In a nutshell...After my husband and son were diagnosed with Celiac disease, I began a wellness journey to find natural alternatives to support the dietary changes our family was making. It didn't take long to see a marked improvement in their symptoms and overall health, so I started exploring all different aspects of healthy living. And I discovered there can be A LIFE MUCH MORE than we ever realized!
With a renewed passion for health and wellness, I went back to school and received my certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. My approach is "one size doesn't fit all." I don't focus on calories or give you a list of do's and don't's. Instead I look at each person and we work together to get to the root of the issue and make changes necessary to eliminate the cause of the problem.
Here's the longer version-
My husband and I have three children and the oldest, Harrison, always seemed to have allergies, bronchitis and pick up any virus going around. We did five years of allergy shots, only to find out he had a whole new set of allergies. I always wondered if he had an autoimmune disease but was told it was just typical kid sickness. I never let that possibility go because I had two other kids that were never sick. As he got older, he developed some asthma and then in high school, along with several teammates, picked up MRSA on football stadium turf . The other guys bounced back quickly but his was more serious and he had many more bouts with it. During college, he developed a terrible dry cough and acid reflux. We went to every specialist and had every test run but no one could figure it out. An endoscopy revealed he had some significant damage from the reflux so he was prescribed a PPI (proton pump inhibitor like Nexium and Prilosec). After researching it more, I realized that was going to do the opposite of what he needed. PPI's reduce the amount of acid in your stomach and very often, reflux is a result of too little acid, resulting in your food not being properly broken down. So he never took the medication.
Soon after graduation, a college friend of his who was working as a nurse in Austin, Texas, suggested we see a functional internist. (A functional internist or functional medicine doctor works to get to the root of the symptoms and treat the root, hopefully eliminating the symptoms and need for medication altogether.) I always had hope that maybe the next doctor we saw would figure it out. Now it was starting to get serious, with the reflux damage. Within thirty minutes of our visit, she thought he had Celiac Disease. Further testing confirmed that and everything started making sense.
Because it's genetic, she tested my husband and me; my husband also had the gene. Interestingly, since his early 20's, he had painful arthritis in his hand, to where it was difficult to shake someone's hand or grip a golf club. So we began this journey. We completely eliminated all gluten and dairy and began the healing process. It was not overnight by any means, but within a few weeks, they both felt significantly better. They took supplements, drank bone broth and learned what their new normal looked like.
I began to do all kinds of research on autoimmune diseases and the things that impact health. I quickly realized that the cleaning products we use in our home, the personal care products we put on every day, the water we drink and shower in, all have a huge impact on our health. I made some pretty immediate changes and we started using all natural products to clean with and for personal care. I got rid of all the toxins and put in a whole house water filter system. We continued to notice improvements in their health but it takes a long time to heal years of damage. We started using essential oils topically, ingesting them and diffusing them. All these changes have made such a huge difference and are each part of the health puzzle.
I realized some of the things I was feeding Harrison as a child were the very things that were making him sick. We drank about 8 gallons of milk a week, ate "healthy" whole grain bread and pasta and ate cheese on everything. No one ever suggested a link between his diet and all his symptoms.
I hated the thought that another family would have to go through this so I went back to school and completed a year long program with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and became certified in health and wellness coaching. My main focus is on preventing autoimmune diseases and also helping manage them and possibly reversing them in those who already have symptoms, just by making some changes in the choices you make.
Harrison is married now to a precious girl who also has Celiac Disease. Before they started dating, she had never heard of it but as she talked about symptoms, it sounded more and more like she might have it, too. She had been diagnosed with thyroid disease, Hashimoto's, and struggled with digestive issues. So between the two of them and my husband, they have vastly different autoimmune diseases but they all go back to diet and the gut.
We have to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us through symptoms and then work to uncover the root. If I had known back when my kids were little what I know now, things would have been so much different. I love helping others on their journeys and discovering there is A LIFE MUCH MORE than we imagined!