Self Education for Self Healing
Rocío and I met in Mallorca a few years ago during a rawfood workshop I was organizing with Rosa and Claudio, two incredible souls as well. I was cooking and she was taking pictures. Actually, it could have been the other way round, her doing the cooking and me taking pictures. I felt Rocío and I were acting like mirrors to each other. We went through similar experiences in our lives and share a lot of common values. Since we met for the first time, we have been witnessing each other’s growth.
What I found most remarquable when I met Rocío was the amount of knowledge and self consciousness she had about herself. I am sure this interview will inspire a lot of people to enhance their knowledge and transform it into wisdom in order to become their own healers.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your path and the experiences that made you become interested in nutrition and self-development?
“ I became interested in nutrition through becoming very sick. At 21 years old I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition that is expressed in the thyroid. The symptoms are very much of someone being at war with itself. Exhausted, irritable, fainty, heart racing, difficulty sleeping, very sensitive to light and strong sounds, waking up very tired in the morning with no energy to face the day.
These symptoms showed up slowly over the course of several months but it wasn’t until one day I woke up with a strange feeling of nervousness. I knew something wasn’t right and I decided to go to my family doctor who assumed it was just stress. I, however, knew that it wasn’t, so I went to the hospital to have a few tests done. My results came back indicating that I had hyperthyroidism. I was put on medication — 9 pills every night to start with. This was a shock for me as I had always been so healthy and this was my first time at the hospital in my whole life.
I didn’t understand the nature of my illness and it would took me years of studying how the body works and finding information about the healing power of food that I was able to implement habits and rituals that would eventually help me heal.
At the age of 28 I went through a divorce. This was my rock bottom. Here I prayed to God for the very first time. It was the beginning of a spiritual awakening that I’m fully swimming in as I type this. I am developing my spiritual practice and learning so much about myself every day! ”
What was the first information you came across that made you realized the healing power of food?
“ I decided to google ‘how to heal Graves’ Disease naturally’ and I was flooded with information. Testimonials from people who had been in my situation and were able to reverse their illness through nutrition, and of course, other healthy habits like getting enough sleep, being immersed in nature, meditating, etc. The story that really resonated with me and started me on my journey was Kris Carr’s. She was able to reverse and manage her cancer when she was only in her thirties. She then wrote a book called ‘Crazy Sexy Diet’ of which I bought the digital version that same day. I devoured it in one sitting and started to apply everything she was suggesting. My life radically changed from one day to the next, starting with the food I ate. I emptied out all the processed sauces, dressings, packaged and canned foods, meat and dairy, sugars, flours… from my fridge and pantry in one afternoon and replaced it with fresh organic fruits and vegetables from my local farmer. I chose to eat only raw foods with very little salt and no oil, no added sugar for the following three months. ”
Since there is no one-fits-all solution, especially when it comes to nutrition, how did you navigate through such a cloud of information to find out what was best for you?
“ This is a very interesting question. I personally have a strong intuition and have the gift of being able to sort through information and find the ‘good’ stuff. At the time, however, that was the only information I had come across (from many different sources but they were all pointing to the same guidelines / diet) and I was in a desperate situation, I couldn’t find any reason why this information wouldn’t work for me. So I put it into practice. ”
From my personal experience, I found out that in order to really make profound changes, building a supportive system is essential to anchor my new habits. Did you feel the same and if so, what worked out for you?
“ Yes, totally, having a supportive system is so helpful! When I changed my diet I had the support of my then husband who jumped into the experience with me. My family found it a little challenging at first as my new lifestyle was questioning the way they lived their own lives. But ultimately, they understood that I was doing this to heal myself, and of course, they wanted me to be healthy and happy.
I personally have found that what I need to be able to build a new solid habit is full commitment to myself, and this commitment usually comes from a place of needing a change that will help in a deep way. If the habit is not going to be transformational I will probably not commit to it. ”
You are still trying to figure out how to cure yourself. Nowadays, in our western society, we are used to go to the doctor and let him decide what medical treatments to take. Taking our power back, refusing to take certain medicine when it seems that other options are available to us is really not an easy step to take. It feels especially difficult when we are in an environment that doesn’t support us. We can feel overwhelmed by fear and doubts. How did you build that trust?
“ Yes the fear and confusion can be overwhelming at times. I have definitely had those moments on my journey, moments of dispair, of losing patience and wanting an immediate cure.
Doctors have yet not been able to tell me the cause of my illness (this thyroid condition is unbelievably common in modern society nowadays), they simply don’t know. After 8 years of visiting doctors, having blood tests and trying many different treatments, I have come to understand that one really does need to be in charge of their own health. A doctor can only do so much for us. If we give our power to a doctor and expect him or her to solve our problem, we are completely missing the point. We have to work with the doctor, be interested and involved in the process, and also put all our efforts in making sure we are taking care of ourselves in the most basic ways (good sleep, healthy food, sunshine, fresh air, healthy relationships, etc). As my relationship with my body has deepened, I learnt to build trust with it, and to listen to it. Now I know when it needs help, may it be the help of a doctor or my own by taking better care of it. ”
Talking about self care, could you tell us what are your self care rituals to help you on this journey?
“ Of course! Navigate life with an autoimmune condition has forced me to make self-care a priority. My body is very quick to tell me when it’s not functioning well through very specific symptoms. It’s like my alarm or compass that tells me when I’m getting off track. It’s not always easy but I’m very grateful that my body speaks so clear and loud. I’ve come to understand that my mental health plays a very important part in my health. When I’m feeling very stressed, fearful or with high anxiety over a period of time; my body will show through an inflamed digestive system, a flare up in my thyroid autoimmunity, etc.
These are some of the daily rituals that I started to incorporate in recent years to help with my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being:
Good sleep — I make sure to be in bed by 10pm and I get up naturally without an alarm clock at sunrise. Sleeping in tune with the natural rhythms of nature has been hugely healing for me. I haven’t always done this and I can really notice a difference in my weight, general mood, energy levels, digestion, etc.
Meditation — I’m sure you’ve heard of the powerful benefits of incorporating a consistent meditation practice. I believe that finding a meditation technique that resonates with you and you can stick to can be life-changing. It not only is a powerful way to connect with Spirit and receive guidance, but it also relieves stress and anxiety. Which in turn has a very positive effect in your health.
Minimum exposure to screens and wifi — Especially first thing in the morning. I make an effort to be outside in nature for the first hour or two after waking up. Barefoot if possible. The light from screens and the radiation from Wifi is proving to have a very harmful impact on our health. I think it is something we should take very seriously and minimise our exposure as much as possible.
Stretching -- Morning and night I stretch my body doing yoga and with a foam roll. It helps release fascia — preventing injuries and allowing to soften the body.
Medicinal herbs + adaptogens — I incorporate these into my diet every single day. These plants help so much with regulating hormones, relieving stress and anxiety, supporting the immune system, helping with focus and concentration…My current favourites are: reishi, chaga, rodhiola and ashwaganda. ”
What content (books, instagram accounts, workshops...) would you recommend to anyone who is willing to learn more about their own health and self care?
“ Oh… I love this question.
I can truly recommend Kris Carr’s book « Crazy Sexy Diet » for anyone just starting on their healing path. An article I recently read that has changed the way I approached my healing journey: The 5 Levels of Healing by Dr. Klinghardt —his website is full of very valuable information.
On a spiritual and emotional level the book that has helped me and continues to help the most is A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson.
I would recommend following Maryamm Hasnaa on instagram —she always shares content that brings me back to Truth and aligns me with the energy of Love.
Peta Kelly is also someone I enjoy connecting with. She is very outspoken and shares so much truth unapologetically. It reminds us of what is really important.
In terms of health, I would suggest that you connect with the information that Dan MacDonald has to share on his Youtube channel.
I also would highly recommend following Dara Dubinet, she is a raw food chef, intuitive and astro-geography reader —she has hundreds of recipe videos on youtube and a new course on astro-geography which is pretty life-changing. Not to be missed.
For adaptogens and medicinal herbs I suggest trying SunPotion and SuperFeast. Both really good brands with high integrity and very high quality.
I also recommend that you listen to the Expanded Podcast episode with Maggie from Puakai. As well as the Rewild Yourself podcast episode with Nadine Artemis called ‘Wise Interaction with the Sun’. It’s life-changing. ”
What I love about you, Rocío, is that you are such a honest and authentic soul. On your Instagram page, besides the beautiful pictures you are taking from your vegan food, you are sharing almost daily, your personal journey with your struggles and highlights, and I just wanted to thank you for that. Following this call to share authentic stories, you just launched a new project, Sagrada. What is the aim behind this creation?
“ Thank you Laura, your words really touch my heart. In the world we live in we need more honesty and authenticity, so I do my best to bring as much of it as I can into my sharings.
And yes! I recently launched Sagrada; a digital content creation agency that works mainly with brands in the food and wellness world. I offer photography and styling services as well as recipe development, writing and guidance in rebranding and marketing. I really enjoy using my gifts and skills to support other people and businesses that that want to have a positive impact in the world.
I’ve been doing this work behind the scenes for 4 years now under my name. I recently felt the call to give my work its own space and name as I take it to a whole new level by connecting with international brands and collaborating with other creatives - I eventually want to be working as part of a team!
I also work as a private chef and want to explore that world more over the next few years. Catering for private events and touring musicians. I might eventually bring this side of my business into Sagrada or keep it separately. Time will tell. ”
Rocío is a food photographer + stylist, private chef and recipe developer. She is passionate about mysticism, holistic healing and sustainable living.
ONE MINUTE INSPIRATION WITH ROCIO
1. Rituals for self-love? Dancing to loud music, getting dressed with my favourite clothes and take myself out on a date (dinner + cinema + walk around the city at sunset)
2. First thing you do in the morning? Step outside, look at the sky, take deep breaths and give my body a good stretch being grateful for another day
3. Favorite self-care routine? Hot bath, medicinal mushroom tonic in the mornings
4. Rituals to rest and regenerate? Time away from screens, having a jam session with friends or a hike up the mountain
5. Tools for self-healing? Heliotherapy (sun bathing, naked if possible), relaxation
6. One limiting belief or body imbalance you are still working on? That I am not capable of having a healthy romantic relationship
7. Favorite place to cultivate inspiration? Driving my car with loud music, reading cookbooks
8. Your Guardians of Vision ? Julie Piatt & Shiva Rose
Photos: Laura Vendescoeur
Interview: Laura Vendescoeur
Editorial Assistant: Wilma Koch
“ We have to work with the doctor, be interested and involved in the process, and also put all our efforts in making sure we are taking care of ourselves in the most basic ways. ”
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Recipe - Adaptogenic Tahinomelo