Hello! My name is Tammie, I’m so glad that you are here! You see, ever since I was a little girl I've always wanted to grow up to do two things, be a mommy and a teacher. I'm the mommy to four amazing children and I am honored to be able to teach and share my passion about the importance of REAL food and a balanced wellness lifestyle with you!
I love to inspire and guide others to create amazing levels of joy and happiness in their lives. It feeds my soul. There is something about watching a light turn on in another person when they learn something new. As I have learned to teach others over the years I have developed many skills that help me to take complex things (very few things are as complex as the relationship between food and health) and make them so simple that anyone can master them.
My Rocky Start in Life
I got off to a rocky start in life. You see, I was born six weeks premature and only weighed 3 lbs.—11 oz. The doctor discouraged breastfeeding, his reason- I was so small. So I missed out on what we've learned now is a critical window to develop a healthy gut and immune system.
As a small child, I always had digestive issues and allergies. My seasonal allergies lasted most of the year. I was sensitive to animal dander, perfumes, and fragrances, and even raw fruits and veggies would often cause my mouth to get all itchy and my throat to feel like it was closing off. It seemed like I was continually battling sinus infections and strep throat. I was also always bloated and gassy, which led to some pretty painful nicknames and lots of teasing from my brothers.
Because my mom was a nurse for a pediatrician, I was given every drug that came along to treat my symptoms and hopefully find something that would work. My symptoms never really went away, but as I got older, I just learned to live with them, I just figured I'd have these issues all of my life.
Introduced to Natural Healing
In 1992 Jerry and I started seeing a local chiropractor, shortly after we got married. These chiropractic visits exposed us to many natural healing ideas, and much to my surprise, after a few short weeks of care and improving our lifestyle; my seasonal allergies went away! Witnessing first-hand how my body could heal when I changed my habits and rebalanced my nerve system made me fall in love with natural healing. Jerry had his own incredible experiences in those early years as well. Before we knew it, we headed off to chiropractic school for his education.
While we were in chiropractic school , we had a rude awakening. Jerry had a major health crisis and when his lab tests came back, his doctor explained that many of his problems were related to what he was eating. At that moment I realized that I was going to need to be a huge partner in getting him better. Needless to say, that testing changed our world forever! I can still remember sinking to the kitchen floor crying and feeling overwhelmed.
You see, I had taken great pride in my skills in the kitchen. I was a good cook – but I didn't know anything about cooking gluten and dairy free. I was completely knocked off of my foundation, and didn't know where to begin.
When the Student is Ready, The Teacher Appears
My prayers were answered when our new friend I met at church took me under her wing and opened me up to the world of food. Although it was sometimes hard, with her help and encouragement, I quickly learned to adapt my favorite recipes with new ingredients. My kitchen became my playground, a sanctuary for creation. The most important thing I realized is that there really is an abundance of amazing, nutritious and delicious food options out there.
Once liberated from the boring “sameness” of the Standard American Diet, I become a self-proclaimed “real-foodie”. Together Jerry and I made some major shifts in our entire approach to eating. While he kept plugged into the latest research on the role of diet on overall health, I worked on perfecting the implementation of what he was learning.
During this time we noticed a big difference in our overall health. We tried just about all the alternative diets of that time; juicing, vegetarianism, food combining, anti-yeast diets, “alkalizing” diets etc. Along the way we paid careful attention to what really worked and helped us restore our own health and we learned some great principles in each “system” we experienced.
A big part of this process was eliminating both gluten and dairy from our diet. In the 1990's it was challenging to eat gluten and dairy-free, so as soon as jerry started feeling better, we began reintroducing these foods. We didn't feel quite as good but rationalized that it was okay to have just a little bit here and there.
As the years went on, though, I started having more intense symptoms related to the foods that I ate. So much so that I would often find myself doubled over in excruciating pain in my abdomen for hours at a time. In 2009 I finally had enough, and my symptoms led me to eliminate all gluten from my diet, which I thought was the key to my problems.
Cutting out gluten seemed to help for a couple of years, then my symptoms came raging back, seemingly out of nowhere. This was so frustrating to me. I felt like my diet was good. I had already learned so much about how the gut worked and had implemented so many things that had been beneficial. I was even teaching classes and helping other people heal their relationships with food and learn to cook with whole food.
"You're in perfect health."
Can you imagine how frustrating that would be? I felt like a fraud because I couldn't solve my problems often, I wanted to give up.
We ran a bunch of lab tests and GI scans, but neither Dr. Jerry or the other doctors I saw could find the source of the problem, and the tests would come back negative with a "you're in perfect health" report.
We were always searching for new answers to improve my health. In early 2015 Dr. Jerry learned about a relatively newly diagnosed condition called SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). The description of SIBO was exactly what I was feeling. We learned that people with SIBO, often don't improve just by diet alone. This information seemed to explain so many of the unanswered questions we had been asking ourselves for years.
We learned that there were most likely long-standing issues that contributed to this overgrowth despite all of the good things that I was doing. These chronic underlying problems were triggering low-grade inflammation and keeping me from feeling my best.
Sure enough, the breath test came back positive, and so we did our research on treatment options.
Treating My Health with Patience
As you might imagine, my case wasn't a simple one, as I had likely had a leaky gut issue as well as SIBO for most of my life. I had to do multiple rounds of treatment to resolve it. This process took about two years, a long time, but when we finally saw the test results come back negative, it was such a happy day!
My digestive symptoms are now few and far between, and I finally feel better than I have for decades. I often reflect on all of the amazing things I've learned along my journey.
My Biggest Lessons from this Healing Journey
Healing takes time.
I needed to follow my body's healing timeline. I know how frustrating it is to want a quick fix. But the body doesn't work like that- it heals layer upon layer.
I know how to personalize my diet.
The key for me has been to pay close attention to how my body reacts to the foods I eat. Because I have learned to look for the subtle symptoms, I have become my own best food scientist. I know what I can eat regularly and in abundance. I also know what foods I can only eat sparingly as well as those that I must always avoid.
Stress management is important.
I know that my symptoms return when I get stressed out, and so I have learned that self-care is a necessity. I work on my thoughts and emotions regularly because they have a direct impact on my health.
Why I Love Helping Others
My life has given me so many opportunities to learn and experiment with food. I have been on a learning journey to understand the importance food plays in our lives. I know that it is essential to keep us alive and that the quality of our food determines the quality of our life. I have over two decades of "in the trenches" experience making huge changes in my own and my family's eating habits. At the same time, my children were young and then again when they were teenagers, and so I completely understand how challenging that is.
I've translated my life-long passion for food and food prep into becoming a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert. In the process, I've done hundreds of hours of research and "book learning" to understand the most current approaches to diet and gut healing. Through my own challenges, I have mastered real-life solutions that are both simple and practical.
Even more than just the physical aspects, I realized that my journey has helped me understand so many of my client's emotional challenges as well.
I've had to learn to manage the awkwardness at parties and special occasions where I've had to pack my own food.
I've dealt with the insensitive comments of others who were ignorant of the complexities of digestive problems.
I know what it feels like to be different and to feel like you're missing out. You see, when you've had just about every symptom you can have, it becomes so easy to have compassion for others who are suffering.
As my journey has unfolded over the years, I could see that what I was learning could help so many other people.
I felt my heart leading me to become a coach and to work with other people who are frustrated and who are maybe feeling lost and confused, so I devoted a year of my life to becoming a Transformational Nutrition Coach through the Institute for Transformational Nutrition.
I love the opportunity of sitting knee-to-knee (or computer screen-to-computer screen) with people who are dealing with health issues that are a bit scary and overwhelming to them.
My heart is filled with so much empathy and love because I've been where they are now. My heart is full of hope and confidence as well because I know that they can make a difference in their health. They can heal and feel amazing in their body! I understand that the answers that they are looking for are available if they are open and trust in timing; they will find their answers.