Wednesday, November 6, 2013

An Exchange in Health & Nutrition

Willa with her mother Grace 
I had the opportunity to meet and exchange time with Willa Lefever from Sonnewald Natural Foods to talk about my health and nutrition, what was only going to be an hour turned into three. Even though I have been to the store a few times, I didn't really meet Willa until I attended our local time bank meeting. I had a great afternoon listening to her thoughts on helping my body heal, as well as learning a little more about her. Then I proceeded to help her try to understand and learn the banking software. Willa isn't a certified nutritionist but has grown up around natural foods and natural wellness, she did pass on information for a former employee who is, if I feel the need for a more in depth meeting. 

Before our meeting I kept a food journal as well as filled out a questionnaire  these were given to her in advance so she new some of the habits and history before hand. It went beyond food and into my lifestyle, am I living my passion, stress factors, etc. The top three biggest factors, that Willa came up with, were not working within my passion, stress and my water intake. I know I don't drink enough water, I'm not sure why, I guess I just don't think about it, until my lips are dry and my head hurts, I love water. 

That being said, number one is I need to drink half my weight (in oz.) of water, which comes to around 80 oz. a day. Right now my goal is to drink closer to 64 oz. trying to drink 32 oz. before lunch and another 32 oz. after lunch. One trick she mentioned was adding about two tablespoons of chia seeds to one quart of water, the chia will act as little sponges and help some of the water be absorbed into your body opposed to just flushing through. Plus they will add extra fiber and nutrients. 

Number two, she wants to to do some sort of stress relieving activity. Anything. Start exercising, yoga, painting, anything that will help ME reduce my stress levels. I haven't been very active as of late, I also haven't had the opportunities to paint or draw, I will just need to find some time to squeeze in something. (Does this count? I think the time I'm blogging is usually stress free, for the most part.)

And three, the first thing she said when I met with her wasn't hi, hello or how are you...it was oh honey we need to get you doing something you are passionate about. I just smiled. I know my job isn't my passion (as does anyone who knows me) but there are restrictions and obligations that can't be ignored. Depending on who you talk to those things may not matter. But, I recently took a position as the Training Coordinator for the Special Olympics York County and will also have an opportunity to help with a new program that will offer art classes to athletes. My hope is this will help with balancing my work and passion. 

With those being her top three that I need to work on, we then talked food. Until I'm healed, she suggested no dairy and possibly trying a grain free or Paleo diet. She also suggested no coffee or refined sugars. And absolutely no GMOs, or at least as little as possible. (Which I completely agree with.)

Some of her suggestions: 

  • Use local raw honey instead of the refined sugars
  • Use Dandy Blend or other teas instead of coffee (it's the acidity of the coffee that is harmful)
  • Once healed eat only raw grass feed cheeses, if my body tolerates them
  • Vegetables! Lots and lots of COOKED vegetables! (Juiced is okay)

She also suggested a few supplements, I already take medication regularly for my UC but she explained how that helps with the symptoms and keeping it at bay or in remission but it doesn't really heal the damage that has already been done to my colon. So, what she has suggested is to help heal the damage.

Supplement suggestions (from most recommended to least):

  • Probiotics
  • Vitamin D3 (which I already take since I am aware I am very deficient) 
  • Fish Oil
  • Aloe Vera (George's)
  • Minerals & Trace Minerals (I'm consistently craving salt)

She also told me about Intestinew by Renew Life, it is made specifically for UC. I may need to look into it, I would prefer natural over synthetic any day. 

I would recommend checking out Sonnewalds website, there is all kinds of helpful resources on there. Her famous Restoring Life Soup is also on the website, it is a healing soup that is easy on digestion and very nutritious, made using veggie purée and bone broth.


I hope to post a follow up in a few weeks, I have started taking probiotics in addition to my D3 and regular medication. I hope to get fish oil soon, and possibly try the Aloe Vera (I have alway heard good things about it). I have been pretty good with water so far, I carry my Nalgene bottle with me everywhere. I haven't changed my diet too much as of yet, I plan on changing something's up shortly. I just need to come up with a few lists and do some planning.

I would love to hear from you:

Have you ever taken any of these supplements to aid in your UC or maybe just to aid in digestion?  

Do you think Paleo is worth it?