Alternative Medicine: Finding My Way
Alternative Medicine and Conventional Medicine
My path to alternative medicine is unfortunately not an uncommon one. You see, conventional doctors spend years in medical school and learn an astronomical amount of information. This is fantastic, because it keeps us safe and healthy in an abundance of ways.
However, many doctors are unable to expand their views when it comes to alternative medicine. They won’t even consider that there could be a root cause of disease that they are not aware of, or fathom that an herb can have exceptional healing powers.
This is what frustrates me because the world of medicine is ever changing. One day we hear coffee is good for us the next day it increases our risk for this and that. We are presented with new discoveries like this all the time. There are so many unknowns in the medical field. We have only scratched the surface. Alternative medicine has been gaining traction, but we still have a long way to go.
My Story With Alternative Medicine
My path from health to sickness then back again to health began ten years ago. At that time, I was twelve years old. I had never broken a bone, had any serious or rare illness or medical mysteries of any kind. I had never even had a headache or an ear infection (still haven’t to this day, fingers crossed!). Over the course of several months, seventh-grade me started showing symptoms that at the time I didn’t realize were connected. Joint pain, mouth, sores, weight loss, fatigue, and a host of gastrointestinal symptoms led to the eventual diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, a chronic autoimmune disease, to which there is no cure.
Crohn’s disease is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, with Ulcerative colitis being the other form and slightly different. My doctors did not believe that diet had much, if any impact on my symptoms. Food doesn’t have anything to do with a digestive disorder? My parents, being my advocates were skeptical, but without knowing what else to do I followed the diet (bland, white bleached grains, etc.) and I took the medication I was prescribed. I had no choice but to be hospitalized two more times just over a year after my diagnosis because my symptoms were out of control. We were contemplating surgery when we finally struck luck.
Treating Crohn’s Disease with Alternative Medicine
I managed to get an appointment with a highly regarded Orthomolecular Physicist. My first appointment was several hours long and I left with a brand new lifestyle ahead of me. He showed me how many foods I was eating were adding to the inflammation and showing up as my symptoms, preventing me to start healing. My new diet sounded impossible, especially as a thirteen-year-old! I eliminated gluten, dairy, refined sugar, corn, soy, and more foods. It sounded crazy to me, but it worked.
I gained back weight and started feeling better. To this day I still see this physician. I retest for foods at my appointments and sometimes I get them back. Those are exciting days! While food has a huge impact on my body, so does the environment. Living on the east coast in New England, you can bet we experience some chilly and dark times in the winter. Every year since I was diagnosed I have noticed a shift in how I feel. I am much more sensitive to foods in the winter and generally do not feel well. Many times I have tested this by retreating to Florida or an island. Are you surprised to learn that I immediately felt better? I could tolerate more foods, had more energy and fewer symptoms. The connection to warmth and vitamin D is a strong one for me.
I am very hopeful that a cure for Crohn’s will be discovered. There is a lot of promising research going on. For now, I am armed with the best type of medicine there is, wholesome nutrient-dense food!
Hippocrates had it right!
Alexa Federico is a 22-year-old born and raised just north of Boston, Massachusetts. She is an avid reader and green tea drinker. She blogs at Girl in Healing, where she creates belly-friendly recipes and shares her life experiences of living with Crohn’s disease, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which there is currently no cure for. You can follow Alexa on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.