In 2014, I became sick. It first started with digestive discomfort. Some heartburn. Random stomach pains. Irregular bowel movements. It wasn’t anything too major, but it was also something I knew was not right. I went to several doctors and took the medications they prescribed, even though I never noticed a difference. But honestly, I didn’t really know what other options I had.
And before I knew it, I wasn’t just sick. I was really sick. I couldn’t eat anything without being doubled over in pain, I was losing weight, and I had a hard time standing up for more than five minutes at a time. I was always a relatively healthy person. I was an avid runner who exercised almost every day, vegetables were my favorite food, and I was happily engaged to my now husband. But test after test, prescription after prescription, and doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me. In fact, they still considered me healthy and normal. This was the most frustrating part of all. What the heck was wrong with me?
I knew I couldn’t keep living how I was, without any answers and still feeling awful every day. I started truly listening to my body, and I knew that I needed to find a different method of determining what was going on inside of me. My friends and family were worried about me, and honestly, I was too. Let me say that google is not your friend in the middle of a severe illness.
My mom mentioned looking into holistic and integrative doctors, but that was new territory for me. I called a few integrative doctors’ offices near me, but for some reason, I never got a great feeling when I called to ask questions about their services. I trusted that uneasy feeling and continued searching for a practitioner that I felt comfortable working with. A coworker and friend of my husband recommended a Functional Nutrition Practitioner who lived a couple hours away. I didn’t know anything about her, or even what a Functional Practitioner even was at the time. But I gave her a call, and after that first conversation and hearing her philosophy, I knew that she was the one that I wanted to work with. The thought of working with someone that could look into the root cause of my symptoms and support my body with food and natural methods seemed so empowering! With the recommendation from my practitioner, I did several non-invasive tests, including a hormone saliva test, stool test and food sensitivity test. The stool test showed that I had an overgrowth of e.coli in my gut which was contributing to leaky gut, or intestinal permeability and I also had hormonal imbalances, which was to be expected since my body was under such tremendous stress. I was also sensitive to several foods, even healthy ones like blueberries and yellow squash! (But that just shows you that even “healthy” foods might not be healthy for everyone!)
Whew. It felt so good to find the underlying reasons my issues. I knew the road ahead would be long, as it can take 6 months to 2 years or more to heal leaky gut, but I also knew that I was willing to do what it would take to feel good again.
My practitioner, who was absolutely amazing, worked with me to develop a plan to support my body through nutrition, sleep, exercise and supplements. I was already eating pretty well, but I knew I needed to eliminate other potentially irritating and inflammatory foods. I removed gluten, grains, dairy, soy, corn and legumes. She also recommended that I do gentle, restorative exercise, strength training to raise my super low testosterone levels, and eliminate the intense exercise. WHAT? As a cardio loving girl, that did not sit well with me…but let’s be honest, I could barely walk for 15 minutes at a time when I was at my sickest. I also had a pile of gut healing and adrenal support supplements to take each day. So many, in fact, that I had a whole other bag dedicated to these supplements that I brought to work with me each day! But I knew the supplements would play a vital role in supporting my body’s natural healing process, and I wanted to give my body all the support it could get.
I’m not gonna lie, these changes were hard and a major shift to my life, especially as a newlywed who was not used to slowing down. I definitely had several crying fests in the days after the consultation about my test results and protocol. (So grateful to my husband during this time!) But like I said before, I was willing to do what it took to not only feel good, but to also truly take care of my body.
As hard as this time in my life was, I am so grateful for it today. I learned so much about my body, so much about the importance of taking care of myself, and so much about the importance of getting to the root issues to heal my body. This experience transformed my perspective on health and medicine and started me on the journey I am on today. I became truly passionate about health and nutrition for the purpose of healing and preventative health. I wanted to soak up every piece of knowledge that my practitioner was telling me, do more research on the topics, and share it with everyone I knew. This is what inspired me to enroll in the Nutritional Therapy Association and become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. I wanted to continue learning and helping others in the same way that I was helped-through listening to their OWN bodies and discovering ways to support their health with real food, a sustainable lifestyle, and healing supplements.
And that is why I’m here. I’ve had my struggles, and I’ve come out on the other side. But things are not always perfect. I am constantly learning about myself and what my body wants and needs. But I hope that I can be a place of support, encouragement, learning and health information for you, no matter where you are in life and your health journey.