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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.