Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Twentysomething's Take on Healthy Aging

"But you're just a kid. What do you know about getting old?"

I've heard this more times than I can count. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

When I was just 22, my health began to decline. I'd been "burning the candle at both ends" already, and then my father died suddenly from pancreatic cancer. Exhausted. Sad. For many months, I relied too much on coffee and sugar to keep going, and came down with serious tonsil infections at least every three months.

A year later, my health crashed, likely due to adrenal burnout. Yet another tonsil infection hit, but I knew I was in trouble when I sat freezing in a 103 degree hot tub. Next thing I knew I was leaving Insta Care with an IV port in my forearm and instructions to report the next morning for another round of heavy duty antibiotics. Bloodwork showed me to be nearly septic, and I was almost thrown in the hospital.

My energy and immune system were decimated, along with my naive attitude that my health would just improve. I knew it was time to take my habits more seriously, and I'm proud to say I haven't had a tonsil infection in years.

My mission now? To bring wellness wisdom to every age. Young, old, in between. If you've got a body, you know the toll of keeping up with today's processed foods, pollution, stress, and more. Wellness is a full-time job, and as part of my job, I've been lucky enough to be inspired by a progressive group of healthcare professionals and wellness advocates.

While my peers flipped burgers or folded t-shirts at Old Navy, I started hearing our members' stories here at the Co-op. While the cool kids were dancing in clubs, I was researching menopause, prostate health, and, dare I say this, all things unspeakable about bowel health. Didn't exactly make me hip with my peers, but everyone with gray hair in my family started coming to me for advice. And, I learned that I really had something valuable to share.

So, encouraged by my middle-aged friends, of which there are many these days, I decided to share my stories with you.

My hope is to inform you, inspire you, and perhaps even entertain you with anecdotes of normal people trying to be healthy in a stressful, saturated, fast-food nation.

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