Several months prior, a dietitian friend who I deeply respect introduced me to LEAP - Lifestyle, Eating, and Performance - a comprehensive program that accompanies food sensitivity testing to decrease inflammation in the body. Based upon my friend’s recommendation, I decided to get tested to see for myself how the program worked. My food sensitivity results came back and I was shocked!
Many of the foods I thought were "safe" for my IBS, proved to be reactive foods that my body had developed a sensitivity toward, including spinach, cranberries, bananas, and corn - foods I was eating on a regular basis! However, despite my dietary efforts, I still had digestive symptoms and my physical health was not consistently stable.
Being on crutches for my stress fracture allowed more "free time" than normal, so I took advantage of the extra time to study the nuances behind food sensitivities, and I started following the LEAP protocol, based upon my food sensitivity results. Within a few weeks, my digestion, energy, and other physical symptoms improved dramatically, and continue to hold true to this day!
Even though there could likely be a relationship between my bone density and inflammation from previously consuming my food sensitivities on a regular basis, I still wondered if there might be another piece to the puzzle, so I had a micronutrient test done to assess my vitamin and mineral status. My results were eye-opening. I had a calcium deficiency! Even though I was consuming plenty of calcium and other nutrients that support calcium utilization (vitamin D3, vitamin K2, magnesium, etc.), my calcium stores were insufficient. How could this be?
I started doing investigative work on the reasoning behind my low calcium level, despite ingesting proper amounts of calcium on a regular basis. Because of my unpredictable digestion, I avoided foods high in FODMAPs for many years (FODMAP is an acronym for different carbohydrates, fibers, and sugars that are thought to exacerbate digestive symptoms for people with IBS). However, instead of carrying out a temporary low FODMAP elimination experiment, I continued to eat a FODMAP-restricted diet for 5 years. My food fears transitioned from food that I thought would cause me to gain weight to foods that I thought would trigger my IBS.
Little did I know that I was actually harming my health with my intent to make it better. You see, many of the fibers that I had eliminated from my diet assist with calcium absorption in the intestinal tract. My bone health was at a disadvantage by not being able to properly absorb the calcium I consumed in my food and supplements due to insufficient intake of these fibers and my compromised intestinal health (where many of our nutrients are absorbed). This newfound knowledge significantly shifted my thinking. Instead of viewing health as you are what you eat, I started to see nutrition as:
You are what you absorb.
There are no words that adequately describe how satisfying it has been to see my story come full circle. After struggling with disordered eating, physical debilitations, and digestive distress throughout the past decade, God led me through all of these challenges to not only strengthen my faith and patience, but to also provide a tool that would greatly improve my health and my clients as well!
Sometimes you have to go through the valley to reach the mountain peak. Also, the troublesome times make the victories so much more meaningful, plus our character is usually refined in the process of the uphill climb. The challenges help us to relate to others who are experiencing similar obstacles. If you are unable to live your life to your fullest potential because of your digestive setbacks or food worry, I hope you will feel free to contact me. I've been there before and would love to help you get on the pathway to better health so you can live your life to your fullest potential!