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Friday
Aug122011

Making the Switch: Angie's Story

This week it is my pleasure to introduce Angie. Angie is a 35 year-old Provo, Utah wife and mother of three girls. When Angie wrote and expressed interest in being featured on Making the Switch, I knew it was meant to be. That very week I needed to hear her story for two reasons. Two days prior, my mom had been told by her doctor that she was pre-diabetic! WHAT?! She is the picture of perfect health! And then earlier this year my 64 year-old father checked himself into the ER (for what he thought was bronchitis) and checked out three days later with a stent and a piece of paper in hand with the diagnoses of: 1) Congestive Heart Failure, 2) Coronary Artery Disease, Hypertension and 4) Type II Diabetes. No one, including himself, knew how sick he was. Following his discharge this is what he wrote to family and friends. "The prognosis for congestive heart failure is from 1 to 8 years. Since we caught this thing quite early, I believe that I have a few more years to relax, get things sold off ... and get all of personal affairs taken care of before I go down and 'catch the bus'." That bus arrived four days later, to our shock and disbelief. Needless to say, diabetes and its related complications have been made very real to me. I have questions and want to learn all I can about the disease. So, thank you, Angie, for coming along at just the right time and inspiring me to do so.
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ANGIE'S STORY: Deep in Diabetes

About 4 years ago, when I was 31, I remember being really frustrated by the fact that I would get SO tired in the afternoon. I lacked energy and motivation. At the time, my girls were 5 years old; 4 and 1. It took everything I could to function in the afternoon. I got headaches often and my knees ached if I did anything strenuous, making it hard to exercise. I was at least 30 lbs overweight. We had switched over to 100% whole wheat bread and didn't eat a lot of meat, but we were definitely neglecting the fresh veggies and fruits. Canned corn and beans and apples, bananas and grapes were about all we stocked up on. And we definitely weren't drinking enough water. My husband was addicted to Diet Coke, and I just didn't drink enough of anything, period.

Deep in Diabetes.

Another thing weighing on my mind was diabetes. 10 years ago, about a month after my husband and I were married, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 23. We found out later that his dad had been diagnosed with Type 1 also at age 23. My husband's brother was diagnosed at age 14. What that means for our girls is that they have a greater chance of getting Type 1 at some point in their lives. That is something that no parent wants to have to go through. My husband's dad ended up passing away 3 years ago after a long struggle from complications of diabetes. He was blind; had a triple bypass; toes amputated and poor circulation. He sat down to a bowl of ice cream every night and ate whatever he wanted. His blood sugars were all over the place. We were determined NOT to go down that road, but we still weren't quite sure how to prevent this from happening. A year after he passed, we found out that my husband's 6-year-old step sister was diagnosed with Type 1. We were definitely deep in diabetes.

About 3 years ago, I was over at my friend's house and we were discussing diabetes and my fears and worries. She pulled out a book that her dad, Dr. Robert Young, had written entitled The pH Miracle for Diabetes. Surprisingly, it took me a while to actually read it. When I finally did, I felt that it was meant to be. I KNEW that we needed to make some drastic changes in our lives, especially as far as food was concerned. What I thought was healthy was not. I knew that it would make a difference with my husband and his diabetes. I felt as if I had some control over a disease that has taken hold of several family members and friends. I now feel that I can prevent or prolong my girls from getting diabetes just by choosing the right food.

Angie's beautiful [and healthy] girls.

Sweat, Tears, Resistance ... REWARDS!

I knew it wouldn't be easy. I actually didn't even like cooking, and the realization that I would not only have to cook, but chop up veggies and try out different recipes was not the most exciting thing for me. I knew it would be a journey. My "why" is what has kept me going. There has been sweat and tears put into this journey. There has been resistance all around me. Not just from my girls, but close family and friends. I sense that they think I am depriving my kids. I feel some of them would be happier if I told them that we were going out for Happy Meals everyday. As long as we pick the chicken nuggets and apple dippers and chocolate milk for calcium, we'll be good, right? But even after all of this resistance, I STILL continue to move us forward in the journey.

I have never felt more energized than I do now! I experience less headaches and my knees don't ache anymore. I was told by a doctor over 15 years ago that I would need knee surgery. Sometimes it was so bad that I was holding onto the wall to walk up the stairs. I was downing pain killers. I'm happy to say that I have been running 2 miles almost every day now with minimal or no knee pain. I have lost those 30 pounds and actually weigh what I did before I was married and had kids! My husband has been a little slower at adapting to this lifestyle, but he has given up his Diet Coke and added green smoothies to his diet. We are trying to eat at least 80% raw and try to only eat foods that are highly alkaline. We drink a lot more water. When my husband is really conscious about what he is eating throughout the day and exercising, his blood sugars are always in the normal range. We are hoping to reduce his insulin intake and possibly even reverse his diabetes. I know it will be tough, but why not try? It's worth a try. I want my husband to experience the "cure" for diabetes.

Extreme Kitchen [pantry and fridge] Makeover.

When I decided to go full on, I went through the fridge and started emptying things out—all the dairy and meat and condiments like ketchup; mayo; salad dressing; soy sauce; bbq sauce; butter; etc. We went through the cupboards and finished off the rest of the goldfish and graham crackers; macaroni and cheese and ramen noodles. We made and ate the last tater tot casserole for the rest of our lives. Our fridge had a makeover. I picked out a few recipes from my new-found alkaline lifestyle cookbooks and added the ingredients to our grocery list. I spent more time in the veggie and fruit department than I EVER have in my LIFE! I found out what ginger and kale looked like; I finally found out how to pronounce Quinoa, and I found out that they actually sell coconut oil and that it's really good for you! I had never heard of hummus or almond butter or tahini. I had NO idea that there was a different way to get calcium other than cow's milk.

You Have Control. You Can Do It.

My eyes have been opened. I'm learning more every day and taking it in and applying what I feel is right for my family. I have been inspired. This didn't just happen by mistake. There is a reason for all of this and I know that I need to keep pushing forward. I started a healthy eating blog mostly to help keep me going on this journey, but it has turned into a way to help others who may be trying to make changes in their lives. It's a place I keep track of recipes that have worked for us (after MANY trials and errors) and ways for changing to a whole foods/alkaline way of living.

I know it can be really challenging, but if I can do it, anyone can do it! And it is SO worth it! Why not try? Don't wait until a diagnosis of cancer or diabetes or some other dreaded disease. Don't accept living life being tired and cranky or overweight. Don't feel that you have no control. If I could give any advice it would be to "prevent...not treat."

For a bit of information on blood pH and a link to an at home test, click here.

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Making the Switch, spotlights everyday people journeying on to better health and well-being by choosing pure food over processed. For some, it has been gradual. For others it was a complete about-face.

Putting the modified diet focus of this blog aside, Making the Switch is open to all. The point being to bring personal stories to light that encourage young and old to get back into the kitchen to cook real food. As Jamie Oliver puts it, “make only a few small changes and magical things will happen.” Whether it’s weight loss, improvements in a child's behavior or the regaining of health, magical things will happen.

WHAT'S YOUR STORY? Consider being featured on Making the Switch! Click here and drop me a line telling me a little about yourself. Someone is waiting to be inspired by YOU!

Any college students out there? We'd love to hear from you?

Reader Comments (6)

Very inspiring story! My brother was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14. When they found out what was wrong with him he was less than 80 lbs and his blood sugar was over 1000! He almost went into a coma and died!! Thanks for sharing your story and keep up all the hard work because it will pay off :)

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCassidyS

This is such a wonderful story. Rock on Angie! Thanks so much for posting this Lexie.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

Thanks so much for sharing your family's story, Angie. So much of what we've been taught about diabetes historically has been wrong. It's another disease/condition where the "face" is not always the same. I'm reading the brand new book Sugar Nation right now. Much of it is validation of what I already know, but some messages can't be repeated enough and I think the title alone says so much. Huge, huge kudos to you for all the success you've had in making the switch and healing your family! Thank you so much, Lexie, for sharing Angie's story and your own heartbreaking family experience with the loss of your dad. I'm hoping your mom will be able to banish her prediabetes now that she knows. Big hugs to you, my dear friend! Thank you for this series. It will definitely make a difference in people's lives.

xo,
Shirley

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShirley @ gfe

So inspiring Lexie! These are wonderful stories to read.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa Fleming

Thank you for sharing your story Angie! I live in Salt Lake City and would love to meet you sometime!

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Thanks to each one who took a moment to give Angie a well-deserved pat on the back. You go mama!

xoLexie

August 16, 2011 | Registered CommenterLexie

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