Those Who Sow in Tears
If you had told me a decade ago that I would pursue a career in holistic nutrition, I would have said, "NO WAY!" I don't want anything to do with healthcare or wellness! I've had enough!
My background was in public education (English and English as a Second Language) working with everyone from nose-picking kindergarteners to hard-working adult immigrants. I loved my work, my students and colleagues. I loved making a difference in the lives of families and communities.
At the same time my heart was broken.
I was married to an incredible man who was terminally ill. My best friend since middle school, Nathanael had gone from a graceful surfer and brilliant scholar to young man with a string of illnesses including chronic Lyme disease with multiple co-infections, aplastic anemia, mercury and mold toxicity, parasitic and fungal infections, CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction), advanced osteoporosis (that of a 90 year old in his 20s-30s) and dozens of other diagnoses.
Rarely able to weigh above 85 pounds and with a completely fractured spinal column due to osteoperosis, many of his years were spent in wheelchairs, clinics, emergency hospital stays, and at home in bed. Yet despite his serious conditions, my husband was a fierce warrior for natural health and laid aside his dreams of becoming an English professor to pursue a Master's degree in Holistic Nutrition.
When we married in 2004, instead of spending our wedding money on couches and coffee tables, we bought a massage table and an extra fridge to load with farmer’s market veggies, wild salmon, and grass fed beef. We even bought a share of a cow since it was illegal to buy raw milk in the state where we lived. On the weekends, my hubby taught me how to make sauerkraut, green juices, and sprouted grains. Our life was filled with natural medical books, research articles, healing foods, supplements, and a clinic's worth of equipment.
Over the years we visited some of the best alternative doctors, university hospitals, and clinics in the U.S. and Mexico. All the while we were supported by and mostly living with Nathanael's amazing, devoted parents and my mom. We moved around four different Western states--California, Washington, New Mexico and Arizona-- trying to get him well. We will never forget the army of prayer warriors, family and friends who supported us and fundraised for us year after year.
On June 16, 2015, my 37-year old husband, Nathanael Alexander Daggett, was finally called Home to rest and rejoice.
A year and a half later, his mother-- our fearless leader in his fight for wellness and my best friend-- the wonderful, hysterical, kind, smart, generous, tenacious Irish-Dutch beauty, athlete, and culinary genius-- Hilary Daggett, followed her son Home on September 9, 2016. She also had chronic Lyme which turned neurological and unbearable in her last years on top of spinal injuries that had left her unable to sit or drive for over 20 years-- a true tragedy for someone so full of life and energy. Her heart was beyond broken over her firstborn and she didn't have much fight left after he was gone.
Obviously these two consecutive losses-- and everything leading up to them-- were devastating.
While I was grateful and relieved for an end to the long suffering of my loved ones, I was lost. The sad memories and trauma I had seen my family go through made me feel lifeless... and pretty hopeless.
Though I knew God was faithful, I didn't see or even pray for a future for myself. I just knew I had to hang in there and take it a day at a time.
After Nathanael's passing, I decided to pursue another interest-- vintage and antiques. I opened an Etsy shop to help me work through my grief doing something simple. I had let my teaching licenses expire and this seemed more do-able considering my back was bothering me a lot after all the years of caregiving.
However, I found myself more and more interested in two things: writing and health.
While I was a caregiver, I never picked up medical books nor researched articles on disease or healing. I left that all to my hubby and his brilliant mother-- that was their work. But believe me, I learned A LOT! Our home was a 24/7 holistic health clinic complete with a infrared sauna, a hyperbaric chamber, biofeedback machines, an ozone machine, massage tables, IV poles, catheter equipment for the port over N's heart, cupboards full of meds and supplements, fridges full of carefully prepared organic food and much more.
I thought I was over all things health and wellness. But I was wrong!
The influence of my chronically ill loved ones finally worked its way inside of me. Like seeds that were sown in the valley, they finally seemed to take root. All of my husband's holistic nutrition education-- that came at me in the form of real life lessons, suddenly seemed to click and seemed applicable to me-- not just to those with serious illnesses.
And one of my beloved mother-in-law’s final admonitions was to study mind-body medicine to heal my wounded back, which she suspected was rooted in emotional pain. She was right. After I learned the power of mind-body medicine through my own spinal healing (a neurosurgeon told me I needed surgery and I just didn't accept it), I couldn’t stop reading about brain health, genetics, the gut and microbiome, healing foods, nutrients, mind-body work, and movement. My hunger to learn about natural healing through functional and preventative medicine kept expanding.
At the same time, when I was LEAST expecting it the Lord brought me a deep and healing romance. I really didn't think I could ever be married again because no one could understand what I had been through. It would have been way too much to explain and live with.
So I didn't see it coming whatsoever when God brought a Boaz to me (if you know the story of Boaz and Ruth in the Bible)-- who was also a heartbroken widower. I could barely believe it was real. This unexpected marriage brought us both back to life in ways we couldn't have ever imagined after so much loss and sorrow. It has truly been God's creative work of restoration and healing!
Besides being able to mourn and heal together, we also have a slew of health challenges that were neglected during our years of caregiving. From genetic polymorphisms such as APOE4 and homozygous MTHFR (will post on those down the road) to autoimmunity and hypothyroidism to histamine and sulfur intolerance, we are working hard to optimize our minds and bodies through foundational nutrition! Like me, this wonderful man is passionate about natural health and especially the healing power of food and exercise! Together we are on a mission to care for one another, for ourselves, and for others through natural healing.
In 2020, God continued our Ruth and Boaz story and blessed us with an adorable, smart and brilliant son who happens to have Down syndrome. Obed (Obi) has already taught us so much and has introduced us to so many amazing families who have loved ones with Down syndrome and other disabilities. He and his friends keep reminding us to expect the unexpected! Among other things, my son is also leading me to dive even deeper into my nutritional passions for brain health, gut health, genetics and longevity.
In 2020 I also became a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) with a virtual wellness practice based in Sedona, Arizona. In addition to working remotely with clients, I run this informational website to get the word out about the value of nourishing and cherishing your whole body. You can sign up for updates below (and get a free Brain Health Breakfast Guide).
"...for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it..." Ephesians 5:29
This website and work is dedicated to
my late husband, Nathanael Daggett, my first and best teacher of holistic nutrition
who has inspired me to continue the call of helping of others
my best friend and mentor, Hilary Daggett, who taught me how to laugh at myself, praise God on the worst days, pray without ceasing, search hard for answers... and cook with lots and lots of butter!