About mydietribe.com

Welcome to the tribe.

mydietribe.com is your online resource for information on how to achieve and sustain your personal wellness. Here you’ll find information from people like you: those who are looking for or who have found simple ways to achieve their health and wellness goals without fad diets, medications and other short-term, symptom-based relief. mydietribe is about attaining & maintaining your health, wellness and resiliency using simple, sustainable methods that will serve you for the long-term.

Tips and resources on this site address physical and spiritual health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness – for everyone. We also have loads of information on food allergies.

This is a safe place to visit, participate or learn – here, there’s no negativity. We hope you benefit from this resource. And, if you do, we hope you join the tribe and invite others to do the same.

mydietribe.com is a safe community to network and share sustainable health and wellness tips. As such, comments are moderated and will only be approved if they meet the standards of the community. Thank you in advance for your understanding, and for following this important guideline. 

The information contained on this site is comprised of suggestions, ideas and opinions based the personal experiences of and on research conducted by the respective authors. The needs of your body may vary, so please consult a qualified nutrition or medical professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

This site was founded and is maintained by Catherine Mason, our tribe leader and Chief Wellness Coach. mydietribe is also the name of my company, through which we offer a variety of services.

About Catherine Mason

I’m your tribe leader, Catherine Mason. I’m a writer, former educator and someone who has always wanted to help others. After over 35 years of unexplained illnesses, and believing in my heart that they all had to be connected somehow, I found the answer: I have food allergies. Today, I am a wellness coach at mydietribe, as well as a wellness advisor for Project Rebirth. I’m here to help you on your journey to sustainable wellness.

My wellness journey

I had been managing my illnesses with natural supplements, chiropractic care and diet management for over a decade. But until the definitive food allergy diagnosis in 2007 I was relying more on my own knowledge of my body than on anything scientific. Both approaches, as it turned out, were the right ones for me and led me to a path of sustainable wellness.

Some of my health issues include(d):

  • Lactose sensitivity (later diagnosed as an allergy to casein/animal milk)
  • Digestive issues (later diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and, later still, as Leaky Gut Syndrome due to use of antibiotics as well as previously undetected food allergies)
  • Reproductive issues, including infrequent, heavy periods (which was later diagnosed as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and, later still, a direct result of my food allergies – specifically, Celiac Disease)
  • Central Serous Retinopathy – permanent blindness in the center of one eye  (diagnosed in 1996)
  • Fibromyalgia (diagnosed in 1996) – again, a direct result of my food allergies

This journey of essentially being unwell for most of my life ultimately made me a stronger person. And now that I have more answers than questions, I want to share this information with anyone who may benefit from it. That’s why I started mydietribe. I hope this site and the services we offer help you as you take your own journey to wellness.

Food allergies 

I’m told I was allergic to milk as a baby. I’m not sure why I never knew that the milk allergy was permanent or serious, but I didn’t. I was a pretty normal kid, although I did have frequent ear infections and some digestive issues. It wasn’t unusual for me to not have a bowel movement for 3 – 7 days at a time. And in my early twenties, a doctor would tell me it was amazing I could hear out of my right ear at all, because I had so much scar tissue.

Puberty came early, at age nine, and along with the shift in hormones came what we thought were sinus headaches and sinus infections. From that point forward I had a headache almost every day…for almost 30 years. In many cases the headaches were rather debilitating – but I figured I was prone to headaches and found a way to cope. In my early twenties the headaches would occasionally be much worse – there were many migraines. I can’t remember my first migraine, because I probably didn’t know that’s what it was. But I knew that they came on suddenly and shut me down completely. I also continued to have digestive issues and seemed to be quite prone to what I thought was the stomach flu.

In my early teens I had horrible menstrual periods. I wouldn’t have a period for as many as four months…and then I had painful, heavy periods. It was awful. I put myself on the pill just to regulate my periods. And while the pill gave me relief from the agony of those awful periods, and gave me a sense of normalcy, the pill ultimately masked the real underlying issues.

By my mid-twenties I was a mess. On the surface I looked like any other healthy young woman. But my health was deteriorating – and I didn’t even know it. At age 25 I got sick. At first I thought it was a cold, but it persisted. Then I thought it was the flu and went to the doctor. The doctor gave me antibiotics. The antibiotics gave me a yeast infection, so he gave me a different antibiotic and something to relieve the symptoms of the yeast infection. That medication gave me sores in my mouth and throat, and I ultimately got a bad bladder infection that led to a liver infection. At this point I was on short-term disability because I had a fever and was sleeping as much as 20 hours a day. The doctor kept medicating the symptoms, and I got worse. No one could figure out what was wrong. I was losing weight rapidly, I was weak. So they tested me for HIV/AIDS, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and Lyme Disease. Still, I got worse. My doctor suggested that I might want to get my affairs in order. By that time I’d been sick for more than three months so I decided to take myself off the prescription medication. I mean, how much worse could I get? Miraculously, I got better. It took a while to regain my strength, but I got well. And I changed doctors.

Two years later I started to lose the vision in the center of my right eye. I have an astigmatism in that eye so I assumed it was getting worse. When I went to my optometrist I was stunned to learn that it was something far worse: central serous retinopathy. The only way to prevent blindness was to essentially cauterize the leaks in my eye by laser treatment. The irony was that the laser treatment sealed my fate: I lost the vision in the center of that eye permanently.

The headaches and digestive issues continued. I was often sore and tired. By now I was 27 or 28 years old, and I was starting to realize that all of these symptoms had to be related. I no longer trusted western medicine – it had almost killed me. So I did some research and, as luck would have it, a friend had just completed her certification as a nutritionist. She referred me to a naturopathic doctor (who also happened to be an M.D.) who, with a simple blood test, gave me invaluable information: I have fibromyalgia, I had once had Epstein-Barr and my blood was loaded with yeast (candida). The naturopath put me on a yeast cleaning regimen and recommended that I limit my intake of processed carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, and granulated sugar. This was a positive and life-changing moment, and one that would prove to be the first major step towards my restored health and wellness.

The change of diet seemed to help. The headaches weren’t as horrible, the migraines came less frequently. And while I still seemed to be prone to some digestive issues and the stomach flu, they didn’t hit me as frequently. The fibromyalgia symptoms stabilized – it was rare that fibro impacted me at all. More importantly, I became much more proactive about my own health. I voraciously read everything I could get my hands on about fibromyalgia, central serous retinopathy and headaches.

At about that time, the low-carb diet craze hit the scene. Suddenly everyone was eating like me, and losing weight. I, on the other hand, seemed to be getting more and more of a “donut” around my middle. It came and went, but it was something I noticed.

At the age of 35, when the man who would become my husband and I started talking about having a child, I went off the pill. I’d never tried to get pregnant so I went to the doctor to get checked and to find out if I could have a baby. It’s odd that I took that approach; on some level I must have known that I was infertile. I had one period during the first six months after going off the pill. That was worrisome. So my doctor ordered some tests. The diagnosis came back as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which makes it difficult for women to ovulate regularly. In my situation, that was enough to rule out having a baby myself. I was also told that I had some of the indicators for diabetes, and that there is a strong correlation between PCOS and diabetes. Lastly, my doctor told me that for some reason women with PCOS seem to get better by reducing the amount of carbs they eat. (Sound familiar?)

I promptly went online and tried to find a connection between all of my ailments and carbs. I was able to find some loose connections. And then I found a site for women with PCOS that was authored by a doctor. She suggested a regimen of natural supplements to help regulate menstrual periods. I was already taking other supplements to help with my fibromyalgia and blood yeast/sugar issues, so I was very open to trying this regimen. And, in combination with a modified diet, it worked. My menstrual periods became a lot less unpredictable, and I felt like I was onto something positive.

But the headaches persisted, as did the digestive issues. And by the time I was 37 I was nauseous almost every day, and I had suddenly put on a lot of extra flab right around my waist. Here I was, eating really healthy foods and so much healthier than I’d been a decade earlier, but I was still not truly well. A friend of mine who had similar health issues had recently found a naturopath who diagnosed her with food allergies. My friend urged me to get tested too. I was reluctant. I was already eating a pretty restricted diet, and I was afraid that there would be nothing left to eat. I had already given up alcohol and most carbs – what was left but coffee, bacon and chocolate?

Then, one day, I got very sick at work – it happened quickly. One minute I was fine…the next minute I had a migraine, I was throwing up and I had bloody diarrhea. I was able to get an appointment with a physician’s assistant at the office of my general practitioner. She demonstrated everything that I feel is wrong with western medical practice today: she lacked compassion, she didn’t look me in the eye, she dismissed my description of what was going on as nothing more than a mild stomach bug and she sent me on my way with a directive to eat toast and a prescription for a colonoscopy. The latter was given to me with some disgust on her part and only after I insisted that this wasn’t a stomach bug. I ate the toast and got worse. They took stool samples and couldn’t find anything wrong. I was fed up and sick. I didn’t make the appointment for the colonoscopy; I decided to go a different route.

I went to my friend’s naturopath, Connie. My first appointment with Connie was two hours long. She wanted my full health history. I was stunned and pleased. She seemed to understand that everything had to be connected, and she asked me a ton of questions. And over the next two months or so we started uncovering what was really going on with my health. Through a series of simple tests Connie was able to determine that I had food allergies and Leaky Gut Syndrome. Finally, I had a comprehensive diagnosis that explained or addressed most, if not all, of my health issues.

My allergies:

  • Gluten (I have Celiac Disease)
  • Milk
  • Soy
  • Coconut
  • Yeast

I modified my diet. I did some research. I learned about gluten and how prevalent it is in foods we buy at the store, and in recipes. I tried some really crappy gluten-free foods and recipes and eventually found some really good ones. I discovered almond milk. I figured out how to bake again, using ingredients I can eat and my family will eat. And I got well. Truly well.

I have never taken any medication for my fibromyalgia or any of my other ailments. I manage my wellness with diet choices, natural supplements (vitamins, mostly) plenty of rest and exercise. And, in all likelihood, you can too. More importantly, wellness can be a stable foundation from which we live much richer lives.

Personal mantras

Everything in moderation is the key.

Know your body and act accordingly.

Take care of yourself first, last and always. You cannot take care of others if you are not well. Therefore, taking care of oneself is one of the most selfless of acts.

You either pay upfront at a discount, or on the back-end with interest.

Our bodies are unique biospheres. Every aspect of our well-being is connected to this biosphere, and no two biospheres are exactly alike.

Symptom relief is not a cure.

Just because it’s edible doesn’t mean you should eat it.

I define my personal health and wellness as…

Feeling good physically, mentally and spiritually and knowing I’m doing all I can to keep myself healthy in all of these ways. Finding ways to maintain my quality of life while not surrendering my power.

How do you define your personal health and wellness?

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