Today is Day 7 of WEGO’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge (#HAWMC on Twitter). And today’s question is:
April 7th is World Health Day – So let’s talk about daily nutrition and diet. After your diagnosis, did you alter your diet or health routine? If so, how? How do you maintain a healthy regiment? #HAWMC
Before I got Myasthenia Gravis, MG, a neuromuscular autoimmune disease, I was already eating healthy and exercising, mostly because of my bipolar disorder. Because of MG, I try to eat oranges and bananas everyday. I really love oranges anyway. I try to avoid too much dairy and drink soy milk because I have polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Reliv, Nutritional Supplement That’s Helped Me
The biggest change in diet has been adding Reliv, a nutritional supplement, to my daily routine. Reliv has helped me tremendously. Reliv is not a medication; I take the shake twice a day. After I got MG, I had to sleep at a 90° angle every night because of respiratory problems I developed. I started drinking Reliv in December 2012. By the summer of 2013, I no longer needed a CPAP machine and I no longer needed to act like a human chair every night! I was pleasantly surprised the first night I slept normally for the first time in five years.
Other Positive Effects of Reliv
Other changes with Reliv included decreased use of inhaler, decreased infections (I used to get infections every time I got a paper cut), and increased immunity to the flu. I still take medications for my illnesses though I stopped the painkillers because Reliv’s Lunasin capsules were better at treating the pain than the painkillers I’d been on, which came with bad side effects. Reliv is nutrition at a cellular level; the kind we don’t get in our over processed and genetically modified foods. You take it as a shake two or three times a day. Reliv has been used to help victims of coma, cancer patients, autoimmune patients, mental health patients (I take their 24 K when I’m depressed), and others affected by a variety of conditions. I am now a Reliv consultant and my clients have illnesses like muscular dystrophy. I still experience fatigue and pain, especially due to the combination of diseases, but my lungs have greatly improved. I never want to go back to sleeping at 90° every night and using a CPAP machine; five years was enough! (Leave a comment if below if you have any questions about Reliv.)
A Deeper Motivation for Exercising
I exercised before I got MG at the age of 24. In fact, I did yoga five days a week (even though yoga bored me). When I got MG, I lost feeling in my legs and arms. I had many procedures and was bedridden for over a year. When I finally got up, I couldn’t do the things I used do like yoga or jogging. So I found solace in Pilates and did it regularly. I forced myself to do it for my immunity and for my sanity. After doing Pilates 4-5 times a week for a year, I did not lose any weight. (At that point, I had gained twelve dress sizes due to Prednisone and being bedridden.) But I kept exercising. I was grateful not to be paralyzed. I knew there were people with MG and similar diseases who were worse off than I was; some of them in wheelchairs. After another year of Pilates, I lost all the weight. My weight has fluctuated over the past seven years (based on changes in meds) but nothing as dramatic as those first two years with MG.
Seeing Exercise As A Privilege–Not a Burden
What I learned is to exercise for deeper benefits than being skinny. Being able to feel one’s legs is a gift not everyone has; exercise is a privilege. Exercise has mental health benefits: Exercising releases endorphins, AKA “the feel good hormones.” Now, I exercise to fight stress and depression. I do as much as I can do.
I’ll be answering a new question each day this month!
–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno