NORFOLK, Va. - Jill Reece was at the top of her career in healthcare when a life-controlling pain took over.
"I went from very high-functioning to where I had over 80 symptoms in my body. Every system had a problem. I had terrible pain all over; I couldn't write a grocery list; I couldn't remember conversations," said Jill Reece, registered nurse and nutritional therapy practitioner. "All they could diagnose me with was fibromyalgia."
At first she was told that "nothing could be done" for her pain. It wasn't until years later when she started focusing on what went into her body that her world started to change.
"To get our DNA to manifest really healthy, it's about: What do we put in our bodies? What do we expose our bodies to? And what's our lifestyle like?" she said.
She began tracking what foods made her feel better and what made her feel worse. In her quest to find a solution, she stumbled upon the Nutritional Therapy Association. Reece said, "The NTA trains doctors, other healthcare professionals and laypeople regarding the true-found keys to wellness and the tools of assessment that reach the root of foundational imbalance."
Now informed herself, Reece is educating others with autoimmune deficiencies through her business True Found Wellness. She said the first part of this lifestyle journey is for people to understand how their bodies react to certain foods.
If you have an autoimmune disorder like she does, she suggests working on gut health by creating a nutrient-dense diet and by buying organic foods.
"If you read the label and there are things that you can't understand, then there's probably a better choice out there," she said.
Although healthier may mean pricier, she said you can't afford not to eat well.
"The more that you put in your body to be healthy, the less ill effects that will cost money, will cost time, will cost your lifestyle, will cost your quality living."
Reece also said your environment plays a role in building immunity.
"Even if you're going to go out for a nice, long walk, try to do that by areas that are not highly trafficked," she said. "I'll see joggers or runners by the roadways that's very busy with once again carbon monoxide, and you don't wanna breathe that in."
It's also a good rule of thumb to understand what is in your cosmetics and lotions. What you put on your skin will be absorbed into your bloodstream and can have impacts on your day-to-day health.
Regardless if you have an autoimmune disorder or not, she said there's always a different way to look at your health.
She said she loves being able to help people on this journey because, "it instills them with hope that that human body that they are created to walk around in was created to heal and repair."