*Disclaimer: I’m going to talk about my health journey, which also includes talk about bowel movements in this post, if that doesn’t sit well with you, you may want to read my other posts that have nothing to do with poop. **
When I was in high school, I spent a lot of time in the sun playing tennis; eating French fries, pizza and chicken tenders at school and after school; and eating healthy Korean food at home. My metabolism was insane- I was naturally slim, exercised daily and was young. I had 3 bowel movements a day, basically one after each meal. This was my normal. I went to college, learned what a party was, and things progressively started to change after that. I lived the life of a typical college kid—studied, partied, didn’t exercise, ate at the college food court daily, and stayed up way too late every night. Socializing was my priority. Still, at this point, my GI system was not failing me, despite the late nights and eating $1 crispy chicken sandwiches and big burgers from Carl’s Jr. on a regular basis. A “healthy” day consisted of eating a rice bowl with stir-fried chicken with green beans with a Thai iced tea (more condensed milk please!). After college, I started working full time behind a computer and ate a low fat diet–consisting of baked chips, Fiber One chocolate bars, pasta with marinara sauce and a side salad once in a while. I did not know how to cook, nor did I care to cook. When I came home after work, I was tired and didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. The frozen section in Trader Joe’s and I became fast friends. I was eating pre-made frozen pasta, chicken tenders, bean and cheese burritos, taquitos, mac ‘n cheese, and basically, anything else that sounded good and easy. On the weekends, I would go out, stay out late, eat Del Taco at 2am and go to sleep. Then, at the age of 24, the health issues started and wouldn’t stop until almost a decade later, at which point I got wise and started changing my lifestyle. How did I get wise? It started with a series of podcasts: first the Fat Burning Man podcast, which lead me to the Bulletproof, Chris Kresser and Ben Greenfield podcasts. These podcasts opened my eyes up to the fallacies I had been lead to believe my whole life: all fat was bad for you, what you ate didn’t impact health and that my current, unhealthy lifestyle was ok. It was a lot of truth bombs all at once. I devoured the information, started looking for a good functional medicine doctor, and I’ve been on the road to recovery since. I can’t tell you how many different diets and lifestyle changes I made, but I experimented until I found the combination of things that finally worked. It’s been quite the ride, but expanding my knowledge, being open-minded and making some significant life changes have really made my life so much better. I’m happy to report, my bloating, constipation, brain fog, insomnia, the inability to wake up in the morning, low energy levels all day have resolved with all the changes and good habits I’ve developed. If you told me at 24 that this would happen, I wouldn’t have believed it. I wish back then, I had known the things that I know now. I’ve loved Functional Medicine so much I’ve gone through my first set of certification courses through the Institute for Functional Medicine to be able to work with people and help them on their health journey. In a sense, I’m thankful for the health issues I had in my 20’s and early 30’s because I now have the right mindset and control over what my health will look like in the future.