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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. Is Healthy Living Making You Sick?: We’ve all read stories in glossy magazines that feature people who drop 50 p...
  2. this is so true! as i've eliminated sugar and processed food from my diet, I've noticed changes in my skin first. I had terrible redness and a bit of acne when I first started, then my skin cleared up and is so clear now, and the redness is gone. If I do eat something with sugar or a processed food (by accident at a restaurant, for example), my skin now immediately turns red - a warning sign of sorts, I guess!
  3. K said…
    currently going through this myself! Any strategies to deal with the symtoms would be very helpful! mine are: skin breaking out, cough, cold, diarrhea(due to milk thistle)
  4. Is healthy living making you sick?
  5. Rachel said…
    Wow, what great timing! I'm going through this now myself right now. I've given up dairy to try to reduce my eczema symptoms. Today is day four, and my eczema has never been worse! It's nice to know things should improve. It looks like my best strategy is to stick with it, eat skin-supporting foods, and continue slathering myself with olive oil!
    • Carlen said…
      I gave up dairy to heal my acne as well. It totally works but it will take a good 7-14 days before you notice a huge improvement. Hang in there! I used to have horrible acne all over my back, chest, arms, and face and now it is all healed.
  6. Marilene said…
    I have also experienced this whenever I do a cleanse...headaches, fatigue and hip pain. I find it's best to be patient with yourself and just lay down and sleep it off, be positive and drink soothing tea and smoothies. Also....perfect timing. I'm helping my brother and sister in law transition to a healthier way of eating. Passing this onto them as they start following the meal plan I created for them. Thanks for the great info Sondi!
  7. A Healing Crisis is the space in between being sick and being healthy!
  8. Annie said…
    Fantastic and informative read! Hubby's went through a subtle but still large overhaul with his diet and (now existent) exercise routine. Unfortunately, he's been sick three times this year alone, when he used to only be down for the count once a year. This could be the answer we were looking for.
  9. Is healthy living making you sick? @sondibruner explains why:
  10. Friends, this is called the Healing Crisis. It sucks. via @meghantelpner @sondibruner #9oF6x8D6

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