I am a full-fledged foodie, a mad kitchen scientist, a card-carrying chocoholic, and self-taught cook, who, loves bread. But due to the side effects of inflammation inherent with gluten sensitivity, along with other causes of inflammation, I developed asthma, insomnia, and digestive issues. Ten years ago, I was advised to give up gluten. In less than a year, after going gluten-free, eliminating stress from my life—at least that which I had control over— and embarking on an anti-inflammatory diet, I was off the asthma medication, my sleep pattern returned, and the belly bloat disappeared.
Here’s the skinny on my before and after story:
That’s me in 1997, hanging on to the lip of 40. From a distance, I may look healthy, but it’s what you don’t see that is most telling. Inflammation was raging through my body on two fronts. Physically, I was battling advance periodontal disease. Psychologically and emotionally, stress and depression had turned me into a walking zombie with a hall pass. By day, I was washing down diet pills with coffee to wake-up, while the night crawler of insomnia induced my dependency on sleeping pills and alcohol. All of which was taking a serious toll on my health and wellness. I was in denial of my condition and stayed that way for another ten years. The epiphany came when my brother died of a heart attack. But it wasn’t until undergoing extensive dental implant surgery that I was forced to rethink food— since I couldn’t masticate anything for six months—and change my lifestyle, starting with controlling the stress monster within.
Sometimes we have to hit bottom to feel the ground under our feet. Since taking back my health, I’ve spent the last 4 years traveling across Indonesia, South America, the Mediterranean, and Egypt to inter my brother’s ashes, a bittersweet reminder that still resonates of just how precious life is and how little time we have on this earth. The wellness path I’m on has taken me to incredible places filled with unforgettable memories, introduced me to a world of diverse cultures—I may not have opened up to before—where I had amazing experiences, made a boatload of new friends and met a host of wonderfully supportive people.
I just finished writing a book about my travels and life experiences that I hope will inspire others to take back their life. And while waiting to land an agent/publisher, I started this blog to share the recipes I’ve collected on my journey back to health and wellness. Through it all, I’ve learned that life is a gift. How we live it is a choice. And I plan to live every day of mine in the moment as if it were my last.
Now, 20-years after that first photo was taken, I am healthy and happily poised on the edge of sixty. And to celebrate, I had this photo taken. And no, it wasn’t Photoshop. That is me in the raw, testament that it’s never too late to “get your glow-on,” because health and wellness is ageless, and time is relative.
Eat, live, and inspire. Namaste.