In 2010 I gave birth to my much loved daughter and with all the delight of a new mum I couldn’t wait to enjoy our future experiences. Within the first two weeks I knew things were not right but it took ten agonising months to discover that my daughter had 18 different food allergies!
As a mum and a nurse I wanted to know as much as I could about food allergies, their effect on the immune system and the relationship if any to my child’s development and likelihood of developing future acute or chronic diseases/disorders. I searched the scientific literature, linked in to support groups and remained curious, asking loads of questions until a paediatrician suggested in 2012 that I should get checked for Coeliac disease.
I’m eternally grateful to him for his advice as I was diagnosed with autoimmune Coeliac disease in 2012. Slowly I was beginning to make sense of things. I wondered if this was the reason or at least in part, a contributing factor, as to why my daughter was born with so many food allergies.
You see I did not have any symptoms of Coeliac disease prior to my diagnosis or so I thought but as soon as I started on a gluten free diet I noticed my concentration improved and my mind had a sharper focus despite sleep deprivation! It was truly amazing.
Reflecting on this, it is clear to me that I had “brain fog” for years and had learned to adapt without consciously realising there was anything wrong. So I followed the gluten free diet strictly and continued on with my busy life for the next two years. Then I started to get tired and I would feel “shivery inside” regardless of the weather. I paid no heed to this at first, explaining it away as hormones one month and the busyness of life another. Until one day I specifically remember my legs feeling really weak and I got short of breath when out walking with friends. I could no longer ignore this. This was really worrying. I didn’t know what it was back then but now having completed the Whals Protocol Certified Health Practitioner Programme I recognise my symptoms as a consequence of mitochronidal inefficiency.
At this time I also noticed that I was gaining weight despite exercise, modifying my diet and following the public health dietary guidance. Then I was diagnosed with “borderline” underactive thyroid disease which was confirmed on blood tests as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; another autoimmune disease.
Now having two autoimmune diseases in my 40’s I began to explore why? With the support of my General Practitioner, I sought out the help of a health coach and functional nutritionist and I was guided to make important changes to not only my diet but to examine my lifestyle holistically and make important changes to promote my recovery and future health.
During this time I learned that I had dibysosis where the cells in my gut and its microbiome needed support. The first place to start was to make sure I had the right type and amount of good bacteria in my gut. Then I was introduced to an autoimmune paleo diet, eliminated all processed food from my diet and got back to cooking from scratch. I ate specific nutrient dense food every day which focused on mitochondria and cellular repair and my “gut health” from an autoimmune disease perspective.
Within three weeks I felt remarkably better. Within six weeks I had lost one stone weight and my shape continues to change as the inflammation settles in my body. I wish I had learned years ago how to use food to repair and restore the cells in my body. I wish that this was taught as a preventive tool to all healthcare practitioners, to doctors and nurses in particular, but the reality is very little time is spent educating doctors or nurses on how to use food for cellular health.
While this was a difficult time for me, it was also a wondrous time where I got to witness first-hand how following functional health principles, an autoimmune diet and making self-care a priority turned the inflammation in my body right down. It was truly miraculous.
My experience ignited a passion in me to find out more and develop a better understanding of the science behind using food to improve my immune system and help to heal and repair the cells in the body. I wanted to know what specific lifestyle changes would work for me to promote my health and prevent further disease. I am blessed to have found the Wahls Protocol ® and used a personalised approach to wellness. In 2020 I studied with Dr Terry Wahls and I am now a Whals Protocol Certified Health Practitioner. My mission is to help others understand the healing benefits of food and provide education on how to use food to improve immunity, prevent disease and help cells to repair.