Yvonne Matthews is a holistic nutritionist with a degree from Bauman College. She believes that what we consume is a reflection of how we live our life and directly affects our mind, body and soul. Her mission is to share that knowledge in a simple and fun way to give you the tools you need to feel your best and enjoy life.
My journey to health and wellness started before I even knew it. I grew up with a very nurturing mom who was a high school health teacher and tennis coach. We lived in the desert mountains above the Coachella Valley, in Southern California. As a young child, I remember going on long hikes with my mom and our dogs and learning about different plants and herbs that grew native to the desert we lived in. We would gather a few and take them home and drink some as tea and add others to the food we ate. It was a wonderful way to grow up and at the time I didn’t even realize it!
My next realization came when I was an adult. I made a conscious decision to stop taking birth control after being on it for over 12 years. As a result, horrible acne started appearing on my face at the age of 28. I wasn’t in my teens anymore, why was I having such horrible acne? I went to some of the best estheticians in Los Angeles, I worked out most days of the week, I took all the supplements I thought I should, I ate a pretty clean and healthy diet, I even did juice cleanses! So what was going wrong? I also went to see a naturopath doctor, got some blood work and did a serious elimination diet. The acne got a little better but still nothing was completely clearing up my face.
I slowly started educating myself about natural health through food and herbs and in time figured out what I needed to do to help my body heal itself holistically. I learned that the skin is our largest organ, and thus when we aren’t detoxifying properly, acne and other skin issues are one common process for those toxins to leave our body. Our bodies are a complex and efficient machine. However, if something is thrown out of balance (possibly from years of medications, bad fats, fried foods, alcohol or toxins), it doesn’t just affect one area of our body, it can affect many areas, and even things we think are not related to what we consume or expose our bodies to can be affected.
For me it was years of damage I had done to my body. It was the hard workouts that started when I was young. I became a serious athlete from early on, having two very athletically talented parents, and despite my 5 foot 2 stature, I choose volleyball. I played year round, non-stop from 10 years old through college. I loved it but I wasn’t eating properly to keep up with all the inflammation I was creating in my body. I was also serious about my education and ended up top of my high school class.
Two other significant things happened when I was in high school. One, I went on birth control because my PMS and cramps got so bad I would miss days of school lying in bed with pain. The birth control seemed to help. Then, I had such bad acid reflux I was given Prilosec. When that pain didn’t subside with medication the doctors thought I had an ulcer – at age 16. I went in for so many tests and x-rays, and finally they discovered I had a hiatal hernia. This is where your stomach pushes into the chest and up through the diaphragm. I was told no more hard workouts and to get rest, and that someday I would most likely need surgery to correct this.
So between the stress of school and athletics on top of medications, I was not developing a good foundation for my body. But I didn’t know how to listen to my body and this pattern of working hard and playing hard seemed to be fine for me. That was until over a decade later when I quit birth control. It became clear that it was a hormonal imbalance that had been kept in “pseudo-balance” from the birth control medication. I had to rebalance my hormones, so my acne would heal. It was not an overnight change. And this was also something I struggled with. I wanted clean skin and a healthy body NOW! But I had to remember, and still do, that this imbalance happened over 20 years and it wasn’t going to change overnight. And honestly, I am still working on it. But I am getting closer every day. Progress not perfection.
I was born in Palm Springs, California. Yup. People are from there. Ha! After high school I left “the desert” to attend Georgetown University in Washington DC. I graduated there with a B.S., double major in mathematics and studio art, a minor in economics and a concentration in photography. So, obviously, I always knew what I wanted to “be” when I grew up! (Yeah, right.) After graduation, I moved to back to Cali for art school to become a graphic designer. I loved it and still do some design work now and then. But after doing that for a decade, I decided to go to nutrition school at the Bauman College. And here I am today. A happy and healthy holistic nutritionist in Denver, Colorado with my dear husband and two silly mutts.