When Your Healing Doesn’t Come

My journey with chronic illness has been both painful and long. My story is being featured this week as part of a series on Brave Women.

Truth be told, I have been more afraid than I have brave.

The last five years my life has revolved around immune-suppressants, flare-ups and fear. I did everything I could to optimize my health. I went dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free, egg-free; all at the same time for a long time. I saw a naturopath, took enzymes, a regimen of pills, and drank dirt.

But I was still sick.

For years, I wrestled with God. Why me? Where are you, God? Did you forget about me? Don’t You see? Do you even care? 

If you’ve been curious about my journey with chronic illness or ever wondered where God is in the midst of chronic pain, please check out this post! God is answering my prayers, just not the way I expected.

I hope and pray my story will encourage you wherever you are at, in whatever battle you may be facing today.

Click here to read my story

Check out more inspiring stories in Becky Beresford’s Brave Women Series

If Your Digestive Pain Won’t Go Away, Try This…

If digestive pain won't go away try thisTired of bloating, gas, abdominal pain or bowel trouble?

Reoccurring digestive issues can really cramp your style.

So you look to your doctor for help but he tells you it’s “all in your head” (wait…I thought it was my gut?). He labels you with a confusing acronym (IBS, IBD, SIBO) and sends you out the door.

Desperate for relief, you turn to the natural community. You sign up for an enormous amount of supplements, enzymes, cleansing treatments and spend all your money on whatever promises to heal you.

But what if you try it all and you STILL aren’t better?  Continue reading

5 Thanksgiving tips for the low fodmap and gluten free

Food sensitivities got you down? Don’t let your diet restrict your holiday this season.

Here are 5 tips for planning a delicious Thanksgiving dinner without all the stress on your stomach!

5 fodmap tips for thanksgiving
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Tomato Basil Tuna Salad

Cooler weather means it’s time to use up those garden leftovers before it’s too late. So I spent an hour last night gathering up all the goodness.title4

On a random side note, witnessing our first frost last year was most fascinating. One moment my flowers were beautiful and thriving and then literally in 12 hours they were black, shriveled, and lifeless. I was actually shocked how much damage frost can do in an instant. Hmm…feel like there’s a spiritual analogy in there somewhere… Continue reading

Simple Meal Planning in 5 Easy Steps

5 easy steps to simple meal planningIf there’s one question that makes me cringe inside, it’s the one that awaits me at the end of every day.

What’s for dinner?

Ugh. Another reminder that I forgot to plan. Again.

It’s not like I don’t know it’s coming. We literally eat every day. So why does the task of putting together a plateful of meals feel like nails on the chalkboard of my food soul?

Why is meal planning so dang hard? Continue reading

10 “Healthy” Mistakes You Might Be Making

unsplash2Ever hear someone mutter healthy mumbo jumbo and it makes you cringe inside? Welcome to my top 10 pet peeves when it comes to health and nutrition. If you think these are healthy, think again.

Don’t fall for this popular nonsense. Take a look at these 10 misconceptions:

Natural is the same as organic. Not even close. “Natural” can still refer to minimal processed foods. Your “all-natural” blueberry yogurt does not guarantee it will have real blueberries in it. That mysterious “natural flavors” label might as well read “artificial chemicals for your flavor enjoyment”. Companies are getting smarter by using words like “all-natural” and “wholesome” for products that can still contain corn syrup, modified starches, and additives. Organic foods, on the other hand, have legal implications and must follow a set of strict processing, handling, and production standards determined by the USDA. These foods are generally free of pesticides, chemicals, and preservatives.

Rule of thumb: How do I know if the food I’m buying is organic? Look for the seal of approval.

Gluten-free is healthier for me. Only if you have a gluten intolerance. This one drives me nuts. I don’t get it. Unless you have celiac, an intolerance, or have been told by a medical professional to follow a gluten-free diet, don’t put yourself through that. Trust me, most of us who have to be gluten-free would rather eat gluten! Truth is, many gluten-free foods are still highly processed, loaded with starches, and low in nutritious value. Gluten-free foods can wreak just as much havoc on your system as eating gluten in the first place!

Rule of thumb: If you still enjoy the thought of being gluten-free, choose foods that are naturally gluten free (oats, buckwheat, rice, produce, etc.). Browse some gluten-free recipes here. 

Superfood means super healthy. Superfood, shmuperfood. I don’t buy it. Contrary to popular opinion, Continue reading

5 Guidelines to Healthy Eating Habits

foodtitle3If you’re still buzzing from sugar overload and feeling the irritable effect of one too many Christmas cookies, welcome to the club. Pants a little tight? Tired and fatigued? Headaches and mental fog? General feeling of yuck?

It’s not surprising that the gym is packed by the second day of January. Most of us are coming off a holiday high that has left us feeling miserable and desperate to get healthy. But working out isn’t going to do much good if your eating habits don’t change (more on that later).

Changing your eating habits can be difficult and frustrating, not to mention confusing. What’s more, each person has a different biochemical make up and what might work for one person may not work for you. For more on that, check out my post on When Healthy Food is Your Enemy.

While eating habits ought to be personally customized, there are still a few general rules you can follow.

But please.

Don’t just try any fad or detox out there.

Don’t just look for the quick fix. Just because it says “diet” does not mean it’s healthy. Not all diets are created equal. And not all of them are good for you. If it offers quick results without all the effort, it’s likely a sham.

Want to eat healthy this year? Not sure how to begin? Here are 5 basic guidelines to get you started on cleansing your cravings. Continue reading

SIBO, IBS, FODMAP: what’s in a name?

Maybe you’ve seen these acronyms before. Or maybe like me, they have become a familiar part of your life. But what do they all have in common? How are these related? Here’s everything you wanted to know (or didn’t) about gut acronyms. Let’s start at the beginning…

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When Healthy Food is Your Enemy

healthy food

I’ll admit it. As soon as I get in sight of the bakery section in the grocery store my heart skips a beat. I might drool a little. Donuts make me want to leap for joy. Why are those darn things so cheap and enticing? Don’t they know I’m trying to be gluten-free? Yet they taunt me from behind the glass all innocent looking with their golden, freshly frosted outside and creamy delightful inside. My arch enemy and guilty pleasure all rolled into one.

But the “eat whatever I want” era came to a screeching halt when I was diagnosed as autoimmune. “Natural” and “healthy” was now the new, or not so new, trend. My body no longer functioned properly and healthy food held the promise of possible recovery. 70-90% of the immune system is located in the gut. Fix the gut and you can fix your immune system. That’s what the research said. The argument that food and nutrition could be a better and safer form of treatment for healing chronic disease was all too convincing.

So I got to work. Out with the processed, packaged, and modified foods. Hello antibiotic-free, grass-fed, organic, clean and friendly foods. Donuts took a back seat to their nutritious counterparts (although I have still been known to sneak one on occasion). My disease changed my outlook on food as I began to slowly replace our “American” diet with foods that were hormone-free, organic, grass-fed, local, and non-GMO. Superfoods like kale, quinoa, avocados, kiefer, and nuts littered my diet. I went vegan. I tried vegetarian. I became Paleo. I experimented with exclusion diets and avoided 25 food sensitivities all at once for a month. I went dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free, and egg-free…all at the same time, for a long time. I took a regimen of supplements so intense that I had 20 dixie cups all marked by time, an alarm set for each one. I saw a naturopath and drank dirt, or what I affectionately called, “bunny farm” (some of you know what I’m talking about). I made high fiber smoothies that made me gag but I plugged my nose and chugged it down anyway. There were moments I thought I would go crazy. But I was desperate. I did it out of necessity. I wanted my health back.

But after two years of eating better, taking supplements, and making meals from scratch, I was still suffering. My digestive and gastrointestinal system were still dysfunctional and my pain was at an all time high. I felt discouraged and was getting depressed. It didn’t make sense. I was eating “healthy”. I tried all the tricks in the book. I was following all the suggested tips for optimal nutrition but I wasn’t improving…in fact, I was just getting worse. What if I was broken beyond repair? I felt frustrated and confused.

Can healthy and nutritious foods actually do more harm than good?

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