HOW I MAKE IT WORK...
DISCOURAGED BY A BODY THAT SEEMED TO BE TURNING AGAINST HER, THE PSYCHOLOGIST, 36, FELL INTO A PATTERN OF POOR HEALTH. THEN SHE FOUND THE POWER OF POSITIVE EATING – AND VOWED TO HELP OTHERS DO THE SAME
Jayta Szpitalak transformed her life with food.
My health problems started when I was pregnant. I’m quite short: just 150cm tall. Which in America, where I’m from, legally earns me a handicapped parking permit.
During both of my pregnancies, my babies basically wouldn’t fit, so they lay sideways. I looked enormous; more than that, I was in terrible pain. My abdominal wall separated the width of two fists, which was the largest separation my surgeon had seen. Though I had surgery to fix my abs I still looked pregnant, which had a significant emotional effect.
To compensate, I turned to eating and became addicted to sugar. Of course I was filling my body with chemicals, so I was overweight and had no energy. The tipping point came when I was looking at old photos from family holidays and realised I didn’t look like me anymore.
It sounds vain, but it’s not. It’s about being comfortable in your skin. And I wasn’t. I cringed when I saw myself, and that’s not healthy. When you can’t look in the mirror, you’re not going to be the best possible partner, daughter, or mum.
I threw myself into getting healthy. Along the way, I discovered functional foods – which aren’t just nutritious but have positive effects on both your physical and mental health. I’m a bit of a research nut, anyway, and I started looking into the antioxidant turmeric. Turns out it’s effective in staving off inflammation and helps in the treatment of depression. This simple herb that threatens no complications to a person’s health is so accessible, and doesn’t need to be prescribed. It was an eye-opener.
Research indicates that up to 90 per cent of the neurotransmitters created in our gut affect our mental state – hence the gut’s reputation as our “second brain”. And because so much turmeric is hard to digest, the solution is to ferment it. I began to use sprouted and fermented foods in my diet and my health definitely improved. I also felt more positive.
I began to recommend fermented foods to my patients. The feedback was wonderful, and I felt a responsibility to make this public. But in Australia, it was hard to find fermented turmeric or sprouted foods. I wanted those products here, which led to the launch of my company, Fermentanicals.
My desire to change myself came from a truly genuine place; because of that, I was better equipped to help others make the changes they need in their lives.