Gut and Brain Connection - My Story

How a holistic and healthy lifestyle changed my way of life for the better.

My Story,

From early childhood, I grappled with chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal discomforts, and emotional instability that often times ended in severe meltdowns. I struggled to keep pace with the other children at school or at dance class, had a difficult time interacting and socializing, and I was often times exhausted and moody.

At the onset of adolescence, hormonal imbalances further perpetuated cycles of exhaustion, mood swings, depression, rebellious and impulsive behavior, skin problems, and unwanted weight gain. In addition, I was often times sick and had been through several rounds of antibiotics. Although I grew up in a conservative family deeply rooted in mainstream medicine, my nutrition was comprised of a similar diet as many other kids’ in modern America; processed, packaged foods, conventionally raised meats, ultra-pasteurized dairy, and frozen produce that was microwaved, with the majority of my diet being on the go snacks loaded with carbohydrates and sugar. Even though I snacked all the time I often times felt hungry, and when I ate I never felt satisfied. Despite whatever and however much I ate, food always seemed to sit uncomfortably; it was almost painful to eat. Eventually, I began binging and purging, which was the start of a long, over ten year battle with an eating disorder that only wreaked havoc on my digestive system and further depleted my immune system.

After the birth of my daughter at a young age, I grappled with severe post-partum depression, and felt insecure with my changed body. One day, I came across an ad in a popular magazine for a breast-enhancing supplement. Wanting to improve my shape without having to undergo surgery, and believing the testimonies that this was a reputable and “safe” supplement for augmentation, I purchased the product and began their recommended regimen for the next year. During that time, the state of my digestive system rapidly deteriorated to the point where I was no longer capable of digesting any food. From then on, I discontinued the supplement and sought help from the mainstream medical community, seeing a variety of specialists, undergoing numerous uncomfortable and invasive procedures; all to be informed there was no clear diagnosis. I was prescribed laxatives and pain medications, but this only further exacerbated my problems. In my desperation for answers, I turned to the internet in an attempt to diagnose myself. It was amidst random keywords and extensive articles that I started to learn of holistic medicine, and came across an “integrative doctor” who had many years of experience in the fusion of western and eastern medicine. Feeling as if I had exhausted every other possible resource, I decided to see if alternative medicine could shed any light on the root cause of my sufferings. It was through integrative medicine that I was able to obtain laboratory tests that were not made available to me through conventional doctors.

I learned that I had an extreme overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, and that as a result my gut had become severely porous and “leaky” which was why I was not digesting food. My leaky gut was causing my immune system to attack itself, resulting in numerous food sensitivities and intolerances, hormonal imbalances, various nutrient deficiencies, and in general manifesting as a great deal of systemic, bodily inflammation and a severely depressed immunity. All of this was integrally connected to my childhood chronic fatigue, depression, and gastrointestinal problems, as I had already started off with a compromised gut, and over the years the situation worsened through poor diet, lack of proper nutrition, overuse of antibiotics and medications, and unhealthy lifestyle choices. The breast- enhancing supplement was in essence, the straw that broke the camel’s back.

My own condition caused me to contemplate the medical history of my immediate and extended family, many of whom are dealing with auto-immune conditions, varying degrees of autism and learning disabilities, food allergies, and various forms of depression. When I recognized my toddler daughter starting to display similar traits of my own childhood symptoms, it became paramount to me that not only I regain my health, but that I instill healthy lifestyle habits in my daughter now before her own symptoms worsened or manifested into something more serious later in life.

I realized that the process of regaining my health would be a problem not solved overnight with a pill, but would rather be a difficult journey requiring all of my energy and dedication, likely taking years to obtain a level of health that I had never had. I did extensive research and reading, and over the course of a year slowly transitioned myself off of poisonous, processed foods, refined sugar, gluten, and processed dairy. Still experiencing a majority of symptoms, I was blessed to stumble upon a specific gut healing protocol called GAPS, and have spent the last two years detoxifying and strengthening my digestive and immune systems through healing foods, addressing nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and routine detoxification cleanses. My journey to complete recovery is not instantaneous, but I have seen steady progress, and feel like a different person compared to what I have previously known life to be like. I am much more empowered with the knowledge and tools I need to have a lifetime of health and vitality ahead of me, and have learned that the journey to true healing is not a straight, direct path; it has bumps in the road, but through these struggles there are major breakthroughs that continue to motivate me through my decision to take my health in my own hands.

Furthermore, the health gains that I have seen in my daughter has provided me with all the evidence I need to know that we are on the right path, and is assurance I am doing the right thing by investing in our health. My daughter has grown into a healthy, happy little girl who has brought me so much joy and inspired me to reach out to other parents who want to ensure a healthy future for their children. For these reasons, I feel an integral part of my healing is to connect all members of the holistic health industry with the rest of the world so that we can work as a community to restore society to its “grass roots” of natural-based agriculture and nutritional values, decrease cases of chronic degenerative diseases, and ensure the health and vitality of our future generations.

Yours In Good Health,

Elizabeth Breuder