Hello there! It's been a while, since I last wrote a blog post. Life has been chaotic, busy and full of many blessings. Hopefully, this season of "social distancing" finds you well. Although, I like the idea of calling it physical distancing better because we're still able to maintain our social interactions through technology. Thank God for that!
I've been wanting to write about this for a couple weeks now. Between work and also my feelings about the topic, I held back for a bit. But I want to be open and transparent, so other people don't find themselves in a similar situation.
At some point in 2019, I started to struggle with acne really badly. Like worse than my teenage years. It was embarrassing and really messed with my self-esteem. At first, I chalked it up to being postpartum and my hormones fluctuating so I figured I'd endure it until Bella was closer to turning one. Time came and went, and still no improvement. It might have actually gotten worse. So I started seeing an esthetician (shout out to my bestie Karen! You're the best!) and saw some improvement, after a series of skin treatments and modifications to my skin care and diet. But it still wasn't clearing up, so she suggested it was hormonal.
Between the acne and some other stuff going on, I finally decided to go get some lab work done last month. I was convinced this was going to explain everything. WRONG. My hormone levels are normal; BUT my liver enzymes were showing I had minimal liver damage. The doctor asked me to avoid alcohol and pain meds and come back to get retested. I stopped drinking alcohol two months ago and I only take medicine, when I'm borderline dying (I hate treating symptoms versus the cause of them). So I went again and got retested, they were still elevated. At this point, she mentioned supplements to which my response was "everything I take is natural". She mentioned how some natural herbs and minerals can create toxins in your body, which make your liver work harder to do its job aka detox and filter.
I started to research liver damage, liver damage and acne, liver damage as a result of supplements, the ingredients in my vitamins, pre and post workout supplements, and protein shakes. I found that acne is a symptom of liver damage. When your liver is overloaded with toxins and unable to filter appropriately, the toxins go to your skin and hello acne. (Suddenly, all those science classes I took kicked in and I was like duh!) I found that my my vitamins had trace amounts of these 'toxic' ingredients but not enough to cause my issues. My protein shakes were clear. My post workout supplement was clear. My preworkout was not clear. Actually, let me clarify, one of the two types that I use was not clear. It had multiple ingredients known to cause liver damage, including Green Tea extract. I was floored. Great Tea is known for being so good for you! I felt angry and betrayed. After a couple days, maybe weeks, of being upset about how I was misled by the "health & wellness" industry into taking something that hurt my body, I had my lightbulb moment.
It's not the FDA's job to make sure what I put in my body is safe. It's not a company's job to make sure that something won't harm me. Yeah, it'd be great if the ethical standards were placed above financial but let's be real. It is MY responsibility to take care of my body. It's my job to do my due diligence and read the labels, research the ingredients, and put my wallet aside when weighing quality between products. So this is where I'm at. I've educated myself. I've reduced my consumption of supplements by changing my routine. I'm replacing my supplements for truly healthy options. And I'm working towards a truly natural lifestyle. I recently read a quote that said, "If God made it, eat it; if man made it, don't eat it" (Lisa Stewart). That's the ultimate goal for my wellness journey.
Every circumstance is an opportunity to grow and learn. This was one of mine.