My health journey started at a very young age when I developed hormone imbalances as a toddler, if I was not, in fact, born with them. By the age of 8 years old, my face looked like a pizza from all the acne I had developed! To add to the confidence buster of serious skin problems, I hit puberty at a very young age and began my period at 9 years old. I was developing all sorts of lumps and bumps and hair in places that were not normal for a girl at this age.
This was the beginning of a long journey of eating disorders, a 13-year addiction to amphetamine diet tablets and addiction to marijuana, nicotine and very liberal experimentation with all sorts of harder drugs. The confident little girl I was became a self-conscious, insecure, self-hating teenager!
From a young age, I understood intuitively that life was not meant to be this way. I could not accept the reality that society tried to feed me. I rejected the norms from a young age, and my journey to find answers and deep inner healing began.
At the young age of 11 years, I became vegetarian, much to my father’s dismay! I grew up on a farm in South Africa, and watching an animal getting killed and then be expected to eat it felt intuitively wrong. At the age of about 6 years, I refused to eat anything I saw getting killed! Luckily, my mother supported my decision to stop eating meat, but she made it clear that she was not going to make two meals! I began making my own food, and simple it was! Salads, fruit, soya and beans became the staple of my diet for many years to come.
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My journey to find the truth took me to all corners of the world in search for some meaning and sense of purpose in the big, crazy world we are living in. Rejecting formal education after completing my final year of high school, I entered the “University of Life,” as my mother puts it! Miserable, depressed and ready to give up on life, I left home at 16 years old. I had to go and find myself in the world.
Holding in my heart the dream I had as a little girl to travel the world, at the age of 18, I set off on my first journey abroad and ventured off alone to Israel. This would mark the beginning of my 13-year journey as a gypsy on my own!
In the quest to find the truth and answers to my health problems, I spent the next 20 years researching health, nutrition and different forms of alternative healing. I did courses in Ayurveda, naturopathy, fasting, raw food and reiki along with my own personal health journey, using my body as a science lab for experiments!
Life took on a massive shift in 2008, when I completed my first 10-day Vipassana Meditation course. Honestly, this was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life but also the most powerful transformation I have ever experienced. I knew this was what I had been looking for my whole life. This was the beginning of my commitment to the path of Dhamma (the pure teachings of the Buddha) and to experience the laws of nature within the framework of my own body.
I began meditating at least two hours every day and spent many weeks and months over the next few years in silence, meditating. I spent a lot of time, mainly in India and Thailand, with the quest to unpeel the layers of the onion I had accumulated to try to get a glimpse of the nothingness and truth within me.
The next huge blessing came into my life when I was fasting in Thailand in 2010 and someone told me about a fruit-based, low-fat raw vegan diet. I had already made the decision that I would go raw after I broke my fast, but this saved me from ever going down the gourmet raw path!
By changing to a raw vegan diet filled with an abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables Mother Nature so generously provided for us, I gave my body a chance to heal itself from Type 2 diabetes; systemic candida; acne from the age of 8 years, eczema and other skin issues; Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and hormone imbalances; chronic fatigue; insomnia; and serious digestive issues such as Crohn’s disease, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea, among other conditions.
I have never eaten SAD [standard American diet] and proudly say I have never eaten at McDonald’s in my life, but my mind was so toxic it did not matter what I ate at that stage!
Through a complete change in my diet and lifestyle and the committed practice of Vipassana meditation, I have freed myself from more than 25 years of health problems, serious eating disorders, drug addictions and manic depression.
I know what it feels like to hate the way you look, to feel so sick and depressed you do not want to live and to believe that you have to give up your dream to have a fit and healthy body again. It is truly amazing to wake up feeling alive and excited about life—probably for the first time in my life—but it sure has been a long journey that will continue to go on.
I am always tweaking the way I live my life, the diet I eat and the things I believe to be true as I grow, learn and experience. We are always changing, and we have to be humbled enough to embrace that reality and change with it.
I believe that we are our own best doctors and that only we can truly know what is best for ourselves at any moment for our highest physical and mental development. I feel that it is so important to take time out to tune in to what is happening inside ourselves and really feel what we need. No one else can tell us what we need more than ourselves. Trust yourself. We have an intuition that is so strong, if we just stop for long enough to listen. In silence, we will find the answer. Silence speaks.
I believe my life’s purpose is to find a space to be to allow my own inner light to shine to inspire others to let their light shine. Empowering them to reconnect with their divine feminine energy and realize the truth within themselves, connecting with their inner strength and natural beauty. But as I am sure you have realized, my purpose has not always been so clear. It was quite a journey to get to this point of knowing and trusting.
Hungry for more? Check out Jenee’s Guilt Free Chocolate Mousse recipe!