The diagnosis of endometriosis at age 19 hit me hard. The worst thing about it was being told I had a 50/50 chance of conceiving. Until then I hadn’t given children, or my health being my responsibility, too much thought.
Occasionally I dabbled in a natural health store purchase because I had one on the end of the road where I grew up as a child, and my mum suggested I go there to get help when I started suffering from ‘backne’ in my early teenage years.
But other than that, I had typically been taught to go to the doctor for your health problems and a prescription of medication will sort you out.
Here are what I remember some of the types of medication I was given for various different health complaints, from when I was small until my late teenage years:
- Calpol for a fever (paracetamol based),
- Antibiotics for a cold or cough,
- Backne medication,
- Weekly paracetamol to treat frequent headaches, and my monthly period pain (often taking the maximum daily allowance as the pain was so severe),
- Antidepressants for depression and anxiety and various types of medication to treat my alternating diarrhoea and constipation.
Eventually looking to the doctor to make you better and taking medication for whatever was wrong began to feel normal. By this point I thought I was going to have to live with these health problems for the rest of my life.
Not long after my endometriosis diagnosis, and more health problems including unexplained knee pain and an ulcer to top it all off with - I moved to South Africa.
Taking advantage of a friend whose father lived there to enable me to go and get the travel bug out of my system and ‘fix my life’ as you often think will be the case when doing something so radical.
Well in one sense, maybe I wasn't wrong and my intuition led me to the place I was always meant to end up.
As it was whilst living there that I fell upon a book by Gillian McKeith who always promoted using food to end your health woes. Was she right? Well I had nothing to lose I thought, as I proceeded to buy the book.
For the next three months I followed this book like it was my bible. And although I started to feel better, something still wasn’t right I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
Whilst living in a quaint beach town called Jeffrey’s Bay, I met a wonderful soul called Marie, who was a detox specialist and who performed colonic irrigation.
I decided to give her treatments and detox plans a go as I was still suffering with terrible bowel pain after certain meals, felt nauseous often, looked pregnant from the bloating on occasion and had headaches, bad skin and mood swings of note.
All of which Marie said detoxing and colonic irrigations could help with as they would resolve my underlying problem - the toxic build-up my body simply wasn’t coping with.
And they sure did. Couple these with then getting qualified as a naturopathic nutritionist over the next two years and my health finally improved on a permanent basis, taking me to a point where I felt great 7 out of 7 days - something very new to me!
An awakening to the world of toxins, parasites, the negative effects of junk food and alcohol, sugar and simply not enough nutrients, fresh food and clean purified water was what I needed to finally realise that the outcome of my health, good or bad, was always within my control.
I just had to understand first what my body liked and disliked and learn that great health was only achievable when all of the body’s internal systems were healthy and dancing together.
Looking back, I see all my health complaints as a series of very positive events that, without which, wouldn’t have led me to improve my diet or lifestyle, and so I am in fact grateful for all of the lessons they have taught me as I took back control of my health, and ultimately my happiness because of them, as the two go hand in hand.
It did take me however some time to find what the ‘perfect’ diet for me was, as I soon learnt not all healthy eating regimes suit all people.
(Often learning the hard way too when trying something new like soy for example, as in this instance it would make my benign breast cyst hurt due to its high levels of plant oestrogen.)
But through lots of trial and error I found the right supplements and food that work for me, and so it just goes to show all the time you invest in yourself is definitely worth it!
As now I live and eat in a way that makes me feel incredible, which includes having heaps of energy, clear skin, healthy hair, no period pain, balanced hormones and being a healthy weight.
My diet in a nutshell is:
- Gluten, dairy, and soy free,
- Rich in organic vegetables, nuts and seeds and a little organic fruit,
- I consume a little organic meat with most of my meals throughout the day, but no red meat - so only lean meats like chicken, turkey, as well as fish and eggs.
I will then add some sort of legume or grain to my meals such as sprouted buckwheat (it makes a delicious granola when roasted!), quinoa, brown rice, lentils and/or chickpeas are all my firm favourites.
I now work as a health writer and nutritionist full-time inspiring other people through both mediums who are also struggling with their health, to take back the control.
As sometimes it is all to easy to be carried away with a doctors' diagnosis and let it get you down, and mentally shape your future without looking at the other treatment options there may be out there.
And that’s just it.
There are many natural options out there waiting for you to try, that have fewer side effects than conventional medication that it to me, just makes sense people try changing their diet and adding in some incredible superfoods and bioavailable supplements and seeing just how much of a positive difference they could make to your health as the first port of call - not last as in my case.
Oh... and my true life health story really wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that I recently gave birth to a very healthy baby boy. So I totally blew those odds the doctor gave me regarding my fertility all those years ago, right out of the water!