I felt like I was pregnant. My stomach hurt. I was tired all the time. My belly looked like a kickball, my clothes didn’t fit and I was gaining weight. And I was working out everyday and reducing my calories to 1,200 a day getting ready for a fitness competition.
How could this be happening?
Let me dial it back to beginning of 2012. I started noticing strange things happening after eating. At first, I ignored them. I thought, “Oh, that was just some spicy food” or “Oh, that was just some crummy fast food.” I’d take an antacid or Pepto or whatever and hope the symptom would go away. But they kept coming back and I ignored it.
In 2013, I started experiencing pain in my back and hip. Like my stomach, I thought a pill was the answer. I took pain meds, anti-inflammatories and steroids for an entire year. Eventually, I needed to have a hip replacement in 2014. And after the surgery, my stomach problems grew and grew.
I spent the next 3 years, going from doctor to doctor, trying to figure out what was wrong. From talking with traditional doctors to functional doctors, from being diagnosed that my gut had parasites to my gut had candida,from taking heavy antibiotics to unusual vitamins, nothing worked. Then I went on a mission trip in Mexico and the problems intensified. All the while I was training for a fitness competition. Yikes!
I needed better information from the inside of my gut. A colonoscopy revealed microscopic colitis or an inflammation of the intestines. The short-term solution was steroids to reduce the inflammation and constant diarrhea but what was the long-term solution?
It’s a simple answer, but a complicated solution. I decided to play mad-food scientist with my kitchen as my laboratory and my body as the testing ground. More like a battle-ground, as I tried every different food combination from gluten-free to vegan to paleo, to find out who would be the victor: my stomach or my stubbornness.
Fortunately, my stubbornness won and I learned three lessons. First, quality ingredients are mandatory. Second, nutrition is critical. Third, taste is as important as #1 and #2. Who wants to eat a nutritious anything if it tastes like sawdust? The journey finally ends with some amazing nut butters and recipes that are tasty, nutritious and easy on the tummy.
Now, I want to share all of these lessons and delicious discoveries with everyone. Whether you struggle with stomach issues or you crave healthy, flavor-filled food, I think you’ll find what you are looking for.