Hi, I am Allyson Smith, the Assistant Executive Director at Blue Ridge Hope. Part of our vision for BRH, in additional to grief & loss support, is to offer wholeness and wellness support. We desire for our clients to not just be whole with grief and loss but also physically, mentally and spiritually.
I have had the desire to attend the Institute for Integrative Nutrition for FOUR years now! But this fall, I was given a huge opportunity and I knew it was time. In 1 year, I will be a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Wow! That sounds really cool and super scary! I have been on a roller coaster wellness journey for as long as I can remember. Shortly after high school, I was introduced to juicing and the idea that the human body was not created to eat meat (think "Hallelujah Diet"). I loved the idea, bought a juicer... and that was as far as its went. Fast forward a few years, I started having some stomach, skin issues & chronic itching. I ended up at a health fair and found that Udi's Oil was my solution! Only to use it for a few weeks with no significant improvement. So again... that's as far as it went.
Fast forward again, about 10-12 years to January 2013. I decided I was going to do a 7 day juice fast. A few girls at work decided to go in with me. My coworker Tara had a juicer and agreed that if we pitched in for the fruits & veggies, she would do the juicing for us! What a deal! After about 4 days... everyone was out. Everyone but me... so Tara let me borrow her juicer so I could continue the fast. I made it the 7 days! During that time, although my memory is foggy, I did have some improvement with a lot of my issues... itching and stomach stuff primarily. But right after I finished the fast and started my typical diet back, I started having the rash on my forearms and insane itching! Since then, over the last 5 years, the itching has become more chronic, the rash moved from my arms to my neck and face. I was even misdiagnosed with shingles because of the symptoms.
In July of 2017, my husband and I decided to pursue a whole foods, plant-based diet. He had been thinking about it awhile; however I was resistant. We watched "What the Health" and it changed my mind. During this time, I was doing yoga about 2-3 days a week and was feeling really good! We were primarily vegan for about 3 months and my skin issues had even started to get better. The holidays came and we fell off the plant wagon. In January 2018, I went back vegetarian for about a month but then I complete introduced meat back into my diet. Since then, I have gain about 17 lbs and in October the skin issues came back. I have felt awful... I have headaches, joint pain, itchy/rashy skin and an irritable stomach. Crazy isn't it, that when I started feeling at my worst again, is when the opportunity to attend IIN presented itself!
I hope to journal and blog over the course of the next year; to share my experience and what I learn. My hope, as a health coach, is to be able to help others in their struggle for a healthy life; not only physically but also mentally and spiritually. Through this blog I hope to introduce some new concepts but also to be very open and raw with my path. I hope you will join me!