You Can Be What You Eat

April 12, 2011 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Tony TrottSome people’s diets greatly affect them, while others suffer no consequences for eating all of the wrong things. Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending upon how you look at it), I fell into the former category and as a result managed to improve my life by changing my diet. I’ll tell you my story, and then you might look into some dietary changes too. 

First, some background: I’m a 42 year-old male, happily married (more about that in a minute), employed on a full-time basis, and a person with Friedreich’s Ataxia or FA. A progressive neurological disorder, FA slowly steals some of the physical aspects of life that many people take for granted, like walking, talking, or hearing, to name a few. There are also more serious problems, as FA affects all the muscles in the body and, of course, the heart is a muscle. 

Anyway, back to me. As I said, I’m happily married. My wife, who has a C4 spinal cord injury due to of a diving accident over 25 years ago, started seeing a nutritionist at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, DC a number of years ago because of gastrointestinal issues. 

My wife’s nutritionist put her on a series of supplements, as well as a gluten-free and sugar-free diet. The dietary changes had positive results. Because my wife spoke so highly of her nutritionist and the positive outcomes of many of her dietary changes, I decided to see her nutritionist. 

Groceries I began seeing the nutritionist, and I am very thankful that I did. At my first appointment, she had me do a few tests, as well as relate my daily food and vitamin intake. She told me that my diet suggested a lack of certain vitamins and she told me what I should try taking. She likewise directed me to take a couple other tests (that could be done at home as opposed to a hospital) so she could further refine my list of needed supplements. 

So, for the last couple of years I’ve been taking things that I never heard of before; things like pantothenic acid, inositol, and cyanocobalamin. During that time, I noticed a significant positive change in my body in general, my energy level, my digestive system, and other aspects of my life! 

The changes in my diet were not just adding things, but also taking away things. I cut back on my sugar intake and my gluten intake; neither of them is completely out of my diet, but I consume MUCH less of both of them. I understand that both sugar and gluten can act as “agitators” in your system and, in large amounts, cause problems. 

The other change I made was to eat and drink something before going to bed. In my case I have a fiber/granola bar and some form of vitamin water. I do feel like this helps me to sleep and wake up easier; I also get a better start to the day. 

Of course, dietary changes are not changes you should make yourself without consulting a nutritionist and/or doctor. But those changes, even though they take self-discipline and may take a while to show positive effects, can really improve the quality of your life. 

By Tony Trott, ECNV Peer Mentor
Credit to the Ability Center of Greater Toledo

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