Hi, and welcome to my blog! I’m Stephanie Donahue, also known as Aroma Mama. I’m a wife, mama of three, and an essential oil loving natural health and wellness enthusiast on an Autoimmune Paleo diet. I wasn’t always this way, though. This has been a long journey of ups and downs that have gotten me to where I am today.
A Little More About Me
Not so long ago, I used to have a hectic life working as a full-time Registered Nurse immersed in the world of clinical care and conventional medicine. In fact, I think it would be faster to list all the departments I didn’t work in than those that I did!
At the time, my main goals in life were to send my kids to a private Christian school and to live in the nicest house in the suburbs that we could afford. You could say I was living the American dream. But, it came with a cost.
I couldn’t stand my job. Not the act of nursing and caring for people, but having to work for an organization who saw patients as “customers” instead of people to be cared for, and which increasingly seemed to be motivated by money and profit, rather than the health and wellness of the patients.
But, because of the lifestyle I created and wanted to keep, I kept plugging along even though I had a deep dissatisfaction in my heart.
The last straw finally came in 2012 after the birth of my second child. I used to drive to work crying after I dropped my baby off at my parent’s house thinking about how much I would rather be home with my children rather than go to work when my heart was not in it.
I still remember sitting at my desk at my last nursing position and would daydream of the day when I could be home caring for and raising my family, taking care of my home, and immersing myself in the world of natural health, which is where my true passion is.
Still, leaving my nursing career and a comfortable and stable income was definitely a leap of faith for me! I had worked in the medical field in some form ever since my first job as a teenager. Also, I worked my way through college and a rigorous 4-year Bachelor’s program in Nursing. Then, dedicated another 10 years of myself to nursing full time. I wasn’t sure I knew how to really do anything else.
And sure enough, when I quit, my life completely changed. I had to learn how to cook, how to bake, how to homeschool my children, how to save money and be frugal, how to follow a budget that worked, how to garden, and even how to be a better parent! So, I went and reserved all of the books I could get from the library that would teach me these things and I read, and read, and read some more. And, thanks to the wealth of invaluable information on the internet, I never stopped!
Since leaving my job in 2012, I have made a pretty radical life transformation. I am now a stay at home mom caring for my home and my three children ages 14, 6, and 3. We bought a home outside of the city and up in the mountains of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where I enjoy the peace and quiet of nature while I homeschool my children. I am also pursuing my passion for natural health and wellness and studying to be a Certified Aromatherapist at the Aromahead Institute. And, of course, I am writing this blog where I connect with others who, like myself, are looking for ways to improve their health and the health of their loved ones through nutrition, education and simple, effective tools.
A Look at My Health Journey
After leaving my job, I started working toward improving my own health. I was always “health conscious” (more “weight conscious”, really), but over the years of working a demanding nursing job demanding 12-hour shifts, working nights and holidays, skipping breaks because we were “too busy”, having to go long periods without eating, and going to work sick over the threat of being fired, my health was suffering in ways I did not even realize.
I had developed chronic joint pain, along with sinus issues and what seemed to be an ever-increasing number of digestive issues and food sensitivities, not to mention the chronic fatigue, brain fog and a host of other physical and mental symptoms.
So, I did what I always do and I began to research, and read, and watch webinars and continue to educate myself on how to take control of my health again. My first real step towards wellness was doing a 30-day elimination diet. It was then that I realized I was intolerant of a lot of foods when I went through the re-introduction of food phase and found myself feeling so sick. I ended up seeing a chiropractor and eventually a naturopath in the area to get some professional help in reaching my health goals. This is what marked the beginning of my gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free diet. I felt great for a time, but following the addition of my youngest child, I seemed to be steadily getting worse, despite doing my best to avoid gluten, dairy, and sugar.
Finally, I sought out a functional medicine specialist in my area and have been working with him and his team for the past several months to finally determine the cause and extent of my issues. After a battery of blood tests, I got the bad news that I have a list of food sensitivities a mile long and am dealing with leaky gut, intestinal yeast overgrowth, and chronic systemic autoimmune inflammation. Ouch! We are working on overcoming them through a combination of extreme nutrition, targeted supplementation, and chiropractic care.
So, because of the severity of my situation, I had to go on the Autoimmune Paleo diet. In my free time, I love researching and trying new recipes to keep life interesting since I am on such a restrictive diet and my kids also struggle with their own food sensitivities and digestive issues.
Through my own struggles, as well as caring for my own children’s health issues, I have developed a true passion for health, wellness, and nutrition. I research day and night and am constantly educating myself on the latest topics in health and nutrition. My passion is to share what I have learned both by study and from experience in the hopes that I inspire those I come in contact with who are looking to improve their own health and wellness.
Aroma Mama’s Mission
So, what is my mission? It’s simple. My mission is to:
- Raise awareness of the importance that what we eat matters! You’ve all heard the old saying, “you are what you eat”!
- Share the latest expert research from pioneers in the field of natural and functional medicine.
- Help to change the culture of “treating symptoms” to that of focusing on a strong foundation of health, which addresses the root cause of chronic disease and illness and helps to prevent disease.
- Empower others with simple and effective tools that they can use to promote their family’s health and wellness.
- Educate people on the whole spectrum of options available to them to take ownership of their health care. I believe in an integrative approach that leverages the best of nutrition, natural and alternative medicine, homeopathy and other modalities. And yes, there are times when conventional medicine is the answer – just not nearly as often as the pharmaceutical companies and commercial interests would like you to believe!
- Share the experience and wisdom I have gained through my own trials and hardships.
- Provide practical and actionable tips, support and community for living a lifestyle geared toward optimal health and wellness. I have stood in your shoes and still do, so we are all in this together and building a community is a strong part of my mission with this blog.
What You Can Expect From Aroma Mama
- Blog posts which address topics regarding optimal health and wellness, dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free recipes, Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) recipes and lifestyle, practical and therapeutic uses for essential oils along with essential oil safety, and product reviews and recommendations.
- A newsletter to my email subscribers highlighting my most recent post and, on occasion, e-mails notifying of the latest giveaways, announcements, special offers, and educational opportunities. Aroma Mama’s Resource Library with exclusive content just for my readers! Make sure to sign up for my emails so you don’t miss out! 🙂
- I am on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter. You can choose to follow and connect with me on one of your favorite social media platforms or on all of the above!
Oh, and one last thing – since starting this blog, I have come to realize that I absolutely love blogging! So, in addition to all the usual I blog about don’t be surprised to find me blogging about… well, blogging! I post a monthly blog income report on the first of the month and share stories about my blogging journey, the tools I love and use, great educational resources to help others start their own blog and more. Stay tuned!
P.S. If you are new to this blog and are unsure of where to start, I have a few suggestions for you:
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This page was last updated on 1/6/18.