This is me in Donegal, Ireland in 2012. At 26, I earned a Masters Degree in Archaeology in Dublin. I’m leading with that because it’s sort of when my life changed. I grew up a southerner, with all the trimmings, including adoring parents. I thrived academically, attended a prestigious State University, majored in English, Art History, and Archaeology, then moved to Boston to become a high school Humanities teacher. The classroom was my greatest comfort, so it was no surprise that after relishing 3 years in the teaching field in Boston and back at home in NC, I went back to the classroom myself for my “dream” graduate degree.
So much has happened to flip things upside down for me in those years since–bittersweet, tumultuous, and transformative. When I started to feel sick, have migraines, lose hair, lack energy, and feel major anxiety in my twenties, I went to doctors and asked: Why am I so sick? Why am I so tired? Why is my tongue white? Why am I swollen and bloated? Why can’t I recover? Was I struggling with an autoimmune disease? The resounding answer was one I was not unfamiliar with: that I was over-sensitive, and should be thankful that I was young and healthy. Years later, when I worked for a top University’s Nutrition program, I learned just how much medical professionals are lacking in knowledge of the nutrition field. Today, many top programs (Like UNC’s) are pushing for more education for medical students in nutrition therapy, which is great. Unfortunately, there is still a major learning curve when it comes to western medicine practicing functionally and preventatively. So often, when we let our symptoms escalate to the point of medical intervention, we’ve found that we are late, desperate, and possibly very ill. I was diagnosed with inflammation, candida overgrowth, and excess Yang/ Xi imbalance by holistic practitioners long before I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Getting that head start on my nutrition, exercise, meditation, and general lifestyle saved me more than even I know, as I am fortunate enough to have a very mild case, but had I not been proactive, this could have been a much different story!
When I was 11, I wrote in my diary that I “found myself in the swamps of Georgia” at an environmental camp. My sister doesn’t let me forget this penchant for the dramatic: that mystical quest to self-revelation that has been churning inside of me from a tender age. So at 26, alone in a foreign country with IBD, in my despair, I found the will to conquer it naturally and nutritionally, and since that magical day, I’ve found a deeper purpose for my own calling in holistic medicine, healthful nutrition, and simple living, which eventually led to my involvement with herbs and essential oils, my interests in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and my pursuit of nutritionist and Doula certifications. All my incredible experiences in the decade of my twenties led me full circle to becoming a teacher again (just not the classroom kind) via my blog and my Doula practice, so thanks for indulging that teaching spirit and following me here! if you’d like to know more about my AIP (autoimmune protocol and diet) that began with the Selective Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and ended with a more SCD/paleo hybrid, please check out my FAQ!