Monday, December 21, 2009

Guest Blogger: Katrina Cordova!

As part of my series on the American food industry and my journey toward healthy, organic eating, I wanted to have some guest bloggers share their stories and points of view. Katrina is my first guest blogger, and my best friend:-) We grew up together in Kansas and both have similar goals in life (including raising bilingual children-only she has the advantage of having a husband who's already bilingual!) about becoming more aware of what goes into our bodies. So without further ado, I give you my beautiful friend, Katrina.

Katrina and I at her wedding in 2007.

"Growing up, desserts were a big part of my family's diet. After a family dinner, it was rare for us not to have some kind of dessert (and 90% of the time, it would involve chocolate). We always referred to ourselves as "chocoholics". I always struggled with my weight. I can't say that I've ever been a big girl, but I've always enjoyed exercising and eating healthy foods, so I never knew how I gained weight so easily. After I was married, I packed on 25 lbs within a year. My self esteem was low.

My sophomore year of college, I had a professor who had Lupus Disease. She shared with my class that she gave up refined sugars to help heal herself. I immediately asked myself what "refined sugar" was. I wasn't the only one wondering; someone else asked my professor for me. She said it was table sugar: the sugar we cook with and pour all over fruit, and everything else we want to add sweetness to. I remember that when I heard this, I was flabbergasted. I wondered how anyone could possibly NOT eat sugar. My professor claimed a healthy diet, without sugar, has helped heal her body. She went from being wheelchair bound to a healthy, beautiful, vibrant lady.

A year ago (two years after), I started my search for healthiness. I desired to be as healthy as I could be. I started reading books, and I researched different diets. I read the book Living on Live Food by Alissa Cohen. I had researched the Raw Diet after a friend of mine suffered from Cancer. It's a diet that claims to heal almost every ailment out there (including Cancer). I read this 300 page book, and was convinced this was the way to go. My husband offered 100% support, and we were determined to try it. Well, it lasted for no more than a month. We then decided it was not practical for our lifestyle. We had to plan food way in advance and could make meals, but the majority of the meals had to be made in a food dehydrator since nothing was cooked. So, we decided to stop that diet. (I do believe this diet does have many health benefits, however.) In the meantime, I tried to eat healthy, control my portions, and exercise at least a few times a week, but the extra weight was not coming off, and my self esteem was not improving. I couldn't understand, because I felt that I was living healthfully.

A few months later, I read The Bible Diet by Jordan Rubin. This man's story is amazing. He was on his death bed with Crohn's disease, until he decided to change his lifestyle. He started only eating what God commanded the Jews to eat in the Old Testament. He is now healthy as can be! This story was inspiring, but then I turned to the back of the book, to the 40 day diet plan. You had to purchase supplements and go by his plan exactly (again, expensive and not practical). I was discouraged after this, because I just didn't know what to do.

Then, I read Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels. I love watching The Biggest Loser. Almost every episode makes me cry, because each person finds themself while learning how to be healthy and take care of themselves. It's so much more than looking good; it's loving yourself. Jillian talked in her book about detoxifying your home (basically going green). Organic eating does not include any of the fillers, pesticides, or chemicals most shelf items do. I learned that your body has to work twice as hard to digest food when you eat pesticide-infected food, which means you have less energy to fight off sickness and infection. If you eat whole foods, grown from the ground, without chemicals, your body immediately recognizes them and is able to digest them much easier, so your body's enzymes can then fight off sickness, instead of working overtime to digest the foreign foods you fill your body with.

So I decided to try and eat organically. I slowly started buying different organic items, but I still hadn't given up sweets. I had to have dessert every day.

Soonafter, I learned that I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). This is a condition where a woman's eggs don't drop regularly, or they get stuck in the ovaries and turn into cysts. Women this this condition have side effects such as: irregular periods or no periods, acne, facial hair, weight gain, difficulty losing weight, and eventually diabetes type II down the road. All of these were concerns for me, but the one that scared me the most was that most women with PCOS have a very hard time conceiving. For some reason, that has always been a fear of mine. This was a hard possibility for me to accept.

I signed up to receive Jillian Michael's newletters by email. One day, I received one that addressed PCOS. She said there was no cure, and no proof of what causes it. She did mention some ways to help control it, however. One of those ways was to give up refined sugars. At that moment, I decided that was it; I had to give up sugar.

It has been about a month now, and I've lost 10 lbs--simply from avoiding refined sugars, eating 90% organically, and exercising a few times a week. I have had some sugar from time to time, but I've learned about agave nectar--a honey-like nectar from the agave plant. 100% organic. It tastes wonderful, and it breaks down easily in your body, unlike sugar. I put some in my organic coffee, or in my homemade, organic yogurt. It tastes like sugar!

This has been quite a journey for me, and I'm still learning and still discovering new things. It is difficult at times, when others around me say, "Oh, come on, it's okay every once in a while', or when going out to eat. But this is not something I want to do most of the time and it isn't something I'm doing just to lose weight; this is a lifestyle change that I want to adapt permanently--for my own sake, and for the sake of my future children and the ones I love. Otherwise, I could be one of the women with PCOS who end up with Diabetes II. I don't want that for myself. I want to take care of myself and love myself. I want to be healthy and active. These are my desires, and this will be a life-long journey; but if there is a way I can avoid sickness and diseases, why wouldn't I do whatever I could to avoid such monstrosities?"

Thanks, Katrina! Stay tuned to read other inspiring stories from guest bloggers soon!

1 comment:

  1. Loving everything about the last couple posts. Katrina, your story is inspiring and I hope more people find the bravery to think out of the box before they are forced into the wake-up call instead of choosing health first. Karilyn, I am so happy that you are starting to explore on this seems a little less lonely now;) K