Hi, I’m Marielle! Currently living in the NYC Metro area with my beautiful baby girl Catherine and amazing husband Mark. Ellemint will be a source for sundry passions: green beauty, food, subject matter that is geeky in nature, family, and musings on leading life in one’s element so to speak. Beyond sharing my interests, my ultimate goal is to help others in some way: that could mean helping someone find safer, cleaner beauty products, trying their hand at new cuisines, or introducing them to their latest nerdy infatuation. I hope you find ellemint to be a multifaceted point of inspiration.
In November of 2012, I was talking to Mark about starting up a blog. Supportive of the idea, he registered this domain for me that very December. 2012 had brought on a ton of change…
I had just quit my job that June. In a way I was sad to leave because I saw it as a stepping stone, a glimpse into life at corporate law. I was thrilled at the prospect of shadowing the paralegal at the firm and getting a head start before law school. In the end, what I thought was definite movement towards my career as a lawyer turned out to be different from what I imagined. The job was in truth that of personal assistant– and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. It just wasn’t a good fit for me. The stress from incessantly walking on eggshells started to manifest itself. For the first time, I experienced sinus infections coupled with multiple and recurring cysts all over my body that were painful and got so badly infected they would ooze green puss. Normal wounds like a small hangnail tear would also get infected. It was all happening at once. I quit after 7 months.
I was fed up with being constantly sick. For what was left of 2012 and the new year, I was on a mission to heal. I took an inventory of symptoms that had always plagued me and went to doctor after doctor after doctor. In 2013 alone, I saw more doctors than I had in my entire life. The results were frequently, “Sorry, don’t know what’s wrong.” I wondered if the quality of my life would just have to be accepted as is. Along the way there were a few things confirmed. I had a herniated disc, consistently low levels of Vitamin D, and food issues. I was diagnosed with fructose malabsorption but also have gluten intolerance.
In the midst of my search for answers, I stumbled upon a more holistic approach to living where the focus is looking to the origins of a problem and proactively supporting your body through it, not simply masking the symptoms. Some doctors had admitted that they didn’t know what was wrong but would offer several medications for temporary relief for some symptoms. However, I don’t like taking them unless I absolutely have to. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see modern medicine as inherently evil. In fact, I’m very grateful for its existence. Too often though medications are used as crutches to avoid making any lifestyle changes and I think that’s where we start to confuse them for panaceas. I know I was like that.
I had a narrow minded view on what it meant to be healthy at that point. You had to love working out for hours, maybe be a vegetarian/vegan, and certainly not eat much. I’d gone through phases of two out of the three but obviously couldn’t maintain them long-term. I figured I just wasn’t wired to be healthy. But the more I learned, the more I scrutinized my lifestyle. I was most inspired by stories of people who were able to get themselves healthy by changing key elements of their lives.
I started to be mindful about what I was consuming, what I was putting on my body, and what I was using around the house. I threw out all my beauty products and house products, determined to replace the conventional with safe, nontoxic, and cost effective ones. We invested in a top of the line air purifier. Mark and I would go almost every weekend to the Union Square Farmer’s Market to try out new produce. Suddenly, we were eating lacinato kale, kohlrabi, celeriac, various types of purple potatoes, and mustard greens on the regular. We also shopped at small health food stores around our apartment to cut down cost and later on joined a co-op. We would buy grass fed meats in bulk online and we’d take the bones and scraps and make bone broth out of them. I stocked our fridge with fermented foods like natto, yogurt, and we even got a continuous brewing system for kombucha. I learned about essential oils and their medicinal like uses.
I found genuine happiness in creating a life that supported our health. The idea of reverting back to what it was before had zero appeal. I don’t claim to be perfect or that I have an answer for everything but I feel that I’m on the right path. To date, my health hasn’t revisited the lows it hit in 2012.
My perception drastically shifted when I realized that perfection is not the goal. Nurturing yourself with honest effort is. This is an integral part of the process of making the best life for yourself that you can. If at times we aren’t doing our best or are making mistakes, forgive yourself and recalibrate.
I talked myself out of starting this blog for years now for countless reasons. I can’t write well. I don’t really have anything to contribute. Ultimately my excuses just don’t outweigh my desire to do it. I write not because I think I’m the best at it but because I enjoy it and I also enjoy helping people. If I could reach out to one person and somehow help or inspire them in a positive way the way I was when I was desperately searching for answers years ago, then this is something worth investing my time into.