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Just a little bit about me...
The story of "nor•mal {as it should be}"

Rachel Looking Back

We all live in our own story. Even when some trying "chapters/circumstances" happen, our individual story still probably ranks #3 in our favorite go-to- reads. That's not a conceited idea. We are created to thrive in our own skin. To find our True Identity, to be all that we were created to be, and unashamedly live our nor•mal{as life should be} life.

I didn't understand this concept until a few years ago when I shared my own life story around a campfire with a group of people. I had always thought that my story was lacking in adventure, drama, .. you know, all the exciting, juicy, "read all about it" page turners. To prove my point, just continue reading and let me know if you ever fall off the edge of your seat, bite your nails to a stub, or possibly even have to move your laptop into an occupied room because you are in such an excited disturbed state. I give no promises for thrill and adventure.

I grew up in Midwest Iowa and experienced all the benefits of a wonderful healthy family. I was #3 of 5 girls. Those girls each grew into my close friends. I never had any of the symptoms of a middle child that are talked about. I never felt lost in the middle or overshadowed by my older sisters' lives. Life was all it should and could be.

Rachel Jumping

Growing up I was always active. I would push myself too much as a youngster (those who know me well say I still do) and spiked fevers from overexertion. I was a hypochondriac growing up. For example, burnt marshmallows were a favorite bonfire treat. I would burn and re-burn until all that I ingested was a remnant of what used to be. Delicious. I indulged in this personal pleasure until my aunt told me that anything burnt could possibly lead to cancer. I stopped cold turkey. I never even attempted to burn another food item again, that is until I discovered that refined sugar could possibly trump the burnt aspect of the marshmallow in leading causes to cancer. So I occasionally still indulge my palate in that once forgotten pleasure. Needless to say, I attribute my discovered interest and life purpose in preventative health to this: a burnt marshmallow.

Watching my 93 year old grandma has increased my passion for living life to the full. She says that growing old is a lot of work, but she doesn't give in. She's aged with beauty and strength. I think people can either choose to leave this world with "one foot in the grave" or "one foot in the air." G-ma has chosen the later.

Who needs more motivation than a burnt marshmallow and a determined grandma to start living what they love?

I pursued my interest in preventative health by becoming a Certified Healing Food Specialist in 2008. From there I went to school in Oregon and became a Nutritional Therapist in 2010. I loved seeing how our bodies are designed to balance themselves naturally if given the proper nutrients and lifestyle. When I discovered we are meant to thrive and not just survive it spoke to something deep inside me that I had always felt was true. I had discovered what I loved and a way to share that with people. I then became a Licensed Massage Therapist in 2012. In 2012, I decided to couple Massage Therapy with nutrition to address both internal and external wellness.

As I finished my story around the campfire, it felt anti climactic. It had held the groups interest, but it hadn't caused any crazy emotional releases, belly laughs, or sudden bursts of adrenaline. At the end of the night, a friend came up to me, put his arm around my shoulder and said, "Thank you, Rachel, for your story. Do you happen to know what the definition of normal is?" I shook my head, hoping that it meant different, unique, exciting, etc. I could sense where he was going. He looked at me and said, "the definition for normal is: as it should be. Your life is normal, Rachel. Your life is as it should be."

Rachel at the Color Run

The definition of normal has stuck with me ever since. Why wouldn't I want to be in a normal state? His words brought deeper understanding to who I am, what health really is, and how we all are supposed to be. Our own Nor•mal.

Our bodies are constantly trying to keep us in a balanced state. Anything out of optimal health and function is abnormal. The body is incredible and will adapt to anything, but in adapting it can lose mobility and vitality. I believe that if the body is given the resources and lifestyle that it wants, it can do anything. It can be restored to what {it should be}.

Keep in mind that everyone's life is their own unique nor•mal. We've been given tools through food, nutrition, lifestyle, purpose, interests, and grace to enable our bodies to live in higher function, enjoyment, and well-being.

Our bodies were meant to help us live out our life's purpose and not hinder it.

If anything, I hope this encouraged you to go out and live your own personal nor•mal.

Rachel Swanson

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