My Story: The Expanded View

I’ve always been a very tenacious, problem solving, independent, ‘never quit’, get er’ done kinda person. Over the last couple decades, that has definitely been tested and many times well beyond what I thought I could ever handle.

My quest for being healthy and living life with joy, no matter the challenges, has evolved and steadily grown.

Life is such an adventure! I am so grateful that my Lord Jesus Christ has always given me strength and wisdom to overcome, and joy and peace to sustain me during great adversity.

As a child, I had multiple health problems and in my teens, I was diagnosed with a life threatening autoimmune disease called severe aplastic anemia. My bone marrow no longer produced any blood. I was 19 and given a prognosis of 2 months to live.   Yay! – the doctors were proved wrong!

For many years thereafter my health problems continued to accumulate even though I made changes to my diet that I thought, at the time, were healthy. One of those changes was having a very low fat diet, replacing fat with carbs, and rigorously counting calories as I believed they were my enemy. I also removed all animal protein (meat, poultry, fish) from my diet and once again, replaced it with carbs. These dietary habits lasted over decades and little did I know I was quite deceived and was causing great distress and harm to my health. I have since incorporated animal protein back into my diet and I focus on eating nutrient-dense whole foods consisting of high fat, moderate protein, and low carb. Please hear me on this. I am not against not eating animal protein and it can be a healthy dietary change for the short term. However, unless you are willing to take necessary extra steps to compensate, many people do not do well long term without any animal protein in their diet.

My health saga continued and I was diagnosed with additional autoimmune conditions (Hashimoto’s, Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)), Hepatitis C (from blood transfusions when I was 19) which I had for 29 years but cured in 2015, chronic fatigue syndrome, hormone imbalances, and more. A 2009 near fatal accident and 3 very invasive surgeries within a year of my accident (not all due to the accident) only exacerbated my health issues.

I was not giving up!

As many of you have also experienced, I went to many different doctors but to no avail. Many either didn’t know how to help or they just wanted to give me medication to treat a symptom, which to them, was fixing the problem.

Don’t get me wrong, I have complete respect for conventional doctors. There have been times when I needed conventional treatment and acute care to save my life. I am very grateful.   For those who suffer from chronic conditions, however, conventional care will not provide you with a long-term good quality of life and optimal health. Masking the symptoms is not the answer.

Functional medicine, on the other hand, addresses the whole person (body, mind, spirit) and seeks to determine the root cause so symptoms are removed.

Whether it was an adverse symptom or a diagnosis of yet another disorder, I spent countless hours researching about it along with what holistic and alternative therapies could help. I then went to a nutritionist and was introduced to the concept of food sensitivities. This is when I removed all gluten and dairy from my diet and that was the start of my journey to healthy dietary changes and cleaning up lifestyle habits that were also wreaking havoc to my health.

Finally, BREAKTHROUGH!

Breakthrough yes, complete recovery overnight, no. I didn’t get to this point overnight so I knew it was going to take some work to be well. There is no magic pill. Let me repeat that….there is no magic pill. I had to do a lot of clean up work to undo the damage and remove toxins that had accumulated in my body for so many years. But now, the light was brighter at the end of the tunnel and recovery was in my future.

Full steam ahead!

This began my incredible journey and insatiable appetite to understand more. More about the food we eat, our dietary and lifestyle habits, how our bodies process nutrients, what causes disease, and how to detox from the accumulation of toxins.

Just a little reminder…toxins and irritants to our body are not all in the form of food and things we ingest. Other lifestyle factors such as stress, sleep, environmental exposures, negative emotions, pessimistic mindsets, etc. also play a big role in our health and wellness and those too have to be dealt with.

You have probably heard the comment that “food is medicine,” but that is not entirely true. Eating perfect foods in their whole form and all organic is great but it is not enough.

Food is medicine only when our body can process and absorb the nutrients and energy from it and there is so much that can hinder that.

Throughout all of this, I became aware how important our gut (digestive) health is….so much so that 70% – 80% of our immune system is in our gut. Not to mention that our bodies are bombarded with toxins from foods we eat, to the things we put on our skin, to the household items we use to the environment we live in.

If we have a less than optimal working digestive system and are filled with toxins, it is no wonder our immune system is unable to work at its best. The result – inflammation, imbalance, dysfunction, and disease.

Hmm, so I failed to take one BIG thing into consideration in all my research and efforts to recover and that was the now much talked about STRESS.  With everything I had been through it did not occur to me at the time that although I was making great improvements, my body had been subjected to great stress and I had more to recover from than what I thought. Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to the signals my body was trying to tell me and continued to allow many stressors impede my progress

Eventually my body just couldn’t take anymore. I felt like I was losing it.  I couldn’t think straight, I was in constant pain, I wasn’t sleeping well and was exhausted all the time.  I was in such a debilitative state that I had to take medical leave from my job and subsequently leave my career altogether.  If you know me that was very difficult because I was always one to keep going no matter what.

I began much-needed extreme self-care and made additional dietary and lifestyle changes. When I was recovered enough, I began my journey to obtain formal health education and devour as much about health and wellness as I can.

Although I spend countless hours over decades reading and learning about health and nutrition, my formal education includes obtaining a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and studying at Liberty University for my Masters in Public Health and Nutrition. I received my certification from the Institute of Transformational Nutrition and obtained Digestive System Intensive training from Holistic Nutrition Labs, both of which are recognized by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP). I also received Professional Life Coaching training from Light University.

Not stopping here – I will continually pursue increasing my understanding and expertise as I believe we should always be growing in our knowledge and ability to apply it effectively.

I’m committing the rest of the my life’s work to my personal passion of health and wellness. In addition to devoting significant effort to thrive in my own wellness, my passion is to help others in their healing journey and pursuit to live their life to the fullest.

What took me years and years to learn I can help others do in a small portion of time.

I’m willing to do the detective work where others have shrugged their shoulders and given up on you. I want to help you discover what’s going on in there (your body) and uncover the root causes of your problems instead of just masking the symptoms.

I approach everyone individually as although there are some fundamentals that apply to everyone, what works for me may not work for you. I provide a personalized approach, meet you where you are, and provide a program to help you meet your goals.

I will instill hope back where it has been lost in the healing process for you– I want you to experience the most wonderful transformation possible – one that encompasses hope, healing, and empowerment.

I hope that you feel you know me a little more now. Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to learn more; I would love to hear from you.

Most importantly, never give up!!! We all experience ups and downs. It is important to continually strive to be our best while celebrating all progress, regardless how small! Remember, many small changes equal big change.

I am excited for all who would like to join me in our quest to thrive in wellness.

Have Joy.…Always and On Purpose!

God Bless You!