If you don’t have the blessing to know Kat, please allow me to introduce you two... this woman is such a dear friend + I didn’t realize you could have a BEST FRIEND without meeting them in person, until I met her. Thank you, social media world.
We met virtually in an entrepreneur’s community where we both wanted to use our past obstacles to help serve other women... I was blown away with this mama’s story and her strength to live each day with a servant’s heart despite the obstacles she, personally, faces. I am extremely blessed and proud to introduce my friend, Kat to this community... and allow her to share with you a mere glimpse of her truly beautiful story.
The topic I asked Kat to speak on is one that is so dear to my heart as well as hers... See. On our family’s journey for optimal brain + gut health, we were surprised to discover... that even though NUTRITION was vital for optimal brain + gut health, it shouldn’t be our only focus!
What I discovered is the PRODUCTS you place on your body is just as important to your health as well as how you fuel your mind (with positive words, shifting to a gratitude mindset and more) and nourish your belly.
And this is one topic I know Kat can relate to so well.
Let’s get all the “FIND HER” things OUT of the way, before we dive in, shall we? You can find Kat Calaway on social media, here:
Pull up a chair, grab your favorite cup of tea and make sure to take notes as Kat shares with you her story as well as what she looks for on her beauty labels.
Also, just note that… even though, this can be overwhelming: Focus on what you can CONTROL, love. You can focus on what you fuel your body with... the thoughts you say to yourself... and what you place on your body. That is POWERFUL, love. And enough.
Hello friends! I’m Kat, a motherhood + brand photographer in north Texas, where I homeschool our four boys, ages 5-15. Amber asked me to share a bit of our health journey with you, and why I care about what we put *on* our bodies.
You see, ten years ago, my second son was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of three. Up until that point, I had never heard the words, “celiac,” “gluten,” or “autoimmune.” But there we were - being thrown head first into this unknown world. I became OBSESSED with diet and nutrition! I mean, my boy’s life depended on it. But, that’s a story for another day.
(And why I’m especially thankful for Amber’s NO BRAINERS magazine + community!).
But, let’s fast-forward a bit.
August 2014, just days after turning 30 years old, I got sick. Really sick. After nearly two years, many doctors, and countless tests, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia & lupus. There is so much more I want to say right here, and I’m sure you have questions that I’m more than happy to answer, but I’m going to jump ahead again…
In 2015, after a year of intense treatment to get control of the massive lupus flare I was experiencing, I began to notice the visual effects this autoimmune disease was taking on my body.
In addition to serious weight gain (ugh!), I was even noticing my hair was thinning, breaking & (gasp!) bald spots! You see, the effects on my hair from long-term medication use to manage lupus & fibromyalgia left me frustrated and looking for safe solutions.
One day, I was crying to my doctor about how overwhelmed I was with everything! She gave me some advice that has become a mantra in my life now:
This statement has been a game changer!
Here’s a short list of things we CAN control when it comes to our health:
We can control what we eat. (Whole 30, Paleo, Keto, etc.)
We can control what we drink. (Water, water, water)
We can control what we read & learn. (Hello Google!)
We can control our thoughts. (A healthy mindset is huge!)
We can control where we shop. (I’m still working on this)
We can control our actions. (Move your body everyday)
We can control what we put in and on our bodies!
This lead me to an unexpected discovery: what we put ON our bodies can actually be toxic to our overall health! What?!
In addition to gluten free, I now look for beauty products that have:
NO Cyclic Silicones
NO Polyethylene Glycol
NO Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, or Paraffin Wax
NO Plastic Microbeads
NO Formaldehyde Releasers
NO Harmful Colors
NO Harmful Fragrances
NO Animal Testing
NO Animal Origin Ingredients
While that list seems a bit daunting (lots of scary toxic stuff in conventional beauty products!), I did indeed discover a naturally based, anti-aging, vegan hair care line that’s safe for my whole family and has brought about new growth, strength, and healing to my once lackluster & damaged hair!
Let’s bring it full circle here…
Since I was diagnosed with lupus, my camera transformed into the instrument I now use when I struggle to put into words what I so desperately want others to understand. Whether it’s a routine day of homeschooling my four boys, celebrating my latest gluten-free triumph, shampooing my hair, diffusing essential oils, or I’m anxiously climbing a dark valley, I’ve learned I can sing of God’s grace & mercy through the images I create.
And I’m so grateful that these photos and my story brought me here: to meeting Amber & sharing a piece of my story with you. I hope it was an encouragement to you.