Certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP)
NASM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT)
I’m a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association, Personal Trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, & owner of JTH Wellness. JTH Wellness stands for ‘Journey to Health’ whose mission is to help people truly heal from health issues & enjoy life again.
I started JTH Wellness to help people suffering from ongoing stomach problems get to the root cause and naturally heal, so that they regain health & happiness. After facing stomach issues all my life with no answers, I decided to search for the root cause of chronic illness. I found that chronic health problems stem from unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits. Failed by conventional medicine, I left my corporate 9-5 job in advertising and went back to school to study holistic nutrition so that I could help others battling similar issues. At the same time, I pursued my passion for fitness and became certified as a personal trainer. After years of struggling with chronic shoulder and low back pain, I discovered corrective exercise and functional movement which addressed the root cause of my pain, allowing me to truly heal. My passion for relieving pain through movement lead me to incorporate functional training into my own practice so that I can help others alleviate pain, move better, and enjoy exercise while reaching their health & fitness goals. My goal is to help people "reverse" chronic health issues through proper nutrition, exercise, movement, self-care, sleep, & more so that they can get back to the life they love.
THE LONG STORY
My passion for holistic health began after suffering for about 8 years from various chronic stomach issues including, acid reflux, heartburn, bloating, gastritis, GERD, stomach ulcers, SIBO, indigestion, food sensitivities, & more. Constantly taking OTC and prescription medications to ease my persistent stomach pain, I was frustrated as I ran from doctor to doctor with no solution or relief. My stomach problems were ruling my life for far too long and I knew I didn't want to feel this way for the rest of my life. Tired of relying on doctors and left with no answers, I decided to take things into my own hands.
The year was 2010, and I was taking medications like candy, including, Tums, Nexium, Zantac, & Omeprozale, only to experience temporary relief. I got an endoscopy and was diagnosed with GERD and acid reflux. Yet, STILL, I had no REAL answers to my problems. What’s actually causing the acid reflux? Why do I constantly feel like something is stuck in my throat? Will I need to live on stomach medications forever?
I questioned the course of action my doctors had taken to address my ongoing stomach problems as I still experienced stomach pain & unpleasant symptoms of indigestion and bloating daily. It seemed as if things were getting worse instead of better. If these acid medications were supposed to "help" my stomach, then why wasn’t my stomach getting better? While I took medications daily to try and manage my symptoms, I continued living an unhealthy lifestyle during my college years which involved eating tons of processed food, binge drinking weekly, and overusing medications like NSAIDs and antibiotics.
Looking back now, no doctor ever once asked me about my diet or lifestyle. Not once did anyone stop to see that my unhealthy habits were causing and exacerbating my stomach problems. Not once did anyone consider that the years of taking antibiotics daily to treat my acne would destroy my gut & cause stomach ulcers. Instead of addressing my diet and lifestyle, my gastroenterologist simply diagnosed me as having “acid reflux” and put me on acid reducers. I continued on living this unhealthy lifestyle and taking medications daily, hoping one day they would cure me & my stomach. However, things got progressively worse until, finally, I couldn't eat a thing & felt worse than ever—and only at the age of 23. That's when I knew that these pills weren't going to save me. These doctors weren't going to save me. They were only covering up the symptoms I was experiencing instead of addressing the real problem at hand.
Through my own research, I found that acid reducers only exacerbate the problem. The longer someone remains on these medications, the easier it is for bacteria to flourish and lead to more severe conditions such as IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, SIBO, & Chron's Disease to name a few. I started learning more about using food as medicine and how processed foods in today's Standard American Diet (SAD) lead to chronic health conditions. I finally started to understand why my stomach wasn’t getting better. I started to see that Western medicine doesn’t actually address the root cause of many common health issues, but rather, uses “band-aid” treatments to cover up the symptoms you’re experiencing; and the longer I went without addressing the root cause, the worse my gut issues got.
One day, someone referred me to a Functional Medicine Doctor to help me with my stomach issues. She diagnosed me with SIBO due to the prolonged use of acid reducers, poor diet, stress, & other factors, and put me on my journey to heal. At the same time, she introduced me to the world of holistic healing & set me on the path to want to learn more.
Interestingly enough, during this time, I was struggling with chronic low back and shoulder pain. From physical therapy to massages to constant stretching, just like medications I was taking, these things only provided short-term relief, but never eliminated the problem long-term. I couldn’t sit, sleep, or stand without pain. I enjoyed exercise, but couldn’t do it without pain or fear of hurting myself more. I was stuck in this cycle of ongoing pain, constantly taking NSAIDs, like Advil, to find some relief. When the pain got so bad, I was prescribed muscle relaxers and Naproxen, a much stronger version of Advil. While taking anti-inflammatory drugs can damage the normal person’s stomach, for someone who already has chronic stomach problems, taking these is like pouring gasoline on a fire. The pain I experienced in my stomach after taking Naproxen was worse than my back pain, and I immediately had regret. Bent over in pain, crying, my doctor had to prescribe me a medication to try to reverse the damage done to my stomach! In disbelief, I no longer wanted to rely on conventional medicine which is used to “treat” one problem but has negative side effects that create or worsen another problem.
I started researching natural alternatives to chronic stomach and muscle pain. I found that food and nutrients can heal the gut and reduce inflammation, and exercise can be used to correct muscle compensations which cause ongoing pain. Eventually, I decided to leave my 9-5 corporate job in advertising & pursue my passion for holistic health and fitness. I became certified as an FNTP & personal trainer and never looked back.
After being able to help my body heal from chronic stomach problems, through diet and lifestyle changes in addition to supportive supplements, my goal is to help those who struggle with similar issues get to the root cause and truly heal. I know just how detrimental it can be to your overall well-being and what it’s like to feel hopeless when nothing else is working. I understand the impact these issues have on your physical health, mental health, & social life, and know that there’s a solution to heal that doesn't involve years of prescription & OTC medications, endoscopies, colonoscopies, & more. As I’ve worked to heal my own stomach and health concerns, I’ve been able to return to enjoying life again. After years of painful bloating, a feeling of ‘something stuck in my throat’ every time I swallowed, constant indigestion and reflux, crying and feeling stressed when going out to eat, having anxiety if I forgot to take my stomach meds with me when I left the house, and feeling miserable every single day, I no longer have to worry. After correcting my muscle imbalances through functional exercise, I can move properly, enjoy exercise again, and feel my best everyday, free of pain.
My chronic health problems not only affected me, but my entire life. They were all I could ever think about. I couldn’t focus on work and this put a strain in my relationship as I pushed my partner away due to the pain. I remember feeling hopeless and like I would have to live this way forever, but not anymore. Now, I enjoy life again. Now, I can eat and enjoy the foods I love. Now, I don’t have to restrict myself and can enjoy going out to eat again. Now, I don’t have to carry medicine with me everywhere I go. Now, I can eat, sleep, move, and feel my best everyday. Now, I am happy and no longer need to accept living in pain!
If I knew back then what I know now, I would’ve never ended up with such severe stomach issues. The way conventional medicine handles gut health and other conditions is frustrating as it leads you to believe that you need to rely on medications for life to never even heal. Your body has a way of healing on its own and medications are not the cure or solution. If we take the time to actually tune in, listen to our bodies, and give them exactly what they need in terms of proper nutrition, movement, stress reduction & more, it’s amazing how they respond! The gut is deemed “the 2nd brain” as it is the main source of many other common health issues such as skin conditions (acne, eczema, rosacea), fatigue, and mood disorders (anxiety & depression). When we support the gut, we can in turn, support the rest of your body and concerns. By making changes to your nutrition and lifestyle, we can address the root cause, support the body's natural ability to heal, reduce inflammation, and help you to feel better all around without the use of drugs or quick fixes. No one should accept living with pain or health issues that consume them. No one should feel like they need to restrict themselves through diets, quick cleanses, calorie counting, or any other unhealthy habits. No one should need to rely on medications for the rest of their lives. Healing is possible and you, too, can live a happy, well-balanced, healthy life.