I started my journey of healing when I lost my mother to Lupus when I was 17. At that time, I was in great physical shape being a captain on my high school cross country track team and thought – like most Americans who visit their conventional primary care physicians – I was healthy. My BMI was normal at 19.5 and complete blood count (CBC) was within normal limits. But there was one issue: I developed severe GERD. So I went to my conventional primary care physician to seek guidance. He immediately prescribed Proton Pump Inhibitors. The pills reduced the symptoms, but I again suffered severe heartburn if I stopped taking them. I had my primary care physician’s cell phone number on speed dial because the front desk staff would not give me a prescription if I ran out of my medication. Although I had 2 normal endoscopies and lab values within normal limits, I had severe GERD unless I took a pill every day for the next 13 years of my life. I was addicted to this medication.
During this time, I also suffered from ovarian cysts, cystic acne, migraines, sporadic dizziness, constipation, exhaustion and a feeling of constant hunger. In the 11th year, I noticed severe bruising occurring all over my body. I obtained an evaluation and lab work up from a Hematologist and results showed slight Anemia. The Hematologist and my conventional primary care doctor recommended that I continue taking Proton Pump Inhibitors and eat more spinach. I was put on birth control to help my ovarian cysts and acne, and prescribed migraine medication for headaches. Conventional medicine had prescribed pill after pill with no relief. I felt lost and alone, knowing deep down something was not right. My lab values always showed I was in near perfect health and my weight according to our society was on the “charts.”
Frustrated, I did my own research and found the truth:
1. Proton Pump Inhibitors should be prescribed no more than three 14-day treatments in one year (I was on them for 13 years).
a. Proton pump Inhibitors alter the PH level in the intestines and therefore decrease gut microbiota, increasing the risk of small bowel overgrowth and impairing nutrient absorption – which could lead to acne.
b. On the other hand, probiotics, digestive enzymes or prebiotic foods such as pineapple could provide me the stomach acid necessary to digest my food.
c. Additionally, a low carb diet (being a runner and eating bagels for years did not help) slippery elm, and aloe juice along with increased vegetable intake could help GERD.
2. Plant-based diets, raw sea vegetables such as spirulina and chlorella, and apple cider vinegar can help alleviate ovarian cysts and acne.
a. Animals and their dairy products that are treated with synthetic hormones and antibiotics can alter their hormones and therefore can alter human hormones.
b. I realized I have a food sensitivity/allergy to milk (a major part of my diet), which can cause acne, GERD, headaches, or constipation, which can lead to heartburn.
3. Migraine medications can cause dizziness and exhaustion.
a. I found simply cutting out cheese, nuts, and MSG can help eliminate these debilitating headaches.
In short, I realized these medications were making me sick. So instead of taking more pills, I had another clinician assess my blood work for nutrient deficiencies and decided to heal my gut by changing my diet.
I was a perfect example of how conventional medicine failed to address my diet, food sensitivities or allergies. Conventional medicine failed to diagnose the direct correlation of proton pump inhibitor use and the inability to absorb my food and nutrients. Conventional doctors were unable to diagnose that I did not have enough stomach acid to digest my food, and maybe eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) was the problem.
Ironically, at the same time (although there are no coincidences in life), I started my career as a pediatric physical therapist and began noticing eating habits and patterns of sickness in children:
- In performing pediatric Physical Therapy evaluations, I noted correlations between Gestational Diabetes and Torticollis or Pre-clampsia and high muscle tone.
- I helped a parent to wean a 10-month old child off a proton-pump inhibitor and saw that baby progress from “failing to thrive” to finally absorbing his food and growing. Upon going back to his doctor, he no longer needed his antacid medication and was finally placed on the growth chart among his peers.
- Another child suffered from colic, irregular stools, chronic ear infections and colds. When we removed dairy from his diet, he was cured and was able to avoid having his adenoids and tonsils removed. Time after time with almost every one of these children, most of their gross motor delays and digestive issues could have been prevented or ameliorated holistically.
I started to become a nutritional detective and built my nutritional education on my community health education and doctor of physical therapy degrees. I realized I needed to make a bigger impact on the pediatric population by helping to prevent certain gross motor delays through proper maternal nutrition counseling. I obtained my certified nutrition specialist certification and launched my company Wellness Couture to help others heal from within, just like I did:
One common denominator between all of these areas is most of my clients do not understand the root cause of their ailments – they only know what they have been told by conventional medicine (one disease, one drug), and this is where I come in with alternative approaches to help them heal themselves.
Everyone on this earth deserves someone to tell them the truth about their health; empowering them to heal themselves and spreading the word to their loved ones and friends. In doing this, I believe we build healthier and stronger communities. This is my mission, my dharma, my “WHY.”
Your mission is my mission. Namaste
– Dr. Cynthia Barrett
Tell Wellness Couture, what is your WHY?