Throughout my late twenties I found myself going to doctor after doctor for all my different mysterious ailments. Once my back hurt so badly I swore I had something seriously wrong with it but an MRI showed I was perfectly fine. In my late twenties I also had two knee scopes thinking I had done some serious damage to my knee only to find out how impressed the surgeon was with the health of my knees.
One day I googled my symptoms as a whole and found articles on athletes with autoimmune conditions. I read about what Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, and Shannon Boxx went through and it was exactly what was going on with me. I made an appointment to see a top rheumatologist and she finally helped me figure out what was going on with my body. My immune system was doing the exact opposite of what it should be doing.
As a high-level athlete, I was determined to figure out how to cure myself naturally. I researched ways to cure your body and different diets that have worked for athletes with autoimmune conditions. I found Lyn-Genet's "The Plan," a book on figuring out what foods cause inflammation in YOUR body, and how eating these foods can wreak serious havoc on it. I also read on Novak Djokovic's diet and the dietary changes Venus Williams has made in order to compete again.
Slowly but surely I started to make changes in my life that would reduce stress on my body. These changes included eliminating certain foods from my diet (I figured this out doing "The Plan"), taking a year off from rigorous exercise, committing to regular yoga (the impact yoga has had on me will be my next post!), and making positive changes in my life.
I'm certainly not a nutritionist, but going through this process I realized that there is no one size fits all when it comes to diet. Everyone is different and has a different chemistry. Figuring out the foods that worked for me helped heal my body and I feel grateful and lucky that I was able to regain my health through simple lifestyle changes. I now feel better than I felt as a college athlete and only wish I had figured this out sooner.
My advice to young athletes....While you may feel invincible now, pay attention to the types of foods you are putting into your body. Figure out what works for you, what foods give you the most energy, and what allows you to perform at your optimal level!