My Story

Cat EllisHi, I’m Cat. I started the Homesteading Mom blog back in 2010 to document my family’s move from a city apartment to a rural homestead. Our household experienced job loss in 2008, and we turned to homesteading skills, like gardening, cooking from scratch, and sustainable living to get by. Even though it was about being super-frugal, our quality of life improved dramatically, even in a city apartment.

I wanted to share everything we learned as we transitioned to a better way of life to help others to do the same. You will find articles here on growing your own organic food, cooking from scratch, frugal tips, debt reduction ideas, sustainable living, homeschooling, natural health, and tons of DIY projects ranging from making cheese to making soap. In other words, useful homesteading posts that can help your life today.

If you want, you can stop reading right here. However, that’s not the whole story, and the rest of the story is pretty darn interesting. (At least, I’d like to think so!)

Life Happens

If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans. ~ Woody Allen

Since starting this blog, I had another child, a challenging pregnancy, and all the mayhem that having two small children brings. I took a couple of bad falls, leaving me with a bad knee. My mom was diagnosed with cancer. Seeing the grandkids was the one bright spot in a life that revolved around doctors appointments and miserable treatments. She got better, but it came back, leaving my aging dad on his own. 

There was no way I could move away in good conscience while she was ill. And with my dad looking to me for assistance, our family’s relocation would be put on hold for a little while longer. 

Herbal Prepper

My own life took a turn in an interesting direction. As an herbalist, I was interviewed on the Doom and Bloom podcast, as well as The Medic Shack where I ended up becoming a cohost. I started a blog at www.HerbalPrepper.com, have my own internet radio show called Herbal Prepper Live, and have two books published through Ulysses Press.

My first book, Prepper’s Natural Medicine, has sold over 5000 copies in the first year since publication. Seriously, it’s a fabulous info-packed herbal book, regardless if you’re into preparedness or not. My second book, Prepping for a Pandemic, is an in-depth look at what happens during a pandemic, assesses the best candidates for the next great pandemic, and how this impacts how you prep. I’m very proud of both books. They were a labor of love.

Writing them, however, took a massive toll on me. There simply wasn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. I homeschool both of my children, cook from scratch, grow a garden, maintain a local herbal practice, teach herbal classes, blog as often as I can, and have all the interruptions every work-at-home mom has faces. Even with a supportive husband, there just weren’t enough hours during the day. 

The cabin then and now

Delayed, ok. But we’re still making progress. Here’s the cabin my husband built. We’ve expanded, and are working on more of the comfort features now.

A High Price to Pay

Convenience foods began creeping into our home. The garden was less robust. I pulled more all-nighters than I did in college to meet deadlines. There were days where I sat at the computer writing for 14 hours. I was stretched far too thin. Finally, the price to be paid was my health. 

The first “test” of my health was during a house fire. The first floor tenants managed to set their kitchen on fire. I had to get down the 3 flights of stairs with a bad knee and two little kids. I’m just incredibly lucky this happened when my husband was home. He made sure that we all got out safely. But, I never want to be in that position ever again. While I had been able to ignore my knee sitting at the computer, now I knew it was time to get my knee get stronger. 

The second “test” I failed with flying colors. All the sitting, higher-carbohydrate foods, the lack of sleep to meet deadlines, and the stress which led to insomnia, was all bad news. I gained a LOT of weight. My PCOS symptoms were out of control. And, after 20+ years of being pre-diabetic and managing it through diet, I started feeling really unwell. I grabbed my meter and took a series of fasting and post-prandial blood glucose readings. The results were clear as day. I had developed type 2 diabetes. 

Reawakening

All this stress… wasn’t this one of those modern lifestyle things I had been taught back in massage school (and in midwifery school and in herbal classes) was really bad for your health? It’s not that I didn’t know how to manage the stress, or the diet, or even how to reverse type 2 diabetes. It’s not that I hadn’t worked with type 2 diabetics in my herbal practice, because I have. I just hadn’t taken the time to take care of my self the way I took care of everyone else. 

Coconut Curry Cod with Hollandaise Sauce | Ketogenic Diet | LCHF | Low Carb | PCOS Diet | Diabetes | www.HomesteadingMom.com

Coconut Curry Cod with Hollandaise Sauce- Part of my new way of eating. This was so good!

 

Care providers are notoriously bad at self-care. Seriously, some of us almost brag about it among our peers. But, it’s time to stop using lack of self-care as some kind of badge of honor. For me that means more time in my garden. Getting a full night’s sleep. Eating pure, clean foods loaded with nutrition. Going for a walk in the woods to enjoy the green space. And at the top of my list, many, many, many more trips up to our cabin and site of our future homestead. 

It’s been several months now, now being May 2016. After being on an herbal and nutritional protocol of my own design and lifestyle changes, my glucose readings are much improved. I have lost almost 30 lbs and counting! I’m still learning to not overextend myself, and even seeing the patterns of overextending myself in work, in life, and in money management. I’m still learning about how diabetes leads to a starvation of the cells, almost like a form of nutritional poverty. 

Prepping is still a major part of my life. I still think there’s an economic collapse just around the corner. I still store food (of course, now its done with diabetes in mind), water and ammo. But, it is no longer just about surviving through the bad times, like when my husband lost his job back in 2008. It isn’t even about moving to an off-grid homestead with more freedom to grow food, raise livestock and experiment with sustainable building than we do in the city.

It’s about creating health and abundance no matter what happens and no matter where we live. 

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7 Responses to “My Story

  • Hi, Cat!

    Urban Farm is featuring you in our One Thing page in our upcoming issue (Lisa Munniksma contacted you about this). Unfortunately, the photo she sent me it too low resolution for print. Do you have a higher resolution photo we can use?

    Thanks,
    Roger Sipe
    Editor
    Urban Farm

    • Hi Roger,

      Thank you so much for featuring me in your One Thing section. That really warmed my heart that people had even suggested me for it.

      I will send you a private email about this.

      Thanks so much,
      Cat Ellis

  • Hi, Cat:

    Sending you a belated but sincere thanks for your shout out (11-26-13: More Heirloom Seeds)! Send me an email or give me a call if you’re interested in seed support for garden trials or other gardening promotions for your readers.

    Thanks again!
    Nina

  • Dear Cat,

    I have been trying to access your herbalprepper.com website for over a week and the internet isn’t letting me.

    Help please ( :

    Thanks,

    D

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