I'm a half-Vietnamese/half-American gal, born in Saigon but raised around the world (Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, United States). While that part of my background may be somewhat unique, I really don't think that much of my story is.
I have had niggling health issues for most of my life. Allergies to animals and seasonal allergies were a completely normal part of my existence. Getting sick almost every month with a cold or the flu was not terribly unusual for me. In college, I was in danger of not completing some of my classes due to so much time missed because of frequent illnesses.
I suffered from such severe acne that it resulted in my being on a constant dose of antibiotics... for seven years straight.
Moving into my twenties, my allergies seemed to worsen and blood tests revealed that I was anemic. Back then, my eating habits were no different than "the average American," in that I relished eating pizza and ice-cream -- and my favorite 'snacks' were king-size Snickers bars.
Since my teens, I endured horrific menstrual cycles. In one case, the school ambulance had to be called because I had fainted in the university bathroom. On another occasion, I had to leave my job in the middle of the day because I couldn't cope with the pain... even with medication.
I dealt with health issues in the same way that most people do, and followed the conventional medical model and approach. As you are probably aware, this approach is usually not to address the root cause of a problem, but rather to try to suppress the symptoms. I was shuffling in and out of the doctors' offices due to chronic sinus infections. After each visit, I would leave with a new prescription in hand. I was prescribed all manner of steroid sprays, antihistamines, and antibiotics. My recurrent acid reflux was dealt with by taking prescription acid blockers and keeping a full supply of TUMs in my purse.
Bloating, weight gain (especially between my cycles), and massive cravings were normal to me. I also struggled for much of my life with anxiety and depression.
What I eventually learned was that all of these symptoms were my body essentially screaming at me and telling me that things were terribly out of balance.
Many years later, I now understand how food, sleep, exercise, mindfulness, and other activities have enormous influence over how our bodies function. For example, with each bite of food we take, inflammatory processes in the body are either turned on or off.
With a lot of trial-and-error, experimentation, and excellent diagnostic testing, I have been able to help bring my body back into balance. I honestly feel so much better now, in my 40s, than I did in my teens and 20s. However, I always consider myself a work in progress!
My own health issues and discovering that I had much more control over my own wellness than I was led to believe inspired me to get my certification as a wellness coach. In addition to my certification, I'm a member of the American Nutrition Association. My desire is to share what I have learned in the hopes that others can feel more vital and have the energy to live the kind of lives they want to live.
"The best journeys answer questions that
in the beginning
you didn't even think to ask."
180 Degrees South
The picture on the left is from 2004 and the right is from 2017. The inflammation in my body tends to show most readily in my face in the form of bloating and puffiness.