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From Ohio to Costa Rica And The Health Benefits My Family Received

August 21, 2020

August 21, 2020

They say children change everything. In 2015, I became pregnant with my son and developed an awareness for his well-being that grew into a concern for myself, friends and family, and eventually into a new career in another country.

In Columbus, Ohio, we lived a sedentary lifestyle of sitting at desks or in cars most of the day. We had to go out of our way to find physical activity; we dreamt of and eventually sought out an environment and culture more conducive to raising our son in a healthy manner. African Americans are almost twice as likely as whites to develop diabetes. Having diabetes also makes you prone to heart disease, which is the number one cause of death for all Americans. The Standard American Diet, fittingly known as SAD, has a high intake of red meat, pre-packaged foods, sweets, fried foods, high fat dairy and high fructose corn syrup; consequently, obesity is the number one biggest concern for children in America. The health of Black Americans is the result of a domino effect that begins in childhood.

“African Americans are almost twice as likely as whites to develop diabetes. Having diabetes also makes you prone to heart disease, which is the number one cause of death for all Americans.”

In 2018, my family moved to Costa Rica; a return to basics created the space necessary to fill myself up with new interests and possibilities. It was an unexpected gift resulting from decluttering my mind. It was a difficult decision deciding to move to another country and away from the support of our parents and siblings, however, we had to step outside our comfort zone to improve our health. Living in a Blue Zone, introduced me to the benefits of plant medicine. I became interested in clean beauty and began clearing my house of as many toxins as I could.

During this time my son developed a seemingly incurable rash lasting for months. A neighbor recommended I ditch the cream from the pharmacy and that I dilute oregano oil with coconut oil. He was cured in two days! I started making my own skin care items, such as coffee body scrubs, sea salt foot scrubs and essential oil roller bottles for myself and friends while sealing my toddlers many cuts and scrapes with Sangre De Grado and other tree saps containing antibacterial properties along the way.

“A neighbor recommended I ditch the cream from the pharmacy and that I dilute oregano oil with coconut oil. He was cured in two days!”

I grew a desire to formalize my methods professionally. In educating myself about holistic health and wellness, I discovered the path of coaching. I enrolled in The Institute for Integrative Nutrition the next day and began my studies. I have coached many clients to transform their lives by acting as a supportive mentor and wellness advocate. I believe in manifesting the life you want through positive thoughts, a clear path and dedicated work.

Our family has become mentally and physically healthier. No longer do I buy frozen or canned vegetables, but fresh produce from farmers markets and greenhouses. Our son’s school lunches are provided by a community member who only serves organic and local food. We see cows and chickens grazing in open pastures and know our meat is all grass fed. Our mental wellness has increased by seeing sunshine every day. The only supplement I have ever given my son was Vitamin D, as African Americans are at high risk of deficiency when living in northern latitudes; that is no longer necessary.

These are all things I have learned in a culture known for its health and longevity. Although this move was necessary for my family and for me to find my calling, I see a lot of commonalty between my new community and where I am from. This gives me direction in working with clients in the States to create and implement lifestyle changes right where they are.

Having started a life outside of my home country, I also offer relocation consulting to those who feel a similar calling. When clients have thoughts of moving abroad but do not know where to begin, I help them in their journey; navigating the logistics of a move, including, arranging school tours, realtor introductions, and figuring out what to do with their “stuff.” Clients biggest fear is leaving behind a job, but COVID-19 has proven that a lot of work can be done remotely. The prospect of becoming an expat can seem daunting at first and this program is often done in conjunction with my Integrative Wellness Program. There are often fears standing in the way of the lives my clients want to lead as well as actionable changes that need to be made. This is never the easiest decision to make, but I can say that it has been more rewarding than I ever imagined, and I want to help others who feel the calling.

In late 2020, I will be opening a multi-purpose facility in Tamarindo, Costa Rica from where I will procure my herbal and botanical ingredients onsite, host retreats in partnership with plant medicine practitioners and physical and mental wellness professionals.

I believe that like-minded energy grows exponentially when harnessed, and am partnering with a representative from Sante Laboratories, the premier CBD testing facility in the United States. Our shared belief in the healing powers of nature, combined with the abundant natural resources of my new home was the perfect storm for this endeavor to emerge.


Alexis O’Reilly

Health and Wellness Coach


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Successful Black Parenting is proud to announce that we are bringing our readers more researched-based content written by the members of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) RESilience Initiative, which provides resources to parents and caregivers for promoting the strength, health, and well-being of children and youth of color. We will also feature their members who have contributed articles to Successful Black Parenting on our BackTalk podcast. Learn more about the RESilience Initiative at www.apa.org/res.

THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION'S (APA) RESilience Initiative

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