My Story

Maria Connolly
May 15, 2023

My journey so far has been a very lucky and grateful one.  My story started in an orphanage in Romania malnourished, neglected and very sick.  My parents tell me I wouldn’t have lasted much longer fending for my life in the orphanage.  This is not a sob story because I can’t remember a thing about it and I only have fond memories of my childhood, apart from the usual teenage tantrums and little non-life threatening problems.  So yeah, thanks Mam and Dad for adopting me, not letting me die in a sad orphanage in Romania and giving me what I consider to be a privileged life in North County Dublin.

During my early teenage years and early 20’s I had absolutely the worst diet anyone could ever comprehend.  Breakfast consisted of Wheetos/Coco Pops or some other unhealthy cereal laced with sugar and big spoons of table sugar on top of that followed by the first packet of crisps of the day. 5/6 more packets were to follow.  Small break in school was a dairy milk with crisps and coke.  Lunch was a chicken fillet roll packed with all types of sauces or a curry chip/wedge roll.  If I thought I was being healthy, I would get an egg mayo roll with crisps and coke.  Just to specify the crisps were always ‘Hunky Dorys’ cheese and onion.  I had more crisps on the way home from school and then dinner.  In fairness to my Mam she did make me the usual normal dinners but I usually just put chips or wedges in the oven with some type of battered fish or chicken. If I was feeling adventurous I’d have a tin of baked beans or peas.  Not the healthy ones, the tins loaded with sugar and unnecessary ingredients.  Most evenings even after a full evening dinner I would buy a “3 in 1” in the Chinese which if someone not from Ireland is reading this that’s chips, rice and curry sauce all mixed together.  I was exotic so I got onions with mine.  Actually, if I was feeling really wild I would ask them to mix the curry sauce with sweet n sour sauce. Sounds weird buts its yum.

I worked since I was an early teenager so literally all my money was spent on takeaways.  Chippers and Chinese mostly.  They all knew me personally and knew my order and delivered to my work or wherever I was at the time.  I got takeaways most evenings and sometimes ate the leftovers for breakfast.  Snacks consisted of chocolate Hobnobs (biscuits), chicken flavour Supernoodles, crisp sandwiches, toast, pasta and basically any food that was carby and extremely unhealthy to eat.  I never liked sweets or cakes though which was a blessing really.  I may already be dead if I ate all that stuff as well as the sludge I was eating.  The only drinks I drank were coke and very little water.  Went through a phase of energy drink too.

I thought I was invincible.  I was never overweight. I Just adored eating food with zero nutritional value and lived for my next take away or McDonalds’.  I was so addicted to these foods that my friends still like to remind me I cried on Christmas evening at a friend’s party when there were no takeaways open despite my relentless efforts to find just one in the surrounding area that was open.  “Do the Chinese even celebrate Christmas at this time? Why are they closed?” I was asking my friends with tears in my eyes.   Little did I know I was completely addicted to this terrible food and fuelling an autoimmune disease it seems I had since the orphanage.  Different parts of my body were covered with big and small patches of very angry psoriasis.  I considered no connection between my overall health and eating like this.  WHAT AN IDIOT! I also didn’t link my ridiculous diet to experiencing constant brain fog, hyperactivity and the attention span of a goldfish in class or anything else I had to concentrate on.  It became my norm.  Most of the time when I tried to study I just fell asleep and always felt sleepy in class.  Face down on my desk trying not to sleep hoping the teacher would just ignore me.  It was even happening in college.

I’ll talk about my psoriasis and autoimmune symptoms more specifically in another post but finally after 28 years it’s finally starting to heal.  How?  A strict nutritious diet and supplements which I will detail also in another post.

My interest in nutrition and natural healing started in my early 20’s when my ex’s Mother, a lady I greatly respect and adored brought my attention to some harrowing facts about public health and the power of healing through nutrition.  She had transformed her own health simply by cutting out sugar and grains.  I couldn’t believe the results and was disgusted by the nonsensical and misleading government dietary and health recommendations.  Also, I had enough of feeling so wiped out that I felt hungover most days even though I hadn’t been drinking the previous night. This eventually lead me to a new-found health/nutrition budding career and education.

I chose to work in social care because I have a strong urge to help people and make positive change.  Unfortunately, that’s not what I was doing. The social care section is a complicated one with its own limitations where I feel I was not utilising my skills and making a difference so now I am choosing a different path.  I am studying to become a Nutritional Therapist.  I am currently qualified as a Nutrition and lifestyle coach.  Now I’m helping people in a different way.  I have a fiery passion for learning about health and wellness.  I want to help people break through their health difficulties just like I am doing for myself.  I want to be part of change.  I want to educate, to coach and empower people to reach their full potential in a holistic way.

Written by
Maria Connolly