Holly is the wife of Paul, mother to one-year-old Josiah, Registered Nurse, Holistic Living Consultant, and fills many other roles, but most importantly she is a daughter of the Almighty God, saved by the grace given through Jesus Christ.
Here is the story of how she started down the path to a natural, holistic lifestyle:
As a teenager, I struggled with frequent headaches and migraines, heart palpitations, severe muscle tension, and menstrual cramping. My journey into holistic living started in 2009 while I was still in nursing school. One of the lectures was about the importance of treating patients using a holistic health mindset. Holistic health was defined as treating the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.
Around this time, I stumbled across a blog with an article about detoxing from “sugar addiction” and I was intrigued. This article described the effects that unrefined sugars and the Standard American Diet (SAD) can cause to the human body. I was fascinated that the ailments listed were the undesirable symptoms I was experiencing. I went on a “reading binge” as I poured over the health articles on this blog and others that it linked up. I realized that the lifestyle I was living was wreaking havoc on my body, from the foods I was consuming to the products I was using on my skin being absorbed into my bloodstream, to the chemicals in my home that I was constantly inhaling. My body had become a toxic mess!
When many people start their journey to holistic health, the choose to clean up their diet first and their environment later. Not me. I wasn’t brave enough to give up my comfort foods first. I chose to tackle the area of home and body products, making the switch to safer toothpaste, deodorant, lotions, body wash, shampoo, perfume, makeup, etc. By early 2010 I had thrown out the majority of my store bought “toxic” products. I felt somewhat better, but I knew that cleaning up our diet was essential to restoring our health.
As a young newlywed, still in school with a husband fresh out of school and making a modest first job income, we were on a strict budget. I had to get creative and do a lot of research to figure out how to overhaul our pantry and eat healthier without breaking the bank… or so I thought at the time. I spent a few months researching healthy eating on a budget, and as we ran out of items would try to replace them with healthier items. By summer 2010 I decided to completely clean out our pantry and get rid of all the junk & processed foods, so one weekend I pulled it all out and donated what didn’t fit into our new holistic style of eating. The pantry was much less crowded with junk & I felt much more organized and prepared to learn to eat better. As a couple, my husband and I decided on an 80%/20% approach. This meant 80% of the time we would try to eat as healthy as possible & the other 20% of the time, give ourselves grace with what we ate. In our home, what this looks like is that we eat healthy at home, we don’t purchase processed foods or foods with ingredients we don’t consider nutritious and then when we are out with friends or at social functions we eat what is prepared. This not only allows us to feel some freedom in our diet, but also keeps us from damaging relationships with others by coming across as “too good” for their diet choices. There are a few areas that I won’t compromise (like that I don’t consume anything with artificial sweeteners if at all possible), but overall we believe that if we fuel our bodies with healthy nutrients the majority of the time, a piece of dessert here and there or pizza with friends is not going to do any irreversible damage. We value our friendships over our food.
In January 2011, I realized that although my diet was much healthier, I was still addicted to sugar. I decided to challenge myself to an entire month without refined sugar just to see what would happen. As I started reading labels to make sure foods did not contain extra sugar, it was very eye opening to see how it seemed to be hiding in so many places!!! The first few days were difficult, but then I started noticing how much better I felt. My headaches were gone, my muscle aches were gone, I had minimal cramping, my mood was more positive, I felt happier and stronger & I unintentionally lost 6 lbs in 4 weeks off of my already small frame. I also noticed by the end that my taste buds had changed and I enjoyed the bold flavors of vegetables, fruits, meats & fats that had been masked by my sugar laden taste buds. I then decided that although I did not want to continue eating no sugar, I would eat it in moderation and avoid it in areas where it wasn’t necessary for great flavor (like salad dressing and tomato sauce).
I started using Young Living essential oils since in early 2011 under the recommendation of some dear friends who had been successfully using these products for many years themselves. At first I was skeptical, but after seeing some incredible results, I was quickly convinced that this was no gimmick and I became a distributor for Young Living Essential Oils in early 2012. At first I was only a distributor for the benefit of receiving wholesale prices for myself and my family members (24% off of all products quickly adds up to saving a lot of money!), but as I continued to use the Young Living products and share with friends, a passion developed for educating others about using what God created and put right in front of us to use for our health. Although I believe that modern medicine is a blessing and definitely has its place (I was a pediatric cardiovascular ICU nurse for 4 years and I am so very thankful for all of the technology we have that The Lord uses to save the lives of those sweet little children), I also believe in using a more gentle approach as my first line of defense for mild illness. In nursing school, I spent many hours memorizing all of the different side effects and adverse reactions common in using pharmaceuticals. I love that with essential oils, I don’t have to worry about these same undesirable effects! The more I have used essential oils, the more I am in awe of God as Creator.
I have now been using essential oils for a few years and in this time our home has transitioned from using conventional chemical laden cleaning products, bath and body products, over-the-counter medications, carcinogenic (cancer inducing) candles and air fresheners, etc. to using more natural products made with essential oils and other basic, non-carcinogenic products.
We continued living this holistic lifestyle and were greatly impressed with the positive outcomes we were experiencing. In April of 2012, my family experienced sudden trauma through the unexpected death of my father. Our healthy eating plummeted as we were in such deep grief that we did not make healthy eating a priority, and consumed whatever was kindly brought to us by our loving friends who eat a more modern diet. By late summer I was once again feeling the effects of a poor diet. The headaches were back, along with muscle tension, menstrual cramping, and some other women’s health issues. I hopped back on the holistic bandwagon and felt better in a matter of days.
Since then, we have tried to stick with our holistic lifestyle as much as possible. We still indulge in non-healthy treats, but try to keep it to a minimum. Over time we have weeded out almost all chemical products from our home & our “medicine cabinet” is now a large bag of essential oils, band-aids, colloidal silver, and a few other first aid items. We still have changes we would like to make, but overall we are happy with how far we have come.
Well, that’s my story so far! I hope that you will follow along with me as I continue in the journey and blog about living a holistic lifestyle for the glory of God!