No matter how serious our symptoms may be, it is important that we examine all treatment options available before making a decision on how best to deal with a major health issue.
Jamaican author Shelly Ann Weeks made this point as she launched her book entitled Change Your Diet and Change Your Life at Cave Shepherd’s Broad Street store recently.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Weeks stated, “I recommend women do their own research because they find out there is a lot more they are not being told by their circle, and a lot of information their doctors aren’t telling them because in some cases the doctors themselves don’t know.
“Once you get a diagnosis, check it out on the Internet, talk to people who may have had the same condition themselves, get second, third and fourth opinions from medical professionals if necessary.”
Speaking about her challenges with fibroids, which she said affected her from an early age, Weeks said her doctor had recommended a hysterectomy, but “I spoke to a woman who had done the same thing, and she said “categorically no”, since her experience with the surgery was horrible.
“Actually, she ‘scared me straight’ and inspired me to do some searching. I did some research online, I saw videos by other women, saw papers written by medical professionals and dietitians on the subject, and from that, I chose to change my diet to see whether that alternative would work,” Weeks added.
“Essentially, I cut out dairy, wheat, processed foods, rice, flour, sugar and ate my way to the best health of my life. Over a period of three months, I lost over 70 pounds, my fibroids are asymptomatic and very small now, I do not feel pain anymore, and my womb is still intact.”
She added that despite the fact she did not follow her doctor’s advice and go the surgical route, “I got the blessing of my doctor and he is still a very big part of my process.”
“In fact, he recommends my book to his patients now and this is important, because a lot of us do not think about our reproductive health. People do not make the connection between their diet and reproductive health, and I am not only talking about females; there are adjustments men can make in their diets as well to improve their reproductive health,” she said.
Weeks said the book was the biggest selling title at the recently concluded CARIFESTA XIII, and she is presently working on a follow up recipe book highlighting some of the foods she used to combat her condition. The new book will also dispel some myths about eating healthy, “as the recipes feature ingredients that are readily available here in the Caribbean, and I am highlighting meals that can be prepared in half an hour or less.”
The Barbados Family Planning Association has endorsed the book, as it is part of their effort to promote women’s health in general. One representative from the association stated, “We have also been encouraging men to read the book, so they can get a better understanding of the condition and what the women in their lives may be going through.”