My path to practicing nutrition counseling, like the paths of many, originated from personal experience. I had always been a healthy person, or so I thought. I ate right (at least, I thought I did), I exercised (a lot, and in retrospect, an unhealthy amount), and I tried to see the joy in my life (for the most part) and be grateful for what I had. Somewhere along the way, I got tired—“bone tired.” The kind of tired where you can hardly drag yourself out of bed. The kind of tired where exercise doesn’t help, but makes you feel worse. The kind of tired where even 10 hours of sleep isn’t enough. And sick. Not “flu sick,” but malaise—up one week, and down the next.
As I continued to trudge through life’s daily happenings: kids, job, chores, meal planning—I also began to consult doctors to try to figure out what was wrong. After visits to my primary care physician, an endocrinologist, a cardiologist, a radiologist, a rheumatologist, and a gastroenterologist, I was frustrated. No one could find any diagnoses, at least from the standpoint of conventional medicine, so why was I feeling so badly?!
In part, the question can be answered using the concept of “Total Load.” Total Load refers to the sum of all the stressors in one’s life, which can be diet-, exercise-, toxin-, hormone-, infection-, and emotion-related. Each of these factors invariably affects our health. As I dissected and evaluated each of these stressors, I realized my Total Load was completely over the top! Ultimately, the good news was in the lack of a conventional diagnosis, because most of my Total Load was in my control.
So, I set to work to lower my Total Load, using food as my medicine. I began by researching diet to understand what nutrients my body may be lacking, based on my Total Load. For example, stress seriously depletes B and C Vitamins and magnesium, so I knew I’d need to load up on foods rich in these nutrients. It took me several years to replete the deficiencies I had brought about, restoring my adrenals and improving my nutrient absorption. I can say that I feel healthier and more energetic than I did in my twenties. I believe that my formal schooling in nutrition and my own personal experiences have laid the foundation for me to help others take control of their health, using the healing properties of food—along with lifestyle changes—to reclaim their vitality.
My pledge: I’ll meet you where you are on your healing journey, so that strategies and changes are feasible