Catered by Kristin
Gluten Free and Paleo Personal Chef Services
My name is Kristin, and I run my own Personal Chef business. In 2005, I had my third daughter, and my whole life began to change, but not in the way that you would think. Yes, I was a mom of now three amazing girls: a four-year-old, a two -year- old, and a new baby. I was busy day in and day out and loved being a mom. But something was just not right; I did not feel right. I was tired (yes, I know I was a mom of young children) but it was not the same as after I had my second daughter. I began having problems with my hands; holding a knife was tough and opening jars, cans, and bottles became difficult. I was having horrible stomach issues that sometimes prevented me from leaving the house. I tried to put it out of my mind and figured maybe I was overreacting. So I pushed through and did what all moms do: I put myself last and that was that.
For years, I continued to live with chronic pain. In that time, things began to get worse. My stomach issues began to increase, and I was experiencing insomnia and anxiety. During the course of this time, my doctor had been a huge help. Blood test after blood test was showing I was "healthy.” How could that be when I felt so awful? In 2015, I discovered that I had a severe gluten allergy that had been lying dormant in my body for most of my life. At this point, I figured going gluten free would fix me, and though it helped, I was still dealing with anxiety, inflammation, joint pain, stomach issues, and insomnia. Not only was I still not feeling well, but I had my personal chef business. There was no way I could have a business cooking for people when I could not have any gluten for the rest of my life. I was devastated and ultimately had to call all of my contacts and close my business.
I began to research more about food and how maybe it was affecting my body. That is when I first found out about the Whole30 program. I bought the book and decided to give it a try…but I failed. I was about three weeks in and had to go out of town. I was determined that I was going to be successful even though I had to be eating out. For the first day, I did great, but come day two, not so much. I made it all of the way to free happy hour at the hotel and just gave up, which then led to having shrimp and grits for dinner and let’s just say my Whole30 was over at that point.
My doctor continued monitoring me, and each year my blood work was done. I even went as far as taking the Food Inflammation Test (FIT Test) which showed I was sensitive to many other foods. I cut all of those out, including dairy and eggs. In June 2018, I was in such bad shape, I was unsure what to even do. I kept this quiet as possible with only my husband and mom knowing how bad I really felt. That month, my brother and sister-in-law came to visit for a week. I pushed through, cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinners for six people for five days. I was in such extreme pain with horrible insomnia and anxiety. Usually I was very good at covering how bad I felt when I was around other people, but my sister-in- law saw through it all. I admitted I was in bad shape. I remember the day they left I felt so bad; my whole body hurt almost like with the flu. I cried to my husband telling him I was going to have to call my doctor and get back into her. However, I knew that there really was nothing that could be done. That is when my husband said, “Try the Whole30; it is worth a shot.” I felt so incredibly bad, I knew it was my last shot before I had to go back to the drawing board with my doctor.
That next day I began day one of my Whole30. I remember feeling so awful that one of my daughters grabbed one of my Whole30 books and cooked a meal from there. I spent the next three days in bed, felling horrible, almost as if my body was going through a detox. My husband and girls stepped up and helped making me Whole30 meals all weekend. Finally on day four, I woke up feeling pretty good. I took a long walk on the beach with my husband and felt a sense of relief. I came home and planned out a week of Whole30 meals, knowing that I had to continue this. As the weeks went on, I was feeling better and better. My hands felt better, I was getting the best sleep of my life, and my anxiety was so much better. I finished my round of Whole30, and my husband and oldest daughter were intrigued and wanted to do it with me as well. So, I did another round shortly after finishing my first round, and at this point, I felt amazing. I could not believe how great I was feeling.
My bloodwork was still something that my doctor would monitor each year and in 2019, my blood work showed my ANA (antinuclear antibodies) markers were high; this can indicate autoimmune issues, even though the results of the autoimmune diseases I had been tested for were negative. My doctor then referred me to see a Rheumatologist in order to have some more extensive bloodwork done and x-rays taken of my hands. The results came back and the first thing they noticed was I had demineralization in my hands, but the strange part was my joints in my knuckles were in perfect condition. That is not typical to say the least. At that point the Rheumatologist diagnosed me with Osteoarthritis based on her findings in the x-rays. Ok, great, one diagnosis; at least I knew what I was dealing with. Osteoarthritis explained my chronic hand pain, but what about all of my other symptoms?
The doctor proceeded to tell me that all of my blood work came out showing no known autoimmune diseases. I asked the doctor what this result meant. “It means you have an undiagnosed autoimmune disease,” she said. She was stumped as to my joints being intact when my bones were so demineralized and was honest that she expected a Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis down the road. In the meantime, she said she could not offer any help other than writing me a prescription for pain medication for the days when I was in chronic pain. Well, that just was not going to work; I had chronic pain every single day. Off I went being told "come back and see me in a year." Well, I never took any of those pills. I could not live my life on pain medication. I remember calling my husband from the car and as I began to tell him about my appointment, I just fell apart and sobbed. Now what? At this point no doctor can pinpoint what I have. This couldn’t be happening. I sobbed the whole way home, scared of how I would manage to live a life like this at forty-three years old.
That is when I realized I needed to do another round of Whole30, which had the most positive impact on my health and body up to this point. I did another round and after that time decided it was time for me to explore being full Paleo. I was determined to live a full and healthy life and not be controlled by pain and medication. I finally felt well enough to work out five to six days a week, which was a huge help along with my diet.
I was finally able to start my personal chef business back up and focus on only gluten free and paleo cooking for clients. I have spent countless hours finding the best recipes to use for my family and my clients, and I have been creating my own recipes to share with others. I am passionate about food, health, and nutrition, and I continue to educate myself on how food can heal the body and help people who have autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders, food and skin allergies, as well as many other diseases.
To this day, I continue to support Whole30 and encourage clients and friends who are dealing with health issues to try a round of the Whole30 program. I live by the fact of knowing that what you eat will impact your body, so it is important to learn what your body can and cannot handle. Eating well without sacrificing the flavor is important to me, and I bring that into the kitchen each time I cook. In June of 2022, I became a Certified Whole30 Envoy, and I am so thankful I have the opportunity to continue to support the Whole30 program.