Hello There! I'm so excited to finally share what I have been working on for the past few months, my new website! To begin, I would like to share with you my health journey and how I became so interested in nutrition. I have always had an interest in health beginning at a young age where I used to check out books from our small town library. These were not just ordinary books for an 8-year-old. I lugged home books on horses and herbs. Quite the combination, I know, but I was fascinated with how plants were used to heal common conditions such as colds and the flu. Fast forward to high school where I completed an internship at the hospital running labs and drawing blood, which I was not very good at. I wanted to be a doctor, but when I got to college I became intimated by the application process and the years it would take me to finish. Even at that age, I was frustrated with doctors as they dismissed symptoms and prescribed pills. "What is the root cause?" I would say, only to be met with a shoulder shrug and a prescription. After many college major changes, I abandoned my medical degree and decided to become a journalist. I completed my bachelor of science degree in Communications/Journalism, but I still didn't know what I wanted to be.
I spent the next 9 years raising a family and being a stay at home mom. When my daughter, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 4, my world spun out of control I as was desperate to find a way to stop the progression from the honeymoon phase to full-blown diabetes. I spent many hours at the bookstore and online trying to find something to give me hope. I found a book about a man who had "cured" himself of type 1 by eating a low carb diet. When I showed this to the doctors, they shook their heads and said it wouldn't work. The dietician said it was important to count carbohydrates to control my daughter's blood sugar and it didn't matter what she ate, as long as we counted carbs and matched the insulin to the number. We brought her home from the hospital and my husband and I made an urgent trip to the grocery store to find foods with carbohydrates listed on the labels. We bought Cheetos and fruit snacks and some other processed foods because it was easy to count carbs with these foods. I remember having a bad feeling about feeding my child these foods, however, the dietician seemed to not care what I fed her as long as I counted carbs correctly and administered the appropriate dose of insulin. Meanwhile, I suffered from depression and anxiety and started taking Zoloft, which I took for 13 years. I didn't love the side effects. I felt emotionless. There were no highs or lows, I just felt neutral all the time. My sex drive also suffered and I gained weight. Whenever I tried to get off Zoloft I suffered from severe anxiety and emotional breakdowns. I felt like crying all the time and had zings or pings in my head where the room would spin for just a moment. Scared I was going to have a nervous breakdown, I would start taking the pills again. This was even after I slowly tapered the milligrams over a period of weeks. I joined Weight Watchers to loose weight. Even though I lost weight on the calorie restricted diet based on points, I still couldn't imagine myself counting points for the rest of my life or thinking about food on a point system. I already counted carbs for my daughter, now I had to count points too. Of course, counting points got old fast and it was difficult to know if I was doing it correctly when we went out to eat. It didn't last and the weight came back on. I began to do more research on nutrition. What was I supposed to be eating? What are healthy foods? How should I prepare them so my family will eat them? I had all the symptoms of low thyroid, but when the tests came back they were all normal. I did test positive for osteopenia, an early stage of osteoporosis. I was 32 years old. Then, one of my friends introduced me to green smoothies. I thought, I can do this. It's healthy and it tastes great. I started making green and pink smoothies daily. I made my husband drink them. We both lost a little weight. I spent most of my free time studying nutrition and when a chance came up to attend a health coaching class, I jumped on it. I knew this class would help me find the answers I needed and it did. I learned about the physiological causes of depression and the supplements needed to balance my blood chemistry. I had been off Zoloft for about 3 months at this time and I had horrible anxiety. My husband encouraged me to go back on it, he was getting fed up with my moods. I told him to wait, I could feel some changes taking place. The supplements were starting to work. I felt like my old self again and anxiety let up a little.
Encouraged, I quit my job as a real estate transaction coordinator to pursue my dream of becoming a nutritionist. I spent three years getting my master's degree from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. I did further research on depression, anxiety and gut health and learned how they are connected. I experimented with food and found gluten made me feel more anxious, depressed and irritable. I cleaned up my diet and did a candida cleanse. The weight fell off without me ever thinking about it. I had my thyroid checked again, this time by a naturopath who checked my free T3 and free T4, total T3 and thyroid antibodies. I had hypothyroidism, which finally explained why I always felt cold, had a hard time loosing weight, brittle fingernails, dry skin and thinning hair. Today, I can honestly say I am not depressed. I have a little anxiety, but I work on it by cutting out sugar, caffeine, gluten, and taking time for myself, NO-giving myself permission sometimes just to do nothing! It's O.K. My health journey has been long and as I struggled to find answers, they didn't always come right away. There was a lesson or message I needed to learn along the way. Health is not a destination we can say we have arrived at. We cannot just say, "Now I am healthy!" I believe it is sort of a process we work on daily. It's a journey. We are not perfect and cannot be perfect in our health habits every day, but we can do our best and strive to do better with every choice we make. Be Wellthy! Millie