My Health Journey
Growing up, I had a lot of health issues. It was no fun. In the Fall and Spring it was allergies all season, then colds and infections the entire Minnesota winter. I had constant stomach issues, was fatigued all the time, and had chronic pain starting in my teens. When I was a teen, I had ongoing stomach pain so severe mom took me to the doctor. After multiple tests, they diagnosed me with a chronic, incurable intestinal disorder and prescribed a pill to take for the rest of my life. Pretty cool for a 14 year old. I saw doctors and therapists for anxiety and severe mood swings. The doctor prescribed another pill to “balance me out.” This didn’t sit well with me and like most of my medications, I tried it for a while and then stopped.
I saw many allergists and tested either highly reactive or moderately reactive to 90% of the tiny prick tests that covered my entire back....I took more pills, an inhaler and a nasal spray for my allergies. Allergies really know how to make you feel attractive. My choir teacher was sure I had gastric reflux disease because I always sounded raspy or swollen when I sang. I spent 48 hours with a tube going from my nose to my stomach for the testing that ended up negative. I slept with my bed elevated, avoided any acidic foods, fried foods… and even chocolate. I took yet another pill. None of this helped and she was so sure something was wrong, that she kicked me out of choir so that I wouldn’t cause permanent damage to my voice.
Worst. Day. Ever.
I got an extreme muscle spasm at age 16 while I was washing my hair. It was so painful that I immediately screamed for my mom’s help and cried the entire way to the emergency room. They gave me a pill and ongoing physical therapy, which again, did not help. I lived in varying degrees of chronic systemic pain every day since that first spasm. I found out much later in life that I likely had fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder. Mostly though, I remember always being tired. I could fall asleep anywhere at any time… seriously. My friends jokingly called me narcoleptic. I did well in school, but was so tired that I slept through classes and was consistently late to first hour. I flipped a car driving home one night when I fell asleep at the wheel…yeah, it was that bad. The officer at the scene said if I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt I would have either been dead or paralyzed. Wow indeed. This was with all the windows opened, music blaring and drinking multiple red bulls. In short, I was a mess… and not the hot kind.
However, one thing I was blessed with as a teen was clear skin… I never suffered from acne. I was very lucky, until one day when I was 25. I went to bed with flawless skin and woke up to an utter disaster. My entire face had broken out with acne overnight! I then started a long bout with major congestion and very painful cysts. I remember one extremely frustrating day where it seemed like my zits had zits… I couldn’t find a patch of clear skin anywhere! So began my journey to try and fix the acne. I went to spas weekly, tried every product and treatment I could find, I researched as much as I could online, spent a TON of money, but nothing seemed to help consistently. It seemed especially challenging since my skin was so broken out, but also very sensitive and dry. One of the only moderately effective treatments would stain my clothes and pillowcase and was super harsh on my skin. I hated it.
The first moment of relief from everything described above was a few years after my initial skin breakout. I had been mostly a vegetarian (I did eat fish and eggs sometimes) for about 7 years, had worked out about 5 days a week since I was a teen, and generally considered myself healthy. My boyfriend at the time commented on how tired I was all the time. He also noticed that we would eat the same dinner, and I would always be in a LOT of stomach pain, but he would feel fine. So when our friends did a Paleo diet challenge, that removed all grains, dairy, soy, legumes, peanuts, refined vegetable oils, sugar, alcohol and fun for 30 days… we jumped on it! At first, it really sucked. Then we neared the end and my results were incredible. My skin dramatically cleared, my chronic back pain lessened, my energy improved drastically, my allergies got better, I dropped 10 pounds without working out a single day, my mood improved and I decided then there was no way I was turning back. So much so that I learned to cook for the first time in my life, revamped my entire kitchen & home, switched out every household cleaner and body product I owned, and got certified as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Easy stuff. It was as if someone flipped on a light switch and I hadn’t been truly living before. Now, I am living my fullest life!
It is not easy to share the personal details above, but I do it in the hope that you will find relief and know you’re not alone. We don’t have to live in sickness or pain. I have learned so much along my whole foods diet and holistic journey and it has been unbelievably empowering. Simply put, food changes everything. It can feel difficult. It is absolutely frustrating. So many times I wanted to give up. You’re not alone and I deeply understand the struggle. Everything I thought I ever knew about food and health was wrong. It is very simple now. What worked for me was eating unprocessed food that has been around since ancient times… in mostly the same form as those times. That’s it. Health is not complicated, we’ve just been heavily marketed to and incredibly confused in the process. I’m here to support your healing journey and thank you so much for visiting! Now can I get a “health yeah!?”