This article is written in partnership with The Whole Journey. They’re dedicated to helping people address the root cause of their health issues and use food as medicine to create lasting change—we’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.
It’s not all in your head.
Staring helplessly at a bloated belly that could pass for a third trimester pregnancy and resentfully recalling the kale salad and “healthy” (difficult) decision you made to avoid it, watching your hair gradually fade while finding it in droves on the floor, and even more extreme scenarios like the one Dean H. has found himself in are real, and beyond just physically painful:
“Over the past 20 years, I have been diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases, including celiac, Crohn’s and Hashimoto’s. I’ve had multiple surgeries and have been to over 40 doctors. I’ve tried every possible pill, potion, and procedure and have studied thousands of hours searching for ways to heal my gut and autoimmune issues. And still, I was going to the restroom 15-20 times daily.”
On a much smaller scale, especially recently, I’ve been feeling like my body has betrayed me. I’ve waited for a period that never came. I’ve watched my hair make its home on my sweater instead of atop my head. I’ve said “no” to plans because I couldn’t imagine feeling confident with my bowling-ball-belly in any of my pairs of (seemingly) shrinking jeans.
What is it? Stress? The surging electric undercurrent of the Covid era? I used to know my body. I used to know what it needed. Lately, it’s felt like I’ve been walking around in a rental. I’d like a refund, please.
I know I’m not alone, I know it could be worse—much, much worse—like it has been for Dean, and the 65 million Americans who know exactly what I’m talking about. They’re the ones who no longer feel welcome in their own bodies.
They’re battling chronic brain fog, insomnia, unexplained weight gain or loss, food sensitivities, joint pain, migraines, digestive issues (like bloating, constipation or diarrhea), gas, heartburn GERD, acid reflux—as well as a host of autoimmune diseases, like: Hashimoto’s, IBS, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia.
I see you, thrivers. I’ve only had a sampling of those symptoms, and I can’t imagine dealing with them on a consistent basis. Forget the exhaustion from the lack of sleep—combatting the pain and discomfort of these super common, yet abnormal symptoms will make anyone want to raise a white flag.
The reality is, if you’ve thought yup, that’s me to even one or two of the symptoms on that dreaded list, you’ve got something in common with a growing group facing the same imbalance—poor gut health.
That’s right, your gut is the mastermind behind all of your body’s functions, and 22.4 million annual physician office visits conclude with a disease of the digestive system as their primary diagnosis. By the time we even show up in our doctor’s offices, though, we’ve already been slumming through countless days of either desperately trying to keep our discomfort at bay, or praying that it shows up at a lower intensity level just this once.
Even with a diagnosis, prescribed medications, and almighty “rest,” we still find ourselves deep in the trenches. We’re still peeking over the wall of brittle earth that our physician has placed before us, with our eyes peeled wide open, scanning for the opposition. No wonder we’re running on empty.
But what if you learned, from a trusted source, that you didn’t need to hide anymore? That it (rightfully) feels safer to stay put, but stepping forward is the only way through?
If you asked Christa Orecchio, holistic nutritionist and founder of The Whole Journey, she would say that your body’s terrain—that’s been unwittingly desecrated by medications and treatments abound—isn’t just capable of being restored, but cultivated into a lush ecosystem.
With over 15 years of experience in identifying underlying health issues and giving people the authority to resolve them, she vehemently believes in the body’s brilliance, and its ability to reverse the root causes of the unsavory symptoms that millions of people have begrudgingly adopted as a lifestyle because they didn’t know there was any other way.
She’s dedicated her life’s work to building a bridge between western and natural medicine that’s been proven to liberate people from their pain and discomfort for the long haul and put them on an entirely new trajectory of health and vibrance for life.
“Western medicine is all about sterilization, and sometimes natural medicine also leans too heavily into botanicals vs. the trusting and investing in the human body’s profound and innate intelligence, and because of that—they’re both getting it wrong to varying degrees.” ~ Christa Orecchio
At the intersection of both, is treating the symptoms that alert us to our body’s internal battles, as opposed to the conflict of interest that ignited them in the first place. That’s what keeps us in the trenches, and it’s the reason we need a whole new liberation strategy.
Free yourself from the weight of your symptoms & treat the source. Learn how with this free Webinar >>
It’s time to Send in Reinforcements.
Picture a fish in a fishbowl: it’s dirty, it’s murky, and the fish inside of it is dying. Traditional medicine aims to medicate the fish to save it, which is called the Germ Theory. Christa’s approach, with a 95% success rate for more than 8,000 individuals with chronic symptoms and dis-ease, is called the Terrain Theory. It’s a means of cleaning the whole tank, and reviving the environment around the fish. It’s a sustainable path out of the mire, and it’s the only way to safely emerge from the rubble around us.
Your “tank” is a collection of every “bug” you’ve ever caught—the mononucleosis that ravaged your throat after that make out session in high school, that Giardia infection that had you running to the resort restroom every five minutes on your vacation, and even your more recent Covid case. You may have gotten rid of the infections, but their aftermath has lingered long after the symptoms have subsided.
That’s because your gut microbiome is composed of bacteria, bacteriophage, fungi, protozoa and viruses that live inside, and on, the human body. (1) They’re either dormant or activated by the introduction of new organisms, and Christa and her team start your healing journey with a vetted, pathogen-trigger assessment to understand the whole human and their propensity for pathogenic overload.
This intuitive process took two years of running before-and-after lab work to create and perfect, and it spares you the $1,500.00 cost of a food sensitivity panel, a stool test for pathogens, an inflammation set point test, and a leaky gut test—in other words, it’ll help you find out how much mortar is missing from your gut’s “brick wall” because whatever escapes the gut (nothing but nutrients should) goes directly into the bloodstream and to the brain.
Restore, repair, & heal for good. Take the first step on your healing journey with this free Webinar >>
Once they’ve got your body’s intel, they’ll draw up a customized plan, and one that centers your body as the protagonist. With all the symptoms you’ve been bogged down by, it only makes sense to feel like your body has been working against you, when the truth is, it’s been lovingly striving to protect you. It just hasn’t had the right tools or guidance to unlock its suppressed superpowers.
Suit Up—We’re Kicking the Kryptonite.
For as long as you’ve been relying solely on prescribed antibiotics to quell your symptoms, you’ve been exiting your local pharmacy with a crinkly paper bag full of kryptonite. When only the symptoms are treated without identifying the scope of their causes, the treatment is blasting the “bad guys” while leaving civilian (good bacteria) casualties behind.
With your customized, mapped-out microbiome rejuvenation plan and a more mindful method in tote, the Whole Journey’s Gut Thrive in 5 will remove the barriers to health (inflammation, pathogens, metabolic waste, leaky gut, lack of good bacteria) , and liberate your body’s ability to heal one step at a time.
>> A Diet to Quiet the Silent Killer. There’s a masked little meanderer that loves to invite all the viruses to the party, and it’s called inflammation. TIME magazine called it a silent killer all the way back in 2003. All manner of pathogens, including viruses like Covid, flock to inflammation in your body like a moth to a flame, and exacerbate and elongate the symptoms. This is where Christa and her team deploy gentle detoxification and food-as-medicine techniques to cleanse and support your overworked digestive organs.
>> A Purge for the Pathogens. Pathogens aren’t all bad, and blasting every last one with an antibiotic atomic bomb isn’t helping. That’s why the Gut Thrive program gently and intentionally improves the environment in your gut microbiome to make it inhospitable for the foreign invaders and parasites. Instead of attacking them, they’ll swipe their cell phones (ability to communicate), and prevent them from strategizing their next move— which means they can no longer replicate and make the damage (your symptoms) worse.
Too bad for them they’re not telepath-ogens, am I right? With high-quality customized supplements at the right dosages, The Whole Journey cleans up what’s left once those pesky pathogens realize none of their messages are getting through. Since this program gently relies on the body’s intelligence as a tool, it makes anyone, even those who have had a hard time cleansing, eligible to establish balance in their system.
>> A Reforestation Implementation. The pandemonium is gone, so the problem is too, right? Wrong. You’ll have made some serious strides by Step 3, but the work is really just beginning. This is the time to cultivate and grow a new landscape from all the right types of bacteria that your body needs to sustain a thriving ecosystem. Enter 11-13 different, specific strains of probiotics and some approved fermented foods at low levels to help you “plant” like right seeds in your newly weeded, clean and nutrient dense soil. By introducing these system saviors, you’ll notice relief from long-term constipation, anxiety, depression, chronic yeast infections, lung and sinus infections, and skin issues like eczema and psoriasis.
This isn’t some concoction conjured up in a cauldron, it’s your body’s brilliant ability to re-educate itself and replicate a newer, healthier genetic code to the other five microbiomes in your body. It’s like getting an entirely new operating system for your computer—everything works faster, better, and more intuitively.
>> It’s time to Terraform. By this step, you’ll notice that the “dust” has started to settle, and discover that the garden you planted in your system will be ready to receive the loving watering and feeding The Whole Journey is renowned for when they deploy their method of using food as medicine. Your system will now be prepared to grow and thrive with the use of specific prebiotics (food for good gut bacteria). Next, The Whole Journey will help you train your body to produce enough stomach acid to keep you protected from the “bad guys” and invite the absorption of Vitamin B12 to stick around—enhancing energy levels and metabolism while freeing you from skin issues like acne and rosacea, and brain fog.
That’s all thanks to the stabilization and regulation happening behind the scenes, and it’s setting the stage for all the (good) growth that comes along with terraforming. With carefully customized food-based probiotics and prebiotics, you’ll keep the badass bacteria fed so your system can continue to flourish.
>> From 24/7 Ailments to 80/20 Maintenance. Whew, didn’t think we’d make it here, huh? By Step 5, your gut has officially begun adapting to a life of harmony instead of horror. Like any post-traumatic era, though, it’s natural to proceed with caution. Gradually, you’ll introduce the foods that you were once sensitive to, while keeping the terraform wheels turning. Hey, you can even reunite with an upgraded, healthier version of that Boston Kreme you’ve been missing now, and donut feel so good?
The mission here is to maintain all the healthy systems you’ve now set in place 80% of the time, and Y.O.L.O. your way through the other 20%. Allocating your healthy habits and human happiness intentionally will cement the foundation for enduring balance that you never thought you’d see in your lifetime.
Once you’ve worked your way through the five steps, you’ll walk across Christa’s body-restoring bridge with an entirely new genetic code, and you’ll join the 95% of Gut Thrivers who’ve watched their bodies transform from battlefields to sanctuaries.
There’s science, trials, facts, and figures behind why these methods work, but the ultimate truth is that an ounce of prevention is worth one million pounds of cure. Our bodies are geniuses, and they’re capable of phenomena that can only be tapped into once they’re fully and deeply understood.
It’s possible to restore peace in a body that we believe has waged war with us, especially when we turn to allies like Christa and The Whole Journey team.
With their help, our guts can speak an entirely new language—one that’s clear, one that everyone can understand, and one that we can trust.