Ti-An DeMartines, BFA, RHN

My story.

Like so many others, I have struggled with anxiety and depression throughout my entire life. This came to a head when I experienced my first panic attack at the age of nineteen, just as my first year of university was ending. From that point on, I defined my life as ‘pre-panic attack’ and ‘post-panic attack’. The way I lived my life for years after that first panic attack completely changed. I became fearful of any sensations that would resemble those of a panic attack, and orchestrated every moment of my life to avoid certain feelings, places, and situations in hopes of avoiding another attack. I sought help from my family doctor, who prescribed a common anti-anxiety drug. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any benefit from this drug, and even suffered a bad reaction to it. I also sought counselling through the free service provided by the local hospital, however, I felt like these practitioners were just scratching the surface, and I wanted to get to the root of the emotional issues that had plagued my life, as I knew this would be the pathway to true healing.

With each subsequent panic attack, I felt like I was digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole of fear that I would never be able to get myself out of. Depression creeped back into my life, and I found myself completely void of motivation or desire to even get out of bed in the morning.

My intuition was telling me that there was something about my diet that was contributing to my emotional disturbances. I sought help from a Master herbalist and acupuncturist who also had extensive nutrition knowledge. Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle started to fit together. My intuition was correct - underlying digestive issues were at the root of my problems, and by adjusting my diet to fit MY body’s unique needs, I began to experience incredible improvements almost immediately. I was now supporting my body’s unique nutritional needs through healing foods and cleansing my body of accumulated toxins through herbs. As my body continued to heal, my spiritual and emotional wellbeing improved as a wonderful consequence.

Emotional wellbeing is truly a holistic experience. As I worked on returning my body to balance through foods and herbs, I started the process of working on the mind and spirit. I began to practice yoga and meditation, which have helped me to become more mindful by bringing my mind and spirit back into my body, into the present moment. Those with anxiety and panic are often ‘living in the future’, and those with depression are often ‘living in the past’, so learning how to be present is an essential aspect of healing.

At this point in my journey, I felt like I needed more external support, and sought the help of an incredible holistic psychotherapist who guided me through the very challenging and ongoing process of adjusting my negative thought patterns.

So where am I today? Apart from having my own holistic nutrition and wellness practice and having the pleasure and privilege of helping others, I am finally living my life again. I still have fears and anxiety, and still deal with stress. My spirit is living in a human body after all! But these emotions no longer dictate the course of my life. I have been able to do things I never thought possible because of my anxiety, like speak in front of large groups of people, hike on mountains, go on very long international flights alone, and even live in another country for a year! There is nothing more liberating than floating above anxiety, panic, and depression to live the life that you were destined to live!

My personal experiences with health struggles are an asset to my clients who seek the guidance of someone who can relate to their issues and provide solutions based on research as well as experience. I obtained my Registered Holistic Nutritionist certification from The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and Restorative Yoga teacher training in 2012. I am proud to offer both holistic nutrition counselling and  private restorative yoga sessions in my practice, and will often refer you to employ the assistance of other types of practitioners that I feel will be of benefit to you on your journey to healing.

Whether it be health or lifestyle related, I understand the importance of working with your individual needs for the best results. My goal is to be your mentor and teacher, guiding you through the process of becoming educated in food, nutrition, and health, so that you can become empowered to be your own healer.

Helping people to live their best life is what I thrive on. I am the assistant director of the Real Food 4 Life Education Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate people, especially children and marginalized populations about the importance of real, whole foods, the life skill of cooking and nutrition.

I have also started a new company called You’re My Favourite Favours & Gifts, where we offer healthier, allergen-free and eco-friendly gifts and favours for your next party or event!

I am also a visual artist in my free time, and hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours. My work focuses on landscape painting and photography, and I believe that individual creativity is very important to overall health. I also enjoy travelling, yoga, walking in nature, reading, cooking, and art-making.

To see Ti-An’s artwork, visit www.ti-an.ca.



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