In 2010, Monica was diagnosed with Celiac disease after 2 years of misdiagnoses of skin problems. She was head-to-toe experiencing skin irritations and rashes...literally 90% of her body with this. So finding out she had Celiac disease and needed to live a gluten-free lifestyle was actually a blessing. Within weeks of eating a gluten-free diet, she noticed a huge difference in her skin, and the full-body rash started to heal. She has overcome and found ways to manage severe health challenges that quickly followed, including chronic fatigue, migraines, post-traumatic stress disorder (from an emergency C- section), traumatic grief, medical trauma, anxiety, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia.
Because of Monica's diagnosis of Celiac disease, Annica decided to get checked as well. She wasn't having the same issues as Monica and didn't seem to have significant issues she would even relate to Celiac. At this time, she was in a deep depression and disappeared, going through infertility. Wanting to create life was a driving force in her. She invested time, money, and her body into trying everything possible to have more children. The doctors were baffled because they couldn’t find answers to why the pregnancy wasn’t occurring. After reading through information about this disease, she thought this could be an answer to the 10 years of infertility and numerous medical & alternative procedures (including 2 rounds of failed IVF).
So the journey began on how to live a gluten-free lifestyle. Back then, there wasn't much about it on the internet, and no resources in the community to help connect people going through the same thing. We began discovering how to alter recipes, eat out safely, travel more effectively, and find companies that helped us with this new diagnosis. We also found others wanted help too! We began teaching and mentoring others with what has helped us, and our company of the "Gluten-Free Twins" was born. In 2014, the same year Annica's celiac blood work returned to normal range, she was so excited to find out she was expecting…with no medical procedures or medicines! She found there was a significant correlation between Celiac and infertility. The birth of Jedi was evidence of the power of foods, mindset, and the body's healing power.
In 2016 Monica found herself navigating a different type of grief, trauma, and loss with the unexpected ending of her marriage for nearly 2 decades to someone she adored. Learning how to cope, forgive and heal a relationship with someone still alive instilled a deep love for trauma, grief, forgiveness, and resiliency training and healing work.
In December 2019, our mom (who was the biggest health nut we knew) unexpectedly became very sick and found out she had stage 4 cancer. She passed in a very short 10 days. This took us to a place of wanting to understand compounded grief and trauma more. We were extremely close to our mom; she was a "core" relationship for us and our blended family unit. The shock of her "here one day and not the next" opened our eyes to ambiguous loss, grief, and the relationship with life/death.
In 2020, just months after our mom's passing and right when the Covid-19 pandemic began, Annica went in for a "simple" doctor appointment and discovered she had stage 3 cancer. She underwent surgery, treatments, and healing in a whole new way. This experience affected her stomach very dramatically, with even the "normal" gluten-free foods causing havoc. This took us both on a journey of the AIP diet and the power of foods differently. It's been a blessing to learn how to heal the stomach and gain strength to have a life again.
In 2022, Monica also found out she had cancer and could remove it quickly and recover faster because of what we learned together through Annica's cancer experience.
Learning ways to get through life changes became our drive and motto. What we love to teach and share about is what has helped us come to peace, acceptance, and more love in life.