Hey, my name is Cathy and I am a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I am 33 years old and currently living in Atlanta, GA. I grew up in a city in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington DC. I wouldn't say that health has always been a passion of mine but I considered my diet to be pretty "normal." I grew up eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) which included fast food, soda, pizza, bread, mystery meat, bagels and lots of cheese - I mean, a LOT.

 

Needless to say, as far back as I can remember I have always had nagging health concerns. Fatigue, chronic ear and sinus infections, strep throat, digestive problems, chronic urinary tract infections, dehydration, back pain, acne - you name it. I also have experience with addiction to food, cigarettes and alcohol. It never occurred to me that these health problems were a direct result of years of malnutrition and poor lifestyle choices. I was just doing the best I knew how to and my life seemed to be pretty normal. I just figured that I would always feel this way and that getting sick was common and just a part of life.

 

I managed to quit drinking alcohol in the spring of 2013 and soon after that I quit smoking, drinking energy drinks and went gluten-free. I had suffered from pretty moderate psoriasis since the beginning of 2009 and cutting out these triggers gave me a lot of relief from my symptoms. I managed to maintain a fairly healthy lifestyle - I had always loved to cook and tried to incorporate a variety of proteins, fruits and vegetables.  It was only in the last couple years that my perspective dramatically shifted. In the fall of 2017 I encountered a series of very stressful life events. I was under a lot of pressure from work and I subsequently became very depressed. My eating patterns started to change and I started using food to cope with my reality. It wasn't long until my body went into a state of burnout. I remember feeling like I was coming down with a really bad cold and the worst sinus infection of my life. I ended up being out of work for a week, sleeping every day and only getting up to eat and drink. After a week I didn't feel any better. When I got sick in the past I usually felt better after a few days or rest and maybe some medication. My symptoms persisted for nearly a year. I went to countless doctors and tried all kinds of over the counter medications, steroids and antibiotics.  Nothing seemed to help. How could this be happening to me? Was this my new normal? I was at my wits end, something drastic needed to happen, fast. 

I saw an acupuncturist who changed my life. For the first time someone asked me about my diet. He made some recommendations and gave me some supplements. I started to feel hopeful, something I hadn't felt in a very long time. I ended up having two sinus surgeries to clear the blockages. I also took a 4 month leave of absence from my long-time job. It became very clear to me that I needed to focus on healing my body or nothing else would matter anyway. I spend those months resting and researching and reading about people who had been able to heal themselves using food. I slowly started removing the harmful foods from my diet and incorporating fresh juices. I did a 9 day cleanse and felt so good afterwards that I switched completely to a plant-based diet. The healing I have experienced as been unparalleled. I still have ups and downs and I'm still working on listening to my body and on healing.

This is my story, this has been my experience. Unfortunately I believe it is an all too common situation for a lot of people. We are stressed, tired, overworked, undernourished and in desperate need of healing - I know I was. I am forever grateful to the network of people who continue to share their healing stories as inspiration, so the rest of us may be able to find a solution to our problems.