Changing in Arizona, Inspired by North Carolina

Hello all, and happy Easter!

Today was a quiet, but peaceful and joyous celebration of Jesus’ victory at the cross.  Yesterday marked one month of living in Arizona.  All is well today, but my relocation started off bumpy, to put it mildly!

Speedy update: Two weeks after my relocation, I experienced an unexpected health crisis, which was a direct result of a “preventative” pesticide spray (which I did not agree with from the beginning!).  I was hospitalized twice and experienced great distress to my state of health.

Now more than ever, I detest pesticides, whether sprayed in the house or sprayed on our produce.  Pesti-“cides” are designed to KILL.  These toxic carcinogens do not belong in our body or in our homes.  It is hard to conceptualize that the idea of organic living is controversial.

Under the supervision of a naturopathic physician who specializes in environmental medicine, I am undergoing a thorough detoxification regimen via diverse modalities.  I have been made aware that now, more than ever, organic food is a conscious choice, but also now a necessity for me.

Through this unexpected crisis, I learned so much about myself.

  • I experienced firsthand, the body’s powerful ability to rapidly self-heal, if given the proper conditions. In my case, I had to completely relocate from the pesticides that had permeated my apartment.  I had medical orders from both allopathic and naturopathic physicians to not return to that residence.  Lucky for me, my incredible mate, Joshua, chose to travel across the country during this crisis to be a strong source of support and facilitate the transition out of the contaminated apartment. My body has rapidly healed, and I am back on track for my first coming quarter at my naturopathic medical school.
  • This health crisis has peaked a profound interest in environmental medicine.  A passion has birthed in me. 

Perhaps that was not a speedy update (sorry I tried), but hey, it’s been a month!

Moving onto the main purpose of this blog: the idea that I am living in Arizona, yet heavily influenced by inspiring individuals in North Carolina, on a daily basis.

Tonight, I have been soaking henna plant in my hair, as a natural, plant hair dye: free of chemicals, PPD, metallic salts, ammonia, pesticides, peroxides, preservatives AND cruelty free. Yes!

As the henna naturally dyes my hair,  I reviewed medical terminology and practiced my knowledge and memory retention.  I did this while I listened to the “On Air With Ella” podcast.  Ella, or Elizabeth, is a highly influential person that I am very grateful to know.  I first met Elizabeth when I was working out at the YMCA in North Carolina.  I noticed Elizabeth by her dynamic workouts that kept catching my eye.  Her body was strong and she radiated vibrant health and wellness. So, I approached her curious to learn more about her workout regimen and lifestyle practices.

Long story short, Ella planted seeds of insight about food.  Yet, she made it sound ridiculously simple; I started to realize I was over-complicating nutrition, much more than I realized.

At the end of our conversation, Ella left me with one statement–if you clean up your diet and simply eat REAL food, your body will change, simply by that.  And likewise, the body would self-heal and function with vitality.  She noted at the end, “And if you hear or do nothing else, stop eating fake butter!”  She recommended the grass-fed butter at Trader Joe’s.  It was a powerful first interaction that really stuck with me, to this very day.  I stayed in touch with Ella via email and social media.  I am forever grateful for her seeds, for now I have a garden. 🙂

At this point, I did not know about naturopathic medicine.  In hindsight, this planted seed was very significant.  I came to gradually change, slowly but surely.  Walking at times, sometimes crawling, and other times running with positive change.

Ultimately, this seed blossomed through my holistic wellness journey and my epiphany “ah-ha!” moment took place while watching the “Food Matters” documentary.  Now, I am in naturopathic medical school!

I continue to grow and learn with Ella’s powerful podcast.  Her shows are all filled with unique purpose, but one of my favorite shows was with Food Babe, a publicly outspoken food investigator, a fellow North Carolinian.

The link to the show with Food Babe:

Vani Hari, aka Food Babe, has triggered a consumer movement that is revolutionizing the way people eat, think, and live.  In just three years, Food Babe’s work has forced dozens of companies, from Kraft to Chipotle to Starbucks and Subway to eliminate controversial and toxic ingredients from their products.

McDonald’s announced in the beginning of March 2015 that over the next two years, they will phase out antibiotic-fed chicken and offering antibiotic-free chicken.  As a popular global food restaurant, this vital decision has been called a game-changer.  This decision did not happen by chance or coincidence; it was driven by consumer demand.

Now, other restaurants like KFC are in the hot seat and feeling the pressure to make changes to their antibiotic-fed chicken.  Food Babe has helped me learn to be my own food investigator, activist and nutritionist.  She is single-handedly changing lives every single day.  Kudos, Food Babe!

So tonight, I was reading her book “The Food Babe Way” when I read an excerpt that stopped my reading and redirected me to my blog.  I thought to myself–blog time, long overdue!

Food Babe wrote about her confrontation with apathetic Kraft employees with a powerful question, “Why did you reformulate mac and cheese without artificial dyes overseas, but not here in the United States?”  Artificial dyes are still allowed in Europe—but you reformulated them there. Why?”

She received an apathetic tone with no true response from the Kraft representatives.

Food Babe explains that in Europe, Kraft has removed artificial dyes and replaced them with natural ingredients like paprika and beta-carotene.  She goes on to write,

These mega-corporations have chosen to be the primary vendors of foods that are supposed to fortify families across the country, if not the globe, yet they stuff them full of chemicals not for any nutritional benefit but rather to broaden their reach and fatten their bottom lines.

These companies, and many others, need to be on fire and in the hot seat.  And it’s happening. McDonald’s uses a chemical in their fast food french fries, that is also used in silly putty.  Packaged cheese utilizes cellulose, which derives from wood pulp.

I don’t know about you, but I am don’t want to eat anything is composed of wood pulp or shares a formulation ingredient with Silly Putty.  And if that labels me as a hippie or liberal, then so be it.

To date, there are about 10,000 chemically-based preservatives created by companies–chemicals that our bodies were not designed to digest or effectively metabolize.

Combine this with chronically high levels of stress, sleep deprivation, unhealthy lifestyle practices, and a sedentary lifestyle, and the product is a massive epidemic of completely preventable diseases. 

Back to those 10,000 chemicals, there are banned pesticides and chemicals that are banned or highly regulated in other countries, yet still legally permitted by United States government.

Such banned substances include:

  • Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs)
  • Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is used in all cereals, bagged chips, and many other processed food-like products.
  • rBGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) is injected in cows, a total endocrine disruptor.
  • Food dyes (such as red #40, red #3, yellow #5, yellow #6, blue #1, blue #2, green #3) are all associated with hyperactivity in children.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Chlorinated chicken, meaning the chickens have been washed in chlorine.

May I add, that all of these chemicals and practices (such as washing chicken in chlorine) have detrimental  health outcomes.  In other words, they are all banned for valid reasons.

Food industry practices have all changed for the worse, driven by the bottom-line. We are entitled to take our power and our health back. We have rights as consumers to know if our foods have GMOs through labeling.

Simply put, these profit-driven practices are unhealthy, unethical and gives more power into the sister, corrupted pharmaceutical companies that sell a pill for every ill. The same ills that we get from our food-like products and sedentary, indoor lifestyle.  Now, more than ever, our country desperately needs naturopathic medicine.  The tides are turning.

Speaking of naturopathic medicine, another favorite podcast from On Air With Ella, is her show with Dr. Jillian Teta, a naturopathic physician practicing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Dr. Teta gives an powerful perspective on gut health and ways to achieve true gut health, encompassing a broad perspective.  Our digestive tract is aligned closely with our immune system and overall health.  When the body is not functioning well, the digestive tract is usually affected.  Dr. Teta also discusses that the gluten today is not the same gluten our grandparents ate, and there are detrimental health outcomes in our digestive tract, with this evolved more dense gluten.

Link to the show to hear more:

I am inspired by these powerful messages and influential individuals, all in North Carolina, the state where I, slowly but surely, embarked on my own wellness journey and discovered naturopathic medicine.  For that reason, North Carolina always has an extra special place in my heart (and also for my sweet family!).

It is exciting that as I am now here in Arizona, I am still heavily influenced by such inspiring health advocates in North Carolina.  I have heard so many great things about Asheville, its natural beauty and organic culture.  There is definitely unfinished business for me in North Carolina.

Tonight, I learned further seeds of knowledge for my wellness, growth and future practice.  From a macro-perspective, I envisioned my passions, laced with compassion, coming to fruition.

It is exciting to think of all the people I have yet to meet, but will encounter and help. Many faces to meet, names to learn–communities I have yet to experience.  There is so much on the horizon, open with possibility and opportunities waiting to unfold.  Who knows what is to come in the future… When nothing is sure, everything is possible. And there’s so much beauty and peace in that thought.

Time to rinse this earthy goodness out of my hair, y’all.

Wishing you an abundance of vitality and joy! 🙂

xo, Gigi


3 thoughts on “Changing in Arizona, Inspired by North Carolina

  1. I have been trying to send this comment for two days and keep inadvertently dumping it. I am so sorry to hear you were sick, however, it is great you were able to bounce back and get help and support you needed. Your commitment has be tested and you’ have shown that this journey will be completed with whatever challenges you encounter. I have met many young adults in my life but VERY few with the drive, courage, and determination wrapped in love and kindness you possess. Your stronger than you think and smart too!!! I hope these words help to show how much I believe in you.
    As for this post about health and healthy living it is very helpful and informative. I plan on checking out the butter mentioned and due in part to your inspiration I have started a daily steps log and topped 10k steps twice in the last 5 weeks.I miss our walks and talks!!! Please stay in touch .
    Bob Hill

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw Bob, thank you so much for your sweet feedback! I truly appreciate your sweet words and support to my blog–thank you, thank you! I am inspired by your efforts to be more aware of your food choices, and proactive with taking charge of your health.

      Remember that journey of 1,000 miles begins with one single step, again and again. It’s never too late to revolutionize your health. Honor your starting place, where you’re at, with what you have, and with what you know. When you feel off track or discouraged, always remember that you can redirect in a positive direction, at any moment. You can build on EVERYTHING, just keep adding on at your own pace. One day, you may turn around and realize you are a completely different person, for the better! 🙂

      “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.”

      I miss our walks and talks. More to come in the future, for sure. Dogs are doing very well, by the way. They are making leaps and bounds! 🙂

      Sending you a big virtual hug,



  2. What an honor to be mentioned here, and mores to be a part of your story, Gigi. Beautifully written. You inspire me! I cannot wait to see where this journey takes you, and the many, many people you will help along the way. All the best, Ella


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