Hi, I’m Wendy Busse, FAST Freedom Program Founder and Director
With a career spanning 30 years, I have had the privilege of working with and learning from hundreds of food-sensitive clients. Initially, my practice was focused on providing direction for restricted diets. Unfortunately, I felt unsettled because the restrictions often led to further sensitivities. Helping clients soften their food reactions and expand their diet was much more fulfilling – because it led to a lifelong, meaningful change in their health.
What Drew Me to This Work?
When I was training to be a dietitian, my goal was to work in a very black-and-white, technical specialty. But, as I started counselling, I realized that people suffering from food sensitivity cannot be sorted into neatly-defined categories. Rather than trying to categorize them, I listened to my clients’ journeys. A common theme was that dietary restriction led to further sensitivities. Clients also expressed how fearful and helpless their food restrictions made them feel.
I was drawn to this work because it was a chance to make a significant difference in my clients’ lives.
My Passions and Goals
I love developing online resources – choosing the right words, graphics, and information flow to communicate alternative approaches to food and symptoms. I’ve been able to integrate my hobby of creating videos into my work.
In the last few years, I have realized the power of collaborative teams. I used to try and do everything myself (develop resources, see clients, read research studies, etc.). Working with my fellow providers and colleagues has been life-changing. We each have unique skills, and together, we have created an exceptional program.
My Wellness Journey
Talking with clients about softening their nervous system’s overreaction to food helped me become aware of my own tendencies. I have different triggers, but our experiences were similar. The FAST Freedom Program has resulted, in part, from my personal exploration.
I don’t have food sensitivity, but I have a long history of being bothered by chemicals. Cleaning products, paint, scented products, aftershave, etc., gave me headaches and made me feel congested. About four years ago, I realized I had been standing in a cleaning product aisle for fifteen minutes and felt good. That was a significant “ah-ha” moment. Helping people heal their overreaction to food had snuck into my subconscious. I still have some symptoms (especially eczema with topical products), but my life is much less restricted. I prefer natural cleaning products but am no longer adamant about it. Recently, I had to clean my parent’s house quickly! Windex is faster than water! The Windex might have bothered me a little – but the symptoms were tolerable and transient.
Work Experience and Professional Journey
My first job was as a general dietitian in a small, rural Alberta (Canada) town. I wanted to specialize, so it was not a good fit. I met Dr. Janice Joneja, a pioneer dietitian in food allergies from the University of British Columbia. I quit my job and started a Masters of Science at UBC in 1993 – studying the benefit of a low histamine diet.
After graduating in 1996, I worked in Saudi Arabia for two years to have an adventure and replenish my bank account!
When I returned to Canada in 1998, I started a food sensitivity private practice – but also worked as a dietitian in outpatients, primary care, home care, long-term care and public health!
My private practice was a frustrating journey. I did not feel settled – and was always searching for my purpose. My dad used to say, “You are working toward developing something important, even though you don’t know what it is right now.” That “something” ended up as the FAST Freedom Program.
Education and Affiliations
- Bachelor of Science in Nutrition at the University of Alberta (1986 – 1990)
- Internship: University of Alberta Hospitals (1990 – 1991)
- Master of Science in Nutrition at the University of British Columbia (1993 – 1996). Thesis study: Benefits of a Histamine-Reducing Diet for Some Patients with Chronic Urticaria and Angioedema (Can J Diet Pract Res. Spring 2000;61(1):24-26).
- College of Dietitians of Alberta
- The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (Allied Health Member)
Outside of Work
I live in the beautiful Okanagan Valley (British Columbia) with my partner, Mitch and Tippy (my toy Aussie Shepherd). We enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing and snowshoeing. We also love travelling and sharing pictures and videos with family and friends.
Cooking is my favourite hobby – especially making freezer meals! I share my passion and tips with FAST Freedom clients in the online resources.
I also enjoy gardening and crocheting amigurumi (small stuffed creatures). Currently, I am working on tiny teddy bears!
My greatest joy is spending time with my daughters and hearing about their adventures.