Updated: Sep 17
My journey to discover Functional and Lifestyle Medicine started years before I could put a name to it. I noticed as I was helping my patients at the pharmacy that many of their chronic disease states were related to inflammation. I wondered what was causing that inflammation in their bodies. I noticed in my own life that my asthma and joint pain would sometimes get worse after meals. I wondered if what I was eating was contributing to inflammation in my body, but then I would get distracted by something and the thought would vanish.
It wasn’t until a pharmacy technician asked if I knew anything about this new diet that was all the rage, The Keto Diet, that all those thoughts came flooding back. I honestly did not know anything about it, so I decided to do a little research. Since I was about to embark on a long-distance road trip from NC to Seattle, WA with my family, I brought all kinds of books on the subject with me. I read book after book across the miles and started to get excited. What if the food I was eating was contributing to my chronic health issues? What if the food I was eating was producing inflammation in my body? I felt empowered to change my diet and see if my symptoms improved.
When I ate an ultra-processed diet, I would get winded walking up one flight of stairs and my joints would ache all day long. Once I changed my diet, I had energy to hike in the woods and not experience asthma symptoms, my joints stopped aching, and I felt more alive.
I kept trying to discover as much as I could about healing the body with food. I noticed that even though I felt better on the Keto Diet that something was still not right. I did a lab test to check for food sensitivities and discovered that I have a strong sensitivity to eggs and chicken (I wonder if one came first). If you know anything about the Keto Diet, there are a lot of eggs used in almost all the recipes, so that presented another challenge for me. I managed to eliminate eggs from my diet and started feeling better, but then COVID struck.
Questions arose. Can we go out to the grocery store? I already work in a community pharmacy with potential exposure to COVID patients every day. Can I try to get food delivered to our house so my family can limit their exposure? With COVID, I got lazy. I started eating convenient, processed foods again because I didn’t want to leave the house. All the weight I had lost with the Keto Diet came back with a vengeance. The stress of working in a healthcare field during an unprecedented pandemic did not help matters, either.
However, I was also able to take classes in Functional and Integrative Pharmacy. I was able to obtain a certification and use the title Integrative Pharmacy Specialist. During my training, I learned how certain medications can deplete vitamins and minerals in the body and lead to side effects. I learned about how integral gut health is to the functioning of our bodies. I learned that FOOD is MEDICINE!
I have since learned that the weight I lost with the keto diet may have been water and lean-muscle mass, which is not an ideal way to lose weight. As I move on my journey to improve my health, I am learning more and more about how food affects our wellbeing down to our very cellular structures and genes.
So, now I am here to share this information with you! We are all a work in progress, but together we can pivot our mindsets, our habits, and our health to reach the root causes of disease and heal our bodies.
Are you ready to start your journey to a more healthy and balanced life?