Have you ever felt overwhelmed with so many problems or so much work that you find it difficult to deal with something? In the restaurant world, thats called being “in the weeds”.
Chef-life can be chaotic. It may be organized chaos, but still chaos nonetheless. No matter the planning and prep, its always going to have those moments where things are loud, busy, & sometimes overwhelming. But, just like in anything else you work toward, your experiences build who you are and who you’re working to become… and I was meant to be a Mama.
I hung up my chef coat once it would no longer fit over my pregnant belly. While chef-life and parenthood share many similar characteristics, I knew they didn’t mix well because of the long & late hours required for both. So I’m not cooking professionally anymore, but my love for food is the same. My circumstances have changed so much, as I’m now cooking for my family of five and for special dietary requirements.
I became gluten & dairy intolerant about two years ago, and I’m going to tell you how that happened and how I’m dealing with it. My intention for this website is for it to be a place where I can share my experiences & knowledge of food and holistic health, but I want to take the time and explain the background of it all. Take a seat, grab some tissues, here we go…
So, you know that I’m a mom. I have three little girls who are very close in age. I had very healthy pregnancies & babies, each one going at least a week past their due date and each weighing around 9lbs. A few months after my third baby was born, I started having 2-3 migraines a week… which if you’ve had migraines before, you can imagine how hard it is to have one + take care of three babies. On top of that, my skin flared up in patches, which the dermatologist confirmed to be psoriasis. I had no prior history of psoriasis, so it kind of just came out of no where. A steroid cream was recommended, but I like to get to the root of things, so I started researching. I decided to try cutting gluten out of my diet to see if my skin would clear up, but instead… my migraines stopped! So next in my process of elimination, I cut dairy… and, wouldn’t you know, my skin cleared right up. This was the start of my gluten & dairy free life, which seemed incredibly difficult at first (I love bread), but became simple over time.
I felt great. I was eating clean, taking amazing vitamins, & getting great reports from the doctor. Then, that next report came… I was pregnant with #4! We were pretty surprised because our youngest was only 8 months old, but super excited anyway. Many of you will remember our “Hallelujah” announcement video that unexpectedly went viral (10,000 views in 24hrs).
I was at the doctor’s office for a regular appointment with my three girls in tow, about to schedule the appointment to find out the sex of the baby, and they couldn’t find the heartbeat on the doppler. They sent me to ultrasound, just like I had literally done with each previous baby, so my mind never even went to worry. I could tell by the look on the tech’s face that something was wrong, and then my doctor came walking in. There was no heartbeat. It took a minute for it all to sink in, and then before I knew it, every single nurse was in that room with me. Weeping with me. I will always remember that day. My kids were in a chair in the corner, playing a game, and I had to try to gently explain to my oldest why Mommy was crying so hard. I could not even fathom making that call to my husband, but I did. And then, what hit me next? We had just made the viral announcement a week before, so I then had to announce our heartbreak publicly.
Losing Ezra completely wrecked my world. My anxiety was through the roof, my hormones made me feel crazy and I had complications recovering physically from the D&C. I was a mess, but I was able to overcome it. I threw myself back into busy mom mode. I was working from home with dōTERRA and part-time at our church as preschool minister, and then our French Bulldogs had puppies. Y’all… I looked like a hot mess there for a while. One of the puppies, Moses, had severe medical needs and I was wearing him in a baby carrier everywhere I went…alongside my three kids. It was pretty chaotic, but I honestly think I needed it.
Looking back, the puppies came along around the time that Ezra would have been born, and Moses (the sick puppy) was the biggest distraction from my broken heart. After multiple surgeries, puppy-wearing & syringe-feeding, sweet Moses died just before Christmas. I felt pretty defeated, and then another surprise… I was pregnant again. My hormones and emotions were all over the place (again), as we found ourselves excited and terrified at the same time. I went to the doctor every 2 weeks this time to check on things and everything looked great. My 12 week appoint came and we decided for my husband to stay home with the kids so I could go by myself. My labs were perfect as usual, and then, once again, no heartbeat on the doppler. I found myself trembling in the ultrasound waiting room, by myself, praying that everything was fine.
While the baby measured a perfect 12 weeks + 3 days, there was no heartbeat. It was a nightmare I’d imagined, coming to reality in front of my eyes. On top of that, me and all three of my daughters came down with the flu the very next day. I felt like I was drowning and couldn’t find a way breathe.
Two miscarriages, both at 12 weeks, made it no longer a coincidence. There was now a common reason to do all the testing needed to see what might be going on. After lots of blood drawn and several weeks later, the results came back that I have what’s called a MTHFR gene mutation. They were also able to tell me that our baby was a boy, who we decided to name Ezekiel. I immediately started researching MTHFR mutation and quickly realized that everything was connected. The migraines, psoriases, gluten & dairy intolerances, extreme anxiety… it all suddenly made sense.
In my specific situation, the MTHFR mutation has been there the whole time, but just made itself present after my third child was born. It causes my body to not be able to process folic acid or folate properly, meaning the babies I lost were not able to get enough essential nutrients. It also connects to the gluten intolerance, since wheat contains synthetic folic acid. There are other areas effected that tie in, like issues with blood clotting and detoxification that would actually be a pretty simple fix if we decided to have another baby. So, its not a life-threatening genetic condition, but it is life-altering, as lifestyle plays a big role in how it affects my body.
I’ll devote a couple more posts in the future to share more about my journey with MTHFR, what I’m learning & what I’m doing about it. If you want to find out if you have this mutation, a simple blood test can tell you. I took it a step further and ordered a 23&me test to find out my exact variant of the mutation in order to treat it properly.
While this part of my story is not the basis for my website, it plays a big role in why my lifestyle is the way it is. I’m getting out of the weeds, and I’m doing it naturally. Through food and holistic education, I hope to help others walking through similar situations who are looking for natural solutions, as well as those just wanting to make simple changes to better their health & home. I’m really excited for what’s to come and I hope you’ll follow along with me.