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Is Healthy Living Making You Sick?


Written by Sondi Bruner, a sweet sweet member of our Love in the Kitchen team.

We’ve all read stories in glossy magazines that feature people who drop 50 pounds, or quit smoking, or banish sugary treats, or give up coffee and won’t stop gushing about how amazingly fantastic they feel.

What they don’t talk about is the dreary space in between being sick and being healthy, when you feel completely lousy. It’s as if those people are like mothers who go through 57 hours of excruciating labour and instantly forget the pain when they see the cutesy shmoopy baby. Sometimes, when we make the commitment to cut the crap out of our lives and get healthy, we don’t feel the way we anticipated. And we wonder why we feel so awful when we’re actually making healthy choices for once, and are tempted to throw in the towel and simply down that whole cheesecake.

Friends, this is called the ‘healing crisis’. And it sucks. (Tweet today's tweetable!)

What is a healing crisis and why does it happen?

It’s common when people make dietary changes to experience a healing crisis. That’s when your body produces some not-so-fun symptoms as it cleanses itself from stored toxins and mucus.

So why does getting healthy make you feel yucky?

Let’s take a step backward first, back to when you were eating junk like doughnuts or pizza or hot dogs. Your body doesn’t know what to do with all those chemicals, processed oils and sugar, so it stores them in your fat tissue to protect your vital organs and bloodstream.

It’s kinda like when you’ve got guests coming over, so you shove your mess into the closet to deal with it later.

But you’ve gotta clean up that mess eventually, and it’s going to get uglier and more difficult the longer you wait.

Here are some common symptoms of a healing crisis:

  • Fatigue
  • Aches and pains
  • Fever, chills, runny nose and coughs
  • Sweating, skin discharges or body odour
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Acne

The silver lining

The good news is that these symptoms are all normal and will go away as you detoxify. Symptoms tend to leave in a certain order, too - usually the last health issue you had leaves first, while symptoms of older health conditions may reemerge and leave last.

That means if you’ve had a history of acne, eczema and joint pain, the joint stuff will be the first to get worse and then disappear, followed by a reappearance of eczema and lastly the acne.

You know what they say: things tend to get way, way worse before they get better. But think of it this way - when you make the commitment to eat better, you are creating an environment where your body feels safe enough to start releasing those dangerous toxins, rather than holding onto them so they burrow deeper and make you really, really sick.

And once you get through the rough patch, you’ll be one of those smiling success stories who can only talk about how amazingly wonderful they feel.

Question of the Day: Have you gone through a healing crisis? What are your strategies for dealing with it?

20 Responses to “Is Healthy Living Making You Sick?”

  1. Lisa said…
    Pretty sure I have the flu, but heck, maybe it's a healing crisis? In my feverish dreams last night, I dreamed I drank cow's milk. Kinda sorta by accident, I think... it was stressful. Glad to be awake and in control of what I put in my body!
  2. You've cleaned up your act, now you feel like poop. Meet the healing crisis.
  3. Veronica said…
    Great article! I've heard of the healing crisis but kinda forgot about it and wonder if I'm going through that right now. I ramped up the fruits & veggies, cut out sugar and haven't even had flour of any kind for over a month. The first week I felt OK, then I felt AMAZING and then all of a sudden, I got sick. It might have just been the flu, but I wonder if any of it was part of the healing crisis. Fever, chills, now I'm having mild headaches which I never get. And yeah, my back is breaking out and I haven't had bacne since I was in high school. But my face acne seems like it's finally clearing up and that's something I've been fighting my entire adult life. Looking forward to being fully cleansed!
  4. Brenda said…
    Thank you! I am so glad that I found this article. My daughter gave me the book "Wheat Belly" a week ago and the same day I started a wheat elimination diet. Felt wonderful for the first few days and the pain in my neck and shoulder (which I have had for over a year and is caused by inflammation) virtually disappeared. Then the pain reappeared with a vengeance two days ago, I was moody and so incredibly irritable. Upped up the water intake, and reduced dairy as well and the pain is almost gone again. This article gives me hope that I am not going crazy but in fact making positive progress.
  5. Have you experienced this type of #crisis before? #health #wellness
  6. A very #important read: Is #healthy living making you sick? #wellness
  7. Excellent post! RT @meghantelpner: A very #important read: Is #healthy living making you sick? #wellness
  8. Sylvie said…
    I've been going to a acupuncturist, Since December, after my small flare up, and since February, ive been having the worse case of mucus and coughing. She sais its because my body is trying to get rid of the bad stuff, toxins and such. At first i thought it was a cold, but never got worse. And the fact im still coughing up mucus well, it kind of makes sense to me that my body is trying to extrude some bad stuff. Is there anything i can do to try to help the mucus go away? Any suggestions?
  9. Josi said…
    How can we determine if it's this, or a diet that isn't supporting us? I? consider myself to be pretty healthy. As I got healthier, I developed eczema. Cleanse time? or time to rethink my diet?

Before you post your comment, please note that I am unable to offer nutritional advice or recommendations via my blog.

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