Health

A Big Win by Brea Persing

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I was shoveling river rock the other day for a landscaping project. For most people, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but for me, it was a HUGE win.

I shoveled, with an actual shovel, for about an hour and a half with minimal soreness the next day. Let me tell you why this was such a big deal, because I almost died three years ago because I was so sick. In December of 2016, I was in organ failure and, up to that point, the doctors couldn’t figure out what was going on. I found an amazing integrative doctor that specialized in internal medicine and she figured it out right away. I won’t go into details now, but will in a later post. Let’s just say even with treatment, they weren’t sure if I was going to make it. But I’m a FIGHTER and I knew I would!

So a year into healing, I had more energy and was doing better, but I still had to be careful with how much energy I used up in a day. If I would have tried to shovel river rock nearly two years ago, I would have been in bed, not able to get out of it for about a week. My body just couldn’t handle that sort of thing. Even a year ago I would have had a hard time. Even though I had been doing better over all, some things came up and I went downhill again. Plus I was dealing with rotator cuff injuries in BOTH shoulders!

Looking at it this way…if someone had asked me to do this two years ago, I would have lasted five minutes, carrying very minimal stones, and then handed the shovel back and climbed on then couch to rest. If someone had asked me to do it a year ago, rotator cuff injuries aside, I would have lasted about thirty or so minutes but then not able to function much the next day or two. However now, I lasted an hour and a half lifting big shovel fulls of rock and carrying them to their place! Again, minimal soreness the next day and I was able to function just fine.

I am so happy with how far I have come. There is still healing that is taking place in my body, but nearly three years later, I am no longer just trying to survive, but I am getting stronger each day!

Thank you Lord for saving my life, thank you to my team of medical professionals that I had and have all around the US, literally in four different states, and to all of the people that have supported, prayed for and loved me on this journey of healing…not just physically, but in so many other areas of my life.

The Superhero Pose + Yoga by Brea Persing

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I read a statement in a little book of sayings and advice a while ago that said to strike a superhero pose before an interview or something big. A superhero post is where your chin is up, chest is out, hands are on your hips and your legs are hip length apart on the ground. We’ve seen that pose hit multiple times in movies and TV shoes like “The Incredibles” and, according to others, “Grey’s Anatomy”. Harvard even did a study about it! Ok, so it may look silly, but it helps you feel more powerful and more confident in yourself. I can attribute…it works. 

Well, initially I was doing it for big things like a big meeting, interview, etc., however I decided to add it into my daily yoga practice. I really like yoga as it helps me stay stretched out, helps my back, helps with strength and balance and it also helps keep me calm and relieve stress. It wasn’t hard to add the superhero post into my daily practice, though I don’t hold it for 5 minutes like some say to do. I do, however smile when I do it. Smiling every morning helps put or keep me in a better mood, helps me to be happy with where I am at, and reminds me that my body, curves and all, were made by God and to be embraced and celebrated. Doing the superhero pose daily reminds me that I am a strong woman and can approach the day with confidence.

Talking about strength…doesn’t the above yoga photo just emit strength?! I have a friend who started a yoga business, Yoga for Athletic Performance, and she asked me to take photos of her that she could use in marketing. We had such a great time! Here are some of my favorite shots.

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Yoga may not be for everyone, and I understand that, but I promise, if you start striking the superhero pose daily for a minute to two minutes, it will change how you view yourself and the world! Go ahead…try it…I dare you! :) 

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Large Portions in Morocco by Brea Persing

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I have always found it fascinating that Moroccan men would look at me and not think I could eat what I had asked for. Mind you, I was about 125 lbs at the time and I couldn’t consume any carbs and hadn’t been able to for a few years at that point. But, to be fair, they’re coming from a cultural background where one would eat a lot of bread with every meal, of which I could not partake in.

I found, through conversations with friends, that in Morocco they have a woman’s portion and a men’s portion in restaurants. When I found this out, I immediately would ask for the men’s portion. They would look at me like I was crazy.

There was one time in Chefchaouen where they didn’t give me a lot to eat, so I ordered two tajines because I was still very hungry after the first one. And it was really good and still my favorite tajine to date. It was a delicious, fall off the bone chicken tajine with a hint of tomato, cumin, saffron, cinnamon and black pepper. Normally it would come with potato and carrots in it, but I asked them for green beans instead of potatoes. I can still taste it as I write about it. So yummy!

Then, on the road to Merzouga from Tangier by car, my friends and I stopped in a small town to get something to eat and I ordered a half a chicken. The Moroccan guys who were with us thought I was crazy and said that was no way I would finish it. Mind you, it’s all I could eat. Not only did I finish it, but also another piece from a friend who wasn’t going to finish his. Keep in mind, I hadn’t eaten much in the last 24 hours and I wasn’t sure when we would stop at a place that I could eat again, so I really made sure I was good to go.

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In Meknes I ordered a meat dish with some carrots and asked for a double portion of meat. The man said no to me! He said there was no way I could finish it. With some persuading, he gave me a double portion. I ate the whole thing and his eyes were wide when he realized it.

You see, when you can’t eat carbs, you are “forced” to eat more protein and vegetables to fill you up and give you energy.

Even outside of Morocco, I would get stares from people. It was very uncomfortable, but very necessary. I even remember times where I would eat a full dinner and be hungry 30 minutes later and eat another whole meal. This was due to not being able to eat carbs and my body was malnourished because I couldn’t process the nutrients that were coming in. My body was so sick! I didn’t go carbless out of choice, it was out of necessity because I couldn’t eat anything, with the exception of carrots, that had carbs in it. It took a toll on my body. My food was so limited. It was like a super strict Keto diet. Haha…that was way before Keto was even around. I used to tell people I ate high fat Paleo with modifications because that is the closest I had to describe it. I have come a long way since then! People used to ask me if I was sad about the things I couldn’t eat. I struggled with it, but after a while, I had finished the grieving and moved on. I started to focus on what I could eat and celebrate those things! 

Before I used to make a list of the things I could eat, now I’ve been able to add so many foods back into my diet that I have a list of the things I can’t eat now. It’s still daunting for someone to look at who’s never dealt with food allergies, but for me, It’s a major celebration. It’s so much easier for me to find food when I’m out! I no longer need to order double portions, or even be afraid to eat out. I’m still nervous at times, but it’s still so much easier than it used to be, and I am very grateful!