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My Gut Health Journey: Chapter 1, My Rain Barrel Overfloweth

Updated: Jan 2, 2021

Trouble started for me at age 36. I had just given birth to my third child in April. By July I began having bouts of extreme nausea and some vomiting. It was like morning sickness, but my baby was already in arms. I would be breastfeeding one minute, and running to the bathroom the next. Not.Fun. I figured it was my just hormones and would eventually pass. It didn’t. I could barely eat and anything I did eat gave me terrible stomach aches, indigestion and bloating. The only time I felt ok, was when my stomach was empty. Not a great way to live, especially chasing after 2 young children and a baby and working part time at Accenture.

I went to see one of Boston’s best GI doctors. I should preface this by saying that I believe 100% in medicine, science and doctors. In my life’s experience to date, you get sick, you go to the doctor, get diagnosed, and get better, and that’s pretty much what happened. It took a few months to properly diagnose, but after an endoscopy and ultimately, a Breath Test, we found that I had significant bacterial overgrowth in my small intestines. I was prescribed a strong antibiotic for 10 days, and by day 3 I felt like a million bucks! I was BACK! I finished the course of medication and went on with my life. The “system” worked. I was cured.

Fast forward five years. I am now 41 years old, fit & healthy (at least, on the outside), I again began to experience debilitating digestive issues. It wasn’t the nausea from five years ago, but something much worse. Terrible bloating, wrenching stomach pain, constant discomfort, and lots of time in the bathroom. At the risk of providing TMI, you get the idea. I went back to my GI doctor and with so many questions. "I thought we fixed this?”, I said. To which he responded something along the lines of “this type of thing just comes back. I am not even going to bother testing you again, we'll just get you a prescription for another course of the antibiotics”. “And then what?”, I asked. I didn’t know it at the time, but the answer was a major turning point in my life “Well, he said, you will feel well for a while and when you don’t come back and we will write you a new prescription.” Then something about acid blockers that barely registered. My head was spinning. I sat there in the exam room feeling stunned. I asked about getting to the root cause of what was making my body react this way, because surely there was something that was causing this. Why was my body treating food as the enemy? I was quickly brushed off with “you may be eating too much salad for someone your age”. WHAT?! Too much salad? Since when do too many vegetables lead to poor health? I left the office confused and disappointed, with a new set of prescriptions in hand, and of course, with a stomach ache.

This plan just didn’t sit well with me. Don’t get me wrong, this was a good, highly trained GI specialist. He was doing the job he was taught to do, to treat and alleviate symptoms and make the patient feel better. Getting to the root cause of the problem just wasn’t in the protocol. As I reflect back on that day, I don’t fault the doctor. What I learned in the weeks, months and years to follow was eye opening to say the least. While I trust science and medicine, the American health care system is really SICK care. The vast majority of MDs are trained to treat acute illness and disease, but receive minimal to

Source: "The Rain Barrel Effect", Stephen Cabral

no training in basic nutrition and wellness. We absolutely NEED our MD’s and their expertise, but there is a major gap in our healthcare system in identifying and tackling the underlying problems that lead to major diseases like Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity, and Autoimmune diseases, just to name a few.

I left the office knowing I would not fill those prescriptions. I knew little to nothing about naturopathic or functional medicine. I truly did not even know where to start, so I just did what any 40 something with strange health symptoms would do, I searched the internet. This search led me to Dr.Cabral and his Boston-based naturopathic medicine practice. I was inspired by his story and it really resonated with me. As a 17 year old, he was chronically and debilitatingly ill, and saw countless doctors in search of restoring his health. He was diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases and given no hope of living a healthy normal life. Eventually he found a naturopathic doctor and his way back to good health. Today he is a thriving example of someone in good health. He shares openly that it didn't happen overnight and he works at it every day by keeping up certain health regimens. I figured if he can do it, as sick as he was, then so could I! I began seeing Dr. Cabral in his private practice. My way of thinking about my health was forever changed. Long before his book of the same name was written and published, Dr. Cabral described in great detail on his office whiteboard, "The Rain Barrel Effect". The result of a lifetime of accumulated toxins, both environmental and internal, and the impact on our bodies. I started to get some clues into how I ended up in this state of digestive misery, and for me it started very young, with excessive antibiotics use to treat chronic ear infections. By age 5, I was well on my way to filling my rain barrel. At age 41, my rain barrel overfloweth. The "rain barrel" effect is truly fascinating, and also so simple. I’ll go deeper into it in a future post, so stay tuned! If you are interested in reading "The Rain Barrel Effect" you can find it here.

Fast forward to today. Age 46. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. My own gut health struggles, my son's food allergies, and my son and daughter's Celiac diagnosis led me reevaluate my life and my career, by sparking a passion in me to guide others in their health and wellness journeys. What started nearly two years ago with the launch of GFSavvyMama, followed by my Institute for Integrative Nutrition certification, has brought me great personal fulfillment and has taught me SO much about people and their health.

I am so excited about the launch of Savvy Health and Wellness this month, and continuing my education toward becoming a Certified Integrative Health Practitioner. The IHP program enables me to soak up the best of Dr. Cabral’s learnings and protocols to support my health and wellness clients in reclaiming and achieving optimal results. As I mentioned previously, my treatment was time consuming (traveling to Boston for in-person visits) and expensive. While my practice is completely independent, I love having the knowledge of IHP program behind me and the suite of EquiLife products and protocols to share with my wellness clients who are looking to supplement their diets, boost immunity, support healthy weight loss, and help alleviate their gut health issues. I also love that I can bring a highly personalized service to you virtually, at an affordable price point. When working with me, there is never any pressure to purchase products, and there is no associated sales organization or MLM behind me. It's literally, JUST me. I won't "sell you" on anything, nor will I ask you to sell anything on my behalf. My consultation services are based on both my personal experience and my professional training. EquiLife products are simply high quality, purity tested products and protocols that are available if clients need additional support in the personalized health plan that we create. Ultimately, upon completion of my training, I will have the ability to recommend and evaluate functional medicine lab testing to better guide the recommendations I share with my clients.

2020 has been hard as hell for so many. The stress of everyday life has knocked even the most health conscious of us off our feet. If you are considering taking charge of your health in 2021, I would love to help guide you. Reach out to me any time to set up a free, 45 minute, no "strings attached" consultation. You can also easily book here or simply message me to chat!

Lots of work to do in 2021!! Life has truly come full circle.

Follow me at Savvy Health & Wellness on Facebook & Instagram (savvy.healthandwellness)

In good health,


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