
What was also really important to me was that I share my story with you.
Ok, so after getting the information I needed from my friend, I contacted her Wellness Doctor. I set up an appointment and prayed that my last ditch effort would help me get the results that I so desperately needed.
My first consultation with the doctor was off to a good start. He greeted me with a warm smile and a level of enthusiasm that made me feel very comfortable. He and his nurse sat me down and asked me to tell them my story. And so I did. I held nothing back. I shared every terrifying moment that I had gone through. The pain, the anguish, the uncertainty of what was happening to my body. After an hour-and-a-half conversation, with a lot of tears and some laughter along the way, I was exhausted… but I felt jubilant. A professional was really interested in hearing my whole miserable story. I hoped and prayed that he could help me.
Here’s what most impressed me about my Wellness Doctor: He actually listened to every word I said without interruption! Not once did he make me feel like I was taking up too much time, nor did he make me feel like “a patient number.” He made me feel respected, and he was genuinely concerned about why I needed help… and he was willing to give it.
The Wellness Doctor’s response was admirable and one that I shall never forget. He said, “Monica, I can help you. Almost every person who walks through my door has a similar story to yours in one way or another. I believe that you have a very fixable problem.”
I had a glimmer of hope for my life. I was elated! I couldn’t believe what he was saying. After all these years, I’d finally found someone who understood my health issues and could help me make them go away. Hallelujah!
At the end of my consultation with the Wellness Doctor, he handed me a very extensive questionnaire and told me to complete it and return it as soon as possible. He said I could either drop it off or mail it in. So, before leaving his office, I made a follow-up appointment and eagerly took the questionnaire home.
It took me about 2-hours to complete the entire questionnaire. I thought, “what the heck is all of this?” This doctor was asking too many detailed questions, but as it turns out, he was digging far beyond the standard health questions. He was getting down to the root cause of my problems, including my lifestyle and my habits.
As instructed, I completed the questionnaire, dropped it off at his office and waited for my follow-up appointment date. Little did I know when I dropped off the questionnaire, I had given him everything he needed to put me on the path to peak health and a lifetime of wellness.
Talk about being on pins-and-needles! I was excited and nervous about my follow-up appointment. There I was, back in the doctor’s office waiting on my all-important assessment.
Upon analyzing my answers, my Wellness Doctor had compiled a detailed report to share with me upon my follow-up appointment… and what a report it was!
I arrived at the office a little early because I was anxious to hear what the doctor had to say. His receptionist checked me in and I paced back and forth in the waiting room for about 15 minutes. Then, I heard my name called. O brother! I was about to get the answers I had been waiting to hear for the last two years.
Just as I had expected, once again, the doctor greeted me with a warm and confident smile. He sat me down in the exam room and opened up my file that contained the full report. He had a look of certainty and assuredness that made me feel relaxed… like I wasn’t making up all my health problems after all. He said he had seen so many cases like mine based on similar answers on the questionnaire by hundreds of other patients. OK! Here we go. I was about to hear my diagnosis…
In a very supportive manner, the doctor started out by saying that I had a number of issues, but none were unsolvable. He said that the issues that he thought were causing all my health problems were issues that most women in their forties deal with, but most don’t know what to do or who to turn to. He went on to say that even though my list of complaints was long, it was not uncommon. But now what? What were the next steps?
My doctor went on to say that he wanted me to undergo extensive blood and urine tests to confirm his theory because he was sure the tests would reveal even more pieces to my intricate health puzzle. I was also relieved to find that my issues were treatable. I just needed someone to recognize what was really going on inside my body. I was on my way to being cured. I was all in! Thank you, Jesus!
Before I left the doctor’s office, he gave me a lab sheet that outlined all the tests I needed to get done in order to get the process started. He also gave me a list of vitamins that he wanted me to start taking right away, and special instructions on where to purchase the vitamins. He said that from that day forward, he wanted me to buy my vitamins from a compound pharmacy. I had no clue what he was talking about. What was a compound pharmacy? So, he had to explain to me why I shouldn’t buy my vitamins at the local drug store like I’d always turned to in the past.
Well, turns out, the vitamins that you find at your local drug stores and big box stores are generally full of additives, preservatives, gluten and dyes, just to name a few of the things that can cause all kinds of health issues. But, he said, if you get your vitamins from a compound pharmacy, you’re getting exactly what you pay for… the pure vitamins themselves! No additives, preservatives, gluten or dyes. And for me, those were some of the very culprits that had contributed to my failing health. I had been taking vitamins for years, but instead of reading the labels, I just trusted that I was getting the health benefits I needed. Truth is… I wasn’t. However, once the pharmacist at the compound pharmacy explained to me that they formulate the ingredients right there on-site, I was relieved. That revelation proved to me that when you get pure vitamins, your body responds positively. When you don’t, you could suffer the consequences of ingesting artificial ingredients…and in my case…the consequences were grave.
Hopefully, this revelation will help you as you begin to improve your health regimen because on a personal level, I’ve seen a vast difference in my body as a result of my vitamin regime alone. Honestly, you are probably going to have to pay more for these vitamins, but remember what I said earlier… either you’re going to pay on the front end or on the back end. You choose.
My initial assessment had been done, I was pumped. I was ready to go! I started my vitamin regime immediately, and I also set-up my appointment to get the extensive blood work done.
It turned out that there were many instructions I had to follow. The test required me to take a shower the night before the tests. My doctor said that this test required that I not use lotion, toothpaste, soaps, deodorant or any other chemicals on or in my body. No chemicals could be present in my blood stream. Although I found it challenging, I followed the instructions to the letter. Upon rising on the day of my blood tests, I couldn’t even brush my teeth! I got out of bed, got dressed, and went to the lab. Yeah, I know… it was pretty gross not my brushing teeth, but I had to do it!
Upon arriving at his office in the early morning hours, his phlebotomist (a health care professional who draws blood and ensures the proper amount is taken) was already standing-by to take my blood… and boy, did she take my blood. This test required 10 vials of blood. I know, it sounds like a lot, but when you’re at the point where I was, you’d give as many vials of blood as they required. Upon completion, the blood work was sent out to a specialized lab, and I felt like I was one step closer to being cured.
Anyway, once I finished having my blood work done, I raced back home and jumped in the shower, completed my hygiene routine, and got on with my day.
The second test I needed was done about two weeks later. It was a timed urine test. I got a packet from my doctor and I had to complete it within a 24-hour period. I had to use specified testing strips, at specified times, let them dry, put them in an envelope and send them out to a specialized lab.
DONE! I had completed the tests that would confirm my doctor’s initial assessment. Those tests would give him even more insight into what was going on within my body… on a cellular level. That’s how in-depth this specialized testing was. It broke things down to a cellular level… something I’d never had done before.
I was on my way to getting the answers I needed to feel better. I was well on my way to a new healthy lifestyle. Thank God! By the way, you’re gonna get a whole lotta me thanking God throughout this post. I am a Christian and I believe that God leads us to the places and people that we need to experience in order to improve ourselves and our lives. That’s who I am…and I thank God and Jesus for that, too. That said, I’m ever so grateful to God for leading me to my Wellness Doctor. I truly believe he saved my life!
Finally, I got a call from the doctor’s office alerting me that they had received the test results. At that point, I made a follow-up appointment. This was it!! The moment I had been waiting for. I was going to get the answers as to why I had been so sick.
When my doctor sat me down and explained the results of the tests, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was just as he suspected. In addition to a Zinc Deficiency, Elevated Bad Cholesterol (LDL), B Complex Vitamin Deficiency, Elevated Inflammatory markers, Insulin Resistance, Pre-diabetes, Gluten Intolerance and Low Thyroid Hormones, I also had Low Progesterone (it balances Estrogen), Elevated Estrogens (too much of it), Elevated Androgens (too much of the male hormone), Low Free Cortisol, Abnormal Circadian Rhythm and an Abnormal FT3/RT3 ratio. In other words, I was ALL MESSED UP! Not only was I vitamin deficient, I was also very low on some of the most essential hormones that are necessary for a woman to function optimally. By the way, I also had something called leaky gut. It’s a condition where your body excretes your food without absorbing the vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed to function normally… so that problem needed to be fixed as well.
What was crazy was that with of all the yearly tests I’d been getting, I had never once received a recommendation from any doctor to get my hormones tested. I guess the old saying is true – you live and learn. I had definitely learned many life-saving lessons.
At last! My Wellness Doctor had put me on the path to recovery. I now was armed with the information to begin combatting my health problems. The first thing he advised me to do was to detox my liver. He said that because I don’t have a gallbladder (it was removed in 2001), my body is probably full of toxins. He went on to say that this detox was something I should do twice a year.
He instructed me to go to the all-important Compound Pharmacy, and purchase a liver detox kit called Core Restore. It’s a 7-day kit that contains a powder, two types of capsules and a guidebook detailing everything I needed to do to properly detox. It supports complete detoxification that promotes a healthy, functioning liver.
I won’t lie, the entire detox was a challenging endeavor. First of all, I had to go grocery shopping. Yikes! I can’t even cook. Most of the food on the list was food that I never eat. I’m talking about things like coconut milk, chia seeds, clarified butter, lentils, leeks, and the list went on and on. However, I saw this as an opportunity to learn something new. I was determined that I was not going to be intimidated or discouraged from doing what I had to do to follow the doctor’s orders.
By the time I was done shopping, I had spent several hundred dollars. I bought EXACTLY what the book instructed me to buy in an effort to optimize my results and ensure that I was getting the full benefits of the detox.
For the next 7 days, I was TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY immersed in the detox plan. I did everything the book instructed me to do. I prepared the food as instructed. I ate the food as instructed. I stored the food as instructed, and I stayed on plan as instructed. I was going to detoxify no matter what it took… and I did.
Once I completed the week of my liver detox, I believed that I was well on my way to getting better. I noticed a marked difference in how I felt. I noticed that my skin was a little softer, my stomach wasn’t bloated and painful as it had been, and I had lost 7 pounds. The weight loss was the icing on the cake. I was off to a great start. I felt good.
Just in case you’re wondering (not to get too personal), yes, my bowel movements improved dramatically because I had gotten rid of all the junk that had been accumulating in my body for years. However, as I understand it, the liver detox is not like a colon cleanse. It didn’t have me running back and forth to the bathroom, at least that’s not how it worked for me. Instead, it was a slow and gentle process. I was still able to go to work every day without any problems and live life as I normally did.
Ok, so now that I was done with the liver detox and my system was clean. It was time to start adding the vitamins and minerals that were missing from my body. Even though I had already started on my doctor-recommended vitamin regimen, he only wanted me to take the minimum amount because he wanted my system to be as clean as possible before adding the entire list of vitamins. I must say, it was one hell of a list! My doctor added the hormones that I was missing, as well. Boy, did that make a difference. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. It was AMAZING! I was truly on the road to recovery.
As a result of my awesome success so far, I stayed on the meal plan that the detox guide recommended, but I knew I wanted to do something that was a little more manageable. I quickly realized that eating these specially purchased organic foods could be a very expensive endeavor. For example, I would have a fruit and quinoa breakfast melange. For lunch, I’d have grilled chicken with peaches, and for dinner I’d have strawberry salad with lentil stew. For a snack, I’d have Tropical Mango Chia Pudding. The problem was, all the ingredients for these dishes were not normally in my pantry at home and they cost a premium. While I was grateful for the experience, I knew it wasn’t something I was going to be able to maintain. I couldn’t afford to spend so much a week on groceries. Upon following-up with my Wellness Doctor to report my progress, I asked him what I could do to maintain my newfound healthy eating habits… without breaking the bank.
My doctor’s answer to my question about how to affordably maintain my new eating habits led me to a Registered Dietician/Nutritionist (RD). This was also one of the best steps I could’ve ever taken on my quest for sustainable, manageable, affordable healthy eating.
Let me also tell you this, after going to the Wellness Doctor, I had to budget for my initial consult with the RD. All I needed was a detailed meal plan that outlined and taught me how to eat properly on a daily basis. But, remember my philosophy: You can either pay on the front end or on the back end.
So, during my initial consultation, my RD read the lab reports that I had gotten from my Wellness Doctor. She knew exactly which one of her nutritional programs I needed to adopt to continue on the road to good health. By the way, her demeanor was just as pleasant and considerate as my Wellness Doctor. She was kind, understanding, and she sympathetically listened to my complete story. It was a VERY rewarding and comforting experience. She also had a sense of humor, which put me at ease.
Once she explained the details of my new nutritional plan, I was a bit overwhelmed because more new foods were being introduced into my life, once again. In all honesty, I was ready for the challenge and the change.
One of the new foods that my RD said should be added to my healthy eating plan was something called Bone Broth. I thought, Bone Broth? What the heck is that? She went on to say that it’s probably something I was not familiar with. It may be the most challenging part of my new regimen, but it would definitely be a key element in healing my body.
She further explained that Bone Broth is basically the cooked liquid of chicken bones, beef bones or fish bones…my choice. The meat is boiled for several hours and seasoned to taste. Once it’s done, the broth is allowed to cool, then placed in sterilized mason jars in 8-ounce servings.
After her explanation, an interesting memory came rushing back to me! When I was a child, my beloved maternal grandmother, Florida Blue, use to go to the Farmers Market every weekend in Detroit where I was born and raised. She would purchase a whole bag of fresh chicken feet. She would take them home and boil them for hours. Not only would she eat the chicken feet, but she would drink the broth after the chicken feet were done cooking. I thought it was the grossest thing in the world, but she use to always say, “It’s good for what ails ya.” Turns out… she was way ahead of her time. She even had a name for the broth itself. She called it “pot liquor.”
Grandmother Florida Blue ate her chicken feet and drank her “pot liquor” all her life. And yes, I indulged more than a couple times. To me, it tasted just like the broth of chicken noodle soup, but without the noodles. And here’s the best part of the story. Not only did my grandmother have great skin, she never had wrinkles, she never lost any of her teeth, she never had heart issues, cholesterol issues, high blood pressure issues, hot flashes or any other female issues that usually come along with age. She never even took medication. However, she WAS a smoker. If not for that, I truly believe she would have lived well beyond the age of 74. Sadly, she died of lung cancer in 2001.
So, after my flashback, I kinda laughed out loud while my RD was still talking. When she asked me what was so funny, I told her the story of my dear grandmother Florida Blue, the “pot liquor,” and the chicken feet. My RD seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. She said that she was so relieved to know that I wasn’t shocked by her suggestion of adding another new food to my diet. She was also happy to know that I understood how effective Bone Broth could be in healing my body. I was elated! My grandmother Florida Blue use to always say, “Ain’t nuthin’ new under the sun.” She was right. What was once a distant memory in my life had come right back around to help me in the present!
As we continued on with the consultation, my RD explained that with her nutritional plan, I would be able to eat solid food 5 days a week from the meal plan she designed. Two days out of the week would be Bone Broth days. Meaning, I would drink four-to-six, 8 ounce jars of Bone Broth…up until 7pm on any of the two days I choose (it didn’t have to be back-to-back days of Bone Broth). She further explained that if I felt that my blood sugar was dropping during any part of the day (shakiness or nausea), I should eat 3 ounces of protein to stabilize (3 ounces of grilled chicken). That’s the regimen I’d have to follow, two days out of seven. She explained that the purpose behind the Bone Broth days was to give my digestive track a break. Thus, reducing inflammation and bloating in my gut. Think about it…most people work 5 days a week and they’re off 2 days a week – usually Saturday and Sunday — because most of us need that break…right? Well, your body (your digestive system) needs a break, too. Real simple, huh? It’s just something that most of us never think about. Hopefully, now you will.
In my mind, I was ready for the challenge. Even though I had never tried any kind of regime like this, I was not going to be intimidated by the process. I knew that I had to get better. So, after her explanation I said, “Bring it on!”
At any rate, my RD continued to outline her program which included a tour of a local health food store to get me familiar with all the new foods that were about to be introduced into my plan. I was excited!
Just an FYI, one thing I forgot to mention early on is this: if you’re going to take on the task of a total lifestyle change, first consult a doctor. Then, try to enlist the full support of your family and friends. This is not something you can do alone, although it would not be impossible. Everyone needs to know that the food you’ve been eating for years can no longer be part of your life. Therefore, there may be some changes in how your household functions.
Now, that doesn’t mean that everyone else has to stop eating the foods they love, but they need to know that YOU definitely cannot continue to eat those same foods. So, most likely grocery shopping and food preparation will change. For some people, that may be challenging. Your health is not something you want to gamble with.
In my case, my husband, who just happens to be a chef, was not all that happy about my lifestyle change. He prides himself on cooking rich and hearty foods for his family. So, when I told him that I could no longer indulge in those types of meals, it was a hard thing for him to hear. However, after my liver detox, he saw the results and he totally understood the importance of my lifestyle change. He came around to accepting my new way of eating and living. Besides that, he noticed that after the detox and the addition of my vitamin regimen, I was looking and feeling much better. That’s when his attitude changed and he was all in at that point. His commitment to helping me on my path to wellness was ever important to me. He and my son even went with me on the tour of the health food store. Most importantly, I was well on my way to good health and the best body I’d ever had.
After going on the tour of the health food store, I was a bit overwhelmed. I’d never been a horrible eater or a fan of junk food, but I’d never been a health food nut either. The good news was since my son and my husband accompanied me to the store, it made it much more enjoyable and more of a family affair. Their support was crucial for me.
Finally, I had made it through one more step in the process, and I was even more advanced in my road to a healthy lifestyle.
I had finally arrived! After 6 months of working to heal my ailing body, we had come up with a plan, and I was ready to implement it… FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE! And, my husband and son were on board to help me make it happen.
I have to admit, it’s my husband’s secret recipe for his BIBO Bone Broth that has contributed to my success. And for that I am grateful. I want you to be just as successful as I’ve been on my quest to feel good and maintain a healthy lifestyle, so let’s keep it going.
IT’S TIME TO REVIEW
I would like to share the gift that I have been given with you. It was really a new lease on life for me! Let’s review the steps I have taken so far to have a healthy lifestyle. They can serve as a quick reference guide:
Now that you have a list of the steps that contributed to my success, I’m going to give you the rundown of my daily regimen, which includes Bone Broth. Keep in mind that my regimen is one that suits my specific needs, so it may not be as effective for you as it is for me. All of us have different needs that require specific remedies, but this is what worked for me. Again, it is imperative to consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions and for diagnosis regarding any specific medical conditions.
Every Sunday, my husband does the grocery shopping and the cooking for the week, thus, contributing to my clean eating regimen. Plus, we purchase my vitamins, minerals and Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar.
Since I have a unique work schedule on television, my wake-up call is 3:00 a.m. I really don’t like to eat food in the morning. I opt for a glucose control protein shake instead, so we purchase the protein shakes in large quantities. We also purchase bottled water by the case.
My husband fires up the grill on Sunday and cooks a week’s worth of chicken. It can add up to about 12 to 16 pieces on the grill at one time. At the same time, he’ll choose one of 3 vegetables that I like and he gets those started on the stove. My favorite choices vary between Brussels sprouts, green beans and collard greens. I love sweet potatoes, so he bakes about 5 large sweet potatoes at one time. And finally, he boils a huge pot of chicken legs for the Bone Broth. That’s it! Those are my options, and I stick to them for the week. It’s called clean eating because all ingredients are fresh and never processed.
Once the food is prepared, I start packing my lunch for the week. In each container, I pack a protein, a non-starchy vegetable and a starchy vegetable. For example, one container will have one piece of grilled chicken (3 ounces) to cover my protein requirement, a heaping helping of collard greens to cover my non-starchy vegetable requirement (75-percent of your plate should be a non-starchy vegetable) and a sweet potato to cover my starchy vegetable requirement (I usually have half of a sweet potato).
I make sure that I have bottled water on my night stand, along with the supplements that I have to take before bed. Then, I make sure that my morning supplements are on my bathroom counter, along with my Apple Cider Vinegar. I add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to water everyday. I also have a divided pill container so I can pack the supplements that require food in my stomach before ingesting them. Some of my supplements have to be taken on an empty stomach, and others have to be taken after eating. It is important to follow those instructions exactly. In my case, those that have to be taken after eating means those that have to be taken once I drink my protein shake. Don’t worry, I know it seems complicated but it will all make sense as you continue reading.
As far as the Bone Broth goes, during the cooking process, my husband spices it up with his special recipe to make it unbelievably tasty and ultra nutritious. Once the Bone Broth cools down, he removes the chicken legs and we package them up to feed to our dog, Achilles, for his weekly dinner. The dog loves it and nothing in our house goes to waste! Then, he takes the broth and pours it into 12 sterilized 8-ounce mason jars and refrigerates them. Done! The Bone Broth is prepared for the week.
Upon completion of my meal prep, all other containers are stored in the refrigerator, so all I have to do is grab and go. Keep in mind that this routine takes some time, but if you want results, you gotta put in the work. Once you get into the routine, I promise, it becomes much easier.
MY DAILY REGIMEN
Again, it is imperative to consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or starting on any dietary plan. This is what worked for me.
Monday through Sunday
-Upon rising (Monday – Friday), I drink 8 ounces of water from a 16 ounce bottle that I’ve already set out on my nightstand. I drink water to re-hydrate and to kick-start my metabolism.
-I continue into the bathroom where I add about 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (Speak to your doctor before ingesting vinegar) to the other 8 ounces of water, shake it up, and I take my morning supplements that are already on the counter (3 digestive enzymes, a thyroid pill, and a probiotic). At that point, I am done taking supplements that require an empty stomach.
-Once I’ve showered and I am ready to go, I head to the kitchen to make my protein shake. My particular brand requires 12-ounces of water, along with 2 scoops of powder. Blend and drink. I drink it within a 10-15 minute window. I don’t want to have to re-constitute it. I grab my large lunch bag that is insulated… and I put my pre-packed lunch (1 protein – 3 ounces of grilled chicken; 1 non-starchy vegetable – collard greens; and 1 starchy vegetable – half a sweet potato). I also pack a jar of Almond Butter, lemons and Bone Broth.
-On my way in to work, I stop off at the local coffee shop and get a 12-ounce cup of iced-coffee with coconut milk.
-By the time I arrive at work at 5:00 a.m. (yes, it’s early!), I’m energized and ready to go on and face the world. Around 8:20 a.m., I start feeling a bit hungry, so I keep my Bone Broth at my desk. Instead of having a full meal, I have the broth and feel very satisfied. That is, I am satisfied until lunch! The Bone Broth is like a meal, and it’s delicious.
-At lunch time, usually 11:00 a.m., my pre-packed lunch takes center stage. I heat it up at work and it’s good to go. I also continue my water regimen at this time. I have to hold off on drinking large amounts of water until lunch time just because of my job requirements to remain on the set in the studio. However, once I get started, I have 24 ounces of water with a slice lemon along with my lunch. When I’m done with lunch, I have a second 24 ounce serving of water with a slice of lemon. By the time I leave work, I’ve already consumed 48 ounces of water with lemon, plus the 16 ounces that I had upon rising. It feels really good to have taken in 64 ounces of water before 1:00 p.m. By the way, personally, I drink warm water with lemon, never ice water but that is my preference.
-On the way home from work at around 1:00 p.m., I usually drink another jar of the Bone Broth. It’s satisfying, tasty, and it curbs any craving I may have in between lunch and dinner. I also have refilled my 24-ounce water cup with warm water and lemon. So on my way home, I’m drinking my Bone Broth and water.
-Around dinner time (usually 3:30 – 4:00 p.m.), I have another 3 ounce serving of protein (grilled chicken) and a non-starchy vegetable (usually collard greens). When I finish dinner, I’m done eating for the day. I do not eat after 5:00 p.m. I have to be in bed no later than 8:00 p.m., so I generally stop eating 3 hours prior to bedtime. Yes, it is a unique schedule. It may not be for everyone and I do love what I do!
-Before bed, I take my Zinc and Copper supplement… it’s a 2-in-1 pill. I have to take it before bed because when I was taking it in the mornings, it was making me slightly nauseated. It’s my personal preference, so if you end up taking this particular supplement, just know that it may upset your stomach. My doctor advised me to take it before bed, and since doing it that way, I’ve had no problems.
Bone Broth DAYS
Now that you know the routine that I follow for 5 days out of the week, let me tell you what I do on the other two days. It’s all about the Bone Broth, baby!!
I know I’ve said this in an earlier post, but it’s so important that it bares repeating. My nutritionist told me something that really struck a chord. She said that we force our digestive track to work 365 days a year, never giving it a break. Think about that… most of us work five days a week, and we look forward to the weekend so we can rest. Makes sense, right? But for some reason, we don’t apply that same reasoning to our bodies. So, I choose two days out of the week to do what I call my Bone Broth Days.
Bone Broth Days are really simple. I wake up, drink my 8 ounces of water. I take my vitamins that require an empty stomach with the other 8 ounces of water that includes my Apple Cider Vinegar. Then, I head to the kitchen and make my protein shake. Once I’m done with my protein shake, I grab my insulated bag and fill it with three eight ounce jars of Bone Broth. Then I head to the coffee house, get my iced coffee with coconut milk, and I take the rest of my supplements that requires food in my stomach, and I’m done.
For the rest of the day, all I consume is Bone Broth. It’s nourishing, filling and tasty. I never feel hungry or deprived. And the point of it is to give my digestive track a break, while continuing to nourish my body. I just warm it up in the microwave at work, and it’s good to go.
Keep in mind, I never do back-to-back Bone Broth. However, I make sure to have two Bone Broth days spaced out through the week. It doesn’t matter what days you choose, it just matters that you do it. That’s it. That’s all!
In conclusion, the secret to my success has been finding the proper doctors, healthy, and conscious eating, taking vitamins and supplements, drinking enormous amounts of warm water with lemon, and Bone Broth. It’s the Bone Broth that has allowed me to be satisfied and gratified.
I am happy to report that after remaining on a clean diet, a daily intake of Bone Broth and a workout regimen that includes 30 minutes of Cardio everyday, one day a week of Pilates, one day a week of Yoga and 3 days a week of weights, I have lost about 25-pounds and 7 inches from my waist. My skin is glowing and super soft. My hair and nails are growing uniformly strong. Believe it or not, I’m down a couple dress sizes. Best of all, I’m no longer on Metformin, Amitiza (for digestion), Pantoprazole (for heartburn) or any other medications. The only pills I take are Vitamins, B, C, D, Omega 3, Digestive Enzymes and a Probiotic. That’s it! My daily regimen.
With the help of my Wellness Doctor, my nutritionist, my family… and my faith, all my hard work has paid off! Most of all, I have a good health and nutrition plan that I can maintain for the rest of my life. I feel a deep sense of pride and accomplishment in having taken control of my wellbeing and my life.