Aileen Thomas, creator of The Sensitive’s Solution
Aileen Thomas, CEO, The Sensitive’s Solution
MBA, Santa Clara University
Certified Nutrition Educator, Bauman College
By my mid-20s, I was severely underweight at 95 pounds, suffered from constant digestive problems, nausea, fatigue, acne, allergies, sinusitis, and extreme weakness. I was completely mystified as to the cause of these problems and how to fix them. Doctors, medications, diets, and dieticians did not help (doctor to me: “I can’t find anything medically wrong with you”).
I could barely walk across a room and, in fact, was bedridden for a period. Everyday activities took monumental effort. My symptoms now dominated my life, requiring a cocktail of over-the-counter and prescription pills, creams, sprays, and shots to manage.
A holistic women’s physician told me my body was not capable of digesting anything but the simplest foods, such as potatoes. While eating potatoes wasn’t the answer to my problems, she was the only professional who saw that my body was broken and food was somehow involved.
My Odyssey Begins
I thus embarked on my “odyssey” to find my own answers. This was before the Internet, and it wasn’t easy. Feeling horrible all the time also didn’t help, but I was now on a mission.
I haunted bookstores and health food stores, attended lectures, and listened to tapes. I experimented on myself with countless diets and health renewal programs. Some helped a little, some made me much sicker. Some things I learned conflicted with other things I learned. I was often very confused.
Throughout my 30s, I was still underweight and dealing with severe allergies, sinusitis, digestive problems, and fatigue. I also developed a bizarre case of burning, peeling lips. Try taking that one to the doctor. Then I was diagnosed with whole-body candida, a serious, debilitating condition that took me nine months to heal. This ordeal was one of those “blessings in disguise” that we all love, in that I learned a tremendous amount about healing.
A Turning Point
I learned that all of my health problems were due solely to what I ate, and that all of these problems were actually symptoms of an insidious root cause: metabolic dysfunction.
I learned about the critical importance of food quality and eating in balance (that is, eating the appropriate ratio of carbs/protein/fats) to healing and sustaining a healthy body. Simply eating whole, organic foods in the proper balance took me a long way toward healing. I also went gluten-free, which had a significant healing impact on my gut.
By my mid-40s, I had healed at the root, metabolically, I had gained 20 pounds, and my other symptoms had disappeared or vastly diminished. I completed the Nutrition Educator Certification program through Bauman College, because, although I had learned so much on my healing journey, this incredible program filled in many holes that remained in my knowledge.
I was eating a consummately healthy diet, all organic, balanced and varied, primarily plant based, and felt strong and healthy. I got compliments about how healthy and youthful I looked (a far cry from the comments about how skinny I was and to “put some meat on those bones”).
This would be a very good place to say, “and I lived happily ever after.” But unfortunately, one more hurdle awaited me.
The Final Hurdle – Surprise!
Over several years in my early 50s, I very gradually developed a set of new symptoms – traveling itchy red rashes that showed up, disappeared, and then reappeared somewhere else on my body; days-long headaches; muscle weakness; hip and neck pain that was getting increasingly severe; and intermittent joint pain in my fingers and knees.
I had been seeing a wonderful doctor for several years, who, after hearing about my new symptoms, suggested seeing a rheumatologist. I knew rheumatologists dealt with inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases. But how could I, who ate the quintessential healthy diet, exercised, meditated, and slept eight hours every night, have an inflammatory condition?
Enter the final piece of the healing puzzle: healthy foods that harm. I phased out junk food years ago, but I never dreamed eating healthy foods could cause symptoms. Indeed, certain healthy foods can, for Sensitives like me (and you).
All plant foods contain some amount of antinutrients (compounds exuded by plants that can cause inflammatory conditions in some people). As a nutritionist, I knew about antinutrients, and I got an “intuitive hit” to research them further.
I read a book by another nutritionist chronicling her experience with oxalates (an antinutrient), and she told my story: The hyper-healthy, high-antioxidant foods I ate everyday – spinach, bell peppers, many nuts and seeds, raw cacao, and lots of kombucha – were also loaded with oxalates, which over time can become stored in the body and cause increasingly severe inflammation that expresses itself in a variety of symptoms.
I stopped eating these foods and immediately went into full detox, which I was well acquainted with from past experience. The worst was over in 36 hours. I then continued on a low-oxalate diet. Over the next few months, my itchy rashes, joint pain, and muscle weakness disappeared, while my hip and neck pain improved somewhat.
I then researched other antinutrients, including lectins, phytates, and casein (a dairy protein that can have antinutrient effects) and removed more vegetables, as well as grains, legumes, many types of nuts and seeds, and all dairy from my diet. Over the months, my hip and neck pain continued to improve and remains at a low level, and my other symptoms have not returned.
You may be wondering, “she’s removed so many foods, what is left to eat?” Plenty, actually. I don’t think of my food choices as limited as much as focused, and having focused list of “prequalified” foods that I know will nourish me rather than make me sick simplifies, clarifies, and reassures. I never feel deprived (that wouldn’t work for me). I can make all of my favorite meals and snacks from the foods on my list. In fact, learning to “healthify” your favorite meals and snacks is a critical skill you will learn in The Sensitive’s Solution.
Today I feel healthy and strong. But I am a Sensitive; I have accepted that I can’t eat like many other people. Still, I get a daily reprieve from symptoms by giving my body delicious foods that nourish.
If you can relate to any of my experience, I extend a warm invitation to you to join The Sensitive’s Heal4Life Program. The healing path is a wonderful, liberating journey!
Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!