“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.
By age 15, I was diagnosed with “nervous colitis” and struggled with irregular periods, acne and frequent illness. Once in college and graduate school, the rigorous academic life continued to affect my health and wellbeing resulting in chronic digestive symptoms, hormonal imbalances, and mood disorders.
Eventually, I moved to the US 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 discriminatory acts of others were so subtle that I was not totally aware that it was happening: I was aware that I felt unwelcomed, misunderstood, and looked down on.
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 I decided to give it a try. I couldn’t believe the transformation! My bowel movements were finally regular and I had a flat belly for the first time in my life; my periods 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 millenia. 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. 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 providing compassionate, stigma-free, nutritional and wellness support to women of color struggling with chronic or frequent illness, while centering the belief that food, science and tradition are tools of empowerment and deep healing.