I write this to give you a short glimpse of my background and my reasoning behind starting this blog and business. Years ago, I would have never dreamed of doing anything remotely related to the world of health, or thought it had anything significant to do with my life. I went about my day doing what I thought everyone else did, acting like it didn’t matter or pertain to me – eating fast food, drinking Starbucks every day, bingeing on ice cream, cookies and Milky Ways. I was too lazy to cook or to care about what I was putting in my body. I found out the hard way that health and what we put into our bodies is EXTREMELY important, not only to ourselves, but to the people, animals, and environment all around us. It took me a long time and a severe bout of mystery illnesses to figure this out, but ultimately I am very thankful of where it has put me today and what it has allowed me to share.
It all began when I first moved to the town of Denton, TX, straight out of college into a full-time job, with no time to really think about the significant life change I was about to make. I left all my friends, family, and people I’d grown up with my entire life behind, to begin a 9-5 job in an unfamiliar North Texas town. I managed to get by for 6 months without a problem, although I was incredibly lonely and unsure where I was headed. One night, to help myself cope with things, I sat down with a large bottle of wine and a loaf of bread (don’t ask) and started to drink. Unlike other pretty routine nights though (not that I did this every night), I started feeling unusual pains. Not mentally, but physically… almost like the flu. I felt shooting pains in my arms and legs.. as if it were coming from deep down in my bones. Even when I’d had the flu before, nothing had ever felt like this. I had severe indigestion and began to get a fever. It scared me so much that I decided to go down to the quick-care clinic down the street, so they could check me for the flu – or whatever other scary illness I imagined in my head.
A short time later, I was sitting in a doctor’s office waiting on a routine blood check. The doctor came back in and announced that I had an extremely high white blood cell count, as high as a guy they had just sent to the ER with appendicitis. Thinking I may have the same problem, they suggested that I check in too. Scared for my life, I went, alone, texting the few people I knew from work and my mom, who was hundreds of miles away. I finally got checked in, sat in a room while a nurse poked at my arms 50 times until she found a vein to give me a fluid IV… and waited. And… waited. The doctor came in and took several tests, more than I can recall. They agreed something was wrong but were clueless as to what it could be. Finally, 3 or 4 hours later after the fever had gone down, they declared I must have some undetectable virus or form of the flu, which should go away after a few days or weeks. Man were they wrong.
2 years and several other random, seemingly unrelated, health issues later, I was still searching for answers. I went from doctor to doctor begging for help, all to no avail and several diagnoses of “it’s all in your head” – which basically meant “crazy”. Luckily, after researching on the internet immediately after my ER visit, I found a forum of several people with similar unresolved symptoms. They made some suggestions and I began to follow them; I went to my local health food store searching for answers and researched every day hoping to find some relief. I didn’t spend much time doing much socially other than work and church, because I felt too ill and isolated in my problems to relate to anyone.
Then one day, 4 years and mounds of knowledge later, I found an answer. I had been tested for gluten intolerance before, but when I was tested, I had already cut out most forms of gluten and had gotten back a negative result. This was my excuse to keep eating it. But I read a piece of information that made me stop and think. I was convinced that at the time all my problems were being caused by an out-of-control natural form of yeast in the body called Candida. I’d tried thousands of remedies to get rid of it, which helped in the short term but always seemed to come back – in the form of migraine headaches, muscle and joint pain, eye and teeth problems, feminine problems, UTI’s, itchy skin and rashes, nerve problems, and more. Then I read a piece that stated that recurring Candida can be a sign of an underlying problem; one that is often caused by gluten intolerance. Sadly though, the only “approved” way to diagnose this is to go back on the gluten-filled diet that was, literally I felt, killing me. 3 times a day for 3 months. NO WAY.
So I did my research… it took some time to find, but eventually Enterolab, an at-home, send-in test that didn’t require me to drastically change my diet, came to the rescue. They literally saved my life. I found out, after about a month of anticipation waiting for the results, that I carried 2 gluten sensitive genes. My gliadin (gluten resistance) markers were off the charts. I broke down in tears and rejoiced that I was a normal human being. Sure, I had some restrictions that a lot of others don’t have to deal with, but at least I could live a normal life again without weird symptoms or pain. I immediately cut out all forms of gluten, or so I thought. There were still many things to learn. Apparently, gluten can hide in MANY things you wouldn’t even dream of, and having gluten intolerance for so long had caused leaky gut syndrome and a ton of other allergies. Thankfully I finally found a great, caring nurse practitioner here in Denton who helped me to figure these things out.
After all this, after years of searching and frustration, isolation and almost giving up, I can finally say I am in a better place today than I have ever been. I have learned SO much about health and experimented numerous times on myself to find what works and what doesn’t. I have a desire to help people going through similar issues, or who simply just want to eat and feel better. You CAN get there on your own, and it doesn’t have to be hard. I, of course, learned the hard way, but it doesn’t have to be that way. What you eat DOES affect you, and whether it affects you now or down the road in a much harsher way is ultimately up to you. I’m happy to help whenever I can, and please feel free to learn from my mistakes. I hope that you do.