I always followed the latest recommendations on health and nutrition.
At the time, the dietary guidelines were very little fat and 6 – 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta a day.
So to get those servings in, we had cereal for breakfast, whole wheat bread sandwiches and maybe pasta with veggies and just a little meat for dinner. Everything was very low fat according to the guidelines but to boost flavor, there was plenty of sugar! We were taught that as long as we didn’t go over our calorie limits, sugar was fine.
When I was a young woman, I developed almost constant stomach pain and tenderness in my abdomen. I also experienced wide-spread aches in my body. I didn’t know what was wrong with me!
I went to doctors for my stomach pain who sent me for upper and lower gastric scope tests. Everything looked good! I was told that I was a healthy young woman. I was told that I must be feeling nervous and to eat more fiber. I knew that I did eat a good diet with lots of natural fiber, but added the fiber supplements as they recommended. All that did was cause more bloating.
One doctor even put me on an anti-depressant. But it made me feel so tired and ‘out of it’ that I didn’t take it for long. I didn’t feel depressed. I just didn’t feel good! I accepted that I must be “just nervous” and tried to live with the pain and the feeling of unease within my body.
When information became more readily available on the Internet, (yes, I do go back a ways) I began reading more about gluten intolerance and celiac disease. The symptoms sounded like what I was experiencing. I removed most gluten containing foods – wheat, barley and rye – from my diet. This did help some but the pain and bloating were still there.
I had the test for celiac and a stomach bacterium called H-pylori and they were negative. This is a very good thing but I still didn’t know what caused my problems! I was told that I should take stomach acid reducing medicine. So, I did. But that didn’t help either.
Over time, I began to connect ALL the dots and finally found the path to tame my inflammation and reverse my ever-increasing chronic symptoms.
Please read on because what I learned may work for you.
After following a gluten-free diet for a couple of years along with continuing to eat a low-fat and mostly vegetarian diet, I had less stomach pain, but my bloating and constipation were still a problem and I began to develop new symptoms!
I began to suffer from asthma with a chronic cough. I battled one cold after another which would frequently turn into a sinus or chest infection. I had unexplained skin rashes. I was ‘puffy’ – especially in my hands and around my eyes. My eyes were also always red, itchy, watery, I had frequent eye infections and often pain with light sensitivity. Some days I would sneeze and sneeze – even though it was not allergy season. I also had very cold hands and feet and was gaining weight in spite of watching my diet (which I now know are symptoms of my Hashimotos thyroid problems).
And the big kicker: I was told my blood glucose levels were getting close to the diabetic range and my cholesterol numbers were increasing. What!!
I know that many of these conditions develop as people get older. However, I thought I was doing all the ‘right things’ that we have been told to do with diet and exercise. I was still eating a very low fat and mostly vegetarian diet and tried to stay away from too many desserts.
So why was I so sick all the time? I was not willing to just accept it just because I was getting older. I just didn’t know what more I could do!
So, I went the medication route: I started taking a daily inhaler for my asthma, which is a steroid and very expensive medicine. I took multiple courses of antibiotics for cough and lingering sinus congestion. I went to eye doctors and tried different prescriptions as recommended. I used a topical steroid on my rashes. I had been taking a daily dose of polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX) plus occasional harsh laxatives to combat chronic constipation for years.
I did not want to go through the rest of my life getting sicker and sicker and taking more and more medications to treat my growing list of symptoms. I wanted to get to the root of WHY I was getting sick and turn it around.
Sound familiar? Have you been developing an increasing number of symptoms, perhaps also including anxiety and depression? Keep reading.
Finally, it was the biggest connection of all that really made the difference for me. I listened to a couple of podcasts about sugar addiction.
Sugar addiction? Not me, I thought. Although I loved my bites of chocolate or a gluten-free cookie, I’ve never especially liked super sweet foods and drinks so how could I have a problem with sugar?
However, it was the facts about the astronomical increase of sugars in our daily diets and how many people become addicted to sugar without even realizing it, that really caught my interest.
At the time, I was a Chef for women’s retreats where I prepared dishes using fresh whole foods, gluten-free and organic as much as possible. Many of the women who attend reported a reduction in their acid reflux and tummy troubles after eating what I served for just that short time. I knew I was on to something.
And I must say they loved the food, not even noticing there was no wheat/gluten. But I wondered, what if sugar is also a problem?
I also teach cooking classes with a focus on cooking for those with food sensitivies. I knew I should take processed sugar into consideration with my recipes.
That is when the light bulb went on and I realized what food I was still consuming regularly and what food turned out to be one the biggest culprits of my own continued chronic symptoms. Processed sugar!
I began my research to understand how high carbohydrate – but low nutrition – processed foods affect our health. With testing from a functional medical practitioner, I was diagnosed with several nutrient deficiencies and gut microbiome dysbiosis (in other words, the ‘good and bad’ bacteria in my intestines were all out of whack). This often happens when we eat the processed foods that are common in our diets today over a long period of time.
I learned that most of us need to eat more healthy fats and protein. And guess what? The bonus is that healthy fats are delicious and satisfying and that helps us lose weight!
I have learned so much. My most trusted resource was the Chris Kresser website. I appreciated that the information in their articles was backed by the latest scientific research. Chris Kresser and his team strive to help those who aren’t able to find relief in the conventional medical system. They are not just selling products.
That’s why I decided to invest my time and energy into their training program to become an ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach (A-CFHC). ADAPT Health Coach Training is an approved National Board of Health & Wellness Coach program. I found my calling in helping others learn how to take charge of their own well-being.
I now feel great, have lots of energy and am super happy to finally understand what I need to do to maintain my health, my weight and my zest for life!
Did you know that the average American consumes over 60% of their calories from wheat and sugar, which are practically devoid of nutrients? These processed foods kick up inflammation in most people which, over time, leads to a many chronic conditions.
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
As a Health Coach, I help people break free from chronic illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders with changes to diet and lifestyle. I am not a medical practitioner and I do not diagnose or give specific dietary advice – that is for a qualified medical practitioner to do.
I’m here for people who have struggled to implement difficult diet and lifestyle changes that have been recommended by their doctors or that they have decided to make. I empower people to take charge of their happiness and well-being by changing their daily routines and habits in a way that is sustainable.
I am also a Group Laughter Leader. Bringing more joy to our life makes such a difference for feeling good again. What better way to do that than by laughing out loud?
You can feel good again!
You can renew your vitality by simply learning to eat delicious REAL FOODS that nourish you while avoiding some foods that cause an inflammatory response. You can do this without being hungry.
You can also learn how to de-stress and then as you feel better, you will begin to enjoy many activities again.
I can help you.
This is my mission:
To help people take control of their health with supportive and non-judgmental coaching as they navigate the difficult process of behavoral change.
This is my qualification:
Barb Woods is an ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach with intensive training in coaching competencies and education in the Functional Medicine and ancestral health approach to health and wellness from the ADAPT Health Coach Training: An Approved National Board of Health & Wellness Coach Program.
Barb is also a Chef and Cooking Instructor, specializing in cooking for food sensitivities teaching others how to enjoy a diet of nutritious and delicious foods.
Laughter Leader training with Cynthia Paris of Laughing with Cynthia, a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher and founding Director of Laughter Yoga USA, affiliated with Laughter Yoga International, a global movement for health, happiness and world peace.
Licensed Certified Vibrational Sound Therapist, trained by the Vibrational Sound Association. Barb is an accomplished practitioner utilizing hand-hammered Himalayan singing bowls, crystal singing bowls and chimes to create soothing tones for a relaxing and enjoyable vibrational sound experience.