I live in Melbourne with my partner Paul and our English Springer Spaniel, Stevie (yep, after Stevie Nicks!♥)
We live by the beach and have a new found love for paddle boarding, even Stevie comes along!
I'm kinda silly, like to have fun and can't get enough of learning all things gut related.
A bit of background on what’s brought me to where I am today.....
All through my teenage years and well into my 20’s I hated my weight. Even as far back as primary school I can remember wanting to be smaller in general, I was always tall for my age and wished I could just be more petite.
I remember as early as 4 years old I had a special diet, that my mum created for me. I had food intolerances to refined sugar, cow dairy and wheat. Even way back then my mum, she knew what was going on!
As I cruised through my teenage years, rebelling against parents who undoubtedly just didn’t want me to turn into a jerk, I never felt like I loved my body. I was always picking out the things I wanted to change and wishing I was another shape or size and never stopping to realise how badly I was speaking to myself.
Fast forward to my mid 20’s and a relationship that fell apart, I found myself sick.
At first, it coincided with me wanting to “get my shit together and move on” so I started walking, a lot, and within weeks I started dropping weight. I should highlight here, I wasn’t eating properly, I was still eating occasional processed foods, cigarettes and WAY too much alcohol…. Looking back, I can’t believe I thought that’s all it would take!
But hey that’s the message here; life’s a journey and you will never stop learning.
So there I was, walking most days for around 4-5 km’s and continuing to lose weight, perfect right?
What I wasn’t putting together is that I also couldn’t keep my food down, had the most horrendous cramps in my gut and was generally miserable.
This went on for about 10 months, I went to the GP a bunch of times and she referred me to a gastroenterologist because she was stumped and didn't know what to do.
I had a colonoscopy and a heap of blood tests only to find an intestinal parasite having a party in my gut, rejecting all my food and generally making me feel like I wanted to die.
The Gastroenterologists answer to this? Antibiotics, harsh ones.
By this stage, I was so over not being able to go out for dinner for fear of either having to vomit in the bathroom at the pub or shitting my pants on the walk home, that I’d agree to try anything!
I had no idea how bad it was about to get.
4 weeks of antibiotics literally had me on the floor, out the back of my (retail business at the time) only getting up when someone came in the door, to offer them assistance. Honestly, I wanted my parasite back, I felt like I was dying.
I knew this course of antibiotics would knock me around so I found a Naturopath to help me try to “heal my gut” I also became a pescatarian.
In hindsight (isn’t it a beautiful thing?) I can’t believe there was no follow-up appointment with the specialist and no advice about restoring my gut health, that was all left up to me!
I spent 6 months with the naturopath and recovered in leaps and bounds, or so I thought.
I was still abusing my body with cigarettes, alcohol and the occasional questionable food choices, and wondering why I wasn’t “feeling better considering how well I was eating”.
There wasn’t a whole lot of self-love going on, to be honest, I was looking for love in all the wrong places, I needed to look for that from myself. I lacked inspiration, motivation and felt lost. I had a job that paid the bills but beyond that, provided zero satisfaction. I knew deep down I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to have a career that left me feeling like I’d contributed to the world……. But that’s as far as I had got.
Over the next few years, I tried a number of elimination diets, convinced I had a food intolerance and/or nutrition malabsorption. I had food allergy testing done, only to confirm allergies to horses, mould, and grass, none of which I like anyway so all good there ;)
I quit sugar, felt better but didn’t lose any weight.
I did the FODMAP elimination diet and saw no results there. (however, I do think it’s a fantastic option for many people to try)
I tried shake supplements, lost weight but missed food SO MUCH.
I joined a gym and spent a year doing HIIT until my knees hurt every second of the day so I had to give it up.
Truth is, I LOVE cooking and eating!
I was spending every spare minute of my day, the commute to and from work, at home after dinner, whenever I could, researching different theories and foods, diets and fads and reading about how crucial gut health is to optimal health. Until one day I thought, “there has to be a way I can learn all this stuff and actually have some direction”.
I was often concerned that what I was reading or watching was only one-sided and I wasn’t getting the whole picture, I wanted to find a way to KNOW this stuff and KNOW that I was covering it all.
That’s when I found IIN.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition was the catalyst for a change in me that I never knew I needed until it started happening. When I enrolled it was purely so I could heal myself, specifically my gut, and not until the course kicked off that a light bulb went off in my head “is it possible this could be a change in career for me”?
I know it seems kinda crazy I wouldn’t have considered this prior to enrolling buuuut I honestly didn’t know if I’d love it or not. Turns out it’s changed my life.
Also turns out, you can eat all the kale and broccoli in the world (YUM) but if you’re not looking at the bigger picture you’ll likely be as I was, wondering why you feel like shite ☹
The things I’ve learned and know now mean I can rely on more than food to feel good, there are so many other areas that count just as much, if not more!
My hope is that I can share these things, give love to those that need it and be a guide for those who feel lost or overwhelmed just as I did for so many years.