It's time for another staff spotlight! We have several employees at Nature's Finest Nutrition, and each has a special story of his/her journey toward better nutrition and health. For the next few months, we'll highlight one staff member every few weeks and share with you our personal paths to better health.
This month, in honor of Celiac Awareness Month, we're highlighting our assistant, Brook. Read her story below:
I first came to Nature's Finest Nutrition as a customer ten years ago.
I was talking to a friend one day and mentioned that I didn't feel well. She referred me to Jim.
My husband and I and our two kids, a son and a daughter came together. We'd been trying to get healthier. We were eating better and after our initial visit, started supplementing with products we bought here.
We got off sodas and refined sugar. Donuts. We were still using fructose from corn, which was still technically white sugar. Jim helped us get off that. Then we got off hydrogenated oils, any kind of food dyes, and all artificial flavorings.
Shortly afterward, when we were in the shop one day, Jim asked if I'd be interested in working here.
I was hesitant at first. I homeschooled my kids, and I wasn't sure I could do both. Jim didn't bat an eyelash. He said I could bring the kids and homeschool them here.
I couldn't say no. I started working Wednesday mornings and Saturdays when they needed me.
For a while, things were great. I was learning about herbs and their many uses.
We started fighting all infections with them. We used a lot of Anthroxene and Nature's Sunshine's Silver Shield. My husband used Sinus Support. Though you may have to take a lot at once, the herbal supplements worked better than prescription meds and over-the-counter drugs. We still use them today.
But then I got sick. I had health issues that seemed to come out of nowhere (though now, I realize they were possibly triggered by a bladder infection), and my doctor couldn't find a problem anywhere. He told me I had the flu.
The symptoms went on and on for six months. During that time, I lost 30 pounds and felt terrible. My energy was gone. I was in serious pain.
Together with Jim and Pat, we tried to find the source of my health problems. At first, we thought it could be an issue with my gall bladder, so I changed my diet and took three gall bladder cleanses. I did one cleanse one weekend, and two more cleanses the next. That made three cleanses within eight days.
I changed my diet to suit my gall bladder, too. I ate healthier foods - mostly wheat, wheat broths, toast, and potato soup. The more I ate, the sicker I made myself, all in the fervent belief that I was making myself better.
How wrong I was.
I knew it wasn't the flu, though, that my doctor insisted upon, so we kept working. We thought my health issues might stem from a stomach ulcer since my grandma had one, so I started drinking fresh cabbage juice for five weeks straight. I heard somewhere that healed ulcers, so that's what we tried.
My kids helped me juice cabbages. I had to drink two or three glasses a day and eat only more bland foods.
No coffee. I love coffee, but it was a sacrifice I had to make.
The cabbage juice helped a little bit. It provided nutrients my body needed (namely, L-Glutamine, which is one of the best things to help heal Leaky Guy Syndrome), but it didn't ease my pain. That was still there and very, very severe.
Next, I did a liver cleanse and some coffee enemas. Nothing gave me relief.
I was getting sick after eating, and I had excruciating abdominal pain.
We kept coming up blank in the idea department, and after targeting almost every bodily system and organ we could think of, I was close to giving up hope.
One Thanksgiving weekend, Jim and Pat went to visit an uncle for the holidays and left me to run the shop.
I was in so much pain I could barely sit in my chair, let alone stand. By the second to last day of their trip, I didn't think I'd make it.
When they finally got back and walked in the door to see me, they couldn't believe I was sitting upright. They could see how horrible I felt.
That's when they told me about Celiac disease. The uncle they'd been visiting had been finally diagnosed with it after being sick with symptoms similar to mine for over five years.
I'd never heard of it before, but after we researched it, I realized I completely fit the bill. There were symptoms on the list that I'd been suffering with since childhood and had never thought they could be connected.
Some symptoms include:
- unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
- bone or joint pain
- bone loss or osteoporosis
- depression or anxiety
- tingling numbness in the hands and feet
- seizures or migraines
- missed menstrual periods
- infertility or recurrent miscarriage
- canker sores inside the mouth
- an itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
Come to find out, Celiac can lie dormant in the body and is usually triggered during puberty.
Why mine was delayed, I'll never know, but the more I read, the more I was convinced: I had Celiac disease.
So I changed my diet yet again to eliminate all gluten and, for the first time in forever, my health started to improve. The pain finally started to ebb.
It was a miracle!
Jim recommended some supplements to help heal my gut (where Celiac disease originates) and to aid my digestion.
I used Nature's Sunshine's Intestinal Soothe & Build, Carlson's L-Glutamine, and Enzymedica's Gluten Ease and Digest Spectrum. They each helped tremendously.
My energy is back and the pain stays away.
Unless I miss taking my supplements!
With supplements and a careful diet, I'm able to more than function - I can live!
Now that my kids are older, they're starting to show symptoms of Celiac, too. Fortunately, thanks to my experiences - horrible as they were - we're prepared. They're both transitioning to a healthier, gluten-free diet on top of their already processed food and sugar-free diet. They're supplementing with the Celiac program now, too.
This time around, we're prepared. We've got this.
I plan to continue learning to improve my knowledge even more in the future. I believe in the power of herbs and proper nutrition. Without them, I wouldn't be leading the life I live today.
God is good!