I was diagnosed with my first urinary tract infection when I was 9 weeks old. This lead to numerous doctor's appointments, a spinal tap, and a slew of antibiotics. I was put on Septra, an antibiotic that I would end up taking until I was 2 years old. When I was 16 months, my parents took me to a few specialists and I was diagnosed with a congenital birth defect requiring surgery. I had the surgery a month later and thankfully the infections stopped! From age 2 to 14, I was on and off antibiotics as I still battled an occasional UTI.
Growing up I was often told I just had a "weak stomach." I ate TUMS and Rolaids like candy and often felt ill after meals, sometimes even vomiting right after or the next day. As I got older, I realized that this consistent gastrointestinal distress was not normal. On top of all of this, I had eczema on the inside of my arms, my neck and my eyelids. Things got worse in college and after meeting with a nutritionist, I started experimenting with removing different groups of food from my diet. This is where my love of learning about healthy food all began! I was an ovo vegetarian and gluten free for most of the second half of college and saw great improvement in my eczema and gut health. But what changed it all for me was kombucha. At the time I knew little about probiotics, but picked up the fizzy drink at the farmers market because it looked trendy and cool and I genuinely enjoyed the taste of it. I would buy 2 or 3 bottles of it and drink them throughout the week. Almost immediately I saw improvement in my skin. My eczema was GONE! For a 20 year old girl, this was life changing. I distinctly remember telling everyone suffering from eczema that kombucha was a miracle cure! While this isn't necessarily true, it definitely helped and has since been a huge indicator of the link between my gut health and my skin.
Antibiotics are not a bad thing. They were a huge gift to me as a baby as I would not have been able to fight those infections on my own. However, antibiotics do not discriminate between good and bad bugs. My poor, developing gut was totally annihilated during a time when most infants are building up a diverse gut flora that they will take with them into adolescents and adulthood. I see now that I was dealing with the consequences of this while I was eating a standard American diet, and to some extent still am. It makes perfect sense to me that introducing a probiotic would make a huge difference as that is exactly the kind of support my gut had been needing for years! Probiotic and prebiotic foods, collagen, bone broth, and of course kombucha are what I now use to support a healing gut.
You might not have the same symptoms as me or a an obvious skin condition, but the health of our gut manifests itself in almost every area of life. If you struggle with gastrointestinal distress (gas, bloating, loose stools, constipation, etc), acne, head aches, asthma, chronic inflammation, or intense PMS, it is worth it to spend some time focusing on supporting and potentially healing your gut.
Being born with a birth defect and incredibly sick as a very young child was terrifying for my family, however it lead me to discover something I am so passionate about! I truly believe the Lord was working this all together from the beginning to lead me to a purpose and platform to glorify Him.
This is such a broad overview of my journey to eating a real food, primarily Paleo diet and I look forward to sharing more with you all! Thank you for reading! Know that I am not a health care provider - just a curious person passionate about using food as medicine. I've read and listened to a lot on developing guts in infants and the effects of antibiotic usage. If you have any questions, I would be happy to share these resources with you.