Kristen Schneider, a 46-year-old wife and mom of three, decided to kick off 2020 with my 28-Day Cleanse & Detox program in the hopes of alleviating chronic pain and finally ridding herself of several persistent health issues. Before the program even ended, she noticed big changes. Kristen has continued to maintain her transformed lifestyle in the months since—even during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, she shares the inspiring details of her wellness journey.
Q: What made you decide that it was time for a change in your life? A: My husband, Marty, and I are older parents—we have a ten-year-old daughter and we were in our early forties when our four- and five-year-old boys were born, so staying healthy for them was a big motivator. I had a number of health issues I wanted to correct, so my main goal was to change my eating habits to fix those problems. They included hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, painful menstrual periods, persistent brain fog, and the negative moods and emotions associated with all of those things. And, I just could NOT break away from the sugar, which kept the downward health spiral going. As if that all weren’t enough, my sacroiliac joint dysfunction (a problem since my first pregnancy), led to such inflammation that the entire right side of my back went into spasm. I was in horrible pain and could barely move—I couldn’t even bend forward to tie my shoes.
Q: How were you sabotaging your health before working with me? A: I was becoming increasingly aware of how I was using sugar as a quick energy fix to get through my day, which was probably masking some existing nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances—and only making them worse. I tried to eliminate sugar on my own, but prior to the detox I was so dependent that I would fall off the wagon between three and five p.m. I was really suffering from hormonal migraines and terrible inflammation, and everything I read was telling me I HAD to get off the sugar if I wanted to feel better.
Q: How has your health and life improved? A: Your program really gave me the “reset” that I needed. It gave me a sense of empowerment and I finally felt in control of my decisions. My menstrual cycle came and went without anything but mild discomfort. No migraine, no heavy bleeding, no constipation. Even better, I don’t crave sugar anymore! I made brownies for my daughter’s bake sale (during the detox) and didn’t even want to have a taste! I just don’t have any desire to go back to my old patterns—and consequently, my old symptoms. I used to feel deprived if I didn’t get to eat one, but instead, I felt grateful to have found a way off the sugar and all its effects on me. I’ve gained a lot more mindfulness through the detox process.
Q: Did it take long before you started seeing and feeling results? A: By Day 22 of the detox, I had started to notice some big changes. I’d already surpassed my weight loss goal and I had also been going to physical therapy twice a week to realign my sacroiliac joints, and my back muscles were no longer inflamed and my mobility had drastically improved. My physical therapist had even cleared me to return to my usual exercise classes. I’ve always liked vegetables, but I’ve noticed how much more flavorful they are as compared to before the cleanse. Fresh, raw green beans seem to taste so much sweeter now. My taste preferences changed once I cleaned the carbs and sugar from my body.
Q: What are your most important takeaways from working with me? A: I didn’t know anything about the neurological processes associated with eating—how certain foods make you feel addicted to them but now it makes so much sense. I also learned that my body needs less food than I thought, and that when I get the right nutrients from my diet, I hardly crave the sugary foods at all. And even when I do, it still isn’t worth it to give up the healthy energy I get from a clean diet.
Q: You are so seriously committed to making these lifestyle changes. What motivates you to continue to work the program? A: The pain and inflammation are GONE. As of a few days post-detox, I was past the back pain completely. The migraines and headaches have stopped. Menstruation is regulated. And I lost 10 pounds—more than my goal of five to seven! A couple weeks later I decided to make homemade wheat bread with all organic ingredients. It was delicious, but after only a short while, I started feeling aches and pains again, just like before the detox. As soon as I cut out the bread, the pain was gone. The reduction in pain is a BIG motivator!
Q: How are you balancing this new lifestyle amidst all the upheaval that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to our lives? A: Finding “normalcy” in these times has been a challenge. But the detox has given me structure, purpose, and motivation. It’s now about going back to the basics, which means making sure I’m eating three balanced, “clean” meals a day, drinking lots of water, and continuing to stay away from white flour, sugar, and processed foods because I know they’ll only make me feel worse.
Q: You were happy to get back to your exercise classes—what are you doing to stay active now that those are off the table? A: My exercise has been running up and down the stairs, doing an occasional dance with my 10-year-old to lift her spirits, walking my dogs and doing daily “Cosmic Kids” yoga sessions a a family on our smart TV!
Q: What’s been the hardest part of your new lifestyle to maintain? A: Getting good sleep. Being cooped up at home with the anxiety we’re all feeling about COVID-19 means I’m not sleeping as well as I normally do. To try and combat that, I’ve made a goal of getting to sleep earlier so that I can get up before the rest of my family and walk the dogs outside. This gives me a sense of routine and predictability amidst the challenges.
Q: Has your new lifestyle influenced your family in any way? A: My husband has been picking up my new eating habits, basically doing whatever I do. He was in total disbelief when he first saw me avoid sugar—after all, I was the one who maintained a well-supplied chocolate cabinet! He still asks me from time to time, “So you’re really going to stay off sugar?” and I always answer “Yup!” He’s lost 23 lbs pounds and is at his goal weight. He was experiencing recurring bouts of gout that came back 4 times within 3 months. Nothing he tried helped much until he lost the weight. He is not experiencing inflammation or pain anymore. He also wanted to lower his triglycerides and genetically elevated cholesterol, so we’re eagerly waiting for his follow-up bloodwork to be done. This whole experience has been SO educational and life-changing for the both of us.