KARMEN'S JOURNEY TO CLEAN EATING
By Karmen Johnson (@karmennicole_)
Today, clean eating is the new “wave”. People are becoming more informed on the effects of what they put into their body. Therefore, it is more common to run into a vegetarian, pescatarian or even a vegan. While clean eating can be beneficial to the body, it can also be a difficult lifestyle change. Plus, everyone has their own journey and “why” to make a change or push forward. My journey to clean eating has truly been life changing as I have overcome many challenges that have required a lot of self-discipline. So, reverting to the old me is not an option. My “why” is stronger than any weakness I have.
Around middle school, I was diagnosed with premature ovary failure. My monthly cycle became a rare occurrence and eventually became nonexistent. During high school, I experienced something like pre-menopause, which was scary. I was only 15-16 years old at the time. I had night sweats, constant migraines, and my hormones were off, which led to clinical depression. I gained about 80 pounds very quickly due to being on multiple birth controls, paired with my eating habits. Near the end of high school, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease which is a sensitivity to gluten. It caused inflammation to my intestines, and in my specific case—I experienced extreme bloating. I looked pregnant (inserts stale emoji face here), and if I am going to be really honest about it; I was even asked if I was pregnant and had comments made about me being pregnant [at 15-16 years old] so that was a big hit to my self-esteem. All of these factors lead to my continued depression and a sense of self hate. I was so embarrassed with myself and my body—I just wasn’t happy. It was not until my sophomore year of college that I felt a shift within myself. I was at one of my lower points and I needed an outlet. I figured the best way to do that was to focus on me, because that was the only way I knew I was going be the person I wanted to be physically, mentally, and emotionally. I joined a workout group and I started feeling good so naturally, so I started eating things that would fuel my body such as dark green vegetables, smoothies, fruit and water. [Honey, drink lots of water! It’ll change your life.] A gallon of water a day was my goal. Before I knew it, I lost 50 pounds in about 4 months. And, I was feeling better than ever. No more headaches or night sweats. I dropped the birth control and that swollen belly wasn’t a problem anymore.
This journey has forced me to do a lot of things that I would have never done before. I started doing research on the effects that food has on the body and what food fueled and what food healed. I learned to not only cook, but to cook well—and there is a big difference! Because, even though I eat healthy… I still love to eat. I wanted to heal my body holistically, so I started following a holistic path. I cut out walking flesh first and became a pescatarian. Next, I transitioned into a vegetarian. Currently, I am on the path to veganism. I make my own juices, cook 90% of my own food, and contrary to popular belief—I am not missing out on anything. It may be the best thing that I have ever done for myself. Although, I am nowhere near where I want to be, I am well on my way. So, keep growing and glowing.