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Life and Work with Sabrina Summers

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sabrina Summers.

Sabrina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am living the impossible. I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Disease, which essentially means my thyroid moves slower than most. Before being diagnosed, I couldn’t figure out why my body was feeling off. I had awful stomach pains after eating and I was tired all the time. About two years ago, after a long battle of trying to figure out why my body was out of whack, the doctor told me that I had this lovely autoimmune disease. I was referred to a specialist and that doctor told me that exercising and changing my diet would not help at all, I just needed to take the thyroid medication and go on with my life. The medication did not react to my body well, and on my birthday I ended up in the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack. Luckily it was not a heart attack, but my body having a bad reacting to the medication. Through some research, my boyfriend and I discovered that by going gluten, dairy, and soy free and exercising, those who have Hashimoto’s Disease could go into remission. After my hospital visit, I threw out the medication and began my all natural healing journey. To date, I am heading closer to complete remission of this autoimmune disease and living life to the fullest! I now blog about my journey where I share my tips and tricks to overcoming the impossible and spreading positivity and sunshine along the way!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Going gluten, dairy, and soy free along with working out at least three times a week seemed like a walk in the park at first. As I ventured into the natural healing, food allergy/food restriction world, I soon realized that it’s not always easy to go to a restaurant and learning the only thing safe to eat is lettuce with nothing on it. Going to get-togethers where you know the food isn’t going to be safe can be tough too because you don’t want to offend anyone by not eating their food. Along with all those struggles, it’s tough learning to read food labels.

When venturing into the food allergy/food restriction world, it’s important to research brands and restaurants that are safe. Trust me, the worst thing, especially when you’re hungry, is to walk into a restaurant without researching it only to realize nothing on the menu is safe for you. Along with that, my best advice for those who are new to the food allergy/food restriction world is to practice reading labels! Even if you aren’t changing your diet for an autoimmune disease, learning how to read labels is important because you start to realize just how many chemicals and preservatives we are consuming daily. The fewer ingredients on a label the better for everyone’s health!

Finding a group of friends and family who encourage you and walk alongside you is so important. I owe a lot of my success to my loved ones who would change restaurants to ensure we went to one that is safe for me or having a safe snack that I can enjoy with them at their homes. There’s not enough thank you’s in the world for me to pass along to those who have helped me.

Along with research, practicing reading labels and surrounding yourself with supportive people, I highly suggest just owning the fact that you are now different than the rest. We live in this awesome generation where we are encouraged to be unique. When you go into a restaurant be confident when telling the waiter your food allergies/food restrictions.

My blog is a great place to start to learn about restaurants that are safe and my favorite gluten, dairy, and soy free brands!

What else should our readers know?
My blog, Summers Side Up, is about my journey with Hashimoto’s Disease. Although the blog was inspired by my journey, I am not defined by my autoimmune disease, so I talk a lot about positive living and learning how to look at “The Sunny Side of Life”!

I’m fortunate enough to travel often; if having food restrictions is tough at home, it’s even harder on the road! On my blog, I share my travels along with restaurants that are safe to eat in the cities I visit.

What sets me apart from others is my contagious positivity. Yes, I have this autoimmune disease, but with my lifestyle change, I am living life to the fullest! Positivity can be found even in the ugliest situations. You can live an amazing life regardless of your limitations!

Success to me is waking up each day with a grateful heart and being excited to see what’s in store. It’s fueling your body to thrive! We might get curveballs thrown our way; it’s how we handle them that contributes to our stories.

Above all, I’m grateful that even though I was diagnosed with this autoimmune disease, I am able to share my story and help others find food allergy friendly restaurants and brands, as well as help other Hashimoto’s Warriors on their natural healing journey.

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
I think the biggest barrier to natural healing through food is having people look at you like you’re crazy! A lot of people see the physical change in me, but truth be told, I didn’t care about the weight loss, I just wanted to feel like I was in my twenties again! Beauty is not found on the scale, it’s waking up feeling good about yourself because your body is happy in how you’re fueling it. A lot of people ask me if it’s been worth it to give up on the “best foods”. Yes, saying no to things that hinder me from not thriving has been worth every minute. Do I occasionally miss certain foods? Sure, but to me, it’s worth it to be able to travel and not have to cancel plans because of my body.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mary Shirley Photography, Makayla McGarvey Photography, Aleigh Phillips

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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