The Short Story
I grew up on 10 acres, eating food that was grown in the garden, and supporting wellness through herbal medicine. Ahh, those were the days.
Then life happened - I became a busy teacher, mother, and wife along with everything else that those roles entail. Stress and exhaustion outlined my days, and free time was a concept that eluded me. Something had to give. I have always had a passion for learning more about holistic approaches to health and healing, so with the encouragement of family and friends, I launched into a second career in 2009, initially working in community nutrition for a local food bank. I found that I loved working with people and food.
Where the story gets interesting is that during my academic and early nutrition career, my health actually started to decline. At least I thought it started then. I had a long history of allergies and asthma which were manageable, however, I began wandering into more concerning symptoms of autoimmune disease, pain and stiffness, headaches and a few things that were just difficult to identify! I began to understand how mold exposure and mercury toxicity were serving as a catalyst toward a life that was not at all what I wanted. I looked healthy but felt horrible. I dug deeper into Integrative and Functional Medicine Nutrition, which was instrumental to managing and eliminating symptoms, keeping myself off of medications, and relieving chronic pain. The story is not over though.
Just when I thought I had things under control, stress exacerbated my Raynaud’s Syndrome, and at the same time, I developed significant candida overgrowth along with a high sensitivity to a wide variety of foods. Candida has been a challenge for me for decades and I should have been careful to limit yeast containing products in my diet, but I wasn't having overt symptoms, and therefore like so many things in life, if it wasn't in the forefront of my mind, it didn't get my attention!
I spent the next several months trying to figure out what was causing the sensitivity to foods. It reached a point where I felt I was reacting to everything! Fortunately, I was able to receive some additional training at a local integrative practice working with clients who had completed the MRT/Leap Food Sensitivity Test and food plan, with amazing results. I learned more about alternative pathways of food reactions and inflammation, and ultimately became certified as a Leap Therapist myself, resolving my food sensitivities once and for all. This was the final step toward full relief and management of my symptoms. It was a game changer in terms of how I felt physically, my energy level, and mental clarity.
I mentioned earlier that I thought most of my symptoms started when I was in graduate school, but when using the integrative and functional medicine timeline, I could see just how early on my symptoms first appeared, and the triggers, perpetuators of my autoimmune disease progression. Using the functional medicine matrix I could address all of the modifiable lifestyle factors and monitor the physiological function of all body systems. This approach left no stone unturned and has been instrumental in halting further progression of my autoimmune condition.
So, know that you are not alone if you feel that you have strange unexplained collection of symptoms and even having difficulty figuring out the root cause of your health concerns. I have learned first hand (and through my training) that it might not be what you think or what you have been told. All health practitioners have the best of intentions, but not all work systematically to identify a root cause. If you are interested in working in partnership to maximize your health outcomes, let's talk.