This segment was one that I felt strongly about sharing within this blog. It was largely an aspect that inspired me to create this platform in the first place. I hoped that sharing my journey would inspire, motivate and help to direct the many people who struggle with similar circumstance, because believe me, in my line of work I now come across people daily who are in the same boat.
Nearly five years ago I took to my social media account with an over-sharing post on Facebook (been a relatively private person this was something I often cringe about) out of pure desperation and not knowing where to go next to seek help and in hope that someone out there might be able to help, or even just relate. I very quickly found that I was not alone in my struggle nor in my confusion.
In the past five years the research and findings around Gut health have been incredible and vast. One large component of this being that it is linked to several other key areas and illness’ such as mental and hormone health- its all connected- go figure. But seriously it has been revolutionary to the cause and is actually super exciting.
So, now the information is out there, in hoards which is great- but knowing where to start can be the hardest part…
Which circles me back to why I wanted to share my journey. You are not alone. There are answers. It is up to you, you just need to start.
Similarly to starting to work on your health, in whichever form, I have been finding it very difficult to know how to start on sharing this very personal journey with you in this very public platform. It is a rather unsettling feeling I have to admit but I can not tell you how many times I have spoken with our lovely customers regarding some of these points when we have gone from flat white chat to personal health chat and I love it. I love that our customers feel they can speak out, seek advice and have these conversations and it is truly what inspires me to do the same.
So here’s a little about where it started and where I am now (I’ll save you the gritty details)
Firstly full and important disclaimer (there are that many influencer cowboys out there these days so I feel strongly about setting that record straight, I am not trying to be one of them), I am still very much on my own journey and I believe hugely that everyone is different and therefore requires different treatment- BUT in the spirit of where to start I will be sharing my story and health care community with you in contributor posts from those professionals to help you find your direction and understand more about where you may be going wrong.
Nearly seven years ago with already fragile gut health I contradicted Giardia whilst backpacking in Vietnam which was closely followed up by Salmonella, both went untreated. I was young and to be fair a little bit silly, not at all looking after my health, plying myself with cheap boozy nights out, living a wonderfully typical backpacker lifestyle.
This is the pinpoint moment in where my health began to really suffer and it is still something that I am working to heal fully NEARLY SEVEN YEARS LATER, I said journey for a reason right?!
So to skip the details, jump forward seven years filled with different diets, a ton of food exclusion, nutritionists, naturopaths, doctors, surgeries, specialists, hospitals, exhaustion, desperate hope, books read etc etc. Throw a café dedicated to clean eating in the mix and here I am.
I now, and have done for several years eat a largely wholefoods diet, I am vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free, fructose free (no fruit, can you even imagine how sad that is?!), I have a very low refined sugar intake, I am caffeine free and for two solid years I was completely alcohol free, now only having small amounts of higher quality spirits infrequently. Lets pause for a moment and let that really settle in, thats a lot of food groups gone and a fair amount of stress and social anxiety to actually maintain I’ll have you know, and people ask why I opened a predominantly vegan, gluten and refined sugar free wholefoods cafe- hah! I also eat organically where possible and use only natural cleaners and skincare (important note- check your sanitary and deodorant quality ladies, it is truly terrifying to know the truth about those products we so casually use- daily!).
It has taken me a long time, the exclusion of many food groups and continued degradation of my health (aka new problems/illness’ presenting themselves almost yearly) to finally and fully understand that the symptoms and reactions I had been getting from these foods was not necessarily an allergy or even intolerance to the food itself. Therefore whilst not eating these things for a period of time was helpful to my life quality (been able to work full time, sleep through the night and hold food down for example) I was in ways, actually healing nothing, more so putting a plaster on the problem (much like the western medical world I was raised in).
So heres the crunch: Symptoms are your friend. Symptoms are your bodies messenger. I can not stress how much changing my mindset to FIX THE PROBLEM NOT THE SYMPTOM has changed this game for me. I know it sounds kind of obvious when you really think about it, but it is amazing how often this simple notion is ignored. I currently, due to my previous gut health problems as well as the added stress and workload I have taken on in the past few years (ahem, small business), am suffering from an auto-immune disease, thyroid disease and adrenal fatigue, along with persistent endometriosis. All of which coincidently (not) are super connected.
And would you believe it, this is the best my health, day to day, has been in some time! I am currently working with an amazing naturopath and taking a pretty full on kill and replenish supplement regime with supporting vitamins and minerals added into my diet (including weekly B12 injections which are seriously incredible for a number of reasons). I see a great acupuncturist who has taught me a wealth of knowledge and resets my body fortnightly, a legendary integrative health GP and (my favourite ha-ha) I go to an accu-pressure massage therapist once a month who turns my knotted stressed out wee bod into blissful jello. Along with, of course, keeping a clean diet.
So, theres my part one, my starting point in sharing my story and working towards better health. Whats yours?
I am also super excited to say we have an awesome, hugely knowledgeable naturopath guest posting super soon, so stay tuned folks.
Ps. there are SO many wonderful people out there doing wonderful things, I do not want to list them here but do feel free to flick me a message and reach out if you would like recommendations on a range of epic individuals and professionals locally.