Stories of Former Spoonies That Will Inspire You To Heal and Thrive Naturally

7 Spoonies Who Will Inspire You to Heal and Thrive Again (Naturally!)

Sick and tired of being sick and tired?

Have you ever been unsatisfied with the answers that your doctor gave you?

You take the medicines and follow the advice to the letter but you’re still in pain in the morning and get flares in the afternoon.

You got your 2nd, 3rd, and nth opinion and tried several things but nothing worked.

Heart-broken, you look at your prescriptions, calendar of doctor appointments, your mountain of medical bills and a pile of laundry, then you sigh and ask yourself...

When will this end?
Where will I get the answers?
Will it be like this for the rest of my life?
How about my dreams?
Do I have other options?

With the tiniest hope and courage you have left, you decide to search, explore more options and dig deeper.

But there’s just one problem…

There’s too much information out there. It’s confusing, too!

Can I give you a starting point today?

Can I?

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They Were Called Insane But They Did It!

If you said, yes, please keep reading.

You see, I’ve been there, too. I’ve tried several things for almost a decade and nothing worked.

So no one can blame me if I get too skeptical to try X, Y, or Z treatment recommended by a friend or even an ‘expert’.

Healing chronic illness naturally sounded like a woo-woo to me.

So, I thought, I gotta see some proofs.

With my own research, here are the first 7 people who have inspired me to rekindle that hope to recover and achieve lasting healing naturally.

When Jordan was a college freshman (19 y/o), he experienced terrible digestive problems, pain, and nausea. Worst, he lost 80 lbs almost in an instant. The doctor told him that he had Crohn’s disease and it was the worst kind he had ever seen. His chance of survival was very slim.

Refusing to give up, Jordan’s family turned to different nutritional therapies around the world. Finally, something clicked when one CA nutritionist told him he must follow God’s health plan to heal and recover.

After doing his own research, Jordan changed his diet based on what people ate in biblical times. His diet was very simple - raw, organically grown whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fermented dairy, grass-fed beef, and poultry. He also took probiotics everyday.

After 40 days, he gained 40lbs back and by his 21st birthday, he weighed more than 18 lbs. He was symptom-free!

Jordan became one of the most respected and beloved natural health experts in America. He is a very successful entrepreneur, NY Times best-selling author, TV host, celebrity health coach and international motivational speaker.

Some of Jordan’s Books:
The Maker's Diet​
The Maker's Diet Revolution
Patient Heal Thyself: A Remarkable Health Program Combining Ancient Wisdom with Groundbreaking Clinical Research

Related: 7 of America’s Leading Health and Fitness Experts Reveal Their Greatest Advice on How to Get and Stay Motivated to Eat Healthy

Most days spent in bed…
Sleepless nights…
Panic attacks…
55 lbs overweight…

This was Roy’s life for 5 years when he had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

His medications were causing him a lot of side effects which resulted in more medications to manage them. It was a vicious cycle and he was spiraling downwards quickly.

That was when James (Roy’s son) and Laurentine (James’ wife) intervened.
They researched extensively and learned the power of food in conquering chronic conditions. They even went back to school to study nutrition formally hoping that Roy would listen to them. They gave Roy all the juicy information they gathered. Unfortunately, Roy was not interested in reading thick books and tons of info. But the couple was relentless. They thought it would be easier to convince Roy to watch a film instead.

So, the couple dropped everything and traveled around the world to interview natural wellness experts they had been studying. Before Food Matters was released publicly, Roy and his family watched the raw interviews. Roy had a paradigm shift.

With James and Laurentine’s help, Roy went through a detoxing program and shifted to a whole foods diet. Slowly, he was able to wean off his medications until he was finally free. His doctors discouraged him but he was already hooked and committed to his new lifestyle.

Within a few months, Roy became energetic and refreshed, lost excess weight and enjoyed restful sleep every night. He was a new man that friends and relatives did not recognize.

This journey inspired James and Laurentine to build Food Matters and FMTV (which I’m a proud member of).

For years, Katie couldn’t find the answer to her mysterious symptoms - dry skin, occasional fatigue, trouble losing weight after having a baby, thinning hair. She suspected she had a thyroid issue but the conventional tests would always come out negative.

Finally, she met a hormone and endocrine problems expert who found out she had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Katie changed her diet and followed the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). To her surprise, the bloating went away, her thyroid nodule felt significantly smaller, she had more energy and her skin improved within just the first week. The protocol was challenging and difficult to follow at first but it was worth it. After almost 2 months, she lost some stubborn weight and felt so much better.

How is she doing today?

Well, she is a thriving wife and mom to 6 kids, an award-winning blogger, author, podcaster and real food crusader.

Check out some of Katie’s books:
The Wellness Mama Cookbook
Natural Hormones Balance Guide for Women
Wellness Mama’s Natural Pregnancy Guide

Joe’s cholesterol was always high (it runs in his family) but he did not worry about it. He knew he had to do something about it but he had always been in good health and he did not have time to deal with healthy eating and exercise.

He started to feel chest pains and shortness of breath but he ignored them until the pain stayed with him for about 2 hours while playing tennis.

In 1977, at the age of 32, he went through a coronary bypass surgery because he had 3 blockages (2 were about 50% and 1 was 95%). It was a very fearful moment for Joe and his wife. The worst was when the doctor told him that he had only a few years to live and might not see his kids graduate from high school.

After the surgery, he and his wife mustered up all the courage and strength they had left to take responsibility for his health.

He focused on 3 things: balanced eating, effective exercise and stress management.

He celebrated his 32nd anniversary of his bypass surgery by hiking Mt. Rainier. He also saw kids graduate high school (until graduate school, actually).

With everything he learned, he authored 16 best selling books, hosted 3 PBS TV specials, became a guest expert on WebMD, and a member of NIH Expert Panel on Cardiac Rehabilitation.

Do the math and see how old he is now. 🙂

Some of Joe’s Books:
The Road to a Healthy Heart Runs Through the Kitchen
Positive Mind, Healthy Heart: Take Charge of Your Cardiac Health, One Day at a Time
Prevent, Halt & Reverse Heart Disease: 109 Things You Can Do
The Healthy Heart Cookbook: Over 700 Recipes for Every Day and Every Occasion

Related: Check out Joe’s best advice on how to get and stay motivated to eat healthy

Thinking thin = healthy, Chris ate whatever he wanted - processed food, fast food and lots of junk food everyday. He was also exposed to toxic chemicals and nurtured toxic emotions. To add fuel to the fire, he was in chronic stress because of his work.

After years of living like this, he started to feel strange - sharp abdominal pain a few times a day, low energy, slight anemia, rectal bleeding and dark stool.

On December 22, 2003, he was diagnosed with Stage IIIC Colon Cancer. He was only 26 years old. His oncologist told him he did not have much time and he had to undergo chemotherapy STAT.

But he said ‘no’. His doctor thought he was insane.

In January 2004, he adopted a raw vegan diet for 90 days. He juiced carrots, celery, beet, and ginger. His lunch was a giant organic salad.

In 2016, he was cancer free and in his best shape ever. Plus, God blessed him and his wife two beautiful daughters, Marin and MacKenzie.

Chris is an author, speaker, and health coach. He was featured in The Truth About Cancer docu-series and in the documentary film The C Word.

Pre-order Chris’ Book: Chris Beat Cancer

Robyn grew up eating a whole foods diet but in her 20’s, she found herself on a Standard American Diet (SAD). She ate a lot of white bread, sugar, and meat. As a result, she suffered a long list of symptoms and health issues:

High-blood pressure
Losing eyesight
Hair loss
Ruptured ectopic pregnancy

Her turning point was when her oldest son’s asthma became so bad that she often watched him turn blue while struggling to breathe. With the research she conducted from non-allopathic practitioners, she realized that conventional medicine did not have all the answers she was looking for.

Against the advice of her son’s pediatrician, she immediately eliminated dairy and sugar from her family’s diet. Eventually, they quit refined and processed foods and adopted a 60% raw whole foods, mostly plant-based diet.

Her kids did not need to take liquid steroids, cough medicines, and antibiotics anymore. As for her, she lost a lot of pounds and achieved (and maintained) her ideal weight of 135 lbs. All her symptoms were gone and she became a competitive athlete at the age of 50.

Since then, she has been teaching people about green smoothies to start a mostly raw plant-based diet.

Check out some of her books:
Green Smoothies Diet: The Natural Program for Extraordinary Health
Vibe: Unlock the Energetic Frequencies of Limitless Health, Love & Success

Related: Morning Kale Smoothie

Dr. Hyman was a very bright medical student. At lightning speed, he memorized names of our anatomy and complex pathways of physiology and biochemistry.

Like most doctors, he worked long hours everyday. There were times when he’d clock in on a Friday morning and clock out on Monday evening. His schedule was pretty intense. In between, he’d drink coffee and eat chocolate chip cookies for some energy boost.

One day, he noticed something strange. He became forgetful that he had to take photos of his patients and attach to their personal details to refer to for every visit. During lectures, he’d stop mid-sentence not knowing what he was talking about a few seconds ago. He couldn’t even comprehend the bedtime stories he read to his kids.

Then there was insomnia, lack of focus, anxiety, depression, brain fog, fatigue. In an instant, he was a different man.

He was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, ADD, depression, and dementia.

One summer day in August, he began searching for answers on his own. It was this time that he discovered Functional Medicine and through it, he was able to free himself from all the debilitating chronic illnesses and symptoms.

“Dr. Hyman is a practicing family physician, a ten-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, a medical editor of The Huffington Post, and was a regular medical contributor on many television shows including CBS This Morning, Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, and The View, Katie and The Dr. Oz Show.”

Some of Dr. Hyman’s Bestselling Books:
The UltraMind Solution: The Simple Way to Defeat Depression, Overcome Anxiety, and Sharpen Your Mind

The Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook: More Than 175 Delicious Recipes for Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health

The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes to Help You Lose Weight and Stay Healthy for Life

Food: WTF Should I Eat? : The no-nonsense guide to achieving optimal weight and lifelong health

A Doctor’s Broken Brain Story
Mental Illness: What I Wish Others Knew

Over to You

Did any of the stories resonate with you? Is there another inspiring and thriving spoonie you want to add to the list?

Do you think it’s possible to heal chronic illness or manage its symptoms naturally? Why or why not?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Mary Gutierrez

I help women with chronic illness thrive by sharing natural healing success stories, tools, programs and tips that focus on real food.

  • Sara says:

    It’s absolutely amazing how much diet and lifestyle changes can affect your health. I have Graves disease and it knocked me on my butt for a while. I of course owe so much to the doctors and medication that help to save my life and prevent a thyroid storm but I never truly felt better until I did a complete diet lifestyle overhaul.

    Today I’m in remission and I still have my thyroid. It’s definitely important to note that autoimmune diseases cannot be cured and while I am medication free I still have regular doctors appointments and blood test to make sure everything’s okay.

    I really couldn’t have gotten here without my doctors but this also wouldn’t have been possible without me. I think it’s so important to find a balance between modern medicine and doing what you can to support your health naturally. Participating in your healing and discovering what makes you thrive (and what drains you) is so incredibly important.

    Thank you for sharing so many inspirational stories.

    Health and love,

    Sara |

    • Mary Gutierrez says:

      Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I totally agree with you. Balance is the key. I’m still hopeful that one day conventional and alternative medicine will work together as both can help us significantly. Would you be willing to get your story featured on the blog? ~Mary

  • Jacq says:

    Great article! I also believe that western and alternative should complement each other and not against each other.

  • Great stories.

    I have also had much improvement of symptoms since switching to a ketogenic diet.

    No longer bedridden and chronic pain almost zero most of the time!

    Food can make such a difference. But it’s fascinating how each person finds a completely different diet works for them… We have to go through patient trial and error to find what our body responds to.

    Paleo didn’t do it for me, I just kept deteriorating, once I eliminated the carbs (fruit and starchy veg at that point as I was already grain free) that’s when the improvement happened.

    It’s a slow process, but potential benefits are absolutely worth it.

    • Mary Gutierrez says:

      Hi fellow spoonie! I’m glad you found the type of diet that works for you. The trial and error part can be really frustrating. If you don’t mind, what was your health issue? Readers facing similar issue might get the solution they’ve been looking for through your experience. Also, would you be willing to get your story featured in the future? Thank you, lovely! 🙂

  • I really am not a fan of medication I think it only really makes the health condition worse especially when you think about all of the side effects that they have.I totally believe that a natural approach is best. It all comes down to a proper diet, exercise for me . and a healthy dose of positive thinking as well.

    • Mary Gutierrez says:

      Hey Tachira! I agree! Medications can be helpful at the right time, right dosage, and the right person. I also believe the side effects must be discussed with the patient. It’s just sad that a lot of people have lost their belief in the natural approach. Thank you for sharing!

  • This is really inspiring and motivating post. How diet changed the lives of these people and they stood out in this field. Thanks for sharing this excellent and inspiring post.

  • Helen Katy Blair says:

    LOVE your testimony and thank you for sharing your health journey with the world! I discovered Robyn Openshaw (a/k/a Green Smoothie Girl) in 2007 upon the onset of menopause which triggered a thyroid storm – perfect timing because I had no idea my diet was not clean enough and contributing to this health crisis. It was SO scary! Oh how much I have learned since then! This year, I turn 60 and am in the best of health, far improved over these last years and fully believe following a whole food diet and doing a comprehensive full body detox program at least twice a year has made a significant improved difference. My antibodies are at “0” and holding. I also hear marvelous thoughts for all the other people you have listed, especially Jordan Rubin. I’ll be checking everyone’s bio to learn from them too. God’s best for you in 2018 and beyond!

    • Mary Gutierrez says:

      Hi Helen! Thank you for your kind words. These people opened a whole new world to me and I’m so grateful I found them. I’m so glad Robyn helped you a lot, too! Congratulations on your health. Indeed, age does not matter as long as you take care of yourself. I really appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts and beautiful recovery story. I receive and claim God’s best and I pray the same for you as well. Take care, lovely!

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