I had a successful career at a Fortune 500 Company that I loved. I married the man of my dreams and had two adorable little boys. We had just bought a new house. Life was good.
Suddenly, my life took a dramatic change in course. Despite my commitment to health and fitness, my physical body decided to quit. While I thought I was doing all the “right” things – exercising daily, competing in recreational triathlons, eating whole grains and low fat foods – I was shocked when I woke up one morning with sudden onset neuropathy in my left leg.
After undergoing back surgery with the goal of relieving the compressed nerve in my spine, I soon found myself facing a devastating challenge. Something was terribly wrong – I could no longer walk, my legs just wouldn’t move.
The number of symptoms continued to grow— the paralysis led to chronic pain; my irritable bowel syndrome led to unhealthy weight loss. I was covered in skin rashes, had daily headaches, and remained awake most nights with restless leg syndrome. My restricted movements were matched with weakness and numbness. Eventually my vision became blurred, dizziness set in and I was consumed with chronic fatigue. I was eventually diagnosed with, fibromyalgia, degenerative facet joint syndrome, a spinal hemangioma, another disc herniation (this time in my neck), neuropathy, and chronic pain syndrome. If that wasn’t enough, I was now ‘allergic’ to everything. I lost my job and was put on permanent disability.
During this incredibly challenging time, my three-year old son was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (an autism spectrum disorder). By the time he was four years old, but prior to the autism diagnosis, he had multiple diagnostic labels including a speech disorder, apraxia of the body and mouth, sensory processing disorder, selective mutism, panic disorder, anxiety, and significant cognitive delays (slow processing speed).
Our conditions, although different in presentation and severity, shared a hidden connection—a vulnerability in our body. We had triggered an immune response and inflammatory process in our body leading to a cascade of symptoms that when added up presented as a debilitating disease.
But, what made us so vulnerable? And, considering our ongoing commitment to therapy and interventions, why couldn’t we recover?
To find out what happened to me, my son and the rest of my family and how we all recovered from a myriad of chronic disease, I invite you to view our story in the award-winning documentary film Secret Ingredients.
Kathleen DiChiara is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition ® Practitioner, Bio-Individual Nutrition Practitioner, Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach, and Nutrition Educator. She has dedicated her work to increase the public’s knowledge about the connection between nutrition and the patterns of optimal health. She became a Hay House | Penguin Random House author with the release of her latest book, End Chronic Disease: The Healing Power of Beliefs, Behaviors, and Bacteria, after becoming a best-selling author with her first book, The Hidden Connection in 2014. She received specialized training in the biochemistry and personalized diets for allergies, autoimmune, and other chronic conditions and is a professionally trained chef.
Kathleen is CEO and founder of Nutritional Intelligence Academy, an online learning platform, where she carries out her mission is to teach others how to use quality food and the guiding principles of Mother Nature to care for themselves and their family.
After years in a successful career as an Investor Relations executive at a Fortune 500 firm and as a recreational triathlete, Kathleen’s health took a devastating turn. This successful corporate executive went from an active, vibrant wife, mother and professional to suddenly requiring surgery, emerging with paralysis that then spiraled into several disorders including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, severe degenerative arthritis, IBS and a myriad of other ailments. Around the same time, her son was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, an Autism Spectrum Disorder. These events served as inspiration for Kathleen’s career change and commitment to reeducation about food quality and lifestyle choices.
For eight years, Kathleen has served as the President and Chair of the Board of Directors for Rhode Island Parent Information Network (RIPIN), a non-profit agency that serves over 40,000 individuals with special health care needs in the areas of health, education, and advocacy.
She is also the Founder of a grassroots organization called Nourished2Learn™ that bridges the gap between the foundation of nutrition and academic performance by teaching children, parents and administrators the importance of nutrition in public schools.
As an allergy-free lifestyle expert, Kathleen believes in the support, acceptance, and respect for all persons living with gluten-related disorders, including celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). She previously served as the local branch leader for the national non-profit organizations, Gluten Intolerance Group, as well as, the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF).
Kathleen is also the President and Founder of Rhode to Health, Inc and she serves as a Nutrition Advisor for the BioNutrient Food Association. She is a Board member on the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Board of Chiropractic Examiners and also serves as an Advisor for Social Enterprise Greenhouse and their Health and Wellness Initiative. Kathleen is a well-respected national speaker and has been featured on a wide range of media outlets including International broadcasts.
Kathleen works with clients all over the world and lectures frequently, both locally and nationally, on nutrition and its influence on optimizing health. She believes that all individuals deserve access to nutrition education and lifestyle choices that reduce the vulnerability to chronic conditions.