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Vibrant health means you can live life to the fullest. Empower yourself with the steps I used to free my life of chronic disease and medications.

Reader Interactions

183 Comments

  1. You inspire me. I am literally in tears after reading this because I see so many parallels to my own journey. I am lying in bed right now too exhausted to get up as I recover from years of topical steroid use from eczema as well as bullimia nervousa. I have been in remission from my own eating disorder for two years after some amazing help and discovering the mind-body connection and it has completely changed my life. Thank you for this blog and sharing your story. It is a true blessing.

  2. Thank you Lauren for sharing your story. Its very touching that you are willing to pour out your life and soul onto this blog. And you know what it helps a lot of other people. Including myself. Thank you.

  3. You are indeed very lucky. To have an eating disorder so young and moved past it so quickly is very lucky indeed. My heart breaks to hear how you suffered with your digestive problems and elated to hear how well you are doing now. Sadly, there are so many women who aren’t there or may never be there without someone telling them they could be. I started with anorexia when I was 16 and I didn’t stop until my boyfriend (now husband) forced me to stop and made my roommates watch me like a hawk. I was 18 then. Thankfully I was past most of puberty, so I still have a womanly figure. Many of the women I know who suffered like this in their teens did so during puberty and didn’t get to develop the same way. Sadly though I destroyed my metabolism and thyroid function which wasn’t great before and I obliterated my chances of having children without serious help. That’s actually why I read this blog. I did my own research and found out what I needed to truly heal and your site has some great advice and recipes on healing my thyroid and adrenals. I just want to say how brave you are for sharing your story. It’s very hard to admit to ever having had a problem like this.

  4. Thank you for opening up and sharing your story. It is hard to share a personal story to begin with, but to put it on your blog for everyone to see is amazing. I am so happy I found your blog about 6 months ago. I use the honey shampoo. I’ve also read about the Stevia dangers (something I used daily with subsequent abdominal pains until reading your post) as well as many other articles and recipes. I appreciate your recipes and your diverse posts. Thank you so much for using your personal experiences to share your wisdom with the rest of us. Bless you!

  5. Thank you for this post! From the beginning I immediately identified with your story; I have had a tumultuous home life since I can remember, and being under that constant stress and lack of attention led me to become obese, then anorexic and underweight. It was so easy to remain in denial about my adrenal fatigue, amenorrhea, and low weight while anorexic because I was in control! – calories, weight, exercise, everything else while struggling through a year of college and hiding my issues from everyone. Finally I sought help, and now that I am married and moved out my health and life are slowly coming back into balance. It gives me hope to read your story, and I am so happy for you! Studying at Bastyr was a serious dream for me, but now I think God is taking me other places. I hope you learn a lot at Bastyr and are able to help others!

  6. Thanks for sharing your story 🙂 I found your blog last week and I can honestly say it has been such a big help! really really helped me understand and change my diet so that hopefully I’m now on the path to having a happy tummy! 🙂 Your advise about the Candida diet was particularly helpful, grains are out for the moment hahaha! I did want to ask you, how long would you advise being on the strict part of a gut healing diet? I have candida, so I am avoiding all sugars and carbs and also grains, but because I am a vegan my diet is now very limited, but of course I don’t want to rush back to eating grains and carbs etc if it means I undo all my good work i’m doing now?! raaaa! Any advise would be fabulous! 🙂 x
    http://www.strawberriesandsquiggles.blogspot.co.uk

  7. Thank you so much for posting this! I’m on almost the same diet as you (since being diagnosed with Crohn’s) and it has worked miracles for my health and athletics. 🙂 Healing your body through the foods you eat has become so interesting to me, and I’ve learned so much, that I’m considering going to college to become a nutritionist in that field. And I’m learning even more from your blog! So inspirational- if only everyone with crohn’s or colitis could know about this diet! Thanks again. 🙂

  8. Thank you for what you shared about your “Hard Time.” As I look to the root cause of health problems I have been facing, something in my gut has been telling me it is tied to a “Hard Time” of my own. I appreciate the strength you exhibit in tracing your challenges back to an mind/body/emotion connection. It is empowering to me to hear this from someone else. Especially someone who’s body of work has been so helpful to me personally. Thanks for what you are doing and best of luck as you continue down your path to wellness.

  9. As a fellow UC sufferer who wasn’t diagnosed until I was 38 (I’m 45 now), I can relate. I am also a perfectionist who worked too hard at my job for too many years – long hours, dealing with deadlines that were unreasonable, and not having enough support. I knew the stress wasn’t good for me, but I ignored it because I was told it was what I needed to do to get the job done and I was too scared to get a different job. It was like my inner voice was telling me all along, “This is not right for who you are. Even if society says this is what you need to do, it is harming you. Move on.” But it’s hard to make such dramatic changes and fear of the unknown is powerful. You are lucky to have found your direction in life at a young age, even if it came from such horrible struggles; I’m still searching for mine.

    I love your blog. Your posts have taught me a lot and led me to new discoveries and I hope you will continue to share what you learn with us. You’ve made me think. I wish you the best!

  10. Lauren,

    Thank you so much for this story. I’ve been following your blog for a few months now, and it has been so much help to me. We are about the same age and used to have very similar stories. I also struggled with an eating disorder in middle school to escape the trouble happening in my home. I am so blessed that I received help in early high school. I have not been at all healthy since then, though. This year, my fiance encouraged me to really think about what I’m putting into my body (I was the processed food and medicine QUEEN). I am so happy to say that I’m making much better choices and feeling 200% better. Thank you for helping me in this journey.

    God bless you!

  11. Thank you, Lauren! My little health concerns look small and easy now 🙂 That’s so wonderful that your going to Bastyr! I’m planning on attending there after a year or two at Southern Virginia University. But in the mean time, I’m studying energy work and working on my first degree Reiki.
    Thank you for writing such a wonderful blog!!!

    Eva

  12. Hi Lauren,

    I am an avid reader of your blog and I want to thank you for sharing your story with all of us. It takes so much courage to put yourself out there! I know many of us will be heartened by your story as we forge our own paths to health.

  13. What a journey! No wonder you are so very wise at such a relatively young age. I also consider myself a recovering type-A perfectionist. Best wishes at Bastyr! I’m getting my master’s degree in Holistic Health & Nutrition right now (online at Hawthorn) and I love it so much, it never feels like schoolwork. Enjoy every minute! I can’t wait to read more of your informative blog posts and about what you learn further in school!

  14. Thank you so much Lauren for your wonderful Blog and I follow you on FB…you are very inspirational! I want to say I have shared this with my sister too…as it is very true what you said:
    “Now, after researching the mind-body connection, I firmly believe that emotional trauma leaves a physical imprint in our body, something that requires emotional, physical and spiritual healing to ameliorate.”

    Many pains in life…Deaths/Divorce/moves away from family etc etc..add up over ones life and the heaviness in heart affects you very much no matter how strong of a person you are! It caught up with me…and now full circle I am learning truly how to take care…
    Looking forward to the other half of my life to being healthier than the first half!! Cheers!! Blog ON!
    Simone*

  15. I wish I had been able to hear your story 18 years ago, as a 12 year old who developed similar health issues after my parents’ divorce. I spent my teenage years feeling like there wasn’t anybody out there who knew what I was going through when I was too ill to get out of bed, day after day. (I’m a dancer too!) I know your story will touch many, young and old, and your knowledge will surely prevent others from going through what you did! Thank you for sharing your story.

  16. Thank you, Lauren, for being open to sharing your story with us… You are truly inspiring! I personally feel blessed to have found your blog, as it has encouraged me to begin my own journey to heal UC. You are my favorite blogger… Everything is so well written and researched, and just about every article you write resonates with me to the point where my husband cringes and he knows I’m probably loading up my amazon cart with all your recommendations. It’s amazing how God has used the difficulties in your life to help so many others… “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him.” Would love to one day hear more about the spiritual side of your healing.

  17. I regulary and thorougly read your blog but never before had a chance to say thank you for your great effort! I understand how difficult it probably was to share your story… I’ve been diagnosed with autoimmune disorder a few years ago and still wouldn’t be able to share with my family and friends that my health issues are the most probably a result of emotional stress…. too sensitive subject and I don’t know If anyone would take it seriously… but thanks to people like you I learn how to help myself. Thank you for publishing your story! I wouldn’t guess that such a nice and positive person like you can have such a Hard past.. want to wish you all the best and looking forward to new great posts:)

  18. Wow, thanks for being so brave and publishing your story! I had never thought before about the connection between being a perfectionist and certain autoimmune disorders. It makes total sense, and even though my issues weren’t anything near what yours were, I see a bit of a connection with myself – very enlightening. I wonder how a perfectionist can learn to not be so much of one? Thanks again! You are such an inspiration.

  19. way to go way to go way to go!!! thanks for your story. i know that must have been hard to share with the world.

    i love how you say “My health will never be 100%, and you know what? I’m glad! Because it gives me the incentive to continually learn, experiment and share.”…
    i feel the same, because i know i will always be on top of my hashimoto’s and will always try my best to protect my children and family as long as i can.

    you have taught me so much. thank you.

  20. Another ‘thank you for sharing’ here, also!! I have a similar story, which isn’t very surprising since my end product left me with Crohn’s! It wasn’t until after having kids that I finally decided to do something about it. I am so happy you shared you story, it’s motivating and SO inspiring! Good luck with Seattle, can’t wait to hear updates!! Side note: my kids and I are making a batch of your cupcakes from your ebook for valentines day 🙂 I made them for my daughter’s birthday last year and every one requested them for Friday!

  21. You are awesome. I love your blog and all the information you provide. I once considered Bastyr. Thank you for sharing your story. You are brave. I look forward to following your journey.
    I recently started a blog about health and wellness. I am a physical therapist and massage therapist with a passion for food and nutrition. I too have had some struggles. The struggles are what make us strong and beautiful in the end, if we have the courage to fight our way through them!
    PS I am wearing a Q-link because of you. Yes, I feel weird telling the world that, but, I like the way it makes me feel.

  22. Wow. As someone whose life has also been very near to living hell, I think I understand some of what you’ve been through and where you’re coming from here. I deal with broken relationships on a day-to-day basis. I’ve struggled with depression since the age of 10. Last summer I almost killed myself with a drug overdose. (To this day I’m not sure if it was intentional or not.) While I don’t have an autoimmune disease (and even if I did I wouldn’t handle it with as much grace and patience as you’ve handled yours), but I have food allergies that before all this happened weren’t there. There are weird chest pains that weren’t there before the drug problem. I still do well in school, am getting ready to graduate this summer from high school and then I’ll decide if I want to go to college, but I only got through it because the studying and the achieving was my escape.
    I changed my diet too- I’m Paleo with the addition of butter and occasionally some rice or quinoa. I use tea and essential oils instead of reaching for pills. My horrible acne that I’ve had since I was nine is finally going away. And after many many years I am finally ready to let someone special into my life.
    The healing journey is one that few people understand. Everyone is different and everyone fights different battles, whether we’re talking food, drugs, destructive habits, etc. It’s important to find people who can help you and share in your healing. That’s why I’m glad I found you, Lauren- and now knowing your story has inspired me to heal. Thanks so much.
    -sara

  23. I just wanted to say thank you for being you, Lauren. You are an inspiration; reading any of the comments it’s easy to tell that you are a positive influence on the lives of many.

    Plus I just enjoy reading your posts. 🙂

  24. Thank you for sharing your story. I look and see how many of us are gathered here on your blog with similar stories and this comforts me. I have u.c., I have had the Hard Time in my home in my youth ~in fact, all my life until now I’ve been running & running. The u.c. finally forced me to stop, and that is the best thing that’s ever happened to me in a way, terrifying and painful as it can be. I feel like we have so many parallels it’s a little spooky (so I’m very glad there are so many of us here with parallels going on, makes it less trippy), even Bastyr is a parallel, you are so lucky & I hope it is wonderful for you. I was licensed as a massage therapist but did not go on to get my N.D. Too busy running. I follow a diet that is similar to the paleo-immune etc., but I came to it first thru intuition and then thru research/validation & part of that validation, for me, is your blog. And so I thank you so very much for writing it. I’ve been thru the whole “diet has no effect” scene, the forced drug protocols, the forced screenings ~ I have another forced screening coming up & if I can’t “pass” I will have another forced drug protocol. I have to make some decisions and I’m pretty scared. I’m just hoping for a miracle & to heal up fast enough so I will be allowed to continue making my own choices. Thank you again, I can’t say it enough, for sharing your story and your knowledge. You know, when I saw the specialist in January he told me about the big u.c. convention he’d been to in October of last year ~ funny thing ~ they had “discovered” the same diet protocol we have figured out. How to get them to listen to me and not make me do what I feel is not the right thing? Maybe I can get them to read your blog too, lol. Anyway, best good wishes for you at Bastyr, LovePeace&Light, xox.

  25. Lauren, your blog has been such a wonderful source of health information and inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story. I can identify with your health struggles, and also have found healing through the principles of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the Paleo Diet. We are currently using the Paleo Autoimmune diet to heal our son’s severe digestive issues, and have seen dramatic improvement over the past year. God bless you in your new academic pursuits, and we look forward to hearing more.

  26. Lauren, I have been following you for almost a year now – I love your blog and most of my staple recipes are from your blog! Thank you SO much for sharing what you learn with this online community! It has been a HUGE blessing to me to know I can find GAPS/Paleo/SCD-friendly recipes here that are also nut-free! Thank you, also, for sharing your story! As many others I could also relate to a lot of what you wrote and our futures may cross someday as well as I am looking into applying to Bastyr in the next couple of years! Good luck and thank you, again! – Alicia

  27. You are such an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It must be a challenge to put yourself out there like that… Maybe one day I’ll have the pleasure of meeting you. 🙂 Congratulations on your progress, Lauren.

  28. Hi Lauren,
    I am 52, and in September 1972, just after turning 11 & starting 6th grade I developed horrible abdominal pain. After a lot of unpleasant tests, many missed school days with a terrible teacher who thought I was faking I was diagnosed with UC. Back then I was told no dairy. Pills, suppositories, no ice cream for over a yr.
    I stopped taking meds over 10 yrs ago. My dr did offer to remove most of my colon, but I went with my primary dr and stopped teaching. For me I can’t have certain dairy items when I have a flare up. I’ve had 5 colonoscopies in 15 yrs…started to wake during one.
    It comes it goes.

  29. Hi, Lauren, thank you so much for sharing your story. I cannot even imagine the pain and the suffering you went through, my own health concerns pale in comparison.
    Every time I read such stories again and again I wonder how can the medical profession get it so wrong. No longer than a week ago, I was talking to a health care professional (not a doctor) how I avoided a lot of pain and surgery by removing dairy (on top of a gluten free diet). She was looking at me as I was drunk or delirious.

  30. Thank you Lauren for sharing your story – you can feel proud of yourself for overcoming such hard times and having set out to help others. I very much identify with the beginning of your story on anorexia…I love reading your blog and you’re an inspiration to many.
    Best of luck to you for 2014 🙂
    Celine

  31. Hi Lauren! I really love your blog, specifically because your recipes have never steered me wrong! (Your faux cornbread muffins are my absolutle favorite!) But this is such an amazing post. Your story is quite inspiring. My best friend struggled with anorexia growing up and when you described your diet back then, I teared up. That’s pretty much all she ate also. I know how painful it can be even from just having a loved one struggle like that. I also know how incredibly raw it can be to share it. Your honesty is refreshing and thank you for sharing your story! Also, Bastyr University is my dream school and I wish you all the best there! 🙂

  32. Thank you so much for sharing. I came across your blog when it was only a few posts old and it has been a favorite ever since. I see so many parallels in your story to mine. Your story inspires me to keep going, see the positives, and look towards the future even though in my year and a half long healing journey, I have seen very little progress.

  33. I was abused by my father for the first 8 years of my life. beaten, starved, and neglected. As a young kid I was also assaulted many times at school, sexually and violently. When my older sister was raped in middle school I felt like we now shared a horrible disgusting burden. And when my youngest sister was forced to preform sex acts on the brother of a close “friend” I felt like this world hated my family. I had never told anyone about my rape/molestation, and as I saw my two sisters get treatment, I resented them, and my family. No one ever noticed the blood in my underwear, or the bruises from school. So during my first 2 years of high school I repeatedly tried to take my own life. How could I think there was anything worth living for? Seeing my father abuse his children and his wife, seeing my two sisters objectified and traumatized? I just gave up.

    It’s been 10 years since then. My childhood, was a disaster. But I have learned to love, and be loved. I have learned that there IS goodness in this world, and most importantly, I have forgiven. It’s a process I am still working through, but I have a future, I finally have a life of love, peace, and content!

  34. Lauren- What a fantastic step to take on your journey to health, thank-you for sharing your story. You’ve reminded me of the devastating power of emotional trauma and the impact that it has on our health. The way you have shared your story will bring healing to many and it is very evident that you have climbed out of the valley and are heading for the mountaintops. What a blessing! Having said that, as you get close to each mountaintop, I pray that you can see the next mountaintop and recognize that the valleys in-between can be a time to rest, restore and prepare for the next mountaintop. Congratulations on your acceptance to Bastyr. I look forward to the opportunity to meet you someday here on our 1200 acre Sustainable Agriculture farm near Moscow.

  35. Bravo, Lauren! After following your blog for months, it is wonderful to learn more about how you arrived here at Empowered Sustenance. I’m sure you are right about the correlation between perfectionists and disease – a notion that hits home! … I’ve known a number of naturopaths who graduated from Bastyr – congratulations on this next step! I love your recipes and appreciate the research that you put in to all that you report. Warm regards,

  36. Hi Lauren,

    Thanks for sharing your story! It seems that Crohn’s affects people with very difficult childhoods. I am so grateful for the alternative path – following a paleo diet, using both reiki and IET to heal. Best of luck with your schooling. Are you thinking about becoming a naturopath?

    On another note, if your family is still in Northern VA, I can recommend a wonderful integrative doctor that treats both my son and I. Her approach is very out-of-the box.

    Good luck to you!
    Tara

  37. “My health will never be 100%”? I encourage you to believe hope and pray for it. The power of words is amazing. God bless you and heal you and keep you sharing your healthy discoveries with us 🙂

  38. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My struggle personal struggle with depression and anxiety has caused me to seek out alternative sources for information on healing and healthy living (including your blog ^_^). I felt so happy when I read how you took charge of your health and learned to thrive even with your illness. I’ve come to realize that while people suffer from these common illnesses, healing is such a personal experience and requires a lot of self-examination. I wish you the best of luck on the rest of your journey!

  39. Hi Lauren,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are an inspiration and your blog is a big help to me. My personal struggle is digestive issues, chronic pain and fatigue and agoraphobic anxiety as a result of Lyme’s. Often I feel shame for not being able to leave my neighborhood but the physical symptoms that occur while trying to push my tired and malnourished body to do something are just too much to bear. I too had a great emotional trauma seven years ago that started all this. Paired with my perfectionism and control issues, things spiraled out of control really quickly.

    However, I wouldn’t change a thing as this has been a journey of learning about myself, my thoughts, my body. I am proud of the person I am becoming and I feel that which each new peice of information I receive, I get ever closer to health. Some of that information has come from your blog and I can’t wait to try what you’ve suggested! Ordered the probiotics and Q-Link the other day.

    Thanks again for being your awesome self and writing this blog!

    Rachelle

  40. Good for you for finding the courage to share your story! I have depression and a binge eating disorder among other things and have a hard-to-share blog post hiding in my drafts folder. You’ve given me encouragement that it might just be ok to hit Publish.

  41. This is so amazing that you have the courage to post your story. I believe I now have IBS-c due to my struggle with anorexia and my complete disregard for what (little) I was putting in my body. So much sugar-free, fat-free crap that messed up my digestive system. I’m still trying to heal my chronic constipation and heartburn.
    Congratulations on your journey and becoming such a beautiful person! I absolutely love your blog and pinterest (fellow Pinterest addict here). Thank you so much for your inspiration and help!

  42. Dear Lauren,
    I want to add my ‘voice’ to the others who thank you and praise your courage, insight, and achievement in this life! You see how your authentic sharing is making a huge difference in the world already! I am at age 52, a single mom of a nine year old daughter, studying to become a professional mental health counselor. Reading your beautiful and touching story inspires me, too, as I strain to reach my Highest Potential in this life. thank you for being available to the world, and Bless you on your journey from here!
    Love, Light, and Peace to you,
    Barbara

  43. I very seldom comment on blogs. Maybe that’s why I get very few comments on my blog. You are so brave to publish this. I pray for your complete and deep health. I have never faced the kinds of problems you have had. Of course, I have some emotional stuff, but my faith and eating right stand me in good stead.

    God bless you!

  44. Thanks for your bravery! Sharing our deepest secrets helps us realize that we are all doing our best.
    I think I am the senior citizen on this list, and I relate to all of you in physical, emotional, and personality-based issues.
    My autoimmune issues started with thyroid disease at age 9. I gained 40 pounds in three months, and it permanently warped my body image. I have never had a normal metabolism, and I have spent a lifetime trying to get it working as well as I can. I have long periods of “passing for normal,” but I know how much self-control and reading and research and trial-and-error it has taken to get me to age 66.
    At age 13, I began the migraine wars. I still get them, sometimes to the point of despair, and I have learned the food triggers, the light triggers, the wind triggers, the sun triggers, the candlelight triggers, the smell triggers. I have also embraced modern medicine’s remedies, which have worked very well to get me back to functional status if I have an attack. I learned only recently that my migraines were triggered by cervico-spinal position/posture/habits, and a few months of therapy with a wonderful spinal specialist have completely retrained my posture, so I am blessedly able to recognize a problem and prevent it from a full attack.
    And then there are the nasal allergies, the stinging insects, the poison ivy, the food, the food, the food.
    I come from a family with gluten issues, but no one wants to deal with them, so I have been on my own with that for decades now. I recently figured out that I am having issues with lactose. When I quit it, the scaly swelling on my eyelids, which I had always been told was blepharitis–a result of Graves Disease (my variety of thyroid dysfunction)–suddenly disappeared. I hadn’t even noticed it until a friend asked me what I was doing differently.
    And now, the latest adventure: soy and soy lecithin, which I had somehow let creep into my life. I started getting itching, blistery, burning hives, usually within an hour of eating, but it never seemed to be the same food. After a lot of detective work, soy has been banished from my domain. And like a lot of others out there, I seldom eat anything outside my home unless it is food that I take to a picnic or potluck.
    I go into all this detail to explain that my motto over the years has been “eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.” My body reacts to all the toxins in the world. I think I could hire myself out as an early warning system–sort of the canary in the mine. Thanks for all you do, especially the food and recipes. Out of space.

  45. Lauren,
    Thank you so much for your courageous sharing (and also this very generous website)! I’m amazed at how much stress plays into health and how many of our health journeys started during emotionally/mentally/spiritually stressful times. Thank you for being a part of so many people’s healing journeys!

  46. Lauren, I cried as I read EVERY single word of this. I too, had the SAME exact issues you did with a “Hard Time” and anorexia was my escape- for the next 15 years of my life. My “hard time” never seemed to end. My digestive system is still taking the reaps and tears from those years that not only stressed me out beyond belief and enhanced my depression and self hatred, but also my self mutilation to my body. It has never been the same since. I have WRECKED my digestion from all those years of abuse, and the damage I’ve done has made me have to limit almost every kind of food I used to eat. Now, I only tolerate a few foods, and I struggle because I’m vegan, but read your blog and find so much hope in how you eat. I just can’t bring myself to do it. I did remove all grains, legumes, dairy ( obviously now that I’m vegan), and beans. I haven’t eaten sugar in 11 years when I quit eating it to heal a seizure condition I had and a chronic history of candida. I also quit medication without a doctor’s approval, but have since been seizure free and sugar-free, without one pill since.

    Blogging and learning about health saved me. I struggle with digestion still, but finally have found some things that make life more bearable. I received my degree in Nutrition Dietetics and have been blogging for 4 years about my recovery from anorexia and orthorexia, as well as binge eating. I’m pretty open about my digestive struggles, and many people seem to understand. I’ve also found so many people out there too have had eating disordered issues, especially in today’s world that we live in. I can’t seem to fathom what makes young girls turn to restricting foods from their life as a way to cope. I just wonder where we learn this? It’s almost a natural instinct some of us seem to have since so many of us suffer.

    If I could tell you one thing, it would be thank you. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for reading this terribly long comment! I think the more of us that come out, the better. I am truly so inspired by you and can’t wait to see what all you do in your career! Good luck with returning to college!

    I start my own journey this year with becoming a Certified Holistic Health Coach from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and can hardly wait myself.

    Have a blessed day!! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!<3

    Heather McClees

    • Heather nailed one thing I think we would all like to say to you, “if I could tell you one thing, it would be thank you.” But I would add to that, thank you for being & sharing the remarkable, brilliant, resilient, person that you are.

  47. Dear Lauren,

    Thank you so much for the heartfelt sharing of your difficult and challenging time. You must be amazed looking back how far you have come. I know from experience how lonely and how hard that journey is, and how personal that journey is. I often wonder how many people are hiding their tears and struggle behind a brave face. I too, have had a long struggle with low thyroid (un-diagnosed for 15 years) and am using your tips and discoveries to help my own gut repair program too. One book I found very helpful was the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet by Dr Natasha Campbell. This is an amazing book primarily concerned with gut healing, and has proved very successful. I hope this may help add to your resource. May 2014 be filled with blessings and good health.

  48. Thank you for being so brave to share your story. There is such a huge co-relationship between mind health and body health. The ancients have been telling us that forever. We recently moved from Baltimore City to a small town, Romney, WV, to try to help balance my mind-body healing process.

    You are so smart to have figured it out early. I am 50 yrs old, and have been working at it slowly for the past 20 years or so. It is not always easy when your loved ones around you say, “why don’t you just take a pill?”. We know why, but……

    Your story is like so many stories of people who become ill with auto-immune….our body fighting itself. Maybe the cause of many issues is our mind fighting our body.

    I wish you well on your next journey. I have read and enjoyed your articles because it was like a friend was talking with me. Feel free to stop by my shop. I would like to send you a gift of organic paperless towels or wipes…..just let me know what you like.

    Kind regards,
    Gina Jordan

  49. dear lauren,

    thank you for sharing your story. i salute your courage and generosity in doing so. i have also found much helpful information/resources/recipes through your blog and greatly appreciate the time and energy you devote to it.

    i feel excited for your new adventure at bastyr. congratulations on your acceptance and best of luck in your studies. i look forward to continuing the journey with you.

    many blessings.

  50. Dear Lauren
    You are quite clearly a very clever and inspirational young women. You should be very proud of yourself and all your achievements, and so must your family. You are helping so many people, myself included, with all your research and blog. Great things will follow for you. Thank you so much and wishing you all long, happy and healthy future. Sam

  51. Thank you so much for sharing this!
    I am 18 and getting over anorexcia, I’m incredibly lucky in that I’m surrounded by people who support and help me, your blog has been a saving grace as I’ve been focusing on what will keep me healthy since reading it these last few weeks. I was on a bit of a downer and considering not eating as much today, reading your story has hit home how lucky I am to be able to eat and reminds me of how silly I’ve been to my body these last 9 months. I’m sorry for the way you have suffered, and what your doing to help others is beyond inspirational!

    God Bless you and thankyou

    X

  52. This is so heartbreaking…yet so beautiful to see. I’m so proud of you for sharing this! It seems like in today’s world ‘sympathy’ and ‘pity’ are dirty words, ESPECIALLY if a woman uses them or shows them toward someone else. But sometimes we need that sense of caring. So I wanted to say that I feel INCREDIBLY sympathetic toward everything that has happened to you (including your hair falling out, which happened to me when I was young from a bad perm), to the facade of happiness you sometimes felt you had to wear. And I think that your past was very pitiful (not a bad word at all, look it up!:D), and I’m glad that you feel and have become a better person now!

    I was wondering (I know you’re VERY busy, so if you don’t have time to answer that’s okay!) if you know of any sort of depression help that isn’t pharmacutical? I take it faithfully, but the drugs make me so tired….if you know of any small things (I have no food allergies or anything, just to scallops), I’d love to hear them:) Thank you, and good luck!!!

  53. Lauren,
    What a heartfelt story, my heart goes out to you being so young and going through such a turbulent adolescence. As hard as it was, like you said it has shaped who you are today and has made a future for you with your journey on to Bastyr College and how you are helping people now and in the future with their health issues. I commend you for being so brave and finally taking matters into your own hands. I have health issues and I am in my fifties and I can’t imagine going through this at your age. I am praying my daughter will start to take matters into her own hands with her on and off battle with some beginning issues with her stomach. She feels she is eating healthy while she is eating the SAD. I am following the SCD and try to continually give her tidbits here and there and hopefully if she ever develops an autoimmune disease like me she will have the courage to follow such a strict dietary change in her life. I so dread all those drugs and have never gone through what you have. I started on something mild only for 6 months before finding SCD. I truly worry since she is 20 and I wish she could meet you and learn from your journey. God Bless You
    MJP

  54. Thank you for being so open about it. I suffered and still do (but can live very well with it) from atopic dermatitis and that was quite painful or uneasy during my youth. I now learned to live with it and it is a part of myself and I seem to have “embraced” it. I am not comparing my health issues to yours, but I admire how openly you share about those issues. I hope and pray that your body and soul will heal completely. Greetings from Germany and God bless!

  55. Thanks for sharing such a personal story. It’s an inspiration to me and many others. We all have our own challenges to face in this life and it’s great to hear that you eventually turned your disease from a burden ibto a challenge from which you learn. And don’t forget all the learning and growing other people go through because of sharing such a story. I’m proud of you!

  56. Thank you so much for sharing. Although I developed UC at a later stage of life than you, I related to a lot of the events that lead up to the disease and the struggles through it. I wish you all the best in your studies. I am studying Body-Mind Centering at the moment. It is interesting that there is Body-Mind Medicine studies. Perhaps, the next step in my learning as well. Take good care. As a side note, I love your website!

  57. Thank you for courageously sharing your story. I wondered how you became so wise at such a young age. I am a 66 year old recovering perfectionist, and years ago it took me 15 years to work my way out of a fibromyalgia diagnosis.

    I have been following your blog with great interest and admiration since I discovered it on Facebook months ago, and I have referred quite a few people to it. Please keep doing what you do and sharing what you learn. I hope you have some idea how much you are helping others.

  58. Thanks for sharing this! It helps to know you’re not alone…that others have gone through similar experiences. My problems started with severe gastritis about 2 years ago, which was followed by more issues. I still do not know what caused (causes) my problems but I feel like I spent a year lying on the couch, with no energy to do anything else.

    My healing path started with gluten free, (which hardly helped at all) and then thanks to my diligent mother who looked up EVERYTHING and researched, the GAPS diet. It saved me, (almost eradicated my symptoms) that, and a probiotic, not to mention vitamin D3 which was found through a blood test to be extremely low in my system. (The one trip to the doctor that payed off:)

    I still struggle with exercising enough to maintain my strength though, and my healing is not over yet. I’m just switching over a little to the Paleo diet, which allows more carbs that may help with my lack of energy.

    I feel (some of) your pain. At a young age when I should be full of energy, and strong and active, I feel so weak and useless sometimes! Still, eating wise, I’m healthier than I have ever been, and I’ve developed a fondness for new and better foods, as well as a distaste for many of the things I ate in the past. I’ve also discovered a hidden strength in myself I didn’t know I possessed, and a reliance on God that will help me for the rest of my life:)

  59. I was trying to reply to all the comments here, but I fell behind. I am reading every single comment and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support and kind words. It touches my heart to hear bits and pieces of your stories, and I’m grateful that you’ve shared them here. I also am deeply touched by the many personal emails you’ve sent me, showing me support and telling me about similarities between our journeys.

  60. Thank you so much for sharing this. My own “Story” is very similar – anorexia, then chronic illness, and now pursuing natural health & herbalism – and I admire your bravery & openness. Wishing your story a very ‘happy ending’.

  61. Wow! I want to thank you for sharing your story. You are a brave and awesome woman. I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel in 2004 and have been on a quest for answers. Three years ago my body started on a downward spiral and my health issues were getting worse and worse. After all my all allopathic and functional medical doctors, as well as my Ayurvedic doctor, gave up on me, a co-worker encouraged me to see a TCM doctor/chiropractor. Through muscle testing this doctor found that I had parasites and Candida. Treatment has been overwhelming over the past 7 months, as I am building my immunity system and detoxing, but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Why did I share this because I want to encourage you to continue your educational journey. You never know who you will help.

    One more quick side note, it wasn’t until you mentioned your type A personality and how that impacted your health, that I realized that you and I had something in common. I see now that I contributed to my health issues. Thank you for this honest insight into something that I struggle with.

    I look forward to reading more about your healing and educational journey, as well as those yummy recipes you share.

    Blessings to you and all your endeavors.

  62. Just thank you to be You . I recognise my self in your story too… It’s just amazing how those kind of diseases make you older, really fast . It’s a life’s accelerator 🙂

    thank you again

    Camille

  63. Hello from Czech Republic! 🙂 At first, I am sorry for my bad English skills, I hope you understand what I wish to tell you… 😀
    I never was so much ill, as you describe. But I had my own Hard Time, which was characteristic with depressions and many weeks, which I don´t remember, because only thing I´ve felt was the loneliness and blue. I had also problem with my acne. But then…I started search about what I could do for myslelf and I discovered, most of my problems were psychically based. The reason of my problem has its own name – bullying, fear and desperate need of love. When I realised that, my problems started to heal.
    What I do diferrent? I think about what I do to my body, I eat much more healthy and with help of some good friends I coud get rid off my depression.
    Thank you, you are my inspiration. Because of you I know, that we can solve very big problems, if we want to. 🙂
    Laranya

  64. Lauren:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think so many of our stories have similarities and I think it is so helpful to hear how others have been successful. I too have struggled with an eating disorder, but while in college. I can relate to the limited diet. Mine was cereal, OJ (to give me a quick burst of energy), or rice mixed with peas. Then I would binge eating out on the weekend. I find that learning to eat AIP, I’m really falling back into these tendencies. I feel like I’m trying to control my eating instead of allowing it to happen naturally….make sense? Any tips to help with that process?? Emotionally, I don’t feel I need therapy again. Because we all know there is a trigger that leads to an eating disorder and that really has a resolution. It’s just a learned behavior that I’m falling back into.

    I too question if my eating disorder lead to my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Lichen Schlerosis. I too find that the steroid use for the LS leads to inflammation. Any tips for that???

    I know a lot of questions, but you are a great wealth of information.

    Thanks again for sharing your story!

  65. Lauren,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, it takes great courage. You are a HUGE inspiration to so many, including myself. Almost one year ago, I was diagnosed with Chronic Pericarditis, and like you, put on mega doses of Prednisone. I have all the horrible side effects, including the hair loss (my heart understood yours when your wrote about crying in the shower…) My docs are still trying to get me off it, and I HATE this tiny little pill…a miracle that you were able to get off it without crashing into adrenal shock.

    I have been fighting and researching like mad, and came across your blog along the way. What a blessing:) You have opened my mind to so many alternative healing ideas. Keep up the incredible work!!

    Hugs,
    Nancy

  66. Lauren, thanks for sharing your story! I always wondered what got you on this path. As a “recovering type-A” myself, I often struggle with the desire to do everything 100% perfect. So I have to ask, do you ever eat anything that you “shouldn’t”? Anything at all??

    Congratulations on your college acceptance! Good luck!

  67. Wow I got so emotional reading this because in a way it’s similar to what I went through in my teens/early twenties. I didn’t have an eating disorder but I had to deal with a lot of family issues and horrible self esteem/mental depression. I destroyed my already fragile health by taking Accutane for my cystic acne and despite the consequences and dangerous side effects I kept at it. Coupled with a bad health incident around the same time, I ended up hospitalized and came out with a diagnosis of UC. I’m so glad I found your blog several months ago. Now that I’m in the middle of the worse flare up in my 10 years with UC I’m hopeful the SCD/GAPS diets will help…Thank you so much for sharing your story. Like everyone has already commented here you’re truly inspiring!

  68. Thank you for sharing your story, Lauren. You are an amazing young woman and I am so happy to read you blog and see how well you are doing now. I was sick with Colitis right before I became pregnant with my first child- all through the pregnancy and then for a long time after that. Then I started SCD and was able to get rid of many of the painful issues involved with Colitis- but still neeeded meds. During my second I was on medication and due to cravings I fell hard off of SCd. Now he will almost be 2 ( the youngest) and I am struggling to find what diet is right for me. Needing energy to be a mama to two babes still home with me if hard. I drink black tea and smoothies ( no dairy) and a lot of apples. I am off grain and sugar- but dairy is a b*tch to kick- and I was vegan for 3 years!

    How did you know which diet paleo VS SCD Vs GAPS. The dr’s have no clue about these diets and it is overwhelming. Thank you for any insight you can offer and for coming up with these amazing recipes, tinctures and healing remedies. xo

  69. Hi Lauren, this is one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read. Seriously.

    I was diagnosed with UC in 2010, and since then have just accepted the drug treatments thrown at me by specialists. After many attempts to break my regular flaring with prednisone and immunosuppressants, my specialist has finally ‘given up’ and referred me to a surgeon to discuss what you faced – the removal of my large intestine.

    It’s totally scary, but in a way is a good thing – it’s woken me up to the fact I need to be more pro-active with my health, and that there ARE ways in which I can fight back. I’m determined to fight this awful disease with everything I have, and reading your post has really strengthened my resolve. Thank you!!

  70. Thank you for sharing your story. There are many parallels to my journey with Ulcerative Colitis. I was diagnosed shortly before my 41st birthday, but had intestinal issues my entire life. I spent two weeks in the hospital, pumped full of steroids and such. Went down to 137 lbs on my 6’1″ frame. Too weak to walk and completely despondent about being able to recover. I went the route suggested by my doctors and began a heavy course of immunosuppresants, and through that went into remission. My colonoscopys were clean and I tapered off. A very stressful divorce brought me into a flare with a vengeance, one from which I never recovered. Unfortunately I did have to have my colon removed and an internal pouch constructed. My doc told me that what he removed was dead tissue, and that I really didn’t have a choice. I wish I had more knowledge of additional nutritional approaches to try and perhaps my colon could have recovered. But I am firmly on the path of making the healthiest food choices going forward, which for me means no gluten.

    Having a blog like this, and sharing your story has the chance really help so many people battling UC and other inflammatory diseases. There is so little non-pharmaceutical information out there for people to find. You are doing a beautiful thing. Thanks again.

  71. Dear Lauren,
    Your blog has been so informative and helpful to me in my journey to health. Your story is so moving, touching and you are an inspiration to many ! I believe in the power of prayer….. and will keep you in my prayers for healing and that God keeps you on the path that keeps you in His Will !
    I am striving to totally eliminate sugar and have been using a product called “just like sugar” . It is chicory root which tastes just like sugar to me and provides fiber,calcium and vitamin C. It is glute-free, diabetic and celiac safe with 0 carbs and 0 calories. Can you share your experience with this product ? Do you feel there are any side effects to using chicory root ? It contains no soy, yeast, animal derivatives, MSG, L-glutamic Acid, D-glutamine acid, aspartic acit or preservatives – no dairy and does not promote cavities. It sounds too good to be true ! Would honey be better?

  72. I am new to your website and wanted to tell you I’m so appreciative that I have found you! My story is very similar to yours and started when I was 15 with a bad case of mono and the dr put me on pregdizone. It went all down hill from there.
    I’m now 31 and finally healing. At the age of 19 I became a Pilates instructor and structural therapist. I have had a successful career however food and the healing effects of food has always been my passion. I plan to some day soon become a certified holistic health practitioner. But back to the story, I too went to several acupuncturists, energy healers and even became a certified reiki master. And some would help for just a lil bit but then I also would go right back into a doubled over, can’t walk, can’t talk type of pain.
    Two yrs ago I finally drove my self to the hospital one night where the dr in the ER couldn’t find anything on his ex-rays and suggested a handful of medication that I needed to stay on for the rest of my life.
    I left there thinking Hell No! I’m going to figure this out with out taking medication, my health suffered enough on those medications.
    At the time I was friends with another acupuncturist and began peppering him with questions. He gave me very general and vague answers and a lot of the time talked in riddles. So completely fed up, I realized I needed a major major life style over hall. I now at the age of 29 had two children, owned a home and was married but I worked for someone who was literally stealing my soul ( dramatic I know) but it really was happening. But that’s another story.
    I realized it wasn’t just the food I had to change (which wouldn’t be much of a change because I had already been following a base line) but I needed to get my self out of the gut wrenching job that I faithfully went to 4 days a week.

    I remember when I made the decision, it was if that was what my body was waiting for. The symptoms subsided and I began the very long journey to recovery. But my story doesn’t end there. About 6months ago I had a very emotional trauma and although I was eating correctly the amount of stress I internalized took its toll once again and I’m back to square one. This is how I found you. I ended up being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and a possible hypothyroid (blood test pending) my periods that have always been on target we almost non existent and horrible when they did show up. I was losing hair, gained weight and very very foggy and tired daily.
    Recently I started the regimen you wrote out for adrenal fatigue and I’m happy to say its working!!! I’m so thankful to have found you! You have helped me on ways that most holistic and western medicine hasn’t. Xo

  73. Dear Lauren,
    I want to thank you for telling your story. I feel we are very similar in a lot of ways: one being having an eating disorder. It’s been a long journey but now I’ve reached a place where I truly want to be healthy and live healthy like you promote. I even eat butter now, and you helped that!! Thank you for telling the truth about food and debunking the myths. As a registered dietitian I know there are lots of myths out there and some that are still believed by health professionals. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you and that your blog is a huge part of my mental and physical healing.

  74. Hi Lauren,

    What a journey you have been on. I am so glad that you are so much better and I thank you for helping the rest of us on our journey. I would encourage you, if you haven’t already, to check out SCD Lifestyle and Chris Kresser. They are very experienced in the gut, brain, hormone axis. God Bless you on your continuing health journey.

  75. I am so glad that you found a truly natural way to heal your body! It takes courage and strength to take charge of your health and go against the current established medical model and culture of fake foods. I can relate to you in many ways. I went through an eating disorder starting when I was 13 and it took a toll on my body as well, although my health is fine now. I’m currently attempting to follow paleo and eat more nutritious foods. Your blog seems like a wealth of information on this. Just wanted to say that I admire you and your blog!

  76. Lauren, thank you for this incredible site. I was glued to it for 2 hours last night. You are transparent, honest, sweet, and highly educated. I am just starting my journey to fix my health. Poor nutrition and crash dieting have truly taken their toll on my body and have recently destroyed my gallbladder. I have joint pains and a strong family history of autoimmune disease. Also, I am a nurse and I want to be a good example for my patients throughout my lifetime – not only administering pharmaceuticals, but educating them about proper nutrition and how to get to the root of their health problems, rather than merely alleviating symptoms with more harmful/risky substances. Your site has completely inspired me and has given me the tools I need to start out right and start helping others.

    Again, thank you for sharing your story, you are doing so much good, here. Please keep it up!

  77. Hi Lauren, thanks for sharing,

    I’ve always been “a little sick”. I’ve experienced GI discomfort from random unidentified foods and specific severe food allergies. I’ve kept my symptoms to myself, struggling through them quietly because the truth is, no one wants to know. And if I did share, I’d receive no concern, annoyance actually. “Get over it” “it’s all in your head “you’re such a drama queen” “she’s making it up for attention” I’ve never had an advocate outside of myself and I always felt like a victim to my gut.

    Things definitely got worse during my phd program. I left home and moved across the country to a city with no friends or family, experienced a hard break up, and family distress from afar. I was absolutely depressed and spiraling into social alcoholism. I couldn’t focus at work, I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t exercise… I was in physical pain. It wasn’t psychosomatic- totally. The emotional distress was absolutely aggravating something that had always been there. Like you I was eating processed foods with good looking labels and lots of soy and grains. In an effort to struggle through this period I got two more jobs on top of my phd program. It helped pull me out of distress but I was still in pain. So I got a dog even though I’m allergic. “A dog won’t give me a choice, I have to get out of bed!” She got me up and out, for sure, but I STILL felt ill through it all. Doctor after doctor after doctor after nutritionist, after allergist. PPI inhibitors, steroids, antacids, antibiotics… Sleeping pills, anti anxiety meds, nothing worked. I started getting neuropathy and my dysphagia worsened considerably. I became afraid to eat in private and embarrassed to eat in public. My doctors wanted me to get rid of the dog, blaming her for my EoE, even though the EoE had been there for decades before her.

    My dog gave me a few turning points. She’s a victim of inbreeding and was very sick her first 8 months of life. I tried many different kibbles but she reacted to them all, like me. Stomach pain, gas, bloating, depression, awful BM. Finally an ER doctor sat me down to go over her history after our latest visit and said he thought it was a food allergy and recommended I look up a nutritionist. After an intense google hunt I started her on a species appropriate raw whole prey diet. Her response was immediate. She had her first solid BM and hasn’t been ill, or back to her general vet or ER, for GI problems either! No more skin problems, no more ear infections, no more bath breath or liquid BMs. No more nausea or depression. She showed me that eating species appropriate whole foods can help your body heal. That turning point occurred when she was 1yo. She turns three years in a month. That’s two years of whole body health from a dietary overhaul.

    My next turning point was when my sister started informing me about clean living. Having just had a baby she was educating herself and, incidentally, me as well. I found your website and spent a week scrolling through it I started my clean living protocol by throwing out my facial cleansers and moisturizers and making my own oil cleansing and honey washes. Immediately my eyes stopped crusting and my breathing improved. I was hooked. I read more of your blog, and others. I cut out grains and nightshades. I also cut all poultry (I’m allergic to chicken and severely to eggs). I suddenly wasn’t bloated and was experiencing way less night sweats. Eventually I started the auto immune paleo protocol. When I adhere to it strickly I feel great! If I deviate and eat rice, corn, legumes, or feed lot milk, I relapse a little. Every time I go for ramen with my bestie, I walk out shivering because I get cold sensitive almost immediately from wheat. I recently had tomato bisque and felt ill for two days.

    Now I have converted to green cleaning using vinegar and lavender and rosemary oils, salt and coconut oil soaps. My cats are raw fed too. Everyone’s fur glistens, all the animals have clear eyes ears and skin. I used to be severely allergic to cats and now one sleeps in my bed every night and the other is constantly at my feet on the couch. I breathe easily. One cat I found in an early diabetic state has made a full comeback from her disease through raw diet and exercise (cat chaser).

    I’m still struggling to fit homemade cooking into my crazy schedule. I do my best, I’ve started exercising again, I’m graduating my phd program in May, running the marathon in November, and I’m HAPPY! I think autoimmune paleo works best for me. I did your thanksgiving menu (I cooked a ham) for turkey day and Christmas and my body felt so normal, I couldn’t believe it. The normality felt abnormal after a lifetime of sickness. No doctor believes me, they told me diet couldn’t fix me. They pressure me to eat grains and nightshades for a complete diet. They refuse to accept that I fixed myself with a “less is more” approach to my lifestyle. Thanks, in great part, to you. I deal with tons of skepticism but I know that this works for me, and in the end that’s what matters. Your story inspired my health protocol. I hope to pass it on to those in my life who suffer also but struggle to find a solution.

  78. Lauren,
    You are so brave for sharing your life story and I am so haooy to hear that it has turned so positive, I am also grateful to you for all the valuable health information and recipes you share with us. I love the Ultimate Coconut Pancakes but they call for stevia in the middle which you no longer eat. What do you substitute? I wish you all the best in school and in the future, I will certainly continue to read the blog for the valuable information you provide, Thanks again for your courage!

  79. Dear Lauren,

    I have RA and have found that through dietary changes my flares have decreased. I ws sensitive to gluten. I feel my best when I am on the Paleo diet. However, my high metabolism coupled with a low carb diet makes it impossible for me to gain weight and exercise. Do you have any suggestions for gaining weight while on the paleo diet?

  80. Lauren, thank you for your bravery and honesty in sharing your story. I only came across your blog tonight, but I’m hooked! My mum has Raynauds and Schleroderma (both auto-immune issues) and my sister had Chrohns, so I think the message that you are getting out there is wonderful. Unfortunately my mum is stubborn and won’t consider changing her diet, maybe your story will help. I began to follow a healthier lifestyle when I decided to take back control and lose my excess weight (I was in the obese category). Feeling fit and fabulous I started my personal trainer qualifications and then my world turned upside-down. My sister was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma and I fell into an emotionally, psychologically and physically abusive relationship. One year on and I’ve ditched the relationship, I’m studying transpersonal art therapy (a holistic approach) and I’m beginning my healthy lifestyle journey all over again. I look forward to learning from you. Once again, thank you for sharing such a personal story, and inspiring change.

  81. Hi Lauren,

    I found your site because I was looking up lunaception, but was drawn in by all the other health practices you talk about. I’ve been making my own personal care products for maybe a year now (I’m 28) and researching health in general, and feel like I’ve been duped up til now by mainstream healthcare. I’m loving all of the information I’m finding!

    I wanted to share the most healing practice I’ve found so far, which is the at-home liver flush as explained by this author who you might like. His name is Andreas Moritz, and he draws from his lifelong studies of different traditional medical systems (the Indian ayurveda, German iridology, Japanese shiatsu) and has written several super illuminating books. But your story struck me because your early years (the Hard Time, and the terrible diet period) are quintessential causes of liver congestion (stones forming in the liver ducts) that can be removed, with intense healing benefits! (I’ve done one flush with success, will do many more!)

    I don’t usually post on blogs, but hope that you’ll get your hands on his liver flush book and give us your take on it 🙂

    On an unrelated note, my friend is starting at Bastyr in the fall also! Maybe you’ll run into her 🙂

  82. Thank you Lauren for sharing such a personal and hopeful story. I’ve been using diet for quite a few years to address not only my health, but the health of my teenage boys. Slow and steady, and it seems it always needs a bit of tweaking. I’m so thankful for your site and your wonderful presence in this community.

  83. Reading this made me feel like I am not alone. While I haven’t had to endure your exact pain with ulcerative colitis, I am currently going through topical steroid withdrawal (TSW). The usual story for most people going through TSW is getting prescribed stronger corticosteroids to suppress “eczema” which in fact is steroid induced eczema. I used very potent steroid creams until that didn’t work anymore and I was put on a week long course of prednisone. I decided I had enough of these medications and that’s when I found the non-profit organization called ITSAN which truly has been a blessing. Through complete withdrawal of topical steroids, one can truly heal, though the withdrawal process is grueling and terrifying. I’m so happy I stumbled upon your blog. While I have been living a healthy life since I started college, there are things on here that I’ve never even heard about like electro pollution and ways to deal with it. Thank you so much for all your articles and guides, you are wonderful and I wish you continued healing!

  84. Lauren, what a story – thank you so much for sharing this! I read that you were scared about pressing the publish button, but honestly this story will help so many people that it really needs to be shared! 🙂
    A friend of mine also contracted UC and has spent the past 5-6 years in the same way as you described – except that she mistakenly opted for the surgery last year. I had tried to talk her out of it, but I just didn’t know what else to offer her – now this resource is available and it’s amazing! Thanks so much for sharing, whilst it won’t save my friend, I am sure it will save many others. Well done for sharing, very brave! 🙂

  85. Lauren, you give people hope and maybe this is why you were put on this earth.

    It is often the people who suffer the most also help others the most because you understand both physical and emotional pain.

    Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful and unselfish girl you are. I’m guessing that you are in your early twenties. Is this correct?

  86. My 12 yo son was diagnosed with UC in January. After two months on the anti-inflammatory medicine I found a nutritionist because I knew it could not be true that “what you eat doesn’t make a difference” as the gastro dr. had told us. My son was tested for food sensitivities and gluten, dairy and eggs came up for him. Along with that he has a Candida yeast overgrowth so our diet (I have been doing it with him for support and to make sure he is getting enough to eat) has been very similar to Paleo. He is allowed to eat beans/legumes but not peanuts and rice and oatmeal occasionally until later in the diet but we have not been allowed to progress because he isn’t healing. He is still passing blood regularly and has great anxiety and lethargy. I see that your diet allows NO grains right away as well as no beans or nightshades. Do you think that will make the difference? We have been doing this diet for almost three months and he is sooooo sick of it! It is much harder for a child to understand but he is doing pretty well considering. If I thought that going stricter for 30 days would make the difference I think he would be willing with an end in sight. One of our biggest worries is that he has lost 13 pounds so far and he didn’t have much body fat to start with, he was a gymnast. Any help would be appreciated. I am constantly reading articles and studying all I can but it can be very confusing. Thank you for sharing your story. It makes me very happy that we are helping him heal now and not years from now. Blessings!

    • I highly recommend listening to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s lectures on youtube, her website gaps.me, and the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) book. Yes, eliminating grains and beans will help, but it will likely take longer than 30 days to heal. I also recommend looking into the 4 R gut healing protocol.

  87. Thankyou for sharing your story in such detail. That takes courage. Unfortunately, trauma is not a stranger to many people, including myself. It has made me stronger and I’m still working. In 2012, my thyroid suddenly went belly up (I don’t know why) and I’m wondering if you could recommend a protocol (website perhaps) for this. I am careful with what I eat and have been for over 30 years, low carbs, I don’t bake, I don’t use sugar, I eat Dave’s Killer organic sprouted grain bread (the sprouted grains are dried and dehydrated, so there is no flour per se), loads of large salads, Beauregard yams (no white potatoes), Forbidden rice (black rice), beans, eggs, kefir & Kimchi which I make myself, fish, lamb, beef and shrimp. I grow quite a few of our vegetables.

    Thanks.

  88. Your story is not uncommon. But spending a lot of money to become a practitioner is difficult for most. I wish you blessings and success.
    I suggest you research epigenetics and lunasin.
    Our company has spent 26 years in the field of nutritional supplements. Our products are patented: to get the patents we have had to prove the efficacy of our products.
    Our products sustain health for 40,000+ mostly children in feeding stations in Haiti, Smoky Mountain garbage dump in Manilla, etc. providing 1 shake/per day 365 days/year.
    Many people on our products report that immune system problems are most responsive to taking 2 shakes per day. We don’t need to become our own expert to realize the benefits of health.
    Witness, my friend Carolyn was bedridden for 8 years, her immune system was severely compromised: she suffered pain 24/7 from fibromyalgia, epilepsy, psoriatic arthritis to name a few. Since she added our nutritional shakes and our lunasin capsules to her daily food intake in Dec 2013, she is no longer needing any wheelchair/walker. She is up and active from 8:30am. Her seizures are down from 3 small/day and 1 large per week to several small seizures/month.
    UC is an immune system problem. Many who share their experience in our Monday night calls have seen such results by simply adding our shakes to their food intake (this is all food, not drugs, no warning labels – even vitamin bottles have warning labels) that they say “I’ll never be without my _____ Shake !”

  89. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m so happy that you are going to Bastyr. Your path is continuing in the best direction. My daughter has been having unexplained gut problems for 8 weeks now. She’s five years old. You’ve inspired me to put our family on the GAPS diet. I’ve done it in the past just for myself, I think this might be the answer to getting her health back. Thank you.

  90. Came across your story, through a post on Facebook that a friend commented on. (Alana McLaughlin, just graduated Basytr). Your story is ALL to familiar. My now 16 year old daughter has UC. Diagnosed is summer 2012. Bleeding internally for almost 2 months. Flushing blood. Vomiting blood. She NEVER said anything to her dad or stepmom. Lost about 15 lbs in a 2 week span. She was on her death bed by this point. Finally in hospital. Two blood transfusion. That is where we would stay for two and a half weeks. Diagnosis was 13 ulcers in colon. MANY meds. Moon face. She was miserable. Nothing was working and there were two options left… Surgery and Remicade infusions. We opted for Remicade w/ hopes of it working. Praise God, it has put her remission. She has been for 1 1/2years now. She is still in denial about having UC, but hoping as she gets older, she will be open to changing her eating habits (she LOVES food!!) and accept it. For now, this is the best option for her, every 8 weeks an infusion. Your story is inspiring and hope she can become inspired as well. Good luck to you and congratulations!! 🙂

  91. Hello
    I don’t understand why these doctors are not in prison. My husband is a doctor (ophthalmology), and we see these patient some times in our practice , I am personal trying to save them by referring them to the right books of healing the guts.

  92. Thank you for sharing your story! I have 4 autoimmune diseases, most life changing of which was Celiac disease in May…since then I have been on my own journey to health. I have autoimmune hepatitis and have been on prednisone since I was 12 – 22 years!! So I know the effects of that all too well. I also experience ridiculous hair loss recently and realizing going just gluten free wasn’t the trick to heal myself and my autoimmune skin disease, I have now found the paleo lifestyle. Hoping for great things to come by healing my gut first and foremost.

  93. You continue to inspire me the more I truly get to know you through your blog!
    My journey is similar yet different (no eating or weight issues) and I too now am slowly returning from the elimination diet called SCD. getting the gluten out of my life has helped immensely and so has your blog ie research and recipes and lovely positive spirit. Finding the foods to nourish my body and allow me to thrive can be exhausting trial and error.
    Many thanks for being you and sharing.
    I wish you surrounded and filled with Love and light!
    From love and above,
    Donna

  94. Amazing testimony! My 13 year son was diagnosed with Chron’s in July 2014 after searching for 5-6 mos. for answers thru natural supplements trying to avoid the medical route. He has been able to take a diet only approach to healing because of one doctor I believe God placed on His medical team when we admitted him to a children’s hospital. We took him to the ER desperate for answers. He was a very severe case, was very malunourished and had lost 23 lbs. Praise a God he has bpnever had to take any medication. He lived on a Ensure only diet for 12 weeks and we gradually moved into a SCD/Autoimmune Paleo Diet! He’s never had a flare up and I’m so thankfully for blogs like this one that testify to the healing a grain free diet can make. I did my own research and we have been so thankful to see him return to his old funny self. He’s gained all 23 lbs back and lives a normal life. I’m still learning and changing our whole families diet. I’m anxious to read more of your blog! Thank you for sharing your story! It’s such an encouragement and reinforcement to our experience.

  95. I came across your site tonight. My medical doctor told me I needed to go on this diet and your site is the first one I have found. I have seen multiple doctors for 1.5 years and I am coming of prednisone now. I am so heartsick that my kids have seen me only in pain. So much of what you shared is similar to me.

    My doctor told me that we have ruled out big things and that medicines will not help except to mask some symptoms. He is convinced that I need to try this new way of eating. I will admit that I feel a combo of skepticism and just plain being bummed about the daunting prospect with a family and I travel a lot for work. I plan to target January 1 to start though. Anyhow, thanks for your site.

  96. Lauren,

    I had read something on your site that mentioned “My Story” and I had wondered if it might be similar to my own story. Indeed, it is! I had my experience with UC about 10 years ago. I remember the doctors often spoke of cutting edge treatments that at the time seemed like science fiction. I had high doses of prednisone and roughly 20 pills I had to take a day, and yes, I lost some of my hair! And I recall the days that climbing the stairs felt like running a marathon – I say this from personal experience because I was a long distance runner in high school! The sheer stress from being sick would in turn cause more sickness and continue on with the vicious cycle. I wish I also knew that diet could have saved me from losing my colon. There was much pressure from the surgical team to have the surgery. And although it was a lifesaver at that point, I would have liked to have at least tried to use nutrition to heal my insides. You are a courageous person to put this information out there for others to know there are other options. Its not easy to tell “your story” since many will never have to endure the kind of pain and discomfort and chronic illness that we have. To understand, one needs to go through our experience. But I wouldnt wish that journey on my worst enemy. It was truly an astonishing experience. Thank you for sharing your story, its comforting to know there are some that can really comprehend that particular life event.

    =)
    Jennifer Martin

  97. Lauren,

    I can relate to so much of your story. I can remember going to college in 2008 only months after I’d been diagnosed with UC. There are only a few places harder to deal with living with UC than at college!!

    I was lucky for the most part in school, and can count the number of flare ups I had on one hand – but once I got one they lasted for months. Prednisone was usually needed to get it under control.

    Fast forward to today – May 2015 will be 7 years that I’ve had UC. Since then I’ve also been diagnosed with PCOS, and have been battling my most recent struggle with severe anxiety and depression and am currently taking Prozac.

    I started experimenting with the Paleo diet in 2013 once I started working and could afford to buy my own healthy food. I was fascinated by the diet and stuck with it pretty consistently for about a year – with some slip ups during the Holidays, mostly baked goods, my weakness.

    I’m curious as to how your body handled eggs, nuts/coconuts and nightshades? I removed them from my diet a couple of months ago but haven’t really noticed changes either way. Secondly, have you noticed if your hormones play a role in your flareups? I know mine do, with the flare ups being worse around ovulation and then my period and much less bleeding and symptoms right before both those timeframes.

    Just curious about your experience here, I know everyone is different! I look forward to reading much more of your blog!

    -Erika, PA

  98. I just wanted to “thank you” for sharing your story with us. Your blog does make a difference in my life as well as those who read it. I find myself looking forward to getting them.Again, a heartfelt thanks to you!

  99. Aloha and Mahalo Dear Lauren.

    Thank you for sharing your journey and your unique voice on this path of liberation. Your story is so similar to my own and I am sure, immeasurably, many others. Thank you for being willing to put it all on the line for our benefit.

    Like yours may our difficulties be transformative. May we all be empowered and empowering as we continue to undo the “Hard Times” stored in each of our health challenges.

  100. Lauren, I used to have fabulous health but was struck a few years ago with have mast cell activation, dysautonomia, autoimmune chronic urticaria, and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, (all part of the mast cell issue, or at least they are trying to figure it out at the moment what came first the chicken or the egg. MCAS or EDS?) But even so called healthy foods are my nemesis, especially the high histamine ones. There is so much information out there, and I am 50, but yet, you continue to teach me. Thank you so much for your blog. I have tried every diet and I have about 24 nutrition and diet books, but your blog has been extremely helpful. I recently cut out all grains, SO HARD. But next will be dairy and oxalates since I have kidneys stones after going vegan. So will give the autoimmune paleo a try. I am hopeful to get back to my fabulous health I had just a few years ago. XXOO to you sweet girl for helping us sift through the exhausting amount of information out there. And kudos to your sweet treat recipes! I love them. They have been a great way to transition from now grain.
    Maiysa

  101. Hi Lauren,
    Hope you are doing well. I’m trying to piece together your story with what you are posting currently and am wondering if I missed a post. I’d love to hear about how you transitioned from SCD/AIP to a more liberal paleo diet. I’ve noticed that most of the recipes you post nowadays have things like arrowroot flour, coconut sugar, and maple syrup, which I know are illegal on SCD. I know there was a point after you wrote this post where you weren’t feeling well, so I’m trying to figure out what led you to switch to a more liberal diet. (And I hope one day I can do the same!)
    Thanks, Khara

  102. Hi Lauren!
    Thankful for your blog, research and hard work! I just purchased coconut flour and am excited to use it. I also purchased the ox bile salt! I am excited for some healing

    Do you still follow Christ? I saw it on your about section before but not any more. I liked that you stand up for your faith in Him!

    ~Mary

  103. Hi Lauren!

    Your story really moved me. I pray to Lord that you heal completely and many generations to come can benefit from your research. 🙂

    I live in the Middle East, I never exactly had a healthy life style but I’m trying hard to change it. Recently i stopped bringing sugar and making sweets, i bought kerry gold butter and i also bought some shredded coconut to make the flour after reading your blog, and I’m enjoying it. Hopefully i can stick to it.
    I want to make the buttermints soon 🙂

    I was just wondering if there is an exclusive Online Nutritional Therapy Practitioner course that I can do from home?

    Thanks!

    xox

  104. great site, really – you re an inspiration 🙂
    Did your hair regrow?I ask because, I ve lost many many hair due to a Thyroid problem and i could cry every time i look in the mirror….do you have tips ?a natural remedy?do you know if it will regrow?

    thanks aline from Germany

  105. Hi Lauren!
    I feel so grateful that I just read your story. I was just looking for the perfect sweet potato instructions again because I’m making them right now and I had a strong feeling I should look into your blog further. I’ve had severe pains in my pelvic region and left side a few months ago that is now recurring because of stress of just moving last month. I went to a naturopath, a physician and even the emergency room who sent me home without any tests (I also had blood in my stool from taking excedrin for my migraine that made my side hurt even more and was super scared) They just sort of shrugged it off and gave me no explanations or peace of mind. I have no clue what these symptoms are from and my google searches always end with ovarian cysts (which I’ve had), endometriosis, infertility, colon issues and the like. I’ve been praying to find answers because I have lost faith in medical doctors after the mess I’ve been through brought me back home in tears. The naturopath only could recommend a gluten free diet which I tried but made my period just stop completely and PMS went through the roof which I never really had before (actually going through now and feel like my head is going to pop). I would like to try autoimmune paleo diet because I was researching it a bit before I found your blog, but I feel completely lost and frustrated right now. The strange thing is & why I’m commenting is that you lived in northern VA and are now moving back to Seattle to attend Bastyr. I was researching Bastyr right before we moved and decided after being laid off this winter that I want to pursue a career change in nutrition and natural medicine. We just moved to northern VA for my husbands job and now they are sending us to Seattle area next month! I read the part about you opening a practice a there and it gave me hope that there will be help for me. I would love to look you up in 2016 when you are established 🙂 I feel God led me to make these sweet potatoes today & so I could read your words of comfort & reassurance that there is hope. Thanks for your inspiration and Praise His name!
    All the best,
    Lori

  106. Lauren,

    Your story is shockingly similar to mine, and although you and I have had this problem for about the same amount of time, and we have both found a non-medical way to survive it, I am very much older than you. I am 64 years old now but my ulcerative colitis started only about six or eight years ago.

    I was given the same advice and treatment from the MD community. Toxic pills that were likely to destroy nearly every vital organ, along with steroids to help make them work. My MD doctor told me when the pills became ineffective, I would have to have my colon removed. He said “we don’t really know what causes it” but adamantly refused to listen to any suggestion that my diet had any effect on it.

    I went to a naturopath who graduated from Bastyr and she started me on a diet of only white rice while the results of my blood tests came back. They showed that I was allergic to dairy primarily, and gluten, egg whites, beef, and kidney beans. Then I was allowed to eat anything except those things and have been doing quite well ever since.

    I stopped taking the toxic medication and have not been back to see any members of the MD profession.

    Jim

  107. Hello Lauren,
    Thank you for sharing your story. So many need to hear the direct correlation between health and emothions. I can also relate with the Prednisone part of your life. I was “diagnosed” with Lupus at age 10, and sentenced to the next 5 years with Prednisone use starting with a whopping dose of 60 ml grams. I’m working on my own story in hopes to help others, but a quick observation I had many years later was how the symptoms that brought me into the doctor was never correlated with the emotional stress I was under in my home. It was my wonderful mother who also planted the seed of “alternative” ideas outside the medical options that were presented. After two major blood clots (one at age 21 and another at 28) I really really started looking more into natural health through foods, exercise, etc. having been spurred on by the doctor who took the time to look back and not find any evidence of Lupus and know that blood thinners were NOT a long term option given their life taking risks. After finding essential oils I began to understand more of the emotional part and how it was continuing to cause problems.
    You have inspired me to write my story on my blog and hope to encourage others to start with their gut! .

  108. I just finished reading your post and it has me in tears. I relate to your journey as a perfectionist so closely. I call myself a “recovering achievement addict.” I, too, tangled in food issues, wrestled with health issues that were eventually my saving grace, & am now into my journey of wholeness. thank you for sharing & for the resources on this blog. it means a lot.

  109. I enjoy reading your blog and plan to try some of the recipes you’ve posted.

    I spent some time on prednisone as well and was able to come off it only when one nutrition response practitioner told me to stop consuming gluten. I’m being treated for candida now and waiting to see where this takes me…So far conventional doctors have been completely wrong and useless in every step of the way for me too.

    My whole family reads your blog. [We’ve all got digestive issues] –Thanks for sharing your information!

  110. Thank you Lauren for your honesty. I started the Autoimmune Paleo diet 10 months ago after not having a diagnosis for 8 years. I’m interested in studying mind-body nutrition formally within the next few years or so. The way you’ve processed your story is healing for yourself and others.

    • I forgot to add another thing for which I’m grateful to my healing journey – connecting to other bloggers like you! Thank you for your comment and I’m glad our paths have crossed online… and hopefully they will cross in person one day soon.

  111. Hi Lauren,

    I’m currently a sophomore in college, and when I stumbled across your blog today, I was breathtaken by the number of parallels between your story and mine. My UC symptoms started when I was in middle school, and unbeknownst to even my closest friends, continued on into high school and college. I am also on a full scholarship at my university and have hidden my symptoms so well that most people have no idea when I am in pain. For years, my parents did not believe that I needed counseling and that my emotional wellbeing would follow once my physical condition was improved. I started therapy and support groups only last year, and I can sympathize deeply with the yearning you felt for someone to understand the pain you felt in your early years. Joining the club rowing team last semester was the greatest step I had ever taken towards healing, and I agree with you, sports and activity have so many more benefits than meets the eye. My teammates are my biggest supporters!

    Fortunately, my family has always been into natural remedies and I was able to get on a combination of herbal and Western medications that has put me into near remission. I started writing this comment so that I could thank you for your post and kind of got off topic, but “No one knew that would flush blood down the toilet when I used the bathroom” and the following descriptions of medication side effects is the single most poignant paragraph I have read in a while about IBD. It is so true. I’m thankful for my non-flare months, but I’m also thankful for my flares in a way because it allows me to relate to and draw inspiration from people like you who have worked with their disease and thrived. Sometimes, every day is a struggle to manage all of my medications and food restrictions (I am also gluten free and vegan) on my own without having people to talk to about it all of the time. But it seems like it’s worth it in the end. Thank you for never giving up 🙂

    ~Ro

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Lauren Geertsen, NTP

I’m an author, entrepreneur, and nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP). I began this website at 19, to share the steps that freed my life of chronic disease and medication. Now, Empowered Sustenance has reached 30 million readers with healthy recipes and holistic resources.

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