A personal story – My journey to better health
By Joy Stephenson-Laws
At some point in your life, you have probably felt what I felt as it relates to your health…Confusion, uncertainty, worry …
My aha moment was in my early 40’s when my doctor of many years started to prep me for what I should expect as I navigate my way through my 40s and 50s. He told me I should expect hot flashes, depression, difficulty sleeping, weight gain, water retention among other things. He also told me to stay active, eat a healthy diet but I would still have many of these issues. Everyone does. But when that time came, he would prescribe medications for me to fix those problems.
Bless his heart. He was being “proactive” about my health.
But I was not ready to accept my fate. I did not want to take medications unless I had to. They may work but have tons of side effects. I prefer to take medication if I have an accident, surgery or an acute illness.
So I spent countless hours trying to figure this all out. I researched what to eat and what supplements to take, only to end up confused and with more to google. I even felt like a fraud because as a healthcare attorney, I am trained to research credible sources for healthcare information and understand complex issues so I can examine and cross examine medical doctors. But for a long time, I still couldn’t figure out how to keep myself as healthy as I wanted…
(How ironic, right?)
Then it happened. One day I discovered and finally understood what nutrients really meant. And I also understood how important they were in helping me avoid issues like menopause, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, cancer etc. Being healthy wasn’t just about vitamins and drinking 8 glasses of water a day.
There are actually 6 key nutrients we need to stay healthy. And only few get talked about in the mainstream. Moreover, the amount of each nutrients we need is affected by age, medications, alcohol, genetics, diet and activity level.
And regardless of how ‘well’ we eat or exercise, if we don’t know what those nutrients are, and what our individual needs are, we are all basically blind men trying to do a crossword puzzle.
Let me give you an example. For years I thought if I eat tons of fruits and veggies, take my supplements, avoid cigarettes and limit alcohol, I would never be deficient in vitamin C. Then I took a test and found out I was extremely low in vitamin C. I later discovered my body had difficulty absorbing vitamin C from the foods I ate or from regular supplements and I needed a special type of vitamin C. I took the correct form of vitamin C and now my levels are optimal, my energy levels have improved, I am never depressed, I sleep well and rarely if ever get a cold.
But this is more than just about being deficient in vitamin C. There are other important nutrients we need and a large percentage of us are nutrient deficient – at least 85%.
So I asked myself, how would I know whether I was in that 85%? How could I figure out if I have the right balance of nutrients from the foods I eat?
I stared at my computer screen trying to determine what to search for next.
I dissected a ton of articles, assembled a team of medical experts and poured over countless medical journals.
Because some things are worth the effort, right?
I spent tons of time trying to find the answer and came across loads of contradicting advice.
I even co-wrote a book when I discovered that most people forgot about the importance of minerals – a critical nutrient.
I tweaked, tested, got feedback, and I kept going. Want to know how it played out? Did it work? Did I figure out how to help myself, my loved ones and you get healthier without facing your doomsday in a doctor’s office? I sure did.
And I’m excited to share it with you.
This is the beginnings of what is now Proactive Health Labs. I realized that part of any healthy routine must start with identifying the healthy foods from which we can get those 6 basic nutrients.
Then we need to do at least annual testing to see whether our bodies are absorbing the right balance of these nutrients from the foods we eat. And no, I’m not referring to your annual physical where they focus on cholesterol and perhaps vitamin D. The test I’m talking about identifies if you are deficient in other vitamins such as A, B, C as well as minerals, fats and proteins etc. and identifies whether you have excess toxins like mercury and lead in your body. It may even help you identify the cause of any gut issues.
So please make a commitment to get and stay in the healthy lane with me by sharing your own personal story. Let us work together to see how we can be better consumers of healthcare.
Remember, part of this journey requires that we identify the right foods to eat so we can be healthy
We also have to be ready to find out if our bodies are absorbing the right nutrients so we can function at our best
Maintaining good health while on this journey, isn’t easy, but we can at least work together to take the stress out of it by learning from each other and sharing our stories.
Let’s start sharing and learning so we can all enjoy a happy and healthy life!
Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, is the founder of Proactive Health Labs (www.phlabs.org), a national nonprofit health information company that provides education and tools needed to achieve optimal health. She also is founding and managing partner of Stephenson Acquisto & Colman (www.sacfirm.com), one of the nation´s leading health care law firms. Her most recent book is Minerals – The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy, available through Amazon, iTunes and bookstores. She is based in California.