North Carolina Resident Teaches Us How to Live Out Loud Every Day
Sol: Tell us about your nutrition regimen and what foods make you feel your best? What foods do you avoid?
Stephanie: Juicing makes me feel the absolute best. I get lazy and stop and when I start up again it’s like my body is singing in joy. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good (I overcame the allergies) and I do a smoothie every day to make sure I always get some fruit and a boost of protein. I still eat dairy, but only drink unsweetened soy milk in place of regular milk. Eggs are my friend and I enjoy yogurt every now and then. I still love potatoes and rice, but try not to overdo it, as they just seem to weigh me down. I also try to limit my bread and pasta. I still love my Pepsi, but try to stay away from it. Most of the time I am successful in that. I drink lots of water and tea.
Sol: Do you feel that working out helps you manage your illness? If so, how?
Stephanie: Yes! Exercise is critical for anyone and most definitely me. The scleroderma impacts not only my skin, but my lungs as well. I have inflammation in the lower section of my lungs, which slows me down some, but doesn’t stop me from being active. Working out and doing the deeper breathing you do when exercising is good for me.
Sol: What type of workouts are best for you? Why?
Stephanie: I walk (not on a treadmill) and I love to swim. Both get my heart pumping and allow me to work on my breathing, which is important.
Sol: How do you stay positive and encouraged although you're battling this illness?
Stephanie: Staying alive is a powerful motivator. I’m not ready to go yet and feel like there is more I have to do with this wonderful life of mine. I think a positive attitude helps me in the battle against this illness. I make a choice to be positive and more importantly, I am thankful for each day. I decided not to let the illness define me. Most people don’t even know I am sick and unless it is pertinent to the conversation I don’t mention it. I also don’t let it stop me from living and enjoying the small things in life. There is much to see and experience and I am determined to do that each and every day. I learned a long time ago that being positive is much easier than being negative.
Sol: What would you like to tell others who are struggling will a chronic illness/autoimmune disease?
Stephanie: Don’t stop living your life. Educate yourself; make changes in your lifestyle if necessary, stay positive and LIVE OUT LOUD every day. Listen to your doctors, but also trust your instincts, listen to your body and don’t be afraid to consider alternatives. Not as a complete replacement to traditional medicine, but as a powerful back up. Diet is key. You can heal yourself with food. Exercise. Love! Laugh! Life is to be enjoyed.
Bravo, Sol Sister! We couldn't agree with you more.
For more information about Scleroderma, please visit The Scleroderma Foundation website.
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