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Jan. 11, 2023

Episode 62: Pursuing Gut Health with Geta Barbu

Geta Barbu discusses her traumatic beginning in life and her journey to find answers to her liver and gut disease.


Geta, Gut health expert & certified nutritionist. Abandoned at birth, kept a secret the 1st 2 years, now running a successful online gut health clinic & helping others heal body, mind, and spirit joins Melissa on this episode of Pursuing Uncomfortable.

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Transcript

Geta Barbu's life began in a Romanian orphanage. After spending her first couple of years of life there, she was adopted and her family moved to the United States. All throughout her life Geta has had liver problems and really struggled with her physical health. Finally she has found a path to have optimal gut health and she doesn't just share it with herself she shares it with a whole community of other folks and invites you to be a part of it too.

Geta:

Geta,

Melissa:

welcome to the podcast. How are you girlfriend?

Geta:

Hi, Melissa. I am well. How are you? I'm doing

Melissa:

fantastic. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you

Geta:

do. Yeah. Thank you for having me on here. So I'm a gut health expert and certified nutritionist. What that means is like I'm the real thing. I think that term gut health has been extremely overused, and let's just throw a bunch of supplements and call it a day. That's not what I do. I actually heal and reverse autoimmune and chronic illness a hundred percent through nutrition, and I've been, I've been myself doing this for. Since birth, low key since birth, my key since I was about 16, so that's been almost 15 years, almost 15 years. And I've been doing this for and healing people for almost two years now. That is

Melissa:

amazing. That is amazing. And you did not have an easy entry into this. No. Can you tell us about the

Geta:

beginning for you? Yeah. Melissa knows everything, guys. Yeah. A lot of people, even like when I say yes, I have a chronic illness, a lot of people are expecting like diabetes or like type one diabetes or I two diabetes or something like that. I actually was born with liver dysfunction. So what that means is a lot of people are not born with liver dysfunction. A lot of. Food or environmentally that affects their liver. I was born, I actually don't know my date of birth or my exact location. I don't, don't really know that. I celebrate at April 27th, which we think is around that time. And I, we always joke around my birthday's Sunday in April, maybe the first week in May, we just hang up, know Bitman because we don't know why. So my mother actually, she gave birth my biological mom, she gave birth to me and then she abandoned me after a couple. Later. The only thing that is known about my birth and my birth story is that I was very sick at birth. So I was very small. I wasn't eating, and therefore I was born malnourished. And so then after that, like eating and all that was very difficult for me. And a lot of people, a lot of babies when they're born malnourished, a lot of things happen like rickets, developmental issues, things like. The cards were in a weird way in my favor because I got liver dysfunction, but I didn't find that out until I was, I had started recognizing thing at 12, 13, 14, and then I was on my own. Kind of like gut health journey, realizing what I can do in my power at 16 and then I was consistent with my gut health journey starting at 2021. So that's like at the beginning of like my birth story and what has happened. And I was actually kept a secret. Um, and so I wasn't born here. I was born in Romania and I was kept a secret there for two. So we actually, Melissa there is, if you know a little bit about Eastern European history, back in the 1990s, even after the communist regime, there was a high, uh, population, actually tens and thousands of kids that were actually called the Lost Generation. What that means is we don't have birth certificates, we don't have kind, we don't have those measurements, and a lot of us are missing. Like people stole us. People kept us a secret in hospitals because all the good. And that's the thing too, is I wonder often what would happen if those nurses that saw me wouldn't have not kept me a secret. Like what would've happened? Right. And I always think of that, not to get too like emotional and stuff, but this is real life, right? And then at two they were like, yeah, we can't keep you a secret anymore. So they gave me two in orphanage and Romanian orphanage if. Also know about them. Not ideal. Not ideal. Developmentally not ideal for H like hygienic. I remember actually we were, I shared a crib at three years old. I shared a very small crib with someone else, and I still remember till listen day. It's crazy because a lot of people were like, do you remember? And I'm like, yes, I remember because it was so bad. That's why I remember. And I remember that we would always just like pee in our, especially during the night, we would pee in those prs. No one did anything about it. So that was that process. That was like the young years. And then my now parents, my adoptive parents who are also Romanian, they adopted me when I was three. And then we came here in almost to the T Almost to the T. Cuz we're recording this on November 28th, almost to the T in 95, so Wow. Yeah.

Melissa:

Yeah. Happy Immigration Day.

Geta:

Yay. Yes, it's been good. It's been good.

Melissa:

So did you have any attachment

Geta:

disorders? Yeah, there's so many things that go into this. Mm-hmm. so I know as a fact, there's definitely like attachment disorders and making sure that, that I was good enough for anyone, for anything. Because a huge part of it sounds weird, but like I'm about to say, but this is what I. I feel like when I was in the orphanage, there's even videos of me doing this where any person that came along, I was like, mama, I just want anybody to be my mom. And it was like that feeling of that person do wa I must not be good enough. So for me that was a huge part and still was a very big part of my identity is like to make sure that I know that I am good enough for, for myself and for all those. Really step away from that and zooming out often when we get into that cycle of, okay. Yeah, college. Getting into college sports teams. I did, I was national ranking gymnast for almost my entire childhood, and that was a huge thing too, like I wanted to be the best all the time. So perfectionism was like born

Melissa:

right there. So you could earn

Geta:

affection. Yes, and like attention and things like that because that was not a thing. No one held us. No one held us. No one like did any of those things. Again, developmentally, it did crucial. The first three years of a child's life is the most crucial developmentally. My first three years were probably like developmentally nonexistent.

Melissa:

Well, the first three months are ultimate forming those attachments. Yes. Just take a minute and commend you on the person you are because with that lack of attachment for that long a period, I'm just truly thankful that you are here and that you are functioning, and that you have love in your heart and love that you share. It just radiates from you. And I wanna commend you for that and to say you have my contact information. Anytime you don't feel good enough, you call me up and I will remind you that you are.

Geta:

Thank you. Thank you. I don't know if it's, a lot of people are, honestly, I, and I've said, I've told my story to numerous people and that was very similar to their reaction. They're like, I don't understand how you're like this. And I'm like, you know what? I believe in in, and this is how I even got to do what I do now. I believe that the body knows exactly what to do when, and I think we were graded perfectly. Whether that's spiritually, whether that's religiously speaking, but there definitely the higher power that just creates us to the T. And even our own journey, even our broken roads lead us exactly to where we are. There's been a couple times, me being adopted was not part of my id, my identity. It was. I'm Jah. This is what I do. I'm a gymnast. That was part of my identity. Jah, I'm a gymnast and I like to dance, and I like to defy gravity. That was a huge thing about gymnastics. That's why I loved it. Yeah, and and a big thing of that was like when people found, oh, you're adopted, but you look like you're dead. But I said, I'm like, possibly, possibly, because we both have this dark hair, we both have like olive skin, right? We both have like similar noses. It's interesting, right? We even have like similar eye color. It's very interesting. But again, I feel like those things are meant to be, because even when we were talking about attachment, I saw my adoptive dad and there's a video of this like last year in October we went, cuz my parents live in Florida. I live in. We went to Florida with my entire family, my husband, and my two kids, and my dad was like, oh, my husband's name is separately. Oh, Kalene, you wanna see some embarrassing videos of your wife? You know, like trying. And I was like, yeah. One of the first videos that he put on was actually when I had met, when I adopted that, when I had met my dad and like right away I was like, well, and like I literally just hung onto like his neck and my dad was like, There's one.

Melissa:

This is

Geta:

very smart now. Yeah, and I think that, I think attachment goes in both ways and I definitely, I kinda wanna open that door here if that's okay. I think parents also go through a lot. My parents have, were together for 11 years before they even decided to adopt. And now they have, they were, they moved to a brand new country. They lived in Detroit, which was at that time super ghetto. And they lived with a bunch of o other like people, a bunch of like other family members. And then they adopted me. They moved to a more suburban area, Sterling Heights. If anybody from Michigan listens, we were living in Sterling Heights and I think that was slightly different because my mom was a stay at home mom. My dad worked very long hours all the time, Sunday through Sunday since I can remember. And I think that was very difficult on my mom cuz that was not something that she was used to. Now she has a child who you know is definitely. Needy. Definitely. Like I want attention. I want love, I want this, I want that. There's a lot of things that needed to be meant, and I think my mom, just as a whole person, again, no parents is perfect. No human is perfect. We all make mistakes. I just feel like my mom was just missing that emotional attachment because she's, what do you mean? Like you're three years old, you know? Like, why do you need these things and so on and so forth. Again, absolutely not at all that she did like a terrible job or not at all. A lot of how I've become and who I am is because my parents. But yeah, there's definitely I think both sides of the story. That makes it quite difficult, for sure.

Melissa:

Now, I do have to ask, I'm very curious. When you were 12, he said you began noticing signs of liver dysfunction. That look like, I don't know if a 12 year old I'd be able to identify anything like that.

Geta:

So at 12 years old, I was not, maybe not at the peak of my gymnastics career, but I was. I was very good and I had 12% body fat, and I had a lot of cramps. I had severe acne. I did not have energy. Like when I would go to a competition, I couldn't watch tv. I couldn't play with the other kids. I couldn't do anything before a competition because I just. Like the extreme fatigue, like not exhaustion. This is like fatigue where I feel like my bones, my shoulders were heavy. Like I felt that. And then something weird that again, my parents noticed, like I literally ate Melissa, like a grown man, and I was very skinny and a little people were like, it's because she had five hours of gymnastics and then she went to school and then again, or she's been doing this for years and my mom was. Don't know because like when I say she eats a lot, guys, she eats a lot. Like we would go to a restaurant and I would order like steak, potatoes, rice, veggies, and I would eat it all in one sitting and I'd be like, two hours later I'm like, I'm hungry. My mom what? Like, so at 12 years old I was like, there's definitely something going on because I'm looking at other kids how they are. I'm looking at my other gymnastics sisters as we call each. I'm looking at them and they're just not having these same issues in life, and I'm like, why am I having these issues? What is going on with me? At 13 and 14, I was having, again, severe cramps. Then we had sleeping problems and I had, so I would be like, Wrapped up and then like during the night very often. I don't know what to tell you. If my mom was here, she could tell you because we actually did this whole thing where we wanted to see how many times that happened and I would like open my eyes. You know how newborns, they open their eyes and they like spazz out and then they like go back to sleep. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So that's like normal for newborns, not at 13, 14 years old. And I was doing this and it was like, so aggress. That one, me and my mom did this. Like my mom was like, I wanna like sleep next to you and see what happens. And I did this one night and my mom had like bruises, like everywhere like this because I was so like, oh my goodness, like that, yeah, we need to do some sleep test, we need to do some nutrient test, we need to do some of this, we need to do some of that. And I'm like, okay, whatever. And mind you, my parents knew when they had adopted me, they got the papers like, there is something wrong with this child. We don't know. They even told my parents that it could be Hepatitis B, and so my parents knew that there was something wrong. They just, so maybe that too, you know when something is wrong with your child but they don't, you don't have an eligible thing, so then when your child is not acting a very childlike Right. Want be a little bit more attentive. Right. I thought that that's what was happening. And then 14, 15 years, I, at I, 15 years old gymnastics, I had severe joint pain. I had my right shoulder dislocated, I had water in my knee and all these things going on, including the sleep, the acne, the cramping, the, all this stuff. And so, oh my goodness. Yeah. Yeah. So my parents were like, something's going on. We don't know what something's going on. Let's go do testing. So we did a bunch of tests and it wasn't until I was 16 going on 17, but, and I also got extremely late period. I was actually 16 when I got my first period. But again, makes sense, right? Like I had

Melissa:

a lot of people would write that up to gymnastics.

Geta:

Yep, exactly. It was like, read my mind. And so it was 16, 17. I bled an entire year having a P menstrual cycle an entire year. Gosh. And I was anemic. And then I was put on birth control pills. And then my mom was like, that's it, nothing. And mind you, we did so many labs and everything is fine. Everything is normal. And my mom was like, that's it. Like we need to do something else. We need to find something else. And I researched a bunch of stuff cuz like my parents are a little bit old parents at that time, like internet was just becoming big, like that kind of stuff. So, Don't worry, I got this.

Devon:

Hi, I wanna take a quick moment and tell you about my mom. She's an amazing mom and an amazing podcast host, isn't she? She's also amazing at helping people to understand advantage, anxiety, and to build a strong experiential practice. She has online courses, books, and a lot of free resources and downloads to help you live an amazing life. So please check out lightlife and love ministries.com and her YouTube channel. Louis are the show notes.

Geta:

Right. So I started doing some

Melissa:

research. All of those Interwebs.

Geta:

yeah. Yeah. That's how it was. Especially my parents lived in Romania their entire life. They, at that time, they lived in Romaine half of their life, and then they just started a brand new life here. You know what I mean? It's a brand new world for them too. So they're like, yeah, we need to do some research. I'm like, okay, I got this. And there was a few tests that I had learned. and it was 17, turning 18. Cause that was a whole year of like from 16 to 17. I was like, I don't know what's going on. I also quit gymnastics because I was like this, I need to figure this out. I need to figure my life out. I dunno what's going on with me, but I'm not after like emergency visits, ambulance. I was like, this is not okay. I'm so young, I don't know what's going on. So 17, turning 18, I had a CCK test. CCK is a chemical that is like through iv and that measures how well your natural detox system, so you liver your gallbladder, your bile, your kidneys, how well do they function. And I did that test and at three hours. So at like hour one, nothing is really supposed to happen. And by hour three you're supposed to have the entire CC K blushed out of your body. And at one and a half hours, the CC K was completely Blu. And the nurse, it wasn't even, it wasn't even the, the radiologist that was doing this, it was a nurse and she said, this is not okay. And so I was like, okay, if we didn't do anything, like let you know, help get close. Yeah, come on. She was like, yeah, there's definitely some liver dysfunction. And I was like, oh yeah, my liver doesn't functional. She was like, no, like your liver functions 50% of its capacity. And I was like, I'm so young for. I have no idea how I'm going to do my light. And right away she was like, yeah, we're gonna do pills, we're gonna do like a whole therapy of like pills, steroids, things like that. And I was like, no. Right away. Right away. And my mom was with me when I did the CK test and I told my mom like what was happening since they were, she wasn't allowed. We do like a barium test too. Like you do so much. I was there for, My mom was there and I told her the final verdict, if you will, and she's, okay, so let's just go home and let's try to figure this out. And, but again, the blind side of this is that my parents paid so much money for gymnastics and they were like, we can't pay for school. So I was going to university. I got accepted at Wayne State University at the time, and now I'm on the brand new journey of health and gut health journey. I'm like, yeah, we can't pay for that. I'm like, I'll find a way to do it. No worries. And I got $23,000 in debt and even more with school. 23,000 in debt was just from labs and trying to figure out what was wrong with me and with school even more. And that was truly when I was like, okay, like I definitely wanna heal through nutrition. I really want to learn how to do this. And here we are about, about 11 years later, almost 12 years later, and your health is much. So much better. So much better. To be very honest, Melissa, I don't think I, I would be here. So at 18, because you have like your final pedia pediatrician visit. That pediatrician was like, yes, we heard she has liver dysfunction. And they were telling my mom, they didn't tell me this, they told my mom, who later, my mom told me by 30 I'd be on dialysis and by 40 I wouldn't be doing too hot. And I'm 30 now and I'm nowhere near dialysis. So

Melissa:

excellent news. Yes. Now I was a biologist. When I started out, that was what my degree was in. I was a lab rat. I loved the field. Our body creates 300 million plus new cells every hour. Yes. And if we have what we need, the fuel that we need, those cells can replenish and rebuild and heal. So I love connecting with people that have that practice, that do that in their life and to teach the rest of us how to incorporate it into our own.

Geta:

That's awesome. That is amazing. And like the world needs more of that. It's just that reminder too is that man's body has created so perfectly.

Melissa:

Yeah. I have a low functioning thyroid and I am working with. Functional medicine chiropractor to help that thyroid get back to normal function again. Yeah. And have every expectation that it will.

Geta:

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. And chiropractors are great too. My, my daughter, when she was born, this is just a fun fact, but when my daughter was born, she was born C-section and she had the gunk in her throat still. Right. Because of that, it caused, because she wasn't able to lay down all the way she had to, she had to get a couple adjust. The third adjustment, Melissa, everything was fine. She was able to sleep through the night. She was like, yeah, we're a fan of chiropractors here. Of course,

Melissa:

So jta, what message do you want people to know about nutrition and their bodies and their health?

Geta:

I don't know if it's just one message. What I can say is that self-advocate for yourself. This is a very big thing. Again, going back to my own parents, no, they are not perfect again. Absolutely. But they definitely helped me with that. They were like, figure it out. Like you can you speak the language, you can do all these things. Self-advocate for yourself and ask a lot of questions and stay curious. So that's what I did. That's what got me to where I am now. A lot of people argue that like I, I got healthy because of my education. So yes, I did study the gut brain connection for four years. Yes, I studied gut development for four years. Yes, I. But I went into it for myself. Actually. I went to university because I was like, now that I know this, I need to know this. Feel like too, not everything that we do in life, we have to get something out of it. We can totally. Do classes, we can totally do a schooling to figure out ourselves and, and that's what I did. And I was like, I love this stuff. I originally also wanted to be a brain surgeon and then I got into this and I was like, this stuff is so cool. I love the neurology part. I love the gut part. I love the biology part. And yep. Excuse me. So that was like that. So self-advocacy, really staying curious and. Not taking no for an answer. So it when that nurse was like, we're gonna put you on steroids, we're gonna put you on some treatments for pills and things like that, my mind right away was like, If I have liver dysfunction, how are you giving me? I'm confused. Mm-hmm. which to her reality, I'm sure she didn't mean harm, but again, there are pills out there that help liver recreation. There are pills for a bunch of things now, but to me it just didn't make sense. If this is what's happening, why would I do that? So I just, I've stayed that course. I stayed that thought because that was initially what I felt here. Like what? That makes no sense. You make no sense. Okay. Thank you. For this result, at least I have a result and. We're gonna move on from here and really understand that the people around you, your environment, your job and in intake and by intake is not just nutrition. The health and wellness really is everything I have. Or I had someone who was like, I'm doing everything correct. I, I'm following your food guide to the tea, and I'm just not feeling better. And I'm like, because it's also. Your job that you don't like, it's the people around you. It's the things going on in her household that are not ideal and very traumatizing, things like that. And that's it. It takes itty bitty steps and maybe being mindful. I think that's a great, great point to to start at is being mindful. Am I watching the news every single day and am I getting anxiety from how terrible this world is? Yes, the world is terrible. There's also great things happening every single day. And again, that's just reality, right? Again, saying people around us. As I was in my own gut health journey, I saw a lot of people that were like, oh, come out with us. Oh, like for drinks. And I'm like, I will dive. We'll die. Please understand this. This is just not me. And I'm a person. I like to go out and. I'm not really like a big alcohol drinker in general, but this was very pressure to go out and drink. And when I started saying no, it was like the friendship was gone too. I was like, interesting and, and I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for that. This is why I feel like a health even save my life. I was in a terrible relationship, had to do a lot with attachment, with my attachment issues that I had growing up. I was in a terrible relat. That man's gone. That was a grieving phase that I went through. Things like that, just thank God that I'm able and capable to be mindful. I'm able to say, okay, you know, what have I done today that made me that 1% better? Yeah, that's it. It's, we don't have to do the all or nothing. We don't have to do, yes, excuse me. We don't have to do all or nothing. We don't have to be, I'm going to do a thousand steps when your body is not even used to doing 300 steps. So I'm. Small but significant habits.

Melissa:

That's great advice. So how do we connect with you to learn more?

Geta:

Yeah, there's a lot of ways, actually. I think the best way is through Instagram, and so I have an Instagram, it's Juta dot Digest, and then. Gonna add me on there. I have a bunch of highlights speaking about what I do, client results my own gut health journey, a little bit more deeper info on even my personal story and things like that. So what we talked about here, Melissa, is really just like the tip of the iceberg. So I go pretty dive deep on my Instagram page. And then also I have a Facebook group page, Jetta's Gut Health, so G E T A apostrophe S, gut Health. If you type that in, it'll be the first one that pops up on there. I do free trainings and interviews with past clients and even just updates in like Nutrition Label Health today, someone put like a side by side comparison between two Hines ketchup. Catch up, only talked about it. There were like 15 people involved in the conversation. Amazing. It was amazing. So it's really a community. It's not really where like it's just me talking or things like that. I really want to really get value, even from just the free stuff that I do, because to me it's like I, I need help. I need help. And this was for me too. And needed help. And there, at that time, no one was doing anything like that. That's why I got $23,000 in debt because I was pink for every single thing that I was doing, every move that I was making. And so I was like, yeah, I definitely wanna offer these things. So yeah, it's more of a community, more of, Hey, what do you think about this? Who here has info about this? Things like that. And then I also have for those with no social media, I actually have a community chat. Again, we're big on community where it's the first Thursday of every month. So actually this Thursday, December 1st, it'll have a community chat and it's on Zoom and you just sign up for it. You get a email, the reminder, and then the zoom link. Um, and we just sat, sit and chat 60 minutes. Of hot takes. One of the last, like actually what what started the community chat was the Facebook group and someone asked if we can do a chat, a live chat about why, why Bill Gates owned like 20,000 farms. And I was like, yes, let's do it. And it was just like a chat. It wasn't really the training, it was just a chat and I loved it. And so, The last one that we did was Inner child. Is that a term? Is it just a buzzword? You're talking about that This week we're gonna talk about research and how to identify the correct research and does it pertain to you? So that's just Ju Health's community chat on Zoom. So,

Melissa:

If you're listening to this podcast, those links will are available in the show notes to find Jetta on Instagram in the Facebook group and on the community Zoom chat. Just click the links and you'll have the information you need to connect. If you are out there and you are suffering from an autoimmune disorder, if you feel something is not right in your body and you're not being listened to, if you're wondering if there's something more out there, there. Connect with Jetta and learn how to go further in your health and the next steps that are necessary. Yeah. Jetta, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you.

Geta:

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. This was a beautiful conversation. Thank you.

Geta BarbuProfile Photo

Geta Barbu

Gut Health Expert

Geta Barbu, Gut health expert & certified nutritionist, was abandoned at birth and kept a secret the first two years, of her life. She now runs a successful online gut health clinic & helps others heal body, mind, and spirit.