I was always a "goal keeper". I had goals, aspirations, plans, etc. I'm a self-starter, dedicated, driven individual. From my early days in high school, I KNEW I was going to be an accountant. Business was my thing. When I started college, I KNEW I was going to get my Master's degree in Business Administration (accounting emphasis). I KNEW I was going to get an awesome job. As life goes, things happen; plans change; God intervenes. I married my "high school sweetheart" during college and had my first child, a son. Life was hectic but manageable. I got a great internship right before starting my MBA studies. That's when my life really changed.
I started getting sick alot. I was a person who was NEVER sick - maybe a cold or two during the entire year. The problem was, I never got better. My son was just about two years old and very busy. I soon began having trouble juggling my family, internship, school and other activities. This was NOT like me - I always thought I could do it all. In a matter of just a couple months, I lost over 30 pounds and was constantly ill. Finally, my husband forced me to get serious help.
I saw a string of doctors who tested me for everything under the sun - Celiac, Lyme disease, gallbladder issues, thyroid issues, Crohn's, colon cancer, etc. I received a few diagnoses along the way but nothing solid. I was put on multiple medications to help control my symptoms. Those medications actually made me worse. Finally, after a few months, I was given up on. It was obvious that every time I ate, I got sick. However, I was told to "eat whatever you want, food isn't your problem." I was honestly lost.
I turned to an integrative medicine doctor over two hours away from my home. At my first appointment, I learned that I was suffering from a laundry list of food allergies and sensitivities (mainly gluten, eggs, dairy/casein, soy, etc). These intolerances had caused a leaky gut, which in turn left me completely malnourished and unable to absorb any vitamins or nutrients. At this point, I was a weak 92 lb mother of two.. literally withering away.
That was the turning point in my life. I found an amazing team of doctors and nutritionists and began my journey to healing. I also started my food blog, LPHJ Kitchen. I wanted to provide resources, recipes, tips, and help in any possible way so that no one would have to suffer like I did. If I could help one person, my efforts were completely worth it.
Over the course of my healing, I had a lot of struggles. I was placed on a highly restrictive diet that also included blending all of my foods and being on essentially a liquid diet. Looking back, my daughter was a baby so we were able to share foods! I was able to gain and somewhat maintain weight but I was also very tired, weak and depressed. My awesome job that I got after college was like a dream come true. However, it was the dream of my former, workaholic, dedicated, healthy self. Working 50+ hours a week, plus family, daycare, t-ball, soccer AND a blog was too much. I decided to leave my dream job in order to take better care of myself and family. I haven't looked back yet.
Now, I am a proud stay-at-home mom; master dish washer; hater of all things laundry related; constant recipe developer; and most of all, healthier. I believe my purpose in life is to help others in their food struggles somehow - with love, patience, hope and joy!