If you’ve ever asked your doctor if your diet could help you feel better only to be told no, keep reading. Today’s podcast is about the truly inspiring and remarkable journey of Linda. She decided to give functional nutrition a try after spending 35+ years going to doctors to figure out how she could get better.
Linda is my client and we began working together in January 2017 because she wanted to try to reduce the chronic muscle tremors and muscle weakness that had plagued her for years.
Things had gotten so bad that she could barely leave her home, couldn’t help out with her precious grandchildren, and had really withdrawn from being social.
She couldn’t stand in line at the grocery store without the aide of a walker. (And she’s only in her early 60s!)
And Linda found me and decided that a functional nutrition approach might be helpful after listening to so many health experts talk about the importance of diet.
Her transformation in six months has been astounding and she’s reclaimed her life as the gut issues, mood swings, muscle tremors and weakness, and anxiety have subsided.
For the first time ever, she’s able to hold and care for her baby grandson (which she couldn’t do with the previous two)! And that’s just one of the many ways her health has completely turned around.
In this podcast, you’ll meet Linda who was excited to share her story with you with the hopes of inspiring you to keep on going. We’ll talk about her symptoms, testing, and how we worked together that brought about such tremendous improvements in her daily quality of life.
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CASE STUDY: How Functional Nutrition Stopped Linda’s Muscle Tremors & Weakness
In this episode…
– The daily struggles that Linda encountered because her health had gotten so bad between thyroid, gut, mood, and muscle issues
– What test we used to figure out what her body need as well as what was throwing it off balance
– How we worked together to create a functional nutrition program for Linda that she could follow
– The ways her life has completely changed as her symptoms have resolved after 35+ years of looking for answers
Jennifer Fugo, MSc: Hi everyone and welcome back to the Gluten Free School Podcast! Today I have a really exciting and, I would say, interesting treat for you.
I have a guest that I believe will provide you with hope… and a rekindled belief that it is possible to overcome really stressful health challenges especially when they’ve become chronic.
Together we uncover answers to your health and see results through a process called functional nutrition. It’s not just like you lose 10 lbs., but that your day-to-day quality of your life can be so improved that it’s literally a night-and-day difference!
I want to introduce you to a client of mine. Her name is Linda Anders.
I have had the pleasure of working with her for the past six months. She agreed to come and talk to you today and share with you her story in the hope. Our intention is to inspire you to keep on looking for answers especially if you’re at the beginning of your journey.
Consider that if you don’t feel like you’re getting the right answers or the straight answers or the best answer that really resonate with you, that it is possible to look elsewhere and give something like functional nutrition a try. That may change everything for you.
Linda, thank you so much for joining us today!
Linda Anders: Thank you. I’m glad to be here.
Jennifer: Linda, you and I have gotten to know one another over the last six months. And I think it would be helpful for people to understand where you were before we met. And you have shared with me that this journey for you of your health not really going right began back when you were like 18. So can you just recap for everybody what’s been the downward spiral like for you that got you to a point where you’re like, “I’ve had enough! I need to look for answers.”
Linda: I started on thyroid medicine when I was 18. I was on it for very long. Eventually doctors took me off of it because the numbers were “normal”, or at least where they thought they should be. And so through my 20’s, I didn’t take any medication.
And then in my 30’s, I was given some medicine over periods of time, but I still never really felt well a lot of the time.
Eventually I developed goiter and I had two scans on it. The second scan showed that I might have cancer, so I went to a surgeon and he did surgery to remove my thyroid.
It turns out that it wasn’t cancer after all. And then I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.
After all that, it just seemed like I just couldn’t get better. I just kept going downhill more and more with more aches and pains. And I had so much bloating all of my life. It just seemed to be getting worse and worse.
So, I started going to doctors to find out what could be done. They tested me for everything and found nothing. I tried doing some functional medicine which helped me for a while. But it wasn’t really followed up on and I ended up feeling worse.
I’ve been chiropractors, neurologists, and plenty of family practitioners.
And at my very worst, I was using a walker about three years ago. I didn’t use it all the time, but only when I was in situations where I immediately needed a place to sit down because as soon as I stopped walking, I couldn’t stand it anymore. My leg shook so bad.
I got a little bit better before I found Jennifer, but not good enough. The tremors and shakiness in my muscles just kept getting worse again. I wanted to try something else and trusted your straight-forwardness and commonsense approach.
Jennifer: And Linda, I wanted to add to this too. Would you say you were pretty fatigued and didn’t feel like yourself a lot of the time?
Linda: Yes, I didn’t feel like myself at all. I didn’t have the energy to do anything. I was isolated in my house. Most of my time was just spent sitting in front of the TV.
I was so bad that I didn’t even leave my house because the anxiety of somebody seeing me that way. And so the shakes and the tremors made it so I didn’t go out with friends and really… I didn’t leave the house.
Jennifer: And as it’s natural to be social, you want to be engaged in society. One of the really beautiful things about you was, when we started working on your goals, you weren’t like, “I want to be like I was when I was 18.” You had a really legitimate goal—or a few of them. But would you mind sharing what was your goal around when I said like, “What do you want to be like if you were actually to feel better?”
Linda: I want to be able to travel with my husband. I want to be able to play with my grandchildren. I want to just be able to do the things that a normal woman in her 60’s does.
Jennifer: So, you weren’t like, “I want to go surf in Hawaii” or anything.
Linda: [laughing] No.
Jennifer: These little things, they meant a lot. And I know now, because we know one another pretty well, I know how big of a deal they are to you. And that’s why quality of life is so important in the process of trying to reclaim your health.
We want to be practical, but in truth, it’s about the little things, right? It’s about, like you said, being able to hold your grandson. That’s a really big deal for you, to be able to hold a baby and be able to care for a child which was really hard for you energetically before.
Linda: Yes. I have three grandsons. And the last grandchild is the only one that I have really felt safe enough to take care of because of the dramatic improvements I’ve had with my health. He is the first one that I can hold him while I’m standing. I’m able to give him his bath, put him in his high chair, and actually do things for him.
I have missed out on so much of my life.
Jennifer: Well, we’ve changed a lot of that now after working together for six months. Before that you were looking to give something else a try, right?
Jennifer: You were feeling like there was probably—I must say, you are eternal hope in my mind. You represent that. In all the years that you have struggled and gone through what you’ve gone through, the one thing you have shared with me is that you’ve never, ever, ever given up hope, and how important hope was for you.
Let’s talk about that in a moment. But first, I’d really like for you to share with everyone—we realized that you have a lot of symptoms, some of which were neurologic in a sense, like the muscle fatigue and the tremors. You had a lot of just general fatigue overall.
Did you have any digestive issues that you’d be comfortable sharing with anybody?
Linda: Oh, yes! As I’ve said before, I had a bunch of gut issues like bloating, constipation and diarrhea. I had pains in my stomach that I didn’t think I could bear. And that is gone now!
Jennifer: So, Linda, you’ve probably had a lot of tests done, correct, all sorts of crazy medical tests and labs and such?
Linda: Oh, I’ve had all the lab work. I’ve had MRI’s and CAT scans. I’ve had needles stuck in my muscles to see how they react. I mean, I have had a brain scan. I’ve had everything.
Jennifer: And like I said, this is one reason why I feel really lucky that Linda was willing to share her story with you because it was literally—I would say, Linda, the one test that we ran, the Organix Comprehensive Profile urine test—so simple, non-invasive—was what really helped change everything for you.
What we discovered on the test was that you likely had some bugs in your gut that were potentially causing issues that increased leakiness and inflammation. We also found that your mitochondria or the power plants of every cell needed appropriate nutritional support to make sure that they were producing energy appropriately.
And so, you and I were together developed a plan that you agreed that you could follow. I think that’s important, that you’re able to actually follow the plan and that we do it together. Did you feel like you were a part of the process of creating the protocol that you ended up going on?
Linda: Oh, definitely, I was. You explained the whole test for me. You told me why I was taking each supplement, and what it would do. And I agreed with everything that you have suggested for me to do. And it worked for me perfectly!
Jennifer: Yeah, and you actually followed through with everything too. You were very communicative. You let me know every week how things were going along. We touched based weekly, which was really wonderful. And it allowed us too to make any minute changes as things progressed.
And now, after like two months of working very closely together, after this test, it’s like things have really changed.
So, did you want to share with everybody after following through—you followed the protocol—what is life like for you now as far as your health is concerned?
Linda: Well I gave you 10 symptoms, and all of them are gone or greatly improved.
Now because of functional nutrition, I can go places out of my house. I can stand in a line at a store. I can take care of my grandchildren.
I can live! That’s what I can do, is I can live.
Jennifer: And your husband also mentioned to you your mood has really changed a lot too and your anxiety levels. Do you mind sharing a little bit about that?
Linda: Oh, my moods were horrible! Any little thing that happened, I just blew up.
And my husband knew that I hadn’t always been that way. He knew something was wrong—the anxiety and the shaking as I tried to go out the front door and just couldn’t make it. I mean, I have had a responsible job during my life. I have raised two children. I’ve taken care of my parents through bad times. And I just changed. I totally changed.
My anxiety level is so much better now. I don’t have mood swings. Everything just keeps getting better.
What’s a Functional Nutrition approach like?
Jennifer: It’s been such a pleasure to work with you and to be able to share in your journey with you. I like to think of it as like a co-pilot because I’m not just the one directing the ship. We do the work together in functional nutrition so you feel truly supported on your journey.
You mentioned a moment ago—and I said you are like my beacon of hope. You represent hope to me because you have this eternal sense of never giving up. You really never have through all these years.
Can you share with people who have struggled for a really long time—and I can’t count how many years. What would you say, about 40 years that you were really going through them? You really dealt with things for a long time.
Linda: For a long time…
Jennifer: What would you say to somebody who’s like, “I’m ready to throw in the towel and give up”?
Linda: Don’t give up. There is always something else that you can try and that you can do. And some people will tell you that what you’re doing, there’s nothing about it, it’s not going to work. I believe that you find the right person, and you will get better. You need to look for that person.
Jennifer: And do you think that the way we work together—because it’s a lot different than when you went to say like a conventional doctor or a more conventional practitioner?
And again, what we did doesn’t take the place of a doctor. As a functional nutritionist, I always defer to doctors especially when it’s necessary or the case is incredibly complex.
But the way we worked within the system of functional nutrition was likely a lot different than what you’ve probably experienced in the past.
First of all … we meet on time. And I respond to your e-mails and your questions in a timely fashion. That’s why clients enjoy the process with me because they don’t feel like they’re simply a number in a line.
How was our working relationship different from what you’ve had in the past with other practitioners?
Linda: I was told by other practitioners that the pain I experienced daily is just a part of life. I just needed to suffer. I was dismissed more times than I can count. They would try to send me to a different kind of doctor because they didn’t know what was going on. They would tell me that this just can’t be happening the way it was.
And when I started working with you, you didn’t make me ridiculous promises. You told me that you were going to try to help me by looking at the puzzle of my health from a different perspective. I trusted you because I knew that you were really trying to help me.
Jennifer, you are kind and knowledgeable. And like you say, every e-mail was answered within a very short time. And any symptom that wasn’t getting better, you made suggestion on tweaks we could make that would move things along.
I have so much trust in you, Jennifer.
But I feel like I was failed by so many doctors that didn’t really listen to me.
Jennifer: And I think that it’s a shame that so often people in our community feel so blown off and ignored by conventional medicine. After years of being given the run around, they almost feel like they’re in a big rat race, and it’s really hard to get good answers, clear answers.
To even have somebody to explain things to you clearly is important. I remember you said that I was one of the first people ever to actually explain to you what some of the things on your labs meant. And that’s a much different experience than someone who is just going to see somebody and say, “Oh, you look fine. Everything looks normal” even though you know you don’t feel normal.
Your story is just so amazing because our work has completely changed how you experience life on a day-to-day basis.
Do you have any parting words for anybody that if they were wondering if functional nutrition is worthwhile to try? To work with somebody that will really listen to you and go the distance and be a part of your team, not just dictate to you?
Linda: I believe if someone tells you that you cannot feel a certain way, and you know you do, you need to go to somebody else. You need to try something different. And you need to really feel like you can trust the practitioner that you’re working with. And it is important to find someone who is a kind and knowledgeable person.
Jennifer: Yeah, that is important. The personality does matter a lot.
And actually, I have one last question, Linda. Obviously, the things we’ve worked on together is a personal investment in your health.
Do you think that all the work that we did together that included changing your diet and using supplements… Do you feel at this point looking back at where you were to where you are now, was the process worth it for you?
Linda: Oh, it was well worth it. When you’ve suffered for so long, all you have to go with is hope. And the investment in you and functional nutrition that’s allowed me to get my life back is worth it.
Jennifer: Thank you, Linda. I really appreciate you sharing your story. I know that you’re not used to being interviewed.
We were talking at our last session and I thought how powerful your story is. And how it could give hope to listeners if you were willing to share it with people. It is beautiful and inspiring testimony to looking at a health problem from a much different perspective.
I know how passionate you are because you said that if you could help just one person, it would make all the difference. And you and I both share that idea, that if we could just help one person, then we’ve made this world a better place.
I just want to thank you so much for your willingness to give something else a try and to walk with me and employ me on this journey with you. And for also being willing to share your story to help inspire and encourage others. So thank you so much for joining us!
Linda: Thank you. I appreciate all you’ve done for me.
Jennifer: You’re very welcome. I’m glad to have you as a functional nutrition client and also to know you personally, Linda. It’s been a real pleasure.
I know this is a very different type of podcast as usually I’m interviewing an expert.
But I hope that this offers you a glimpse into what is possible with functional nutrition. This model allows us to look at your health circumstance from a different perspective by seeking out the root cause. You start to find what area of your body is really compromised and how we can bring that area back into balance in a way that makes sense for you.
It also doesn’t make you feel like you are doing something that you’re against. A lot of people don’t want to take antibiotics. We all have these different boundaries now with our health that we don’t like to cross.
And it’s one of the reasons of why I decided to become a functional nutritionist… to be a copilot on your journey that identifies the root cause and work together with you to bring your health (and life) back into balance.
I’m so glad that Linda was here to be able to share her inspiring story with you of how functional nutrition changed her life!
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I’m happy to answer them!
Thank you so much for joining me and I look forward to seeing you the next time. Bye bye!