My Story

I have had health issues for as long as I can remember. As a child, I was frequently ill and was put on repeated doses of antibiotics. As an adolescent, I had so many infections that I was put on antibiotics on an almost monthly basis. At one point, my doctor put me on a permanent dosage of Amoxicillin with the belief that it would prevent me from getting sick. At age 13, I was also put on birth control pills for heaving bleeding and debilitating cramps. I stayed on these for 10 years. Hours of my childhood were spent in the bathroom with cramping and diarrhea. Digestive issues were part of my life for so long that I didn't realize it wasn't normal until I was much older.

Through the help of tutors and understanding teachers, I made it successfully through high school. In college, I had no access to fresh food and ate the extremely unhealthy and processed food available in our cafeteria every day. My health continued to decline. I was constantly sick. I was depressed and in pain most of my life.  I went to numerous doctors and at various times, I was diagnosed with allergies, fibromyalgia, mononeucleosis, Epstein Barr virus, and endometriosis. I was told several times that I should just drop out of school and go on disability. With every new drug I tried, I was given some hope, but in the end nothing helped.

If I hadn't met my future husband during this time, I most likely would have given up. I wanted to get married but did not want to be a burden to anyone and knew I needed to heal before continuing with a marriage. I started to seek alternatives to drugs and conventional medicine. Back then, we didn't have the Internet and it was much more difficult! Eventually I found a holistic doctor and starting learning a lot about how my poor gut health was affecting my overall health. Repeated doses of antibiotics and birth control pills had simply ruined by body's ability to digest food and process nutrients. I discovered how sensitive I was to preservatives and artificial additives in food. I also learned that I was lactose intolerant. Slowly, I learned how to cook and I began changing my diet to whole, unprocessed foods. I ate very little meat and focused on whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. My health improved enough that I was able to get through college and make the decision to get married.

Six months into my marriage, I became pregnant with our first daughter. I had a very difficult pregnancy. I was nauseous and struggled to gain weight and eat healthy, but when I mentioned my concerns to my OB, she said not to worry because all my teeth would fall out before my body let my baby be deprived of nutrients! I had preterm labor from 30 weeks and was put on medication and bedrest. My daughter was born low birth weight at 36 weeks. She was extremely colicky as a baby. My instincts told me it was partly a reaction to something in my breastmilk. After eliminating many different foods, I discovered gluten was the culprit when she was around 9 months old. From this time on, my daughter was like a different baby. I also saw improvement in my health.

Ten months later after my daughter's birth, I unexpectedly became pregnant again. I started reading everything I could about preventing prematurity, but I lost this baby in the 2nd trimester. Before conceiving again, I spent hours and hours researching premature birth. Eventually, I was led to a lay midwife and introduced to the Brewer's diet. When I became pregnant with my son, I was more prepared. I started eating meat and large amounts of protein. I also discovered raw milk and drank raw goat's milk whenever I could get it.  My midwife monitored my diet carefully and emphasized the importance of eating healthy food. The nausea wasn't as severe as with my daughter, but still, there were times I was on the phone with my midwife, crying, feeling like I could never eat another thing. My midwife consistently encouraged me and reminded me that the health of my baby was at stake. My son was born on his due date and weighed 7 lbs, 10 oz.

Although my son was full term, both my children had a lot of health issues. They had bad eczema, allergies, and were frequently ill. When my son was 10 months old, he had anaphylaxis and I had to rush him to the emergency room. He started frequently breaking out into hives and was diagnosed with asthma. Allergy tests by specialists at U of M showed several food allergies and numerous environmental allergies. I kept looking for answers and my instincts told me there was an underlying cause to all our health issues. As time went on, I learned more and more about things like raw milk, grass fed beef, fermented foods, healthy fats, healthy salt, and a diet with very limited grains. We began what has become a hobby of searching for local, organic food sources and ways to save money and the environment, while improving our health.

Before I conceived my second daughter, I had made huge improvements in my health. I felt healthier than I had ever remembered feeling. But with the pregnancy came the same nausea and vomiting, worse than ever. Several times, I faced being hospitalized for dehydration and I had to resort to medication. Eventually I learned that raw goat's milk was a lifesaver! Not only could I hold it down, but it settled my stomach enough for me to eat other foods. My access to raw goat's milk was limited but I was able to see a big increase in my weight gain whenever I had it. I also took plenty of probiotics and fish oil which I feel had a big impact on my pregnancy.

My third baby was born very healthy and full term. She did not have eczema, allergies, or the frequent illnesses my other children had. She was not sick a single time before the age of two and is the healthiest person in our home. Today, we are still working on improving our health. My family still struggles at times with illnesses and allergies. I am still working to heal what years and years of unhealthy foods, antibiotics and birth control pills did to my body.

Recently, I went on the GAPS diet for several months. I have been learning about how the mother's gut health is passed down to her children. There are numerous diets and resources that point to this theory. Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Nourishing Traditions, The Maker's Diet, Mercola's website, and The Body Ecology Diet are just a few.  Every week, I read about another study that links gut health to overall health in the body.  I have always felt that my children's health issues were somehow related to mine and now I have more answers. While on GAPS, I had some positive changes in my health. My energy was better, my face wasn't breaking out, and my immunity was a little better. Still, it is a challenge to eat and live differently than those around us. My goal is not to be perfect, but to simply do that best we can with our resources. I strongly believe that food can be a huge part of healing.

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