Today we’d like to introduce you to Amber Butcher.
Amber, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
To fully understand my journey, I have to go back several decades, to the birth of my first son. I became a mother at only 16 years old. I navigated motherhood and raising my son, while finishing high school, then college and working full time, so life always felt like I was scrambling from moment to moment. While I take extreme pride in the life I gave my son, looking back, I know I didn’t take control of his health the way I should have. Given the circumstances, I allow myself some grace.
When my son was eleven, I met my husband. We were married at a castle in Ireland and, much to our surprise, our fairytale romance was capped off with us coming home from our honeymoon expecting our first child together. Life was calm, organized and I finally felt like this was my “quiet” time. I could breathe again. Then came the birth of my second son. Motherhood, the second time around, was not was I was expecting. For the first time, in my adult life, my sole focus was caring for my family, and I was overwhelmed daily. I had heard the term “baby blues” before, but, given the support and peace I had at home, I never imagined that could happen to me. I was wrong.
When my son was six months old, after discussions with a friend and my husband, I finally spoke to my doctor about the postpartum issues I was experiencing. His answer was medication. I left that appointment feeling even more overwhelmed than I did walking in that day. I went home and began researching natural ways to combat postpartum depression and stumbled across a blog that discussed how our diet plays a huge role in our hormonal balances and our overall health. At that time, we lived off fast food, red bulls and whatever convenience foods we had access to.
The next morning all of that changed. It was a Tuesday morning, and I woke up, feeling hopeful. I bagged up all of the boxed, canned, packaged and processed “food” in our house and threw it all away! That’s right! It all went in the garbage, and I have never brought any of it back into our house since. I walked into the grocery store and did my first round of “perimeter” shopping… produce and butcher, no aisles. I truly had no clue what ‘grass-fed’ and ‘pasture-raised’ meant, but Google quickly became my best friend.
My husband, of course, supported me and jumped on board to eat “clean” with me. Within weeks of changing our diet, we were shedding unwanted pounds, pain in our joints disappeared (that we hadn’t noticed until it was gone!) and skin issues began healing. For me, the biggest victory was my that my “baby blues” finally disappeared. My oldest son, who was 14, was forced to follow along, after much protest, and several health issues he had been experiencing naturally went away. I knew I was doing right by family and my children. The changes in our physical appearance led to people constantly asking what we were doing, asking for meal suggestions and advice. Standing in my kitchen, in the middle of cooking dinner, one evening, I decided to start a Facebook page, and I named it, “Primal Mom.”
Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest obstacle I have faced is just trying to live our lives in a world full of convenience. There is fast food everywhere. There are food delivery services that will deliver hot french fries to your door in ten minutes. Our society is built around food: holidays, birthdays or any celebration. How do I handle all of that? Simple… we just live. We participate when we want to and don’t when we don’t want to. My rule is that, within the four walls of our home, we keep our diet as clean as possible. When my kids go to a birthday party, they can choose to eat the cupcake. Eating clean is not a punishment. It is what we do to stay healthy. I am trying to teach them that food should be seen as medicine and you either eat to harm your body or eat to heal your body. It is our choice.
Of course, as my family’s health journey transformed into a business, my obstacle is the balance. What started as a fun hobby of blogging about the recipes I was creating or my husband’s sugar detox story, turned into a full-time job. I had no idea how many other moms would welcome, or need, help to discover their food peace, for their own family. I want to help everyone. I want to reach all families dinner tables, but I also have to find the time to maintain the same passion within my own home. I feel like our family’s diet, and food choices are publicly under a microscope, at times, and that can suck the joy out of what I am trying to accomplish. You know, sometimes, I just want a piece of bread too! The good news is, when I do splurge, my body and gut have become so accustomed to eating clean that I am quickly reminded of WHY I began this journey in the first place.
I try to transform these obstacles into more truth to other moms that are struggling to get their kiddos to eat broccoli. I want my blog to be a place of peace for other moms and not a place of judgment. We just have to focus one meal at a time. The message I try to portray is one of simplicity… you can do this too!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Primal Mom story. Tell us more about the business.
When I began our journey six years ago, I did not even really know how to cook anything, other than super processed and packaged foods (think: throw frozen nuggets into the oven!). I couldn’t even boil an egg. Talk about overwhelming! But I did it… day by day and meal by meal. Admittedly, I scrambled eggs with some almond butter, because I thought it was butter, instead of the exact same thing as peanut butter, but with almonds. Eeks. When I read a recipe that said to “juice a lime,” I stuck the whole dang lime in a blender and used all of that in a recipe… there were several nights, early on, where we pretty much starved.
This is what makes my journey unique… I am just a mom trying to do right by my family. I am not a “professional chef.” I don’t have an entire team of recipe developers behind me. I have had to “youtube” cooking videos to learn how to debone a chicken thigh. I have had my kids throw fits over dinner and refuse to eat too.
I kept going. Along with releasing two e-cookbooks and currently working on my third cookbook, I host clean eating challenges. I put together simple, unprocessed, whole food recipes, along with a grocery list, and help others navigate their clean eating journey… and the grocery store! I provide the help and outside support, I wish I had had six years ago. I pull from my own experiences and provide an online support group for those participating in the challenges. They can post about their day and the obstacles that stood in their way, which usually consist of work-place donuts or kiddo tantrums. I am here to remind them that I have been there! I am here to remind them that my husband walked into our kitchen, on day four of our clean eating transition, sweating, shaking, demanding bread and sugar, which led to him ripping a head of broccoli apart in our kitchen, before determining that he was experiencing “sugar detox.” Haha.
My blog is dedicated to other moms, just as much as it is my own family. I want to empower moms (and dads and singles, alike!) to believe they don’t have to rely on convenience, at the expense of health. We can all find balance, inside our homes, between the football practices, convenience foods, tantrums, school lunches and still finding time for ourselves. I want to show them that food can be medicine. It is all about redefining our priorities.
Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
Don’t stop. Creating something is incredibly hard, without much recognition or praise for what you are doing. This goes into almost any aspect of your life: Don’t quit. My journey into adulthood didn’t start out the way I planned, as a young girl, but I never saw my circumstances as a stumbling block. I fought, along with my son, to give us the life we deserved. The same goes for business. I won’t win the popular vote for the yummiest pantry selection (my pantry is all spices, herbs, and oils!). That just gives me more fuel to continue creating clean, unprocessed treats and recipes that even the pickiest folks will enjoy!
The best advice I can give is to find a true partner in this life! Find a teammate to walk through this life with you, lift you up, carry you through the downs, celebrate through the victories and all that comes between. My husband is my place of peace and my biggest supporter. He has cheered me on, as I built this brand for myself and never once doubted what I am capable of. Women can have it all and we can do it all, but it sure makes it a whole lot easier and more enjoyable, when the person beside you, every day, helps you create the best version of yourself.
- Website: www.primalmom.com
- Email: Amber@PrimalMom.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/primalmom
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/primalmom
Jeriann Severson Photography