Food is medicine. When Dawn first told me that, I didn’t understand what she meant. I didn’t know that within a few short weeks I would learn how much the digestive system affects the rest of the body. I learned I could manage issues such as autoimmune disease, pain, and chronic acid reflux (which had gone undiagnosed by 3 doctors). I learned it played a direct role on my mood as well, with my severe depression and anxiety. I’ve known for years that I needed to eat healthier, and it would help me feel tremendously better. I’ve contemplated working with a nutritionist, but let’s be honest, “Who has extra money nowadays?” Four months ago, there was no way for me to realize that it would be one of the most important investments I’d make. My ideas of eating healthier weren’t even close to the meal plan that was beneficial for my body.
Knowledge, personalization, and trust are the three words that come to mind when I think of my experience working with Raw Food Chef and Certified Health Coach, Dawn Hamilton, from Encompassing You, based out of Lowell, Michigan. In today’s speedy society, it’s difficult for us to take time for self-care. Self-care? For many of us, those are words that we sarcastically laugh off thinking to ourselves, ‘What does that even mean anymore?’ Doing the research as to what is actually going on with us and our bodies is not something we make a priority, but Dawn does. Her whole purpose and mission is to help one person at a time realize how they can live healthier, more joyful, and productive lives. She wants people to understand the effects that food choices have on their bodies and commit to a new lifestyle that helps them achieve wellness. An expanded awareness and some more conscious choices can make you feel a positive shift in mind and body. She took me on a new journey with her tremendous knowledge and a personalized eating program, including pages of recipes. She taught me how I can take more control over my own health.
We started with an extensive and deeply personal questionnaire. I was almost reluctant, considering how much I should share, but I decided to be transparent because I knew I needed the help. I don’t know if I have things that I hide, but I certainly have things that I don’t bring up in conversation unless it’s a very private one. When I finally had the meeting with Dawn, she was understanding and compassionate about all that I had been through. The transparency came to my benefit. She was unfamiliar with my autoimmune disease, Lyme disease, but she did extensive research and actually shocked me with how much she knew about its effects on my body and mind. We had a long conversation about how different foods effect the body, how certain foods effect my body, and a history of how our eating habits came to be and needed to be undone. It needs to be one-on-one. She knows, and has shown me, how personalized every person’s plan needs to be. It’s not like going to the doctor where general symptoms get general medications. It’s a medication free lifestyle that is tailored around our detailed needs of our systems specific causes and effects.
The grain free diet cleanse that my body specifically needed was a challenge, but I saw within days how it was changing my body. I learned to manage my moods by balancing natural sugars and carbohydrates. I tracked the food I put into my body as well as my mood cycles throughout the day. When I had lower energy or started to feel down, I understood what was chemically happening and ate foods that balanced me out, helping me to make the most out of my days. Cheating on my diet would quickly bring my pain or acid reflux symptoms right back. I felt lethargic and less productive.
I have the choice to make a lifestyle change, but there was no denying it was a commitment. It’s not just like a z-pack of steroids and a symptom free change until the next time I get sick from a low immune system. It’s not a Band-Aid or a quick fix. It’s hitting the reset button on my life and taking control of my own health. The fact that I’ve managed to do just that, is a huge achievement for me. Dawn has given me the knowledge by showing me that a healthier, more joyful, and productive lifestyle is cost effective. It is always available at my local grocery store.
You can learn more about Dawn, and yourself, by following her on her website, Instagram and Facebook pages, Encompassing You.