Before I tell you about who I am and how I got here, let me tell you some things I am not. I am not someone who grew up in a holistic or “crunchy” lifestyle in the least. I am not someone who has always been conscious of what I eat or put in my body. I am not here to preach to anyone. While my diet is now far better than the average American diet, and I have been making an effort to be conscious of what I put in and on my body for several years now, it wasn’t always that way, and I’m definitely still not perfect (though I am proud of how far I’ve come). I’m here to help, not judge. Because I know those first steps down a greener path can feel overwhelming and confusing. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to happen overnight. I understand that there are sometimes economic and other limitations that people have, which may prevent them from changing certain aspects of their lifestyle, but I hope that most people can use the information I will share with you here at This Green Path. Notice how I said THIS Green Path, and not THE Green Path. That was deliberate, as I often am, because there is not just one path. There are plenty of “templates” or people whose footsteps you can follow exactly, but the truth is, you have to be willing to take with you what you find valuable for your life, pack it up, and venture out on YOUR path. Leave the rest.
In 2010, I was incredibly unwell. I saw doctor after doctor. Those doctors referred me to other doctors. They gave me medications that made me feel terrible, but those only masked my symptoms instead of getting to the root of the problem. I had been seeing several doctors, and none of them knew what was wrong with me. Why was my white blood count so consistently abnormal? Maybe leukemia, one of them figured, so she scheduled an appointment for me to go and have my bone marrow tested. A conversation I had on the phone with my mother changed the course of my life, and I never went to that appointment.
“Maybe you should try going gluten free and see how you feel.”
I kind of brushed it off when my mom said it. I had never been on a diet in my life, and I didn’t have the energy or desire to deal with learning a new way to eat. Not to mention, I didn’t even know what gluten was, and I highly doubted removing whatever it was from my diet would magically make my blood counts normal or make me feel any better.
BUT IT DID.
Mothers have a way of usually knowing best, don’t they? What is this superpower? I begrudgingly agreed to try it for a week and report back to her, but I was going to complain the whole time. Three days later, I called her to tell her how I couldn’t freaking believe it, but I looked and felt like a new person. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt that good. My boss even told me I seemed like a new person, and he thought I should keep doing whatever I was doing. Screw trying this for just a week! If this is what I can feel like without gluten, sign me up for life! I frantically scoured the internet for information. I learned all about celiac disease and non celiac gluten intolerance. At my next doctor appointment to recheck my blood counts, it was NORMAL for the first time in months, and I was even able to stop taking all of my medications a short while later. I talked with the doctor about celiac disease, and I was eventually diagnosed. I have been 100% gluten free since December of 2010. (Full disclosure: I had some indulgences in 2011, which I paid for dearly, and I will never do that again!)
This experience opened up a new way of thinking for me. If what we put in our bodies can have that much power, and if all these doctors couldn’t find the problem, and if all their medications just made me feel worse, then this means I need to take charge of my health if I want to be healthy and feel good. I need to give a shit. It matters what I eat, and what medications I take. It even matters what I put on my skin. So that’s how I found and started off running on this green path.