I live at Avalon Organic Gardens and EcoVillage, a beautiful spiritually-based community near the border of Southern Arizona, just north of Mexico.
When I was two years old, I started to get sick. I was throwing up, constantly peeing, and was extremely thirsty. Life was draining from me as I lay in bed too weak to get up. I was flown to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in a helicopter and quickly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, a life-threatening chronic disease.
I am now fifteen years old and have been living with Type 1 Diabetes for almost fourteen years, sustaining a Hemoglobin A1c under 6. An A1C is a blood test that reflects your average blood glucose levels, at any time, over the past three months.
For most of my life, shots, poking, and pricking have been the name of the game. It has been a journey with many obstacles and constant challenges to overcome. Having diabetes, I have discovered that you do not just climb the mountain, to get to the top, and are done. Instead, you are always climbing, becoming aware of your body and trying to be ahead of the next hurdle that will come. You are always learning and adjusting how to do it better.
My healthcare team has been beyond amazing, always encouraging and working with me to improve. My mom has been a steady grounding rock throughout my life, at times being an extension of my body with me, getting up in the middle of the night to check on me. She supports me through everything.
Growing up I have always had a passion for health, nutrition, and fitness. I have realized in the times we are living in that the health consciousness of the world is very low. People do not take care of their bodies, the temple that God gave them. We are continually abusing our bodies by eating sugar and highly processed packaged foods that are far from their natural state.
Most people are not taught about and thus do not put enough thought into what they eat, nor even realize they are eating genetically-modified foods and chemical, toxic additives. And worse yet, some people just simply cannot afford healthier organic and whole foods, whether or not they know much about the nutritional value therein.
Wrong eating and thinking are both detrimental, causing disease and illness. Your whole body is connected, and you cannot approach your health from just the outside. Your thoughts and actions affect your health, so striving to be pure and become like Christ is just as important as the physical changes that need to be made.
I have been blessed all my life in needing to be really tuned into my body and aware of my health. When I was twelve, I made a decision that I would control my diabetes; my diabetes would not control me. I do not want to miss out on life or become sick because I do not take care of myself. Diabetes can have a number of serious complications if you are not constantly monitoring your health. Extended periods of high-uncontrolled blood sugars can take a toll on nearly every organ in your body, including your heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves, gums, and teeth. Extreme hypoglycemia is very damaging to your brain and could also cause blurred/impaired vision, headaches, seizures, and even coma and death.
In realizing the importance of taking care of myself, I believe that treating my disease by only medication is not the answer. I am learning that true change is a whole new way of life, staying disciplined in the way I eat, having a regular exercise regimen, and practicing prayer and purity every moment.
Now, our world is dealing with a global pandemic as well as an endless list of social, political, and physical illnesses that are making us come face to face with the state of our world and the state of our health, personally and collectively. To me, COVID-19 is very telling of the times we are in and actually gives me a sense of anticipation, because I believe things often unfortunately have to get worse before they get better. It makes me think that Jesus is ever closer to returning.
I also think we have a very special opportunity, through these challenges, for families to become closer and the world to raise its consciousness to a higher level. But it is also a very serious time. We can no longer turn a blind eye and be complacent. It is time to take charge of our health.
Our society as a whole is unhealthy to begin with; people have very weak immune systems and unwholesome lifestyles. We must learn how to truly take care of our bodies, otherwise we will have a very high price to pay. Every person is unique and has to find the proper rhythm in taking care of himself or herself. We are so individual, there is no “one size fits all” solution.
I think we need to be significantly more mindful of what we are feeding our bodies, as I have come to realize how much food affects me personally. To me, the best foods are ones that are already closest to their natural state, and that I know where they are coming from. It is essential to include in your diet lots of fresh, organic vegetables, healthy fats, and fruit, and cut back, or get completely off, the sugars. And often those sugars hide themselves within a variety of foods we’re typically less likely to suspect, like milk and other dairy products, breads and pasta, and other carb-heavy foods.
Exercise is also particularly key in keeping a strong heart and lungs as well as just overall health. Exercise has been proven to boost your energy, improve your mood, increase your stamina, and much more. I personally love working out; it makes me feel so much better about myself and provides a satisfaction that I have accomplished something big—which I did. I accomplished taking care of myself!
Last, but most definitely not least, I believe that it is our mental and, more importantly, our spiritual health that is essential at this time. You will never be able to have a healthy body if you have negative thoughts. Your physical and spiritual well-being go hand in hand; one cannot go without the other. We each need to work on becoming pure and seeking to hear God’s will in our life, always putting health first, both on the inside and the outside!