Yup, that was me, and not even at my the worst. This picture was taken by me many many months AFTER being diagnosed by the “best” doctor who deals with celiac disease. I took it as evidence that this was NOT me being “crazy”. As I said though, this wasn’t even close to my bottom. I get into my crazy journey in my first book, Jennifer Way, and should be recommend reading for celiacs, anyone feeling unheard my the medical community and the people around you.
To make a long story short, I went for years begging for answers about my health. I got nothing but frustrated, hopeless, sicker by the day and was prescribed more drugs than anyone should be allowed. I swore if I ever found any answers, I would scream them from the mountain tops. In my first book, Jennifer Way, My Journey With Celiac Disease and What Doctors Don’t Tell You, I start the book by saying this, “there is something that happens to you when you feel unheard for so long, your soul starts to die a little”. I understand how painful it is to feel unheard, especially when dealing with your health. From panic attacks that started at 13, to agoraphobia, depression, stomach issues, sinus infections, exhaustion and celiac so bad my liver and kidneys were shutting down, I get it. I had the money at the time of my diagnosis in 2007 to get the BEST doctors, all of which failed me, to say it kindly. I was determined for better than how I was living, if you can call it living.
After my diagnosis I set out to understand all I could about this disease called celiac and basically save my own life. I read everything I could get my hands on, saw too many doctors to count and became my own guinea pig. I realized quickly I had to go way beyond the prescribed holy grail gluten free diet. This was the very beginning of my slow healing process.
I finally came across and started to work closely with, Dr Fratellone, who helped me along this ever changing road. With all my research and his knowledge, I am happy to say I have been able to share what I’ve learned and what worked for me with so many around the world. My book, mentioned above, became a NY Times best seller. Proving there were many out there suffering like me who needed help. I went on to create and open Jennifer’s Way Bakery in NYC, the first 100% gluten free, vegan, allergen free bakery and helped anyone who walked in the door looking for answers or simply needed to talk to someone who GOT IT. At that time I was asked to give a lecture on celiac disease at the IIN, Institute of Intergraded Nutrition, which has since been used to teach future health coaches/advocates around the world. I also later enrolled and took the program myself.
Through my journey it became extremely clear that this was about much MORE than just celiac disease. It was about GUT HEALTH. The days of suffering with stomach issues and celiac related problems was rough but NOTHING compared to the panic attacks I had constantly. I learned that most of the serotonin (90%) exists in your gut. Seratonin dictates mood/anxiety/depression, I knew this. So it dawned on me if my gut was off and this is where my serotonin lives, then was this the cause of mental issues too? YES!!!! It was playing an enormous part! I know its hard to believe that changing your food and healing your gut would actually make such an enormous impact on your mental state, but its everything . Not even the 4 prescribed kolonopin a day was remotely stopping the attacks.. Over time with diligence, patience and a complete overhaul of my food and lifestyle, the panic attacks stopped. Today, I gratefully do NOT GET PANIC ATTACKS ANY LONGER and take ZERO medication. Coincidence? Absolutely not. By healing my gut my serotonin balanced and other areas of my health fell into place. Dr Fratellone always says, “The gateway to all disease starts in the gut”. I not only believe this whole heartedly but I lived it.
This has become a mission of mine. To help people understand just how important what they eat is to their ENTIRE body, mind included. I am deeply pained when I see people struggling with their health and mental health without having this knowledge. Our society is quick to prescribe medication and put a label on you without looking at the route cause. I am NOT a doctor and I do believe medication is a wonderful tool at times. However, I do also KNOW that the medicine, which is FOOD, could and SHOULD be used as well.
Sessions with me are for suggestions only, taken from what has worked for me on my journey. Everyone is different however. This should be used as a spring board to hear alternative ideas, gather knowledge, share with your doctor and start to see what works for YOU.
CHEW THIS, PERSONAL SESSION x 1
We will start by me sending you a health form to fill out and return. I will review it and we will set up a time to chat over the phone, possibly FaceTime, approximately 1 hour 15 min. We will go over your health history and your most pressing issues. You will leave with suggestions that could put you on the road to healing. I will send you a copy of those suggestion, 2 recipe ideas and some suggested reading material.
CHEW THIS, PERSONAL SESSION x 3
We start with me sending you a health history form that you will fill out and return. I will review it and set up a time to chat over the phone or possibly FaceTime. First call, we will go over your health history and overall goals, approximately 1 hr 15 min. I will then make some suggestion for your to incorporate into your life. Two to Three weeks after our first call we will speak again, approximately 45 min, to see how the suggestions are working for you. We go over what is working and what is not. We then regroup and make adjustments. You incorporate new items or take away items in your life and we speak again in two weeks to check progress, approximately 45 min.
I will send you all suggestions after each call. You will also receive 4 staple recipes and recommended reading material.
CHEW THIS, THE HOLY GRAIL
This is something I wish I had at the beginning of my journey. I will send you the health history form which you will fill out and send back to me. I will share it with and make the personal introduction to my doctor, Dr Fratellone, He will review your form and plan a phone call to speak to him for 30 minutes. He will then write you a script for bloodworm for you to take to your lab and cover by your insurance. The blood work results will be sent back to Dr Fratellone who will review and plan another call with you, 20 minutes. The doctor will then speak to me about food recommendations and restrictions. HE WILL NOT DISCUSS YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION WITH ME. We then will schedule a time to talk on the phone, 1 hour, to go over what and how to incorporate what the doctor suggests, regarding food. I will give you suggestions which you will incorporate and speak 2 weeks later. Our last call will be for 40 minutes to make any necessary adjustments.
i will send suggestion after we speak, reading recommendations, a sample diet for a week and my cookbook Jennifer’s Way Kitchen.
A few important things to know:
I am a straight up honest person and only want to work with people who are ready to take their health seriously. Meaning if you are a celiac and tell me you eat gluten “sometimes’ you will hear it from me. THIS IS NOT AN OPTION.
I also do not take on people looking for a weight loss program. You would be better served elsewhere. My goal here is gut health as it relates to over health, autoimmune, celiac and how it affects mental health.
There is a waitlist for personal sessions so please be patient. I may not be able to get to everyone. Others may not be able to afford it. SO i will do my best to bring you as much info her on site, through podcast and cooking lessons on Facebook live events.
IN NO MEANS SHOULD YOU GET OFF ANY MEDICATIONS UNLESS ADVISED BY YOUR DOCTOR OR DR. FRATELLONE. This may happen in the future through shifting the health of your gut but again that takes time and any medication needs to be address by your caregiver
I have helped so many and seriously get so excited to bring people back to some sensible, honest talk about what can help them, FOOD.