Aurora Colello: How Your Lifestyle Can Dramatically Affect Your Health and Wellness – The Real Dish Episode 17

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Find out how your lifestyle dramatically affects your health and wellness with Aurora Colello.

Tune in to Episode 17 of The Real Dish!!


 

In this episode of The Real Dish, I talk about how one’s lifestyle and diet significantly affect their overall health and wellness with one of the best wellness warriors I know.

 

Aurora Colello never paid attention to what she ate because she could eat anything she wanted and would not gain weight . She hated working out or doing anything active and she figured she didn’t have to anyway because she was skinny….skinny equaled healthy right? She quickly learned how false this was…skinny does in no way equal healthy. In November of 2008, Aurora’s eye began hurting. She could not roll her eye up, down, left or right because the pain was excruciating. Then, the vision loss began, at first it was like some on erased a squiggly line in the center of her eye and  a few days later, the vision loss was from that line down. That December Aurora went blind in her right eye. She was rushed for an MRI which showed 10 lesions on her brain, some by her brain stem, and she was told by the top neurologist that she had had an extreme case of optic neuritis, inflammation of the optic nerve, and that she would never get her vision back. She was also told she had an incurable, progressive disease, that she would be on medication her whole life. Her diagnosis, Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  As if this was not shocking enough, to the 35 year old mom, to 4 children under the age of 7, at the time, the doctors said that because of where some of the lesions were located, some by her brain stem, she would be in a wheelchair within the next 5 years.

By using food as medicine, and incorporating other lifestyle changes, Aurora’s vision came back and she has been healthy and symptom free for the past 7 years. She has never been on medication for MS.  Aurora did not even worked out before her diagnosis but had always dreamed of racing a triathlon. After her diagnosis, she registered for her first race. She did not have a gym membership, could not run a mile and did not even own a pair of gym shoes.  As she began to change her diet and lifestyle and include fitness into her life, she began to feel healthier and stronger, instead of sicker and weaker ,as her doctors. said she would. Changing her lifestyle has helped Aurora to successfully stop the progression of MS. Aurora believes that you can prevent disease and stop the progression of disease in your body through diet and lifestyle changes.
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Aurora is now a sponsored triathlete, having raced over 25 triathlons, including 3 Half Ironman races.  She is passionate about sharing and encouraging others to change their lifestyles.  Aurora is a health and wellness writer and speaker.  Her story has been featured in SHAPE Magazine and Latina Magazine twice, Fox News, KPBS Evening Edition and other media outlets. She has been married for 15 years and has 4 children.

Listen while you’re getting ready in the morning, on your way to work or exercising – it’s food for thought you can really sink your teeth into.  For more information, check out The Real Dish.

This podcast is sponsored by Eat Cleaner and Moss Productions.


Listen to Episode 17 of The Real Dish or you can read the show notes below:

[00:00:18.12] Mareya:

I am going to be speaking to Aurora Colello, now I met aurora at a school event, actually in the event I was doing a crunch time event, teaching kids how to eat cleaner and how to clean their produce. and you know I sat next to Aurora just you know, destiny maybe, I guess, I don’t think anything happens accidentally and I sat next to her at lunch and we started talking and somebody said “well, Aurora don’t be so modest you’re a pro athlete” and I was like, “whoa! Pro-athlete?! Alright. I want to, I want to hear about this.”

What blew my mind after speaking to aurora for about 2 minutes is I realized this is a very special woman and her story is beyond uplifting. She basically just stood in the face of every doctor that said, “You have a disease.” and said “I will thrive. And I will survive! Beyond surviving I will thrive.” and I just can’t wait for you to hear her enthusiasm, what she has accomplished, and just her advice on how to always keep your head above water and question when somebody says to you, “You can’t do it.” or “This is what your destiny will look like. Just question it and don’t let anybody bring you down.

 

[00:02:18.17] Aurora

I am a mom to 4 beautiful kids ranging from 15 to 8, 3 boys and a girl. And I’ve been married for 15 years to my husband, Robert, who’s local agent – real estate agent – here in San Diego. I’m also a sponsored tri-athlete and racing now for about 6 years. It’ just something I fell in love with by watching a race when I was 19 years old. I grew up in Northern Virginia, in the East Coast and I had never seen a triathlon even know people were crazy enough to do things like that. And when I was 19 I was in Kona, Hawaii, doing volunteer work with a Christian organization and our team was asked to volunteer at the Iron Man World Championships in Kona which was like the Olympics of our sport, the best of the best triathletes in the world race in this event. So I was handing out waters outs, sponges back in 1991 to you know, the top athletes in the world and now the legends in our sport. Maybe like equivalent to a Michael Jordan or something like that. And so I saw that race and then it just really impacted me as a young girl, you know, 19, and I just always wanted to do a triathlon and so when I got diagnosed.. It was just something I thought I needed to do. And so I started racing. I became a sponsored athlete. And I also speak on health and wellness. I’m very passionate about health and wellness and changing our lifestyle and the fact that changing your lifestyle doesn’t just change your life, it could save your life because that what happened to me. So I’m very passionate about sharing that message with everyone in any form.

 

[00:04:10.18] Aurora:

I’m Colombian. Yes, I’m Colombian. Both my parents are Colombian and they immigrated here when I was very young. But I’ve grown up in the states. Yes, but I consider myself cultured and bilingual.

 

[00:04:22.02] Mareya:

Absolutely, which is awesome. But here’s the thing that just really blew my mind when you shared with me. So take us back, you talked about the diagnosis. What happened? You said that you never really had any issues with your weight or any other health issues to speak of. What happened on that during that time?

 

[00:04:44.02] Aurora:

Yeah actually I was really healthy. I was always really thin and so I thought skinny equals healthy. I had 4 kids and I could still go back into my jeans. I wasn’t fat so why should I worry about what I ate? Or why should I even exercise? I’m not fat. So I had this misconception that skinny equals healthy. So so false. One day I remember, I was in Palm desert with my family who just moved from the East coast and it was Thanksgiving and we weren’t used to being by ourselves on Thanksgiving with our family but all other families are coming in on other times other than Thanksgiving or we would going to fly there. So we were kind of by ourselves and so we decided to go to Palm Springs, Palm Desert area because being from the East Coast that’s what you hear a lot about California, it’s this area. So we decided to spend the time over there and during THAT trip that I started experiencing a pain in my right eye.

It started actually with a twitch, something which, you know, happens to all of us especially when we’re under stress. Our eyes have a lot of muscles and when you realize how many muscles the eye has so when you are under stress, it’s actually a key. That’s your body is speaking to you that something’s up. Pay attention. I had no clue how to listen to my body at that time so I ignored it. And little by little that twitch became a pain in my right eye that grew progressively worse and worse to a point that I couldn’t even roll my eye. Try not rolling your eye it’s impossible. You move your eye throughout the day, constantly nonstop, and also when you’re sleeping. so I would even wake up from this pain in my eye, from moving my eye. There were some tests being done on me and trying to figure out what was going on and within that time, the vision loss began. At first it was like if somebody took an eraser and erased like a squiggly line in the center of my eye. And then a few days later from that line down a vision loss. And then one day, I’ll never forget, I was cutting apples in the kitchen for my kids, who you know it’s just a perfect picture because I would make sure they wouldn’t, so I was cutting apples for them in the kitchen and all of a sudden I realized something drastic happens with my eye and I was just so scared. I immediately thought, “Oh no it’s my left eye!” now this is happening with my left eye so I covered up my right eye to look out of my left eye. And I could see fine and then when I covered up my left eye I realized that I was blind in my right eye. I just had partial vision loss now my vision was gone.

 

[00:07:22.01] Mareya:

You go from being somebody who is skinny, you called yourself skinny. You never had an issue with your weight. But you didn’t necessarily eat healthy. Can you tell us a little bit about what that diet looked like?

 

[00:07:38.00] Aurora:

It was basically, you know, just kind of grabbing whatever I could. You know, what you know sometimes maybe was kind of healthy and most of the time it just wasn’t. And again, because I don’t have a weight issue, I just thought well I’m really lucky because I can eat whatever I want.

 

[00:07:54.18] Mareya:

What would be a typical day’s worth of meals? Like what would you have for breakfast?

 

[00:07:59.14] Aurora:

In the morning I’d have like a piece of toast with jelly, coffee and maybe like a cereal or just like grab whatever my kids eat. I was known flatly just grabbing whatever my kids have leftover and just running out the door

 

[00:08:17.17] Interviewer: yeah exactly you know I was that typical mom that you know took care of everyone but myself. And that was something I had to learn too. That in order to be a good mom, and a great wife, and take care of my family, I need to take care of myself. And that’s good for my family; it’s a great example to my children. so yes I would eat a lot of bread, a lot of sugar, lot and lot sugar, and so you know when I would have because I wasn’t exercising and wasn’t eating healthy, you know I like around three or four o’clock crash that a lot of us moms get, right when your kids are coming home you have to rush off to soccer and dance practice and all this and it was just overwhelming. So I would just down sweet sugary coffee like a lot of people you know, their comfort food is, I don’t know, macaroni and cheese. Or you know, I don’t know. A sweet roll. Different people had their different comfort foods. For me being Columbian and growing up in a culture where coffee is everything and I grew up being given coffee as a young girl. Like you know, like shots of coffee with like a lot of milk, really sweet, it’s called “cafe con leche” and it’s very common with bread and a baguette.  That was my breakfast before school and so I had this, it was to me like my comfort food was like a sweet, really sugary drink. And a warm drink and so

 

[00:09:33.16] Mareya:

So a lot of sugar and a lot of bread? Which is essentially sugar too.

 

[00:09:58.15] Aurora:

I really had no knowledge of food or how food can play out in your body in every level, you know, emotionally, physically, mentally, at every level.

 

[00:10:25.17] Aurora:

When I went blind in my eye, they rushed me for an MRI and the next day I was read the results. And the neurologists sat me down on by myself because my kids are at school and the baby was home and my husband stayed home with him because I really thought just like I had some kind of an eye infection. I wear contacts I was due for a checkup, my annual checkup, and so I just didn’t

Think much of it really. And when I was given those results I was by myself and my doctor said, “You have had an extreme case of optic neuritis, which is inflammation of the optic nerve. Usually people have blurry vision or partial vision loss like you had at first but now your vision is gone. And it’s gone forever. You’ll never get your vision back.” then he pulls up this MRI on the screen, on this large computer screen he had, and I just see my brain with all these white dots all over it. And he said, “These are lesions

And you have 10 of them. And they’re all over your brain, all different sizes. And a lesion, in conjunction with the optic neuritis, is multiple sclerosis.

 

[00:11:31.22] Mareya:

Hold on a second. Lesions. Can you describe, what does that mean? I think I understand what it means, I think most people would understand, that’s like, basically, an open sore, right?

 

[00:11:44.07] Aurora:

On your brain, exactly. So what happens with those masses, it’s an autoimmune disease where your body’s attacking itself. And so it attacks the myelin sheath, which is the protective covering around the nerves in your brain. And so that, once it attacks that then it’s gone, a lesion is formed. And depending on where that lesion is where your symptoms are. And I had a lesion on my optic nerve.

(TO BE CONTINUED)


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