Back in 2016 – I watched a rash slowly develop – starting on my left upper arm – that eventually spread over a few months to my entire body. It would come and go. Some days were worse than others & I had absolutely no clue what was causing it. I bought all new body products, cleaning products, laundry detergents, began avoiding coconut and cashews on a hunch … none of it worked.
I was taking 50mg of Benadryl every night to keep myself from scratching my skin off & Claritin during the day – because I didn’t know what else to do. I was also suffering from severe digestive issues that I wasn’t telling anybody about because I was embarrassed to talk about it.
Plus, all of this was so brand new & confusing to me.
I eventually looked in the mirror (covered in a rash from my neck to my ankles – realizing I no longer had control over my body) and I broke into tears – finally admitting defeat – acknowledging that I couldn’t live like this forever.
… The prescription steroid cream the dermatologist had given me was only intermittently covering up the problem, and everything would come back worse than it was – every time I stopped using it. My skin biopsy was negative. My basic bloodwork was normal.
I had finally had enough.
I had pretended that nothing was wrong for too long.
I was covering up my symptoms with medications that were only ‘kind of’ working & wearing long sleeves and pants wherever I went.
It was time to ask for help from someone outside of the western medical system & I knew what that meant ….
I was going to have to change my ENTIRE LIFE.
I was going to have to figure out what was at the root cause of it all & I needed to find someone who could help me do it. I was willing to do anything at this point.
*This #WhatSupp post is sponsored by the New Hope Network’s Inside the Bottle Campaign & They asked me to tell my own personal story of how supplements have positively impacted my life.
Keep in mind: I am a Registered Nurse, Not a doctor.
This is my own personal story and personal account of my own health experience.
Please do not begin taking any supplements without the direction of a qualified practitioner. I always encourage you to seek out answers to your own health problems by working with your own doctor – openly discuss any supplements or medications you’re taking & realize that medications and supplements are all unique to each and every person. What works for me might not work for you.
THIS IS MY STORY:
After 5 doctors visits and a handful of useless prescriptions, skin pricks, blood draws, and skin biopsies – I desperately needed a different type of doctors visit.
I had been to my Primary Care Physician, Urgent Care, Allergist, Dermatologist, & another Allergist within a timespan of 5 months.
So, still feeling defeated & covered in a rash that was only getting worse – I began reading a book written by one of the top functional medicine doctors in the industry to guide me through an elimination diet I knew I needed to do while also seeking out a naturopath for the first time in my life.
I’m lucky enough to live in California where the decision was mine to make after a quick google search and sifting through some yelp reviews in order to choose the right doc for me.
I realize not everyone has this luxury – depending on where you live and what your budget is – it may not be an option for you – either way – I encourage you to continue seeking answers to your health problems, find a new doctor – if the one you have now isn’t listening to you, or if your symptoms aren’t getting any better.
I found the guy that was right for me on my own.
He was a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine & he was within walking distance from my house,
He was available within weeks of my first phone call & the first appointment lasted nearly 2 hours. For the first time in my life – this doctor was truly interested in getting to know everything about me. He wanted to get to the root cause of it all almost as badly as I did.
I paid out of pocket for my first visit and was really excited and motivated by the in-depth questions he was asking and answers he was offering.
Then, he did something that really caught me off guard.
After getting my blood work results at the second visit – he handed me a list of supplements he recommended I take – and I broke down in tears.
Feeling defeated by the medical system again. More pills was the last thing I wanted.
I remember the conversation so vividly – because what he said in that moment changed my perspective on taking supplements forever.
I had gone to him because I wanted to heal my body naturally. The prescription medication I had been taking was only temporarily relieving my problem and wasn’t healing me in any way. I was actually getting worse & I was desperate for answers.
This is how our conversation went:
- ME: (with tears in my eyes) “I came to you because I’m tired of taking medication every day and I want to figure out what’s at the root cause of my problems – I don’t want to just cover it up with more pills.”
- MY NATUROPATH: “I understand you’re frustrated – but these pills I’m recommending are different.”
- ME: “I want to get away from taking pills all together though, I don’t want to be dependent on them for the rest of my life. I want to heal my body with food. Isn’t that possible? ”
- MY NATUROPATH: “At this point, No.”
“Think of it this way…. The dermatologist wanted you to take prednisone, benadryl, claritin, pepcid, & use triamcinolone cream because he knew it would help to diminish your symptoms.
BUT – you’re not actually deficient in Prednisone or any of those medications. That was just the only way he knew to give you quick relief.”
“You are however…. SEVERELY DEFICIENT in vitamin B12 and Vitamin D as well as a few other things – you won’t be able to get your health back until these nutrients are back within normal range.”
“& I can’t promise that will ever happen only with food – BUT I can promise to get you back within normal range with the right supplements in just a few months.”
“You won’t have to take them forever if you don’t want to – but for now, they’re imperative to your healing & will actually help reverse the problems your having.”
He was right.
I was severely deficient in certain nutrients he had tested for (that the other doctors I had seen were unaware of) and I needed help in a multitude of ways before my health deteriorated even further.
My digestive tract was wrecked and I was no longer absorbing nutrients properly from food.
I needed the extra supplementation at that time in my life in order to …
REGAIN MY HEALTH.
I no longer take as many supplements as I did in 2016 – because I truly have regained balance of my health after following his advice and completing the elimination diet from that book I mentioned earlier. I do however try my best to always incorporate real, whole, organic foods daily while taking a few key supplements on a routine basis in order to keep my body on track.
I will do everything in my power to avoid getting back to the miserable state of health I was in in 2016.
& I promise I will dive deeper into my health story soon & share some of the notes and recommendations I received during that year from conversations with my naturopath. I feel like we all could benefit from what I learned.
It’s hard for me to talk about – but now that I’m almost two years out from the day I finally reached out for help – I’m becoming more confident in my story & have recognized that what I did worked, Correction: what I’m doing is working.
& I can’t help but to think how many of you I could help by sharing that story with you.
I’ll write more about it soon.
But for now – LONG STORY SHORT – I developed adult onset food intolerances/allergies due to an incredibly disrupted digestive system from a long list of reasons: frequent antibiotic use during my childhood and young adult life, Accutane, birth control for almost 15 years and a high stress career that had thrown my cortisol levels through the roof.
I only know all of this now, though – because I sought help from a trained professional that was able to help me get to the root of the problem.
You can learn more about my story until I write my next blog post in episode 6 of the Critical Conversations Podcast. You can access it on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it directly online from the podcast show notes: HERE.
Still to this day – I take a handful of supplements routinely.
Some are pills, some are powders, some are super foods that I blend into my matcha lattes in the morning. Either way – the honest truth is this. Supplements saved my life.
Here’s what I currently take:
Methylated B12 – because history of being a vegan, long term birth control use, leaky gut and gluten intolerance leaves me susceptible to developing deficiencies easily again. (I get my levels checked annually.)
Vitamin D – I live in California and try my best to get sun exposure when possible, but I’m also inside in the ER 3 days a week for 12 hours at a time. Plus, it’s an essential nutrient I never want to be deficient in again. (I get my levels checked annually)
Gelatinized Maca – a powerful ‘superfood’ known for its adaptogenic benefits for hormone balance. During the peak of my health issues, my cortisol levels were sky high – which in turn was throwing my other hormones out of balance. I’ve since adapted a morning routine that allows me to include maca in my life almost daily for hormone balance & other benefits.
Turmeric – because it’s incredible anti-inflammatory properties have so many benefits and I love that it comes from real food. I use it fresh from the root in smoothies, in powdered form when cooking, tablets when traveling or even in coconut milk turmeric lattes in the evening.
Beef Liver Capsules & Collagen Powder – because my 10 year history of being vegan/vegetarian left me suffering from a multitude of issues – I believe could have been prevented if I would have been more mindful about the beneficial qualities we get from eating all types of food. I truly believe the answer to health lies within remaining open to a wide variety of foods & enjoying their individual benefits.
Activated Charcoal – is a must to have on hand for any digestive issues and it helps me avoid developing a rash again if I think I’ve accidentally consumed gluten. Charcoal absorbs everything though – so be mindful of this & take hours apart from any other supplements.
Herbal Teas – there is a wide range of nutritional benefit in a variety of all different dehydrated herbs, Stock up on organic options and mix it up. Enjoy the benefits & slow down to sip on the flavorful aroma before bed or throughout the day.
& Last, but not least – I also take a daily multi-vitamin formulated for women.
Supplements became a necessary part of my life because I had developed deficiencies I needed to fix.
& NOW – Supplements remain part of my routine because I understand their power in keeping me healthy and preventing deficiencies from developing in the future.
As a nurse and a wellness blogger – I used to think supplements were unnecessary as long as you were leading a healthy life & eating real food, most of the time.
But I realize now – Our food has changed.
Our soil is deficient & the food we are eating is no longer as nutritious as it used to be.
I now understand that certain supplements can truly be complimentary, necessary and beneficial to a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle – for the long term.
I hope you will discover what’s right for you. (with the help of your doctor of course!)
Reach out to me on Instagram @beachlifeorganic
*this post was Paid for by New Hope Network’s Inside the Bottle Campaign along with its partners in high-quality nutrition: Natural Factors, NatureWise, NeoCell, Orgenetics, Sabinsa, SoftGel, Trust Transparency Consulting for a campaign to raise awareness around the importance of taking supplements safely – with guidance from a practitioner.
& REMEMBER: Learning what is best for your body at this time in your life is imperative to your long-term health.