Before I wrote and released Free From Gluten (FFG) in October 2013*, only three people in the world knew my story. It was a huge step for me sharing it then, and it has taken me over a year to get to the next stage – sharing it with you. But it’s a New Year, and to me it feels like the right time to be shedding the old and welcoming in the new.
For those of you who have read my initial story, this is an updated and more detailed version so please keep reading. To all of you, I hope my story cements what an important role nutrition, lifestyle and mindset play, and that it inspires you that it is possible to live your best life.
I used to really struggle with life. My memories of adolescence are of being the overweight girl in early high school, forging my Mum’s signature to get out of physical education class, and sadly, taking myself to a doctor because I was so unhappy that I didn’t know what else to do. I tried everything – psychologists, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), life coaches and even very briefly, anti-depressants. I read every book on happiness I could find. But nothing changed.
I can now see that food used to be about control for me. As a teenager I developed an extremely disordered relationship with food and exercise and lost a lot of weight, but when I got to 49kg I was still as miserable as ever. It took me getting to this point to finally realize that being skinny certainly didn’t make me happy. From the outside I may have looked good, but I was far from healthy – not even my hair would grow!
Over the years I put unnecessary stress on my family (my poor Mum took me to a Dietician out of desperation in my teenager years), tested a lot of friendships, disrupted my metabolism, threw my hormones out of sync and was just generally consumed by food, my weight and my next gym session. I moved to Melbourne at 21 in the hope of somewhat escaping my demons but, of course, they came with me.
The catalyst – going gluten free
Thankfully, in 2005, everything changed. I was encouraged by a dear man to try eliminating gluten from my life. He believed that it would help my sadness, my indecision, my mind. I knew nothing about it and I was extremely skeptical, but I was also willing to give anything a try. And so my journey began.
It was a long road. I cried. I threw tantrums. I spent hours wishing for a different life. But then one day the light bulb went off – I was happier, more balanced and healing my relationship with food. I was doing this. Not a therapist, a psychologist, a life coach, a book, and definitely not medication. Going gluten free had become a huge blessing and I set about the next stage of my life – teaching others how to do the same.
Sharing my passion
In 2009 I graduated with a Graduate Diploma of Human Nutrition from Deakin University, Melbourne. During the course of my post-graduate studies I was like a new woman, and all because I had found my purpose in life. In the years prior I lived by the quote “the purpose of life is a life of purpose” but it wasn’t until I had found mine that my entire life changed. Training as a Nutritionist was honestly the best thing that I have ever done. Food to me is now about nourishing, healing and sharing, and the reason behind The Natural Nutritionist.
It’s about real food
Quitting gluten was the catalyst, but transitioning to a real food lifestyle was really what changed my life. With 90% of serotonin, our feel good chemical, and 70-80% of our immunity produced in our gut, food really is one of the most powerful medicines. If you are feeling depressed, constantly sick, or are experiencing fatigue, skin disorders, fertility issues, poor recovery or constant inflammation, I urge you to consider the food you are eating.
2015 and beyond
My journey is ongoing as I continue to manage my metabolism and hormones from years of neglect, and master a mindset that still slips into negativity and stress, but I can now honestly say that I am happier than ever and work daily to keep it this way. I’m sure it’s also a part of being in my third decade – clean nutrition, eight hours sleep, minimal alcohol and a good balance between my hobby of endurance training with yoga, meditation and recovery, isn’t exactly how I lived my early twenties, but I love my life and constantly check in with my values to ensure my priorities are in line. When your most important value is health, it’s no longer a sacrifice to go to bed at 9pm, or say no to a burger/sweet treat/champagne occasionally. I strive for balance, but I know when I’m crossing the line or mastering the art very well these days. Our bodies speak loud and clear, we just have to listen.
I love how I feel more than ever right now and want the same for you.
Here’s to an amazing year filled with health, wellness and happiness.
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