Hi, I’m Stephanie, Owner of Nurturing Nutrition, and I’ve been in your shoes. Although I’ve been a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for almost a decade, I struggled with my health for years. I want to share my story with you because it’s the reason that I‘m here, doing the work that I do.
When I was 7 years old, my mom was diagnosed with MS. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but I happily leaped into the role of caregiver. I actually spent so much time nurturing people (and loving it… I was really good at it, so I can’t blame my younger self) that I used to list my hobbies as, “food, people, and life.”
Fast forward another decade and add college to the mix, and as you can imagine, it wasn’t going so well. At first it was just a few symptoms: some anxiety, situational depression, itchy skin. By the time I hit grad school I had pain so severe that it landed me in the ER. I had seen my doctor about this before, and – these are his exact words because I will never forget them – he said, “Well, usually when people come in with a complaint like this I just think they’re crazy, but don’t worry, I believe you.” WHAT?!
One new primary care doctor and several rounds of physical therapy and mental health counseling later, I was feeling “fine.” I had come to terms with my symptoms. They were still there – all of them and counting – but I felt like there was no way around it. I was destined to feel sub-par for the rest of my life. Except that’s not the case. I started digging deeper and I knew there had to be a better way. I attended trainings on how to use food as medicine, and I even did a few experiments on myself.
As I started gaining momentum with this, I was stopped in the middle of my tracks. My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away just 4 short weeks later. I was devastated, and I was also left in charge of my mom’s care. You can imagine, and probably even relate to, the amount of stress that my body, mind and soul were under. It took a tremendous toll on me, and my few, liveable symptoms were now magnified and joined by a whole host of new ones. I had 32 symptoms to list on my symptom survey, and more that weren’t captured there. Some came with diagnoses: depression, anxiety, seasonal allergies, asthma. Most came without a diagnosis. They were all making me miserable. I woke up each day nauseous, gagging for no reason, and itchy all over!
It was then that I decided I wouldn’t live like that. I felt like I was on a high-speed train headed straight towards autoimmune disease, and I couldn’t accept that there wasn’t anything I could do about it. So, I did something. My first step was to ditch my health care team. I found a new doctor who spent time with me, listened to me, believed me, and supported me. I found a mind-body therapist who helped me sort through all of the emotion and physical and mental clutter – not just around my dad’s passing and caregiving for my mom, but also around the intense feelings that come up when you change your entire lifestyle. And I found a dietitian who was a Certified LEAP Therapist that led me through food sensitivity testing.
Finally, I felt better! I actually felt great, for the first time…dare I say…ever. Seventy five percent of my symptoms were GONE after just a few short weeks on the LEAP protocol. I was astounded. How did I not know about this before? Why hadn’t I learned about this in school? There was only one thing left on my mind: How can I make sure that other people don’t needlessly suffer the way that I did? That’s why I went through the training and became a Certified LEAP Therapist myself. Now I’m able to bring that same relief to others.
This wasn’t enough for me, though. Over time, symptoms were creeping back up and I knew there had to be more to the story. As I began to do more and more research, I discovered functional and integrative nutrition, which I’ve been studying and practicing for a few years. This eventually led me to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), and this is where I stand now. I’m in the elimination phase of AIP, working on less than a handful of pesky, lingering symptoms. I’m also excited to share that I’m participating in the first ever AIP practitioner training program to become an AIP Certified Coach! I already offer an AIP program, and now I’ll be able to add to it with new tools and cutting-edge information.
There you have it, folks. This is my story. It’s my “why” behind everything that I do. It’s all for you, my clients and readers, because I know how it feels to feel sick and tired all the time. I know what it’s like to have no energy, to gain weight for no apparent reason, and to be in constant pain. I know what it’s like to not know why your body feels this way, to be called crazy, and to have people roll their eyes at you and tell you you’re overreacting. I’ve been there, but I’m not suffering anymore. I know there’s no cure for many of the conditions that you’re faced with, but not having a cure doesn’t mean that you can’t lessen or get rid of your symptoms. Please know that you can feel better.
Sending love and light,