In 2014 I joined my first “Beacon No Bread” challenge. I honestly don’t remember what motivated me to join at this point, but I am so grateful I did. The challenge had us pair up for support and accountability and then eat “clean” for six weeks. I cut out grains, dairy and added sugar.
At that time in my life to say I was in a tough space mentally would have been an understatement. I’d been struggling with depression after a divorce and wasn’t feeling fulfilled or motivated in my job, at the time I was a high school Biology teacher. I’d been the same weight since college but was wearing it in a way that made me uncomfortable in my own skin. I had started CrossFit earlier that summer and had noticed my body composition shift a bit but also felt sluggish and embarrassed to run because my throat was so phlegmy, I had to spit to not choke on it. (Gross right!?!?!)
I will never forget the sugar withdrawal, in about three days in, I wanted to quit. I had a headache and owed every human I interacted with a huge apology for being a complete asshole. I became acutely aware of just how much added sugar was in my diet and my mind was blown. Cutting out grains didn’t seem like such a big deal except what the hell was I supposed to snack on! Dairy was the hardest to let go of… how does one eat nachos without cheese!!
Fast forward to the end of the challenge and I felt like a whole new person! My body composition had definitely shifted. I had more energy, and it was like this mental fog had been lifted! My workouts improved and I didn’t have to spit while I ran anymore!!!! Here’s the kicker, I tried putting sugar in my coffee again and literally spit it back out. It was so disgusting!
A few weeks after the challenge ended, I went out to celebrate my birthday with some friends and with some nachos and beer, both of which were absolutely delicious! A few hours later we were at a bar dancing to some live music, and I started having such bad gas pains I wanted to double over and cry. Not only that but the gas smelled so bad I was clearing the dance floor. Needless to say, I had to leave and felt miserable all night long and hung over (from two beers) the next day. That’s when I realized just how pissed off gluten and dairy make my digestive system. I had always had stinky farts (who doesn’t right!?) It was always a source of embarrassment and something I thought I had no control over. Turns out I do!
Fast forward another few months of continuing to eat clean (most of the time) and I started to realize I had lost weight. At the time I didn’t own a scale, but my clothes were getting loose, and I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror in just a sports bra and could see my abs and hip/rib bones… let me be clear this may be desirable for some but my body does not function well on a body fat percent that make this true for me. I started to pay more attention to my strength numbers at the gym and realized they were dropping. How could that be?!?
I reached out to my primary care doctor, and she suggested we check my thyroid. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was 15 and have taken meds for it ever since. When my levels came back, she was shocked by how over medicated I was and referred me to a specialist to figure out what was going on. The endocrinologist tested my thyroid and asked me if I knew I had Hashimoto’s, a type of hypothyroidism that is autoimmune? This was news to me! Then he asked me what had changed in the past 6 months since my thyroid was tested last. I mentioned the “Beacon No Bread Challenge” and what it entailed, and he just smiled. Turns out grains and dairy are also inflammatory foods and by removing them from my diet my thyroid was able to function better on its own which is why I was over medicated! He adjusted my dose and sent me on my way.
To say I was pissed would be the world’s biggest understatement, I was FURIOUS! How the hell had I had this thyroid disorder for 10+ years and not a single medical professional had told me there were things about my nutrition I could change to FEEL BETTER! Instead, I was told to be careful not to gain weight because it would be really hard to lose it once I did. Yup that was it, that was all the advice I got.
Ever since that day I’ve been on a mission to empower and support others to take control of their own health and fitness through nutrition. There are some things about our health we cannot control but at the end of the day we get to choose what food and in what quantities we consume, and it matters! I am not a dietitian so I cannot and will never prescribe a specific diet to anyone. My mission is to support you in understanding how eating nutrient dense foods in quantities that support your health and fitness goals can put you in control and how food can affects you individually and empower you with the tools to shift you nutrition to be in line with a prescribed diet for conditions like hypothyroidism, diabetes, high blood pressure and so many more conditions that can be managed and or improved with the support of your nutrition.
If you are ready to get to work on your nutrition it would bring me great joy to support you along the way!