I was a wanderer for several years. I left a university prematurely due to a combination of dissatisfaction, confusion about my life direction, and wanderlust. I spent a couple of years working as an environmental activist, and then began to pursue my passion for travel and adventure with much more devotion.
My travels took me on a six-month backpacking journey through Mexico and Central America. Throughout my adventure, I continually encountered native people who knew and understood plant medicines and how to apply them for healing. My journey seemed to constantly lead me to people who further expanded my growing interest in herbal medicine. One such teacher was a bush doctor in a small village in Belize. I would often walk with him into the rain forest with our machetes to go “hunting” for herbs. By the end of my immersion in Central American culture, I knew that I wanted to be in a healing profession. I knew with absolute certainty that I wanted to help people attain their greatest health through the assistance of natural remedies, pure, whole foods, and a lifestyle in harmony with nature.
I began my next adventure by enrolling at Heartwood Institute, a secluded, mountain community in a holistic, retreat-like setting, where I studied whole foods nutrition, massage therapy, acupressure, herbal medicine, yoga, tai chi, meditation, Chinese medicine theory, and energy balancing.
In 2012, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an illness in which the body attacks the thyroid gland. The previous year had been intensely stressful. I was a new mother to a beautiful boy. In some ways, I was the happiest I had ever been, but in other ways, my life seemed to be falling apart. My health was crashing. I had shingles and whooping cough simultaneously, and I also experienced severe heart palpitations. I was so exhausted after a day at work that I would practically collapse when I arrived home to my sweet son, who only wanted me to chase him around the yard.
Prior to this, I had always thought of myself as very healthy, as did others around me. I ate what I considered a healthy vegetarian diet for almost twenty years. My main complaint in the past had always been digestive issues. The doctor who diagnosed my autoimmune disorder simply said that I would have to take medication for the rest of my life. However, she was unable to answer any of my questions about the disease or if there were any natural ways to treat it, so I immersed myself in research about Hashimoto’s and autoimmune disease. I quickly discovered that the digestive issues I had always endured could have been part of the root cause of my illness. I radically changed my diet, giving up all grains and legumes, and I began to feel better immediately. I lost weight without effort, had more energy and mental clarity, and I could finally keep up with my energetic toddler. I continued to explore different ways of eating and fine-tuning my herbs and supplements, and now I’m almost entirely symptom-free.
I want to share what I have learned and help others who suffer from digestive issues and other health problems understand the vital link between our food and our health. I hope to empower people on their quest for optimal health.