Oftentimes, our culture and respective upbringing have a significant influence on our dietary choices and lifestyle. Growing up as a half-Italian, African American female, my diet was high in calories, saturated fat, sugar and carbohydrates. My mother was diagnosed with diabetes and my father with high blood pressure, two health complications that are directly correlated to dietary habits. Unfortunately, I also faced health issues and continuously struggled to get answers from doctors that I needed. Therefore, instead of overdosing my body with pharmaceutical medicines as they insisted, I took matters into my own hands.
When I was younger, I struggled with obesity and was bullied about my weight in elementary school.This took a heavy toll on me, and left both emotional and mental scars. However, eventually, I became involved in a variety of extracurricular activities such as Key Club, Black Student Union, and Student Goverment - serving as senior class president. In college, I went on to pursue a degree in business marketing, but the combination of studying, the pressure to succeed, and stress caused me to frequently become ill with constant infections and viruses. One year, I actually had strep throat 8 times, causing doctors to advise me to have my tonsils removed as soon as possible.
After graduating, I faced challenges in terms of consistently working out due to the heavy demands of my day job. Like most, I would get off work, go home to stuff my face in front of the television, only to wake up and do it all over again; day after day after day. I needed a change and wanted a challenge!
In addition to my monotonous, unhealthy routine, like many others, went through a bad break up. However, I decided to channel that energy into living a healthier lifestyle. I became obsessed. Not only did this help me heal from my breakup, but I was now in the best shape of my life. During this journey, I decided to take my new love for fitness to another level and enter into my first bodybuilding competition. I competed for 3 years, winning 3 shows, but decided to stop because I started to develop body dysmorphia. I would do these shows and then go home and stuff my face, gaining all the weight back that I had just lost, again, repeating the cycle. I couldn't figure out how to stay fit while also eating the food that I enjoy.
Knowing that I couldn't be alone in facing these problems, I wanted to share my story with the world and build a brand around the constant struggle that most Americans face. The next step in my process was becoming a private jet flight attendant in order to gain different experiences, and more importantly connect with global influencers all over the world. I began flying all over the world, able to experience a plethora of different countries such as Argentina, Italy, Fiji and Paris. Over time, however, I started to run into health problems once again. With the constant shifts between time zones and weather patterns, I found myself getting sick again despite my consistent exercise regimen. I realized that working out was not enough. My love for nutrition was birthed from not being satisfied with my personal lifestyle goals.
I realized that everything we consume is either healing our bodies or hurting our bodies. I began studying sports nutrition, later receiving my certification, and started to document everything I was consuming and how it made me feel. I was able to eliminate acne and gut issues by becoming vegan. What I realized is that no doctor was able to hone in on my issues. I believe that many others face the same issues because there is more money in treating certain ailments than there is in curing them.
I started sharing my personal remedies with everyone I knew and began to develop a following. My brand has organically grown because of my focus on easy digestible education and repeatable access to information. For example, instead of simply stating the difference between a plant based diet and a vegan diet, I use my platform to partner with brands with an emphasis on educating consumers about healthy lifestyle choices. I have been vegan for 4 years and the number one misunderstanding is around the fact that you can still be vegan and have an unhealthy diet. In an attempt to adjust to my new diet, my body was constantly showing signs of inflammation, throat and skin infections and gut problems. My skin would breakout into hives, my face started to breakout in little bumps and I also got a skin rash all over my body. My body was inflamed from eating too many carbohydrates and sugar from my “vegan” diet. I saw dermatologist after dermatologist and they threw steroid creams and pills at me. None of the doctors I visited were trying to heal me naturally. Again, I saw a problem.
Continuing my journey, I started to study the Whole Foods Natural Remedies section. I would go into Whole Foods with my notebook & pen, sit on the ground in the vitamin aisle and just study everything in that sections for hours. My curiosity experimenting with herbs and minerals lead me to eliminate most carbohydrates from my diet as well as eating low glycemic fruits. I incorporated herbs and plants into my diet and within 30 days my inflammation started to clear up.
I share this story because my life experiences have shaped who I am today. I am a living testimonial that using products from nature’s farmacy can solve for what doctors and pharmacists cannot. We can heal ourselves from the inside out. I am the culmination of my experiences and a reflection of everyone who was ever bullied, experienced weight problems, dietary issues, and fitness challenges. Bare Root Remedy is where health care meets self care.