New Year’s resolutions are great in theory, but welcoming in the New Year can also seem like a chore—like you’re expected to have this amazing plan to become a “better” you ready to begin at 12:01. Realistically that’s seldom the case. The truth is, we all need a little guidance and a clear plan, otherwise, our goals will stay where they started: in our heads.
That said, if your New Year’s goals are to better your health and increase your knowledge of how to achieve these goals, and if you’re looking for someone to be an advocate for your health, then you’ve come to the right place. I’m here to offer you the support you need to successfully make the necessary nutritional changes to your diet. This one commitment to yourself will prove to be your greatest investment this year!
As we begin this journey together, I can’t help but think back on my own story. It’s hard to believe that just a year ago, I was in the very place that a lot of you are in today. I was ready to embark on a new journey full of new challenges and excitement—ready to grow and be bold, to take control of my future and live out loud in my own life! I was finally ready to take the big leap. And guess what? It turned out to be my greatest life-changing moment to date! Here’s how it happened for me.
I didn’t become a FNTP (Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner) overnight. My inspiration to become more educated in holistic nutrition came from my drive to help myself and my son. My son has suffered from psoriasis since he was a toddler; meanwhile, I have been struggling with migraines for 23 years. For many years, I had to rely on medications for preventative care and pain relief. The medications were expensive and had to be reevaluated every six months to ensure proper dosage. These medications were not only costly to my wallet but also to the health of my stomach and liver.
At the same time, my son was also being treated for his condition. He was diagnosed at the age of five and was put on a series of steroids, topical antibiotic creams, anti-inflammatory drugs. Starting school with active psoriasis was embarrassing for him and terrifying for me. The psoriasis was concentrated mainly on his scalp, which caused him to pick and scratch, leaving open sores an embarrassing bald spots.
Between my migraines and his psoriasis, it was a never-ending cycle of doctor appointments coupled with expensive prescriptions, most of them toxic and some containing carcinogens. That was where I drew the line—I was no longer going to put toxic chemicals into son! I decided to make the transformation to cleaner eating and living—and I haven’t looked back since.
The Road to Recovery
The first thing I did was eliminate processed foods, dairy, gluten, and refined and artificial sugars from our diet. I started by removing uncured meats (such as deli lunch meat), sugar-laden yogurts, boxed breakfast cereals, jarred cheese sauces, and instant anything (like boxed potatoes and packaged dinners). Next, I refilled my fridge and pantry with healthy whole foods.
As we were transitioning into eating more whole foods, I made simple swaps—like making wraps or salads instead of sandwiches. Another trick I learned was to simply fill a bowl with mixed greens and then top it with meats, boiled eggs, and roasted veggies. I also began using baked potatoes as a base for building a plate. I would fill a russet or sweet potato with meat and veggies. Over the course of several months, I experimented with flavors, seasoning, and cooking techniques to discover what worked best for me and my family. During that time I also made hydration and blood sugar control a priority.
One of the biggest challenges I faced was adding fats into my diet. I didn’t trust that eating fat wasn’t going to make me fat. Instead of using hydrogenated, unstable oils such as canola, corn, and vegetable oils, I now chose butter or vegetable spread, using coconut and avocado oil for cooking and baking. I also began incorporating walnuts, pumpkins seed, hemp hearts, and almonds into our diet.
Healing with a Whole Food Diet
After removing these fake foods and inflammatories from our lives, we began a healing process that was necessary to restore our health and wellbeing. Today both my son (who is now 12) and I are off our daily prescriptions and rely on eating a whole-food nutrient-dense diet. We also use a few supplements such as digestive enzymes and probiotics to help increase the digestion of fats and proteins. This aids in the absorption of nutrients and helps to jump-start the healing process and increase immunity.
By implementing these dietary changes, we have experienced a better quality of sleep, less brain fog, decreased joint pain, a more vibrant appearance, and the list goes on. We were both sick and didn’t realize just how sick until I made the choice to change our way of eating. We now eat what is commonly known as an Auto-Immune Protocol diet or AIP diet.
A New Career: Functional Nutritional Therapy
As we transitioned to a healthier way of eating and living, I started getting online and reading anything I could get my hands on that pertained to autoimmune diseases, migraines, and holistic remedies. Trying to help myself, I became an advocate to improve the overall health of my family.
Five years into my journey and inspired by how my dietary changes had improved my life, I decided to take the next big leap and become a Functional Nutritional Therapist. In November 2019, I received my certification from the Nutritional Therapy Association. During my training, I studied holistic nutritional counseling. I’m also trained in neural lingual testing, which allows the body’s central nervous system to tell me what nutrients best fit the client’s nutritional needs. When I entered the program I felt pretty knowledgeable from my own research, but I quickly realized how much I had to learn about gut health and digestion.
Although the AIP diet is what’s right for my son and me, all people are different and there is not a one size fits all band-aide for everyone. Thus, I believe in a treatment style built on bio-individuality. I base treatment plans on the goals and priorities presented by each client.
My son and I have only benefited from the changes we made to our diet, and you can experience the same health benefits this New Year. Make the investment in your health a priority in 2020. The rewards are endless!