The Teenage Years
I spent my middle and high school years in mediocre health. The wheat allergy drama was over, but I was still getting sick at least once a month—especially with sinus problems and chronic congestion. At some point during my freshman year of high school, my parents pointed out that I’d start clearing my throat constantly (and probably annoyingly) every time I ate yogurt. After lamenting over my much-loved milk products, I snipped dairy out of my diet. Boom! No more sniffles.
Then, in the summer of my 15th year on earth, I ran into Mystery Health Problem Number Two. It happened one night when my grandparents were visiting from the Midwest. We ordered Chinese takeout, and I got my usual: stir-fried veggies with fried tofu blocks.
About an hour after eating, while we were all lounging in the living room watching the movie “Contact,” I suddenly got dizzy and felt like I couldn’t breathe. I stumbled into the other room and opened the front door, desperate for fresh air. Didn’t help. I started tingling all over and feeling like I was going to pass out.
This lasted for a month straight.
To this day, I don’t know what the diddly was wrong with me. Weird case of food poisoning? Maybe. Psychosomatic illness? Maybe. Prolonged anxiety attack? Maybe. Whatever it was, I spent a month barely eating, glued to the couch, nearly blacking out every time I stood up. It got so intense one evening that I went to the ER. They found nothing wrong.
Eventually, I regained some sense of normalcy—just in time for school to start. The dizziness went away, but I vowed never to eat Chinese food again; I somehow felt it was responsible for the experience.
Shortly after this, my interest in nutrition surged through the roof. I can’t remember exactly why. I felt fragile, precarious, and desperate for a better way of eating. As I was already fairly slender, I didn’t have an interest in weight loss so much as health improvement.
And that’s when I found…