Paige suffered from anxiety, depression, acne, and gut disorders from a young age. After hitting a breaking point in her early 20’s and a few years of self-education she decided to take her life and health into her own hands, making a career change from a tour manager to going back to school for a Master’s of Nutrition.
Combining years of experience, her own personal battle, clinical training and deep intuition, she has dedicated her career to helping guide others to heal themselves from the inside out, starting at the centre of their immune system, the gut.
She is always looking to combine the latest research with ancient remedies to find the best and most effective way for her clients to overcome their health challenges.
Paige Snyder is one of Gut Geek’s nutrition coaches. She always goes the extra mile to help clients find long-lasting wellness through healing their gut and microbiome.
Her story is a journey from a place of deeply damaged health to vibrant, mindful and energised living.
By the way, Paige is also a super geek as she graduated with flying colours from the University of Bridgeport, one of the most highly accredited nutrition programs in the USA, so she knows her stuff!
Antibiotics & Convenience Food
I was a flatulent child! Not the way I thought a professional bio would start but here we are facing the truth.
Looking back, my gut symptoms started in childhood, in the 80’s. At the time, no one was talking about gut health, probiotics or anything of the sort, at least not in my standard American home.
What I did receive however was a ton of antibiotics, aspirin and Advil (ibuprofen), soda and sugar. A typical childhood but a recipe for disaster.
Chronic strep throat started before I was 7 years old and I was given round after round of antibiotics. There was never any discussion of balancing the damaging effect of antibiotics by taking probiotics.
We always had food on the table and for that I am very grateful. However my parents were working hard to provide for my two sisters and me so that we had everything we wanted including great educations. This meant that they often had little time to prepare anything other than convenience food.
Meal after meal consisted of fast food or packaged, processed food. I now know that this kind of food comes loaded with stuff that’s terrible for our gut such as sugar, trans fats, colors and preservatives.
You could say I’m a product of the Fast Food Nation that is the USA. Given the physical and mental health issues I faced from that time onwards, it is perhaps ironic that one of my parents worked in health care!
On top of a poor diet I grew up in a fairly constant state of fear of violence disguised as discipline. The specific details of this portion of my life are not important. The point is that chronic childhood stress, whether physical, mental and/or emotional, can have a huge impact on health, disrupting your adrenal axis for decades.
It puts you in a near constant state of fight or flight, making you far more susceptible to pain and more unstable emotionally. It can even lead to our genes mutating. So if people call you sensitive, soft and a snowflake it may be because of this! To learn more about this follow me on Instagram at @plantbasedpaige.
My first panic attack happened in my teens, although at the time I had no idea what it was. I was taken to the hospital and tested with a spinal tap for meningitis. Diet, lifestyle and stress levels were never asked about. Since I came from a “nice family” and the blood tests didn’t show anything I was sent on my way. It wasn’t until 10 years later that I realized it had been a panic attack.
Fast forward to my 20’s: I was suffering from stress from college exams so a doctor prescribed me several rounds of Xanax, a common tranquilizer used to control anxiety.
I then took a job as a tour manager, working with bands and living on the road. Amazingly I managed to keep this up for nearly 10 years. For most of this time I was living in a van, sleeping maybe 4 hours a night and eating a steady diet of processed food. It was a blast but it took a heavy toll on my health. It was only a matter of time before my symptoms started really screaming at me.
One day acne set in suddenly and nothing I tried would clear it up. Next was depression, menstrual cramps, itchy skin, thinning eyebrows, oral thrush and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Controlling my bodyweight became a nightmare. At first I gained too much weight. Then I lost too much and couldn’t gain it back.
On the emotional side I was sensitive and unstable, reacting angrily and aggressively to people instead of responding calmly. All these issues became chronic and lasted for years.
I managed to do two things in an effort to turn around my health: I became vegan and stopped drinking soda, but I was far from healthy! I was still eating processed food with all its nightmarish ingredients. My only criteria was whether it was vegan or not. On top of that I was still going to plenty of parties and drinking a lot of alcohol.
The Green Shoots of Recovery
When I started to spend less time on the road I was able to cook and read more, and I started learning about nutrition. It began with macrobiotics then raw food, food combining, elimination diets, I tried them all! I discovered that each had some wonderful healing properties that I could carry with me, giving me some relief from the chronic issues that plagued me.
Natural skin care and gut health gradually became very near and dear to me.
After I started healing myself, friends and family noticed the change and wanted to know what I was doing differently. I started making suggestions to others and seeing improvements in them as well. This lit me up! I loved the feeling of giving others the tools and support they needed to be their best selves.
Back to School
This motivated me to seek a formal education so I could learn more about nutrition and biochemistry. By now my vision was clear: I knew that with more credentials I would be able to help people on a much larger scale.
As part of my new education I learned about lab tests that could be done in order to understand better what’s going wrong inside our body. However these tests are considered part of the world of nutrition and medical doctors in the US (and other countries) are NOT REQUIRED TO STUDY NUTRITION as part of their training, so they tend to consider it unimportant.
(Keep this in mind the next time a doctor tries to talk you out of your preferred choice or makes a suggestion that does not fit with your mindset or ethics.)
I began ordering lab tests for myself that the doctors wouldn’t. Here’s what I found:
A lab test known as CBC (Complete Blood Count) is commonly used to evaluate overall health and mine came back perfect. My physician said he only saw lab work that good in 1 out of 500 people. This was great news, but then why was I still so fatigued, still battling acne, IBS, memory issues, painful menstruation, anxiety and a deep dark depression that was over taking my life?
Then we carried out an OAT (Organic Acid Test), and a stool test (which looks at what’s going on our gut). The results? Just wow! Now I could see the real problems!
My neurotransmitters were off, stemming from years of anxiety and a disrupted adrenal axis. My gut was loaded with SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), I had a lot of inflammation, a number of nutrient deficiencies and a touch of candida.
Side note: at this point I had been vegetarian/vegan for nearly 25 years and my B12 and calcium levels were totally fine, two nutrients that are often said to be low in plant-based people.
However my vitamin C level and a several other nutrients were extremely low because my gut was not absorbing it. Malabsorption of nutrients is common in people with gut problems. My plant-based diet saved me from some of the common issues like high cholesterol, triglycerides, sodium etc, but my life of chronic stress, lack of sleep, high cortisol, and weakened immune system had wreaked havoc on my gut.
So even though I was eating the cleanest diet you’ve ever seen, my gut was just not absorbing it.
Towards Outstanding Health
For me, getting healthy wasn’t just about diet and the right supplements but also self-love, meditation, mindfulness, and doing what truly makes me happy. I had no control over what happened to me as a child or many of the things that made me sick but I am in control of what I put in my body today.
Now that my diet was cleaned up, the next stage for me was to focus on the very best foods and supplements to get me to the next level.
To get the best results I followed a systematic ‘5R’ gut repair protocol which involved:
REMOVING the underlying cause of imbalance including any bad bacteria that were residing in my gut through the use of correct food and supplements.
REPAIRING my gut lining as there was a high probability that this was leaky and inflamed. A leaky gut can lead to undesired particles such as toxins, bad bacteria or undigested particles passing into the bloodstream, causing inflammation throughout the body and the brain. Depression is an inflammatory illness so it is important to reduce inflammation in the body for optimal mental wellbeing.
REPLACING essential digestive enzymes to aid in digestion and absorption. An insufficiency will inhibit digestion and utilisation of nutrients. This means that vital nutrients pass through the body unabsorbed and unused.
REINTRODUCING good bacteria through probiotic supplements and later through fermented food and drink. This further supported my gut repair and increased neurotransmitter production. 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the gut with the help of these good bacteria.
RETAINING a healthy gut through healthy eating, exercise, stress management, proper sleep and continuing to maintain a diet that supports my healthy bacteria.
My health is now COMPLETELY transformed from how it was during my darkest days on the road:
- My IBS symptoms have gone, as have the menstrual cramps and candida.
- My skin is clear. The acne and itchiness are well under control.
- My anxiety has gone and I no longer have panic attacks. The depression has lifted and my emotions are stable.
- I easily maintain a healthy body weight and I feel great about how my body looks.
I’m now able to focus on enjoying life and being productive instead of feeling under attack from countless different symptoms continually every day. I am so grateful for this.
Working with Clients
Equipped with my new-found knowledge about the human body, it was an honour to begin working with clients. I have now been doing so for over 7 years and nothing lights me up more than seeing a client get fantastic results with my coaching and guidance.
I run similar tests to the ones mentioned above on all of my clients, especially clients with depression. Literally every single one has had some kind of gut dysbiosis (imbalance) and neurotransmitter disruption together with vitamin deficiencies. This is what sparked writing my book on gut health (it’s currently a work in progress!)
I found some outstanding methods and supplements to include in this routine that are out of the ordinary yet powerful and effective. I hope you’ll book a session so we can discuss them and find the best fit for your specific needs.
I’m sharing my story here because, for people who have been through trauma at any life stage, knowing the impact it can have may help unlock the health questions you haven’t been able to get to the bottom of. If you are this person I have real tools that are clinically proven to help people in your situation.
To my fellow survivors: You are not alone. What happened to you was not your fault and it is your right to get the help you deserve to live the life you want and to remove the shackles of the past that are controlling your present. You can do this!
If you haven’t suffered trauma and are still having gut issues, this is common also! There are many other factors that can get us into this mess, including stress, pollution, prescription medication (antibiotics in particular), over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol, aspirin and antacids, hormonal birth control, alcohol, diet and over-sanitation.
Each of us has a different mix of things that got us into this difficult health situation and each of us needs our own individually tailored solution. That’s where we can help you! By all means you can figure it out yourself like I did, but you can save yourself a lot of time and energy by letting me guide you to that solution. I made all the mistakes along the way so that you don’t have to!
And don’t worry, if you are not plant-based we can absolutely still work together. It is my task to help you heal in the way that works best for you, your background, lifestyle, resources, and location. I can’t wait to get started so I can help you achieve the same life-changing results I did!