The Journey Begins!

I’d like to begin by introducing myself…

My name is Maggie, short for Margaret Anne, but I’ve been a Maggie practically since I was born.  I am 20 years old, just getting ready to begin my junior year of college.  I am studying to be a nurse and hope to eventually work as a neonatal nurse practitioner.   But enough with the practical stuff, let me tell you all a little more about WHO I really am…

An athlete..

A sister (the youngest of 5!)…

A friend…

And last, but DEFINITELY not least, a little bit of a goofball…

Something else that has been a big part of my life is healthy eating.  I have always valued nutritional foods and sought out the healthiest choices, well, most of the time 🙂  For the past couple of years, I’ve tried many different diets and approaches to healthy eating, simply for the purpose of losing a few pounds or feeling better about my body.  I never dreamed that all of my healthy eating would become not just a choice, but a lifestyle.

In the spring of 2010, in the midst of training for Vermont’s Covered Bridges Half Marathon, I began to experience intense swelling and pain in my left foot.  Having suffered a few ankle sprains during my winter lacrosse training, I figured that I simply had not given myself enough time to recover and was suffering the consequences of pushing myself too hard.  After seeing 4 different orthopedists, including a foot and ankle specialist in Philadelphia, I realized that this was not the case.

By July, I was not only experiencing the same foot swelling, but my right knee swelled up as well.  I was referred to a rheumatologist who did a sample of blood tests to determine the cause.  After a week of waiting anxiously, the doctor called to inform me that I tested positive for the HLA-B27 gene marker, which is present in patients suffering from a whole family of inflammatory arthritic conditions, including ankylosing spondylitis and reactive arthritis.

I was devastated by the news.  I couldn’t help but fear the future of my joints and worry that I would no longer be able to lead the active lifestyle that I had grown to know and love.  When I first heard the news, I couldn’t help but fill my head with the gloom and doom that my life as an athlete and a runner was over…

…Until I did some research.  My mom, who is a nurse herself and always an extremely healthy eater, began to ask around.  It was with her help that I came across an anti-inflammatory diet that has been associated with tremendous relief for people suffering from arthritis.  In many cases, people who have followed this diet strictly have lived pain free lives.  I was warned by a neighbor, who also happens to be a doctor, that this diet would not be easy.  He told me that I would have to say no to many things, and the changes I’d be making would be radical, turning my current eating habits inside out.  But there was no question about it, I was going to take on this mission to heal my body through healthful eating and use this hope to find my inner athlete once again.

Thus begins my food blog!  I will write and document my new life on the anti-inflammatory diet with hopes that I can spread the word and the success for any readers I might attract.  The diet has only a few rules, albeit pretty hard to follow…

1. Overbalance your intake of monounsaturated fats vs. polyunsaturated fats.  This means no red meat, but lots of fish (omega 3’s are great), nuts, olive oil, and avocados

2. No processed or refined sugars.  This is basically no processed foods, white flour, or sweets. Try telling this to someone who considers it a necessity to always know where the closest candy store is and lives across the street from one of the best pizza shops in Philadelphia!

3. Load up on fruits and veggies.

4. Always choose whole grains.  Goodbye bread basket!

5. No dairy fat…ugh, but I LOVE ice cream and cheese!!

Although there are not too many rules, they are not the easiest to follow.  Perhaps the most difficult reality for me to grasp is that this is not just another health food stint I am trying out, but a diet I will choose to live by day in and day out.  I am inviting all of my blog readers to follow along with me as I say goodbye to the brownies and bring on the berries!

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2 responses to “The Journey Begins!

  1. Pingback: The Journey Begins! (via Munching to Mend) « Kevin Meyers

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