Who I am is a tough question, as I am so many things. I am a culinary nutrition expert and an integrative health coach. I have a passion for food and healthy living that have led me to where I am now. I am a mother, with a desire to help other families deal with digestive issues and food sensitivities. I am a wife, who works to balance my desire for a healthy family with their desire for delicious conventional meals. And I am myself, a lady who has been on a long path to get where she is today. The path was not always easy, though life never is, but it was certainly fun, and hard on this body I call home.
18 years ago I considered myself to be healthy. I had an iron stomach that never let me down. I could, and did, eat anything. Then one day something changed and my body began to betray me. Everything I ate caused bloating, nausea, and pain. Oh, the pain. Sometimes I would bloat so badly I could pass for a 6-month pregnant woman. My doctor said it was the flu. Every two weeks I would go in and be told I had the flu…every two weeks for six months. One day I snapped, questioned the doctor, declared that something more must be wrong if I had the flu every two weeks for six months. The man looked at me like I was crazy and I decided that it was time for a new doctor.
Off I went to see a doctor I trusted, one whom I had watched provide thorough and kind care to my grandfather in his final days. In my first visit I was told that I had irritable bowel syndrome, given a prescription, and told that my issues were based on food sensitivities. And so I read everything I could find about IBS and started an elimination diet. Plain white rice was my best friend, the discomfort went away, and I started to digest my food again. Hallelujah! Eventually I worked my way up to meat, rice, potatoes, green beans, carrots, grapes, and berries. At that point I moved and my new doctor was not nearly as supportive, believing that what I ate had no impact on my digestive issues. Lacking any guidance, for two years those seven foods were the full extent of my diet. Clearly I was not healthy. Malnourished, I was tired all the time, and living in constant fear of a flare up. Long lines at the grocery store could bring on a panic attack if I felt the tell tale flutter of impending tummy trouble.
Then one day I was diagnosed with strep throat and put on antibiotics – and suddenly most of my troubles went away. I asked if all this trouble could be bacterial, but the doctor told me it was a coincidence. Who was I to argue but a young, and scared young lady, trying to figure out what was wrong with her body. I went off the prescription pills, but still had to manage my diet diligently. Any deviation caused a day or two of pain. I was living again, but just barely. And worst of all, the diet that kept me able to function was one full of junk and fast food. McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Swiss Chalet were my go to’s. Enough was enough!
After years of frustration I booked an appointment with a naturopath and my journey took a turn for the better. We gradually cleansed my body, killing off the bad bacteria and reestablishing a healthy gut flora. I started to eat different foods again, adding in nutrient rich vegetables, legumes, and fruits. Each month I would browse the grocery store and make a list of foods I hoped I could eat again, then review it with my naturopath. Never had someone been so happy to get the go ahead to eat brussels sprouts or kale. I couldn’t remember ever feeling so good, and it only took eight years. How was this wonderful woman able to change my life so quickly when the medical profession had just tried to mask the symptoms with pills and a restricted diet?
Today my body is by no means in it’s ideal state – I have two young children, which translates to not nearly enough sleep or self care. But I am armed with the knowledge of how to heal myself when I venture too far off of my path. And I know when to reach out for help if I need it. Most importantly, I know how to listen to my body when she is speaking to me, for her messages are never wrong.
And why the long blather of my history? Because we are all human, and we all have struggles. And most importantly, we are not alone. My journey is by no means unique, and I have made it my mission to help others who are also feeling scared, unhealthy, and helpless. Because we are stronger together.