I love a person’s story because it tells you where they have been in their journey of life and who they have become in the process. Letting someone share their history with you means you are connecting to the core of who they are. My dad always taught me that you learn more by listening than by talking, and listening to someone’s story is like receiving a very special gift that is so personal. So let me share my story with you….
I was born in Arizona, but was raised in Northern Nevada, which I absolutely loved. I grew up in the countryside, raising every possible animal I could or that I could rescue….from cows, horses, chickens, dogs, cats, snails, caterpillars, snails and sea monkeys….to rescuing a hawk I kept in my room and once even a tiny baby skunk that didn’t even have its eyes open yet (an amazing story in itself). Let’s just say I absolutely loved animals. I was also an avid horseback rider from the age of 8. I rode every possible moment I could all the way through high school, and 99% of the time I rode bareback. My horse was big, over 16 hands, so I’m not so sure how I did that! I also learned to snow ski around 7 or 8 years old and skied well into my 20’s. I played volleyball and basketball and ran long distance track in junior high and was on the precision drill team in high school (oh, and played powder puff football, which literally was a ball).
I grew up in a very medically centered household. My dad taught medical school (Anatomy) for over 25 years and spoke technical medicine freely in our house (gross anatomy) as far back as I can remember. My mom managed private specialty medical offices for several doctors for most of her career. We always openly talked about the human body in our house and I was always asking a large amount of questions to my dad to understand more. I learned at a young age to listen to my body and what it was telling me. I have always had a knack for anatomy and the body’s systems in general and a great understanding of them. It naturally made health a passion for me. I enjoy the medical side of health, but the alternative angle is becoming much more prominent and accepted and it has become more and more interesting to me. If I’m Googling or researching a subject it will most likely be health or nutrition related.
I went to college at the UW (U-Dub) in Seattle and never missed a single football game. I spent most of my junior year in Seville, Spain studying abroad and the summer following it backpacking all over Europe. I became fluent in Spanish and the entire experience was life changing for me. I graduated with a degree in Sociology and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where my ultimate career lead me to becoming a Human Resources Manager for a German import company. My parents were sure I would grow up to be an attorney because of my innate ability to prove my case on anything and most everything. I thought I would become a doctor or a PA, but instead in the end, I decided I wanted to be a mom and be as healthy as I could be. I lived in California for almost 20 years.
While I was a hard working professional in my young twenties I began to experience some difficult symptoms. I later found out it was from having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (a hereditary autoimmune disease). It has been a 20 year long journey of understanding this condition and learning to manage it and my overall health. At one time, I had the highest thyroid test result numbers my Endocrinologist had ever seen and eventually my adrenal glands crashed to the point that I had to wear an emergency bracelet at all times. I then gained over 50 pounds and then lost it again. All of this was a humbling experience for me. I had never been overweight in my life and could always eat anything I wanted to. It gave me a new appreciation and compassion for someone struggling from a medical condition or who has gained a lot of unwanted weight. It drove me to learn as much as I could about my health and how I could feel better.
Over this 20 year period, I was told I needed antidepressants (I never took them), that I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or maybe I just needed to talk to someone (as in, maybe it was all in my head). I tried more diets than I could count and I took hundreds of different types of supplements. I even gave myself assorted shots to boost my health. I tried highly restrictive eating plans looking for food allergies and took every medical test recommended to me…..you name it I tried it. I was regularly reading books like “Are You Feeling Fat, Fuzzy or Frazzled?”. I felt 80 when I turned 30, so I educated myself and turned my health around. I wanted to find answers and feel better, so that when I turned 40 I would feel like I was 20. And I did.
I taught myself all about the good healthy oils and fats, how to avoid gluten and GMO foods and why we should learn to only shop in the outer aisles of the grocery store and try to buy organic when we can.
I learned about inflammation in the body and how bad it is and that all disease is really just the aging of your cells, so what can we do to stop or at least slow down that aging process? I learned that high cholesterol levels actually can mean that your body is just trying to create more hormones you are deficient in by producing more cholesterol in your body to create them. Hormones are made from cholesterol, which is another reason why protein is so vital. We need outside sources of cholesterol to complete the hormone creation process.
I learned the tremendous health benefits of coconut oil and apple cider vinegar, mercury free fish oil and vitamin d (which is actually a hormone, not a vitamin). The sun is good for us and studies have shown that getting even small doses of healthy sunshine (not sunburned) actually can prevent up to 200 different types of cancer. I don’t put sunscreen on my kids because I’ve read enough to show they need the sun penetrating their skin and the sunscreen product is far worse for them than getting some sun.
The human body is a finely built and highly tuned machine. Imagine it like a sports car. If you put bad fuel in it, never added new oil or never changed the oil or replaced the filter or vital fluids, well it probably would not run very well and eventually break down. We need to fuel our bodies with what it so vitally needs every day.
After over 20 years of researching and learning in depth about health, my biggest “take away” has been understanding the value of eating high quality protein in quantities my body needs, plus supplementing my diet with a power vitamin/mineral/amino acids mix and superfood. No matter how much I research on it, I still continue to learn more crucial facts about protein. In my own process of educating myself, I have been amazed at how little people know about protein and how important it is in our diet. It’s so simple, yet so few people seem to know the true value in it, especially the importance of its source and the quantity needed for our optimal health.
Through this whole process and my own hormone experiences, I have learned many of the causes of American obesity and the ever increasing cases of diabetes, especially in children. The main cause is our extremely poor diets and even how diet happy Americans are. We have rampant obesity yet we are probably a population that is more malnourished now then when our country was founded. We have dumbed down our food by processing it to death and promoting everything out there but protein. Weight loss has become one of the biggest industries in America. What does that say? We don’t need diets. We need to simply focus on only eating healthy portions of protein and then watch the miracles happen….in our weight, our energy, our stamina, our mood, our sense of well being, our outlook, our strength. The list goes on and on!
In my house when my kids hear the blender going, they come running to the kitchen because they know I’m blending up one of my yummy whey protein smoothies or juicing and they love them. I think they know innately that these are super healthy for them, but they also know that what’s in them makes them feel good physically. When one of my kids gets moody or grumpy I know right away that they are either dehydrated or crying out for nutrients (protein). I try giving them both and voila! We have a happy kid again that’s energized. Not the short lived burst of energy sugar gives them, but a long lasting energy to keep them level all day.
A saying I like is “It’s not how many years in your life that you have, but it’s how much life you have in your years”. Making the most out of every moment and life lesson is my philosophy…oh, and be positive! I am now a 46 year old mom (2 of my own, plus 4 stepkids and a granddaughter) who has found herself living back in Arizona, just like one big circle in my life!
I now have the fabulous opportunity to educate and spread health awareness and putting an end to the unnecessary suffering of the millions of malnourished people across America and the world, some who are surviving literally by a thread.
Good luck to all of you and blessings for you and your families,