“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde
Hi, I am Teresa Sandoval-Schaefer.
As a child, I struggled with frequent infections, low weight, and general poor health. I was exposed to doctors and antibiotics from a young age, but growing up in a Mexican family, traditional healing methods like herbal infusions and steam inhalations, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, and nutritional therapy were also common.
I was always a dedicated and inquisitive student but also very sensitive to stress, so by age 15, I was diagnosed with “nervous colitis”. As a teen, I also struggled with irregular periods, acne and frequent respiratory, vaginal and urinary tract infections.
My love and curiosity for understanding all forms of life, drove me to study Biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where I eventually obtained Master and Doctor of Science degrees. However, the rigorous academic life in this stage of my life continued to affect my health and wellbeing resulting in continuous digestive symptoms, acne and irregular periods, and eventually, infertility.
At age 35, I moved to the United States to continue my scientific research training at Yale University. In addition to this highly stressful job, I had to deal with communicating in a different language, adapting to a very different culture, and dealing with discrimination and racist encounters on an almost daily basis. The daily stress combined with being exposed to very different food, worsen my digestive issues and eventually made me gain a lot of weight, even though, I was following the official US dietary guidelines: whole grains, low fat dairy and cooking with vegetable oils instead of animal fats.
At this point, my health problems were so familiar to me that I thought I would feel that way for the rest of my life. However, one day I learned about the Paleo Diet and being a curious, inquisitive person, its scientific principles made sense to me so I decided to give it a try. I couldn’t believe how much my health improved! My bowel movements were finally regular and I had a flat belly for the first time in my life; my periods also became regular, I was sleeping like a baby, my skin cleared up and my mind was clear and sharp. Also, I lost 10 pounds in one month without starving. In fact, I was eating a lot of very delicious food.
However, the Paleo Diet removes a number of whole foods that are not only healthy and nourishing, but have also been part of traditional cultures for millennia. Since then I have learned that it is important to utilize ancient methods of preparing foods like grains and legumes before consuming them, in order to obtain the most benefits. Our ancestors knew this, and it is the industrialized food culture that has made our traditional foods unhealthy.
This made me realize that the power to change is in my own hands and compelled me to obtain formal nutrition education so I could guide others in their own path to health. I was Certified as a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner by the Nutritional Therapy Association® in 2019, and have obtained further training as a Restorative Wellness Practitioner and a Licensed RESTART Program Instructor.
My training and personal experiences have taught me that only by merging the wisdom of our ancestors and traditional cultures with modern science can we achieve true healing.
My practice is committed to helping other women of color who, like me, have overcome so much in life and finally realize they need to focus on themselves, by solving their health puzzle so they can have the energy they need to conquer the world!