Real Food Heals

This week we have a guest post by local dietitian Danielle Killeffer who shares her journey to healing via real and local foods. Thank you Danielle!

When I was studying to become a dietitian in college, we were taught to educate others that they need low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium, and sugar free foods to be healthy. The problem with this way of eating is that it takes food away from its natural state and transforms it into a highly-processed food items. These food items have been stripped of nutritive value and altered with chemicals and synthetic vitamins. These “foods” create inflammation, bringing the body further away from homeostasis. How then can we expect optimal health from ingesting things that create toxicity and inflammation and that lack nourishment?

In my late 20’s, I suffered from chronic back pain so severe that I could not sit or stand for longer than 5 minutes. I was also riddled with insomnia for years. There were nights that I would only sleep for a couple of hours before having to get up and drag myself to work. Between chronic pain and lack of sleep, naturally I became depressed. I was on 6 different medications for various health problems but each medication brought its own set of side effects which would lead to the addition of yet another medication. Although I was young, I felt as if I was in my seventies, and instead of living life abundantly, I was merely going through the motions.

It wasn’t until I had my daughter, Andi who had her own health issues that I discovered real food and its natural ability to heal. Within 24 hours of receiving her 2 month vaccines, my daughter developed full body hives, neon green, explosive diarrhea for months on end, and eczema. She started reacting through my breastmilk to nearly everything I had eaten. She would scream and arch her back in pain after nursing. As the months progressed, she began to stop gaining weight or hitting her milestones and the explosive diarrhea turned to chronic constipation. The pediatric GI doctor I took her to at nine and half months old told us she was the size of a typical 4 month old. I left there with a prescription for Miralax and Pediasure, along with an overwhelming feeling of fear, despair, and disappointment.

I was determined not to feed my baby synthetic vitamins, corn syrup, chemicals, and sugar. What then was I going to feed her? She was already failing to thrive on my milk and only able to eat a handful of safe foods herself. That is when I discovered the GAPS Nutritional Protocol which uses real food to heal and seal the gut. I began buying foods from local farms and making everything we ate from scratch. All sugar, starches, grains, processed, or prepared food became off limits and we switched to eating only organic. In order to heal and seal the gut lining, we starting drinking homemade meat stock and probiotic-rich, fermented foods; the cornerstone of the GAPS Protocol.

Within a couple of months on GAPS, Andi began eating foods that she could not previously tolerate. She started to gain weight again and began to achieve developmental milestones. Eventually her constipation and severe stomach aches resolved. As for me, my back pain began to dissipate and after about a year on GAPS, I no longer had back pain and was getting significantly better quality sleep. Over time, my depressive symptoms also began to fade. I was even able to come off of every one of my medications!

My daughter and I are proof that REAL FOOD HEALS. Real, unadulterated food has organic compounds that provide a protective effect like flavonoids, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Real food has naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in perfect ratio and bioavailable form. Real food provides nourishing fats that fuel our cells, nourish our brains, and provide materials for making hormones and neurotransmitters. If the gut is healthy, food in its natural state decreases inflammation and toxicity unlike processed food items.

As Chattanoogans, we are fortunate to live in an area rich in locally sourced, whole foods. Places like the Main Street Market which operates year round, rain or shine is a wonderful medium to providing locally sourced, real food options. There is nowhere else in the Chattanooga area where you can buy raw milk (as a herd share), pastured meats, wild-caught fish, organically sourced fruits and vegetables, mushrooms, kombucha, and fermented vegetables all in one stop! This week’s special event is Winter Farmacy, highlighting wellness and Food as Medicine, and I highly encourage everyone who is interested in feeling their best to attend!

Danielle Killeffer.jpg

Danielle Killeffer is a Registered Dietitian that specializes in gut health and chronic disease. After years of suffering from chronic health problems, she found healing and relief through the GAPS Nutritional Protocol and became a Certified GAPS Practitioner. Although GAPS relieved the majority of her health problems, she still struggled with chronic fatigue and hypothyroid symptoms. That is when she discovered Ondamed Biofeedback Therapy and her renewed energy and zest for life. Now Danielle provides Ondamed treatments and nutrition consultation to others looking to achieve optimal health.