My Full 28 Year Journey To Health

A year ago I was diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. At the time I had no idea what it really meant and or understood my everyday life was about to change...

I learned the hard way that you can not out train a bad diet. I always strived to be that healthy person, but no matter how hard I worked out or how “healthy” I ate, I couldn’t get there. What was worse is that my health continued to decline each year. It started with my excessive bloating, constipation, and diarrhea as a kid. I was always self-conscious of my stomach, as I was the skinny girl with the “kangaroo pouch." Over time I started to accept that my gut was never going away because I was told it was in my genes— after all my Grandmother, mother, sister, and I all had it. 

Little did I know that I had the ability to control the expression of my genes. I had the ability to be in full control of my body and decide what genes I could turn on and off. It is such an empowering feeling I have learned, unfortunately many people today don’t realize that they can control their destiny and they don’t have to accept their disease because it “runs in their family.”

I have had 2 people on each side of my family affected by cancer; 3 of them have since passed and one is still fighting. Thyroid disease has gone ramped on my dad’s side of the family; one aunt got so bad she had it removed and my sister, Bridget Gebbie has been battling with it for the past 19 years of her life. My grandfather developed Parkinson’s Disease in his older years. I’ve had cousins diagnosed and misdiagnosed with Chrones Disease and Colitis. I used to take pride that both sides of my family were attractive, physically fit people, but as we all got older, obesity started to rise in my family and metabolic disease became very prevalent. 

I didn’t want this to be my future or destiny, so I started educating myself on health and trying to learn more about nutrition. In high school, I fell into the low-fat and fat-free diet “hype." At the time I didn’t understand food politics or really think about the marketing ploy, so I trusted my sources from major news outlets, Women’s Health Magazine, Prevention Magazine, and my primary care doctors. This was around the time mad-cow disease was becoming more common, so I stopped buying beef and ate mostly chicken and turkey. I remember being concerned about the growing number of overweight people in my community. I thought I was doing the right thing, eating a low-fat diet, avoiding fats, eating lean protein, but now realized that I had it all wrong. I laugh at myself thinking that old Jen thought she should eat the low-fat microwave bacon over the farm-raised pork at the local farm. 

As I continued to learn and educate myself on “health," my eating habits changed. Back in college I read a book by Marion Nestle called Food Politics. This really opened by eyes to the politics behind our food system and made me think about the true integrity of food manufactures and the influence of government. Graduating from Bryan University with a Bachelor in Marketing Communications, I had a better understanding of how companies spend billions of dollars influencing consumer perception. I still remember the day, my best friend and college roommate said to me - “Jen, I don’t know how you are going to do Marketing when you fundamentally disagree with so many companies out there today.” I thought about her comment and at the time didn’t know how to respond. I remember thinking, “she’s right —— I am not going to go work for Kraft Foods, Philip Morris, or one of the pharmaceutical companies that was at our science fair — crap what am I going to do?!” I even remember my grandfather at the time, recommending that I get into pharmaceutical sales — but thankfully I knew better. 

To avoid any conflicts with my moral beliefs, I played it safe by getting into advertising for an IT-based company. At the time I figured, as long as I am not supporting some evil food manufacture or pharmaceutical company then I’d be ok. 

My passion for health, fitness, and mental wellbeing continued to grow. I was always considered the ‘health-nut’ in the office and drove most of my peers around me crazy. I was the first to have the now highly popular “ball chair.” I’d warn my colleagues of the dangers of HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup) and partially-hydrogenated oils (trans-fats). I was constantly pressured with the challenge of being healthy, as my company would always reward employees with bagel Wednesdays, birthday cakes every month, and a corporate credit card to wine and dine my clients. 

Despite my intention of being good, I often found myself falling into these bad habits. You can only say no so many times. Being young (and my own insecurity) I gave into the peer pressure more, and as a result my health continued to decline. I also saw this to be true for my colleagues and neighbors around me. The most obvious example was the obesity epidemic that continued to rise. Twenty years ago, no U.S. State had population obesity levels above 15%. Today 38 of the U.S. States have obesity levels over 25% and 12 states have levels over 30%. 

However, the bigger problem in our country became the silent killer. The ‘TOFI people’ I now like to call them. THIN on the OUTSIDE, FAT on the INSIDE. As a society (myself included), we started to point fingers and place blame on the obesity epidemic, when the problem was actually much deeper than that. We didn’t realize that those low-fat, fat-free diets, and calorie counting obsessions were actually the problem. The media and even my personal doctors at the time always talked about “calories in equals calories out.” No one talked about metabolic disease, which has now become the greatest epidemic in our society——25% Americans are affected by it today. 

So there I was, 26 years old and I Jennifer Gebbie, personally became the problem with our society. I was working in the corporate world, in a high stress job, and putting my work before my health. Despite my education and good intentions, I did not understand the truth about food quality — I wasn’t buying organic animal protein, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meet products, or organic produce.  I thought it was ok to eat out 5-10 meals a week, and that the excessive drinking was normal for my generation. I would down my cup of coffee every AM and sometimes need one in the afternoon out of boredom. I would eat my highly processed breakfast in my car on the way to work, eat lunch at my desk, sit in traffic for hour EACH WAY, and enjoying the corporate life….. NOT! 

Six years later, I have the answer to the stumped question my roommate asked me that day. After spending 6 years in the corporate world, gaining some great education and real world experience along the way, both in sales and as an inbound marketing specialist, I finally had my answer to my purpose in life. Through my personal journey to health, using food as my medicine to cure myself of all my autoimmune diseases -hypothyroidism, diabetes, IBS, neurological issues, etc., I know have the means and experience to help others to do the same. 

My goal is to teach others that THEY are their own best doctor. To let others know that they are not defined by their disease(s), and that by giving their body 1/2 the chance, it DOES have the power to heal itself. Our food is the best medicine out there, but it is not currently found in your standard grocery store. Local farms, CSAs, and knowing how to shop in a traditional grocery store is the differences from feeding your body to FIGHT disease or feeding your body to FEED disease. 

As a Certified Holistic Health Coach from Institute of Integrative Nutrition, New York City, I now have the knowledge and education to teach others how they can heal their body by simply feeding themselves with the proper primary and secondary foods. 

While my doctors continued to treat my symptoms of low thyroid function, severe abdominal pain, chronic constipation, gastric bloating, IBS, lactose intolerance, secondary food allergies, skin rashes, poor vision, and painful periods --- prescribing me medication instead of helping me identify the root cause of my problem, I am so grateful that I didn’t accept their diagnosis’s as the answer and that my sister, Bridget Gebbie helped me find the truth. If I had trusted my doctor’s diagnosis, I would have to “deal with” my IBS, I would still be on synthroid for my hypothyroidism, continuing with PT for my neurological and fibromyalgia issues, taking Midol and birth control for my extreme periods, using creams and steroids for my random skin rashes that would appear, and the list goes on. 

Thankfully, my visit to Dr. Osborne from Town Center Wellness in Sugarland, TX gave me a simple diagnosis and simple solution. With the confirmation from a gluten sensitivity DNA test, I learned that I am non-celiac gluten sensitive. I learned that gluten sensitivity can manifest in over 200 autoimmune diseases and that by simply taking out gluten and other highly processed grains out of my diet, I had the power to reverse all of my autoimmune diseases. 

Within 8 months, I reversed all of autoimmune diseases. The explanation of how and why is actually quite simple: 

  1. I was gluten intolerant.
  2. Consuming grains my whole life caused me to develop a leaky gut.
  3. This caused most food I was eating to leave my gut, go directly into my blood stream instead of absorbing the food in my intestines, as normal digestion should happen.
  4. This then led to severe inflammation in my body. 
  5. Which led to my IBS that I fought for 27 years of my life.
  6. It later manifested as hypothyroidism.
  7. And then progressed into type 2 diabetes (because my body was so malnourished and didn’t have the essential building blocks it needed to create insulin). 

Had I not taken control of my genes, God only knows how much I would have cost the American Healthcare system throughout my life -- doctors visits to gastroenterologist, endocrinologist, neurologist, primary care visits, and many prescriptions. Instead, I healed my body through quality foods. While today my food may cost a little more than the average person, I started reallocating my money elsewhere and I figured that I would rather pay for my health and live a prosperous life into my 100s, then be fighting disease and paying for doctor visits in my older years. 

Remember:
Food is your medicine.
You can not out train a bad diet.
YOU are your best doctor.
Knowledge is power.

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