I'm Nancy Popowski, your Healthy Girlfriend. I am an educator, certified detoxification specialist, natural health practitioner and wellness coach. The other "girlfriends" contributing to this site include Karen A., Nancy H. and even one "healthy guy friend," Bart P.
I got into this wonderful field as a result of my own health problems. I've had digestive issues (ulcers and gut pain) since my teenage years and consequently developed an interest in nutrition and nutrition research early on. Although I didn't know the name of it, when in my thirties I had all the signs of chronic fatigue syndrome. I believed my unusual and prolonged exhaustion was due to stress and took steps to minimize it. At the time I didn't know that my sensitive gut had anything to do with my fatigue.
A few years later, depressed and tired beyond belief, I took a leave of absence from my teaching job. After multiple tests and doctor visits, I was finally diagnosed as hypothyroid and prescribed antidepressants and Armour Thyroid. Determined to find a natural way of healing, I began my natural health studies in earnest. Since I already had a master's degree in education, I felt a certification program in natural health would be the best way to help others, which is always my first passion. After a two year program through American College of Health Sciences, I was certified to coach and educate others who, like me, had found little help for their health problems in conventional medicine.
Although I initially felt better on thyroid medication and went back to work, I eventually developed widespread muscle aches, severe exhaustion, and migraines. I had no choice but to cut back to part time work. Full time was simply and utterly overwhelming. My M.D.at that time felt certain it was fibromyalgia and suggested I start taking the usual course of heavy duty pharmaceuticals and make an appointment with a rheumatologist. I said, "no thanks," and read everything on fibromyalgia I could get my hands on.
All my research seemed to point to diet first, natural remedies such as herbs and homeopathics second. I assumed I already had a very healthy diet since I rarely ate the obvious "junk food." I had not considered my heavy conventional dairy habit or my home baked desserts to be a problem until I had gallbladder pain and went on my first cleanse. My gallbladder pain ceased immediately, and within the first month of eating mostly raw fruits and vegetables, my muscle pain decreased and the migraines ended! I thought I had found my cure in the raw vegan lifestyle. I enthusiastically went to Florida to learn detoxification from one of the world's masters in the field, Robert Morse, N.D.
However, as many people find, eating predominantly fruits and salads without enough healthy fats only worked for awhile. After almost a year, I felt I needed to add in some eggs, poultry and more fat to have enough energy to work and get on with life. That led to research in the field of ancestral diets and the autoimmune paleo diet (AIP.) Unfortunately, this diet led to a setback in wellness, an increase in digestive issues, and rise in fasting glucose and A1C levels. I knew I needed to return to the detox lifestyle.
These days, I am a firm believer in detoxification as an adjunct to a natural food diet free of processed foods. In short, a plant-based diet. Following these procedures keeps me pain free and energized, able to work and pursue my passions! My greatest hope is that you will find something on these pages that will help you in your quest for wellness.
Your Healthy Girlfriend :)