The panic attacks were getting worse. The rashes seemed to come out of nowhere. One minute I'm sitting at Chick-fil-A with the boys, feeling happy to have a moment of peace while they played on the indoor playground. The next, my knees are itching like crazy, there are red splotches all over my legs and suddenly I feel like I can't get a breath. Is it another panic attack? Is it an allergic reaction to something? I've developed so many food sensitivities lately it's impossible to know what's happening.
I grab the boys out of the playground as fast as I can and frantically try to get their shoes on while they fight me on leaving. I don't know what to do. I don't know what I need. I wrestle them to the car, diaper bag hanging off my shoulder, my 2 year old on my hip and my very disappointed 5 year old holding tight to my hand as I drag him along behind me.
I decide to drive to the walk-in clinic and sit in the parking lot. I'll sit there with a movie on for the kids and wait. I'll see what my body does.
This has happened more than once over the last year and it's happening more and more often with a few ER visits peppered in. None of the doctors can tell me what's going on with my body. They write me prescriptions for anxiety meds that I carry in my purse and refuse to take. I'm afraid of how I'll react. I rarely sleep and I spend my days taking care of two equally sick little boys. One who is constantly crying or fussing with an upset stomach, has eczema around his mouth and nose most of the year and catches literally everything that goes around. He's on multiple medications for allergies and reflux and he's constantly covered in snot. The other has been tested for asthma at least 3 times, gets croup so often they prescribe us an at home nebulizer, has the same flaky, red, inflamed skin around his nose like his little brother and always has a cough from his drainage.
If you've been following me for any length of time, you know I lived liked this for almost two years. I was confused because I thought I was health...we were healthy. I wasn't overweight. We ate paleo like all the "experts" were talking about. I was active. I loved learning about health and fitness and read all the magazines, watched all the experts on the talk shows and tried to follow their advice. Why were we so sick? Was this our destiny?
Thankfully, no! The very long story short...I met a chiropractor who opened my eyes to the world of nutrition and the impact that food could have on our health. She told me she was going to teach me how to eat and it was going to change my life and she was right. Within in three weeks of following a Whole Foods nutrition plan she laid out for me my panic attacks and rashes stopped. Within 3 months we were off all of our allergy medications. I started devouring information on nutrition. I wanted more of these amazing results. The only problem. Everything I read seemed to contradict another experts opinion.
Was soy safe or a toxic gut bomb?
Were carbs in or out?
Should I eat more grass-fed meat or more gas inducing veggies?
Was agave the miracle sweetener or pure poison?
I was spending hours researching, watching documentaries, crying in the grocery aisles because I didn't know what was safe. I spent a fortune on supplements, super foods, colloidal silver, greens powders, Shaklee, Juice Plus, Isagenix mixes...I was throwing darts and hoping for something to stick, but I had no idea what was helping and what was hurting.
I wanted to continue to improve our health. I wanted to share what I was learning with my friends. But there was so much fear-mongering online and in the diet, health and wellness industry. Everyone was selling the magic solution and they all stood to gain from it. The fact is it behooves the diet industry for us to be confused because that means we'll keep trying the next innovation they come out with. When in reality, it can be so much simpler.
And that's when I took the most important step on my long-term healing journey, which didn't just change my life or the lives of my boys, but it changed my entire career path, future and to date, has helped me change literally thousands of lives.
I found an online nutrition school based in New York called Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). As I read through their curriculum my eyes widened. It was everything I was looking for. Doctors, nutritionists, scientists, real experts, teachers, professors, researchers educating students on food & nutrition, lifestyle, cooking...everything I needed to finally cut through the clutter and understand how to be a healthier me while helping my kids grow into their healthiest selves. PLUS education and coaching on how to use my certification to pay it forward and help others enhance their health with FACTS vs FADS. I signed up that day after calling the school and talking with a representative and then a graduate about their experience.