I've experienced a lot of health this past year. It's been great. No illness, great energy levels.
Jason and I really do a pretty good job of keeping ourselves healthy through diet and healthy lifestyle habits. But we're not saints, and we experience challenges too.
Returning to Thailand this January, it was distinctly apparent that I was healthier. Sleeping in my same old bed in Hua Hin, breathing the same air, visiting the same beach, I felt so much healthier.
It was a good reminder of how small things can get overlooked when they become chronic. If not overlooked, at least tolerated.
In years past, my energy levels weren't as good, I frequently caught colds, and had a harder time managing my stress. This time around in Thailand, I felt GREAT. At least, at first.
"Living in Thailand" for a few weeks probably evokes images of coconuts lazily sipped beachside....fresh seafood and lots of tropical fruit. Well, the tropical fruit did happen, but so did loads of MSG, questionable quality bottled water, and harsh chemical bug sprays in the air.
After the first two weeks in Thailand, I noticed I wasn't sleeping after eating meals out--most likely due to the MSG. I began feeling sluggish and a bit tired. My earlier pep and vigor were quickly beginning to wane.
I concluded that more important than the MSG, water, and air coming in, were the healthy habits I abandoned in this different environment. I wasn't using my homemade personal care products, I wasn't eating my home-cooked food, and I wasn't employing any of the numerous healthy habits I keep here at home (other than oil pulling--oil pulling travels well).
I've been using only my own shampoo and hair conditioner for over a year now. I've also been dying my hair with henna and indigo. (For those who are surprised by the dying, I've had greys since I was in my early teens and am mostly white now- I dye my hair every three to four weeks). I use no products in my hair anymore, either.
Although this is only one area of many where I try my best to practice what I preach to keep myself healthy, this is the area that rebelled against my "vacation."
Just after I returned from Thailand, my scalp broke out in painful bumps. Red, painful, thickening, and eventually flaking off. My scalp slowly worsened over the first week I was back until I finally gave in and began treatment. After some self-acupuncture and daily herbal head wraps over night, it's almost completely gone. And, of course, I am back to my good habits.
I've never had any problems with my scalp in the past. Having your head painfully flake off is an unsightly and humbling experience. But it is a great example of one of the body's many possible methods for making its displeasure known.
Eczema, acne, headaches, intestinal symptoms-- there are many avenues for inflammation of express itself. And it is so often experienced by people who are making an effort to become healthier. As anyone who has gone down the rabbit hole of food intolerance knows, when you have avoided something your body does not like, it rebels so much more strongly if you slip back into old habits.
So I write this in solidarity with the chemically-sensitive. I never have been so before. But it is my body's way of reminding me that what was being done before (using chemical-laden hair products and toxic hair dyes) is not something I should ever do again.
Keep continuing on your own personal health crusade, and don't get frustrated when symptoms arise. Every small change we make in the right direction has innumerable effects that can't be seen or felt. Sometimes we pay the price for cleaning up our act, but it's worth the cumulative effect, increasing quality of life and maybe even adding years!