Five years ago Melanie Avery decided to make the switch to live additive free for the benefit of her family’s health – little did she know the far-reaching effects the switch would have. Her story is so inspiring we asked her to share it with you today. Since the switch, Melanie has become the author of Let’s Party! Additive Free and Let’s Celebrate Christmas! Additive Free, as well as starting www.letspartyadditivefree.com where you can read more about why she made the choice to live additive free.
When I was asked to write this post, I was keen to share the lessons and information I have learned along the way, the moments in my personal journey that have changed the way I live.
I am the wife to a loving a supportive hubby Bill, the proud mum to three gorgeous kiddies – Mackenzie 11 ½ (Miss Inquisitive), Bella (Miss Fussy Eater) 10 and Connor 8 (Mr Active).
I am often asked why did I started living additive free – this lifestyle change was the catalyst that opened the path to an evolving attitude and approach that would change the way I lived forever.
About 5 years ago, when Miss Fussy Eater was 3 and a half, she started getting grumpier than usual. Her belly would become bloated and distended – firm to the touch like she was 6 months pregnant. A trip to the doctor gave no solutions but that very same week, I watched an article on a current affairs TV program on the side effects of food additives – they were describing Miss Fussy Eater to a tee!
After a week a week with minor changes to our diets, we noticed that the sore belly and bloating was gone, she was generally happier and so were we. We cruised along this way for a few months until I read the book again, paying more attention and I was blown away by what some of these additives have the potential to do – especially to the growing bodies and minds of our kiddies. Then and there, the pantry was cleaned out and we decided to LIVE ADDITIVE FREE!
We all noticed how much healthier we felt now that we lived additive free – Hubby found shift work more manageable, I had more energy and less headaches, Miss Inquisitive was more balanced emotionally, Miss Fussy Eater had a more settled tummy and was trying all sorts of new foods and Mr Active was still very busy but without the sharp changes in behaviour. Yet I still had this inner knowing that there was something else we had to look into.
During his time at preschool, it became apparent that Mr Active had other areas that needed attention. By the time big school rolled around, Mr Active was in for a bumpy start. His reading ability never really took off, he was constantly in trouble for not listening, his social and emotional skills were still lagging causing him to be regularly on lunch time detention and when he got ‘wound up’ he could not calm himself down or self regulate. He was increasingly getting detention for aggressive behaviour until later in November he was suspended. My heart broke for him, I felt like I had failed him as a mother – I am supposed to teach him how to become a good person, my role to nurture and support him, what had I done wrong? Something still wasn’t right – what had I missed?
Still, week after week, his teacher would tell me again and again that Mr Active was struggling with all aspects of school and that “I know you don’t agree with me but medication is the answer to helping him learn”. Every fibre of my ‘Mother Instinct’ knew there was more going on but I couldn’t work out just what that was. The choice laid before me was heart wrenching – our little boy was really struggling in class, was becoming increasingly self critical and down on himself and every morning we had the battle of ‘yes you do have to go to school, yes you will have fun – it will be ok’ as he fought back tears because he didn’t want to go (and secretly, so did I). I found myself asking; “what can I do to make this better for him? I am his Mum, I am supposed to make everything okay”.
I then heard a friend talking about how she had taken her son to a naturopath for differing health issues and the amazing results she has seen – a light bulb moment for me! I felt like an excited little kid achieving something for the first time – I knew this would be the biggest decision I will make for him during his life and it was – what I didn’t know was how much it would change mine as well. That clinic was Mullen Natural Health Centre and I am grateful every single day that they are a part of our lives. After a live blood test, iridology, toxicity, parasite and acidity testing it became apparent that our little boy was not very well. We started a treatment process with one step at a time to improve high body function and health. Initially, we had frequent visits and varied supplements to take until his body healed.
Now in Year Two, there were some ups and downs early on but the teacher, hubby and I have found him to be far more settled, enjoying school and making some small progress with his reading. I experienced this huge sense of both relief and excitement as I now felt that I had found the key to unlocking his true potential.
While helping Mr Active be the best he can be, I discovered in the last year that I was also very unwell. An appointment with his naturopath found that I also suffered leaky gut, inflammation, Pyrrole Disorder plus adrenal exhaustion and other deficiencies. Managing my own health while maintaining a business, household, family commitments and supporting Mr Active, has been a struggle – some days I feel the ‘fight or flight’ kick in and I just want to run and be free of it all. I have learned the importance of self-care and have changed the way I view life – how blessed am I to have all that I have, how blessed I am to be living the live I live. I now see that challenges are a necessary part of life, they show us other ways of doing things, different approaches, different solutions. The personal growth we experience, physically and spiritually, is the reward, the sunshine after the storm and what a glorious day it is today.
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