Are you afraid of pooping in public restrooms? Cause I sure was. It wasn't until I was 24 years old that I got over that fear.
Seriously ever since I can remember, I have suffered from stomachaches. In 9th grade I once went one whole month without a bowel movement. Later in high school the stomachaches escalated into stress-induced hives, covering my body and popping up sporadically. I was likely overworking myself between school, swim team, and a social life. I didn't feel stressed out, but my stomach and skin tried to tell me otherwise. I spent so much time going to doctors of all kinds with no helpful results. No medicines helped. No one suggested any sort of diet change. I was frustrated and in pain. I also thought that was normal.
In college I finally saw a doctor that diagnosed me with "IBS C/D." He performed breath tests on me and tested for lactose and fructose intolerance. I had no idea what fructose was or that one could be intolerant to it. When I cut those things out, it certainly helped the immediate need for a restroom I so often experienced, but I still never went a day without a stomachache, and my constipation issues eventually got worse.
In the fall of 2014, after several particularly bad months, I saw a new gastroenterologist. I had been convinced by the internet that I was going to be told I had stomach cancer, Ulcerative Colitis, or Crohn's Disease. He told me "nope, you just have IBS. And unfortunately there is no cure, except diet change." He suggested what sounded like the single worst thing I'd ever heard before: follow the low-FODMAP diet. He handed me a 4 page list of food I could not eat for at least 6 weeks while we figured out what triggered my symptoms. The negative thoughts went haywire - "What? I can't eat ONIONS AND GARLIC? Who can manage this? No bread? No avocado?!" Basically every single one of my daily foods were on that list. I was thoroughly upset.
Those 6 weeks were not fun. I had just gone to the grocery and bought a whole bunch of things that were now on my "no" list. I actually went back to the store and returned the items, even the vegetables (you can do that! Who knew). I avoided my favorite restaurants and probably drove my friends and then boyfriend insane with complaints. Luckily everyone around me was really supportive and put up with my grumbling. Once I started re-introducing foods, I went down the rest of the list, slowly but surely, in order of what I cared about most. Some things were found to be no-gos, while others caused no reactions. It was a long and exhausting process but in the end, I've learned so much.
Now, over 3 years later, I can say with full confidence that this doctor's suggestion was incredible. It took some time to figure it all out, but I now know exactly what foods cause what sort of reactions in my gut. I no longer follow the exact low-FODMAP diet, as I've modified what I eat to my body's needs. Every individual has a unique internal make-up and there is no blanket cure-all. When I listen to my own internal needs, I feel GREAT. I still have flare-ups when I ignore my dietary needs or let myself get stressed out, but I work hard towards making those flare-ups fewer and far between.
I want to help you find the same comfort.
This is why I enrolled in the Nutritional Therapy Consultant program. There are SO MANY others out there with constant discomfort, and I want to help them forge their own path. Every body is different, unique, and requires different things to be at 100%. Since completing the NTA course, my health changed in ways I could not even fathom. I have seen a complete 180 degree shift in my comfort levels, bowel movements, and day-to-day energy levels.