Growing up, I probably wasn’t the healthiest kid out there but I never considered myself to be unhealthy per se. As I entered middle school I developed an allergy to gluten and so before it was a very trendy choice, I found out I had to cut both of these out of my life.
This went on for about two years and by the time I hit high school, I thought my issues were gone and had no problems occasionally eating some pasta or pizza here and there. However, they became the norm my freshman year at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately by the time I became more aware of my habits it was too late. Like most college campuses, the healthy choices I was presented with were few to nonexistent and it was hard to get back on track.
As I once again cut out all things gluten I found myself not getting better, but in fact slowly getting worse. My focus was diminishing, my energy level was dramatically dropping, and my overall wellbeing was on the decline. I began to look into what the causes were for these symptoms and when I came home during winter break I went to a doctor who diagnosed me with Candida Along with this diagnosis came a massive list of dietary restrictions from no corn or starch of any kind to no sugar, dairy or processed meat. This was the beginning of another fun year and a half trying to make ends meet with the use of my dorm microwave and the neighborhood grocery store while on a student budget. This led to some creations I’m not entirely proud of such as microwaved salmon with asparagus, to some that I am; a shockingly mouthwatering almond cake and an assortment of tasty mug muffins.
Now, fast forward to the beginning of junior year. I'd been accepted to a study abroad program in Germany and was going to spend a full year overseas. I had seen a nutritionist, Terri Oberto, throughout the summer who had determined I did not have Candida. In fact, all the prescriptions I had taken for it had entirely destroyed my gut. After a long summer, I started to feel better and got on the right track. Before leaving for Germany, I decided to do a few more tests to make sure I was well enough to leave. The results, however, didn’t arrive before I left. Despite that, I was feeling great; so I went to Germany as planned. While saying goodbye to my family, I knew something was wrong and was filled with uneasiness the entire plane ride there. Upon landing in Germany, it was all downhill from there. I was ill the following morning and it didn’t stop for the next week and a half. It was impossible to keep any foods or liquids down and I was unable to sleep for more than an hour each day. As my condition worsened and I became increasingly weak, I found myself having panics attacks every night, wracked by this feeling of something more serious being wrong. One night, when I was at my worst, I received a phone call. My test results had finally come back and it turned out I had Lyme disease. That was certainly not what I was expecting, but all the symptoms fit uncannily well. Reading between the lines of my texts, my mom became concerned enough to jump on a plane. When she saw me, she couldn’t believe how much weight I’d lost in a few short weeks and how exhausted I looked. The doctors there were not helpful, merely saying I just needed to drink more water and cut out gluten and I’d be fine. After realizing that Germany wasn’t the answer since I needed a more alternative form of treatment, we decided it was best for me to come home.
So here I am, taking the semester off to deal with Lyme and I’ve decided to make the most of it. Over the course of my journey I am seeing first hand that there are many problems for which traditional doctors are quick to diagnose an over the counter med but in most cases, they can be fixed with a few natural remedies. My door to Germany was closed but I know more doors will open. In the meantime, I hope to share my knowledge on all things food, wellness, and natural healing with you. After all, everything happens for a reason.
Thank you for sharing my journey with me! Here’s to the wholesome life! 🌿