Three days ago I read something that made all my hair stand up on end. It wasn’t creepy or unsettling; it was a cosmic sign from the universe. In that very moment I knew that a major shift had occurred, and my purpose in life was suddenly vibrantly clear.
I was working on the materials for my nutrition class, which I currently teach to private groups in Utah (visit my Classes & Parties page for more info). I was searching for a little more hard science to back this claim by Dr. Mark Hyman, a specialist in functional medicine:
“Food is information carrying detailed instructions for every gene and every cell in your body, helping them to renew, repair, and heal or to be harmed and debilitated, depending on what you eat. What if you could send messages and instructions to heal your cells and turn on healing genes? And what if, by some simple changes in your diet, you could get rid of most of your chronic symptoms and diseases in just one week (or maybe two!)? That is entirely possible.”
Even though I believe this wholeheartedly and have heard this sentiment echoed in nearly all of my food and diet research (and seen it at work in my own life), I wanted to be able to share it with others in a way that would leave no doubt in their minds that food is the key to solving our health and wellness problems.
What I ended up finding astounded me.
I stumbled onto an an article by Dr. Joseph Mercola on the field of epigenetics, which studies the factors that affect genetic expression — the external factors that turn genes on and off. The field is founded on the remarkable discovery that contrary to popular belief, your DNA does not actually determine your destiny; in fact, it’s our responses to our environment that determine whether or not certain genes are activated or de-activated.
This means that even though our DNA may contain negative traits (say, for example, the breast cancer gene or the ADHD gene), they are not guaranteed to activate — it’s not a surety that you’ll have those illnesses and problems. Because our genes can be turned off as well as on, they can be bypassed and even ignored altogether. And even if they are activated, they can be de-activated just as easily.
This is astounding, glorious news, because it means that you are not a prisoner of your DNA, held captive by heredity or medical history. Our genes are not metaphorical time bombs waiting to explode; they are simply options, possibilities. They suggest to our bodies what could be, but not irrevocably what will be.
What’s more: This means that we have the power to choose whether or not we will spend our lives sick and exhausted, achy and broken down, depressed and waiting to die. We have the power to choose because those external factors, the “environment” that can activate or de-activate our genes, are almost entirely within our control.
The two things that determine the expression of our genes are:
- Our food.
- Our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs.
This news is extraordinary in and of itself, but to me it was particularly meaningful. I believe that our bodies want to be healthy, and they know how to be healthy, but we have to stop overloading them with garbage and give them the proper fuel for them to live their highest potential. Yet for the past few months I have struggled to define the purpose of this blog — really, my purpose in life. Yes, I am deeply passionate about nutrition and I believe in the power it has to heal our bodies. But I am equally passionate (if not more so) about the power of the mind to heal itself of even its most serious afflictions. I know these things because I’ve lived them and my life has been thoroughly transformed because I put these beliefs into action.
I have spoken often of my history with bipolar disorder. What I have avoided saying until now is the thing I actually believe deep down in my core: I have cured myself of mental illness. I know this just as surely as I know that I have cured myself of asthma, migraines, and chronic sinusitis. It is an inarguable fact: These diseases are no longer present in my body. And modern medicine did not remove them; I did, through diet and more than a decade of work on healing from past experiences, purging the negative influences in my life, being at one with a higher power, and mastering the art of positive thinking.
This is a powerful message and one that I am unshakably sure of. Yet I have been afraid of spreading this message because I did not want to give false hope. Or more accurately, I never want to give the idea to those who are unstable and not yet in a position to take charge of their mental health holistically that it’s OK to go off your medications willy-nilly . Even though I have not lived with meds for almost six years, I consent that traditional medicines and therapies do play a crucial role along the path to mental wellness. But now I think it’s time to stand behind my convictions and say that illness reversal is possible and achievable by tirelessly pursuing the work of wellness. I am living proof of that — and now I know I have science on my side.
What’s more, I have another truth to share: My life continues to blossom and expand beyond my expectations because I have spent the past two years actively studying the law of attraction, the science of deliberate intent. Each day I am learning more clearly how to turn hope into faith, ideas into realities, thoughts into things. I am learning to work more closely with the God who created me and the Spirit He gave me to follow my passion and create a joyful, service-filled life. This very blog, for example, began with an idea: to share my passion for whole-foods, plant-powered living. And that’s where we come full circle.
I started Healthy Little Changes with the idea that I would teach people how to eat better, one little change at a time. Occasionally, however, I would feel torn, wondering if my energies were better spent spreading my message of hope and positivity, of life after mental illness. After all, I’ve long believed that my years of suffering through depression were a gift so that I may help others through their trials. But then I’d go back toward nutrition and ponder how to help families with children eat better together, because it’s something every mother I know struggles with on a daily basis. Add in my new passion for using my thoughts and beliefs to manifest abundance and joy, and you can see why I’ve been suffering from a bit of an identity crisis.
Now, however, it’s abundantly clear. My new knowledge of epigenetics is the proverbial missing piece of the puzzle, the link that tied together my passions and core beliefs. And now I know how to speak on all of them here at Healthy Little Changes, because they’re not separate issues — they’re inextricably knitted together, and when we improve in one area we can improve in them all.
So rather than write a new blog post last week, I re-wrote the pages on my website and redefined my message, my purpose and my mission:
The human body has the incredible ability to heal itself. But for so many of us, two major things get in the way: our diet and our attitude. Healthy Little Changes is all about helping you activate your body’s innate healing powers and natural wellness patterns by adopting a whole-foods, plant-powered diet and by training your mind to believe in and welcome the best.
In other words, Healthy Little Changes is all about helping you get control of your nutrition and take charge in the kitchen. It’s about helping you find out what makes your mind and your body truly happy and creating more of that in your life. It’s about helping you and your family say goodbye to the habits that rob you of health and happiness and replacing them with better ones that are easy to live by. It’s about creating healthier bodies and happy lives, one little change at a time.
And on a personal level, I want to tell you this: Who you are now is not who you have to be, and who you will be is not set in stone. You have the power to change. You have the power to choose. It takes some practice, learning not to lose your mind when you get cut off in traffic or your kid throws a fit or your spouse picks a fight. It takes conscious effort to give yourself the things you need to thrive and to reject those things which damage your body and spirit. But it is all within your power. This I believe, and I invite you to believe it too.
And I invite you to learn it with me, here at Healthy Little Changes. I’m still keeping my core message of health through nutrition, but I’m bringing back my emphasis on emotional wellness once and for all. And yes, you’ll still get recipes and practical tips on helping husbands and kids get with the program without staging a mutiny. And you’ll also get more of me, the person behind the starry-eyed dreams and endless stream of words. So if you can handle all this happy-hippie goodness, take a minute to read my revamped home page, the ‘Start Here‘ and ‘Nutrition‘ pages, and the ‘Classes & Parties‘ page. They’ve been re-written not with my refined vision in mind but with you in mind. Because I want to help you feel better and live the life of your dreams, just like I’m pursuing right now.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me. If anything in this message touched you, please share it and this website. Let’s build an army of wellness warriors, intent on ridding our bodies of disease and our minds of damaging beliefs. I can’t wait to see it — and us — grow.
Peace, plants, and positivity,