3 years ago I dove into the Paleo diet, after 8 long years of failing health, including autoimmune and neurological nightmares. Contrary to conventional wisdom provided to me by family and doctors, my dietary changes and reintroduction of yoga practices nearly wiped out my health issues. From there, I started using essential oils regularly (every day) as a part of my hygiene, cleaning, and recreational routines, completely replacing all the products (personal care and cleaning) with nontoxic counterparts. The transition to a nontoxic lifestyle sealed the deal as my health had completely reversed, providing a dramatic turn around from almost a decade of continually getting sicker to the point of total dependence on others to help.
I've been warned in the past that essential oils and a healthy lifestyle can be dangerous, citing numerous patients in hospitals around the world being examined and treated for their
reckless essential oil use. My doctors and parents all warned me about there being dangerous effects of using essential oils and a natural health lifestyle, and to leave blogger testimonials out of my personal health experiments.
Then, I was hospitalized -again- because of side effects from my medication... this time for shutting down my liver and pancreas. At that point, I inquired about healing foods and alternative therapies, only to be laughed out of the office and disenrolled from care at my local Veterans Hospital. At that point, I threw caution into the wind and decided not to heed the warnings, because... lets face it... I was going to die anyways... so may as well be rest assured that while sitting in some fantasy version of Purgatory, I'll at least know I exhausted all efforts to salvage my failing
life health. I mean.. what's the worst thing to happen? If changing my lifestyle killed me faster, it would just end up sparing me of that much more time living in misery. I had nothing to lose, and nothing to look forward to... thus no reason not to try. Either way, I was bound and determined to stop my suffering without driving a car off a bridge.
Since switching to a natural living lifestyle 3 years and 7 months ago, I've felt awakened and enlightened. Each time I use an essential oil, I find myself feeling more focused... more energetic... more capable... more productive... more rested... more motivated... more inspired... stronger... more patient... happier... craving more information... craving personal development... healthier... and purposeful. --- Basically, everything I ever dreamed of once again becoming, and more.
I thought that my lifestyle shift was a good thing... so good that I started talking to everyone about my progress and research, including starting up this blog.
Were my friends and family happy about it? I'm not so sure. I know many were happy for and intrigued by my transformation. But there were also a great number of people who have been overly critical and demonstrative about the whole process and my newfound obsession.
3 years into my natural health lifestyle (and after my dramatic health improvements), my mom and I spent a few hours on the phone which eventually turned into us talking about my chosen
reckless lifestyle, and how a shocking number of people could potentially have died because of similar lifestyle choices. It was at that moment that I realized I had, in fact, lost my mind.
Living a healthy lifestyle made me lose my mind. #liveempowered #beyou http://wp.me/p5mKU3-sGe
You see, I was brought up on the US government's idea of the food pyramid. I was brought up in a family full of incredible, hard working, caring, well-educated, medical professionals. I was brought up in a subculture where critical thinking was highly valued, and grew up to become a specially trained research analyst for the military, before becoming sick and being put to pasture with little to no benefits to help me manage living the disabled life.
Life should be very simple for me. I'm "smart," and only need to follow directions, work hard, and accept the cards as they've been handed to me.
Instead, I turned my life upside down, inside out, and backwards... all because of a family member who sent me some information about the Paleo diet some mommy blogger wrote about that helped her overcome an autoimmune issue. What does the Paleo diet have to do with essential oils? For me, it was the entry point of natural living. Many people experience it the other way around... essential oils and then clean eating. I started with the food. It was like a gateway drug that sparked curiosity which lead to seeking out additional "natural remedies," including Eastern medicine and essential oil protocols. It was a gateway drug for me to break out my coveted research and analytical skills. One question's answers lead to 10 more questions, and before you know it, I
was obsessed had created a new hobby.
Then... I lost my mind.
And now, I have to laugh. I swear there is a diagnosis for everything, and found there is a new "psychological disorder," orthorexia nervosa, with loosely defined symptoms that encompass most everyone concerned about toxins in the environment and their quality of food (which also happens to comprise largely of people who have reversed health issues because of their food and lifestyle choices).
“Orthorexia nervosa (ON) is a term introduced to describe a condition characterized by a pathologic obsession for bio-logically pure and healthy nutrition.” ~Ryan M. Moroze, MD.
Everything I knew to be "truth" and "science" was questioned, answered, and re-questioned. The world of PUBMED became my most used reference, which floored me to see actual science contradict "professional opinions" touted in mainstream media and in the government. My entire thought process now baffled most of my family and friends, who truly seem to believe I'm reckless and wrong for not only choosing my lifestyle, but for promoting it on a public platform and blowing up their social media news feeds with random facts I find intriguing about toxin exposure and alternatives.
The clarity and drive for additional knowledge on what, why, and how we feel what we do has consumed my life to the point where I actually enjoy researching to help other people overcome their slumps... effectively infecting them with the same intellectual bug that bit me. AND taking it a step further by training people to start doing the same!
Most people I talk to tell me I'm crazy and must have lost my mind (of course several of those people have become my customers about a year later). They tell me you can't argue with "science." Meanwhile, I've come to find that science is constantly changing as we advance in technology and continue testing old theories and hypotheses. Science is never settled, which is why it is so intriguing to me!
I've also come to find that we, as humans, avoid change like the plague. It is increasingly difficult to change your way of thinking and open your mind to new knowledge (or incredibly old knowledge that has been readdressed). How do you suddenly question what you've spent your entire life knowing, believing, and building a career on?
And then there is me, and an increasing amount of people just like me (especially in the Millennial generation). We embrace our parent's generation's spirit regarding questioning authority... but take it to a whole new level. Not only are we questioning the authorities... but we are questioning the reasoning they use. When you question someone's reasoning with a mentality that is entirely unconventional, you become criticized for losing your mind. Perhaps this is what happened to me.
I did lose my mind. I lost touch with the way I used to think. I lost touch with my old reasoning skills. I lost touch with my former mindset that pushed me in a defined direction expected by those responsible for forging my youth.
Now, we do some pretty "crazy" things ~
- We use coconut oil on almost everything
- We LOVE probiotics
- We drink funny drinks like fermented tea (kombucha) instead of sodas
- We don't frequent many stores to purchase our personal care items
- We LOVE going to farmers markets and butchers
- We spend more time in the kitchen playing with new meal ideas than we do watching TV
- We use essential oils all. the. time.
- We speak some "crunchy lingo" that confuses some people
- My son doesn't know what candy is, or what to do with it
- We don't use any harsh chemicals... only natural cleaners that can largely be made at home.
- We filter our water
- We use nontoxic, fluoride-free toothpaste
I lost my mind.
And honestly... I don't miss it one bit!
"How can you live happy when you're so worried about all the toxic chemicals in our world?"
I am asked this question ALL THE TIME, so I thought I'd add it in here for you too.
The answer is simple... I'm inherently happy now that avoidable toxins are removed from my life.
Removing toxic products has enabled me to regain my health and ignite a passion helping others to overcome their strife using methods that bring them closer to nature that don't have undesirable side effects.
I don't sit in my home obsessing over whether or not parabens will hurt me. I simply read a label at the store and move on. Now that I have a few select brands that I focus on buying from, its become even easier.
For example, I know Beautycounter will never use parabens or phthalates in their products (among 1500+ other harmful ingredients) and have extremely strict quality control standards... therefore I don't need to worry about reading their labels each time I buy from them. I know Young Living doesn't cut their oils with chemicals or produce them synthetically and I know how their plants are farmed, so I use their products without having to do hours upon hours of research to make sure they are still holding true to their ethics each time I purchase. I know I can trust The NON-GMO Project butterfly logo on foods at the grocery store to be void of GMO ingredients. And I know if I don't buy prepackaged food at all that I don't have to worry about whether or not 60% of that "organic" box has anything harmful added to it (which does happen... a lot).
So yes. Swapping to a nontoxic lifestyle did cause me to lose my mind... but to be honest... I like it much better on this side!!
Do you live a natural health lifestyle?
I'd love to read about what weird ways you've lost your mind with living healthy and some of the quirky things you do! Leave a comment below!