During my childhood, teenage years, and into my early adult life, my health and lifestyle were definitely not optimal, nor was I completely thriving. My family owned and operated a thirty acre wildlife refuge in Northern Wisconsin and I grew up side-by-side with bears, cougars, raccoons, fox, and other wild animals. This unique upbringing, as delightful and magical as it was, brought havoc to my health. Merely touching a deer caused hives all over my body and my eyes would swell shut.
I suffered from Allergies, Eczema, Asthma, and a very weak immune system. Imagine being allergic to childhood staples like chocolate and ketchup. Back then there were no alternatives and variations as there are in such abundance today. In what seemed like weekly Dr. appointments to monitor my Allergies and Asthma, I was continuously given the “newest and greatest,” medicines to try. Bronchitis, Sinusitis, and Pneumonia kept me home form school regularly. Crowds, bright lights, and sudden changes of any kind in the environment stressed my nervous system and adrenal glands as my senses were heightened as a child, which today would be identified as “highly sensitive,” and “empathic”.
In my teenage years I gained weight, (Hormonal Imbalance,) suffered extreme nervousness, (Anxiety,) my overall energy greatly diminished, (Chronic Fatigue,) and had a profound lack of contentment and happiness, (Depression.)
The college years and my early twenties brought a new era of extreme growth and change. I moved out to the West Coast and began to take my health into my own hands. Nutrition, herbal medicines, and natural remedies became my main interest. I changed my diet to Whole Foods and eliminated anything processed and sugared. The difference between “junk food,” and “whole food,” became quite clear. From there I stepped into vegetarian and vegan ways of eating, and took a job at a health supplement store where I learned more thoroughly about natural supplements, cleanses, and detoxing. All of these brought me some relief and well-being, but I still felt something was off. I still experienced low immunity, mood swings, weakness and fatigue, anxiety, and muscle aches.. and now with the added symptoms of sugar cravings and the sensation of being cold all the time due to the lack of dietary fat and protein.
In my mid-twenties, I had my two children, both born at home naturally. They each were robust and healthy but my own health issues continued to get worse. I wasn’t able to breastfeed either one of them fully and that remained a mystery to my doctors and myself. I now know that this was because I was low in oxytocin, but at the time I was bewildered, suffering postpartum depression and increased aches and pains, fatigue, and irritability.
Hypothyroidism was my official diagnosis at the age of thirty. Soon after that I began working for a naturopath that was practicing a Raw Food diet. I gave that a try and some of my ailments decreased a few degrees further, as I was in a constant cleansing and detoxing cycle. I found out my adrenal glands were functioning at a low level around this time as well, and with access to many supplements, the knowledge around using them, and high quality testing, I was able to try several approaches. Some skimmed the surface, others penetrated deeper, but nothing I did was getting to the root of the problem.
Instead of finding the base causes and remedying them, I actually got worse. Debilitating digestive issues arose. After I would eat something, I would feel tired and fatigued with a subtle burning and digestive discomfort. This affected my entire being both emotionally and physically so I started researching ways to support and heal the gut. That proverbial, “Ahha!’ moment had arrived and the pieces began to click together like a really large puzzle. It was a revelation when I realized that 90% of my issues stemmed directly from my gut.
And so began the journey of healing and replenishing my digestive system. I can clearly remember the day a dear friend offered me my first cup of homemade bone-broth. I literally felt the nutritive elixir flowing deeply into each and every cell of my body, warm and penetrative. As I slowly sipped and replenished myself, I realized how depleted I had become from all the years of eating a low protein and fat diet. I knew right then that if I wished to restore my health I would have to bring meat and animal fat back into my diet.
My gut healed. Hypothyroidism ceased, my adrenal glands balanced, I had sustained energy, and my body felt warm and strong. There was a drastic improvement in my mind, body and spirit. From there I turned to a completely Ketogenic diet and within days even more inflammation was eliminated. I could feel the organs, tissues, and channels within my body clearing of stagnation on so many levels that I could now feel the more subtle aspects within that needed adjusting to reach optimal health.
This is the time I was also introduced to Kambo, which had enormous positive effects on my gut healing, nervous system, hormones, adrenals, fatigue, depression and anxiety. But there was something still in need of adjustment in my diet. I could feel it every morning after my Paleo breakfast, usually consisting of buttered eggs on a bed of brightly colored vegetables and dark leafy greens. Upon eating I would feel lethargic and spacey with an extreme pressure in my forehead.
A few days after I contemplated this new awareness, and as the information settled in, a wise old friend shared with me her decision to take her own Ketogenic diet to a new level. Zero carbohydrates by eliminating all plant foods. I was at first appalled at the thought of giving up my delicious and nutritious leafy dark greens, but since I could feel that something was hindering complete healing in my body, I gave it a go. The very next morning after eliminating vegetables entirely I was left with a zen-like feeling of balance and peace.
Many plants, as a form of defense and protection during the process of being killed and harvested, produce a large amount of chemicals designed to ward off further predation in an attempt to stop the attack on their lives. Chemicals such as Salicylic Acid, which functions as a plant hormone, trigger an extreme sensitivity in many people, causing digestive issues and damage to the gut lining. This can lead to chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, weakened immunity, hypothyroid symptoms and the like.
It has now been three years since that awareness led to life-changing nutritional practices I continue to this day. I am forty three years old and very often hear that I look more like I am in my twenties. I live in great health rarely getting sick from colds or the flu. Youthfulness and vigor are the words I now use to describe my everyday constitution. I have no food cravings nor digestive issues and all of my previous ailments have entirely vanished. The two primary tools for the repair of my health have been shifting my diet off of sugar and carbohydrates and into high protein and fat based meals, and incorporating Kambo treatments.
Friends, please remember that this is my own health story, my personal journey into reclaiming my health. We are each unique and our path to healing is ultimately an individual one. What worked for me might not be the right path for you, just as your path might not be right for me. If you are not at your optimal health I suggest simply this: Begin the journey of trust in yourself and your ability to heal. Take responsibility for your own health. Use your innate inquisitiveness and the awareness of your body’s reactions to what you put in it and start connecting the dots. Begin to experiment, taking small steps forward to eliminate obstacles. There will be ups and downs along the way as you fine-tune your individual path, but restoration will occur with diligence, awareness, forgiveness, and patience. Enjoy the journey for what it is as you reclaim your health!