The Green Juice Gospel

December 1, 2009

So, interesting thing happened today. I was in a hurry on my way to my evening class, and I brought a green smoothie with me. If there is one thing I LOVE, it’s a spinach and wheat grass smoothie. Before I started teaching myself to like better foods, it used to be one of the only way to get veggies into me. Depending on how hungry I am, I usually try to make a (hefty) smoothie for a meal every day. Today, it was dinner.

I had never brought a green smoothie into class before. I never really thought about it. But man, did I get a reaction.  I got so many people asking me “What IS that? What does it taste like? How do you make it?” Lots of them reacted with disgust, but a few seemed interested.  Before long, I was preaching the gospel of the “Green Monster” to the whole classroom! I love my smoothies with banana and mango, and when I explained the sweetness of the fruit and soymilk counteracts the spinach, some were intrigued and wanted to try it.

It seemed that I made an impact without even trying. Just by bringing in something different, I showed a few people that eating healthy didn’t have to be bland and disgusting, and that was so exciting. Even those who seemed grossed out may think twice before chugging that Dr. Pepper out of the vending machine. Maybe they’ll get a water instead!

Funny, 20 minutes ago starting a blog sounded like a good idea.

I’ll start with the basics. One year ago, I was a healthy, fit college student.  (Here’s some irony for you – I was studying dietetics.)  Living in a college town, I did a lot of walking and biking, and I spent time at the gym to boot.  I may have eaten a little more junk food than I should, but that’s just part of the college experience. Right?

Unfortunately, I didn’t stay that way. I started feeling weak, dizzy, and sluggish. I was hot all the time, and I had chest pains (which I chalked up to not-enough-studying anxiety.) Finally, I woke up feeling like death and went to the doctor. While the doctor said I was probably feeling bad due to my diet and sleeping habits, she took blood work – which came back positive for a strep infection which was attacking my heart and bloodstream, and a dangerously low TSH counts, meaning I was also suffering from severe hyperthyroidism.

Luckily, after a frantic phone call from my (very apologetic) doctor, I was treated with extensive antibiotics and all was well. Kind of. I spent a total of eight weeks more or less unable to leave the house, since even walking into the kitchen left me needing to stop and rest.  After I was considered completely healthy again, I was still weak and my battered immune system left me susceptible to frequent sinus infections, the flu, and respiratory infections. Needless to say, I spent a lot MORE time in bed.

Now, a year later, I have gone from my healthy 120 lbs. (on a 5’4″ frame) to a very unhealthy 145.  I frequently need to use my inhaler (blame a bout of anaphylactic shock and the aforementioned beating my poor lungs took) and can no longer run or do the equestrian activities I used to without it. I am taking classes full-time and doing medical transcription from home. Driving to a from school, and working in front of a computer, I spend my time being fairly sedentary, which I would like to change.

As of now, I am holding myself accountable. I am no longer succumbing to the illnesses I have had and no longer using them as an excuse.

I am setting a few goals for myself, and using this blog to document my progress.

1) Get back to at least close to my original weight of 120 lbs.

2) Be able to run a 5k by May. I may not need this much time, but I want to be able to do it WELL if I do it at all. I’m currently looking for 5ks to sign up for in my area.

3) Transition to a completely vegetarian lifestyle. As of now, I usually eat meat once a day, one or two days a week. I would like to be able to make this a permanent transition.

It took me a year to get to this point, and so I’m hoping it will take me less than a year to reverse these effects. Feel free to post any comments, encouragement, or similar experiences.

Thanks for reading all of this!