My Health Story
Sugar was a daily presence in my life for as long as I could remember. Every celebration included elaborate cakes and cookies. Breakups or stressful days at school were cushioned with milkshakes or raw cookie dough. Sweets were such a part of my life that my husband even proposed to me with a customized pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I was also a baker, known especially for my chocolate chip cookies. I spent hours watching videos of French pastry chefs making perfect macarons and trying to imitate their techniques. I genuinely felt so much joy when I ate delicious desserts and never felt guilty about it for a second. I was the girl you would call if you wanted to go out for ice cream at midnight or tell the waitress it was your birthday so we could get a hot chocolate soufflé for no reason. I was always thin and didn't seem to have any health issues, so I figured I won the genetic jackpot and my body could handle my daily indulgences. I lived in this false bubble of delusion, thinking I was healthy and had no intention of ever cutting back on sugar…until we started trying to get pregnant.
After over a year of trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, we started the blood work. The tests showed that my thyroid and blood sugar levels were high. My iron levels were low. My cycles were lasting more than 60 days. Every second we waited was heavy with longing for our baby. Although I'd tried to hide it, I was exhausted, anxious, and heartbroken as each month passed by. My doctor didn’t know what the problem was, and referred me to an infertility specialist. It took months to do the blood work, ovarian ultrasounds, and fallopian tube checks necessary to find out why we weren't getting pregnant.
Finally, in February of 2020 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The infertility doctor told me I had likely gone undiagnosed for many years because I was thin and weight gain is one of the most common symptoms. He then told me that even though I was young and overall healthy, I would not get pregnant without the use of fertility treatments. I trusted that my doctor knew best and we agreed I would start Letrozole (an ovulation-inducing hormone treatment) at the beginning of my next cycle.
I returned home from that appointment and immediately began researching PCOS treatment. I came across hundreds of stories of women who managed PCOS symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes. Many of them had gotten pregnant after years of struggling to conceive by avoiding foods high in sugar and carbohydrates, possible inflammatory foods like dairy and gluten, and instead focused on eating tons of fruits, veggies, healthy proteins, fats, and complex carbohydrates...Pretty much the opposite of the way I was used to eating, but I was desperate. And so even though I had no clue how I was going to do it, I decided to completely rebuild my diet and lifestyle.
The first week without sugar was painful. I was irritated, I had headaches, I had cravings. The second week was slightly less bad, but I still felt cranky and wanted chocolate more than anything. But just 10 days after cutting out sugar, something amazing happened. For years I’d had eczema around my eyes, which was mostly manageable but sometimes would swell up, leaving my skin puffy and red. 10 days after cutting down on sugar, I woke up to find the skin around my eyes completely smooth. I couldn’t believe it! I felt like this was a sign my body was responding well to the diet and motivated me to keep going. As the days went by, I felt the inflammation in my body go down. I noticed my anxiety was much lower than normal. I stopped feeling panic from being stuck in traffic and no longer had heart palpitations when getting into bed at the end of the day. After years of needing melatonin and sleep meds every night, I was falling asleep without a single pill. Three weeks after starting this lifestyle, something even crazier happened. I got my period, which I wasn’t expecting for at least another month given how long my cycles were at that point. I had started to gather a tiny bit of hope that I could have one of these crazy miracle stories that are too good to be true. And I said let’s just wait one more month before starting the treatments.
And just 7 weeks after eating foods that supported my hormonal system and avoiding foods that fed inflammation and insulin resistance, I fell pregnant naturally. My beautiful baby girl, Eden Shalhevet, was born in December, 2020 and she is the most incredible blessing in our lives.
Since then, I've become obsessed with learning everything I can about hormonal health and the foods, supplements, and lifestyle changes that support our bodies. I completed a nutritional coaching course through the Health Coach Institute, accredited by the AADP (American Association for Drugless Practitioners) and went on to do a masters course on disease management through nutrition. I share my story with as many women as possible to show them how much power we have through our food choices. I love helping all my clients achieve their health goals, but I have a special place in my heart for working with women who are trying to get pregnant. If you take anything from my story, understand that you hold so much power in your health journey through the choices you make. And I'm here to help make those choices a little bit easier.
Health and Happiness,