As a dietitian and nutritionist, I believed I was a health-conscious eater for many years. I ate whole grain bread products, Kashi cereal, and lots of granola/protein bars. I drank skim milk (which eventually transitioned to lactaid and eventually almond milk when I became lactose intolerant). I ate lots of salads. I followed the food pyramid pretty faithfully and I exercised a lot, so I was always able to maintain a healthy weight and level of fitness throughout college and my early 20s.
However, something was still not right. Towards the end of college, I developed lactose intolerance, gas and heartburn. Lactaid pills, Gas-Ex and prilosec did little to help me – in fact, it seemed that the more I took all those pills, the worse my symptoms became if I missed a day. Although I had seasonal allergies (pollen, cats, dust mites) most of my life, suddenly new foods were making my mouth and throat itchy and painful… raw carrots, raw apples, raw celery, certain types of nuts… and even dogs started giving me hives after I pet them. In the next few years, I became allergic to even more foods such as soy, peanuts and others, all of which were confirmed through skin testing and bloodwork. Collectively these allergy symptoms are known as Oral Allergy Syndrome and it’s a debilitating form of low-grade chronic illness that affects lots of people. I was told by my allergist that the only treatment was to avoid foods that made my throat itchy. Being the dietitian and foodie that I am, this was devastating news.
I did lots of research and concluded that I must have “Leaky Gut Syndrome”, which is a condition in which the gut lining has been damaged. I asked several specialists about this and they told me “Leaky Gut” is no more than a theory and that there’s not enough evidence to prove it is true.
Years later, I was introduced to Holistic Nutrition Consultant Gena Mavuli and my world was turned upside down. She introduced me to the Gut & Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet and the world of Weston Price. I learned how processed foods and refined grains can negatively impact the bacteria in our gut, which directly affects our immune system because 70% of immune cells are located in the gut. I have been able to integrate new functional foods such as fermented veggies and bone broth… I’ve switched to raw dairy (because it still has all the beneficial enzymes and live bacteria intact). I have always had a sweet tooth, so I make all my own desserts from real food ingredients with natural sweeteners such as dates, raw honey or real maple syrup… they are delicious!
I have been following the principles of the GAPS diet and Weston Price lifestyle collectively for almost two years, and in that time I have successfully all heartburn symptoms, 80% of my IBS and gas symptoms, and at least 15 out of 30-something allergies. My vitality, energy levels and overall sense of well being have skyrocketed and I have even found my own personal empowerment along the way. I’m so grateful for meeting and working with Gena, and for my health journey!