Wellness Experts Get Sick Too

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sickLast summer I heard one of the loudest wake-up calls of my life – second only to the times when my children became very sick. As some of you may know, it is the struggle with my children’s health that inspired my practice.

I, myself, became very sick and experienced a host of debilitating symptoms. It became so serious that I stopped seeing clients. With the help of many colleagues, and through a determination to uncover the root cause of my illness, I was able to tie my symptoms to viruses, which became reactivated due to the inordinate amount of stress I was experiencing.

Most, if not all, of us can think of a time when we’ve been exposed to a virus – common ones ranging from the cold and the flu to chicken pox, mono and many others. What many of us don’t know is that they hang out in our bodies, ready to reactivate. I call this “tripping” by a “tripwire,” which in my case, was stress.

My body was pushing epinephrine (aka adrenaline), a stress hormone, which likely leaked my gut and allowed the viruses to reactivate in my body. I recently shared this with Summer Bock from The Better Belly Project 2.0.

You must be thinking: “An integrative practitioner who’s talking the talk and walking the walk and still getting sick?”

The truth is that even experts can experience setbacks sometimes. Thankfully, we have the tools to help us get back up. And, ironically, it’s these trials that often serve as learning opportunities, allowing us to gain additional knowledge and experience to help you, our clients, more effectively.

My main tool for healing is the Wildatarian lifestyle – a concept that arose through my bio-individual nutrition counseling practice. My practice is built on what I call “The Big Three,” which include protein, fat and sulfur malasborption. The Wildatarian approach is about finding the right types and amounts of each one for your individual genetics and current state of health.

Four Things I Learned

Part of my calling into the wellness field comes from my innate desire to learn new things and impart that knowledge in an effort to help others. The experience of getting sick taught and reinforced four things in my mind, and I’m happy to share them with you.

1. If you test positive for Lyme disease, get tested for viruses. When viruses in our bodies reactivate, testing can show a false positive for Lyme disease. In my practice, we pay particular attention to viruses when seeing clients. This was my case. I tested positive for three strands of Lyme and the antibiotics I was administered just weakened me further.

2. Consider an antiviral approach before an antibacterial one. Unless your doctor confirms a bacterial infection, try an anti-viral approach first. Antibiotics can be lifesaving, but they also alter the composition of our microbiome in unfavorable ways.

In the case of Lyme disease, the Lyme has a biofilm that antibiotics may not be able to penetrate. It needs to be treated like a virus. We use a proprietary protocol in our practice.

3. Become your own body interpreter and an informed, empowered consumer. When I figured what was truly happening in my body, I was able to rebalance quickly. Breaking medical conventions, I achieved a resolution of the scary blood work results and symptoms I was experiencing.

Wellness is a life-long effort. It requires education. In my practice, we recognize that and take it to heart.

Thankfully, the body talks to us, and we can figure out what it’s saying if we simply listen (or in some cases, look and smell). We teach you to be your own body interpreter.

Here are examples of some common things to look for:

• Do you have a “fluffy-looking” stool? You just maxed out on fat consumption. The body is likely getting rid of excess fat that it’s unable to absorb.

• Whew, smelling the asparagus on the other end? You might have a sulfur processing issue.
Joint pain or arthritis? Another potential clue to look at sulfur.

• How about yeast or ear infections? More than likely, you have candida, a parasitic type of yeast, which turns off our ability to process dopamine, our happy, feel-good neurotransmitter. Oxalates are unhealthy if you have candida – cut back on spinach and almonds.

• Stinky feet or sweaty hands (especially in young kids)? Constipation or bloating after eating? Another possible sign of candida.

4. Become your own advocate. When I got sick, I saw an infectious disease physician who said it would take me  at least 6 months to feel better.

I knew, based on my symptoms, that what I was facing was viral and that if I took this third round of antibiotics that it would further deplete an already compromised gut biome from the first two rounds of antibiotics and steroids. The antibiotics didn’t get me healthy again. What got me better was listening to my body and healing myself with my own approach. Also integral to my healing was releasing and surrendering to all the stressors that had created the firestorm in my body.

It only took me three weeks to feel better, thanks to the Wildatarian lifestyle and approach.

Bottom line: You have to be willing to push for options and answers. Don’t settle for being uncomfortable; discomfort is a sign that something isn’t right. I believe that healing energy flows through the body when you play an active role in your healthcare and advocate for yourself by exploring options and not settling for anything less than a resolution.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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February 2023