My Wellness Journey
It is a stretch for me to reveal my personal health history, as I am a pretty private person, but here goes anyway.
My interest in nutrition goes back to my teen years when I had my first challenge with being overweight. I ate the SAD (standard American diet), and didn’t like sports. Thank goodness we always lived too close to the schools, so I always had to walk to school (uphill both ways and against the wind, LOL) and swimming was the best way to keep cool in southern Ontario summers. Canadian Living magazine was my first “text book”, and I had my first ventures into the world of dieting and weight loss.
In my 20s and out on my own my new handbooks were Laurel’s Kitchen, and Adelle Davis’ books. I managed to figure out how to get my weight down to a reasonable level through periodic under-eating, aerobics classes 4 times a week and living in a small town with no car.
Before having children, I read William Dufty’s Sugar Blues and had my first brush with “orthorexia”. I eliminated sugar in all forms for about 5 years and noticed that my weight held rather steady for some time. I learned early on that sugar is everywhere and in many surprising places, and I became quite obsessive about avoiding it. Quite a challenge for someone with a lifelong sweet tooth.
At 27 I had my first child, still sugar free, I had an uncomplicated pregnancy that culminated in a Caesarian section. What did I do wrong to deserve that? Things went smoothly until introducing solid food. The first ear infection and bronchial pneumonia arrived at 9 months old. This was met with the first round of antibiotics and not much help from doctors as to how to prevent further infections. This started the voracious reading about allergies. First attempts at removing the primary suspect “dairy” led to a horrendous cough getting worse because I didn’t know about the “masking” effect and that symptoms get worse until the source is removed from the body which takes 4-5 days. The quest for help continued unmet, so more research was needed.
Baby #2 arrived just before I turned 30. I had gone back to sugar and ate much differently while chasing after a toddler. I suffered through a sinus infection and bladder infection. Finished it off with a VBAC, and had a sleepy, jaundiced but otherwise seemingly healthy baby girl.
Things progressed fairly smoothly for most of the toddler years but a chronic cough in me, and both children prompted me to finally remove dairy from our diets when they were 5 and 3. My son didn’t miss a day of school for illness for over 3 years. It became more difficult to control their diets during the rest of the school years with play dates and birthday parties, so the colds and sniffles returned, but at home meals were mostly dairy free and healthy.
By the time they were teenagers, I started going through peri-menopause. Not a fun ride at all with anemia, hypothyroidism, anxiety, general fatigue, hot flashes and heavy bleeding the order of the day for about 4 years. Thank goodness my first experience with a naturopath got me through in one piece. I learned a lot of more in-depth health information through her and wondered where someone like that was all my life. Menopause is something that isn’t talked about in the same way as pregnancy and childbirth and there isn’t the awareness that peri-menopause symptoms can start to show themselves in one’s 30s. More research ensued with regard to bio-identical hormones, diet, exercise, but exhaustion and a full time job made implementation difficult. However, I made it through to the other side in a calmer, even keeled state. I’m still managing hypothyroidism, and low bone density, but that keeps me eating well and exercising.
The death of my mother just before my 50th birthday was the impetus to finally call attention to the fact that I loved doing research on health, nutrition and wellness and it was time to formalize my knowledge. I quit my full-time job and enrolled in the Natural Nutrition course at Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and that brings me to where I am today. I’m still a work in progress with regard to my own health
I look forward to helping those in need with some of the things I have learned and embarking on a new journey doing what maybe should have been my life’s work had it been an option when I was trying to decide what to do when I grow up.
Tanya Sullivan is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant with many opinions on the state of our food and health.
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The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Tanya Sullivan C.H.N.C. Please note that Tanya Sullivan C.H.N.C. is not a dietitian, physician, pharmacist or other licensed healthcare professional. The information on this website is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health care professional. This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases. Always consult with your primary care physician or licensed healthcare provider for all diagnosis and treatment of any diseases or conditions, for medications or medical advice as well as before changing your health care regimen.