Naturally Healthy 4 Life's Blog

A blog about health, nutrition, fitness and wellness

The Trinity of Wellness: Body, Mind and Spirit


At the end of each year, like everyone else, I find myself reflecting on the past year and thinking about where I was then compared to today.

Last December, I was in the middle of a long taper Prednisone treatment, following another terrible spike in my flare-up. Hydroxyzine proved to be the magic medicine. I tapered off the Prednisone and each day the hives and swelling were smaller and smaller until they disappeared altogether (mid-February). I have been in remission since. It was the longest stretch of CIU (Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria) that I have ever had, spanning a year and a half this flare.

I am not a sickly person. In fact, I have been very physically fit for the last 15-20 years. While I no longer run (too hard on the knees!), I regularly strength train and do cardio, I practice yoga daily, and I eat extraordinarily healthfully and mindfully.

However, in the years preceding this flare, three of our children left home for college (leaving us with an empty nest), we lost two beloved family pets, my husband and I both changed jobs (with my husband becoming an independent contractor) – all of which caused incredible stress and put a strain on my closest relationships. I denied it existed – particularly to myself. Instead, I buried it all deep inside (“I’m strong – I can handle anything!”). The cortisol in my body continued to build. Cortisol (aka the “stress hormone”) usually fluctuates throughout the day and night, rising in response to a stressful event, then returns to a normal level following the stressful event. However, my cortisol level went up and never went down, causing my immune system to go BANANAS. My body began attacking itself and nearly everything I touched or ingested. Writing about it now actually makes my chest tight. It was a terrible couple of years and I am so grateful to now feel SO good.

The life lesson I finally learned while trying to recover from this flare is that true health is more than just the fitness of my physical body. It includes the health of my mind and my soul, as well. Until this year, I was truly unhealthy in that sense, and it is what ultimately led to this flare.

During the flare, I underwent counseling with a gifted psychologist. I insisted that treatment not include pills. Instead, we talked about how I got here, and he taught me how to listen to my body in response to my emotions – breathing, meditation, and being present – and how to forgive myself for not being perfect.

I am not big on New Year’s resolutions, but last January, I made a decision that 2016 was going to be the healthiest year of my life.   I think I succeeded.

I know I am not as healthy as I could be, and some days are harder than others, but 2016 HAS been the healthiest year of my life thus far. I will certainly try to top it in 2017.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2017 - Posted by | Fitness, Health, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Hi there – I just discovered your blog and have read several of your (very informative) posts about CIU. I am in the middle of my first (and maybe not last, though hopefully last?!) CIU flare. It’s been over a year for me, as well. I am SO. ITCHY. I don’t get actual hives, but I have deep, internal itching all over my body and allergists/derms have concluded that I have CIU — antihistamines DO work for me, though I’m on a LOT of them (doxepin, allegra, zantac, and singulair). I just got my first Xolair shot on Monday, and I’m SO MUCH ITCHIER. I am starting to feel really beaten down/depressed by this. I have two small kids – 5 yo and 2 yo – and I simply can’t afford to take tons of time to relax/drink green juice and meditate (though I’m going to try – i feel like I have to!) Anyway, sorry for the vent. I just wanted to 1) say thanks for sharing your story (really appreciate it) and 2) ask if you’ve had relief from altering your diet. Nightshades and wine are big triggers for me, but I wonder if going Paleo would help me… I tried it for 30 days to no avail, but I wonder if I committed longer, would it help? Thanks, Rebecca

    Comment by Rebecca | February 10, 2017 | Reply

    • Thank you for your comment, Rebecca! I’m so sorry to hear that you are suffering from CIU – I understand how frustrating and painful it is. To answer your diet question: I DID have to alter my diet for a long period of time – ruling out the foods that I normally ate, but that were now causing horrible flares. I never knew what would be next. The post “When Your Own Body is the Enemy” talks about the restricted diet. I normally have a very healthy diet, but I also really love to eat, so it was very difficult – and I really couldn’t eat out much on this diet, so that was tricky. I gradually started reintroducing things back into my diet – one at a time and in small doses, then waiting to see how my body reacted to it. I kept a CIU journal to track my symptoms, food and activity, which helped me identify the triggers that sent my immune system into overdrive. I hope that is helpful – I will also reach out to you by email!

      Comment by angelalauder | February 11, 2017 | Reply

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