My Story, always striving for better..
...Intuitive Nourishment from the inside out...
I have always been interested in health. At one point about 20 years ago I was thinking about becoming a nurse because I really wanted to help people. I never followed through with nursing because it became less about the patient and more about insurance and meds. I wanted to focus on wellness and getting better - not managing an illness through routine doctor's visits and medication. I didn't feel right about having people's lives in my hands when my heart wasn't in that sort of service. There are wonderful nurses that I admire, but I wanted to work with people before they got sick!
As a mom, I have encountered many challenges - one of which, dealing with anaphylactic food allergies. Two of my three children have life-threatening food allergies. I first discovered this when my oldest daughter, Sarah, had a severe reaction to caseine (a milk protein) at 9 months old - it was a 911 episode that shook me for days. Upon learning about food allergies, my whole world turned upside down. Life as I knew it would change (I was a new mom, in my early 30's and very dramatic!!) - I needed to revamp my pantry, my fridge, my cupboards. How were we ever going to function in the world as we know it - no more fastfood as Sarah get's older, possibly no more convenience (what to do?!). What about birthday parties? Holidays? I envisioned horrific scenes of what 'could' happen. I was a twitching, nervous wreck. This was about 12 years ago and there was a lot less support and readily available alternatives than there are now. I found that there were set items that I could safely give Sarah, so I kept a very tight hedge around us.
After having my second daughter, Esther, I had some relief of not having another baby with food allergies. This meant that I didn't have to watch every little thing that I ate (as I breast-fed) and no nasty eczema patches were showing up on her skin. She didn't have digestive issues, or a sensitive stomach, so I was learning to relax a bit - knowing what works for Sarah will work for Esther and I didn't dare move out of my comfort zone (remember dramatic, hormonal-early-30's-mom). When I had my third child, a boy, Clement - it was worry all over again. This time at 4 mos. we discovered that he had anaphylactic food allergies when he accidentally ingested sesame oil that I had on my hands. We used the epipen, got him to the ER and were now living with another child who has life threatening allergies. To complicate life just a little bit more....Sarah was allergic/anaphylactic to Dairy & Peanuts, but Clement was allergic/anaphylactic to Dairy, Sesame seeds and Eggs. We found all this out through bloodtests and accidental encounters with these allergens. I never knew how dangerous food allergies were until I experienced/witnessed it myself. I honestly wouldn't have believed the severity unless I had seen it with my own eyes. To this day, I take every concern a parent has about their child as gospel, because I know and have seen how quickly things can go wrong. Again, I was a neurotic mess. Thankfully I had a few friends who loved to cook and helped me find alternatives that were simple and didn't alter the overall recipe too much. When Sarah entered Kindergarten I couldn't imagine how we were going to manage these allergies...but through the help of so many people - teachers, neighbors, bus drivers, etc (living Angels in my book) we started to develop a more positive outlook. I shouldn't say 'we', because my husband, Sorek, was a major rock during all of my 'freak outs' (a couple warranted - most NOT). We are now at the point today where we can manage, prepare and plan ahead - but also at a point where both Sarah and Clement can overcome their food allergies through desensitization :)
It has been a long haul....and I have calmed down, but not without effects on my health. Living in a state of constant worry took a toll on me and led to a 30lb weight-gain that I carried for several years. I also suffered from digestive issues and intense anxiety - both caused by the vicious cycle of emotional distress & unhealthy eating and weight-gain.
In the midst of all this, both my parents ended up with chronic illnesses that they ultimately succumbed to. I started to live in a state of panic...what if I end up like them? I don't want to end up unhealthy and leaving my children too early. While I grieved losing them within 5 years of each other, I started to become a hypochondriac. I constantly thought I was dying (entering into late 30's at this point - young, hormonal and stupid aren't acceptable excuses anymore!). That is when I finally decided to take my health into my own hands.
I slowly started to exercise, at first by walking the family dog, Brewster (which I still do almost everyday - he keeps me moving!) and consider the amount of calories I was consuming on a daily basis. I googled the amount I should take in for moderate weightloss for my height and frame and found a number that was doable. I started to lose weight slowly. In time, my outlook started to change. I felt happier because I was eating better. I had a physical outlet for anxiety and nervous energy. I lost the 30 extra 'L.B.s' that plagued me. I then started to look more closely at what I was eating and why - then I made changes that didn't make me feel deprived, but were better choices. I started Zumba & Yoga, which brought me back into the world of dance; a passion of mine that I never thought I would get to partake in again! Possiblities started to pop up everywhere. I found so many different and healthier things for the kids to eat…not just because of the dietary restrictions, but because they were overall better choices. I am still a work in progress, but my focus shifted slowly from negative to positive and, thankfully (sometimes with much effort), continues to do so.
Living through these experiences I learned how to advocate for myself, but I always felt alone. In 13 years the health food industry has grown - and so have my children. More people are identifying health issues with food intolerances. Food Industries are being exposed for their unethical treatment of animals and agriculture. There is a movement to eat local and in season. GMO's are on the radar. With all that I have learned - sometimes the hard way - I am passionate about helping people successfully work through their own issues. As hap-hazard as my journey has been, I always believed deep down that I instinctively knew the answers, but lacked the confidence to trust myself. I had always wished someone would be there to support me to confirm my gut-feelings, and maybe help me implement new practices into my day to day. I feel privileged and a sense of humility to be able to embark on a career that helps people discover their own innate healing abilities.
Everyone will have to deal with health issues and challenges at various times in their lives. Each challenge has it's own set of obstacles, but invaluable learning experiences as well. I never knew how much of a big baby I was about the unknowns of life. But I also never knew how strong and resourceful I could be. I learned that people can be very compassionate and that at times I need to humble myself and rely on others. I learned that children are resilient; they can live through ER visits with a light heart, looking forward to checking out the vending machine. I realized my own resolve and developed confidence as a mom. I learned what it means to 'pay it forward' and I do so whenever I find opportunity.
Learning to take challenges in stride (health or otherwise) is a major key to healing oneself. Finding the mind/body connection and how emotions affect our health on a physiological level is, in some cases, more powerful than meds. Knowing that there will always be better ways to do things can create the drive to keep moving forward. And, living in the truth that today we are better than yesterday, gives us the inspiration and courage to look ahead with hope and expectation.
Today I am where I wanted to be 20 something years ago ~ helping people live healthy, hearty & fulfilling lives. Unlocking a person's unique internal pharmacy is where I want to put my energy these days. People are amazing - I haven't come across anyone that I haven't learned from.
I believe in the human body's powerful ability to heal itself ~ I believe in helping people tap into that ability for themselves. One of my favorite quotes comes from the book of Psalms '...I am fearfully and wonderfully made...' ~ that goes for everyone of us.