Getting to know Sandra West
During my high school years I took care of my father who was enduring the ravages of ALS Amyolateral Sclerosis (commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease) until he passed away two weeks before I started my senior year. I had hoped to go to medical school in order to help people fighting for their life like my father had, but medical school wasn’t an option for me at the time.
After graduating from college, I was offered a job (and became a top performer) at the number one pharmaceutical company in the country. I honestly believed I was helping people by educating doctors how to use our pills to treat the symptoms of chronic diseases. I learned first hand that pharmaceutical companies have only one goal- to make money. It isn’t about helping patients heal.
I had a serious internal struggle and felt that I couldn’t continue in an industry that supported the current, vicious cycle that feeds modern medicine and health insurance companies. I saw a pattern form around me that I could not ignore. Pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies control medicine by forcing certain drugs to be prescribed as a temporary band-aid to fix the complaint, but never fix the root cause of the symptom. I had a moment of complete clarity. I was successful but I was not happy. Something didn’t feel right about working in an industry that makes money from diagnosis and disease management instead of overall health.
The passion to help people like my father and personal research I was doing about food and its effect on the body confirmed that I needed to make a career change. I had discovered that I suffered from non-celiac gluten sensitivity. I had been battling an ongoing rash with many prescription creams, steroids, antibiotics, anti-viral medications, skin biopsies and multiple appointments with specialists. That rash completely disappeared when I decided to remove gluten from my diet. While I still have a few scars from those days, I have been rash free for 5 years.
I decided to take a huge leap of faith and follow my passion for health, wellness, and nutrition.
I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City studying dietary theories, contemporary health issues, and Eastern and Western nutrition. I am certified in Plant Based Nutrition with Dr. T. Colin Campbell through Cornell University and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. I am also a Certified Gluten-free Practitioner and a Certified Integrative Nutrition Counselor.
I am grateful every day that I took that leap of faith and followed my heart to help other people find wellness. And while I never went to medical school, each life that I am able to touch in some way through what I do proves to me that I am exactly where I should be. I am grateful for the education that I received and for the ability to share it with so many.