• Kristyn Emmer

Rhythmic Healing: A Journey Back to Myself

Updated: May 7, 2020

Just about everyone who gets into the work of functional medicine has found their way there not because they grew up thinking they would become a functional medicine practitioner, but because somewhere along their journey, they came to the end of themselves and that path led them right into the arms of someone who offered them relief through functional medicine.

My story isn’t much different. It’s one that I’ve found is a rhythmic invitation back to something slow, something simple.

It’s difficult for me to pinpoint exactly where my health story began, because I look back at my childhood and see a Midwestern girl eating what we call a Standard American Diet, running around the quiet streets of a small town, and fairly anxious about it all. I essentially grew up on a farm in the middle of corn and dairy country, where I always new what time of summer it was based on the height of the stalks around me.

Through a number of different events, I came to the end of my high school years complete stressed, burned out, and traumatized, which I carried right with me to La Crosse, Wisconsin, where I did my undergraduate degree. As many of us first-generation students find, I was completely unprepared and unequipped make the transition and to hold the space for myself that I needed to, which left me in what I now realize was a state of constant stress. It was in this place of unequipped and unaware that I both fell deeply into the grips of a serious eating disorder, but it’s also where I had my eyes opened to the power of food, thanks to the inspiration from a woman named Deanna Latson.

So at the same time I was learning about the healing nature of food, I was ramping up my anxiety and sinking deeper and deeper into a black hole that was my eating disorder. The first bumped me into functional medicine and the second led to a hospital. And it was here I feel like I came face to face with conventional medicine - quick to prescribe and quick to be passed around by insurance companies. But it was also here that I was offered the gift of the power of root cause work - digging deep into the underground of our stories, our faith, and our beliefs. It was a place that on one hand offered me a quick fix, but the hospital was also a place I was asked to slow down and be held, as I learned growing up on my midwestern streets.

Thanks to the help of many doctors, therapists, nutritionists, chiropractors, my parents, and my best friends, I made it through and that through place took me to graduate school in Colorado, where I studied Student Affairs in Higher Education. While I had more skills and ability to make a major transition, I had very few boundaries on this newfound energy I had being fully weight-restored. For two years, my life was running on constant adrenaline due to endless possibilities of a new home and new career and a personality addicted to new and exciting.

Six weeks after graduating from my master’s degree, I was nearly paralyzed with a whole variety of what felt like unrelated symptoms. Couldn’t sleep. Brain fog, bloating, extreme fatigue. I couldn’t digest anything, not even carrots. I knew I needed help. After about a year seeing conventional doctors, being prescribed hormonal contraceptives, antidepressants, and simply being told nothing was wrong with me, I met the end of what conventional medicine could do for me.

And then I met my nutritionist - an embodied earth, wind and fire, GAPS trained nutritional therapist. After two hours in her office, she looked at me and calmly yet excitedly said, “I know exactly what’s going on here and I’m confident we can get you feeling better in no time.”  I knew all those seemingly unrelated symptoms were not unrelated at all, and in fact were my body crying out for something to change. From there, I set out on a year-long journey, where I worked with her on my eating, my stress levels, and my overall lifestyle. She supported me in making sustainable, personalized decisions that changed me for good. And the best news was that my energy was back, the brain fog was gone, and life felt full, meaningful, and purposeful again.

As my life pattern would have it, this new healing and energy propelled me into my newest season - the one where I met and married my now husband, bought a house, quit my job, moved overseas, started a new life, and became a functional medicine health coach. The irony of where I landed is significant - back to a small town, where the streets are quiet and I can tell how late into summer we are based on the height of that year’s crop. But it has also been a place of deep convergence between my healing story and the story that has been written into generations before me.

This story - my healing story and my generation story - is one that calls forth a right relationship with land, with our bodies, and with our souls. I’ve found over my inherited experience and my lived experience that these aspects are deeply interconnected, and we cannot exclude one and expect the others to thrive. It’s physical, but it’s also deeply emotional and spiritual. It is from these stories that I have learned that when we set up the right environment, we thrive. When we create an agricultural environment that is regenerative, it’s life giving for years and years. And when we create an embodied environment that is regenerative, we restore our bodies to new life and possibility.

And this is where Emmer & Earth begins - at the convergence of health and wholeness for you and for me and for the generous land that holds us.

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