I spent much of my early life eating the SAD (Standard American Diet) diet. My favorite food was cereal, and the more sugar it had, the better. I loved Sugar Pops, Cap’n Crunch, Fruit Loops, and Cocoa Puffs. I ate my large bowl of sugar with conventional skim milk, and drank the flavored milk when the cereal was gone. I cringe when I look back and think about the amount of sugar I was consuming!
By the time I reached my teen years, I suffered from bad acne, which I tried to resolve with visits to my dermatologist and the prescriptions he gave me. For years I was on antibiotics, which did nothing for my skin, but was damaging the good bacteria in my gut. I decided to ask my dermatologist to give me a prescription for a very powerful drug that seemed to work for some of my friends who also struggled with acne. This drug did help to slowly clear up my skin, but it also made my hair fall out in large clumps and made my skin extremely dry (this drug has since been discontinued due to reports of it leading to Crohn’s disease and suicide).
I continued my SAD diet of processed foods in college and tried to cover my face with thick foundation that had the consistency of paint! After another round of the dangerous drug, as well as a round of birth control pills that promised to give clear skin, I started to see some improvement. But I still was not addressing the root cause of my acne…a poor diet!
Fast forward several years…I married my college sweetheart, and we had our first baby after several years of marriage. I cringe to think about my diet during our oldest’s pregnancy, but thankfully he was a healthy baby boy. I, however, struggled with postpartum issues like the baby blues, low milk supply, and one infection after another, for which my doctor gave me antibiotics.
Thankfully, I did believe in exercising back then, so the baby weight came off rather quickly, although I struggled with swelling in my hands and feet. It did, however, take months for me to feel like myself again.
Several years later, we got pregnant again. This pregnancy would be different though. It came with the devastating news that our little girl had a severe birth defect and would not survive infancy. You can read her story here.
After burying our daughter, we moved two weeks later for my husband to attend seminary. I was grieving and I was exhausted – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Some mornings, I did not want to get out of bed. But I knew I had to, because I had an energetic four year old boy who needed his mommy.
I would not have been able to get through this difficult period of my life were it not for my faith in the Lord. His Word was my lifeline, and I meditated on His promises everyday. They were a healing balm for my broken heart.
We tried for over a year to get pregnant again. I tried to eat healthier based on what I knew at that point, and I also took therapeutic doses of folic acid to prevent a neural tube defect again. The Lord answered our prayers, and we finally got pregnant with another little boy. He and his big brother are now best friends 🙂
After his birth, the weight did not fall right off. I struggled again with low milk supply and infections, which meant more antiobiotics. I was exhausted and overweight and trying to care for 2 boys and a husband. All I wanted to do was sleep, which made me feel even more depressed. I also had extremely dry skin and constantly chapped lips. Although I didn’t struggle with acne like I did in high school, my skin was far from where I wanted it to be. At this point, I had begun reading more about holistic medicine and discovered several health food stores in town. I was intrigued.
I finally scheduled an appointment with a Naturopathic doctor in town, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
She spent 2 hours with me on my first appointment, taking my full health history, asking me about my diet, stress levels, and anything else going on in my life. She ran a panel of tests and we scheduled a follow-up visit for several weeks later. I walked away from that appointment full of hope – she spent so much time with me, and I could tell that she wanted to help me get to the root cause of my health issues.
At my follow-up, she informed me that I had very low levels of Vitamin D, adrenal fatigue, and a gluten allergy. It was the perfect trifecta for a health crisis. She explained to me all about gluten, and she devised a healthy eating and supplement plan for me. I went home armed with information and a plan. My new medicine? Healthy food.
I cut all gluten out of my diet for one month, per her instructions. At the end of the month, I was to eat gluten again to see if my body would react poorly. Well, it did. I felt like I had the flu. I was nauseous and I ached all over.
That was all I needed. I was convinced of my healthy new way of eating, and I never looked back. I began diving into my own research and experimenting with different recipes trying to make them gluten-free. I read everything I could get my hands on about healthy eating, supplements, and holistic medicine.
As I focused on eating fresh, organic meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds and staying away from gluten, I lost weight, my skin cleared, and my energy returned.
Finally, in 2011, I got my certification in holistic nutrition, because I wanted to help other women who were struggling with health issues. Food really does impact the way we look and feel. Hippocrates had it right when he said, “Let food be thy medicine.” I have learned that food can either be a friend or a foe. Learning how to eat healthy has been a process, and I am constantly learning new things all the time. That’s why it’s a journey. I am far from perfect, and there are still treats I enjoy in moderation. But now I have a plan that helps get me back on track for those days where I’ve indulged a little too much.
As a Christian, pastor’s wife, and woman who has been through some really difficult times, I have also learned what true happiness is, and I have a passion to help women overcome life’s difficulties and cultivate a happy soul. Ultimately, I believe that is found in a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. He alone can bring a true, soul-satisfying happiness that nothing can shake.
Health and happiness are two of life’s greatest gifts from God. I also believe that they are both choices that are up to us. I hope you will join me on this journey and that you will find information on this blog that will encourage you to choose to live a healthy, happy life!