- Like 1 in 10 women of reproductive age, Bailey has endometriosis
- After years of trying different pills, doctors, opioids, and even alcohol, she made lifestyle changes that helped her manage the endless parade of symptoms and side effects
- She credit Elix's Cycle Balance with finally helping her feel not chronically sick
I am Bailey Ruskus (@chef_bai), a professional chef, a plant powered healer, a successful entrepreneur yet, through it all, I am someone who suffers with endometriosis.
Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women worldwide and that number is growing everyday. That means that everyday there are millions of women who are moving through the motions of life, putting on their best face, while silently suffering through chronic pain daily. For a long time, I was one of those women.
My endo story starts out pretty typically. I was thrown into adolescence at 11 years old with horrifically painful periods and a prescription of birth control to bandaid the problem. From the time I was 11 to 25, I had been on almost every single birth control out there and had experienced almost all of the symptoms. Depression, anxiety, acne, weight gain, weight loss, insomnia, migraines, exhaustion and through it all, my chronic pain and unbearable periods remained.
Through my late teen’s and early 20’s I was an aspiring chef, making my way through Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco and starting my own private chef and catering business at 19 years old. I had big plans for my life but I was always the girl in pain. It seemed as if my dreams took a backseat to my never ending mission to numb myself to seek some sort of normality. I was prescribed opioids for my pain and held on tight to partying after work as that was the only thing that made me feel even remotely similar to my happy, outgoing self. In reality, I was angry at the universe for putting this on me, and even angrier at a health care system that had no answers.
Eventually, I left San Francisco and made it my mission to find ways to heal myself after being on a hamster wheel of doctors, pills, alcohol and drugs. I enrolled in integrative nutrition school and shortly after started taking on different kinds of cooking clients. Clients who just like me, needed another option to heal.
I started to realize that the thing that was causing my symptoms to be unbearable was also the thing that could save my life... the food I was eating and the lifestyle I was living. I also discovered that through the hundreds of clients I was working with in person and on retreat, food was something that could also play a major role in healing type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer just to name a few. I was so confused why there were no doctors I had seen personally talking about this- as for me and my clients, it was life changing.
A few years ago, I ended up needing a surgery after a cyst burst. I was well into my journey to self healing and educating. My recovery was rough and from that moment on I swore off birth control, went completely plant based, got rid of toxic chemicals in my beauty/ home products and made it my life’s mission to heal and help others heal too. I no longer was willing to accept that “this is just the way things are”.
Last year I found Elix (formally Period Pain Free). This product was the cherry on top of my healing mission. Their mission to de-normalize painful periods and make alternative care affordable and a real option was exactly the type of energy and product I needed.
Over the span of a few years, with my massive lifestyle change, dedication to use my classic cooking techniques to heal and the herbs from Elix, I can officially say I’m not a chronically sick person anymore. Even typing these words it still feels surreal. I’m no longer just surviving but I am truly thriving with so much drive and passion for my work. I’m now a living breathing example of the fact that your pain or your endometriosis doesn’t have to define you. It is actually possible to heal.
I’m no longer the girl in pain. I’m a woman with a mission to make sure that as women we stand together and demand better options. To make sure that you know that even if you’re chronically sick, no matter what that looks like, you have options too.
I now live in San Diego, CA and I work with clients all the over the world and help them heal through food, cooking and lifestyle coaching. The biggest differentiator of your healing from others, is the willingness to change your life, to be your own health advocate and to heal your relationship to food.
Interested in learning more? I’d love to hear from you! Email me at email@example.comThis article was reviewed by Zoey Gong.
Zoey Gong is a Traditional Chinese Medicine nutritionist, food therapist, and chef. Her recipes have been featured in various publications, including the cover of Food & Wine magazine in the February 2023 issue. She’s the author of The Five Elements Cookbook: A Guide to Traditional Chinese Medicine with Recipes for Everyday Healing, where she guides readers in the basics of TCM through encyclopedic entries on common ingredients and 50 nourishing recipes.