Today we have digestive health coach, Angela Privin of Do It Yourself Health on the blog as part of the Women Branching Out interview series.
Angela helps people heal their digestive issues and learn to take a more hands-on, DIY approach to managing their health.
Tell us about your business. What do you do and who do you love to serve?
My business, Do It Yourself Health, is focused on helping people heal their digestive issues but my approach is to educate, inspire and empower people to take their health in their hands. I think everyone is capable of self-healing. We give too much of our own healing power over to doctors and yet sometime doctors can make things worse.
The people that I work with are usually highly sensitive. They have a tendency towards overwhelm AND highly attuned intuition. These intuitive abilities make them natural healers, yet the overwhelm can drown out that intuitive voice.
I help people get past their overwhelm. I quiet down the confusion and support them in finding their intuitive healing path. It is an amazing process to help people find their own healing power.
When people are confident in their own healing abilities, they can deal with any health issue that comes up. They no longer feel helpless.
What kinds of reactions do you get when you tell people that you have a self-taught degree in Poop?
Well, I don’t exactly start the conversation that way but when it does come up it definitely loosens people up. Because I use humor and laughter in my approach, it encourages lightness and helps people relax. That can help melt shame around the topic.
I can’t tell you how many people suffer in silence with digestive issues because they are too shamed to talk about poop. I hope that my openness around “poop talk” can help others break through their silence. Shame serves little healing purpose.
How did being diagnosed with IBS change your life?
I was on a completely different trajectory in my life when I was diagnosed at age 28. I lived in Manhattan and worked as a financial journalist. My life was all about achieving so I could feel good about myself. Getting sick and having no good options for healing myself (my doctors told me I would have Irritable Bowel Syndrome for LIFE!) allowed me to shift my priorities and discover my real purpose on this planet: healing. Myself first. Then the world.
I stopped caring about impressing. I didn’t care about being a walking resume, I just wanted to feel good again. Being in constant discomfort was ruining my life! I decided to move from New York to San Francisco with the sole purpose of healing myself. It was the best decision of my life. New York City is not an ideal place for a highly sensitive person.
My digestive issues were my teacher and I was a pretty good student. I studied nutrition and tried everything under the sun until I finally healed myself. After years of failed attempts, I achieved a complete cure. You can read more about how I did that on my site.
For the last 8 years I have been symptom-free, food allergy-free (yes, I actually healed my food allergies!) and never had a relapse. It feels like a miracle.
I went on to study health from a different perspective, dealing with the emotional and spiritual components of healing to compliment my nutritional knowledge. Sharing what I’ve learned with the world feels like my purpose in life. I want to transform people’s lives through their digestion.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about IBS?
People with IBS think they have defective bowels. They believe what their doctor says about IBS being incurable. IBS is not a lifestyle, it’s simply a sign that your body is out of balance.
The good news about imbalance is that it can be balanced! There is a cure for IBS and other digestive issues. This has been my life experience and you can’t argue with experience.
Lastly, pharmaceuticals can’t heal digestion. Drugs only mask symptoms, which prevent us from hearing what our body is telling us.
What’s the first bit of advice you give clients who come to you with digestive issues to help them start taking their health into their own hands?
To observe, observe, and observe! I don’t believe there’s a one size fits all cure. Healing digestion is a trial and error process. The only way to speed up that process is to get very aware of what your body is telling to you.
I encourage people to write down how they feel after each meal. It is also useful to write down how they feel when they are craving something. What emotions come up? When they have a digestive health episode it’s helpful to journal about what else happened that day.
Bringing awareness to what’s going on with your emotions and body is the key to being “a Superhealer.” But practicing this type of awareness is often tough for people. That’s why a good health coach can be a mirror for what’s really going on with you and can help you identify patterns you can’t see.
Awareness and tuning into your body is the best healing practice in the world. It is also the hardest!
What are some of the benefits of having a healthy and happy digestive system?
So many. Too many to name actually but I’ll pick two.
The immune system is closely connected to digestion. Actually, most of the immune system is located in the gut. After I healed my gut I noticed that frequent colds, flus and seasonal allergies were no longer a problem. The new and improved Angela never gets sick.
In fact, my immune system is so strong that I’m practically cocky about it. It makes me feel invincible!
Another huge benefit of healing digestion is that it supports the liver, which in turn clears up skins, balances metabolism (hello healthy weight!) and improves mood and energy levels.
Finish this sentence. I believe…
That IBS and digestive issues CAN and SHOULD be healed! Ignoring your body’s messages to you and staying sick is like avoiding your destiny and your opportunity to grow, learn and share that knowledge.
What did 7-year old Angela say she wanted to be when she grew up?
Well 7-year-old Angela wanted to be an actress and dancer. In fact, whenever my parents had people over I saw it as a “captive audience!” and an opportunity to perform my cabaret show.
My practical immigrant parents discouraged me from pursuing acting as a career. But I get to live out that dream occasionally in my business when I make videos. I love being in front of the camera.
I think that I’m in the perfect career right now. While I love performing, I’m even more drawn to healing. It’s what I was meant to contribute to the world.
What is your favorite aspect of running your own business?
I love being the one with the vision for my business and using creativity to bring my vision into the world. But one of the things that’s so amazing about starting a business is that it’s also a spiritual practice.
When I was sick and looking for a cure, there was no guarantee of success and yet I persisted anyway, despite my fears, doubts and occasional negativity.
Running a business also has no guarantees and constantly brings you face to face with your fear, doubt and negativity. I have to develop my faith muscle (a weak one for me) and stay persistent. This is the recipe for my growth and long-term success.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about our digestive health?
Digestive health is a complicated topic. So many different things can cause issues, from heavy metal toxicity to emotional trauma. However, in my relentless study of the topic I keep coming across the same underlying cause for many different health issues. Bacterial balance in the gut.
When there aren’t enough good bacteria and too many bad guys (pathogenic bacteria, yeast, fungus or parasites) it can cause anything from food allergies, to autoimmune issues to brain fog, head aches and fatigue.
The research and science around the topic of bacteria is very young and we don’t really understand the complexities yet. But the more we learn, the more obvious it seems to me that this is the answer behind many of today “mysterious” illnesses and digestive ailments.
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Angela Privin’s love of Do-It-Yourself projects includes her health. She was able to completely heal her Irritable Bowel Syndrome diagnosis with nothing more than the right food, rest and supplements. She is chief Superhealer at www.diyhealthblog.com where she inspires and teaches people to take their health in their hands! You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.