Were you told by your family doctor to lose 20 pounds but you’re not sure where to start? Did you meet with a naturopath who gave you several bottles of supplements and you couldn’t remember when you got home why you were taking them all? Did you get advise from two doctors that contradicted each other? Were told by a specialist that they might not actually be able to diagnose what’s wrong?
That was my story.
I had terrible stomach pains for years. I was told to give up wheat by a health professional because it’s a common allergen, and the dietician said to give up cheese because it’s high in fat and would help me loose weight, and the endocronologist said to become a vegan to reduce my cholesterol, and the bariatric spealist told me to give up fiber.
I literally had no idea what I was supposed eat.
The abdominal swelling continued for years, seemingly at random. I would stretch at least 4 dress sizes within 15 minutes and looked about 7-months pregnant when it happened. My spouse was convinced something was terribly wrong with me because the swelling looked unnatural. He wanted to rush me to hospital, but I knew there was nothing they could do.
What material stretches like that? Let me tell you… not much! Especially not suit pants if it happened at work. Unbuttoning my pants was not an option at the office, and especially not at a client site. Even yoga pants hurt at the waist band. All I wanted to be in was a housecoat.
It seemed like my body and food were just not getting along, and I actually became afraid to eat at work incase I swelled up. Everything I ate seemed to make me feel sick. Even the dietician was stumped on what to recommend for meals, and I was still in pain.
I remember showing a photo of myself to my doctor who simply said “so you have bloating.” I was so taken aback by her response. I felt like she didn’t understand what I had been going through.
After 10 years of seeing different medical and allied health professionals – family doctor, endocronologist, gastrointestinal (GI) and liver specialist, naturopath, dietician, Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), osteopath, chiropractor, psychologist – I finally got a diagnosis of IBS. The treatment had less to do with food and more to do with stress.
What I needed wasn’t a special diet. I needed a lifestyle change.
Why I care so much about helping others
My name is Brooke and I love to cook, so I enrolled in nutrition and anatomy courses. Finally, I started to understand the connections between how I felt and what patterns the doctors were looking for. I learned how to better prepare for the appointments with the health professionals who were supporting me, and how to implement the recommendations they gave me. That’s what lead me to become certified as a professional Health Coach, Strategic Life Coach and Personal Trainer.
I am a weightlifting enthusiast, a lifelong learner, and passionate volunteer with Soroptimist International.
What else might you want to know about me as a person?
These are 5 things that came to mind.
1. I love to cook, especially homemade jam. I test new recipe ideas when the harvest is ripe. In Ontario, where I live, that’s late summer and early fall.
Small batch jam making is an art, a passion and one of the ways I release stress. Mix a bowl of fruit with an acid (citrus or vinegar) and organic cane sugar, then cook slowly. A batch only makes 3-4 cups of jam but is completely worth it. You get a rich tasting jam with caramel undertones. I make sweet and savoury jams, pickles, salsa and an assortment of preserves that have a myriad of names: coulis, compote, relish, chutney, etc. They all taste good! In fact, my blueberry-onion compote and yellow-tomato chutney both got third place ribbons at the Rockton’s World Fair in 2015.
2. I am married to the love of my life, Steve. We have eight darling nieces & nephews between our three sisters. In my free time, I enjoy cooking and writing (of course), as well as walking, playing board games, and spending time with my friends.
3. I am a life long learner. I have degrees in Engineering Physics (BEng, MASc) and Entrepreneurship & Innovation (MEEi). While working towards my Master’s degree, I obtained a patent and co-authored two published papers in the field of semiconductor physics. I realized research wasn’t my calling and transitioned into finance and business management. You can read more about my qualifications on LinkedIn »
4. I love to work in a team setting. From 2009 to 2021, I taught Business Strategy for the Engineering & Management undergraduate program at McMaster University, and my day job is in Leadership Training for Canadian businesses. I am also a proud Member of femmebought, Canadian Women in Food and Canadian Small Business Women.
5. I have volunteered for almost two decades with Soroptimist International, a global organization that supports education and career mentorship for women and girls in my local community and throughout the world. The highlight of my tenure was in 2013 at the United Nations 57th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) in New York City. The theme that year was Violence Against Women and Girls. There were so many tragic stories shared but the energy and optimism still carries with me today.
Colophon: some tech info about this site.
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Many of the photos are from my personal collection, FoodiesFeed, Death to Stock Photo, ord Pixabay.com.
Special thanks Steve from BlackAddr Audio for the tutorials on using Audacity and recording equipment that helped get me started.
The music in the intro of each podcast is an excerpt from Carefree by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
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