My Story… I was lucky enough to be born into the natural way of medicine and a very holistic lifestyle. I grew up an un-vaccinated, anti-antibiotic, plant picking, supplement fed child on 15 acres in the middle of nowhere, with a fruit tree orchard, plentiful garden, and home cooked meals.
Sounds ideal right? Until I hit my teens and started having problems. Fatigue, severe headaches, irritability, joint pain, etc… I was grumpy and tired all the time. My moods were all over the place. I would cry for hours in the shower for apparently no reason. I didn’t know why I was sad, or tired, or achy, or constantly sick to my stomach, I just was.
Fast forward through a few years of suicidal tendencies, addiction, and bi-polar swings, and I finally started to wake up and realize that maybe I didn't have to feel this way.
I began to seek answers. I discovered yoga and meditation which dramatically changed my life. I explored healing with food and nutrition. I became endlessly absorbed in books that promised the answer to all of my problems. While many of my friends spent their early 20’s partying it up, I was seeking nirvana and fasting & cleansing my way to wellness.
I tried every tea, juice, capsule, every food, super food, flower essence, essential oil, tincture tonic, mixture, and probiotic I could get my hands on, that I thought would cure my vague disorders. I detoxed, detoxed, detoxed. With food, fasting, supplements, colonics, whatever it took, I wanted to be well so desperately.
But my desperation only grew as other problems were added to the list. Severe acne, severe fatigue, hyperthyroidism, which comes along with hair loss, anxiety, and scary nodules, chronic colitis, which has its own set of discouraging symptoms, and alarming weight loss.
I tried many restrictive diets and avoided any "unhealthy" foods like the plague. I took so many supplements, it became difficult for me to swallow them all. Doctors didn't seem to have any answers that could help me, and even my naturopath was at a loss.
I was literally wasting away. After a few trips to the hospital because my body felt like it was shutting down (and at 87 lbs it probably was!), I realized something had to change.
I had tried everything I thought would help and it didn’t work! I had done everything I was “supposed” to do to achieve great health! I had resisted. I had gone without all those “bad” foods! I had purified my insides and endlessly cleansed my liver (probably too much!) I had gone without endless family meals or food at basically any social gathering...I had such will power and good intentions! Didn’t I deserve it?
Yet no matter my determination, my obsession had not healed me. I began to doubt everything I believed in. With the help of those around me, I began to see that my approach had gone too extreme. It was extremely critical, extremely restrictive, extremely negative, and I had become an extremely neurotic & compulsive mess.
Through much soul searching, I have realized that wellness continued to elude me because I was taking wrong approach. I was not creating balance, nor building my health. I was so focused on getting rid of the filth, the toxins, the dis-ease, the “bad” things, the impure, the polluted aspects of my life, that I couldn’t see any other solution. My vision was clouded by the need to avoid things that make me feel sick (which was eventually about everything) that I couldn’t even see or remember the things that made me feel nourished, strong, and well.
So I began to be kind to myself. I began to listen to my body to find what made me feel good and most of all what tasted good. What made me feel truly nourished and whole. Although I still couldn't tolerate a lot of common foods, I let go of the need to punish myself for messing up and doing extreme cleansing or restrictive diets. I realized the importance of gratitude, the shift in focus, and finding and remembering the good in my life.
My focus shifted to a more nourishing vision of health. I ate more normal foods, many that I had grown up with. I made rich broths and easily digestible foods are healing to the inner systems, and made me feel so good. I began to find the balance I needed. My ideas about herbal medicine shifted from trying to constantly detoxify, and haphazardly bouncing from remedy to remedy, to regularly growing, using, and eating nourishing, health giving plants on an ongoing, daily basis.
With the help of a little raw milk, bone broth, fermented vegetables, pancreatic enzymes, gut balancing roots and healing, nourishing, herbs, I began to heal. I began to digest my food, which for me was a big deal. It certainly wasn’t overnight, but my body started to repair and rebuild. I started to find a nutritional foundation that provided me health, and I was able to tolerate a greater variety of foods once those foods were being properly digested and the gut lining was not in constant inflammation.
I certainly have not achieved perfect wellness, but I am not really even sure that exists, (at least for me). I have reached a place of functional wellness, and that is enough to make me extremely grateful for my somewhat moderate health, after what feels like a lifetime of chronic illness.
I approach Herbal Medicine as part skeptic, part devotee. I suspect there are many who have hopefully tried some form of natural health “cure” only to be disappointed. I believe this often stems, from having implausible expectations or misunderstanding the way a natural remedy or herbal therapy works.
I am no expert. I haven’t found all the answers, though I sure am looking for them. Although I have studied herbal medicine and natural healing for many years, I still think of myself as an apprentice. I have had some incredible teachers on my path, mostly from books, and the plants themselves. I have found, the greatest way to learn about plant medicine is to grow and use the plants in everyday life.
I really try to be aware of when my own beliefs get in the way of the truth. I look at plants from the energetic aspect of their healing nature, but also from the scientific explanations of bio-chemical interactions and specific plant constituents. I love the herbal myths and lore as well, and I am a sucker for historical uses of different plants. (I am a huge nerd, I know!)
I love every moment of learning and as I apply this knowledge to a clinical practice, I am continually making new discoveries and connections. I am hoping to offer simple solutions and reliable information, which could greatly benefit health, or possibly help others avoid potential mis-use of plant based medicine.
Health is relative…and it is constantly changing. Sometimes the key to true wellness comes from a change in perspective, not once, but many times throughout the healing journey.