How I Got Rid of Constipation, Acne, Belly Fat and Lowered My Depression Symptoms Without Paying a Doctor or Taking Meds

aaron_image1I have to admit – I hesitated in writing this post for awhile. We aren’t exactly a health blog here. Or, are we Three Thrifty Doctors.  But after some deliberation and consternation (without constipation mind you), I figured if I could inspire or help someone else out with this post – so be it and may God bless him or her.

I guess I have to tell you at the onset to take what I’m about to say as my personal experience. I’m not trying to prescribe a diet or a way of life for you. Nor am I saying that going to a health professional or taking medicine is ultimately a bad thing. What I am hoping to accomplish here is to share my story and then also give you some food for thought before spending more money on doctors and drugs (which – I think – is our knee-jerk reaction in American life).

lincoln on living healthy
Courtesy of ArtforYourBlog.com

My life: Pre-healthy

To be honest, I’ve never eaten healthy. Add to that – I’ve never really been one to exercise or stay very active. Sure, I golf quite a bit and do the occasional walk – but I would (almost) rather go to the dentist than the gym.

No diss to the Mrs here – but after I got married, I gained about 40 lbs. Now, I wasn’t a very large man (width-wise) to begin with – but with the added weight, I was fuller in the cheeks and most notably, the belly.


While I was enjoying the food the lady was cooking and we tended to hit up the fast-food joints more than necessary – I really didn’t like the way my health was headed. At work, I would eat 6-8 of those fun-sized candy bars a day and might throw in a large-sized candy bar out of the vending machine for dessert. Needless to say, I have always been a sugar-junkie. Saying I love sweets is like saying monkeys like bananas.

Then…

Then, my wife’s health took a turn for the worst and she needed to quit her job. She began a long search for answers to her condition and was ultimately recommended to a Naturopath. The lady soon led her on a journey to better health which began with her diet. She got off sweets, dairy, gluten and started to eat more raw foods and organics. Soon her constant headaches almost completely ceased. She began feeling healthier and had more energy. While her condition didn’t completely dissipate, the changes in her health were enough for me to become inspired and want to give her new lifestyle a try.

But, I didn’t do it overnight. It was a long, drawn-out process of trying things here and there, taking a bite of this food and that funky green leaf smoothie, participating in a detox here (to give my wife some company) and another detox there, visiting her naturopath for a “reading” to figure what I ought to be eating and what I should be staying away from (yes, chocolate was on that list – dangit!) – but I soon started to like the way I was feeling.

On some days, my wife packed a bag of veggies for me to take to work and snack on. Soon, these foods would take the place of my daily (overdose) servings of processed sugars. While they weren’t as “fun” or “sweet” as my candy bars, I began taking note of a few changes in myself from eating better:

  • My skin started to feel smoother. Now, I’m a male here – so skincare isn’t something that I strive to maintain above all else. But after eating better, my skin really started to get healthier. It was as smooth as a baby’s (no lie!). I also used to have some age spots on my hand. These are now gone.
  • No more back acne. Okay, here’s where things get a little awkward – but, hey, it’s our bodies! I’ve always struggled with acne and pimples on my upper back. Ironically, most – if not all – have now cleared up.
  • Constipation subsided. And, slightly more awkward (it’s gonna get better – I promise!). Yes, I had some issues with getting plugged up. It was almost a bi-weekly (if not daily occurance) for me. After the changes in health, I hardly (if ever) get constipated.
  • Lessened my depression symptoms. I’ve written before about my depression and how I’ve been able to manage it. Since taking care of myself by eating the right things and taking some supplements my depression symptoms have greatly subsided. To those who have never experienced depression, I can only really explain it as a “heaviness” in your soul. Pre-healthy, those periods of heaviness lingered on and could get fairly deep. But today, this heaviness is more shallow and has a shorter duration.
  • Bye-bye belly fat. Lastly, one of the more favorable outcomes of eating better has been the shrinking of my belly. Like I said, I really don’t like to hit the gym – so much of this shrinking has been due to my diet changes.

belly-fat-loss

What I did

This is what seemed to have worked for me:

  • Drastically lowered my sugar intake. I’m not a big proponent of stopping things cold-turkey. I think you need to be patient with yourself when you are trying to make changes. But, over a period of time, I completely stopped snacking on those candy bars at work. Today, I rarely eat sweets but for the occasional natural dark chocolate (which – some say – can be good for ya!) in my cereal.
  • Started eating better foods. Fortunately for us, we live in an area that has many options for organic foods (Co-ops and Whole Foods). For over a year now, I’ve tried my best to eat organic fruits / vegetables, and have tried my best to drop the processed foods. Not only does the food taste better – it is better for the body.
  • Lowered dairy intake. Instead of drinking milk or adding it to my cereal, I use rice milk. While it took a little getting used to – I now completely prefer it to milk. I’ve read that humans are a rare breed: most animals never drink dairy after birth (from their mother’s milk). I also used to eat a lot of cheese and have really cut a lot of that out of my diet.
  • Switched to chemical-free products. Along with eating better, this also could be a contributing factor to healthier skin and acne issues. I now use chemical-free shampoos and soaps.
  • Take supplements as needed. While there has been a lot of hub-bub about the effectiveness of vitamins, I routinely take vitamin D in the morning and sometimes essential fatty acids (Omega 3). I believe these have helped contribute to my lessened depression symptoms.
  • Lowered portion size. I used to eat and eat and eat. A few instances my wife even had to take food away from the table to get me to stop! We have focused on lower portion sizes and it seems to have paid off.

Lastly

We spend a ton on health care in the US. I believe one of the main reasons for this is our poor diets: we eat like crap. And I did too.

I believe we can do a lot of good, preventative care on our own without doctors and medicine. It’s time to put as much money away in our food budget as we do in our 401k, savings and other investments. As my mother always says, “you’re very wealthy when you are healthy.”

Have you seen changes in your health after changing your diet?

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15 comments

  1. Aaron, THANK YOU for writing this. I’ve had a similar post sitting in my drafts folder for over a year now, for the same reasons you mentioned above. But I also saw a dramatic improvement in my health and my depression symptoms also almost completely disappeared, by following the food recommendations you mentioned above. Docs are amazed that Rick and I don’t need any prescription drugs at nearly 50 years old. I think you’re right when you say that we often do a knee-jerk reaction and run to the doc when we have health problems, instead of taking a good, long look at our food intake and lifestyles. Great post!

    • Aaron says:

      Great to hear Laurie. It’s amazing how just eating better makes such a big difference in so many different areas.

  2. The same goes for me. The funny thing is that when I decided I wanted to spend LESS money on food, my health actually got better. I think the two biggest things for me have been cutting meat way down and doing a lot more of my own cooking. Of course, I did both to save money, but have been able to feel and see the difference they’ve made. Definitely not going back :)

    • Aaron says:

      Haha – funny how that works! We’re actually spending more money on our food -but getting better quality and am eating less. I won’t go back either.

  3. Cathie says:

    Because we discovered that my son has several food allergies, our whole household has cut out processed foods. Initially, we intended to only stop eating the corn, soy, and rice that he is allergic to. Upon reading ingredients it became clear that these at least one of these items is in virtually every processed food in one form or another. So we naturally migrated towards whole natural foods. I have lost over 20 lbs just from this change alone. Since I have continued to educate myself about food, we continue to eat healthier all the time. Adjusting my son’s diet has also helped with his constipation. Not solved, but helped.
    Kudos. I’m still working on getting the sugar monkey off my back.

    • Aaron says:

      Yeah, it’s hard to get away from those ingredients – in everything. Kudos to you too in making these changes. It’s not easy – but best in the long run. :)

  4. Thanks for sharing, Aaron! As someone who has also suffered from depression I’d like to second your suggestions to eat better. I know I need to do it and this is a great reminder (as I’m heading over to the deli to grab some ice cream, haha..) But seriously, diet has such a profound impact on everything. These changes are always hard at first, but are much easier after a couple of weeks.

    • Aaron says:

      You’re right.. personal changes (for me at least) seem to take hold better when I go at em slow and give myself plenty of grace. A slip up here or there is okay as long as I’m moving forward in the right direction :)

  5. wen budro says:

    Great post….I honor your honesty. This is a good reminder for me to lay off the sugar and cheese….tough ones….but a decrease in depression and an increase in energy makes it worthwhile.

  6. Laura says:

    It is amazing to me the amount of people that have issues that are related to our modern crappy diet. My young daughter had major issues and cannot eat gluten without getting sick. It really makes you step back and think about what we are putting in our bodies. Love this post!

  7. A-aron says:

    Great post Aaron and very timely in our day of awakening to the non-sense fed to us by the powers that be. I highly suggest folks check out Mark’s Daily Apple or even Underground Wellness for some more great tips and strategies. They have been the wake up call to my wife and I plus nothing like feeling better on a more consistent basis.

  8. Court says:

    One of the biggest changes I noticed when I started eating healthy was I had so much more energy through out the day and overall I just feel good about myself. Whenever I would eat bad food I would feel bad about it which would only make things worse. I agree that many ailments could be solved just by simply improving our diets. Now if only I could eat healthy on a consistent basis…

    Thanks for the post Aaron!

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