Hello friends! Oh how good it feels to be back writing again. Words have been bubbling up inside of me over the past few weeks and are now bursting onto the page (or computer screen I guess). I feel like I have so much to share.
Life so far this year has been nothing short of wonderful. Challenging at times (I will get to that), but wonderful. Those close to me know that I am the happiest I have been in a really long time. And probably the healthiest too! I have finally feel like found a balance in my life. Balance in my job, personal life, social life, health, and in my relationship with myself. Goodness it hasn’t been easy, nor did it happen overnight, but boy has the journey been worth it. Maintaining this balance is a daily practice and is ever changing, but alas, that is a topic for another day.
I took time away from writing to be completely present in my life and to revel in it. To feel all the feels and experience all of the experiences. I needed to do that to feel grateful for what I have and really appreciate how special it is. Time is fleeting and life can change in an instant, so I put all of my energy into life right now. And now my cup is full and I’m able to divert some of that energy back into helping others by continuing to share my story and what I have learned along the way.
Life hasn’t been all butterflies and rainbows, trust me on that. I have had some challenges this year that have brought me down and that I’m continuing to work through. But what has changed recently is my mindset around these challenges. I have finally come to accept that challenges exist so that we can grow and become better versions of ourselves. They are an inherent part of life. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of the health challenges that I’ve faced.
Earlier this year I started working with a functional medicine doctor and was formally (finally!) diagnosed with gut dysbiosis. Imbalances in my gut microbiome led to the development of small intestine bacterial overgrowth (commonly called SIBO), food allergies (primarily to gluten), and proliferation of not-so-friendly parasites. I went through a doctor-prescribed protocol to address these issues and immediately felt better.
Fast forward five months to August. I still felt better(ish) but certainly not 100%. Some of my gut issues were back with a vengeance. Foul smelling gas, bloating, a mixture of constipation and very loose stool that was very dependent on what I ate. If there was any gluten or beans in what I ate forget about it. I would be feeling the effects for the next five days. It was not fun and I was frustrated. Hadn’t I done everything I was supposed to do?
After more testing I learned that my SIBO was resolved for the most part (YAY for small victories!), but that I now had not one but two parasites and candida overgrowth in my gut. Not good news. I was so upset. How had I taken such a gigantic leap backwards?
For those of you who don’t know, candida is a type of yeast that resides in the guts of almost everyone, but when it grows out of control it can wreck havoc on the gut and digestive system. Common symptoms include brain fog, fatigue, bloating, digestive issues, frequent yeast infections, weight gain, food cravings, and gas. The only way to treat it is to kill it by starving it of what it feeds on, which means going on a very strict, low sugar diet.
I hate being strict about my diet and rebel against food rules. They take me back to my past as a disordered eater and not so happy days. It isn’t a healthy mindset for me. My doctor said I needed to be on an anti-candida diet for 30 days and boy were those 30 days hard. I won’t go into the details now, but it took some hand-holding at times to get me through. But no growth without challenge right?
How this all came to be is not something I will ever know for certain, but I do have some ideas. I recently finished a fantastic book on gut health called The Microbiome Solution where I learned a ton about our microbiome and how many practices in our modern day society, such as the overuse of antibiotics, obsession with cleanliness and hand sanitizers, and diets high in sugar and processed foods, have had devastating effects on our gut health, which has been found to be so critical to our long-term wellness and vitality. More nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from this book next time, but for now I will leave you with this quote from Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician known as the father of modern medicine:
“All disease begins in the gut”
Related post: Why Gut Health Matters