Coach Kristen, MD - My Story
From the time I was quite young, I had issues with fatigue, depression, attention, and weight gain. I always attributed these problems to defects of character - I thought that I was just lazy and weak willed. All that changed in my early twenties when I found a book about the connection between diet, vitamin deficiency, mood, and food cravings. By applying the simple techniques in that book, I overcame food cravings, easily, lost the excess weight I'd been carrying, and felt in control of my life - for perhaps the first time ever.
And Then I Joined The Peace Corps
Soon after making these big changes, I made another dream come true - I joined the Peace Corps and moved to Africa for two years. Unfortunately it was impossible to maintain my diet and supplement routine while living in the village, and slowly but surely the weight crept back, as did the fatigue and depression. Despite that Peace Corps was a dream come true, I returned to the US in a poor state of health. I was demoralized, tired, and had forgotten all I'd learned.
Tony Robbins and Raw Foods
This time the reminder of the connection between food, mood, and energy came in the form of a boyfriend who had been introduced to the raw food diet at a Tony Robbins seminar. Inspired and intrigued, I bought a raw food recipe book and decided to challenge myself to one month of raw food living. The changes were astounding. I lost weight, and my skin and hair glowed. I looked better than I ever had in my life. More importantly, I felt spiritually and emotionally healthy in a way I'd never experienced. I was a believer. It was at that time that I started the application process for medical school, and a few years later started off on a path to learn to be a healer.
Medical School & Mold
My medical school years presented yet more health challenges. I tried to maintain my healthy eating patterns, but the stress of medical school got to me. During my third year of medical school I became very sick, with dizziness and deep bone and joint pain that I couldn't find the source of. I had insomnia and anxiety. Even my dogs were sick - one was lethargic constantly, and the other frequently seizing. A friend's husband did some testing and found out that I was living in an apartment with the highest concentration of toxic black mold he'd ever seen. No amount of raw foods and supplements was going to help me as long as I stayed there. So I took my dogs and left, losing most of my possessions in the process.
Everything Falls Apart
This was one of the darkest times of my life. I was sick, I had nowhere to live, and I was working 80 hour weeks in the hospital where I was expected to make a good impression - my career in medicine depending on it. Because of family friction, my parents wouldn't help me, and this made me question my previous understanding of the role of family. My world was crumbling, and I couldn't understand why.
True Healing, Yoga, & Serendipity
I've learned that it's only from such darkness that we learn about true healing, however. This time healing came in the form of relationships with people I now consider to be angels, therapy, and intensive yoga. I had to heal my body with the right foods and supplements, but I had to heal my trauma through yoga and therapeutic relationships, and I had to draw faith from people who loved me - good friends, mentors, and therapists. This was a pivotal part of my journey, because I realized we can't neglect the power of relationships and spiritual practice in health, nor can we feign understanding of all the powers at play in creating health and wellness. Serendipitous events during that dark year defy explanation, and have given me a reverence for that which is beyond our conscious awareness and control. For example, at one point, when I'd given up, my longtime mentor called me saying he "sensed" something was wrong and he made me fight for my medical degree. Another time a stranger gave me $1800 so that I could pay rent at a new place and finish my last month of medical school.
Food, Yoga, and Guidance
I'm on the other side of all that pain now, and I can confidently say that I'm happier than I've ever been. Why? Because I do all those things that are health promoting - my body is cared for with fruits, veggies, and supplements, my spirit is cared for with yoga and breathing, and my emotions are cared for with good friends and positive influences. I continue to learn lessons about the importance of recognizing that which is health giving and that which is not, and boundarying myself appropriately. I have my own cadre of "coaches" in the form of friends and mentors I now consciously keep close.
My descent into what I felt was my personal hell allowed me to learn about real healing, and I can honestly say I'm grateful for the suffering I endured because it's positioned me to help others. Let me help you get healthy - it just takes one small step at a time. Perhaps reading this is serendipitous for you. Let's take this journey together.