On the subject of digestive health, most of my previous blog posts have focused on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). However, there’s a multitude of other digestive health issues that do exist that I just haven’t gotten around to mentioning quite yet. One, in particular, is ulcer disease. Ulcer disease is a condition where open sores develop in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. They can occur in the small intestine (duodenal ulcer), stomach (gastric ulcer), and esophagus (esophageal ulcer). The most common symptom of ulcers is epigastric pain (pain that is localized in the upper abdomen just below the sternum). However, there are other symptoms as well.
I did my first avalanche safety training course this weekend just north of Vancouver so that I can start doing more backcountry snowboarding trips — preferably without ever getting caught in an avalanche. First things first, all you skiers out there are probably mocking the fact that I snowboard right now. You know what? Nothing feels better than riding through fresh powder and feeling like you’re surfing on water. However, I do realize that, especially for backcountry, skiing just might have more advantages (i.e. more efficient ways to hike up without the use of snowshoes)… I still like snowboarding better. Now that we’ve cleared that up… onto more important things! This dietitian is once again talking about nutrition. More precisely, how to properly fuel and hydrate in the backcountry.
Some people are passionate about music, some are passionate about dance. Some people are passionate about cars, others about keeping the grass green. I am passionate about nutrition, and the power it has to help treat disease, manage symptoms, optimally fuel the body for athletic performance, and improve overall lifestyle. Going hand in hand with nutrition, a second passion of mine is exercise. I truly believe this is the ultimate combination – if one can eat healthy and exercise regularly, they will feel better, look better, perform better, and have the ability to live life to the fullest.
I want to share my passion with you, in hopes that you too will want to jump on the “healthy lifestyle” bandwagon. Before I start blogging about all things healthy, let me give you an idea of how I became such a strong believer in nutrition and exercise.
Growing up, I suffered from stomach aches and digestive problems. I learned at a young age the strong connection our diet has with how our bodies feel. My symptoms were so bad that I would miss days of school, and later on would always be nervous about going out with friends in my early high school years, wondering if I would get an “attack”. I would constantly question foods – “Mom, do you think this will make my stomach hurt?”. Eventually, I learned that my mother did NOT have all the answers in life (GASP!!) and could no longer answer all my questions about which foods would and would not cause me pain. Doctors weren’t even able to answer my questions. So, I started figuring it out on my own – the healthier my diet became, the better I felt. By the time I got to that stressful point at the end of high school where I had to make a decision about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I started scrolling through University programs of interest, and stumbled upon “Dietetics”. At the time, I had no idea what that word meant, let alone how to pronounce it. But reading on, I quickly realized that this was the program for me. I met all the criteria: I loved food, I was a science nerd, and I 100% understood how closely diet and health were related.
Then came my first year of undergrad – living away from home, meeting new people, cooking your own meals?? I gained the freshman… 20. In what started solely as an attempt to get back to my usual weight by going to the gym regularly and ‘healthifying’ my diet even further, not only did I achieve my weight goal, but I completely got rid of all my stomach problems! This was a life-changing experience for me. No longer did I suffer from the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, through my natural concoction of healthy eating and regular exercise, I felt cured.
This lead to my new love for not only diet, but also exercise, used in combination to help others manage their own diseases and symptoms. I moved to the healthy city of Vancouver, and completed my Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology with a focus on nutrition. During this time, I worked with chronic kidney disease patients and developed and implemented a comprehensive nutrition and exercise program to improve their health. Guess what? It worked.
I am determined to continue doing what I love – helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise.