In retrospect, the signs were all there. The chronic symptoms that wouldn't budge – colds, flus, IBS, fatigue, body aches, ear infections, anemia, eczema, acne, hormonal imbalance, brain fog, irritability, mood swings, depression, anxiety…the list goes on. I was so accustomed to feeling off that I had forgotten what healthy felt like. I was back and forth to various naturopaths and GI specialists – one test after another, more money spent, and still no answers.
It was through my holistic nutritionist that I first learned about food sensitivities. She offered bio-energetic testing, a non-invasive, pain-free, and highly developed method of determining imbalances in the body. I already know what you’re thinking; it sounded like hocus pocus to me at first, too. But I was desperate for answers, had nothing to lose, and decided to give it a shot. And I’m so grateful that I did!
The test showed I was sensitive to wheat, dairy, corn (it's in everything!), soy, sugar, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, eggs, potatoes, bananas, and so much more!
I also discovered my body wasn't producing digestive enzymes. It's no wonder I felt terrible, I wasn't absorbing any nutrients. I had a "leaky gut" and I was poisoning myself daily, eating, what would've otherwise been considered healthy. I immediately overhauled my diet. Years went by, I felt better, but never good. And still, the symptoms, although fewer, persisted.
In March 2015, I got hit with the "flu". I missed 10 days of work; that was a big deal for me. Until then, I did what I could to hide my symptoms from my colleagues. I worked remotely if I was having one of those days. I could get away with doing the bed-to-bathroom shuffle from home, in the office, not so much. This time was different, though, I had no choice but to unplug and let my body rest.
Sitting on the bathroom floor in tears, I called London at work and told him he needed to get home; I was violently ill and could barely see straight. We rushed to Emergency and I spent the day hooked up to an IV because I was so severely dehydrated. More tests/procedures and several doctor visits later, and I finally received my diagnosis...celiac disease. Did I mention that I thought it was celiac all along? Four out of five of my dad's siblings have it. I had been tested before and my blood tests came back negative. I was told I had IBS.
Flooded with emotions – relief, sadness, happiness, anger – I was ready to get to work repairing the damage this disease had caused.
I tried everything to heal my gut. Here's what actually made a difference:
Eliminating grains, dairy, corn, sugar, legumes, eggs, canola, coffee, alcohol
Daily supplements (B, D, iron, calcium, fish oil)
Daily green juice or smoothie
Bone broth daily
Digestive enzyme supplement with every meal
Acupuncture 2-3x a week to treat digestive/hormonal imbalance
Slowing down and learning to trust the process
Fast forward to today. My heart is full. I now understand that wellness is about more than healthy eating and exercise. It's also about the thoughts you have, the company you keep, and the quality of your relationships - with yourself and others. Four years have passed, and although I still experience those days, they're nowhere near as often…or as severe. Eating food from anywhere other than my kitchen makes me anxious, and dining out is way more stressful than it is enjoyable. But I continue to persevere. I relish in promoting wellness through lifestyle and crafting healthy recipes for my family and me to enjoy.
Today, my recipes are always gluten-free, corn-free, dairy-free, soy-free, canola-free, and refined sugar-free.
I feel happy and my version of healthy. I'm proud of the progress I've made and so excited to start sharing the knowledge I've learned along the way. I hope my story inspires you to keep going - wherever you are in your journey.