Grab some tea and relax a bit...

as I take you on a bit of a journey. It's one of crashing and spiraling upward, chronic dis-ease and vibrant health, nearly despairing and rays of hope. And the grace that comes from unexpected places amidst the struggle. 

If you are on a similar journey, I'd love to hear about it. Find ways to connect with me at the bottom of this page! 

I’ll never forget the moment five years ago that my health crashed, causing much about my life and who I believed myself to be to change in an instant.

It was lunchtime, halfway through five back-to-back speaking engagements at my alma mater. That morning, I had the amazing opportunity to share the realities of global human trafficking and our responsibility as consumers to respond to these abuses with the entire student body, followed by lecturing two classes. During lunch at the college’s cafeteria, I opted for a slice of pizza, no different than the hundreds of slices I’d eaten before.

That slice, though not the cause of my downward spiral, was the proverbial straw the broke the camel’s back. It didn’t sit well after the first couple bites, which was unusual, as I typically could eat absolutely anything with little difficulty (an ability that came in handy when eating local food in the hinterlands of many developing countries).

By the time finished speaking to the early afternoon class, the pain was so intense that I could barely stand, let alone walk back to where I was staying. From there, the downward spiral began, as practically everything I put in my body – even the healthiest of foods – caused intense burning and discomfort.

I was soon overtaken by fits of uncontrollable coughing, which for months afterward significantly impaired my ability to hold even short conversations or sleep for more than a few minutes at a time. Not awesome if you speak, teach, and train for a living.

Virtually overnight, I went from being the healthiest person most people knew – the type that ate cleanly, juiced daily, exercised 6 days a week, urban gardened, and fermented nut cheese in my closet – to barely hanging on by a thread. I had no idea why by body was letting me down or what to do about it.
At the time, I could see no option but to keep going (and going and going). I had a big job to do, a team to lead, overseas trips to take, and a toddler to shepherd. So, I put on a good public face and hid how bad things were from my supervisors and team. So well that, beyond the obvious coughing and looking tired, few people knew that anything was going on behind the scenes.

Over time, I was diagnosed with a broad range of issues: acid reflux, vocal cord deterioration, hiatal hernia, adrenal fatigue, candida overgrowth, leaky gut, numerous food allergies and sensitivities, chronic sleep deprivation, brain fog, fibromyalgia, parasites, nodules on my thyroid and gall bladder, and the list went on.

A year later, an astute daycare provider helped me realize that there was something terribly wrong with my beautiful two-year old daughter, which started us down a long road of testing, surgery, and drug side effects.


A gastroenterologist at Children’s National in Washington, DC told me Gabby was the worst case of stool impaction the department had ever seen in a 2-year old. She tested negative for all of the digestive diseases her symptoms pointed toward, specialists in multiple departments were completely baffled, and the treatments prescribed were grasping at straws.

We were both highly unusual, extremely complex cases. Conventionally trained doctors had no idea how to help us. The solutions (including numerous prescription drugs) they offered did not solve our problems or get to the root causes, and often made things worse (dramatic, unacceptable side effects).

In spite of her high quality, organic diet, Gabby was malnourished, as her toxin-filled body couldn’t absorb the nutrients. Her distended stomach made her look 9-months pregnant and she was often in a tremendous amount of pain. And despite trying every pharmaceutical, OTC drug, and natural option anyone prescribed or suggested, nothing touched that pain. I was powerless to help her.


I began researching and experimenting with natural ways to address our problems. It was when searching for natural ways to deal with Gabby’s severe abdominal pain that essential oils first came across my radar. 
Quite honestly, I was HUGELY skeptical and thought them a “hippie” thing that people used rather than candles to make their homes smell nice.

At this point, I had no idea that essential oils had immense therapeutic value and could be used to support all types of health and wellness issues. I mean really, how could one drop of distilled plant material impact anyone’s physical or emotional well-being?

And then more research, as I realized that I might also need essential oils to make non-toxic cleaning products (after I caught Gabby licking a toilet I had sprayed with a commercial cleaner) and something to soothe her eczema (nothing touched that either and she was scratching her legs bloody). Followed by more research to find pure, sustainably harvested, well-tested oils I could trust using on my health-compromised child.

No joke… one drop was all it took for me to see that I was wrong in assuming that essential oils were hocus pocus. With my little bottle of ginger oil, I had for the first time power to impact Gabby’s pain. To, within seconds of applying, stop her crying, relieve her bloating, and enable her to get back to the business of playing. It was nothing short of a miracle for us.

Essential oils quickly became an integral part of the diverse natural protocols we implemented to support the restoration of our health, as well as clean up the ingredients in the products we were using on our bodies and in our home.

Pictures can be deceiving...

This was taken when we were both at our lowest points. We looked pretty good from the outside, didn't we? 





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With these newfound tools, a detox protocol designed by a YWCA nutritionist in small town Western New York, and the support of two amazing functional medicine practices in Maryland, we slowly took back our health one small step at a time.  

We’ve spent an incredible amount of time, effort, money (thousands upon thousands), and trial and error restoring our health. You name the protocol, supplement, or gut healing diet, we’ve probably been on it. 

Believe you me, it was not all smooth sailing. We frequently alternated between confusion and clarity, frustration and progress, despair and glimmers of hope.  We took tentative steps forward and then several steps back. But along the way, we slowly healed and learned a ton in the process! 



Over time, I came to understand that my health crash, as well as Gabby starting out her life compromised after being carried in my toxic body, resulted from extreme amounts of stress, overseas travel, and anti-malarial antibiotics that came part and parcel with a decade of combating human trafficking as a U.S. diplomat. Compounded by birth control pills, the unclean water I was drinking, and the toxic products that I was using on my body and in my home. 

I simply overloaded my body to the point it could no longer cope. No amount of clean food or exercise could balance out the constant stress I was placing on it. My lifestyle and personal environment needed an overhaul! 

Little by little, I transformed my home into a wellness center that could nourish rather than further deplete our bodies. I removed the toxins I could control in our cleaning products, personal care products, water, and air. With my essential oils, I began making many of the things I used to buy, which I found was not only simple and easy, but saved me a truckload of money. 

As Gabby’s body detoxified and her immune system became stronger, she stopped getting sick all the time and her chronic skin conditions cleared. Instead of being constant, her belly discomfort became occasional. And when it does pop up, we can resolve it quickly with essential oils. I am so thankful that we now have a full arsenal of natural remedies to deal with almost anything else that comes our way. 

There are aspects of our health that we are still working to improve (such resolving our food allergies), but we have overcome the worst of it and are both fully functional and even thriving. And Gabby is no longer in danger of having her colon removed. So grateful for that!


 
Through the beauty of His creation, God provided us on this earth everything we need for optimal health and wellness. 

I’m constantly learning more about how to harness the innate power of essential oils and other natural solutions to advance my health and the health of my home. I love nothing more than passing along this knowledge to anyone who can use it. I’m passionate about natural medicine, minimizing toxin exposure, and 100 percent natural, nourishing options that lead to healthy bodies, healthy families, healthy homes, and a healthy environment.

I’ve been in the place of chronic overload where my body broke down and became totally dysfunctional. I've walked through the trauma of having a young child with severe health issues and feeling utterly powerless while watching her suffer.

I’m so grateful to be able to use the struggle Gabby and I went through to help other women in the prime of their careers take proactive steps to avoid falling into the pit, particularly before they pursue having children and inadvertently transfer problems to them. As well as extend a ladder to those who find themselves already at the bottom, depleted and burned out. There truly is hope and you don't have to walk this road alone.

I love helping health conscious women take their journey to the next level by detoxifying their personal environments and transforming their bodies and homes into oases of health. It’s actually not as difficult as we think to remove toxins, decrease body burden, and support our bodies using the gifts provided by the earth. We just need a system to quickly get there.

Those who link arms with me save time, money, and overwhelm because they avoid having to do lots of research and experiment with tons of new things for themselves. I’ve already put in the time, done the research, been the test case, and weeded through what works and what doesn’t. So you can skip directly to what works. Would love to walk with you on your journey!

I still am, at times, stressed and overwhelmed by the juggling act: intense full-time job, marriage to nurture, young child to steward, business to grow, and new mountains in my wellness journey to summit. I still have real work to do to uplevel in all these areas. Probably much the same as you. Grateful, though, to have tools – especially essential oils – that I didn’t have five years ago to support me in the grind and propel me toward my goals.

HOW CAN I HELP?

If you want help figuring out the next step forward in upleveling your health, I would love to connect with you!  

Click here to schedule a time for us to chat. 

Prefer email? You can connect with me at rachel@holisticallyhealthyhome.com.

Looking for a vibrant community to cheer you on as you integrate healthy changes into your home? Hop over and join Simplified Natural Living, my Facebook group dedicated to helping on-the-go women just like you.  We're excited to welcome you!