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ABOUT ME

WHY WORK WITH ME

Convenience

All appointments are held virtually (over Zoom). No need to block off a huge chunk of time to drive to a clinic or be concerned about traffic, road conditions, weather or what to wear!

Trust and Communication

I communicate with clients using a HIPPA-compliant web-based platform called Practice Better. This site allows for private, instant communication, shared forms, and nutrition handouts. It’s a super-convenient and safe way to communicate and keep track of progress and goals.

I understand YOU

My specialty areas are based on my personal experiences.  I’m deeply invested.

I’ve suffered the same symptoms and frustration dealing with chronic gut issues that you have.  My gut problems lasted for literally decades before I truly figured out how to heal my body (learn more about my gut health journey here).

I was a primary caregiver for my father, who had cognitive impairment for several years before being diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. I researched everything I could find on diet and lifestyle treatment for dementia, leading me to the Bredesen protocol. I am now a certified ReCode provider (Reversal of Cognitive Decline).

Finally, I am interested in women’s health, particularly menopausal issues. Sleep problems, weight issues, hormonal imbalance, and more! After my own diagnoses of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, I took a deep dive into diet and lifestyle treatments for these conditions which are often diagnosed after menopause. 

Relevance

I keep up-to-date and provide you with evidence-based recommendations.  I’ll share the latest research with you on gut health, brain health, and natural approaches to build stronger bones. We won’t be wasting time guessing or following fad diets.

Functional Testing and Supplements Available

While I’ll always recommend a food-first approach, I do provide guidelines for choosing appropriate supplements when needed. I even offer convenient ordering through Fullscript, an online dispensary with hundreds of popular, reputable supplement brands.  I offer functional nutrition testing at an affordable price to help determine what supplements you may need.

My knowledge, expertise and personal investment will save you time AND money! Contact me today!

My gut health journey…

I began having gut issues in high school and college. It seemed like every time I got really nervous about something, I’d run to find the nearest bathroom because I’d have diarrhea. Thankfully it wasn’t a daily or even weekly occurrence and I simply lived with it, attributing it to a “nervous stomach”.  After all, my dad had always had stomach issues like colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) so I thought I had inherited my problem from him!

In my 20’s and 30’s, these diarrhea episodes increased in frequency. They now seemed to happen when I ate out in restaurants or when I was on vacation. Of course, vacations usually meant eating out in restaurants and maybe having a glass of wine too. I also got stomach aches and cramps often after I ate. I used to walk with co-workers after lunch and would sometimes need to end my walk early because of bad cramps. 

When I was 40, I decided to see my doctor about my gut issues. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what triggered my symptoms (other than high stress, travel, and monthly hormonal fluctuations). I had a colonoscopy and some bloodwork done including a celiac screen and everything came back normal. My doctor told me I had IBS and to “avoid what bothers you”. Not very helpful!

A few years later the low FODMAP diet was introduced to help treat IBS symptoms. Around the same time, I discovered MRT (Mediator Release) food sensitivity testing. Finally, I found some tools to help me manage my IBS! I discovered that apples and pears, two of my favorite fruits, were two foods that triggered my symptoms. There were several other identified food and chemical triggers. Although these tools and elimination diets helped to control symptoms, they didn’t get to the root cause of my reactive gut and after awhile, I would return to my baseline.

Over the next decade, I’d have times when my IBS seemed to be under control and other times when it was not. My symptoms were always 10 times worse when I traveled, especially when I flew somewhere. They got so bad that within minutes of entering an airport I would end up in the bathroom. One time I was in Washington DC with my husband waiting to board a flight after lunch. I suddenly got hit with major IBS symptoms and spent the next hour in the bathroom. Thank goodness our flight was delayed or I wouldn’t have made it! I learned not to eat ANYTHING within hours of boarding a flight. 

When I turned 50, I hit those pre-menopause years. By now, I had discovered that I had zero tolerance for alcohol, even ONE GLASS of wine. I felt like I had the flu the next day along with bloating and diarrhea.  My diet was hit-or-miss, and mostly very restrictive. At one point it was low FODMAP, avoiding identified food sensitivities, low histamine and nothing processed. I didn’t have many “safe foods”. I was scared to eat anything and couldn’t enjoy eating out!  I felt like my body let me down. 

At this point I started waking up in the middle of the night about once a month with severe stomach cramps that led to… nothing. They were contraction-level pain, and I would break out in a sweat and had difficulty breathing. I saw a gastroenterologist and had more tests done. An abdominal ultrasound showed gallstones and within one week I was scheduled to have my gallbladder removed. I thought that I had finally figured out my gut issues! It was my gallbladder! Hmmm… unfortunately, that was just a clue and not the full answer.

About 6 months after my gallbladder surgery, I was back to my baseline symptoms- unpredictable stomach cramps and diarrhea 1-2 days a week. I was so disappointed. I returned to the GI clinic and had more tests done. Endoscopy, another celiac screen, SIBO breath testing, stool testing and another colonoscopy. Everything looked great-which added to my frustration.

By this point I was probably nutritionally deficient in many areas. I had tried supplements before but thought they all bothered my stomach (because everything did), so I didn’t take anything for long. The dietary approaches seemed to help for awhile but then I’d be back to baseline and give up.

A few more years went by. I decided to try a different approach. First, my diet would have only one restriction from now on: gluten. I chose gluten because my daughter had been diagnosed with celiac disease several years earlier, and even though my blood test was negative, gluten-sensitivity- along with a FODMAP sensitivity to wheat- was on the rise in the population. I felt better within a month, then within 3 months, I felt pretty amazing. It was the longest span of time in years that I didn’t have diarrhea.

Six months into my gluten-free diet I knew there were still more gut issues I needed to address. I now had moved to the other extreme: constipation, and still had a crazy sensitivity to some foods and beverages, even without gluten. I went to a functional medicine doctor who specialized in gut health. He ordered nutritional micronutrient testing and a GI Map microbiome test and we discovered several things. Sure enough, I had some nutrient deficiencies, B-vitamins, amino acids, omega-3 fat.  My GI Map test revealed some interesting results: while my actual bacterial makeup in the gut microbiome was relatively normal, my digestion was struggling. The results showed that my liver needed extra support as the breakdown pathways involved in digestion were not working well. I also had indicators of gut inflammation. And I had no detectable amounts of a keystone helpful gut bacteria called Akkermansia (research is exploding on the health benefits of akkermansia).

We added appropriate supplements cautiously over the next 1-2 years. My opinion is that because of a 30 year history of gut issues, I did not absorb nutrients well and over time that led to many deficiencies and a gut that just couldn’t carry out its roles properly. Healing the gut and supporting digestion will help with absorption of nutrients needed for good health!

Every follow up test I run (once or twice yearly) shows improvement. But I don’t even need the tests to tell me that. My really bothersome symptoms are now quite rare-like a couple of times a year. I can travel and eat out now without fear- and actually enjoy myself! The only restriction in my diet is gluten (although I do limit and rotate food triggers like those apples and pears). I avoid wine and most other alcohol too.   I do take a small number of maintenance supplements appropriate for my needs, like fiber, a multi-vitamin, a probiotic, magnesium, Vitamin D/K2 and hormonal support.

I am fitter and stronger than I’ve been in decades! I am now in my 5th year of feeling better and better and ready to live a full life for years to come.

Climbing out of a deep hole caused by chronic gut issues takes time and patience. You can see small changes in weeks, bigger ones over months- and even years.  

Gut health truly is a journey. I hope to help you get to your desired destination more quickly than it took me. Let’s avoid the detours and overcome the roadblocks together.

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