My Story

Hi there!  My name is Kelly Vangrud and I am a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.  I became an FDN-P and a health coach because I wanted to help others who are struggling with chronic, debilitating health issues like I was.  Here's my story.

For as far back as I can remember, I suffered with debilitating constipation.   Although in the earlier years, I did not realize I was constipated; I just knew I felt bloated, fat, and uncomfortable all the time.  In my early 20s, I came to realize that I was, in fact, constipated, but I was far from understanding why.  Initially, I tried what most doctors recommended:  I drank plenty of water, exercised, and increased my fiber intake.  When these things did not help, I went to see my doctor.  My doctor ran some blood tests and told me there was nothing wrong with me, but I knew that something was not right.  And so began my quest to find the cause of my constipation.  Little did I know at that time that this quest would last nearly twenty years.

For the next twelve years, I did everything I could think of to cure my constipation.  I spent countless hours researching possible causes of constipation.  I tried medication.  I tried laxatives.  I tried supplements.  I tried remedies I had found on the internet.  I read medical research papers and articles.  I saw every doctor you can think of and underwent every medical test imaginable.  I saw a general practitioner, an internal medicine doctor, a gastroenterologist, an allergy doctor, a pelvic floor specialist, and ultimately a colorectal surgeon.  I had numerous blood tests, was tested for Celiac disease, had my pelvic floor muscles tested, and underwent bowel-function-related tests that would make you blush.  (Seriously, there was one test where I was filled with simulated "stool" and had to sit on an x-ray toilet sitting up high in the middle of the room while several doctors watched me poop.)  Each and every doctor I saw told me that there was nothing wrong with me; except one doctor, who told me that the results of my transit study showed that I was constipated.  As if I didn't already know that.

Because of the slow transit time and the fact that the doctors could not find anything else wrong with me, I had my colon removed when I was 33 years old.  Although I was nervous about such a dramatic procedure, I felt like I would finally have the relief I had been searching for.  I was so wrong.

Shortly after my surgery, my constipation came back.  It was then that I knew that whatever was going on with me was systemic.  I was determined to figure out what was going on, so back to the researching and back to the doctors I went.  I saw a different general practitioner this time who ran tests to check my thyroid function, including my thyroid antibodies (which are not tested on a standard thyroid panel).  The results of the test came back and showed that I had an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which is typically treated with medication.  As scary as that sounds, I was so relieved and excited because I finally thought I had found the cause of my constipation and that it could be fixed simply by taking medication.  Again, I was so wrong.

I spent the next seven years going from bad to worse.  I had reactions to the thyroid medication that put me in the emergency room a couple times a week for a couple months.  I was told that I had a heart condition, which I knew I did not have.  I was told I had anxiety, which I knew I did not have.  In addition to the chronic constipation, I also began exhibiting other symptoms.  My muscles were weak and achy, my joints were sore, and I had begun to have issues with my hormones, including palpitations, anxiety, and recurring miscarriages.  

During this time, I saw another round of doctors, including my general practitioner, another allergy and immunology doctor, a gastroenterologist, an endocrinologist, and even a rheumatologist.  They ran more tests and, you guessed it, nothing was wrong with me.  My frustration was growing, but my determination would not let me give up.

During my research I had read up on gluten and its effects on health, including its link to Hashimoto's thyroiditis.  So, in 2010, I decided to go gluten-free.  This eased my symptoms slightly but not enough.  Through additional testing, I discovered I was allergic to wheat and milk, so, in 2012 I removed dairy from my diet as well.  While eliminating dairy helped a little more, it did not cure my constipation.  I continued my research and read up on topics such as Candida yeast overgrowth, gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of "good" and "bad" flora in your gut), leaky gut, magnesium supplementation, Vitamin D supplementation, and hormone supplementation; you name it, I tried it. 

I was constipated beyond belief and had reached an all-time low.  I felt depressed, hopeless, and desperate.  I spent most of my time researching, praying, and crying.  I was absolutely miserable.  I would have done absolutely anything to cure my constipation.  I just didn't know what that was!

In 2015, I decided to find a functional medicine doctor and get my gut tested.  I had seen enough research out there to know the importance of gut health and that dysbiosis, leaky gut, and Candida overgrowth were real.  And I also knew that the conventional medicine system was not working for me. I found a functional medicine practitioner in my area who specializes in gut health, and I had some tests run.  The results of these tests were life-changing.  The tests showed that I had severe dysbiosis, leaky gut, an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria (including certain bad bacteria that attack your muscles and joints and lead to autoimmune diseases), and yeast overgrowth.  The tests also showed that as a result of these gut issues, my body at a cellular level was not functioning properly, I was not absorbing nutrients properly, and I had nutrient deficiencies.  It also showed I was depressed.  Seriously, there was marker to show the gut-brain connection and it showed I was depressed.  It was an eye opener to see these results on paper.  As scary as it was, I knew in my gut (pun intended) that I had finally found the answers I had been looking for.

My functional medicine doctor treated me with supplements, and I made additional modifications to my diet.  And for the first time in twenty years, I could poop!!!  It was an absolute miracle that I still cannot believe to this day.  I could poop.

Since that day, I continued to monitor my gut health yearly, and I continued to take care of my gut through diet and supplements.  I have had improvements in my bowel movements.  My muscles are strong and no longer ache.  My joints are no longer sore.  My hormones are much more balanced.  And my thyroid antibodies are gone.  Yes, you heard right.  My autoimmune condition went away, simply by treating my gut with the proper diet and supplements.

Now, I'd like to tell you that my health journey ended there...but it didn't. I've had some ups and downs with my hormones and some ups and downs with my gut health.  Although these things were drastically better, I still struggled occasionally, and I could not for the life of me figure out why!!!

And that's when I found Functional Diagnostic Nutrition.  And I learned that it actually isn't ONLY about gut's about much more than that.  Don't get me's largely about gut health...but I learned that there are things that influence your gut health that I had no idea about.  And THAT, my friends, was the missing piece to my health puzzle.  I had additional functional labs run on me through FDN, made modifications to my diet and lifestyle, and am FINALLY feeling like my best self.  At age 47.

So, why did I become a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner?  I became an FDN-P to help people who are suffering the same way I was and who are told by their doctors that there is nothing wrong with them.  I became an FDN-P to help people so that they do not have to feel alone or hopeless or spend countless hours researching for the cause of their health conditions.  I became an FDN-P because I want to share my knowledge and experience; and I want to help people get to the root cause of their health issues.  And if I can help just one person to not have to go through what I went through, it will all have been worth it.