"Each one of our choices may seem small, but when all our choices are combined, we change the world."
How I got here.....
Many people who become FNTPs do so after using whole foods to overcome serious, often life threatening and supposedly incurable health challenges. I feel extremely fortunate that I didn’t come to it this way. I’ve always considered myself a healthy person. I'd never been allergic to anything in my life, but then I began to experience seasonal allergies. I thought it was just one of those inevitable things that happens when you age.
My allergies began slowly with red, itchy eyes. Then they progressed to sneezing fits and itchy eyes when I was working in the garden. It got so bad that I could only garden for about an hour before my eyes were so itchy and I was so miserable I had to stop. Pretty regularly, in the mornings, I would have sneezing fits. I would sneeze up to 20 times in a row. It was getting really annoying. There were a few times I even took a few over the counter allergy medications. If it would have continued, I’m sure I would have had to begin taking something regularly to help me with symptoms that were progressively getting worse.
Luckily for me, my symptoms didn't get worse. During my training to become a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP), I applied the things I was learning to myself. I was very surprised to discover that I had hidden food sensitivities to all grains and nightshades. These food sensitivities stem from digestive imbalances that weakened my immune system. By identifying and eliminating the things I was sensitive too and adding digestion nourishing foods to my diet, my symptoms went away. My allergies are completely gone now and I sneeze very rarely. Just about every time I do, I can trace it back to eating something I'm still sensitive to.
Looking back now, the makings of Bend Nutritional Therapy were in the works for years. Since I was a teenager, I’ve been into holistic health and nutrition. After high school I considered becoming a Naturopathic Doctor or Registered Dietician, but chose to be a stay at home mom instead. On the side, I learned to make glass beads, which led me to create an artisan glass bead and handmade jewelry business, Larissa Spafford Designs, which I still run today. I’d almost forgotten my early desire to pursue a career in holistic health, until my symptoms grabbed my attention and reignited my spark.
Have you ever felt something was SO right, and felt SO compelled to do something, and then things came together SO quickly for it to happen, that you didn’t even have time to question or doubt it? That’s what happened when I learned from a friend, that the Nutritional Therapy Association, and the career of Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner existed. Then, discovering that the updated version of a book I picked out when I was a teenager, and still had, Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson Hass, was one of the required books, confirmed my feeling that I was on the right path. What I learned changed my life and I am forever grateful.
Why I do what I do....
The main reason is, I want to help people! I know so many people suffer from digestive problems that effect their quality of life. I also know, in many cases, it doesn't need to be this way.
...the earth is getting warmer, the glaciers are melting, people are starving, wars are happening, species are becoming extinct, our world and our bodies are more polluted and we are sicker than ever before. To top it off, our health care system is more of a disease management system, where pharmaceuticals with crazy long lists of side effects that are worse than the original problem, appear to be the only option.
Despite all this, I’m an optimist and have hope. I’m a “where there’s a will, there’s a way” kinda person. With technology connecting us like never before and knowledge doubling at unprecedented rates all the time, the possibilities seem endless and are exciting to imagine. I look for signs of positive change, and they’re here.
I want to make a difference in this crazy mess we’ve made. Food and the power of nutrition are my way of doing this. It’s crystal clear that nature makes the best food. We are arrogant to assume we can create ‘foods’ in test tubes that are just as good or better.
For a tiny blip in human existence we’ve eaten non-organic, GMO, factory farmed food full of man made chemicals that wreak havoc on our bodies. In this blip we’ve experienced skyrocketing, unprecedented rates of chronic degenerative diseases, allergies, infertility, etc. Problems that once only happened in the elderly are happening in children. I’m not ok with this. Any of it. And I’m helping to change it. One bite at a time :)
....symptoms are our body’s way of telling us something is out of balance, and we are wise to listen.
.....when we listen to our bodies, support and nourish ourselves, we can feel great, age gracefully and thrive.
....we have a choice. We can choose to move towards health and wellness or sickness and disease every time we shop for food and eat a meal, whether we realize it or not.
...we are powerful. We vote with our dollars. Each one of our choices may seem small, but when all our choices are combined, we change the world.
A few more things about me....
I’ve been married to my best friend, Robbie, since we were 17 and 18. We‘re the exception to the rule, and are still very happy and in love. We have two sons. They partly appreciate my nutritional ways and partly wish we could just eat like everyone else. I know it’s rubbing off on them when I overhear them giving their friends health tips or turning down a soda and choosing water.
I love life. Every morning I take a moment to feel happy and grateful just because I am alive and breathing and have another chance to begin a new day. There are SO many things that I enjoy doing! I do my best to feel my best, so I can do and enjoy more of the things I love. Taking care of myself with nutrition is a HUGE part of this.
Things I love to do the most include....spending time with my family and friends, snowboarding, hiking, swimming (especially in the ocean), cartwheels and handstands on the beach, yoga, being an auntie, gardening, traveling, learning, reading, watching documentaries and (I’m slightly embarrassed to admit!) reality shows, making glass beads and jewelry, flowers, eating delicious food and sunbathing.