Welcome to Healthy Life Heather! I’m Heather Palmer, and I’m on a mission to restore my health through food, functional medicine, and faith.
For over 10 years I’ve had food sensitivities and gut health concerns, but in 2013, things went from manageable to worse. For the last two years, I’ve been challenged with on-going digestive issues, resulting in chronic pain and discomfort and an ever-growing list of foods I can no longer tolerate. Although I’ve taken steps toward improving my health for years, in 2014, I decided to take a more proactive role in my health and future, drastically changing my diet and applying an integrative/functional medicine approach to getting well.
Creating a healthy lifestyle with food
I’ve always enjoyed baking, exploring new places through food, planning meals, going to the grocery store, and finding new recipes.
I love food!
But it seems food doesn’t always love me.
What began years ago as a sensitivity to a few foods has now become a complete intolerance to entire food groups. At the moment, I’m happy to remove these foods if it means I can get through the day feeling relatively well. In the long term, my goal is to address and heal my digestive issues in hopes that I can reintroduce some of the foods that are currently off-the-table. If I can never eat gluten and dairy again, that’s fine, but it’s difficult to imagine eliminating many nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits forever.
To help address my food intolerances and gut health issues, I’m currently adopting a paleo-ish and low-FODMAP diet. I’ve also removed all foods that appeared on a recent allergy test. As someone who was 85% vegetarian before going paleo, the transition has been difficult at times, but prayer and a determination to get well helps me get through the days (weeks?!) that are more mentally and emotionally challenging.
If you’re like some of my friends and family who wonder what in the world I actually do eat, I keep this “So what do you eat?! list updated. You know. In case you want to have me over for dinner.
I look forward to sharing some of my favorite safe recipes with you, as well as helpful resources if you’re thinking about trying the GAPS, paleo, FODMAP, or other gut-healing approach to eating.
Creating a healthy lifestyle for the body and home
While I do pay so much attention to digestive health and food, I know I need to be taking care of my entire body in order to get well and be well. As we work on improving my gut health, I also want to create a healthy lifestyle through exercise, improved sleep, reduced stress, and healthier habits.
In particular, I’m working on learning to play more and stress less. I’m a natural worrier. And it’s likely that the worry gene + several stressful life events were contributing factors to my current problems. Since I can’t remove all stress from life, I want to work on improving my response to stress through prayer, play, and stress-busting habits.
My wellness journey
In the summer of 2014 I started working with two integrative medicine practitioners in hopes of diagnosing my digestive problems, identifying their underlying causes, and creating a treatment plan.
I love how collaborative my relationship is with the practice’s MD and RD. From the beginning, my ideas and suggestions have played an important role in next steps, and I always walk away with new ideas to try before my next appointment. Through an integrative and functional approach to medicine, we use my history, lab tests, and current symptoms to paint a picture of how the body’s systems are or aren’t functioning as they should. We’ve changed my diet and the types of supplements I take several times, based on changes in my health and test results, and we closely monitor progress and set backs.
I’ll be sharing stories about the Wellness Journey, including my experiences with functional medicine, lab tests, unique forms of therapy, and healthcare choices.
Why Healthy Life Heather?
Over the last several years I’ve spent countless hours learning about health and wellness, reading and rereading articles and blog posts and listening to webinars. I’ve learned so much from people who have suffered similar issues and regained their health. It’s also helped to hear from others like me who are in the midst of the storm. Now that I’m starting to have just as many good days as bad ones, I’m ready and well enough to begin sharing my story.
And guess what? I love telling stories. I love making others smile and laugh and setting them at ease.
I also love being a resource for others. In my work as a career counselor, as a family member and friend, and as a travel blogger, I love when people come to me with questions, seeking information and advice on topics I care about and have easily spent hours researching. Now, I hope I can be a resource when it comes to health and wellness, sharing favorite recipes, products, and websites.
A little bit more about me
I know I already said above that I love food. But really, I LOVE food. Just before my health problems really kicked into high gear, “foodie Heather” was beginning to emerge. I was trying new foods, spending too much money during our local Restaurant Week, and recipe testing for a couple of bloggers and cookbook authors. Now that I’ve had to eliminate so many foods from my diet, I’ve had to give up certain aspects of being foodie Heather (like food festivals and Restaurant Week), but I still love farmers markets and food blogs. If I’m not at work, I’m creating meals, talking about food, thinking about food, and looking at recipes.
Before I was blogging about health and wellness, I was blogging about travel. Especially about the time I lived in Australia for a year.
Virginia is home.
I’m a Christian and look to God for strength and healing.
I might be a story teller, but I’m a story-telling introvert.
I’m a Star Wars fan who got married on “Star Wars Day”.
Weaknesses: Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate and Justin’s Hazelnut Butter.
When I’m not blogging I’m a career counselor for college students.
If I wouldn’t have gone into a career in education, I probably would have selected a path in nutrition or healthcare.
I don’t want to take health for granted and am so appreciative of the many things I do have. Looking forward to sharing stories and getting to know you!