Food and nutrition are sensitive topics for me. Yet I’m still very happy to share how nutrition has helped my healing journey. As a personal trainer, food and nutrition play an important role in helping my clients and I reach our goals. Like peanut butter and jelly, exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. In this blog I want my readers to understand my relationship with food and nutrition. I want to show, through my experiences, how nutrition can be life changing. Lastly, I want to describe how different my life has been since I’ve been using food to heal.
My Food Journey
I want to start this story when I was about 5 years old. I don’t remember a lot from that time, but I do remember something about my health that sticks out and still affects me. I remember reaching and asking for my fathers Rolaids. I would tell him that I have heartburn and I need one of his antacids. He used to say I’m too young to have heartburn. I remember my mouth watering and my chest burning. I didn’t know why this was happening but the discomfort definitely bothered me a lot. I would take my dad’s antacids from time to time because it did help. As a kid I would eat the typical junk food for most of the day. Lots of sugar, soda, processed foods, and packaged foods. We would always have a good dinner every night. Aside from that, I ate very poorly.
Suffering from Acid Reflux
Once I got into high school I had some tests done to see why I was having so many health issues. The test showed that at age 15 I had acid reflux. At that point the doctor gave me some options. They said I could do some things like prop the head of my bed up a few inches, not eat before bed, and try to avoid things that really affected me. I tried these recommendations and they did not help. So, the doctor said that I had two other options. The first option, the one he would suggest, was that I take a pill everyday so that I didn’t have any heartburn. The other option was to have a surgery. The surgery wasn’t guaranteed to actually help, and the side effect was that I wouldn’t be able to burp anymore. That sounded very uncomfortable and invasive. He said the surgery would most likely get better over the years and maybe an option later in life. So from the age of 15 all the way to about 32 years old I took a pill in the morning to prevent any indigestion. When I would take that pill I could eat whatever and whenever I wanted. This was a blessing at first. I never thought twice about it until I met an amazing nutritionist.
Getting my Nutrition on Track
A few years ago I met Whitney George. She is our Functional Nutritionist at Ampersand Integrative Wellness. She educated me on how the pills were affecting my body and how medication wouldn’t helping me to heal. It was only hiding an issue that needed to be dealt with. She first encouraged me to stop eating gluten. I found that to be a big help. Then, I got off the medication and was surprised that I wasn’t having that many issues. My indigestion was much better. But, it would still give me some problems at times.
Whitney and I decided to do some testing and figure out what exactly was going on inside my body. The tests revealed many things that were out of balance. With this information, Whitney made a plan to help me heal my stomach. I am taking a lot of all natural supplements and I have a very restrictive diet to complement the supplements. Since starting this plan I haven’t had heartburn once and I feel healthier now than ever in my whole life!
Healing the Body
It is a really tough endeavor to heal yourself and change so many patterns all at once. I have another month or two on my plan to finish healing. I’m confident when I’m done that I can live a life where eating doesn’t have to give me problems like it has most of my life. I understand now that food is medicine and that eating healthy may look different for everyone. My quality of life has been better since starting this plan. I have better energy, better sleep, better bathroom habits, better complexion, less pain, healthy digestion, better moods, and my soul feels like it is healing. I know food and nutrition is only a piece of the healing I need to do to feel better in my skin, but I believe it’s a big piece.
After my program is over I hope to be able to live a life where eating doesn’t have to take up so much energy. Right now I have to plan when and what I eat. Not much wiggle room. I do not plan to eat unhealthy once I heal but I do want to eat things that I cannot eat while healing. Right now I’m not eating gluten, dairy, grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, and sugar. Once I’m healed I hope to be able to eat all of that minus the sugar. Sugar is something that causes me a lot of extra pain. I feel so much better when it’s not in my diet. That is very motivating because I have enough pain as it is.
Using Food as Medicine
I hope this article can shed some light on how important it is to heal using food as medicine. Having constant heartburn since I was a kid has affected me physically, mentally, emotionally, and all kinds of other ways. Not being scared to eat is a blessing and has allowed me to feel joy. I always viewed eating as fuel and we need to fill up our gas tanks. I now find enjoyment from foods, take my time eating, and feel better (not worse) from eating the foods my body wants and needs. I’m learning to cook and that is enjoyable, even though I never thought it would be. Eating the wrong foods can have a lot of negative consequences. I never would have known that if I didn’t meet Whitney and learn about healing my body with nutritious foods. I would recommend everyone to work with her because of that reason. Also, the quality of food these days are really low so to learn about what it means to eat healthy is something that can add years and quality to your life!