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I know a lot of people have been curious as to how I became “natural living mamma”, who I am and where I came from, so here is my story.

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This is my story. It is a long one and I am sure I am leaving out pieces so stick with me here. I’ll do my best to explain my motivation behind everything.

I grew up near Phoenix AZ coming from a relatively “normal” family as far as I am concerned. Normal as in Mom and Dad are still married and I have a sister, not so much behavior wise, but we are a fun lot so I’ll take that over “normal” any day.

We ate “normal” Standard American Diet (SAD) food growing up with some garden veggies thrown in for frugality. I never really was a big fan of vegetables. I remember my grandparents would take care of me when I was sick (which was pretty often) and Grandma would always make me spaghetti-o’s. That was my comfort food.

In high school I decided meat was bad because the poor animals were tortured and abused to make meat, so I became a vegetarian. That means I only ate french fries and vegetarian pizza at lunch. I was also a distance swimmer and drinking lots of soda. I did so much damage to my stomach that I started eating meat again because I was not getting enough protein. I also stopped drinking soda because it tore up my stomach bad.

Sophomore year of high school I hurt my knee throwing shot put. It wasn’t really a big deal at the time, but it sure is now. I spent the rest of my high school years in AP classes, focusing on Biology, working at an animal hospital, getting my CNA and singing and dancing in musicals, usually playing the old lady comic relief, which was fine by me. I love being a funny old lady and cant wait to wear sequins, feathered hats, and polka dots in public in the future!

I ended high school weighing 175, being muscular but definitely not “thin”. I was healthyish and in great shape. This is my “norm”, or was before I hurt my back.

I went to college in northern Arizona which was a blast. I worked as a CNA/PCT/Telemetry/Cardiology tech/Unit Secretary at the local hospital on nights and weekends so that I could afford to live off campus while going to school. In school I studied Biology, Chemistry, and Anthropology focusing on pre-med classes because I wanted to be a doctor.

Working nights and weekends I had a really bad diet consisting of hospital food, about a pot of coffee a day and half a pack of cigarettes a day (at least). I worked twelve to sixteen hour shifts regularly and partied like… well… like I was in college.

This was all fine and good until I finally hit a wall. I was so tired all the time, could barely focus on my classes and switched shifts to the 3-11 shift. I had to work more often, but less crappy hours which was nice. Unfortunately I had already done enough damage to my body that I started a cascade of events I am still recovering from.

One night I was taking care of a patient who was hallucinating and attacked me. You healthcare workers out there know that if a patient is falling you should let them fall unless there is some way to slide them to the ground. I caught the guy and hurt my back. I thought it was no biggie until I went and got groceries that morning after work and my back went out picking up a can of tomato sauce.

Awesome.

So I went to physical therapy and worked the desk jobs (telemetry and unit secretary) with a really angry bad back, still going to school full time, still eating junk and smoking and… etc.

Long story short, I hurt my back AGAIN and had to stop working at the hospital and move back in with my parents. I worked some odd jobs for a while, met my husband playing video games online (yeah I’m a gamer) and moved to Washington!

I continued having health issues when I moved to WA. I had quit smoking because Mike HATES smoking but we ate junk food because it was cheap and we were struggling. Even when we were doing better we still ate out way too much. I swear we had Jack in the Box tacos at least 3x a week.

I started having terrible pain in my lower abdomen and stomach. It was awful stabbing pain. Almost like something exploded inside me. I had constant cramps, was gaining weight exponentially, and life generally sucked.

I went to the doctor who told me I was fat and should lose weight.  She recommended a medical weight loss plan involving about 500 calories a day and lots of drugs and vitamin shots to keep me alive. This did not jive with me so I did some research, joined weight watchers, and tracked my intake religiously. According to what I was eating I should have been losing weight. I was very strict about weighing, measuring and tracking my intake. I ate low fat, low cal, processed “food” to manage. I lost a few pounds but started gaining right back. On top of that I was tired constantly, bloated, constipated and still having SO MUCH PAIN.

I went to another OB who actually took the time to run tests and see what was wrong. My thyroid numbers were “normal low” but my hormones were all sort of out of whack. After many expensive medical tests he determined I had Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Endometriosis, and a prolapsed uterus. He said I would probably never have children without medical intervention and I should take these pills to regulate my insulin resistance and lose weight. I would have to be on these drugs for the rest of my life. Oh, and I should try to lose some weight.

Thanks doc.

This was right before our wedding. My wonderful husband married me even though I might be infertile for the rest of my life. He really wanted kids, I really did not care either way, but he married me despite my bum ovaries.

We kept on weight watchers and hired a personal trainer to lose weight before the wedding. I lost about 5lbs in 2 months starving my self and was so frustrated. I really don’t even like looking at pictures of our wedding. I hate how fat and unhealthy we both look. It was a fun party though. We will have to do it again in a few years on a pirate ship in Vegas like we wanted to the first go around.

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After our wedding I was sick, miserable, and in constant pain. I decided to get serious and start doing my own research as to what the heck was going on with my body and why.

  • Why was I so heavy and could not lose the weight no matter what I did?
  • Why was calorie counting not working?
  • Was I eating too much? Too little?
  • Should I go on those meds for life?

I searched, and I researched, and I dug deep and I started discovering a few things.

  1. Things in my home are toxic to me and contain endocrine disruptors that could be screwing up my hormones.
  2. All food is not created equal.
  3. All calories are not created equal.
  4. The body handles different foods with the same amount of calories differently.
  5. Animals are fed antibiotics *that I am allergic to* so they don’t die before their meat is ready to eat. They also are regularly injected with hormones to fatten them up faster. They are unhealthy, almost dead, and kept on an unnatural diet. WE eat that nasty tainted meat. This is SAD meat.
  6. Crap in=Crap out

I learned a lot more than this over time, but this was the first glimpse of hope I found. I could change my life by making a few simple changes to my lifestyle.

The first few changes I made were to:

  1. Stop eating meat with hormones or antibiotics.
  2. Eat organic produce when we can afford it.
  3. Eat “healthy whole grains” (just you wait Ill get back to this later)
  4. Stop bringing chemicals into the house.

I lost about 20lbs and got pregnant with E four months later. We were ecstatic!

My pregnancy with E was hard. I had high blood pressure, swelling, I was constantly hungry, and had some severe anxiety, oh and I was puking constantly for the whole nine months. I was also HUGE.

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You can read all about my birth story with E here. I’ll just recap: Long a$$ labor and 9 1/2lb baby.

I continued to eat mostly organic produce, go to the farmers market for some good food, and eat antibiotic/hormone free meat. I was loosing weight and getting healthier but I had such bad indigestion. I had it since I was about 20 (working in the hospital, smoking, drinking coffee and boose) and it never got any better. I was, at this point, taking two medications for it daily. I also got really bad Postpartum Depression (PPD) after having E and was on Prozac while breast-feeding her for about 6 months.

This post is getting long… TO be continued in Part 2

 

This post shared on: Living Green TuesdayTiny Tip Tuesday,  Frugal Days Sustainable WaysHealthy 2 Day,

About Amanda

Amanda is a mother of two amazing toddlers. She is an herbalist, natural living guru, and real food, gluten free eating pro. She loves to help educate others on how to take control of their own health through natural living, real food, herbs, essential oils, and most of all - a positive mind set. Her other business Natural Herbal Living Magazine is all about helping people learn about how to use one herb a month on a deep and profound level.
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17 Responses to My Wellness Journey So Far Part 1

  1. Becky says:

    Our stories are kinda similar! Mine was because I had high blood pressure with Lilly (11 month old), ended up on bedrest, and had to have an emergency c section after almost losing her. Was horrified that the high blood pressure never went away after having her and REFUSED to be 30 years old on blood pressure pills. I asked my doctor for advise and was told, “eh limit your salt and lose some weight!” Ok, what the hell does that mean…researched and here I am 33 pounds lighter and completely off medication. BOOYAH 🙂 Looking forward to hearing the rest of the story!

  2. Bindhurani says:

    It is a great story. You are a real fighter. Keep up. Waiting for next part.

  3. Caitlin says:

    You know I’m beginning to realize that our stories are more similar than I thought. Except I was a 2 pack a day kinda girl. I’m looking forward to the rest of your story!

    • Amanda says:

      I only smoked that much when I was drinking around smokers… and my lungs burned afterward. Blegh. The thought of it now is so gross to me!

  4. I love reading posts like this. It’s great learn more about your story. I’m looking forward to part two!

  5. Great story so far and I can’t wait to read the rest!

  6. […] This is the continued telling of my wellness journey. To read about my history, fertility and weight problems take a look at the first post: My Wellness Journey so far Part 1 […]

  7. […] making my lifestyle changes mentioned in “My wellness journey parts 1, 2 and 3″ (coming out this Thursday) I have felt so good. Better than I can remember feeling […]

  8. […] healing journey has been a long one. I encourage you to catch up on my story by reading part one and part […]

  9. […] healing journey has been a long one. I encourage you to catch up on my story by reading part one and part […]

  10. […] To read about my history, fertility and weight problems take a look at the first post: My Wellness Journey so far Part 1 […]

  11. Becca says:

    It’s great that you share this story to inspire others! Would love to have you link it up at my Healthy Tuesday hop! ahumblebumble.blogspot.com 🙂

  12. Valarie says:

    Herbal medicine is the playfulness of healing. This delight has been relished in since ancient times. The herbs can be more of a catalyst to the greater healing one finds within, a meditation and search for what was lost or what needs replenishing, body and soul.
    In our most recent blog post Susun Weed opens up her series on herbal wisdom for maternal health eloquently with a discovery of an Ancient Birthing Circle and its mysterious powers and hidden gems.
    Herbs can bring one to different states of healing and through understanding their delicacies and complexities, one can utilize them as great tools to add to one’s Midwife Education and enhances skills and experiences previously developed through Midwife Training .
    Healing is easy, it is our recognition of that healing that can be a bit slow.

  13. […] my health and vitality from where I was 8 years ago. You can read all about my health journey in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. I will have a health update up January, so keep […]

  14. […] after making lifestyle and diet changes those symptoms resolved (more on that in my story part 1, 2 and 3). After having kids I switched to using more eco-friendly (and body friendly) alternatives […]

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