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Autobiography of a fortunate nutritionist

Wednesday 5 th August 2015

Behind every nutritionist and, in general, behind most people who are dedicated to health, there is a personal story of disease. I am no exception.
This summer I decided to write a little story about how a switch to a healthier lifestyle had a deep impact on the health of my family.
My story is not particularly interesting or astonishing, in fact it is quite common. It is the story of a family who discover the way to good health thanks to suffering some kind of illness. The story of being thankful to the wonderful people I have found on the way, who have led me to find the appropriate treatment, after trying many of them. The story of being graced with capacities as an open mind, a critical spirit, a love for science and a certain ability for sacrifice; of being lucky to be part of a family that has always supported my decisions about health related changes; and so many other graces which I have been blessed with.
It is thanks to all this that the family now enjoy a fantastic good heatlhy and I practice a profession that I love and that fullfills me completely as a person.
I hope that this story encourages people in similar situations to mine to follow a similar path.


My childhood

When I was a baby, my dear mother spent endless nights rocking the cradle to comfort my crying. Certainly I must have suffered from intestinal cramps.
As a child, I remember practically never going to swimming lessons at school, due to my constant colds, coughs, ear infections, pharyngitis, in addition to continuous super-resistant plantar warts. Consequently, I was treated with successive antibiotics, antitussives, expectorants, mucolytics, antipyretics, painkillers and immunoglobulins curses, and even radiation therapy for the warts.
Later, when I was a young girl, a doctor told me that my continuous colds were actually allergies. My tests were positive for virtually any substance that one may breathe in (they did not test any food). I did a desensitization treatment for years, without any progress. So I went on living with my allergy, testing different types of antihistamines in order to lead a normal life without allergies but without sleepiness so that I would not fall asleep in class or when driving.
 

My daughter

However, I became a nutritionist thanks to my daughter. It was thanks to her that I started to relate my health status to nutrition.
When my daughter was a baby, she also suffered just as I had, from acute colic, and later she went through the same diseases as me. In addition, her character was also affected, with extreme shyness, hypersensitivity, depression and obsessive disorder. (I guess that it had also altered my character at the time. Seemingly I could have qualified for a hyperactive child with attention deficit and speech delay disorders as we would say these days.) In her case it went on growing, and when she was 8, a further stress factor was added, accused to a relationship problem with her teacher. She started to lose weight, and after a while the doctor found out that she was suffering from celiac disease.
So I started searching for a way to cure her gluten intolerance. In the previous years we had started using alternative medicines, and at that time, I visited a naturopath, one of the first people whom I must thank for our good luck, who explained that the problem was not my daughter, but the gluten, and recommended me to follow Dr. Seignalet’s hypotoxic diet to treat my allergies.
My allergies had been increasing over the years and I had developed what is called multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), a disease in which one has a reaction to any product; in my case, the problem was breathing. Thus it was impossible for me to go shopping for clothes or shoes in a shop without having a fit if I had not taken antihistamines because of the odour new clothes give off; not to mention the evident smoke of tobacco, perfumes, antique books, hygiene products or cleaning chemicals, etc. I guess this extreme respiratory sensitivity stems from the tobacco that I had been breathing at home since I was a baby as well as from the pollution of the city where I used to live, and had been getting worse with the use of medicines and vaccines. Moreover, other diseases had been added to my list of ailments such as fatigue, back pain, Raynaud's disease, inflammation of the liver and gallbladder, hair loss, palpitations, dermatitis, premenstrual syndrome, constant thirst; as well as an irascible character, nervousness, restlessness, moodiness, etc.

 

The healing begins

When I embarked on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, my allergies, and all other health problems that my family and I had suffered from, strarted to get better. So I decided to learn more about nutrition, and then I discover food intolerance tests, the intestinal flora, probiotics, fatty acids ... a whole new world of possibilities to treat any disease!
Finally I decided to attend a training in nutrition in order to help others to heal through nutrition, based on the experience of my family. A friend had recommended me the Stelior nutrition school, where outstanding scientists formed us according to the latest trends and medical techniques that were not even known by conventional doctors.
At the same time I discovered the world of complementary and alternative medicine, the power of the mind and visualization, and thanks to some of my friends, who I'm very grateful to, I also started to take care of my spiritual life.
Throughout this journey there have been many intermediate steps. I have tried many therapies, some with very positive, some with neutral and some others with negative results. Without going into detail, I name some of the therapies: alternative desensitization techniques (NAET and bio-resonance), homeopathy, herbology, trends related to nutrition based on functional medical analysis, complementation or orthomolecular medicine, chelation of heavy metals under medical supervision, colon hydrotherapy, liver and gallbladder clearing by Andreas Moritz, Life Science and multiple diets from the Seignalet diet through blood group diet and integrative nutrition to different paleo diets such as the GAPS diet, as well as vegetarian, vegan and raw vegan diets. In the end, it was nutrition that proved the most effective way.
These days my family is very healthy and strong. I follow a mainly hygienist diet, eating mostly in a vegan way with lots of fruit. But I'm sure I have not reached the end of my journey yet. My allergies have  impressively decreased, as long as I stick to the right diet and respect my need for sleep, physical activity and sun, limit stress and manage my emotions. I suffer only some allergy episodes in the spring when the level of pollen is high. I guess complete remission is very difficult and there are limits due to life circumstances that are uncontrollable. Sometimes I break my diet, I do not have enough time to sleep as much as my body would need, etc. But I still have hopes for prolonged fasting, a technique that I have not tried yet and which is my next goal!
 

Fundamental principles of healing

Throughout this journey I have learned that there are some fundamental principles to healing, which I have incorporated into my approach called LivingFullyNourished:
  1. Learn, educate yourself and read as much as possible about health. Have a critical spirit and an open mind, able to challenge all preconceived ideas about health.
  2. Listen to yourself. You are your best doctor.
  3. Put into practice what you have learned overcoming the obstacles that prevent it.
In my case, my passion for science has helped me with the first principle.
Regarding the second principle, I have experienced with different therapies, learned to observe the reactions of my body and relate them to food and other aspects of life. This has not only worked for me but also for my daughters. I have been fortunate to have hypersensitivity to food, in my case the reactions appear with a maximum of 36 hours delay and the effects are amplified compared to other people, which has allowed me to learn easily how to listen to my body and identify those foods that trigger my problems.
For instance, in my case the stimulating effect of coffee, chocolate or tea is multiplied by 1000, with nervousness, insomnia and palpitations; a minimum amount of alcohol subjects me to a state of extreme drowsiness; the demineralization effect of refined grains manifests itself in little time on my hair and my nails, as well as on my circulatory system due to my Raynaud's disease. Of course the allergenic effect of nuts, eggs and milk are huge in my case; legumes cause me enormous flatulence; excess fats cause me acid indigestion; I suffer from cramps, conjunctivitis, my allergy and Raynaud's disease worsen with all kinds of sugars, syrups, honey and dried fruit; small cysts appear on my hands when I eat soy or its derivatives; I suffer from insomnia and leg cramps when eating nuts; tomato gives me back pain and eggs give me leg pain; dairy products swell my liver up, make me put on weight, give me a headache and I get corns on the feet. Dark chocolate also swells up my liver; all oils and some fats, such as olive oil, cause me allergies; meat and fish produce me fructose intolerance, hypoglycemia, constipation, thirst and body odor;  and so on and so forth. I do not remember what was the main effect that gluten caused me, I stopped its intake many years ago and have never tried to reintroduce it into my diet, but my daughters both suffer from stomachache and headache, both my celiac daughter and the other one in addition to easily catching colds, pharyngitis, otitis, etc. Grains were also the cause of the asthma my mother was suffering from.
Regarding the third point, I do not consider myself the person with the greatest willpower in the world, to be honest I often fall into the temptation of eating food that is harmful to me, but I do know the potential consequences for my health. And I tell my daughters the same when they want to break their diets. Sometimes nothing happens, according to other aspects such as stress at the time, the accumulated fatigue, etc., but most of the time the effects do appear.
Most nutritionists recognize that we too are human and sometimes we go break our diets. It is not easy for us either to live outside a society where the pleasure of the senses is constantly fostered, an easy life without sacrifice or any suffering is pursued, some people are not respected and are easily marginalized for being different in some aspect. But despite the sacrifices and inconveniences that involves following a healthy lifestyle, we managed to live a life that I consider much happier than the one we led previously as a conventional life. Worth it! As one of my favorite teachers, Joshua Rosenthal says: “The more you live in balance, respecting nature and yourself, the more likely you will be in the right place at the right time, all the time. People will call you lucky and you may think it’s simply coincidence, but the truth is that you are aligning yourself with the natural order of everything”.






 

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