PAST ME – Life
I’ve always been very active, interested in many sports and everything artsy. In high school, I was on the track and volleyball team, and because I was a super creative kid, I signed up for as many art classes as I could along the way.
Studied Graphic Design at a French Canadian college in Ottawa, Canada. Worked in printing, communications, and marketing for about 13 years. Took a career break to focus on my little family.
As an adult, sports were still a big part of my life. I was training at the gym at least four days per week, playing volleyball (indoor and beach), ultimate frisbee and hockey, I enjoyed running, and competitive dragon boat racing became my favourite way to stay in shape. Such a great time in my life with so many beautiful memories!
PAST ME – Health
I would like to think that I was pretty healthy growing up, but I did always have a lot of little ongoing discomforts. My mom says I complained a lot! Thinking back, these were some of my common symptoms: extreme fatigue, major bloating, sore belly, irritability, able, acne, abnormal periods, constipation, diarrhea, leg cramping, numb/tingling hands, headaches, foggy brain, etc.
I believe that being physically active for so many years is what kept me going and gave me the strength and energy to focus on my day-to-day tasks.
I used to eat everything in sight. Whether healthy or not, you name it; I gobbled it up. I ate pizza, poutine (fries with gravy and cheese), Caesar salads (the calorie-loaded ones), candies, ice cream, chips, nachos, bread, and much more. I believed that because I exercised a lot, I could enjoy all those comfort foods without feeling guilty.
Please note that my parents did not feed me this way. Once I had a job, and spending money is when I indulged in all those not-so-healthy things.
Once in a while, I would give up some problematic foods because of excessive bloating and other unpleasant symptoms. At the time, I didn’t understand enough about inflammation, leaky gut, food sensitivities and other symptoms, to pinpoint the root cause of my health issues. When I reached my mid-thirties, I started recognizing patterns in my daily ailments. That’s when I started keeping track of what I was eating and how I was feeling.
CURRENT ME – Life
I’m a busy mom, sharing my energy with my kids and husband. Very often you will find me in the kitchen cooking or prepping for the next meal. It is the one place where I can be myself and feel relaxed. I’ll share a secret with you; I genuinely dislike doing dishes! But, if I remind myself that I am lucky to have food to put in those dishes, then it makes doing them a little bit easier.
I still freelance as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator and love everything about children’s books. This blog, along with my future ideas, keep me challenged and on my toes.
I am a Culinary Nutrition Expert (CNE) who graduated with honours from the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.
CURRENT ME – Health
In September 2015, I wasn’t doing so well. My body was failing me. I was feeling very anxious all the time and my ability to practice any sport was almost impossible. I raced my last few Dragon Boat races that month feeling defeated. My arms were numb and weak, and I didn’t feel strong anymore. Every task seemed so challenging; I couldn’t think straight; I had such a hard time concentrating and working.
My priority was always taking care of my kids and husband and didn’t usually focus on myself. Then the worst happened, my mom got sick with Recurrent Ovarian Cancer. I was so worried. That situation sent me and my body into a state of shock. I lost 10 lbs, couldn’t seem to keep anything down. My mom passed away in May 2017. I miss her so much, she was my best friend.
As for my health, that’s when I said enough is enough and sought the help of various health care professionals. To my surprise, not much made a difference. I felt so discouraged. I was eating cleaner and healthier than ever before, but still, things didn’t feel right. I can no longer tolerate gluten, eggs, dairy, meat, most nuts, most legumes and avoid refined sugar. My body loves vegetables! I enjoy coffee, but I know it’s best for me to reduce my consumption!
I was tested for many different things, treated for Candida, SIBO, leaky gut and sent to the hospital for a potential Appendicitis (my appendix was not the issue), and tested positive on the Celiac Genetic test (did both the saliva and blood test). I can’t test for Celiac Disease itself because I haven’t eaten gluten since 2015.
After multiple tests, together with my GI, I decided that getting glutened for over 30 days, while consuming four slices of bread per day is not worth the debilitating side effects. Maybe one day there will be better testing available; at this moment, I choose to feel my best and avoid gluten.
In late 2019, I started taking natural medication for hypothyroidism. I am still actively researching other possible causes for my symptoms.
The year 2020 has been dang hard! My body is tired and my nerves are fragile, my ND has been helpful but I just wish I had more energy! How are you feeling?
As for exercise, I try to be active as much as I can, but moving around the house is not enough for me. I encourage myself to go out for 20 to 50-minute walks as often as I can, use a foam roller to stretch and massage my aches and pains, and try to incorporate more activities when I can.
FUTURE ME – Life
I will be recognized as a leader in the plant-based and allergen-friendly field, sharing my knowledge to inspire others to eat fresh and healthy ingredients while living with allergies or sensitivities.
I will use my skills and knowledge to help promote allergen-friendly cooking, living, and events.
I will have one (or more) printed books, smaller free online downloads, workshops, and future events catering to an allergen-friendly crowd.
Visit each post to get the download link or if you sign up for Fresh is Real’s newsletter, you’ll automatically get both.
FUTURE ME – Health
I will feel great, have lots of energy and will be back to my normal competitive self. I will run a 5K (or more) and participate in other physical activities with my kids, husband, and friends. I will not let the possibility of having Celiac Disease (or other) affect my life.
I will stay positive and take a break when I feel it is needed. I might have a coffee (as a treat) once in a while but not every day (still working on this one).
My son (age 10) and I did run a 5K in September 2019. I was so proud of him!
What Are Your Health Challenges?
How did you find Fresh is Real? Please say hi and let me know in the comments how your health has gotten you to the point of improving your food choices or changing how you cook, bake and eat.