Ever since I was a kid, through my teenage, and until my early working years, I had always been thin and energetic until five years ago. That’s when I started gaining weight and felt like getting out of bed every morning was such an ordeal. With all the stress from my work back then, little sleep, and binge eating with my boyfriend, I started having uncontrollable mood swings and anxiety, fatigue, cystic acne, pain in my abdomen, and irregular menses.
I knew there was something going on with my health which led me to visit an OB-GYN. I found out that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Besides telling me that this condition is for life, I need to regulate my cycle with birth control pills. I was able to tame the acne but I had adverse reactions to the medications such as nausea, vomiting, and more weight-gain.
I would have never thought that moving jobs would later on lead to a breakthrough in my own health. While I mostly slept 8 hours a day, never consumed alcohol nor smoked a cigarette, I was also never mindful about what I ate, I rarely exercised and never paid attention to stress. Going through the Health Management Consult allowed me to understand how my body was responding to my everyday routine and environment.
My doctor mapped out my health timeline and showed me factors that triggered my condition and how my health started to deteriorate. Besides the PCOS, I already had early bio markers for a much more serious condition and having cancer in our genes didn’t help either. I was ready to take in more drugs after the consult but was surprised to see what was prescribed to me instead: stop the pills, and start an Elimination Diet, a food plan that will let me avoid sugar, junk and processed food, while loading up my system with nutrients and minerals from food like fruits, vegetables, nuts, & poultry.
Within three weeks, I lost eight pounds, had clear and glowing skin, regained my energy, had better sleep, got rid of bloating and abdominal pain, and had my regular menstrual cycle back. From then on, I continued being mindful of what I ate and came back to my OB after months. My ultrasound showed that the cysts on my left ovary were completely gone, and my right ovary almost healed.
My experience taught me how big a role the food we eat plays in shaping of our health. Non-communicable disease such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, autoimmune disease and even cancer are all conditions that can be managed better or even reversed by a healthier lifestyle. While nutrition is a huge part of it, knowing how to control our stress, doing more exercise, and getting quality sleep, and our relationships are equally important factors that contribute to our wellbeing.
One of our IFM Certified Functional Medicine doctors at LifeScience Center said, “Nutrition is the most powerful, sustainable & practical intervention on the planet for complex chronic diseases.” In the advent of a new era in health care, food is (again) the hero, not the sidekick in my prescriptions.
What I love most about my job at LifeScience is how Functional Medicine was able to change not just my life, but my family’s as well. At our household, we got rid of all the junk, started incorporating more veggies in every meal and started healthier habits, not restrictions. At the center, I had my own care team who gave me a personalized health plan and guided me in every step of the way to take back my health. Everything we did made sense and will continue to do so: I use food as medicine, my lifestyle as my physician and my kitchen as my pharmacy.