What’s our health have to do with our plans to sail around the world?
When anyone asked my husband or me what we really wanted to do, our answer was always the same, ‘We want to buy a 50’+ Oyster Yacht and sail around the world.’ For 15 years we’ve been dreaming and finally, that dream is starting to come true! But what about being healthy enough to actually circumnavigate the world?
For a bit of background, I’m 39. Hubby is 47 and our daughter is 3 1/2 at the time of writing. Things thus far have progressed well with our sell up and sail plans. Our house has been sold, we’re in negotiations for the boat and we have an action list 3 pages long. Everything’s flowing in the right direction – we have around five months on dry land before we want to leave.
However, within the first couple weeks of making our decision to sell up and sail, I felt an increased concern about me and my family’s current health. Errrrr, actually, I’ve felt stressed about our health for years but never had a pressing reason to do anything about it.
Are we, indeed, healthy enough to sail around the world?
The first thing I kept thinking was, ‘Are we really healthy right now?’ Asking that question and getting a genuine answer – from myself – was quite difficult. Instead of ignoring our health, I decided the time had come to really examine it. Yikes.
As a whole, the family seemed to be okay. There were no chronic problems or immune system issues that I was aware of. We all had a cold here and there but for the most part, we were up and running around like everyone else we knew. Hubby had some chest issues – coughing and a touch of asthma. My 3-year-old daughter suffered from eczema occasionally and I assumed my lack of energy and aches came with my age.
Why have I never considered my health in the past and now I’m worried about it?
What’s odd about my line of thought is that I would have never questioned my health if it wasn’t for our upcoming adventure. A part of me was so excited to finally set sail that I wanted to ensure that we were all in the best shape we could be. For the first time in my life, I wanted to be proactive about my health. Looking back it sounds crazy that I didn’t consider my health to be important but if you feel okay you don’t really question it – do you?
That being said, I was shocked and embarrassed to discover how unhealthy we actually were. I’ll explain in a bit.
Another thing that ran through my mind was, ‘Do we need to perhaps get ourselves into better shape before we go?’ I was having visions of my hubby or daughter being ill and us being forced to visit a dirty medical shack in a third world country. And I started to panic about cooking. What are we going to eat? We wouldn’t have the luxury of ready meals. I avoided the whole wholesome mom thing and opted for processed quick foods. On our boat, we’d not only have to cook, but we’d be limited by local food choices. I also wondered how my energy levels would cope with such a drastic change in temperature, environment, culture, food…a change in everything really.
When I was pregnant I remember thinking, ‘If I ever do this again, I’m going to get myself into better shape.’ Nine months of pregnancy was a hard experience for me – I felt physically exhausted, unfit, and drained. If only I prepared for it I could have increased my fitness levels, ate better foods, and worked on ways to maintain my energy. This sailing trip around the world is similar. I know it’s coming and I have time to prepare.
But how do you figure out if you’re healthy or not?
At first, I thought I’d book my family in to see the doctor and get a checkup but I quickly decided against it. The doctor was going to simply look us over – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that our hearts are beating, our skin looks healthy and we’re functioning to a normal standard. Doctors are great for finding issues and emergencies but when it comes to being proactive that’s just not how the current medical system works.
As fate would have it, a girlfriend mentioned a session she had with a Nutritionist and I instantly knew that was one way forward. Within a week I was able to have the nutritionist, Helen Bowen of Oxford, come to our house.
In walks a nutritionist with a special machine to analyze my health
Helen settled at our dining room table with her computer, Asyra machine (energy system bio-feedback system), and notepad. Previous to her arrival we all filled out a standard question form asking for a medical history, complaints, and our typical eating routines. For the first part of the session, Helen went through the questionnaire to get an idea of the lifestyle we led. We had a nice chat and it felt good to openly discuss how I physically felt.
The next step was to hold two metal rods that were hooked up through wires to Helen’s computer. I felt a very light buzz when holding the rods but it was barely noticeable. Helen ran the Asyra tests each one lasting about 1 minute. By holding the rods my body was tested for:
- Energetic Status of 40 major organs
- Nutritional Assessment
- Metabolic Disturbance
- Dental Profile
- Hormonal Profile
- Parasites and Infections
- Phenolic Sensitivity
- Menstrual & Menopausal Problems
- Emotional Stressors
- Trace Minerals
- Vertebral Profile
- Miasm Influence
- TMJ Stress
- Constitutional Influence
- Neurotransmitter Disturbance
- Environmental Sensitivity
- Food Sensitivity
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Cranial Suture
- Dental Causation
- Heavy Metals
I was absolutely flabbergasted by the results. Not only did the machine tell me what foods weakened or stressed my body but it also noted that I had an issue with my ears (something I forgot to mention to Helen initially) and a chronic candida (bad bacteria) issue.
Furthermore, Helen said to me ‘what’s wrong with your wrists?’ Still feeling astonished I explained that I was doing the downward dog pose in Yoga and I overdid it. I did too many and it stressed my wrists out. I couldn’t believe these little rods could look through my body and see everything – even my achy wrists!
I’m not particularly a believer or non-believer on anything. I go with the flow and if something seems to work or I’m benefiting from it, I tend to be open to it. Heck, it doesn’t hurt to try new things – if you do the same things you’ve always done, you’ll get the same results.
What’s this whole candida issue? Is it causing stress on my body?
Let me come back to the candida issue – it’s a bit embarrassing to write about this but I’m starting to realize I’m not unusual in my problem. Ever since I was 18 I had an issue with candida – it’s a bad bacteria that comes out with a variety of symptoms. Some of them include thrush, yeast infections, urinary tract infections – even your toes can get a candida bacteria growth. It’s disgusting.
Doctors gave me antibiotics that killed all the bacteria (good and bad) and the bad always grew back quicker, so every 3 or 4 months my issues came back. By my mid-20’s I stopped taking antibiotics and just drank loads of water and cranberry juice to try and clear my system out. In my thirty’s I had a minor operation to try and prevent the bacteria build-up but in the end, the doctors said they couldn’t really help me. It just became something I lived with.
What I found amazing was that my energy dies at 7 pm every night. Usually, I’d have a glass (or 3) of wine to keep me going until 10 pm. I thought it was normal to get so tired.
Little did I know it was the candida sucking the life out of me & I was helping it to grow!
Surprise, surprise – there are ways to get rid of candida. First of all, it lives off of things like carbohydrates, sugar, and wine, so if I stop consuming those things the candida can’t live. Furthermore, there are quite a few good supplements that help eliminate it. If only I knew this when I was younger.
In addition to finding a potential solution to my candida (and lack of energy) issues, I discovered that I am gluten intolerant. Actually – it wasn’t a new discovery. I was told about it by my chiropractor 8 years ago but I didn’t want to give up bread, pasta, and processed food. I didn’t have a strong enough reason to do so…and for the most part, I didn’t acknowledge the havoc my intolerances were having on me.
My love of food and wine was so strong that I was afraid to consider that I couldn’t have it.
What about the rest of my family? How did my husband and daughter fair?
And as a whole for the family (me, hubby, and daughter) I was mortified to discover our sugar intake was seriously too high, our protein levels were way too low and we were all heading down a path towards eventual health complications.
Sitting at the table hearing the results for my daughter made me sick. Growing up with a stay-at-home mom who made me homemade food was a blessing that I only now can be grateful for. I instantly felt like the worst mother in the world – what was I putting in my precious daughter’s body?
I was feeding my daughter ready-made children meals thinking that it was okay to do that?
Even now as I write this I feel like I’ve damaged my little girl irrefutably. As a side note, this is what happens when you’re a work-a-holic overachieving business freak. I never had time to prepare good food – I was always on the run so when it came to my daughter she got the best I could buy but it never-less wasn’t homemade.
My daughter’s readings had terribly high preservatives, Aspertame, sugar, and low levels of protein and good stuff. Hopefully, all the love I’ve poured on her will make up for the lack of nutrition I provided. And of course, going forward we’re making massive changes.
Coming back to the session, Helen finished with a brief chat and explained that she’d email us her recommendations.
Health changes for the positive…
Since we met Helen we’ve made some drastic changes. The whole family is eating way more vegetables, far less bread and pasta (gluten) and we no longer buy anything processed. We’ve added a couple of supplements to our daily routine to also get our bodies back on track. It’s been a very hard blow to us but I know that our changes will enable us to move forward in a far healthier manner.
Furthermore, when we’re sailing around the Med and Caribbean we’ll know how to cook meals that are nutritiously good for all of us. No longer will I peel off the top of anything and stick it in the oven. My days of processed foods are over.
What’s this have to do with sailing?
Well, nothing really. I’m just assuming that you might be interested in what’s going through my mind as I progress with our ‘sell up and sail’ plans. It’s not like we’ve made the decision to up sticks and just ‘go for it’. I freaked out on a daily and hourly basis! I’m scared one of us will get sick. I’m afraid that I’ll let my family down by becoming ill. I know it’s negative thinking and I know I need to work on it.
It’s hard when your dreams come true. It’s hard to believe it’s happening. It’s hard to go with the flow… My mind often wants to shoot the whole thing down, but I won’t allow that to happen.
Hopefully, in a couple of months, I can comment back on this blog post to let you know if my efforts have made any serious changes. If nothing else, I have to learn how to cook so it’s better to learn now while I’ve got the time. Yikes!
Previous Chapter: 1. That’s it – I’m selling everything and sailing around the world!
Or…if you’d like to carry on reading all about our journey from selling up and sailing away, you can purchase my book, ‘Changing Lifestyles – Trading the Rat Race in For A Sail Around The World,’