By Samantha Coffin, Health Coach and Office Manager
It is hard to share this story without going all the way back to the beginning. Ever since I can remember, all of my childhood I was sick. I don’t mean with colds and fevers but with a stomach that never felt right. I was visiting doctors and hospitals regularly but by the time I was a teenager, I had learned to accept this all as “normal”.
Now, when this all began, I was being raised by a single mom with three kids doing her best to stick to what doctors and the media were telling her to feed us. We always had cans of Juicy Juice in our house, mac and cheese, Wonderbread and canned vegetables. Calcium was important, fat was bad and juice was basically fruit and fruit is good, right?
Before heading off to college I was living with mild anxiety, wasn’t sleeping well and had an extremely unpredictable GI tract that left me feeling constantly bloated. Add those to the college environment of eating carb-dense and sugary foods, well, as you can imagine things got worse.
The meal that taught me it was my diet was a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, completely made with American brands we all know. I remember exactly where I was sitting when the lightbulb went off for me and I decided that I was no longer going to accept that feeling like that was normal because it was not.
Shortly after, my grandmother was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, which can be genetic. I got tested and immediately went on a gluten-free diet. My symptoms started subsiding within 3 days. Within a month I had lost 30 pounds and 2 shoe sizes. Clearly gluten had something to do with it.
In the years to come, I continued to listen to my body and really pay attention to how each and every food made me feel. I also became vocal about my experience and quickly learned I was not the only one. I began to encourage friends and family to complete rounds of Whole 30 with me, learning how their bodies react to certain foods. I was witnessing lives being transformed as loved ones began eating more whole foods and less sugar, preservatives and simple carbohydrates. I watched as a friend with hypothyroidism TSH numbers decreased with a gluten and dairy-free diet. My sister learned that a mostly vegan diet greatly supported her body’s ability to optimally function. Another friend learned what foods caused inflammation and irritated her Rheumatoid Arthritis. What I was witnessing seemed like a miracle to me at the time. Yet, what I was most fascinated with was how everyone’s bodies benefitted from a slightly different diet and even though most saw remarkable transformations, several strayed from their new discoveries and began again living a life full of debilitating symptoms. They all told me, they wanted to feel better but just didn’t know how to stay on track.
Fast forward to 2018 when I myself found it hard to maintain what had seemed previously like a habitual diet. I wanted to dig deeper into habits, choices and goal setting around our health and wellness. Shortly thereafter I found a program to become a certified health coach where I became captivated by the content. Now, with my certification in hand and continuing to expand my knowledge, I am excited to partner with individuals looking to optimize their health. Let’s do this!