• Ali Cody - Nutritionist

Confessions of an Irma Survivor

I have a confession to make, during this past week I caved into cravings and did a LOT of emotional eating and drinking! It started off by purchasing loads of dry foods to prepare to be powerless during and after the storm. Grocery store shelves were emptying quickly so I had to move fast!

We stocked up on organic corn chips, organic crackers, multi-grain bread, natural peanut butter, jam, and TONS of spring water! To go with the chips we had plenty of hummus and salsa as well. We also stocked up on produce, and that was no problem at all. Seems that instead of going for grapes, strawberries, blueberries, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, etc... most Floridians focused on chips and crackers. I couldn't believe how quickly the cookie aisle emptied out as well! Although I am happy to report that bananas were scarce; at least some made healthy choices!

Usually we have our extended family wait out the storm in our home, but for the first time my husband was a first responder. He had to report to the Regional Traffic Management Center as soon as curfews were set for our area, then wait out the storm while monitoring the roads from this central location.

Since he couldn't be with us and this huge hurricane was so widespread, heading to Central Florida; he made the decision that myself, our boys, our dog, and two cats were going to head north. We met up in Central North Florida with additional family, some of which were under mandatory evacuation.

Driving separately in 3 cars we all met up in Lake City, FL at a Home 2 Suites by Hilton (wonderful hotel and staff - but no generator). My mom, aunt, cousin, and bestie along with my boys and a total of 4 pets met up there hoping that when the storm met up with us it would be much weaker.

The day before the storm hit us ( Sunday) most stores were closed... even Wal-Mart! The only place open was Sal's Italian Diner and man were they packed! My bestie and I drove over and ordered 3 pizzas to bring back and share with the rest of our crew. Meanwhile as we waited on the pizza we, of course sipped on wine! Then back in the hotel lobby our family came down to get their share of the pizza and we hung out drinking more wine! YES, it was FUN!

You can safely guess that when push came to shove and we were in the dark without power I lived on a diet of chips, salsa, and hummus. We would meet down in the lobby where there was a nice breeze, play "Apples to Apples" and enjoy easy to share snack items... not to mention the wine (LOTS of WINE). We really had so much fun playing cards and laughing a LOT!

As you may know, my 2 vices are cheese and wine and although I usually limit these, I gave in to the anxiety and also the party like atmosphere that we created. We also ate at Olive Garden the first night of our trip where I enjoyed their Ravioli de Portobello (healthy mushrooms, pasta, and my vice of cheese) and more wine.

By day 3 of our journey I could tell my body wasn't feeling well. By now Irma had passed us and was only a tropical storm in Lake City! To ensure the roads were clear we decided to wait until the next morning. Plus, we could see all of the power and utility vehicles traveling southbound on I-75 and certainly wanted to keep the roads clear for them!

This meant one more night partying without power at the hotel and we certainly had to finish all of our snacks and wine so we didn't have to pack them up in the car, right? LOL.. well that we did! One more night of games and partying. Headed back the next morning and it was interesting to see the damage and some flooded roads along the way.

We came back to a home that was in good shape with lots of large tree limbs down, flooding in our back area, and no power! I did make a purposeful shift to healthy foods and started eating a lot of salads with plenty of veggies. Then, night 3 of our return my bestie came to spend the night since she was still without power. I love breaking bread with friends, so we had to have more chips and wine, right?

Then, the next night (Friyay) was the first time my husband and I could actually have some semblance of a date night... you see where I'm going with this.... more wine!

Saturday morning woke up with a sore neck and could feel a swollen lymph node on the left side of my neck. We have hundreds of lymph nodes in our body so if I could feel one of them I'm sure there were also others filled with toxins. Plus, this was a sign that I could be having major issue.

Since I knew the cause of these issues was my own poor behavior and eating, the answer wasn't a doctor; it was proper nutrition. That morning I made up my mind! NO WINE, NO CHEESE, and NO CHIPS the next 7 days straight!

I started off with my plant protein shake, leaving out my usual peanut butter. Then for lunch I had a big ole' heaping of vegetable soup! By 2pm that lymph node was already starting to get smaller. For dinner I made myself veggies and rice, even bringing half of it to finish at my son's football game.

Sunday morning I felt another (smaller) lymph note on the same side of my neck but lower down. If I wasn't educated on how our immune systems were built to heal then I would be worried. I am not worried, but I definitely have to get serious - no more partying for a bit!

My plan is to starve these lymph nodes (and potentially other cells in my system) from what they need to survive. I will be much more vigilant to create an alkaline environment with plenty of oxygen and no processed sugar.

The question is, will this really work or do I need to see a doctor? I honestly don't have the answer but I'm confident that I will listen to my body and do what is necessary to heal.

Stay tuned as this is day 2 and in 5 more days I'll know the outcome. Just remember - healing is in your hands. I am happy to help educate you on the signs to look for and what proper nutrition can look like and still be delicious! I am also very, very human so don't feel awkward being honest with me!

CLICK HERE to fill out an Initial Nutrition Assessment and always feel free to email me at with any questions!


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