At the age of 18, at a friend’s engagement party, some not-so-charming girl decided to make a spiteful comment about my pot belly, mocking me for looking pregnant. What followed on from this was a 30 year journey into all things health, nutrition and wellness.
Some good, some bad and some ugly.
At first this traumatic experience sent me into non-convulsive bulimia. Then I went on a never ending, somewhat obsessive quest to find the “right diet” - Lean Cuisine, Slimfast, Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw, Omnivore, Keto, Atkins, Paleo… you name it, I’ve done it.
Add to that swimming half a mile every day, yoga 8 times a week, weight training and power walking, reading every book I could on health and attending all sorts of seminars, courses and retreats, and it’s obvious I should have expected my body to bite back, right?
And the craziest thing about all this was I wasn’t even overweight.
At almost 5 foot 9 the most the scales ever topped was 10½ stone. Yet my mindset drove me down to under 9 stone.
Then I went back up again.
Then back down.
Then back up again…
Now I don’t really know whether all this, or the stress of living, thinking, working and partying fast took its toll on my poor microbiome, but by the time I hit my 30’s, my gut health was not great. Bloating, gas, abdominal pain, fatigue, food sensitivities and too many UTIs were coming at me from every direction.
So, after having read some amazing books written by incredible people, coupled with a healthy caution for anything related to conventional medicine or big pharma, I saw therapist after therapist and practitioner after practitioner.
I saw hormone specialists, gynaecologists, gastroenterologists and went to just about every alternative practitioner I could find, undertaking almost every test and assessment on the planet. I gave blood, urine and stool samples. Had scans, MRIs and ultrasounds. Swallowed pieces of string, drank Epsom salts and followed all sorts of weird and wonderful protocols. Before long I was popping more pills than a cheesy quaver at Glastonbury.
Yet I was not getting or feeling any better.
Over a period of about 18 months, my mental health deteriorated. My emotions were erratic, my mood unstable and I felt anxious and upset most of the time. The turning point came, in the midst of an argument with my poor, long suffering and (still) supportive partner, where I reached out for some “not-so-safe pills” and thought about killing myself.
For months my partner had pleaded with me to stop taking my supplements. For months I replied “these are helping me not harming me”. Oh how little I really knew.
But thankfully, he persuaded me to stop the supplements and, slowly, I began to recover. My hormones fluctuated less, my moods stabilised more and I started to feel like myself once again, which was a huge relief after months of waking up never knowing if I was going “to be me or not”.
Over time I learned more about gut health and my genetic make-up. I discovered that all health begins in the gut and that 90% of our DNA is microbiome. I learned about how meat stock heals the gut whereas bone broth can damage it; that high fat diets are useless if you can’t metabolise fats and that genetics can turn a well-meaning health supplement into a death sentence.
Then I discovered collagen.
I re-discovered that proteins are the building blocks of our bodies and that the easier a protein is to digest the more bio-available it is for the body. I learned about amino acids and I learned about how I could heal my gut, my body and my mind without becoming obsessive about my diet and without compromising a lifestyle where I had finally found peace with food.
A short while later, a old tenant from my former landlady days approached my partner and I with a business idea… a collagen supplement to sell on Amazon. I took it as a sign. I tried and tested, read and researched all that I could about collagen and all of the manufacturers.
And here I am, 3 years later, with a team of 8 wonderful souls and we are Amazon’s number 1 best seller, have over 100,000 customers and are helping people with everything from gut issues to sleep disturbances, pregnancy and surgery, beauty and fitness and even more chronic and serious debilitating conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, Ehlers Danlos, CFS and high liver and cholesterol levels.
As for me, I am still on my path of health discovery and adventure and that spiteful comment and moment of suicide are 2 of the most magical moments of my life.
“Magical? WTF? You really are crazy, Corinna?”
Yep. Because for me, your worst shit is always your best shit. Even if you don’t know it at the time.
And so, because of that comment and because of those supplements, I am here, doing what I love, which is sharing everything I can to anyone who wants to listen, about everything I have learned about health, wellbeing, healing and nutrition.
The good, the bad and the ugly.