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Author Katarina Todorovic
Katarina Todorovic Writer
Updated on May 31st, 2024
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

BALANCE NUTRITION 2024: Improve Your Relationship With Food!

Meet Stacy Anderson, a resilient nursing student turned passionate nutrition advocate, whose personal health journey has transformed her into a beacon of hope for those suffering from gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease. Stacy’s story is one of perseverance and determination, rooted in her own battle with undiagnosed gluten sensitivity. Like many, she lived for years unknowingly consuming gluten, which wreaked havoc on her body and mind. Stacy experienced a myriad of health issues, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux (GERD), weight gain, severe mood swings, terrible acne, and keratosis pilaris (commonly known as chicken skin) on her arms. Initially, these ailments were attributed to her intense workout schedule, academic stress, and a recent diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. The medical community's response was to manage her symptoms with medication, which provided only partial relief and left Stacy far from feeling her best. In this Delivery Rank’s interview, Stacy shares her inspirational journey, the lessons she’s learned, and her mission to help others heal through nutrition. Transitioning from a future in nursing to a career in nutrition, Stacy emphasizes the importance of identifying root causes and embracing healthier lifestyles through small, impactful changes.

Your journey to discovering your celiac disease was long and filled with numerous health challenges. Can you share a defining moment when you realized that gluten was the root cause of your health issues?

I received a vague diagnosis of Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, but it wasn't well explained to me by the medical practitioners. My mom did her best to navigate it. Throughout most of college, I had various digestive issues. As a typical college student, I drank a lot of beer and other alcoholic beverages. After graduating, I noticed that drinking made me feel significantly worse, often causing me to vomit, even if I hadn't had much to drink. This experience helped me start connecting the dots. Ironically, it was alcohol that made me realize the connection. I already ate a relatively clean diet, so linking my issues to food was more challenging.

As I delved deeper into nutrition, I discovered that I didn't eat as healthily as I thought. This is a common experience for many people. I learned about gluten and how easily foods could become contaminated. The difference this knowledge made was incredible. It significantly accelerated my healing process.

What advice do you have for individuals who suspect they might have gluten intolerance but haven't been diagnosed yet?

My biggest recommendation is if you feel unwell, try a food elimination diet and consult with a provider or educator, such as a nutritionist, who understands true detoxification and cross-contamination. Medical tests like labs or biopsies, being human-made, can have discrepancies. Many people might not have celiac disease but do have an autoimmune response to gluten or an intolerance. Despite this, they are often told they have no issues and continue to live with symptoms, assuming that the negative test results are accurate when in fact the tests might be wrong.

I use food elimination with my patients because it allows them to directly feel the effects. It’s important to eliminate the offending foods long enough and to understand cross-contamination, as this can impact the time it takes to feel better. By removing the sources of exposure and allowing true detoxification, which can take 6 to 8 weeks, patients start to feel better. This approach provides the best diagnosis.

Transitioning from nursing to becoming a gluten-free expert marks a significant shift. What inspired you to focus on nutrition and holistic health instead of continuing with a traditional nursing career?

I believe the biggest issue is the deficiencies in Western medicine. I fully acknowledge that there is a place for Western medicine—if you get in an accident and need stitches, you don’t want crystals laid all over your body to heal you. However, Western medicine often focuses on treating symptoms rather than addressing the root cause. Additionally, it tends to rely heavily on laboratory tests without listening to the patient, even though these tests are only guides. The patient, being in tune with their own body, can often provide valuable insights that tests cannot.

Every individual is unique, and it’s unrealistic to expect one laboratory test to be accurate for everyone. Despite this, Western medicine is structured this way. I believe this will change eventually, but we’re not there yet. Although I still practice Western medicine to some extent, recognizing its value in certain situations, I also believe in integrating Eastern and holistic approaches with Western practices. My aim is to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western medicine.

What were some of the most challenging aspects of adopting a gluten-free lifestyle, and how did you overcome them?

I think the hardest thing is dealing with people's judgments. Comments like "Oh, you don't really have an issue with this" or "Come on, just eat this or drink this" are challenging. In the beginning, both for myself and for others, you don't have as much grounding to stand on, making it much more challenging. As I became more accustomed to being gluten-free and feeling the improvements in my body, and even now with other dietary choices like avoiding dairy and alcohol, I’m comfortable telling people, "Oh, I'm good."

When I was in my 20s, following a gluten-free diet was quite unusual, and people would question it a lot. I learned to give short, simple answers like, "No thank you, I'm good," and not engage in debates about why I was doing it. In the end, I was the one who felt sick if I cheated, so it was never worth it. Now, not eating bread, like ignoring a bread basket on the table, is no big deal because I know how it makes me feel. The challenge when I was younger was having the confidence to tell people, "No, this is just how I live my life," and to reassure them that it doesn't impact them.

You've emphasized the importance of small daily changes in achieving a healthier lifestyle. Can you share some specific examples of these changes that have made a significant difference for you and your clients?

Totally. I think that when you overhaul your entire diet right from the start, it's almost impossible to stay compliant because your habitual behaviors creep back in. Instead, adding small habitual behaviors can gradually crowd out the bad ones.

One helpful habit is daily detoxification. I recommend drinking hot water with lemon in the morning to wake up the digestive system, hydrate, and help the kidneys and liver cleanse out the extra sludge they've been working on overnight. This is easy for most people to tolerate; in all the years I've practiced, I've only encountered one person allergic to lemon.

Another simple yet effective strategy is having a second lunch. Typically, people eat breakfast, then lunch around 12 or 1, and don't have dinner until 6 or 8. I suggest having a smaller lunch at 12 or 1, and then a second lunch around 3 or 4. This could mean splitting their original lunch in half or having a smaller first lunch followed by what would be considered a snack but actually serves as a second lunch. This second meal should include protein, vegetables, fats, and good nutrients, which helps prevent overeating at dinner. This approach aids in blood sugar stabilization, reduces food cravings, and helps avoid overindulgence. It’s also easier on the stomach to eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than grazing.

These lifestyle changes, like drinking lemon water in the morning and having a second lunch, are easy to implement and can have a huge impact. They help crowd out bad habits like extensive snacking at night. So, these are just a couple of things I love for people to try.

I especially like the idea of eating more often, but not necessarily more food in total.

To read more about Stacy Anderson, please visit www.balancenutritionsrq.com


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We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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