MEAN Girl of the Month - December - Rachel Sanders - Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

MEAN GIRL BIO

NAME:  Rachel Sanders

HOMETOWN:  Ft. Launderdale, Florida USA

AGE:  44

CAREER:   Real Estate Escrow Asst.

HOBBIES:  Music, travelling, hockey - go Blackhawks!

LOVES:  Holistic health & wellness, vegan cooking, herbalism, animals, the beach, the mountains.

DISLIKES:  Negative people, politics, the news.

MEAN PURPOSE:  My mean passion is in health and wellness. Disease and sickness are so prevalent in today's world. I want people to realize that they can take charge of their well-being through proper nutrition and more importantly, a proper mindset. We are not defined by our illnesses or imperfections; we are defined by our character, our morals, and how we choose to deal with issues, whether it's bad or good. 

INSTAGRAM:  @rachelsan1018 

FACEBOOK:  rachel.sanders.73

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Photo credit: Chris Whicker Photography                                                                                                       

All of my life I have struggled with an autoimmune disorder that has had a very negative impact on my life growing up. As a female, we're more prone to caring about fitting in and when you're in your teenage years, having something about you that's different can have a huge effect on your esteem. For the most part, I always felt that I was the exception to the rule when it came to following doctor's orders. Intuitively,  I knew that the medications I was given were not good for my body. As a teen, I knew deep down that the risks of taking immune suppressing drugs would be dangerous down the road. When I was in my 20's, I started getting more into health and wellness. It wasn't until after the birth of my son at 29 when I started to realize that everything I thought I was doing right to take care of my body was not enough. Almost a year after he was born, my body suddenly went into attack mode. I felt pain like nothing I ever felt and there were days I could barely get out of bed. I was married at the time, but I was pretty much the primary caretaker of our child, so sitting still was never an option. Shortly thereafter, my marriage fell apart and I left my home state of FL with my 3 year old son and dogs and a u-haul of mostly my son's belongings. We relocated to a very small town in Kentucky to be near family.  I felt like a fish out of water.  I was in complete culture shock. I literally had nothing to support us financially, except a small amount of child support to get us through. I struggled to find work and child care. After living in big cities and being with someone for nearly 12 years, suddenly I'm a single mom living in the country with nothing. The stress of everything wreaked havoc on my body and I felt like I couldn't win; life, health, happiness ... all of it was giving me the bird! I blamed my ex, and blamed the world. Then one day, I realized I was the only one who could change things. I started delving deep into nutrition and making the mind-body connection.  I started releasing toxic elements from my life, from food to people, even cleaners. I read everything I could about nutrition, juicing, the raw food diet, spirituality and self healing, and slowly, progress was made. I found a job, I started getting back on my feet.  Fast forward 6 years later, I went back to school, graduated with honors with my paralegal degree, and felt like things were coming together. Two years after graduating, I found a great job, moved into a new place in the city and have been here ever since. My son, now 14, has been my rock through all of this. Knowing that sitting still was never an option, I probably wouldn't have made it this far. Everyday he amazes me and reminds me that anything you put your mind to, you can accomplish. He has taught himself to play the bass guitar, he's an amazing guitar player, and he's a percussionist in his school band. Music is his life and i couldn't be more proud. Creativity is such an important part of development and sadly, it's so suppressed in the way children are taught today. And the really awesome thing...we have the same music preferences,  so now I have a concert buddy, lol!

Sure, I still have my health to deal with, but the beauty of it is that I can choose how to care for it. I'm a firm believer that your body can and will overcome anything if given the proper fuel. Since my journey into health began, I've been a strong supporter of the anti-GMO movement, pro-cannabis (really, read up on the amazing benefits of pure CBD oil), organic rights, and I'm a huge advocate of juicing and a high raw, vegan diet. I believe that this has helped me in more ways than I can count. My mother died from cancer in 2000 and that's another reason why I choose to take my health so seriously.  My long term goal is to help others struggling with health issues and provide the road map to wellness. We are not sentenced by anything that may be wrong with our bodies. It's important to realize that sickness is the body's way of telling you that something is out of whack and we've fallen out of alignment with ourselves. It's not only food, it's the thought process as well. Inflict self hate, negativity  and sadness and it will manifest in several ways. Choose to be a victim of circumstance and the problems will only get worse. Project self love, treat your body as a temple,  and most importantly, HAVE FUN, and you will have more good in your life. No matter what ailment you have, don't fall victim to it. You have it, it does not have YOU.  YOU are always in control. Always. I lost a lot of my 30's trying to figure all of this out, and now I'm making up for it. Life is about living and age is just a number. We're never too old to do anything. I saw a bumper sticker when I was at a red light the other day that read "without suffering, there can be no progress" and I believe that to be true. I hit rock bottom hard, but the situation was temporary.  My divorce was a blessing in disguise.  My health, well maybe that's the card I was dealt so I could help others. I had the support of my family here with every decision I made and continue to make, and that in itself is a reason to not forget who i am or what I stand for. There is always something to be grateful for. My life is a work in progress, as is a majority of the people out there. I refuse to give up.  No matter what the circumstance is, keep on pushing through. 

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