“Go F yourself!” I say out loud, alone in my living room, having just hung up from a call with my (now former) gastroenterologist. “The results came back from your endoscopy,” had been his opening line. If you’ve never had the pleasure of having an endoscopy it’s a fantastic experience. They sedate you into a mindless slumber with a magical, magical gas. I woke up so high on life and tragically confused that I demanded the nurse give me a hug—I was convinced she was my then-roommate. Once you’re slightly more coherent, they sit you up and give you all the Oreos you could ask for. Yes Oreos, even when you’re there to be tested for Celiac Disease (a condition where your body cannot digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye . . . and definitely Oreos).
“Your digestive track is completely inflamed,” he continued. I begin to ask questions: “Why?” “Are there foods I should avoid?” “How did this happen?” I tell him that, during the two weeks when I waited for my results, I decided to cut gluten out of my diet entirely and I had already begun to feel better than I had in years. He brushes over my questions, not answering a single one. Instead he makes his one and only statement, “You do not have Celiac Disease so there is no reason not to eat gluten; instead, take Nexium once a day.” We hang up.
“Go F yourself!” I shout, again,
now through tears of anger and frustration.
I should be relieved, I think, I don’t have Celiac Disease. But I also don’t have answers; just Nexium, a band-aid. I still don’t know why my stomach extends like I’m carrying triplets after any meal. Or why I’m constantly tired, dizzy, and nauseous. Why I have to lay down to rest before I’ve even finished breakfast each morning. My joints ache, and my legs feel like dead weight. I can hardly focus on anything because of what feels like a thick layer of fog encased around my brain. I am 24 years old, going on 86.
I spend the rest of the day talking to family members and crying over my lack of information or solutions. Deep down in my oh-so-achy gut, I know that there is another answer out there. There is a solution—not a prescription band-aid. I did a lot of research and became my own health advocate. I saw holistic doctors and revamped my whole diet. I got better, and worse, and then far better than I ever imagined. My health, like all things in life, is ever-changing and evolving.
"My health, like all things in life, is ever-changing and evolving."
I could speak for days about my struggles with food and our health care systems, but I’ll save it for my memoir. For now, I’ll make this point. We have to be our own health advocates, we have to take charge of deciding what foods nourish us and what foods cause our demise. There is a lot of debate out there about whether or not Gluten Sensitivity (for those confirmed not to have Celiac Disease) is real or made up in our heads. The truth is, there is no debate. You decide what foods make you feel good and you decide what you eat. No one else gets to debate that for you.
There is no one-size-fits-all diet...
In my practice, we talk a lot about the concept of Bio-Individuality. Simply put, it means we are all bio-chemically unique. We each need different foods based on our age, gender, heritage, lifestyle and even climate. I love to listen to my clients, learn what they do all day, what they want to do all day, and then come up with a food plan that they actually enjoy. It’s incredibly empowering, and understanding this has helped me to focus less on the latest fad diet and more on learning to listen to my own body’s needs. Sometimes you have to experiment with a few styles of eating until you find what works for you. And as your body morphs over the years, you may have to experiment all over again.
The point is, eat the foods that make you thrive and leave out the ones that don’t, no matter how annoying other people think you are.
You have a right to go to a restaurant and request that the waiter leave the croutons off your salad . . . but please, for the sake of humankind, don’t be an asshole about it.
Written by Kelsey Fain; HC Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Photographer Extraordinaire
Kelsey relates to her clients food struggles because she has had her own. A country girl turned New Yorker, Kelsey combines her innate passion for people feeling their best with a “say it as it is” attitude that is refreshingly honest and empowering. Click here to book a free Breakthrough Session with Kelsey now and experience the life changing tools she’ll share with you.