For years I would search the aisles of Walgreens or day spas or aesthetician offices looking for an acne product that would catch my eye.
At first, I was drawn in by the claims. Then I was drawn in by the celebrities. Then I was drawn in by the ingredients, recommendations, and the “scientific studies” that showed how well these products worked.
Then I smartened up.
I started questioning how the things inside of me were affecting my skin and I started eating better.
Then I started thinking better.
I never stopped digging for answers.
Finally, I learned about something called the gut-skin connection and things are now clicking.
And it all has to do with an event that happened when I was just ten years old.
Back in the year 2000, my parents told me they were getting a divorce. Apparently, I held in all of my emotions and all of it went to my gut, because around that time I started to experience symptoms of drastically poor gut health. I’m talking 20 plus bathroom breaks a day, bloody diarrhea, anemia, muscle wasting (I lost 20 pounds in just a few weeks), no energy and a host of other problems.
After a trip to the hospital, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune disease affecting the large intestines. I was put on medication and told I would have to deal with this for the rest of my life.
A few years after I was diagnosed I came across a book called Restoring Your Digestive Health by Jordan Rubin. After following that program for over a year I was able to get off of my medications and I felt much, much better. I knew I didn’t completely reverse my disease though…
In college, I was inspired to start lifting weights to get bigger. I joined a program that had me working out hard and eating more food than I could handle at the time. I’m sure people without any gut problems would have been able to handle the program I did, but for me, there were a lot of complications. By combining heavy lifting, massive amounts of food, a loaded school schedule (I was pre-med) and compromised gut health I set myself up for disaster. Pile on top of that one of the most stressful experiences of my life and my health plummeted.
It was around this time when my skin decided to erupt into a million volcanos.
And that brings me back to the beginning of this post.
My skin wasn’t telling me that it was the problem.
My skin was telling me that my gut, and my life, was under too much stress. My body couldn’t handle it and it was showing me that through my skin. If I realized this earlier I would have saved myself a few years of useless “acne treatments” and thousands of dollars.
You see, the body wants to be healthy. It strives to be healthy. And when things start malfunctioning inside of our bodies, they tell us. For some, the body responds with acne. For others, it’s constant headaches. Whatever symptoms come up, we need to take that as signs that our bodies are telling us something is wrong.
And that leads me to functional nutrition and my autoimmune disease.
It’s not my acne. It’s my gut (and my adrenals).
After changing my diet and lifestyle, doing everything that everyone says to do, I thought I was lost. That is until I found out about functional nutrition (FN). FN focuses on uncovering the underlying factors that are causing the symptoms to show up. Instead of just looking at the symptoms and covering them up, it uses functional tests to get data on what’s really going on inside of your body.
I already knew that I had a compromised gut from my autoimmune disease, but it wasn’t until I found out about FN and actually did the tests that I uncovered things I didn’t even know was wrong. Things like an overabundance of e. coli. and h. pylori bacteria, dysbiosis in my digestive tract, adrenal glands that aren’t able to produce enough cortisol, and more.
So now I know what to focus on. And even better than that is that my mindset about my autoimmune disease has changed. I used to think that it was “incurable.” I mean, that is what conventional medicine says about it. But I’m seeing now that it actually is possible to cure autoimmune diseases and get the body back to 100% normal functioning. And that’s what I’m going to be doing.
And by taking care of my gut and my adrenals, and anything else that pops up, I’ll permanently get my skin back to those pre-college days and my health back to the time before ulcerative colitis.