As I promised in our very first podcast episode, I am going to go into my story, and hopefully it helps you understand a bit more about me as a person, and also my passion for kids’ health and naturopathy in general.
In this episode, I talk about my journey. From how I grew up as an Aussie Kid on the typical western diet. To my teenage years when I started having skin and hormonal issues. This eventually led me to seek help from a naturopath. After being dissatisfied with how Western medicine somehow “cured” my symptoms, but failed to address the root cause.
This inspired me to pursue naturopathy. Dive deeper into the different modalities it offered which I was really interested in. Fast forward years later, I also share my experiences in travelling around the world with my then boyfriend, now husband, Scott, and how it got me where I am today.
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Hello! Jessica Donovan here and it’s great to be back! As I promised in our very first podcast episode, I am going to go into my story. Hopefully it helps you understand a bit more about me as a person. And also my passion for kids health and naturopathy in general. I always share a brief introduction of myself whenever I’m sharing any information. I thought it might be fun to go a bit deeper, and share a little bit more about myself. Some of these things I don’t think I’ve shared at all publicly before.
I grew up in a suburb, suburban childhood, about 45 minutes South of Adelaide. So the Southern suburbs of Adelaide and I had a very kind of stable, non-eventful childhood in a good way. We never moved house. My parents are actually still in the same house that I grew up in. It was just a typical childhood. I have two siblings, a sister and a brother. My sister’s 18 months younger than me. And if you’re a Klub member, you might know of her she’s a councelor. She’s in the kind of health industry as well, more than mental, emotional health. My brother is almost seven years younger than me. I just had this typical, stable, grew up in a very loving home, sort of childhood.
We had the typical Australian diet, as well. My family, we’re not overly health conscious at all. Although my mom really enjoyed cooking, and still does, we did grow up on that typical kind of Western diet. Quite a bit of processed food, now that I look back on it. Quite a bit of sugar, and that sort of things. We had good, wholesome kind of home cooked meals. But there was a lot of chips and processed snacks. I remember as a teenager coming home from school, starving. Having six pieces of toast, we’ve been eating them because I was so hungry. Now I look back and think about it, I was really was not having enough protein and healthy fats and things in my diet.
That’s why I was so ravenous when I would get home from school and fill up on more carbohydrates and sugars. And as a family, we were all fairly healthy, no sort of big health events. But as a teenager, I started noticing things that were bothering me. So my skin, I started getting acne. I was probably around 14, 15, and my periods were really irregular as well. My skin started really bothering me. I already was a fairly quiet kid with not a lot of confidence. You know, I used to be very close to my mom all the time as a smaller child. And as I grew up, I just remember there was nothing more I hated than having attention on me.
So in class, if I got asked a question, my face would go bright red. I was quiet and didn’t have a lot of confidence. And the skin issues started really bothering me and really affecting my confidence even more. You know, I remember wearing my hair down and forward over my cheeks to cover my spots. And so my mom took me along to the doctor and, of course, the doctor prescribed the oral contraceptive pill. Now this was just for my periods and my skin. I didn’t need it for any other reason at that point, and so I started taking the pill because we didn’t know any better.
We were just kind of going with what the doctor had recommended and within a couple of months, all of my issues were gone by skin was clear, my periods were regular and I was happy. I was happy that it had worked, I found a solution, but I can’t remember exactly how long it was later that I came off the pill thinking that I was cured. I didn’t need this pill every day anymore, and I soon found out that the pill was, you know, just covering up my symptoms that was a band aid solution for the irregular periods and the acne, because my skin was worse than it was before and my period started becoming a irregular again.
So of course, I went back on the pill, but that was the first insight I had into, “Hang on a minute this is not a solution. Not a long term solution, this is not solving my problem. This is just covering up my problem.” And at that point, all I wanted was clear skin, you know, that was really important to me, as it is for a lot of teenagers. And so I, you know, went on and off the pill over, you know, the period of a few years. And every time I came off, my skin flared up even worse than it was before. I now know that it’s really common to get this post-pure flare up of acne.
There’s a couple of things that sort of lead to that one of them being that, you know, as you come off the pill, your body starts producing more sebum, so you get more acne. And another one is the effect that the pill has on your androgen levels, or your sort of male hormones, those hormones that are more common in males like testosterone, and there’s other androgens as well. So it is very common, and I now understand that, but at the time I didn’t. And so I knew that I, you know, I started to look for another solution, and I went off to see a naturopath. And this again was the first time that I had, that I realised, one: that I had got issues. I had always just thought my tummy troubles were normal.
Slow bowel movements, windy, bloating, those sorts of things were just normal for me. I just dealt with them my whole life, and I doubt it was nothing severe. But now looking back on it, it was those little signs and symptoms that you know, things were unbalanced.
Firstly, the naturopath made me realise that, I did have gut issues from the questions that she had asked me, and it was the first time that I’d heard about a link between the gut and skin issues as well. And this naturopath really gave me a lot of awareness on diet, and it was from that point that I started changing my diet. One of the main things that I did was really cut down on those starchy carbohydrates, those processed refined carbohydrates and sugars. That alone made such a big difference to both my tummy issues, and my skin. So I started to see the results that these dietary changes were having on my skin and my hormones. And I’d been put on some herbs and nutrients and that sort of thing.
So I was finally seeing some long lasting results from the treatment that this naturopath had recommended. That was really promising. That’s what really led me into naturopathy in the first place. I was in kind of the year 11 or 12 by this point and I knew that, while I was looking at doing something health related. I’ve done some work experience with a physio. I was looking into speech pathology, into chiropractic, and then seeing this naturopath I remember one day at school, we were having to research some careers that we might be interested in and I found naturopathy. I looked up naturopathy and this light bulb went off like this is what I want to do because it combines so many of the things that I’m thinking of doing, nutrition was another area that I was thinking about.
What I read about naturopathy was that it kind of combines a whole heap of modalities, nutrition and massage therapy, which I was quite interested in at the time. Things that I’d never heard of like herbal medicine and homeopathy. Well, I’d come across herbal medicine, just from the naturopath that I’d seen. And so, in that moment, I decided, yes, this is what I want to do! At that point, naturopathy was not offered at university. So it was a little private college in Adelaide that I went to, it was the only place, I think there was two private colleges in Adelaide at the time. So my mum and dad were a little skeptical. I’d always done fairly well at school. I’d gotten good grades and they were excited at the prospect of me studying physiotherapy or something like that.
I hadn’t really come across a lot of information about naturopathy and it would have meant that I wasn’t going to university because the university didn’t offer naturopathy at the time. But they supported me. You know, I made it clear that that’s what I wanted to do. And off I went and studied naturopathy for the next four years. My whole world was opened up, I just loved it, I loved learning about the body, and how the body worked and love delving into all of these modalities that naturopathy offered. But I very quickly veered towards the more sort of science-based modalities. So I love nutrition, I loved dietetics, I loved herbal medicine.
I wasn’t so keen on things like homeopathy, which I did study in my naturopathic course, but I don’t practice. Not that I don’t like it as a modality, it just didn’t light me up like herbal medicine and nutrition do. I wasn’t so keen either on the body therapies, but as I’m going to explain, I did do quite a bit of message after I graduated, as I was traveling the world, and I wasn’t so keen on the more energetic therapy. I was really drawn to the more solid science, logical kind of modalities.
Homeopathy, if anyone has studied it, you know, it’s really hard to get your head around how it all works, it kind of doesn’t make logical sense. It’s an amazing modality and I’ve personally had some really great results with homeopathy, but for me, like, I needed it to make sense in my head for me to, to be able to practice these modalities. So I very soon realised that nutrition and herbal medicine and diet is where I was really interested in.
I also loved Environmental Medicine. So this just again, really opened my mind and overwhelmed me. Actually, with all of that information about, the dangers of our environment and toxins and chemicals and how they affect our bodies, but I really love that subject, even though it was really overwhelming. It taught me that when you’re overwhelmed, or there’s a whole heap of information that you need to take in and a whole heap of things that you need to change, a step by step approach is the best. And so I think Environmental Medicine really taught me that you’re not going to be able to change all of these things. You need to kind of take a step by step approach.
So I studied naturopathy over those four years, and I was one of the youngest in my, in my class. We had a lot of older adults. Not old old, but in their 20s and 30s that had gone through generally a health crisis of their own, and come back to study naturopathy. There was only two of us that were kind of straight out of school, and studying naturopathy. I was quite young and I wanted to get some life experience and I was very excited about the prospect of traveling. It was something that I was thinking about all through my studies.
As soon as I graduated, well, a few months after, I think I graduated in December, me and my boyfriend then, husband now, left to go overseas for a year. Now that year actually turned into almost five years before we came home but our plan was to leave and go traveling and find work and have adventures all around the world. Our first step was the States. We flew out of Adelaide and into Los Angeles. This was my first time ever overseas, we did not travel overseas, as a family when I was a child. We couldn’t afford it, and so, the most exciting holiday we had from South Australia was up to to Queensland. We didn’t really go away much at all as a family so not sure where my love for travel came. Maybe it was that lack of travel as a child.
We did a bit of local camping and that sort of thing, but this was my very first time overseas and it was pretty emotional leaving. As I said, the plan was to leave for 12 months, we had the first three months planned, and I was with my boyfriend so at least I had someone with me. It sounds so weird to say boyfriend now that we’ve, we’ve been married for quite a few years now, and so, off we went. And I just remember bawling on the plane, and my mom later told me that she went home and spent the whole day crying. I didn’t realise that she was upset.
Obviously, I had that real mix of emotion of being really, really sad to be leaving my family and friends, and I guess there was quite a bit of fear there as well. Being my first time overseas and sort of alone. I was 21 at the time and yeah, my mom said that she went home and cried for the day, but I just remember I could not stop crying on the plane for a couple of hours. And then the excitement took over and off we went.
So we landed in Los Angeles and our first stop was to work in Camp America. We had this job lined up that we were lucky enough to get as a couple, and we were to work as lifeguards as Aussies do. Even though my swimming skills were not amazing, I had done a swimming instructor course because that was something we needed to do to be lifeguards at Camp America. I was assigned Head Lifeguard, which was crazy. I had to do, as soon as we landed in Los Angeles, I had to go off and do a couple of weeks training in a university in Los Angeles and this was just such an amazing experience. It felt like we were in college in the States. You know, like in the movies. We slept in the dorms.
My husband didn’t get the Head Lifeguard job, so he went and stayed in a hostel nearby. I went and stayed in the dorms of this university, and did some pretty hardcore training to become a lifeguard. Now I was pretty fit. One of the parts that I’ve left out of this story is I’ve been working as a fitness instructor and waitressing and doing all the things. I think I had about four or five jobs at one point while I was studying to save up to go overseas. I was fairly fit and healthy but swimming, as you know, if you’ve tried any sort of swimming for fitness is a whole different fitness.
We were having to do crazy things like, hold weights above our heads while we swim laps of this pool. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Now I see that as a really, really a good thing. As I mentioned before, I was this painfully shy child. So doing fitness instructing was a way for me to really step out of my comfort zone. When I I started doing fitness, instructing and studying for it, I thought about it as a bonus. The reason that I wanted to do it was because I was going to the gym and I was loving fitness classes. And I thought, well, I could get paid for this rather than paying a gym membership.
That was my motivation to start and I don’t know, unconsciously, I was pushing myself out of my comfort zone because I soon realised that I’m going to have to stand up in front of all these people shouting at them to you know, lift their knees higher, or jog faster or jump higher. That job as a fitness instructor really did kind of build a lot of confidence. So I was fairly fit and doing this lifeguard training, meeting new people, I just you know, was having the best time. We did that and then hired a car and drove up the coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco, where we were meeting some people that were going to drive us up to Camp America that we had gotten a spot, a job spot on.
This wasn’t the typical kind of commercial Camp Americas that you see in the movies with the lake and the speedboats and the dorms. This was a very rustic Camp America. It was called Bar 717 Ranch. It still exists. We would love to take the kids there. It’s in Northern California really in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the mountains and very rustic and so we arrived there and fell in love with the place straightaway. I think this is where my love for the outdoors really bloomed again. We weren’t a real outdoorsy family as kids, you know, the family I grew up in, we went to the beach, we had that typical Australian semi-outdoor lifestyle, but my parents weren’t into hiking, we would go camping because their friends did, but they didn’t love camping.
So yeah, Camp America, Bar 717 Ranch, and we slept on these platforms. These open air platforms that were like a cabin, but they didn’t have one of the walls basically wasn’t there. So it was a wooden platform with a back and sides and a roof where you basically living out in nature. We were there for four months. And kids would come and go for a couple of weeks or a month at a time and we would do all kinds of activities with them. So we did lots of backpacking adventures and sleeping overnight, overnight kind of sleep outs, we would go down to the river every afternoon and that’s where we were lifeguards, and there was probably about 20 other camp counselors there.
We were the only Australians there was a lot of Americans and people from other places from the UK, from Germany, from Russia, there was a couple. We ad the most amazing time and got really close with the other camp counselors that were there. Everyone was away from their families. It was an amazing experience. After that, we went and traveled around Canada for a little while, which we loved and then we were out of money. So when we didn’t have a lot of money left, we headed over to London. As we do as Aussies to get a job and live the London life for a little while. Very different to the experience that we’d had in America and Canada, which was more the outdoorsy kind of wilderness experience.
In London, we got a job really quickly, which was lucky because the Aussie dollar back then was pretty bad. We thirded our money. Everything was so expensive. We just stayed in a cheap backpackers and we got a job in a pub, as we do as Aussies. We worked in Wimbledon, the famous tennis location, which is right South, in the Southern part of London. And we lived on top of this pub with 12 other Aussies and New Zealanders that all worked at the pub. So we didn’t have the healthiest lifestyle in the few months that we were working there. All late nights, crappy food, drinking too much, sleeping in. It was really party lifestyle and it was fun at the time.
We did a few sort of pub hospitality jobs around the UK and then travelled around Europe. And we spent six months backpacking through Europe with a tent. We stayed in hostels, and that sort of thing around Europe but we also would pitch our tent and the tent was great, because it gave us some privacy and it was cheaper. You’d often kind of have to stay in the outskirts of the city, as opposed to in the inner city as you do it with a hostel. But yeah, it really helped stretch our budget, we were all about traveling for as long as we could without working. So we were on a very tight budget. We wouldn’t eat out very much at all, we would cook our own food and we had a little Trangia with us that we could cook on wherever we were.
So we were forever trying to find supermarkets to keep our food budget low. We had a great time, we traveled all through Western Europe and we went to some Eastern Europe countries as well. Spent a month on the Greek islands and just had a lot of fun. Then we came back to the UK and I was ready to get a proper job. I wanted to get some experience as a naturopath. Started applying for jobs and got an interview with a place called Apotheke 2020 and it was in a suburb called Chiswick in London and I got the job. I was so nervous to go for this job because I wanted it so badly.
There was some really good experience to be had there. I knew already that when I went for the interview. I was super nervous, got the job. Ended up working there for a year with six other Australian naturopaths. Now, they only hired Australian naturopaths because the man that owned it, really valued the education on naturopathy that we get over in Australia as opposed to the UK. Oh, it was just such an amazing place to work and get great experience. I learned more in that year, from the other naturopaths that were working there and, and we were all really kind of passionate about learning new things and yeah, I just learned so much from them.
In that year, I learned more there than I did in my studies. I think you know, when you’re getting that hands-on experience, it’s your learning is accelerated so much. We had a herbal dispensary there and people would come in and say I’ve got this sore throat, can you mix me up some herbs, or I’ve got this ear infection, or I’ve got this tummy problem and so it was just such a good way to get a lot of experience, it was a busy little place. We had the shop front and the herbal dispensary and then we had the clinic rooms at the back and a few months in, I did get the opportunity to start seeing clients there and these were my first ever naturopathic clients.
I think back to those first clients that I had and feel a bit sorry that they had to pay for consults with me, with my inexperience but as with any sort of practitioner, you’ve got to start somewhere. As well as getting some great experience, we formed such amazing friendships. We were all working obviously away from home and we became really close friends. This group of naturopaths we’re working here, but because there was so many of us, I wasn’t getting as much experience consulting as I wanted to. There was some more experienced practitioners there that were, quite busy in consult and I would just do the odd consult and work in the shop in the herbal dispensary, mostly.
So I kind of had enough of that and started looking for other opportunities and I found a job opportunity in Hertfordshire, which is just north of London. I ended up getting a job there with a naturopath who had started this beautiful naturopathic clinic in this small kind of country town and she had a child. I think she was four or five at the time. Her child was struggling to keep up with everything on her own and she hired me to take over from some of the consultations and this clinic was absolutely beautiful. I did some admin work and worked on some marketing with her. So I thought wow, this is a great opportunity to get some more clinic experience! But also to learn from an experienced practitioner about marketing and a bit of a different approach to the practitioners that I’ve been working with.
So off I went out there now husband, Scott, I should just call him Scott rather than boyfriend or husband. He was still working in London. So he’d been training to be a personal trainer and he landed a really good job in a gym, called Cannons in London. He didn’t want to move away and it was too long of a commute. We actually separated and went our own ways. We stayed together as a couple and it was actually really good because I was 17 when I met him and we’ve been together. I was probably 23, 24 by this time. So I hadn’t sort of lived that independent life. We knew that it was only going to be short term.
It was a bit of a hard transition at first to get used to. That meant he had to move house as well because we had a couple room in London when we were living together. A big shared house, I think there was 13 of us living in this, it’s quite a big house and such a great group of people but he needed to find a smaller room. He couldn’t afford that room on his own. It was a little bit disruptive for him but it turned out to be a really good thing for both of us because we got that sort of independence from each other and we stayed together as a couple. We would meet in London on the weekend for dates or he would come up to my place in the country or I would go to his place in the city.
So I’ve got really fun memories of that time. I shared a house in Hertfordshire, which was a very quiet little town after living in London. With two other girls that were also working in the area. I look back on these days, I used to work nine to four or five, and then I’d come home. I had no kids, no other commitments. Like I just think, I don’t even know what I did with my time, I just had a lot of downtime, lots of reading, lots of fitness, lots of walking around and there was this beautiful park, or woods near where I lived, which I loved walking in on my own.
So I had a lot of kind of solo time. Probably, really the only time in my life that I had this solo time, but as I said, I was working, I was living with a couple of girls as well. And so again, great experience that I got here. As a naturopath, both consulting and the naturopath that I was working with here, Carolyn, who owned the clinic, she did live blood analysis and so I started getting quite interested in this as a, as a modality or a testing tool. I spent almost a year working there. And then we were almost ready to move on. So we had decided we would go back to Canada, and we loved Canada and we would work. They had increased the age limit for working visas over there.
My husband’s nearly five years older than me. When we were there, he was too old to get a work visa like 29 or something too old, over the hill. They had increased the age to 31. We decided this was our only chance to go back to Canada before he was too old and work. So we decided to go back and get work there. We mainly use that year in Canada for lots of traveling. Lots of outdoor adventure. I worked in a few wellness spas around the place in Fernie which is a ski resort. In Ucluelet on Vancouver Island as well. I wasn’t practicing naturopathy there but I was doing massage and facials and more of those kind of natural body treatments, which was such a great experience as well.
It paid so much better than waitressing like most of the other people that I was kind of hanging out with in those travel times we’re doing. You know, I remember having conversations, I was getting paid sort of four or five times the amount that they were waitressing. And so that was a really good opportunity over in Canada. And as I said, we did lots of outdoor adventures. We bought a car in Vancouver for $700, a beat-up old car. And decided we wanted to drive up to Alaska. My husband, Scott, he wasn’t my husband at the time yet. We didn’t get married until we got back to Australia.
He was very keen to go to Alaska. He had this dream of going to Alaska, and I was pretty keen as well. So we decided to drive up and this car lasted six weeks driving around Alaska. We had some pretty amazing outdoor adventures. Our budget was quite tight, and we couldn’t pay to go on these kind of multi-day kayaking trips or have a guide to take us hiking and we didn’t have a whole heap of outdoor experience. We had some from the Camp America that we’d worked on mainly, and we’ve done a few multi-day hikes in in Canada, as well.
So we decided we wanted to do a multi-day kayak trip to go and see a glacier. It was all very exciting, they tested us. We had to fall into this icy cold water. Prove that we could get back into the kayak before they would let us hire these kayaks. You’ve got a couple of minutes once you fall into that water before you know hypothermia sets in and you’re just not going to be able to get back in. So we passed that test and we packed up our kayaks and off we sit and I remember feeling a little bit uncertain like what are we doing? Are we out of our depth here.
The first day we were kayaking. We came around this kind of headland and it was headwind, and it was all pretty crazy. I felt a little unsafe but we got through that and we got to the first place that we were going to set up camp. There’s a lot of bears in Alaska. We had a bear canister, where we would keep our food so the bears couldn’t get to it. It kind of blocked out the smell. We start setting up for dinner, and realised that we have left this Swiss Army Knife back at where we started. Back with all our gear, and we only brought some gear with us. And we had a whole heap of tinned food!
I panicked, and Scott panicked for a little minute, and then came up with a solution. From then on, I called him mountain man because he literally found two rocks, and found a way to open these cans with these rocks. We didn’t have to turn around, and so that we wouldn’t starve to death out in the Alaskan wilderness. That was our solution, he would use these same two rocks to open the tins of food that we were eating and just such an amazing experience. We saw otters, we didn’t see grizzly bears on this particular trip. It was just beautiful, just such amazing wilderness in Alaska. If you’ve been to Alaska, it’s just incredible. I would really recommend a trip to Alaska, if the wilderness and the outdoors is something that you’re interested in.
That was an amazing trip. We did another pretty crazy hiking trip in Denali National Park. This particular Park has no hiking trails, so you need to be really good at map reading, which I am not. Scott is much better at it than me. We set off on this four day hike into Denali National Park again, real, real wilderness. It was a beautiful day when we set off and the next day, it was pouring with rain all day. This is a place where you’re above the tree line, so you have no shelter, you’ve just got to keep trudging along. There’s a lot of bears in Denali National Park.
One of the things that you kind of get taught is to make sure that you are setting your tent up about 100 meters away from where you are cooking your food. And then you need to store your food 100 meters in the other direction. So it’s kind of like you create this triangle. That’s what we were doing. I remember sitting in the pouring rain, cooking our food. We couldn’t sit in the tent and cook it because that would attract bears, and then going to bed. The next day when we woke up, it was snowing. And this was just such a magical moment looking out of the tent, and seeing snow.
Magical, but also like oh my gosh, we are in the middle of nowhere here and it’s snowing, it was not stormy yet, but it’s just so unpredictable, the weather out there. We decided to head back early, we were just feeling very out of our depth. On the way back, walking back to the main road, we spotted a grizzly bear. And it was probably I don’t know, maybe 100 meters away but it had a cub with it. Like I said this was very barren landscape.
There was no trees around, these grizzly bears stood up. It wasn’t ultra close but a hundred meters does not feel very far away. There is no one and nothing out there to sort of protect you. Stood up and checked us out and then went back down and just started eating. We just stood there and watched this grizzly bear and a cub kind of in a very nervous state thinking, it could be very unpredictable. It could do anything but it didn’t. It kind of sense that we weren’t danger, I guess. So that was just such an amazing wildlife experience. That was Alaska!
After Alaska, we did decide that we were ready to head home. We did some travel through Central America. Through all of these travels, I came across quite a few cool little places that gave me different ideas of things. Things that I wanted to do when I got back and started kind of getting serious about my career. Our travel adventures feel quite separate to my naturopathic experience and my naturopathic journey. I do think that they have set a foundation of some of the things that I think are really important for health. The things that are really important for my well-being as well. Such as, you know, freedom. When we got home after all of these travel adventures and meeting so many different people, we realise that nothing much had changed at home.
That was kind of a bit of a downer. You know, everyone was the same, doing the same old things. A lot of people had babies, had put on a lot of weight. That was one thing that we really noticed. We’d had this kind of fit, healthy, active lifestyle. We got home, felt quite down and disappointed in those initial kind of months. Anyway, we kind of settled in, we bought a house and got jobs. We got married, they’re all fairly quickly.
I got a job in a pharmacy, as a naturopath. I was pretty happy with that sort of opportunity. An entry way of getting into some naturopathic practice back at home. This was a very busy pharmacy, it was a bit of a commute from where I was living. I was living South of Adelaide, and this pharmacy was sort of in the Eastern suburbs. It was very busy, there was a big natural health section in this pharmacy. The pharmacist was very supportive of natural medicine as well. So when he would fill a script for antibiotics, he would say, “Oh, make sure you talk to our naturopath about probiotics because they’re very important when you are taking antibiotics.”
He really supported naturopathy, which was great. And lots of again, experience learning about different supplements that we had here in Australia, which I hadn’t had much experience with. And so I worked in that pharmacy for, I think a couple of years. 18 months to two years but I really struggled with ten to six hours that I worked. I really felt stuck after all of these years of traveling. It made me realise how much I needed freedom. So I fell pregnant when I was working there. I actually fell pregnant on our honeymoon, a surprise pregnancy. But I was over the moon, I was 29 and I had always been told because of the hormonal and skin issues that I had, that I would probably find it hard to fall pregnant.
I was over the moon that it had just happened without us even planning or thinking about it. And also, like, panicky like oh, I’m not quite ready for this yet. In terms of really financially, we weren’t. We wanted to set ourselves up a bit more before we got pregnant, but it was all good. So I worked at that pharmacy until very late pregnancy. I was 35 weeks when I left that job. It was so far from home, 45 minutes to an hour that feels far here in South Australia. Decided that I didn’t want to take maternity leave and come back I wanted to just leave that job.
I remember distinctly walking out of that job. Walking out of that pharmacy and thinking to myself, I am not going to work for anyone again. I want to work my own hours. So I’m going to start my own business once I’ve enjoyed being a mum for a little while when I want. When I’m ready to get back into work, and that’s what I did. I have never been employed since then. I have had my own business since then but I just really value all of the different experiences that I had all around the world, and within that pharmacy to be a practicing naturopath.
Also to just be that quick thinking naturopath that has to mix up some herbs quickly for a particular ailment that someone has. Help someone on the pharmacy floor, figure out what is going to be the best nutrient for them for a particular health issue that they have. I felt really lucky about having all of that experience. And I was really ready to kind of, you know, start my own business.
I had a really healthy pregnancy, a very empowering active birth, and really loved motherhood. My eldest has just turned 13, actually, so this was 13 years ago. I enjoyed time at home with him. My husband was working as a personal trainer and he had started his own business within a gym that was local to us. He had built up a client base really quickly. He was really busy. Scott was working those early mornings and late nights that personal trainers do or late afternoons. When I decided to get back into seeing some clients, it was really easy for me to start building my client base. Scott just referred people to me. So I started a little clinic room at home.
It was not ideal, it was right in the middle of our house. My husband would have to take our baby out while I was working,. But I just see a client or two. Just to kind of dip my toes back in and get that adult conversation. I feel like I was contributing to the household financially. All of that sort of things happened, I guess, when you become a mum. And that things change. I had my second baby fairly soon. Not crazy, crazy, close together but my daughter was born two years and two months after my son. I was just doing little bits of clinic work at home and then I had her. When she was about 18 months old, is when I decided I wanted to get serious about my business. And start really building a business.
At first it was clients, and it was clinic. I worked from a few different places. From the gym, which was a really good way to build up a bit of a client base. I worked from home, I worked from a little office, and then we moved further South. From then, we are still in the same house that we moved into when my daughter was one. My husband built me a little clinic room right at the front of the house. So that’s where I’m sitting right now recording this podcast but I also started the online business. I knew that working in clinic all day, every day was not going to be for me.
I needed more freedom than that. Although I do love one on one work, it can be quite draining if you’re doing all day every day. The admin that comes along with that, and all of that. I’ve been watching some things that were going online and I had this real interest of creating an online business. One, so that I could have more impact with my message. And two, so I could have more freedom and I could work my own hours. Not be tied down to calendar and appointments, that sort of thing. And as I came back into clinic after having both of my kids, I was just naturally attracting mums and kids into my clinic.
I started just getting some really good results with some kids’ health issues. I remember I got some really good results with a child with eczema and all of a sudden my clinic was full of kids with eczema because the word had gotten out about how good of a result this particular child had gotten. Gained more experience and did more research. Learned more about these childhood health issues that were so common. Eczema, sleep issues, tummy problems, mood issues, behavioural issues, allergies and neurodevelopmental conditions like Autism and ADHD. So it just kind of snowballed from there.
I feel like I really accidentally fell into kids’ health but then have become so passionate about it. We’ve got such a small window of opportunity to get out at the right things into our kids. For optimum growth and development. To set them up for a healthy immune system and a robust gut which really affects so many different areas of their health. That’s kind of how I fell into kids’ health, becoming a mum myself. Then attracting mums and kids into my clinic, getting some really good results with these kids in clinic. I go back to that initial naturopath that I had seen for my skin issues. That realisation or that inflammation that I found out in terms of that link between gut health and skin health.
That has been so important through my practice, as a naturopath. I see lots of kids with eczema and other skin issues. It always comes back to, to gut health is an area where we start with all of these kids. I know that this has been a long kind of story of mine. And some of it probably felt sort of unrelated to naturopathy. I wanted to give people a bit more of a personal insight into my story. You know, that insight into kind of my journey through naturopathy and the experiences that I’ve had as a naturopath.
So yeah, my first online business was Energetic Mama. It was all about helping mums boost their energy. I guess that was a big pain point for me in those early years of being a mum. That soon turned into a course for kids’ health, Natural Super Kids. Natural Super Kids was actually a course before it was my entire business. That really came about by asking my audience. Mums at the time on social media and mums that were on my email list and getting my newsletters. What they wanted me to create, what information they were really wanting. I sent out the survey and I listed all of these different areas.
Do you want to learn about boosting energy? Reducing stress? Learn about hormone balance? Do you want to learn about nutrition for mums?
Then I thought, well, maybe they might be interested in information about kids health. So I just put kids health as an option at the bottom of this survey. By far, it was the most popular option that people ticked. I had a very small audience back then but that was really the start of okay. There isn’t a lot out there about kids’ health at the time, this was probably 8, 10 years ago. Maybe I will launch a course, teaching people about kids’ health. That was something I was having good results in clinic. It was really from there that I started to share more information specifically about kids’ health. From there, I changed my business to Natural Super Kids from Energetic Mama. And that’s where we are now.
Our main offer here at Natural Super Kids is our Natural Super Kids Klub Membership. We have over 700 members now that are a part of the Klub. They get a whole heap of resources and inspiration and support to help them raise healthy and happy kids. We provide recipes, meal plans, videos, cheat sheets and naturopathic support. A community of mums that are all sort of striving towards healthier kids or optimising their kids’ health. That is definitely you know, the thing that I love, love, love about Natural Super Kids. It’s the thing that I love to work on in terms of supporting those mums.
We have other things that we offer as well one-on-one consultations. But particularly in 2020, having something that we can provide that is affordable and easily accessible for mums has just made me feel useful, I guess, in the world, that 2020 has been. So yeah, that’s been just amazing.
So I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into my story and my life. It’s been fun going back and thinking about all of those things that I have done. This was not scripted at all. I’ve just kind of run through things as I’ve remembered them. I’ve probably forgotten things and could have probably added other things in. I just trusted that I would share the right things that people might find interesting. Give people more of an insight into who I am, where we are today and Natural Super Kids. Will share more sort of behind the scenes. I think that’s definitely the long enough for today. So, until next week, I will see you then!