My passion for nutrition all came about from my own personal problems. Having suffered from various conditions throughout my teens, I was regularly being prescribed antibiotics, which managed to clear up the symptoms but perhaps didn’t deal with the underlying problems.
Although this was all manageable, it was when I went to university that I noticed things really start to slide. Fatigue, stress and poor diet all started to take their toll and it was then that I was diagnosed as suffering from Hashimoto’s disease and an underactive thyroid. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, as after growing up eating organic and in season fruit and vegetables – my Grandfather had a farm in Poland where I spent my summers – my student diet revolved around wheat based products with lots of processed foods, biscuits and potatoes.
Fortunately, not everything in my diet was bad as when I returned home during breaks I was still able to enjoy fermented foods such as sauerkraut, various pulses including buckwheat and barley, home-made preserves, compotes, gherkins, pickles and beetroots. Because of my Grandfather, I had access to fresh home-grown vegetables, fruits, pork, poultry, eggs and honey. In the local woods we used to collect wild mushroom, billberries and sorrel.
You might be surprised to know that the penny still hadn’t dropped with me about the link between nutrition and health. A couple of years after leaving university I moved to London and as you would expect from someone finding themselves in a brand-new city without a job, place to live or any family and friends, my diet was not at the top of my mind.
My health failed to improve and I had regular visits to my GP to try and find the cause of my constant fatigue, bloated stomach as well as trying to find the right dose for my thyroid hormones hoping that that would be the solution to all my problems.
My digestive problems were becoming more severe and my GP eventually ran out of options and tests for me to do. It was then, that I started to look for solutions that didn’t involve pumping myself full of prescription drugs day after day and I decided to try a naturopath who had been recommended to me.
I spent 2 years visiting the naturopath and she opened my eyes to the world of nutrition and the importance that diet has in helping us to remain fit and healthy. Over time, the naturopath and nutritional therapy helped me control my conditions and minimise the risks associated with certain conditions developing in the future. I still wasn’t there yet, but I was on the road to having more energy and being to get control of my life back.
One of the first things that I did was to change my eating habits to revolve around the SCD diet and within a week I was no longer getting a bloated stomach inflaming to the size it was previously. I also went gluten free and changed my thyroid hormones from synthetic ones to natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) hormones and I soon started to see the benefits.
It was also around that time that my nephew, who was 3 at that time, was diagnosed with autism, and this, together with the successes I had had, prompted me to enrol on a naturopathic nutrition course. You could call it my ‘Eureka’ moment – that I had found my calling in life – but I decided then that I wanted to help more people to understand the benefits that can come from eating in the right way and thus support their own body through the use of nutritional therapy.
What I’ve realised over the years, is that sometimes the biggest resistance to change comes from those closest to us and even ourselves at times. My husband’s first thought when I embarked on my nutrition course all those years ago was that we would end up eating lots of bland food with no flavour and that all the things he enjoyed, chocolate, red meat, sandwiches etc. would be banned from the house.
He wasn’t adverse to eating healthily but his body doesn’t react to food in the same way that mine does so he’d never really tried to monitor what he ate. However, over time, he came to realise that the truth about eating healthily is the complete opposite. Nutrition isn’t about limiting the menu choice but it’s more about exposing yourself to a wider variety of different food groups and just as the rainbow is better when you can see all its colours, so too is food when you embrace the wide abundance of different food groups that are out there.
Anyway, that’s my story and I know it’s a bit of a long one but I wanted to share with you the journey that I’ve been on to hopefully inspire you on yours.