About

Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco.

No stranger to trouble myself, I am learning to care for the unhappy.

–Virgil, Aeneid, Book 1

WHO IS MISS SKINNY GENES? 

My name is Kaila Prins, and I am a health coach, a former vegan and a recovering anorexic/EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), and a twenty-something trying to make peace with her inner thirteen year old girl.

I first discovered ED* in 2001, peering over my shoulder as I stared at myself in the mirror. On the day I hit puberty, I also put on my first big-girl bikini and awaited the arrival of my best friends and my very first “boyfriend” at a Very Important Party my parents were throwing for Independence Day.

The girl in the mirror had been restricting soy and processed foods for health reasons and exercising for the first time in her life, and she no longer looked like the slightly chubby, grain-fed Standard American Child she once was. The girl in the mirror was skinny.  I realized that whatever I was doing was working…and so I resolved to do more.

Thus, I began a 13 year dance with ED that would have me two-stepping through depression and anxiety, ducking in and out of yo-yo diets, coupling with compulsive eating, exhausting myself with exercise addiction, and ultimately relapsing into unintended anorexia twice more–with huge repercussions on my health (both mental and physical).

In a desperate attempt to finally “get healthy” (read: also be skinny again), I became a vegan in 2011. For 9 months, I spiraled back into anxiety/depression/restriction/compulsion, as well as suffered from the worst acne of my life and ultimately stopped menstruating.

Frustrated, exhausted, and sick, I finally threw up my hands and realized  that something had to give.

WHY ANCESTRAL HEALTH? 

Call it Ancestral Health, a Traditional Diet, or Paleo, but whatever it is, it saved my life and set me on the path to recovery–mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

I started reading Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat and tentatively added animal protein back into my diet. I began to listen to Paleo/Real Food/Functional Medicine/LCHF/Primal/Traditional Diet podcasts, read every book I could get my hands on, and eventually started this blog.

My health journey has NOT been linear. I’m not going to be a “success story” on Mark’s Daily Apple any time soon (and I’ve been at this for more than two years). However, the things I have learned about my health, about diet, nutrition, and fitness, and about the steps we can take to prevent ED from from stealing the best years of our lives with disordered eating and exercise have been invaluable.

Do you need to put a bone through your nose and hunt a mastodon to regain your fertility, stop hormonal acne, and overcome anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder? No–but you can take steps to nourish yourself with the foods of our great-grandmothers while working to reduce stress, inflammation, and disease (mental and physical) in your life.

WHY IN MY SKINNY GENES & FINDING OUR HUNGER?

I started this blog to chronicle my success story. In a way, I am, but not as I’d intended. I figured that Paleo would be the answer and I could prove it to you with my newfound six pack.

Instead, I found a community of incredible women (and men!) who were looking for similar answers. A community of people who were tired of being sold snake oil, who over the restriction/compulsion/anxiety cycle, who were literally exhausted all the way down to the hormonal and genetic level.

This blog is a conglomeration of the things I’ve learned over the past several years, including:

  •  How nutrition affects everything from acne to depression, and can even play a role in forming or facilitating eating disorders
  • How mindset and marketing are intricately tied in our diet-obsessed nation
  • How epigenetics play a huge role in healing–and how we can take back our health through functional medicine and proper nutrition

After publicly coming clean about ED and exercise addiction, a good friend of mine reached out to me to talk about the issues of disordered eating and exercise and how they affect us even without clinically diagnosed disorders. The conversations were so deep, insightful, revealing, and cathartic that we lamented that we couldn’t record them…

Or so we thought!

Ito Aghayere and I first began recording the Finding Our Hunger podcast in March of 2012, and we’ve now met with guests from around the nutrition, health, and fitness world to UNpack the issues we all seem to share around our bodies, our health, and our identities. From Paleo experts to holistic vegetarian coaches, from New York City actresses to California chiropractors, we discuss the detours, the landmarks, and the UNcomfortable first steps we take as we each set out to heal ourselves.

In Finding Our Hunger, we discuss disordered eating, exercise addiction, travel, career, identity, body image, fitness, and more to find out what we’re all hUNgry for!

WHY HEALTH COACHING?

And this brings us to the future of In My Skinny Genes. I’ve learned–from all of your comments, emails, tweets, and conversations–that I’m not the only one who sometimes sees ED as he peers voyeuristically over our shoulders in the mirror.

And I’ve learned that the best way to put on blinders is to stop peering inward but to seek community, friendship, and support from others.

I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. I can’t prescribe medication (or ask you to stop taking a prescription). I can’t tell you how to eat. What I write should not be mistaken for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. What I can do, however, is support you in the choices that you make–to help you develop new habits, talk through life changes, and figure out the next steps on your journey to healing and happiness. Think of me as the scissors that help you remove the scratchy tag on the inside of the T-shirt that is life.

I joined the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and became a health coach because I want to give others the  support that I wish I had received at the beginning of my journey. If you’re interested in working with me, you can contact me through the form below.

Make sure  to sign up to receive the latest email updates on Trigger Happy Thursdays by entering your email here: Sign me up!

And, as always, stay hungry,

Kaila Prins,

@MissSkinnyGenes

(Tweet at me anytime–I count characters & not calories!)

*Eating Disorder

22 thoughts on “About

  1. Is there anyway I could get your e-mail address or that you could shoot me an e-mail? I think we come from almost identical backgrounds, and I was actually just toying with the idea of going Vegan until I stumbled across the Whole 30 and then your blog. I’d really like to talk to you about your experiences with both. I’ve been fighting with ED recovery and finding a balanced way of eating for years.

  2. LOVE…LOVE…LOVE reading your story (you wrote on the plane)
    Your story could be mine…. Except I am still obsess with food and afraid of loosing control and wanting to count calories..:-(
    As a matter of facte I am a flight attendant, on sick leave because of my ED….:-(
    I live my life hiding from friends and family because of my ED.
    I do primal / paleo fairly strict but keep falling off (like 2 big chocolat bars yesterday :-((

    Thank you for sharing and letting me beleive “there is hope”.
    All the best to you.
    Chantal

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Chantal! I know how hard it can be to live a life that’s full of light when you’re stuck in the darkness that is ED. Just know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel–you may have to struggle for it, but there are people out there who are rooting for you. If you ever need a friend or someone to talk to you, you can always contact me. Stay strong & stay hungry. You got this, my friend.

  3. beautifully written my friend, always speak from the heart, you / we are healing naturally, findng out connection with the world, and helping to heal the world in the process, stay strong, stay positive, stay paleo….

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  5. Hey, Miss Skinny Genes ;) My name is Ines Subashka and I am a strength and conditioning coach from Bulgaria, and the owner of http://www.inspiredfitstrong.com and https://www.facebook.com/InesSubashkaInspiredFitStrong. I read your post about why you are not vegan( http://inmyskinnygenes.com/2013/09/02/why-im-not-a-vegan-part-3-but-i-supplement/) and I was wondering if you’d like to give an interview for my blog. I’d like the topic to be about your experience with being a vegan, how you felt, some changes you noticed and what made you change your decision. Something like a comparison between both lifestyles.

    Ines

  6. I love reading your blog and reading your perspective on ED. I am stuck in the throes of BED, and I struggle with the cycle of restrict/binge/restrict/binge. I have pcos and hypothyroid. What I really want to know is how you went Paleo without feeling like you were restricting again? I find that when I remove entire food groups, I feel like I’m back to restricting. So, how do you do it? How do you get in the right headspace for it? PS – I have 30 lbs to lose. :(

    • To be honest, Shannon, when I first started my Paleo journey, I was still in the restricting mindset. I was concerned about calorie intake, I only ate egg whites and white tuna, that sort of thing…But things changed when I a) stopped eating things that could be measured in a calorie counter and b) started eating fat.

      The cool thing about the way I eat now is that it’s NOT at all restrictive. I eat…a lot. And I eat things that I enjoy. I was very addicted to bread/grains and sugar before I changed my lifestyle, and I ended up feeling so much better without them in my life that there was never a question of needing to go back to eating them. It’s about replacing, not restricting–I eat spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti and lots and lots of veggies (cooked in delicious fats) if I want a good side dish.

      Now, that said, if you’re approaching a change in your diet from a mindset of needing to lose weight, then there’s a good chance that this is going to help feed your ED and not your body. What I’d suggest before you even start thinking about changing what’s on your plate, is that you reach out for help from a professional who can help you work through the issues surrounding your desire to restrict or binge–who you can have on hand to reach out to as you make a journey toward reclaiming your life from ED.

      That’s why I’m becoming a health coach–because part of my struggle in learning how to fill my emotional holes (the ones I’ve tried to fill with food) was that I didn’t have the support I needed. I’m so glad you reached out–and that you’re considering making a change in how you approach your mindset about food. I wish you so much luck–and please feel free to reach out to me! I’m here :)

  7. Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate your kind words. I have been to a couple different therapists, and I haven’t had any luck working with them. Either they aren’t well-versed in treating ED or they are just wacky themselves – lol. Do you have any suggestions for finding someone to work with?

    I think you’re going to make a great coach. Obviously I don’t know you, but I get a nonjudgmental and laid back vibe from your blog which is essential for making that connection with others.

    • It’s definitely rough…I had to go through a TON of different psychologists/psychiatrists before I found anyone. Partially, that was my own fault, because I just wasn’t ready to fully commit to getting better (I wanted to feel better, but I wasn’t ready to do the work).

      I’m not sure where you live, but it might be a good idea to look for something like the Eating Disorders Resource Center here in Silicon Valley (edrcsv.org), which could potentially help you narrow your search in a better, more targeted way. (This way you wouldn’t have to guess if the therapist is going to be able to support you…although I still can’t promise they won’t be wacky…in my experience, most of them are!)

      Let me know if there’s any way I can help get you in touch with the right people–feel free to send an email through the “contact” button, and I’ll do whatever I can to help :)

  8. Do you have or know of an online support group? I’m suffering through a cycle of restricting and overeating and I have lost myself in the process. So much depends on my physical body, I put so much pressure on myself and I’m constantly comparing my body to others and I keep coming up short and it makes me hate myself. I’m suffering in silence. Food is my best friend and my worst enemy. I don’t know what to do.

    • Hi Heather,

      I am so, so sorry to hear that you are suffering. I know how you feel, and it’s a not-so-wonderful place to be. I’m actually working on putting together an online group (way to read my mind!) because I think this is something we definitely need. In the meantime, I’d encourage you to check out my podcast, Finding Our Hunger, for a weekly dose of positivity–and please feel free to email me through the “contact” page. I’m opening my health coaching practice in 2014, but I’m always here if you need to reach out!

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  11. Hi Kaila,
    I recently stumbled upon your blog while researching about amenrrohea, its causes, and mainly foods that help promote estrogen production in women with secondary amenrrohea (sudden loss of menstruation after having started at the appropriate age). My history is sort of a long one, including being previously overweight as a teenager, putting my mindset into losing all the weight gradually (which was a success), yet straight after losing the weight suddenly becoming EXTREMELY anxious and worried about being overweight again, then suddenly not getting my periods anymore, feeling overly-stressed and afraid for 6 months while not eating properly at all, then finally coming to a conclusion where I needed to see an endocrinologist and nutritionist and changing my diet into a vegetarian one for 2 years and a half now (although I still eat dairy and fish, however I don’t use any type of oil in my foods, only other good fats from whole foods). After deciding to become vegetarian, the reason not only being for health but also due to the post 6 months effects of not eating properly, including not eating any meat, poultry, fish, or dairy, and thus I felt afterwards I couldn’t stand the smell of fried foods cooked in oil and fats as well as the smell of meat/poultry. My nutritionist/endocrinologist suggested my liver was affected by my 6-month eating disorder, as well as my mental health, and therefore advised I can become a vegetarian yet still have to eat dairy and fish. Since then I have discovered a whole world of information about many whole foods that are good for one’s body and effects on the body’s hormones, metabolism, and other processes. In addition, I was enlightened by other foods that should be avoided and how processed foods have ruined people’s lives, as well as large supermarkets and numerous advertisements.

    I’m now at a point where I’m extremely satisfied with my diet and don’t intend to change at all, especially due to a constant change in diets and nutrition, as you know very well, causing a chain reaction of imbalances in your body. However, I have been taking many medications for my amenorrhea, which, at the beginning after becoming vegetarian and the need for fixing the problem after 6 months of no menstruation, I was given oral contraceptives which I found out much later on (after 5 months of taking them) they were causing a greater hormonal imbalance than before and caused my reproductive system to go off track due to the oral contraceptives giving false periods. I changed to another gynecologist who prescribed another type of medication, that didn’t work in the beginning yet after 1 year of waiting it finally gave positive and continuous results. Also, I have done extensive analyses (even though I’m not sure if I need other further investigations) to rule out other causes of my amenorrhea apart from diagnosing it as a hypothalamic amenrrhea. I’m still taking medication for menstruation since it’s still not completely cured and it’s still not occurring every month as it should.

    I need some advice regarding your personal experience and life journey, as well as advice on foods that might promote estrogen production or help with regulating my menstruation, even though I know for sure the main cause is putting my body through multiple quick and drastic changes, especially the oral contraceptives, were they not taken I would have probably had normal periods again sooner.

    I apologize for writing so much and I hope you can help me. Thank you!

    • Hi Christine!

      Thank you so much for reaching out and for sharing your experiences–I know that dealing with hormonal imbalances can be so, so frustrating, and I hope that you’re able to work through it!

      Now, I’m not a doctor, nutritionist, or clinician, so I can’t tell you what to eat or take–I can only share my own experiences and observations. That said, I don’t really know much about your diet other than the fact that you’re doing lacto-ovo-pescatarian…which could mean a number of things.

      You might be consuming a lot of low fat/fat free/processed dairy. You might juicing gointrogenic veggies like Kale and broccoli. You might be eating everything with a big helping of soy or vegetarian protein powder or grains. I did all of that (until I developed an intolerance to dairy, and now I can’t even touch butter, even if I wanted to!), and none of that, in my experience, was conducive to getting my period back.

      The thing is, women (and men, but that’s not really the focus of this discussion) need fat (not vegetable oils, but coconut oil and butter/ghee/unprocessed & full-fat dairy and animal fats) and animal proteins (red meats and organ meats too, even in small doses). Dietary fat is important for endogenous cholesterol production–and believe it or not, cholesterol is a precursor to making sex hormones. If a woman is not properly supporting the production of those hormones, then medication is going to be one of the only options. Letting the body regulate itself requires that one gives it the tools it needs to start rebuilding.

      Moreover, if one eats foods that might hamper other hormones, like your thyroid hormones, then that gives the body a double-whammy: raw kale and broccoli may or may not actually affect how a thyroid functions. Lots of soy, although it creates fake estrogens in the body, actually makes a body forget how to make its own estrogen AND also messes with thyroid….etc.

      So, without knowing too much about your personal situation, I can say that what helped me was:

      - Eating more meat (and getting over the whole fear food/disgust thing)–although I still eat a mostly ovo-pescatarian style diet, I include red meat, chicken, turkey, organ meats, bone broth etc. a couple of times a week at least.
      - Cooking thyroid disrupting veggies and abandoning the idea that juicing or smoothies were useful.
      - Removing dairy (had to personally, don’t necessarily think this applies to everyone)
      - Removing grains (all of ‘em, except rice on SUPER rare occasions
      - Eating starchy carbs and fruits (yeah, low carb was a bad plan for thyroid health)
      - …and then working on my thyroid. I had to get that back in order, so I’m currently taking T3 until I can get my hormones back in balance…

      I’m also doing acupuncture, exercising (way) less, and trying to get more sleep, so there’s definitely some lifestyle factors to think about as well. I don’t think getting your period back is a simple as a list of good food/bad food–there’s a whole person to consider, not just a generic endocrine system.

      I highly, highly, highly recommend checking out Stefani Ruper’s book “Sexy by Nature” if you get the chance. That woman has some fabulous insights and it might help you get a better handle on some next steps….

      I wish you so much luck on your journey! Let me know if you have any other questions/thoughts!

      Stay hungry,

      Kaila

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