My Health Journey
Hi! My name is Jenny and I am a certified AFAA Group Fitness Instructor, Fitness/Nutrition Educator, and a certified 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach. In addition to working in the fitness industry, I also taught elementary school for ten years and hold a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. I have been a certified group fitness instructor since 2004 and have taught many different kinds of classes. I am married to a wonderful man and together we have a son and a gigantic, playful, Golden Retriever. We love living an active lifestyle and enjoy going to the beach, hiking, and bike riding.
As long as I can remember, exercise has been part of my lifestyle. My dad used to take my siblings and me to family gym days on Sundays. He would teach us how to play racquetball and how to use the weights at the gym. I considered myself a very health minded person and often followed whatever fad diet was in at the time. Little did I know some of my so-called healthy ways of eating were having an adverse effect on my health!
Things were not always easy
My passion for nutrition and health increased even more when my husband and I tried to get pregnant. Unfortunately, getting pregnant was not an easy process for us. I was on birth control pills for years, so I naturally thought it might take some time for my cycle to get back to normal. My cycle never normalized, and I was also suffering from severe acne.
I made an appointment with my primary care physician who ran some blood work. My blood work showed a hormonal imbalance, and I was sent to a reproductive endocrinologist. After about a year of trying to get pregnant, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as PCOS. I was so disappointed with this diagnosis because after doing much research, I learned that getting pregnant would not be easy for me. I also learned that people who have PCOS are at risks for other health conditions such as insulin resistance, heart disease, and type two diabetes.
Knowledge is power
I had to get serious about my health! I decided I was going to learn everything I could about this condition and how to manage it. Being diagnosed with PCOS, I learned that being vegan (at the time) wasn’t the best diet for me. Through diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, nutrition, and medical help, I was able to get pregnant. As a result, I have beautiful son, for whom I am very grateful.
I was frustrated and overwhelmed
After I had my son, I started having some other health challenges. I developed hypothyroidism and digestive problems. My digestion challenges were negatively impacting my life. After I would eat, I would feel nauseous all the time. I would also get bloated and gassy after meals and could not figure out what was causing my symptoms. I went from doctor to doctor including my primary doctor, a gastroenterologist, and an allergist. I had extensive blood work done and an endoscopy. The doctors I saw explained that the results of my endoscopy and blood work were normal. I was given acid blockers and anti-nausea medicine. The medication did not help and only made me feel worse. I was giving up hope. I really did not want to accept that I should feel sick every day. In addition, I did not want to look like I was six months pregnant with a food baby each time I ate something that did not agree with me. I then realized it might be a good idea to get the help of a nutritionist.
Symptoms were improving but I wasn't 100% better
I started working with a wonderful nutritionist who really took the time listening to my frustrations and concerns. She suggested I remove gluten from my diet. I did that and started feeling a little better. I slowly started taking out more foods that can cause sensitivity. I took out dairy, soy, and grains. Before I knew it, I found myself eating a Paleo diet and I was feeling much better. However, I was still not 100 percent. My nutritionist recommended I try seeing a naturopath.
A diagnosis was confirmed
I was eager and excited to really get to the root of what was going on in my body. On my first appointment, I described all my symptoms to the doctor. She suggested that I might be suffering from Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth( SIBO). I took a hydrogen breath test, and a few weeks later, the diagnosis was confirmed. Finally, I had some answers to what was causing all my digestive distress. I went through treatment and followed a very strict diet plan which eliminated many foods that I loved and knew were healthy. However, just because foods are healthy, that doesn’t mean they were healthy for me at the time. During my SIBO diet phase of my treatment, I gained a wealth of knowledge about nutrition and how I reacted to foods. It forced me to be a detective in my own body and to pay closer attention to how I was feeling after eating. By eliminating the aggravating foods, my symptoms improved drastically and I was feeling amazing.
A negative SIBO breath test confirmed that the SIBO protocol prescribed by my naturopath had been successful. I was so excited and feeling so much better. However, one more lab test I had done revealed that I also had candida. I treated the candida with supplements, medication, and, again, a very strict adapted Paleo diet. Even though the Candida repair diet was hard, it was worth it because my digestion was so much better.
This is not a pregnancy photo. This was My painful and bloated SIBO belly!
Hard work and motivation does pay off
Having SIBO and Candida was tough. At the beginning of treatment, I felt socially isolated. I could not just go out to a restaurant and order right off the menu and I also could not have an occasional cocktail with friends or my husband. I was frustrated and overwhelmed. I knew my mindset needed a change. Instead of focusing on all the things I could not have, I started learning how to make delicious recipes so I could enjoy the food I was allowed to eat. I realized that I did not always need to have a drink to go out socially with friends. I also started feeling more confident in the kitchen and really started learning how to cook. If I went out with friends, I learned strategies to help me. I would bring my own food or even eat ahead of time. Eventually, I did not even miss some of the foods I had eaten before. I was ok being the designated driver and didn’t miss having my occasional cocktails because my body was in such a better place.
I went from not knowing how to cook or read labels, to feeling pretty confident in the kitchen. My husband says I went from Lean Cuisine microwave cooking girl to an experienced chef. I now really enjoy making new recipes from scratch and feel grateful that I have the tools to help make delicious meals for my family.
Diet and lifestyle are key to keep me symptom free
Unfortunately, I had a couple of relapses of SIBO and have learned that it is something that I have to maintain. I have immersed myself in learning all that I can about SIBO from books, podcasts, naturopaths, SIBO Summits, and physical therapists. Working with my naturopath and all the other lifestyle changes I have made, I am now free of SIBO. Although, I have cleared SIBO, I really had to investigate the underlying causes. I know that SIBO will be something that I have to be cautious of and manage it through the right diet and lifestyle practices.
The 21-Day Sugar Detox gave me the tools to keep this way of eating a lifestyle
Taking added sugars and processed foods out of my diet is a very important component to keeping my body free from SIBO returning. One tool that really has helped me on my health journey was the 21-Day Sugar Detox. The 21-Day Sugar Detox is an amazing program that helps you learn how to eat whole foods while cutting out sugar and processed food. It helped me really understand the hidden sugars in foods and taught me how to continue a whole food based diet that was easy to manage. I know how overwhelming and challenging it can be to commit to eating a healthy diet. There is often so much conflicting information about nutrition that it is hard to navigate what is best for you. That is why the 21-Day Sugar Detox is such a great program. It teaches you how to eat whole foods without refined sugars and processed foods. It gives you the tools to make it a lifestyle change and not a diet. It is a tool that I use in my life every day and I am very grateful.
Changing your habits does not always have to be hard
I feel so passionate about what a diet without sugar and refined processed foods can do for your health that I wanted to start helping people on this journey too. I want to teach you that it doesn’t have to be hard to eat a healthy diet. I want you to learn the tips and tricks to make meal planning easy and less stressful. I want to you to know that you can do it!
I am passionate about helping people
I love helping people on their journeys to become a fit, healthy, happier person. It brings me joy to help others feel good and live a balanced healthy life. If you are waking up tired and not feeling well, you are not living your life to the fullest.
Even though there have been times where I say, “Why do I have to go through this? Why is this happening to me?” I would not change all that I went through. I learned so much through my healing journey, and now I am a more knowledgeable and balanced person because of it.
I would love to help you get to that place where you are a fit, happier, and healthy you!