Rachel is a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association (NutritionalTherapy.com). Though a Pacific Northwest girl at heart, she lives in Hampton Roads, Virginia, enjoying her free time with her church family, traveling as much as she can, playing music, drawing, watching anime, cooking, and learning about nutrition, community, counseling, and the Word of God.
‘My story with food began only a few years ago, although it really began much earlier. I ate boxed mac ‘n cheese and root beer as a kid like everyone else, but as a teenager my family was introduced to the culinary world of fine foods and wines when my uncle became a Master Sommelier, and we dove deeply into the art of the taste experience. I never ate as good as I did at home. Not even the 5 Star restaurants I’ve experienced could come close; the salmon was mediocre at best. No one cooked salmon like my Grandpa. I was truly privileged in that respect to taste food from the best cooks I’ve ever known.
Even so, I ate processed dairy like cows were going extinct and considered having bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes in the same meal as still being balanced. There was a long list of foods I did not like, and in 2015 my world began to crumble, beginning with my health: Eczema in my right hand that would cause my fingers and palm to bleed, burn, and sting like I was being electrocuted, acid reflux that made eating torture, severe hypoglycemia since I was a child which began to turn into insulin resistance, migraines almost every day, intestinal pain and bloating, zero tolerance for stress of any kind, bouts of paranoia, depression, anxiety, and the loss of the will to thrive. Things that once brought me joy were dead to me, and I didn’t have the heart to do anything.
My doctors I was seeing at the time in Seattle didn’t know how to help me. 3 hour consultations, and $$$ spent on supplements and herbs, and I simply had a drained bank account to go along with my drained existence. The community I was in at the time didn’t seem to understand, and I felt alone.
My mom had been relentlessly annoying me at this time about a book called Adrenal Fatigue. Yeah right…I thought. To a degree, however, I thought there could be some truth to it, but could it really be that big of a deal? Affect me THAT much? I pushed it off for a long time, too prideful to consider it. But when I began to question myself and looked at my past, I realized that I had become a different person. And it wasn’t me. It wasn’t some phase or season, I wasn’t a better version of myself, there was something wrong. That’s when I decided to take things seriously and take my health into my own hands. I read that book my mom was annoying me about, and I purchased Sarah Ballantyne’s book The Healing Kitchen, an Auto Immune Protocol cookbook. I threw out every single item in my kitchen that did not comply (which was almost everything. Spices, flours, oils, you name it…) and started over.
I taught myself how to cook. I cried over the loss of dairy and gluten. I learned how to like new foods. I didn’t go out to eat for over 3 months. Most of my friends didn’t really understand so I spent most of my days alone in the kitchen without anyone to walk with me through this painful new journey. I didn’t know anyone else who had ever experienced this, so I paved my own path. But I started to get better.
My eczema went away, the heartburn and digestive issues began to lessen later on down the road once I discovered how the digestive system actually works and about hydrochloric acid supplements (my heart burn is GONE now, and when symptoms do start to sneak back in I know how to address it), I actually was able to heal from hypoglycemia (yes, you can!) and no longer live with daily migraines (they still happen now and then if I get into a slump with taking care of myself, but it’s under my control) my will to live returned, I felt hope again, and energy slowly returned.
I was healing.
I went back to school and became a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association (NutritionalTherapy.com) and finally began to truly understand the role of nutrition, lifestyle, and environment in our lives. I met amazing likeminded people who are walking this same journey, learning how to use real food and ancestral traditions to bring real healing without reliance on pharmaceutical or surgical intervention. And I now see the joy in helping others to heal as well. It’s a beautiful burden.
But I don’t want to end the story there…
For someone who hates conflict and has had zero backbone most of her life, isn’t it ironic that I would be most passionate about the two most controversial topics in society.
I love holistic nutrition and alternative medicine. Many people call me stupid, crazy, obsessed with ‘mom blogs’, using ad hominem attacks left and right to undermine and not have to think seriously about what they don’t understand.
But I also am a Christian who loves and submits to King Jesus above all else.
And these are things that society hates passionately, and somehow believes is justified in destroying. And these are two worlds that are at odds with each other: I am broken to see the Christian world dismissing and laughing at the holistic one, treating western medicine as almighty and all knowing. And I see the holistic world as denying God as creator of our amazing bodies and this incredible world, denying Christ as the only King.
What I see are both worlds
As Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Swoope, Virginia talks about in his amazing book, The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs, we are at odds in the middle. With our holistic friends thinking we are kooky and crazy to believe in God, or specifically Jesus as the Sovereign Lord, and our Christian friends who scoff and laugh, or are even concerned with alternative medicine as pagan and anti science.
I see no two things complimenting each other better. God’s true and holy Word, reflecting His beauty in the earth and His created things, working harmoniously together according to His will, upheld by the power of His Word.
This is where the story does not end. Because my pain in life has not been limited to physical, but emotional, psychological, and spiritual too. To take a sharp turn for a moment (but still on the path), in this world we experience darkness, abandonment, neglect, suffering, depression, anxiety, paranoia, shame, worthlessness and grief. I myself am no stranger to sorrow, but Jesus was a man of sorrows,
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)
And he understands our struggles and brokenness,
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
I have found the greatest hope for my soul in trusting in His tender cares and mercies, knowing He understands and has sat in the darkness with me.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you” Psalm 42:5
What a treasure to keep these close, knowing that my soul is safe. No matter the darkness of this earth, no matter the turmoil in my soul, he gives hope that this is not the end, this world is not my home, and that He is coming back for me. He is good amidst it all.
As I have found healing for my soul through knowing Jesus, biblical counseling, experiencing true community at my church here in Virginia, along with healing for my body through food, I have begun to realize that focus on each individual aspect, spiritual vs. physical, is not truly holistic. They need one another. Obviously I believe that your soul first needs eternal salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ by faith through grace alone, and that grass fed butter is incapable of saving your soul, but if we said we only needed one of these we would be denying the biblical fact that we are both soul and body.
And here we have arrived: the convergence of two truths for a truly holistic approach to well being. The goal I am now working towards, to help bring healing to a spiritually and physically sick and dying world. I cannot change anyone, but I can be a messenger.
Soli Deo Gloria