By Sari Huhtala
There is not an ounce of uncertainty in Annette Gervais’ voice as she proclaims “You’re body heals itself at 100 per cent.” Taking into account all aspects of holistic healing – self love, food, spirituality – everything holistic, the body can heal itself, she says. And Gervais, and her son, are living proof.
Not a stranger to health woes, Gervais, a Sudbury resident, at the age of 21, was put on a liver transplant list by her doctor who told her, “Your liver is finished.” He questioned if she was a drug addict or consumed excessive amounts of alcohol, she recalls, but that wasn’t the case. For Gervais, long-term use of a pharmaceutical for acne was the root of her liver failing, she says.
Rather than succumb to conventional ways of thinking, Gervais set on a path to heal her liver naturally. She began daily castor oil packs for liver detoxing, homeopathic remedies, daily juicing for seven years, kefir daily, many years of Swedish bitters – an herbal tonic – and regular visits with a naturopath. Her naturopath had recommended vitamin E for her acne. Now, 25 years later, and still no transplant, and no health issues.
“I feel better now than I did in my 20s and I feel better and better every day.” After the birth of her son 24 years ago, she had a hysterectomy that spiraled her into menopause at age 22. It took her naturopath nine years to bring her homones back to balance.The solution? Eating for her blood type, which she has now been doing for the last 15 years.
Her own health journey is the reason why, when her son was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at a young age, she vowed to create the best life possible for him, and take a completely holistic approach. “I didn’t believe there was nothing out there for him and I didn’t want to put him on medication. I decided I was going to give him a better chance at life.”
She believes surgery for endometriosis one month into pregnancy may have exposed her son to chemicals which affected his nerves. Even a week after his birth she noticed he seemed fidgety. She started seeing a naturopath. “The naturopath eventually came to the conclusion he had ADHD and recommended a high diet of vegetable carbs, and said to stay away from any foods that weren’t in their natural form.”
It just took a conscious decision to do what was necessary to ensure he grew up healthy and vibrant, she says. Some of the worst culprits were foods with dyes and MSG. So the focus was always on whole, real foods, she adds. Being school aged posed new challenges because many of the teachers rewarded students with junkfood, she says. But there is always a solution if one is willing.
“At school they’d give him lollipops, gum, sugary granola bars. At that point I took my son to the health food store and loaded him up with healthier candies and created his own cupboard at school. I asked the teachers to reward him from his own cupboard.”
The naturopath also recommended carbo veg homeopathic medicine, which she continued to give him for 10 years. Today, at age 24, he is very “Zen and relaxed. “ He notices if he sways from a real food diet everything is more challenging for him, and he sways back to healthy habits.