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Hello and welcome

My name is Laurie Brooks and I'm so glad you're here!

I know what it feels like to be completely confused by your own body and to be searching high and low for answers and solutions to help you feel like yourself again so you can get your life back!  Here's my full health story and why I decided to dedicate my life to helping others.

I was only 34 years old with an 18-month-old and a 3-month-old when my mother passed away.  I watched my mother suffer her whole life with multiple autoimmune/ hormone disorders, breast cancer, and an unfortunate reoccurrence of breast cancer that ultimately took her life. I didn’t want to end up like that.  I want to be around to see my children grow up, get married, and have children of their own.

 

My own health struggles began just three years later, shortly before I turned 37.  I began to break out in a severe case of hives that lasted over eight months.  At first, I thought they were nothing more than mosquito bites that initially started on my ankles and quickly worked their way up to my torso.  Nothing seemed to work to alleviate the itching, lack of sleep, irritability, anxiety, and downright pain of the hives.  At one point, I was on three antihistamines and an absurd number of steroid pills and numerous steroid shots to control the rash.  I racked up thousands of dollars of lab tests and prescriptions and I consulted with seven different doctors; my general physician, two endocrinologists, two allergists, one dermatologist, and finally a functional wellness physician (associated with BodyLogicMD) before being correctly diagnosed.  Two of these doctors told me that I “just need to calm down” and/or see a psychiatrist to determine the psychological reason for the hives.  I could not believe my ears!

 

A thorough saliva and blood test determined that I was suffering from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, adrenal fatigue, and estrogen dominance with an underlying autoimmune inflammatory disease and had the hormone levels of a 67-year-old!  My physician stated that I was the youngest case he had to date.  Scientifically speaking, the hives were a direct result of estrogen dominance, which caused an elevation in my thyroid antibodies and a decrease in my natural cortisone that helps with inflammation.  My body was literally attacking itself on a molecular level that manifested in my skin in the form of hives.  I was prescribed natural thyroid replacement, bio-identical progesterone and testosterone, DHEA and cortisol to help calm the inflammation throughout my body.  I noticed the results of the hormone replacement therapy within three weeks and my hives completely vanished.

 

One of the worst side effects of undiagnosed and untreated hypothyroidism is weight gain.  I had gained 30 pounds in less than two years without changing any eating and exercise habits.  Given my 5’ 4” height, I felt huge and miserable at 167 pounds.  Although bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) helped with the hives and fatigue, hypothyroidism completely trashed other hormone processes and my ability to lose weight.  My cycles shortened to 19 days, ovarian cysts continued, my uterus became enlarged, and abdominal pain caused by extreme endometriosis steadily increased.  Six months after beginning BHRT, I took the advice of my OB/GYN and scheduled a complete hysterectomy (where both ovaries are removed).  This enabled my wellness doctor to closely monitor and moderate the BHRT as effectively as possible over the next six months, as I went into surgical menopause by the time I turned 39. 

 

Mind you, there were no dietary or lifestyle recommendations offered to help reduce inflammation or support my very depleted immune system at this time.  I was able to lose weight through perseverance, low carb dieting, low impact workouts, and loads of rest.  A few years down the road, I determined that a gluten sensitivity was causing severe migraines at least once or twice per month with an increase in overall inflammation and more weight gain.  I used an elimination protocol called "The Fast Metabolism Diet" by nutritionist Haylie Pomroy.  This protocol removes the following food groups: wheat, corn, soy, dairy, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, diet/fat-free foods, dried fruit and fruit juices, and all processed foods.  I reduced overall inflammation and lost 7.5 inches in my waist and 20 pounds in 28 days and have been gluten-free since 2013.

 

A few years ago, believing that my journey on the road to wellness was slowing down long enough for me to enjoy the scenery, my OB/GYN lowered my thyroid medicine because my labs showed that I was on the high end of the “normal range.”  He’s the doctor, I trusted his opinion and went along.  Slowly, subtle signs that my thyroid meds were too low began to emerge over the course of the next few months, like hair falling out, cracked heals, thinning eye lashes and eyebrows, and weight gain of 15, then 30, then 40 pounds (my highest pregnancy weight)! Then came the hives… AGAIN!  So, I do what any logical person would do, I call the doctor.  It HAS to be my thyroid because it was the cause in the past – please change my prescription back, STAT!  Once again, I am told that all my lab work is in the “normal" range and the doctor would not adjust my prescription.  Now I’m on the hunt for a new endocrinologist/ functional medicine doctor, dig in, research, read, and learn all. over. AGAIN.

 

Luckily, over the past 10-15 years, many more health advocates have published papers and books and come up with effective protocols to help people with autoimmune disorders in general, and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis specifically.  I discovered, “Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause” by Dr. Izabella Wentz, PharmD and tried supplementation and a few other dietary eliminations under the guidance of my endocrinologist - goodbye dairy and corn! This did help alleviate some of my symptoms but my weight and overall feeling of wellness did not budge.

 

In 2020, I signed up for an online anti-inflammation, cellular healing program developed by Dr. Bill Cole that compelled me to change the course of my life! This 20-week course, that included a modified paleo diet developed by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne called the Autoimmune Protocol from her book The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease Heal Your Body, combined with intermittent fasting and dietary education, along with an extended community of nutritional therapy/health coaches with unlimited support via a Facebook group, honestly saved my life!  Just two weeks into the program, symptoms I had grown accustomed to were already disappearing.  The missing link for me was eliminating nightshades from my diet.  I discovered that I had developed a nightshade sensitivity/ allergy that was severely affecting my immune system.  I have a greater understanding that one cannot be cured of autoimmune diseases; however, we CAN control the symptoms when we have the right tools and knowledge and know-how!

 

I have a newfound sense of purpose outside of myself and affirmation for all the time I’ve spent researching natural solutions to my own health issues and a responsibility to share my knowledge with you.  Discovering the scientific reasons for finding healing through food has ignited a spark in me to shout from the rooftops and educate you on how to reduce symptoms caused by inflammation though food and lifestyle choices, to help you understand that you have the power to positively OR negatively effect your own health.  What you do today DOES impact how you physically/ mentally feel tomorrow!

 

I want to help you discover that you have the power to heal yourself and impact the health of your family, now and in the generations to come.  I want to help break the Standard American Diet, or "S.A.D." cycle, abolish the acceptance of “it runs in the family” mentality, and reduce the number of autoimmune disease sufferers in the world.

 

I want to teach you how to “Eat to live, NOT live to eat!” Food really is medicine; you just need to discover what foods work best for your uniquely made body so that you can improve your health and not hinder it, to live a long, full, happy, and vibrant life!

This is me in June 2022 at 145 pounds and feeling healthy for a change!

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"Scientifically speaking, the hives were a direct result of estrogen dominance which caused an elevation in my thyroid antibodies and a decrease in my natural cortisone that helps with inflammation.  My body was literally attacking itself on a molecular level that manifested in my skin in the form of hives."

This was me at the beginning of June 2020 prior to beginning the Autoimmune Health Reset program with Dr. Cole.  I was 185 pounds, struggling with resistant weight loss, chronic fatigue, hair loss, and symptoms of hormone imbalance despite "normal" bloodwork and thyroid levels.

"I have a greater understanding that one cannot be cured of autoimmune diseases; however, we CAN control the symptoms when we have the right tools and knowledge and know-how!"

"I want to help you discover that you have the power to heal yourself and impact the health of your family, now and in the generations to come, by preparing nutrient-dense foods and improving lifestyle choices."

Follow me on Instagram @healthy.for.a.change

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