© 2013 jen

My Journey Back To Health: Gut Feelings

Most of us are born pretty healthy.  Usually it’s not until we’re in our 40s that we start to realize, “This health business doesn’t come fo’ free.”  As we get older we pay for our health on the front or back end.

As far as I can tell, there’s an age that everyone gets to where we can pay for our health with fresh produce, exercise classes or equipment, and consulting with a nutritional therapist or naturopath, or we can pay for it on the back end, when we’re sicker, with testing, diagnosing, medications, procedures, etc. – but either way, we pay for our health.

I didn’t always believe that my health came at a cost. I ate and drank everything. I was born with one of the strongest stomachs on the planet, even though I’m a Celiac.

I never exercised.

Once I found out what was causing my constant sickness (bronchitis, asthma, joint issues, muscle fatigues and strains, brain fogs, slight dizziness and various other body woes), I realized I had to get serious about my health.

For me, cutting out gluten was not enough. My insides were ravaged from years of eating food that was poisonious to me. I needed additional support.

I started reading everything I could get my hands on that might possibly fix my completely broken digestive system.

When your body is showing signs of food sickness to many things, it’s a sign that your digestive system is pretty damaged and the only way to get back to health is by doing some more intensive healing.

It’s hard to give the gut enough of a break when you have to eat, but the alternative is to live with many chronic food allergies.

These were the recommendations I found online:

1. Work with a nutritionist

2. Do an intensive elimination diet

I did both, but when I met with the nutritionist at the gastroenterologist’s office she seemed to know less than I did. She really couldn’t answer some of my questions, but it was when I told the nutritionist that I was having issues with not digesting foods and she suggested I take fiber supplements for the rest of my life, that I knew this wasn’t the right route for me. (Woah Nelly, I don’t want to take any supplements that I can get from food.)

I realized that the traditional nutritionist was going to be way too entrenched in mainstream modern medicine – take a pill, fit the mold and keep coming to me, so I can fix you.

I needed something different.

That’s where Courtney Cronk came in. She’s a nutritional therapist and I think she pretty much saved my insides.


A friend of mine referred her to me. She is like a naturopath, but for nutrition. Did you know that MDs aren’t trained in nutrition? So if you’re going to your regular doctor for nutrition information it’s sorta like going to a tire company for bodywork – not the people for the job.

When I started seeing Courtney my body wasn’t able to process tons of foods. I couldn’t process any dairy, most nuts, there were no grains that went down well, soy was an issue for me. Potatoes were upsetting my stomach, tomatoes too, and I was suspecting that corn was becoming an issue as well. My diet was seriously limited and seemingly getting worse.

I spent most of my time in bed trying to recover from the last meal I ate or feeling hungry and unsatisfied, because there were so few things that I wasn’t reacting to. I was bloated after every meal. Bathroom experiences weren’t awesome. Things got so bad at one point I was no longer even digesting food. I had to take fiber supplements just to digest and then the supplements would suck all the food and hydration out of me, so I’d feel hungry and unsatisfied again. I was in a loop of constant stomach sickness, which for a girl who could eat anything was seriously messing with my self image and lifestyle, but Courtney helped me change all of this.

Courtney assessed me, by doing a number of hands-on procedures, including feeling various parts of my stomach to find out exactly where the damage was. When I started with her, my entire digestive system was really ravaged and sore, but as I began to do the elimination diet – cutting out more allergens from my diet and taking high doses of natural supplements to repair my digestion – I started to feel better.


I took a lot of supplements temporarily, just to give my gut a boost: Colon-plus caps, IPS, Optimal EFAs, plus tons of others. The next time I was assessed, all of my digestive issues had moved down to my lower colon area. I no longer had issues in my upper GI tract. I kept taking my supplements and then I no longer had issues in my lower GI tract.

My insides were healing, for the first time in my life. My body was receiving and holding on to nutrients in a new way. I began to be able to consume dairy again, nuts, potatoes and tomatoes again. Now I can eat everything, except gluten.

I felt like a new person. Better than I did in my 20s. Today when I scan my body for discomfort, there is not an ache or pain anywhere. My entire system feels different and not just my stomach.

I’m healed systemically.

After working with Courtney, I mostly have my iron belly back. It’s not foolproof, but overall, I’m much better.

I’ve also started consuming raw cow’s milk and goat’s milk, mostly in the form of cheese that I make myself, that comes from a local farm which Courtney told me about. Here’s the goat that some of the milk came from and here’s one of the two adult milking cows with her baby.



She also shared a cool tool with me that juliennes food. It’s a great tool for making vegetable based “noodles” to go with sauces, instead of grain-based noodles with pasta sauce. Such a healthier alternative.

There are so many things that she’s helped me with, like creative ways to increase my water intake: lemon, basil water, rosemary lime water, etc.

In the fall I’m going to sign up for Courtney’s weight loss class, because even though I’ve lost weight, I could lose more. My blood glucose levels are very close to pre-diabetic and about the only thing left for me to do is lose a few more pounds to bring my levels down. Her class actually covers weight loss, digestive problems, food allergies and much more – right up my alley. Here’s the flyer in case you’d like more info about her class.


The only additional thing I know about her weight loss class that isn’t on the flyer is that it’s a lifestyle approach: no special foods, no counting points, it’s about long term change, not getting you hooked on a program or specialty foods and if you feel the necessity she can help you contact the best plastic surgeon in Sydney to lose even more weight. It’s about creating new habits so you can manage your weight yourself.

I will not be someone suffering from diabetes in my future if I can prevent it, and I believe I can. I’m doing everything possible now to prevent it from coming my way. I’m paying for my health on the front end. I’m actually happy to pay for my health in this way, so that I don’t have to pay for it later in sickness.

I truly believe that if you have good health as a younger person, you’re likely to maintain that health throughout your life. If you’re finding yourself becoming less healthy, especially in your 40s, it’s a sign to step up the health factor, so that as you age you can take your good health with you.

How will you pay for your health?

Are you struggling with stomach issues or other systemic health issues: frequent colds, asthma, aches and pains? Are you finding that you’re sensitive to more and more foods? Do you need a gut reboot?

Contact Courtney.

She’s been a total gamechanger in my life and she can do that for you!




  1. Posted September 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm | #

    As always you continue to inspire. Jen, I am so grateful for this last year getting to know you and learning from you. I am grateful that you recommended Courtney to me. The past 12 weeks have made the biggest impact with my shift towards SCD, but the best part about it all… is that you and Courtney have been there cheering me on, supporting me at every turn, and reminding me that I am not alone.

    Bless you my friend. You’re a gift.

    • Posted September 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm | #

      Cinda, you are so sweet! I love having you in my life too. So glad you’re feeling better. It’s wonderful to watch you heal! xo

  2. Alyssa
    Posted September 14, 2013 at 8:50 pm | #

    Wow! Great article. It’s so true and I really like what you say about paying for health one way or another.

    I think that buying the best quality and most healthful foods that you can is so important! Sometimes I feel bad about spending extra for organic, or specialty health food items or important supplements- but you are so right- these are investments in my future! I should feel great about making my health a priority and enjoy it and all the delicious healthy eats that I am so lucky to enjoy along the way ;)

    Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you found a way to help yourself feel better through nutrition– I wish everyone could know the important connections between food and health! Congrats!