03/05/2013 04:59 pm ET Updated May 05, 2013

Have You Ever Watched Your Hair Grow?

Have you ever gotten a really bad haircut, hoped desperately for it to grow out and looked in the mirror every day to see if it had? And then one day it did, but you couldn't quite tell what the difference was from the day before? Health is like that, too! It's really hard to see incremental change, both positive and negative. As a result, it's really easy to lose hope on the healthy lifestyle wagon, since it is so difficult to see any instantly measurable difference. Recognizing these sorts of differences happens over time, through perspective.

Ever since I can remember, I've been anemic, with low hemoglobin and iron counts, low B12, and low vitamin D, none of which responded to vitamins. In my 20s, I developed a "sensitive stomach." In my 30s, I developed a long list of complaints that I never actually complained about, including thin hair, heart palpitations, bone-crushing fatigue, acne, gas, bloating, constipation, asthma that had me in the emergency room multiple times, brain fog, joint pain and terrible periods. The reason that I never complained was because they developed slowly over time, so I never quite identified that all wasn't well until I was practically unable to get out of bed.

Finally, six years ago, I was diagnosed with celiac disease, and went gluten-free immediately. Some of my symptoms, like heart palpitations, asthma, gas, bloating and brain fog, went away within weeks! Unfortunately, some of my symptoms did not. In fact, when I went gluten-free, I became even more sensitive to gluten, so much that even tiny exposures gave me an asthma attack and severe abdominal pain (I'll spare you the rest of the gory details!). It got so bad that I even had to stop eating food that was prepared on shared equipment.

About a year ago, I was speaking with one of our supplement reps, who told me about a few of their products that helped to heal the lining of the intestines. Here's my disclaimer: It's really hard to treat yourself, so that's why I see physicians at our facility who have a more objective view. But the products sounded good and I decided to try them. He recommended I take the supplements for three months.

So I did, and saw no difference -- not in how sensitive I was to gluten, not in my anemia, not in my fatigue. I didn't discuss this with anyone, but I decided to continue taking the supplements, since I figured that what was in them was good for me, and perhaps I was just slow to respond. Another disclaimer: Because the improvement process can be slow, it's really difficult to remember how bad things were after they have improved. But about two months ago, I realized that I hadn't had an asthma attack in over a year. Not even during my last pregnancy, a time that I would typically be using my inhaler daily. I also seemed to be less sensitive to gluten. Now, instead of being violently ill within an hour of exposure, I'd have a reaction that occurred six to 12 hours later, with much less severity.

I also recently had my blood work done, and for the first time in almost 30 years, I am not anemic. Nor am I deficient in iron or B12! My food allergy panel has gone from being highly reactive to many, many foods, to being just a little reactive to far fewer foods. The process of improving my health has been painfully slow, to the point that I frequently wondered if all the work I was doing was worth it. But it is, and can be for you, too.

It can be really hard to "trust the process," especially in the realm of health, where the process is so darn slow! But, I guarantee you, you can get better. And it is like watching your hair grow! But I'll tell you -- mine did, and it's even thicker now that I'm healthier... and yours can be, too!

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