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  • Heather Woodruff

My Story – The Foods I thought were ‘Healthy’ were killing my Gut.

Through my childhood I had a long complicated health history with chronic eczema, infections, tonsillitis, allergies. The doctor told my Mom after the surgery when they remove my tonsils that they literally fell apart in his hands because there were so infected.

My skin issues seemed to do better after moving from the dry prairies to the more humid west coast but they also evolved into digestive problems. I started getting really gassy and bloated after meals. I would wake up with a perfectly flat tummy and by the end of the day look about 5 months pregnant. I was going to the bathroom 8+ times a day which made me super self-conscience at the large open concept office I worked at with 300+ people. (I strongly dislike open offices to this day).


I of course did what most people do and went to the doctor. I was recommended a huge battery of tests including stool samples, blood work, abdominal ultrasounds that all just kept coming back ‘normal’ (except for low iron). So I was pretty much just sent on my way with an ‘it must just be IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)’ and without any sort of clear direction.

So I carried on as is just dealing with it.


In my late 20’s I decided to quite the job I was in and take a year off to travel and surf in Central America. And the funny thing was is that my digestion got better! ‘Who goes to a third world country and ends up with better digestion than when they left?! It was amazing! I thought I was curried!

Then I returned home and slowly found my gassy bloated tummy returning. And this was the turning point for me that I knew I had to figure this out. I got a glimpse of what life could be like without being consumed by this inflamed belly and there was absolutely no way I was going back to that.

It didn’t even occur to me that it was my diet until a Naturopathic Doctor pointed it out. I actually thought I ate healthy. I had a smoothie and whole grain toast every morning, I took vitamins, a greens powder, I rarely ate meat.


It definitely wasn’t easy transforming my diet and figuring out what worked for me. Just when I thought I figured it out I would learn something new that would rock my world. And it was really overwhelming and sometimes I would get caught up in the whole ‘if I’m not doing this perfectly then I just won’t do it at all’. But for the most part I just pushed on making changes every week and listening to my body for what worked and didn’t work.

I discovered that even though I thought I was eating healthy there were so many foods that were inflaming my body, my skin and most of all my gut.

Foods like processed vegetarian food (veggie ground, tofu), cereal full of sugar, ‘organic or all natural’ food like products that contained ingredients that I couldn’t even pronounce.


My tummy is blissful and I can tolerate good quality dairy again! I love food and actually feel sick when I think about going back to the way I use to eat.

There were definitely some walls I put up for myself like how giving up some of my favorite foods would take all enjoyment out of eating and my life. Which actually seems silly when I think about it now that I thought my life’s happiness was based around this food. But during my healing journey I found so many new ones I may have never been introduced to.

That’s the thing about finally making the decision to do something different and push to become a better more healthful version of yourself… You may just become a better more healthful version of yourself, making it almost painful to look back and realize how long you spent in that sick, uncomfortable place. We can’t expect the outcome to be different by just doing the same thing over and over again.

If you want things to be different you need to do things differently. Try and do something different by joining the Natural IBS Support Facebook Group

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