About Me

My story about my health journey is not unlike so many of those who have fallen into the profession of integrative and functional nutrition or medicine. I'll try to keep this as brief as possible.

 

Dietetic Technician Registered (DTR) 2017

BS Nutrition - University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, 2016

BS Biology - University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, 2011

 

Overview of My Health

- As a young child I had minor digestive issues, possible sleep apnea

- Around age 14, my hands and feet would randomly swell and itch, and began to have major digestive issues (bloody diarrhea, gut pain, etc.)

- Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 14, prednisone for flare-ups, mesalamine for maintenance of remission, omeprazole for stomach sensitivity

- Had a few flares between age 14 and 22, but basically normal health

- Age 23-ish, coffee and tea made my throat feel swollen/aggravated, made me dizzy, and gave me gut issues (continued to drink it anyway)

- Age 24, the dizziness I experienced from coffee came on one day when I didn't drink it, and then never went away. Began to experience lots of seemingly unrelated symptoms after that including:

  • dizziness 24/7
  • plugged ears, ears ringing
  • nausea, sensitive stomach
  • lots of gastrointestinal issues
  • itchiness, hives, especially when exposed to heat/cold
  • throat constantly feeling constricted
  • harder to breathe (not quite shortness of breath)
  • low physical activity tolerance, even a short walk made me feel worse
  • etc.

- Went to many doctors, naturopaths, chiropractors, a registered dietitian, with little to no help (some thought I was depressed or that it was psychosomatic)

- I made lots of changes nutritionally, tried a lot of different diets, and had some definite improvement in symptoms

- Eventually, I figured out for myself after researching for years that I had Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD)

- After waiting a year and half, I made an appointment and got formally diagnosed by Dr. Afrin with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome in Dec. 2016.

- Currently: Recently graduate from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Nutrition Program. Applying to Dietetic Internships to complete the Registered Dietitian Requirements. I am well on my way to feeling normal again. Diet and nutrition are incredibly important factors in determining how I feel day to day. I feel much better than I did, and I will continue to make improvements, but I've been told that I will never feel perfect, because that is the nature of MCAD. I hope to prove them wrong.

 

Diets I've Tried

  • Vegan
  • Mostly Raw Vegan
  • Low Fat High Carb (LFHC)
  • High Fat Low Carb (HFLC)
  • Ketogenic
  • Low Histamine
  • Low FODMAP
  • Low Sodium
  • High Sodium
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free
  • Grain Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Caffeine Free
  • Low Salicylate
  • Paleo
  • Autoimmune Paleo (AIP)
  • Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
  • High Protein
  • Different combinations of the above and something in-between

 

Lifestyle Changes

  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Bodybuilding Routines
  • Strength Building Routines
  • Exercise as little as possible to build/maintain muscle
  • Walking
  • Cold Showers
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Eating very large meals 2-3 times a day (no snacks)
  • Eating smaller meals 6-7 times a day

 

Supplements I've Tried

  • EGCG extract
  • Licorice
  • Curcumin
  • Apigenin
  • Pregnenolone
  • Resveratrol
  • Colostrum
  • Whey Protein
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Rice Protein
  • Pea Protein
  • Collagen
  • CoQ10
  • Vitamin D3
  • Digestive Enzymes
  • Ox Bile
  • Bromelain
  • Boswellia
  • Betaine HCl
  • Turmeric
  • Milk Thistle
  • Methyl B12
  • Methylfolate
  • B Complex
  • NAC
  • Quercetin
  • Luteolin
  • Rutin
  • Vitamin C
  • Fish Oil
  • Glutamine
  • Magnesium
  • Multivitamins
  • MCT Oil
  • Probiotics
  • Oregano Oil
  • Neem
  • Allicin
  • Pau D'arco
  • Ginger
  • Copper
  • Vitamin K2 (MK4 and MK7)
  • Adrenal Glandulars
  • Diamine Oxidase (DAO)
  • Holy Basil
  • Mangosteen
  • Vitamin A
  • Probiotics (many different kinds)

*Some of these were blends, some of these were on their own. Some were sublingual, liposomal, transdermal, liquid, and/or capsules. I'm sure I'm forgetting some as well.

 

My Current Regimen

  • Diet - fairly Low Histamine, dairy free, gluten free, mostly nut free, and lowering FODMAPs where possible. Diet is fairly restrictive, not exactly what I would call "nutrient" dense. The only grains I eat are white rice, brown rice cereal, and sometimes oatmeal. I have pretty strong willpower when it comes to my health, and I am basically willing to eat whatever, so long as I feel good. (I do actually make some good tasting foods, though.)
  • Supplements - Quercetin, Vitamin D3, Fish Oil (and experimenting with others that are geared toward managing MCAS)
  • Drugs/Medication - I'm not against pharmaceutical drugs, and a lot of people likely need them. However, I believe in trying to use food as medicine first, and as much as possible. Sometimes, drugs are needed to get a certain condition under control, so that natural approaches can be experimented with, and then the drug dosages can be reduced and/or eliminated. I'm currently experimenting with mast cell activation disorder drug treatments. So far, I'm not sure that antihistamines help me much since my diet is fairly controlled, as well as my lifestyle. If anything, they give me brain fog and make me tired. I've tried 8 different antihistamines. (I stopped taking antihistamines and feel better not taking them.) Currently testing Cromolyn, which will be followed by Ketotifen.
  • Exercise - Generally, exercise makes me ill (MCAS), therefore I perform low to low/moderate intensity exercise 2 times a week, and walk outside for 20 min 2-3 times a week. I stretch at least once a day for about 10 min. I'll do yoga a few times a month, although the stretches I do could classify as low intensity yoga. If I sit all day and don't move around my legs get sore. If I move around too much or exercise too much my legs get sore. Its a balancing act. My exercise routine is mostly focused around maintaining muscle mass, maybe putting on a tiny bit each year, and using it to feel better. i.e. get the blood flowing, release some hormones and other substances, clear the mind, etc.
  • Meditation - In the past I've taken 10-15 min out of my day to meditate, which I did get a lot of benefit from, but lately I find myself not taking time to meditate directly and instead do breathing exercises throughout the day, as well as performing "mindful" stretching (if that's a thing). I sort of meditate for a couple of minutes a few times a day. I would like to spend more time meditating, but I have yet to make that a habit. Interestingly, when I don't feel good, meditation is a cache 22 because it can make me more mindful of my symptoms. However, if done correctly, meditation can be used to alleviate symptoms. Also, sometimes being mindful of my symptoms can help me move past them. Meditation is a really interesting topic, and I think it may be a very important part of my healing journey, as well as others. The mind is a powerful thing