My Healing Journey with Food as Medicine

 

Telling our story is a powerful way to connect and make meaning out of our lives. While I tend to be a rather private person, I feel inspired to share my story in the hopes that someone will resonate, be inspired or just gain a deeper understanding of our collective human experience. As someone who is viewed as an authority in the health and wellness industry, I'm feeling vulnerable about this particular story because it involves my experience with an illness and I've often been told that I am “the healthiest person” many people know. However, it is in being vulnerable that we find our greatest strength and courage is contagious, so I'd like to share my healing journey with the Nectary Tribe.

 

I've been living a plant-based lifestyle for almost 30 years and adopted the belief that food is medicine early on in life. Even when I was a strict vegan I could see that diet was a very personal choice and never tried to tell anyone else what they should or should not eat. I've just always focused on eating what feels good and right to me in the moment while allowing others to make their own dietary choices.

I believe strongly in the health benefits of a plant-based diet and for many people who have eaten a more carnivorous Standard American Diet or consume alot of processed foods, transitioning to an all organic, plant-based diet can have a truly transformational impact on their health and well being. This is an integral part of what led me to start The Nectary… to make delicious and nutritious plant-based food and drink accessible to more people and help them realize the possibility of food as healing in their own lives.

Earlier this year, I began to experience symptoms that would eventually lead me to be diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. These symptoms were devastating to someone who lives a healthy, active and very demanding lifestyle. They also dramatically impacted my digestion and I was unable to consume any food without severe discomfort for several weeks. I became very sick and depleted with little energy to care for my own basic needs, let alone a business with two locations and 40 employees. I simply don't have the option of calling in sick, being a small business owner.

It was at this time that I reached such a low, I simply didn't know how to get myself out of it. Everything I thought I knew about what I needed was changing and it was changing quickly. When I really examined my belief in “food as medicine”, I found a deeper truth… The medicine that we need at different times in our lives changes and it is our responsibility to give ourselves the food/medicine that we need to not merely survive, but truly thrive. This is a level of awareness that listens to the needs of the body without any interference from the mind and empowers choices based in our intrinsic knowing. For the past 4 years, I had been working at a pace that was unsustainable and not listening to what my body really needed for too long, until it finally found a way to get my attention, through the manifestation of this condition.

After significant weight loss and not having a solid meal for weeks on end, I found myself doing something that seemingly went against my beliefs, but in actuality fully supported them. Now, I was really listening… we cannot have conflicting beliefs about something and expect to see a different result. So, I had to really examine my beliefs around food as medicine and found that at the very root of it, is the belief that ALL food is medicine, when prepared and consumed with intention and attention to healing.

Very quickly, and quite out of desperation I was able to accept this fundamental belief and move beyond my plant-based lifestyle into consuming deeply nourishing bone broth that is locally made and handcrafted in small batches with pure intention. With the very first sip, I felt myself coming back to life, animated and energized. This was truly the medicine my body needed with all the minerals and nutrients in a form that was easy for my digestive system to assimilate. Over the next days, weeks and months, bone broth became a daily tonic for me and I began drinking it in creative ways while incorporating it into my cooking as well. I’ve definitely had to confront difficult thoughts and emotions about the adoption of food being sourced from animals into my diet… when you've chosen the complete opposite for the majority of your life, there's a lot to digest there (pun intended).

 

This is all a part of my healing journey and the perfect example of food as healing. My insight into this journey has brought a deeper meaning to “food as medicine” being a founding principle of my business. And this is how we are arriving at the decision to offer bone broth at both of our Nectary locations. I've always said that every product we sell and ingredient we use has been experimented with by me, and I've experienced some benefit from it, which is why we've incorporated it into our offerings. The same holds true for bone broth - this has been a life-saving and totally transformational product for me and I would like to share these regenerative health benefits for the good of all of my community.

We will be proudly serving chicken bone broth made from local Victorian Farmstead chickens and lovingly crafted into a healing broth by Cesar of The Bone Broth Company. To begin with, we will be serving the piping hot broth with a lemon wedge and sprinkling of fresh herbs in a 10 ounce cup for $8. The broth will be kept in its own heating element to prevent any cross-contamination as I wish to respect and honor those who observe a strictly plant-based diet and assure these clients that it will be heated using separate equipment.

Please stay tuned as we develop some more complex elixirs and tonics with different flavor profiles and additional health benefits. We are honored to partner with local makers who are in alignment with our ethos and who also promote conscious consumption. We hope you'll find this new offering to be a welcome addition to the menu and we appreciate the ongoing opportunity to provide our community with a diversity of healthy choices.

My prayer in motion is that in sharing my story and vulnerability and health challenges, that maybe someone will be moved to make a healthier choice for themselves that's beyond their comfort zone or examine some beliefs to affirm that they're actually serving you. And if you know someone who might benefit from anything I've shared here, please feel free to pass it onto them. Stay tuned for Part 2 on Thursday as we discuss the origin and benefits of bone broth as well as introduce you to The Bone Broth Company.

Personally and professionally, I continue to be deeply humbled by the honor of providing this source of health and wellness for our community and find great resilience in your support.

 

To your health,

Gia

 

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