Have you ever thought to yourself… what would you need to do to live a healthier lifestyle? In this post, I’ve compiled my experiences and tips to living a healthier lifestyle for you. No doubt about it… making good lifestyle choices will result in a healthier life, and your ability to live a higher quality of life.
My story… before and after embracing a healthier lifestyle
After struggling through existing during my 8 years of declining chronic autoimmune and neurological health nightmare, I knew something needed to change. I had a feeling healing was possible, and felt more and more resentful over my team of 32 doctors who told me I needed to accept the fact that at 26 years old, I was just waiting to die.
Don’t you hate it when someone else decides your fate for you? This was my reality. The military forced me out during my 6th year of service because of my health issues, and managed to do so in a way that I wouldn’t receive a medical retirement. Countless prospective employers refused to hire me because I was deemed “unreliable” when I refused to entertain the thought of scheduling my seizures around a work schedule. 32 different doctors across 4 specialities in 3 different states decided my medical condition would continue to get worse until my body failed into death.
Feeling so out of control made me angry. I felt resentful. I was confused why so many people were so incompetent to figure out what was wrong with my body and offer actual healing support and advice. I don’t find it acceptable with all our advances in medicine (and history with ancient healing modalities) that my condition, along with over 200,000 other veterans experiencing the same thing, is “incurable.”
Trying Something Different: Living A Healthier Lifestyle
Something needed to change. After researching about food being used as medicine and seeing next to nothing (thankfully now the internet is flooded with more information), I read through countless blogs talking about their own personal healing journeys and gained hope that my doctors were wrong. Or if my last neurologist was right, I would end up dead soon anyway. Either way… my suffering needed to end.
I dove into the Paleo diet, removed all the products from our home containing avoidable harmful ingredients, and started incorporating essential oils into my daily routine.
Contrary to conventional wisdom provided to me by family and doctors, my dietary changes and reintroduction of yoga practices nearly wiped out ALL my health issues.
Taking My Healthy Lifestyle To The Next Level
From there, I started using essential oils regularly (every single day) as a part of my hygiene, cleaning, and recreational routines. I completely replaced all the products (personal care and cleaning) with healthier options.
The transition to a nontoxic lifestyle sealed the deal as my declining health had completely reversed, providing a dramatic turnaround from almost a decade of continually getting sicker to the point of total dependence on others to help.
Have You Heard Warnings About Living A Healthier Lifestyle?
My last neurologist warned me 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, and insisting that making this lifestyle shift would only kill me faster than my condition… which to him didn’t matter because he was convinced I wouldn’t live past my 30th birthday (2013) anyways.
My doctors and my 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… let’s face it… I was “going to die” anyway… so may as well 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 and health. I mean.. what’s the worst thing to happen? If changing my lifestyle killed me faster, it would just end up sparing me 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 in mid-2013, I’ve felt awakened and enlightened.
Each time I use an essential oil, I find myself feeling more:
- craving more information…
- craving personal development…
- connected with God…
Basically, embracing a healthier lifestyle became everything I ever dreamed of once again becoming, and more.
I thought my lifestyle shift was a good thing… so good that I started talking to everyone about my progress and research, including starting up my online presence through blogging and publicly sharing my story.
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 many people have been overly critical and demonstrative about the whole process and my newfound obsession. It was a harsh lesson in knowing who your friends are and setting firm boundaries with family who refuse to acknowledge the truth of what happened.
Is Wellness A Luxury?? After experiencing all the healing and vitality that entered my life through this simple lifestyle shift… I don’t believe so.
Unintended consequences of living a healthier lifestyle
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 lost my mind.
You see, I was brought up on the US government’s idea of the food pyramid. I was raised 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 I grew up to become a specially trained information research analyst for the military before becoming sick and being put to pasture with little to no benefits to help me manage to live 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 backward… all because of my aunt, who sent me my first page of information about the Paleo diet that some “mommy food blogger” wrote about that helped her overcome an autoimmune issue.
It was then that I realized a very important lesson. What is popular isn’t always what is right. Just because everyone lives their lives one way doesn’t mean I need to as well… even if they all think I’ve hit my head too many times and lost my mind.
Wait… what does the Paleo diet have to do with essential oils when living a healthier lifestyle?
For me, the Paleo diet 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 my curiosity which lead me down the path towards seeking out additional “natural remedies,” including Eastern and ancient medicine and essential oil protocols.
Little things like suddenly being able to walk up a flight of steps without falling unconscious… gaining more physical ability to actually be able to clean the whole house in one day… not needing to sleep 16 hours each day just to barely be able to function for a few hours… limitations slowly decreasing… it all inspired me to start asking questions. I needed to know why I was improving with the little changes I made. A lot of it came down to the food we were eating and no longer consuming additives and foods sprayed with harsh chemicals.
One question lead to another. If shifting what I ate had that profound of an impact… is there anything else in my home that could be hindering my progress? Is there anything else that I should know about that removing from my home could help facilitate additional progress in my healing? The whole process inspired me to frequently 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 and had created a new hobby.
The answer to them… yes… there were many items in our home that needed overhauling… in almost every room… and swapping them out was the simplest thing I did because it didn’t impact my overall lifestyle at all, aside from where I purchased from. One step at a time, I overhauled everything to create a healthier home.
Yes… I lost my mind living a healthier lifestyle.
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 the 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
Call it what you want… I’m feeling better than ever… and refuse to go back to the way my life was.
Everything I knew to be “truth” and “science” with regards to living a healthier lifestyle was questioned, answered, and re-questioned.
The worlds of PUBMED and Google Scholar became my most used references, which floored me to see actual science contradicting “professional opinions” touted in mainstream media, medical offices, and the government.
My entire thought process now baffled most of my family and friends, who genuinely believe I’m reckless and wrong for not only choosing my lifestyle but for promoting it on a public platform and for blowing up their social media news feeds with random facts I find intriguing about toxin exposure and simple alternatives.
The clarity and drive for additional knowledge on what, why, and how we feel about what we do has consumed my life… and I actually found enjoyment in 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 teaching 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 intrigues 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?
If you’re anything like me, you fully 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, which pushed me in a defined direction expected by those responsible for forging my youth.
Now, we do some pretty “crazy” things… like using essential oils for just about everything, using food as medicine, and using “toxin-free” alternative products with everything.
I lost my mind… and honestly… I don’t miss it one bit!
“How can you live a happy life 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 here for you too.
The answer is simple… I’m inherently happy now that avoidable toxins are removed from my life. I don’t worry about toxic chemicals everywhere in the world. I acknowledge where the avoidable harmful chemicals are and how to make wiser choices.
Removing toxic products has enabled me to regain my health and ignite a passion for helping others to overcome their strife using methods that bring them closer to nature that doesn’t have undesirable side effects. So I make avoiding them a priority for my family.
I don’t sit in my home obsessing over whether or not parabens will hurt me. I simply read a label at the store, place the product back on the shelf, and move on. And now my life is made even simpler now that I’ve found a few select brands with high standards that shatter the industry norms I have grown to trust and respect. I typically reign in my purchases for cleaners, personal care products, and cosmetics only from those select brands, so I’m not stuck at the stores flipping through every single product just to leave disappointed. It is so much easier this way… just purchase online and go back to my daily routine.
I know Beautycounter and GGlowry will never use parabens or phthalates in their products (among 2,000+ 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 a couple of essential oil companies (like Oshadhi) don’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. Their cosmetics and personal care products will never use 2,500+ known harmful chemicals (more rigorous than any other company I’ve seen).
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, 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).
The Environmental Working Group has information about numerous popular brands and makes it easy to see which ones should be avoided due to harmful chemicals used in their ingredients.
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 naturally healthy 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!
A Note From Nicole
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Nicole is a military-trained research analyst, homeschooling mom, healthy lifestyle coach, flexible business consultant, and writer for MotherhoodTruth.com and GracefullyAbundant.com. After living through and overcoming a season of homelessness and chronic health, Nicole developed a passion for helping others develop healthier habits using functional nutrition, herbalism, and renewing faith.