I’m Amy Rose, a millennial living in a pioneering mind. My journey, like all of us, started at birth. My mother was a vegetarian during pregnancy, and we followed a somewhat vegan diet until I was 5 years old. Veganism was a part of my family’s life because we sought out optimal health and at the time, nutritional sources said eating a vegan is a good choice for the health of people and the planet. In many cases, it still does. My parents embraced “alternative” lifestyles, such as veganism and holistic medicine. By age 5, I was experiencing migraines, severe stress, and dental decay. Luckily, I only lost my baby teeth, and my mother found an answer. Someone along our health journey introduced my mother to Nourishing Traditions. We added healthy animal fats into our diet and my health changed immensely. Then came childhood, which had many ups and downs, including a move from northern Virginia to Michigan, and a personal choice to return to vegetarianism.
During my teen years, my vegetarianism resembled the SAD (standard American diet) without any of the meat. I ate a lot of corn, wheat, and potato products. Think frozen pizza, french fries, microwaved nachos with just cheese & salsa. Combining a SAD vegetarian diet and a heavy dose of teenage partying, my health took a tole. I was diagnosed with mono when I was 16. It was strange, as neither my boyfriend, nor my best friend got it – despite the infamous “kissing disease” nickname. I also didn’t stop to heal from it. I’m a Capricorn, with Aries moon and Aries rising. It takes a LOT for me to slow down, and in those days, my live fast, die hard lifestyle was taking no time-outs.
I started my tax-paying employment at McDonald’s at 16. I needed money to pay for my lavish lifestyle including online shopping, take-out, and lots of social gatherings. By 18, I was exhausted, living off of caffeine and the SAD vegetarian staples. I graduated from high school and moved on to college. I was working full-time in a restaurant and quickly watched myself put on a little too much weight. I was staying up late, anywhere from 4-6am, because as anyone who’s worked in a bar/restaurant knows, the come down takes a while. My migraines were horrible. I could sleep for 12 hours and never feel rested. My appetite was up and down, just like my energy, and my weight. I needed something to change. I knew this lifestyle wasn’t sustainable. So like most Americans, I made an appointment with my doctor.
She ran all sorts of tests and nothing came back wrong. I was studied by sleep specialists – the diagnosis – idiopathic hypersomnia. Which basically means that for an unknown reason, my body requires more sleep than normal. I had to pay a big chunk of money for a professional to tell me what I already knew. During this 6-month intrusion into my health, I noticed a few things. No doctor ever wanted to find an underlying cause of my migraines, or my sleep issues. They wanted to put a prescription blanket over it and tell me it’ll be fine if I just take this pill for the rest of my life. And the other, the only food available at the sleep study were the usual suspects at a continental breakfast – pastries, “fresh” fruit, non-fat yogurt. Nothing about what I considered a healthy, balanced breakfast was appearing in this medical setting.
Could what we eat affect our sleep? Could what I eat cause my migraines? Could I eat something different and sleep better? Could I change my lifestyle and solve some of my health issues? I knew I could. Some call it intuition. Some call it science. I call it human nature. We don’t have to be that smart to understand that the things we put into our body matter. They matter a lot.
I spent another 6-months reading everything I could about health and wellness. I still wasn’t sure what was best. A few years into my college career I landed a dream internship with an herbal supplement company, Universal Formulas. This threw me full-speed into my health journey. Within a few months, I was managing their social media presence and was asked to take a cleanse and blog about my experience. I decided to go all in. I cleaned up my diet (removed grains, all processed foods and sugar products, cut out dairy), incorporated bone broth, and completed a 3-week herbal cleanse. Within days, my energy levels picked up. I was able to sleep again. I stopped craving sugar and caffeine. My migraines were gone. I was HEALED!.. Or so I thought.
As we all know, life happens… whether we are embracing it or not. That cleanse was the very beginning of my healing journey. My journey is still in progress and far from complete. Over the years, I’ve kept up on the nutritional literature, applying what I can when it works for me. I devoured Eating on the Wild Side and quickly changed my cooking methods from steamed veggies to ones roasted or sautéed in healthy fats. I started to read books about regenerative agriculture, pastured animals, and ethical consumerism. I was hooked. The dedication to a healthier diet led me, quickly, to a holistic mindset about life. I stopped ordering online and started buying local. I started thrift shopping for all the wants and needs I thought up. I made sure all the beauty care and cleaning products I used weren’t hurting the environment. It was easy because it felt so much better to live this way.
I graduated college magna cum laude with a double major in Sociology & Organizational Communications. After my 3 years at Universal Formulas, I resigned and moved to Idaho. I’ve worked as a marketing and communications consultant for a handful of small businesses and held management positions in a variety of food service establishments. I’ve helped entrepreneurs navigate the rocky terrain of business development, market analysis, digital presence, and holistic business management. I’ve worked directly with consumers, chefs, farmers and ranchers, food distributors, and a variety of organizations working together to promote a better food system.
I recently left my job as Business Manager at Kraay’s Market & Garden to work with a non-profit in developing a more resilient food system and to give myself more time to work on building a homestead. Four years ago, weeks after moving to Idaho, I met, and am now married to a wonderful, and talented in all the ways that I am not, man named Chris. I am an avid home gardener, kitchen witch, and dog mom of 3. We dream of a high mountain oasis in Idaho with a permaculture-driven homestead to grow a family, and a community, that lives more aligned with nature.
Throughout my journey I’ve had many successes and failures. Those lessons have taught me a lot about how to develop resilience throughout my life. The journey is about continuing on despite the trials and tribulations. To cultivate that skill is to build resilience. When we embrace a holistic lifestyle, we essentially are building some type of capital. I hope to make the journey of developing capital, and embracing a life more aligned with nature, a little easier for each of you.