Tuesday, September 10, 2013

More About Jen & Alopecia...

After much debate and uncertainty, I have finally started a blog! Yay! I wanted a place where I can post my recipes, how-to's, information, and general life experiences - so here it is! Here's a little background about how I got to this point....

Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with an unpredictable autoimmune disease called Alopecia. Stress, traumatic events, or some unknown factor triggers the body to attack itself, killing innocent hair follicles and forming spots of baldness on the scalp and body.  Honestly, it made sense to me at the time. I was in college, overweight, not getting enough sleep, having constant digestive issues and drinking more than I should (ok, maybe way more than I should). The bald spots came and went, and a few years later, I moved on to a different state for an amazing job and a new experience.  A year and half later, I was the happiest, but not the healthiest, I had been in my life when the alopecia became so aggressive that I lost every single hair on my body. Now we all know that there is some hair we’d like to permanently go away, but as a female this was extremely traumatic. “I know, I know, it’s just hair”  I’d have to reply to friends and family as they consoled me, but it wasn’t just hair to me. I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror anymore. Without eyebrows or eyelashes, your face becomes a blank canvas. It’s also terrifying not knowing what caused this to happen in the first place. I became the memorable bald girl in town.

2008
I went through multiple dermatologists and blood tests before I finally just faced the fact that there was nothing I could do to reverse it. To make matters worse, I also became diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, another autoimmune issue.  
My body was freaking out, leaving me to deal with it’s destruction.  The dermatologists all informed me that since this was the most severe form of alopecia, there wasn’t a topical solution - only internal. Their interpretation of that meant taking intense immunosuppressants or steroids just to calm my body down, which is not worth the side effects at my age.  After that first dermatologist appointment, I came home and cried for three hours in bed feeling helpless.

Through all of that, I finally came to a conclusion:
I would heal myself from the inside out.  


Progress over a 6 month span with a cleaner diet.
If I was going to be bald the rest of my life, at least I could be healthier and feel better, and maybe a good diet would calm my body down in the process.  I needed to put in the best fuel into my body for the best outcome possible. I constantly came across the raw food diet because of it’s nutritional aspects and the large use of superfoods.  I was intrigued and started experimenting with recipes. Raw foods were my gateway to a cleaner lifestyle, and after eliminating other inflammatory foods such as gluten and dairy, focusing on paleo and raw foods and becoming more active, I finally sprouted my first hair within the year!  



"Health is a relationship between you and your body" -Terri Guillemets


Coloring from my 2nd 5K and a short hairstyle.
Since my first attempt at raw foods, I have performed my own experiments with myself by going on and off of my diet and exercise regiment and eating more processed foods and meat. Every time I do this, my hair falls out within a few months. So, I've decided that there is nothing better for me than a clean diet full of raw vegan foods and a healthier lifestyle. Not only was I able to calm my body down, but the weight loss, mental clarity, better skin, and overall healthier state of mind and body was enough to make me want to tell the world about my transition that started with raw foods. Since my revelation, I have focused not only on raw foods, but also paleo and vegetarian cooking and stress relieving activities such as yoga, running and knitting (what?!). This blog is my attempt to share my healthier lifestyle change and to motivate others to improve what they eat, become more active, and to enjoy life. Life doesn't have to be complicated and neither does your diet.

7 comments:

  1. Jen! I'm so excited to read about your transition in detail! I remember when all this started happening eight years ago, but I haven't seen you enough since I moved away to realize how well your dieting and experiments have been going! Love it! Keep it up!

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  2. Hi Jen, Alopecia sucks........... I have it too. I am gonna try some of your recipes.
    Adam :)

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  3. Hi Jen - found your blog by chance as I was "flipping" through the internet looking for raw/vegan recipes. The new blog looks great! Have fun with it, and all the best to you as you continue your journey to a healthier you.

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  4. Howdy Jen! - I'm so glad to have found your blog! I feel your pain. In fact I was amazed to read your story and the parallel events taking place in my life almost verbatim. I too concluded to make every effort to heal from the inside out and knew this was my best means of correcting this disorder. I created a FB page recently called Pushin' Thru to document and share my progress and in hopes of learning new strategies from others with the same symptoms. Thank you so much for the courage to share. It gives me hope! Best! Larry Babin

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  5. I have Alopecia as well, and have found that my diet is a HUGE factor in my hair loss/regrowth patterns. Excited to see that there is someone else out there who is experiencing similar things. Your recipes are definitely something I'm going to put on my list. Thanks!

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  6. Hey! I'm excited to have found your blog. I have a similar story, very unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one. The difference is mine actually feel out when I was healthy though. I was marathon training, had given up drinking and sweets, at the lightest weight I can ever remember.....I'm not sure what to think. I've experienced regrowth, but I'm still missing about 30% on my head......Alopecia sucks.

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