‘So, why sauerkraut?’
Is one of the first questions anyone asks me about my business!
And so, I thought I would open up with the reason behind my starting up Laurie’s Tummy Loving Foods in the first place.
There might be some of you going through a similar situation as I did, or you know someone who is, and I hope it might help those on their own challenging journeys. Some of you might be familiar with this story so I will try to keep it brief, but no promises!
Back in 2004, in my late twenties, I decided (was pushed), to completely change my career from media sales to that of Personal Training. I had always loved sport and exercise, and even though I hadn’t quite admitted it, the corporate world was slowly killing me, spiritually and physically. Yes that sounds dramatic, but when we look at the roles stress and unhappiness play in our health then this is just how it was.
You see, after university I walked the typical, graduate route into a sales job and tried my best to fit in to that world, only to end up feeling useless and like a complete failure. It just didn’t work, no matter which job or which company I tried.
During that time I unknowingly suffered from mild, but chronic depression. I couldn’t get out of bed in the mornings, it took me hours to wake up and actually be able to talk to people, and when I did I was full of anxiety and my brain just didn’t function well. This just compounded the feelings of uselessness and depressed me further.
Physically I had regular bouts of indigestion, constipation, and this annoying ‘gullet’ in my throat which just collected undigested food, interfering with my exercise and generally very uncomfortable. I was also a rugby player but I had such bad back ache that often I couldn’t even tie my boot laces or carry my bag!
It amazes me now that I actually thought this was NORMAL??!?!!?
I really did, I thought it was just a part of life. Didn’t everyone have these issues? Wasn’t everyone just walking around in a haze of low energy, confusion and pain?
So with all these issues, and a couple of failed career attempts under my belt, I thought it would be a good idea to become a Personal Trainer and teach everyone else how to get fit and healthy!
Sounds mad when I hear myself say that now, but actually the PT industry really ignited my fire and gave me the passion to learn and confront my own issues, whilst wrestling them at the same time.
In those days caffeine kept my head and ‘energy’ levels just above water, and booze and pretence helped me to portray a normal, happy enough life.
As a PT I interacted with clients who I could see were suffering similar issues to me. I also came across nutritionists, therapists and well-educated colleagues who helped me identify what was going on with me and work out strategies to get me on the path to better health.
But what really gave me the motivation to work this all out was the fact that I loved what I did and needed to be in the best physical health I could be to face clients at 6am and run along the Brighton seafront! I loved what I did and had realised my life’s path and passion for health, well-being and true healing.
At this time I studied the work of Paul Chek and his excellent Holistic Lifestyle Coaching program, amongst others. It gave me insight to the true foundations of health, and actually how simple true health really should be. On top of that I took a test for food intolerances and cut out some core foods from my diet. The difference this made to me was like night and day.
Instantly I found a level of energy I had not known for many years, my depression faded, my back pain went and my digestive issues pretty much cleared up. But I had to be extremely careful of what I ate and how I treated myself and it was often like walking a tightrope where one slip could make me feel like sleeping for days on end and bring back all the previous symptoms. It was a real insight into how food really does directly affect the mind and body.
Even with these periods of real improvements my journey into true health had only just begun, and although I was improving and becoming aware of how I could help myself, there were still a lot of issues going on.
That was at least 10 years ago and after a 3 year stint as a PT I moved jobs and locations a good few times, but always studied health whilst working with practitioners from all walks of life.
My main physical issues over the past 10 years have been food intolerances and sensitivities, and severely low levels of energy. There were times when I simply ate chicken and brown rice for months on end, as I couldn’t tolerate anything else. There were then times when I couldn’t even tolerate brown rice and chicken! I lost weight, lost confidence and lost a lot of my social life.
The hardest years were alone in my bedroom, angry and depressed about what was happening to me. I hid from many people, not wanting them to see me as I was, whilst during the daytime it was a struggle to put a face on and keep it together.
Slowly but surely however I was making progress, even though some days it felt like It was 1 step forward and ten back. It took me a long time to get to a point of feeling anywhere near ‘normal’ again. But the thing is I have had to accept that there is no ‘normal’ and I am different in my daily needs, as everyone is. It was this belief and desire to be ‘normal’ and fit in which kept putting me back. I kept trying to go back to the person I was, to fit in with my old social groups, to go back to drinking and eating like ‘the good old days.’ I thought I would be truly healthy once I was able to do those things again. The lesson was really to honour my own needs and have the courage to stand by them and be me from now on… either that or suffer.
So, when it came to honouring my individual self, this also meant my individual needs in career terms too. I have never been a person to work for other people, to work to a strict routine and to do things that don’t inspire me. When I realised this need to create a career for myself, it had to be something that inspired me and involved my passions and experience, and that’s when the world of ‘Sauerkraut’ came knocking. In all honesty, it found me.
I hadn’t been actively looking for a business but with all my reading and studying around health and nutrition I came across a few great books; ‘The GAPS Diet’ by Dr Campbell-McBride, Sally Fallon’s ‘Nourishing Traditions’, and ‘The Body Ecology Diet’ by Donna Gates. These highlighted the world and lost art of fermented foods. The thought that these foods could do wonders for my own health issues set me up on a trip to the shops to find some good RAW sauerkraut, but I couldn’t find any??!
My kitchen soon became full of ‘Kilner’ jars full of krauts and kefirs of all varieties. Following a couple of months of experimentation, the path just opened up to creating the business you see before you. I could never have predicted or planned how this business was going to work but the right people and circumstances came to me at just the right time, supporting me fully in the process. Now I know that when you find your true path this is simply what happens.
In terms of true health and happiness, it is not just about what you eat or how much you exercise, it’s really about living a life in harmony with your deepest desires. This again sounds like a bold, and perhaps ‘new agey’ statement, but if you simply look at how stress in your life causes physiological dis’ease, and also often triggers sub-optimal food choices and behaviours, this is the truth.
I am in no way the finished article, and never will be, life is a challenge and health and well-being is a daily choice. However, since starting my own business and creating a life in line with my inner wishes, my health issues have improved greatly. There is always more to learn and other areas of in need of attention, and so it is an on-going process, and one I am happy to share with you.
My healing journey is going deeper now, more into the emotions we hold onto, and how this effects our physiology.
This blog will cover many of my experiences and a lot of the knowledge I have gained over the years. So if you would like to know anything particular or get my take on something then let me know, as I would really like to share my experience with you.
Eat well, live well,