Making the Switch: Shelly's Story


SHELLY | 44 | Lexington, South Carolina, USA

This week, on Making the Switch, you are meeting Shelly. I want to extend a very special thank you to this beautiful lady for taking the time to put her story into words to share with us today. Shelly's experience is a reminder to all moms to "take time for you." And I don't mean booking a pedicure or hitting the mall (sure those things are nice). I mean more along the lines of taking time for your health. As moms, it's easy to neglect our own health and well-being as we devote ourselves to the care and keeping of our family (I was so guilty of this). The stressors of life take their toll. As you care for your loved ones, ensure you take time to care for you. Find a reputable holistic doctor, schedule a physical and blood draw (or the tests they recommend), and take the needed steps to achieve optimal health, today! You won't regret it.


Shelly's Story

Making the switch to whole, natural, unprocessed foods saved my life.


I was bedridden, my body racked with nausea, pain and migraines, anxiety and debilitating panic attacks. My weight slowing drifting away. The doctors ran tests, and could not find any answers, so they chalked it all up to anxiety. The doctors prescribed medications, then more medications to curb the side effects of those medications. I was not getting better.

I was watching my health deteriorate before my eyes.

Shelly's daughter, Sydney, suffered from eczema around the mouth prior going gluten-free and overhauling her diet.A child, a family ... disorders and disease.

Of course, anxiety could have been the answer to it all. Just six months earlier my daughter was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, autism spectrum disorder, Aspergers syndrome, depression, ADHD and panic disorder. She suffered tummy aches, acid reflux, eczema, extreme environmental allergies, and food allergies that caused her lips to turn red and develop hives.

My father who has survived two heart bypass surgeries, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and several heart attacks, has type 1 diabetes; and due to complications from diabetes, has heart disease, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, COPD, peripheral artery disease, neuropathy and dementia as well. My brother scared us with the possibility that he may have cancer. After extensive testing he was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. Not cancer, but still an auto-immune disorder.

Time for a change.

Life was looking pretty grim for my family, and looking at our family history, just made it worse. The genetic line from my father's side of the family is wrought with diabetes and cancer; and my mother's side has thyroid disease and cancer. The diagnoses of family members with diseases and disorders was mounting, and my health was not getting any better. It was time for a change.

Sydney and her family. United in purpose, Sydney and her husband teamed up to make the switch from processed to pure food.

Finding an answer

There had to be an answer. I sought out alternative therapies. I found a licensed Naturopathic doctor, two hours away. Barely strong enough to walk to my car, we made the trip. The trip that changed our lives.

After spending two and half hours of talking about me, we were sent home with a plan. A plan that included homeopathic remedies and nutritional support and most importantly a change in diet. A huge change.

I had to relearn everything I knew about food and cooking.

I would like to think that at the time we were eating pretty healthy, but as it turned out when opening that pantry door, there was way more processed, sugar laden foods than I thought. I pulled up the trash can and out the door they went. I went through the same routine with the refrigerator. Then restocked with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, local pastured grass fed meats, and whole grains. I had to relearn everything I knew about food and cooking. But the pay off? Well worth it!

Where we are today.

Nearly three years later, I have gained back 15 pounds (I was 92 pounds at my lowest), my anxiety is almost non-existent, and my migraines are greatly reduced. I am now full of life, vibrant life. My daughter, Sydney, who also sees our Naturopath, is a healthy, engaged, happy child. Her eczema gone. Allergies diminished. Her sensory issues, anxiety, fears and autism tendencies at a minimum.

Bodies need nutrients to function properly.

We have learned that eating a diet rich in whole foods is key to providing our bodies with the nutrients it needs to function properly. Adding in processed, sugar and fat laden foods throws off it's natural balance; and this balance is key in preventing and treating the chronic illnesses and disorders that have become prevalent in our society today.

For us, the choice was easy, change or head down a path of major illnesses. The change was not so easy. We faced many hurdles, including discovering foods that we could not tolerate, but the biggest was not being prepared for the times when you needed something to eat quick. Whether out running errands or running late for cooking dinner, fast food was just not an option. So we learned to make double meals and freeze. Make healthy snacks and bring them on errands. We even traded in our refrigerator on a stand alone refrigerator and chest freezer to accommodate our needs.

A new way of eating: A fresh, simple, wholesome dinner and dessert.

My bit of advice.

If I could offer advice to someone starting out, making the switch from processed food to pure, whole food, I would tell them:

Be prepared.

Eliminate all bad foods from the house and replace with good choices. When you are hungry, you are going to grab what is easy. So chop veggies. Rinse fruits. Freeze meals. Get creative. And if you mess up and grab that not so nutritious snack, remember it's ok... we are not perfect. Remember all the steps you have made in the right direction. And just keep going. It does get easier.

And in the end? Well worth the hard work!

Sydney today—full of life and health.


Making the Switch, spotlights everyday people journeying on to better health and well-being by choosing pure food over processed. For some, it has been gradual. For others it was a complete about-face. 

Putting the modified diet focus of this blog aside, Making the Switch is open to all. The point being to bring personal stories to light that encourage young and old to get back into the kitchen to cook real food. As Jamie Oliver puts it, “make only a few small changes and magical things will happen.” Whether it’s weight loss, improvements in a child's behavior or the regaining of health, magical things will happen.

WHAT'S YOUR STORY? Consider being featured on Making the SwitchClick here and drop me a line telling me a little about yourself. Someone is waiting to be inspired by YOU!