Jodi Suson prides herself on living a toxin-free life, eating only organic whole foods and using personal care and cleaning products that don’t contain chemicals.
The Barrington native and former gymnast and bodybuilder is a corporate health and wellness consultant. She started her Palatine-based business, Suson Essentials in 2015 and published told her personal health story in “Informed Choices,” which is part of the “Overcoming Mediocrity” book series. It features a collection of inspiring stories from women all over the country.
However, Suson’s health journey has not been an easy one. After falling on ice on her way to work one day in 1996, she suffered from a great deal of physical pain all over her body, she explained.
She said no MRI was done, and a physical therapist told her the pain was “all in her head” and suggested Suson see a psychiatrist instead. Suson said she was then misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and was initially prescribed three medications – then put on a variety of medical trials.
Each time the trial ended, she said, the doctor, who since lost his license to practice, did not take Suson off the medication from the previous trial. Instead, the doctor added her to new medical trials with new drugs that the pharmaceutical industry wanted to test.
By 2007, Suson said she was taking 17 different medications, which caused her to develop many physical and mental health conditions, including 135 food and chemical sensitivities and such conditions as anxiety, arthritis, asthma, chronic inflammation, depression, incontinence, pre-diabetes and neuropathy.
The medication caused a substantial amount of weight gain, Suson said, explaining that she weighed 234 pounds at one point.
“The drugs combined with the GMO [genetically modified organism] foods and the foods with pesticides, antibiotics and other hormones changed my gut health, which is directly linked to our brain health,” she said. “When I was on the medications, I, for the first time in my life, began to overeat. The drugs made me think that I was always hungry.”
She said the ordeal had a significant impact on her life in other ways as well. In 2011, Suson said she had hysterectomy because she developed tumors all over her reproductive organs. She believes it happened because of the medication she was on as well as the toxins in her tap, bottled and shower water and in her personal care items.
“I felt like I was like the walking dead, because [the drugs] numbed everything about me,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Toward the end of 2013, she became disabled and could not work or drive.
She said the turning point came when Suson got retested by a neurologist and psychologist, who helped her get off all the medication. Shortly after, Suson noticed that her normal appetite came back, she lost 92 pounds and eventually reversed chronic conditions by using plant and energy-based healing.
She then decided to make other lifestyle changes too. Suson took a food and chemical sensitivity test, which helped her identify all the foods that caused inflammation and completely cut out processed foods from her diet.
“After eight months, I was pretty much unstoppable,” she said. “The biggest change I had to make was to make sure that I stayed open to possibility and to understand that the only constant that we have in life is change.”
Suson also studied plants extensively and said she now only uses homemade remedies and natural antibiotics to cure small ailments.
She uses her experience to inspire and educate others about healthy living by giving presentations all over Illinois on various topics such as stress, food and chemicals, she explained.
“When you eliminate the toxins in your life, that stress and anxiety goes away”, Suson said.
Her “Functional Food Program” teaches people how to navigate a grocery store and develop a personal health food plan.
“I wish someone would have done that for me,” she said. “That’s what drives me every day, because people don’t know how good they can feel.”
Suson’s long-term goal is to become a doctor of nutrition, for which she plans to start taking courses this year.
“I have a contagious passion for living an abundantly healthy life and I see no boundaries.”
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