There are 2 things I have become quite passionate about in the last few years – nutrition and running. My path to this point was not clear – 10 years ago, even 5 years ago, I would not have believed I could accomplish the things I have accomplished. I figured I was destined to follow one path, but would come to realize that I could make certain choices that would re-route that path in a better direction.
As a child I was diagnosed with “exercise induced asthma”, which meant that I was excused from intensive physical activities (such as running) in school. While it was a relief to no longer have to endure the pain and misery brought on by these activities, it was disappointing to realize that I could not do these things that so many others take for granted. I have always been interested in fitness, but had trouble finding activities that truly challenged and satisfied me. I envied the way others could just throw on a pair of shoes and go for a run, but I figured that wasn’t in the cards for me. Over the years I tried different kinds of workouts, but never found one that stuck – they were all either not challenging enough or else they left me (literally) gasping for air. I gained and lost weight as I started different workout plans and then eventually lost interest.
My turning point was about 4 1/2 years ago. I had watched the scale creep up over the previous few years and I knew I didn’t want this trend to continue – I knew I needed to take action. I started walking steep incline intervals on the treadmill and I started a food journal. The food journal really helped me see where my diet needed work and I was able to start replacing empty calories with more nutritious alternatives.
It was around this time that I heard someone mention that asthma, eczema, and dairy allergies were commonly linked. That made me stop and think… I had asthma and eczema — and as a small child I had been taken off of dairy due to allergy, but then at some point it was decided that I had outgrown the allergy and I was allowed to consume dairy once again. Throughout my childhood, teenage years, and adult life I had accepted that frequent colds, sinus infections, and headaches were normal and just something to be dealt with. Or was I maybe, just maybe, actually still allergic to dairy??
So I decided to try cutting out dairy. What a difference!! I noticed significant changes within the first couple of weeks. I was no longer reliant on a constant stock of tissues! My sinuses were clear, my headaches less frequent, and exercise became a whole new experience – no longer needing to stop to try to clear my lungs so I could breathe – I COULD breathe! Since cutting out dairy the sinus infections have disappeared and the colds and headaches are few and far between, and when they do occur they are much less severe.
As the dairy-free diet was showing such positive results, I finally decided to try to run. I start out slowly – I would run for a minute or two at a time and then take a walk break. Eventually I built up to a mile, then 2, then 3, and the rest is history. I have been running for 4 years now and I have completed several half marathons, 4 full marathons, and a 50k, and I’m loving every minute of it! Additionally, I was able to achieve a healthy weight and maintain it fairly easily through healthy foods and regular exercise.
The no-dairy discovery and the running spurred my interest in diet and nutrition from 2 aspects – first, how the things you eat can have such an incredible impact not only on your health, but also you quality of life, and second, from the performance perspective about how best to fuel my body to support and enhance my running. I have joined a coop and buy organic whenever possible, and most recently joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I have read many books and watched many documentaries on the subjects of nutrition, organic farming, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), sustainable agriculture, and so on, and as my interest continued to grow I finally decided to seek out training on these subjects.
This brings me to where I am today! I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to learn from experts in the field and expand my knowledge in this area. Their core principles seem well in line with my beliefs and I am very excited to see what this program has to offer. I am hoping this will provide the guidance I need to be able to share my knowledge with others and help them transform their lives.
My goal for this blog is to share what I have learned, the resources that have helped me along the way, and any other information that may be of interest or helpful to others such as simple healthy recipes and tips to make eating healthy easier.
I wish you well in your journey and am honored if the information I share is helpful to you in any way!