In this installment of Our Stories, holistic remedy specialist Madda Mush- I explained why you can’t call her fat anymore….For many people, Jamaica is pictured as an island paradise – white sandy beaches, a beautiful and vivacious culture, rich and wholesome food, and attractive people. And while that image is not far from the truth, if the lens is focused on the inspirational stories of ordinary Jamaicans, you’d find a sharper, richer and truer image of the Jamaican experience…this is Our Stories!

In Jamaica, fat-shaming is quite common and some plus-size Jamaicans grow to accept the harsh name-calling, while others educate the bullies and inspire their other full figured women and men to transform their lifestyle practices.

Meet *Madda Mush I

She is quite familiar with it all. In her younger days, she was known by the alias, “Boom Boom” due to her chunky built. When the taunting became overwhelming in her teenage years, Madda Mush-I decided that she would shed every pound by transforming her diet and exercise regimen. Her actual weight as a teen was approximately 170 pounds whilst being top heavy and her dress sizes were 14 to 16. Presently, she wears dress sizes 6 to 8 and weighs approximately 135 pounds for her 5-feet 6-inches frame.

Madda Mush-I challenged herself to become fully vegan by removing meat completely from her diet. And she would resort to teas, bush remedies, seas salt, eating raw food and much more if she felt ill. 

In my sit down with the retired sergeant and nurse, she notes that after her retirement from the army, she began practicing as a holistic remedy specialist wherein she offers natural remedies and nutrition counseling to many acquaintances. In addition to her transformation, she recalled the transformation of one of her acquaintances, who used “The Madda Mush-I recommended fruits and vegetable diet” to lose lost 30 pounds.

1. As a child how did the name-calling make you feel?

At first, I never mind the name, however, at age 13, I realized that I did not appreciate or gravitate to the idea of being called” Boom Boom”. Later on, the name was upgraded to “Fatty Boom Boom” which was worst. Yuck, all that teasing.

2. Why did you decide to lose weight?

…Realizing that I was clumsy and I felt really insecure about being fat. Additionally, being fat raised one’s body odour and made me have a low self-esteem. Personally, I wanted to maintain my size wanted and overall do something about it. During the age 19 to 22, I even started taking weight loss tablets, this made me constipated. I had to stop taking tablets and I just made a pact with myself to eat right.

3. At first, you wanted to lose weight but then you took it a step further and transformed your lifestyle practices. Why?

My first real investment in getting healthy was in 2002. I went to see Ted Emmanuel (well-known holistic healer with his radio talk show) and I started a dieting programme with him that lasted 2 years plus. I continued refilling 30-day programme, which included supplements and full force vegan diet which included vegetables such as string beans, broccoli, butternut squash, onion, parsley, seaweed, herbs like goldenseal, burdock and teas etc.

4. Now I know you were once a practical nurse, so why do you believe in bush remedies?

I used nursing as a way of reaching out and caring for people. As I started to hear and research about bush remedies I realized that they were more effective than conventional medication that dealt with symptoms and rather than the cause of actual medical issues. Natural methods are much healthier and safer.

Bush remedies deal with cause and not symptoms of issues that can affect one’s health for example leaf of life plant is good for stopping a fresh cold, therefore, it is best to be chewed and swallowed in its natural state. I use Coconut water as a great booster as it adds electrolytes to my body right away.

5. Alright! Tell me about that decision to remove meat from your diet. What are the benefits of going without meat in your diet?

I stopped eating meat in 1999 when I was 36 years old. I can proudly say that I have not eaten meat in over 20 years. I have not lost out on my nutrient content as I eat nuts, legumes, chia seeds and flaxseed. I look and feel younger, and behave much calmer and handle situations easily under stress and less susceptible to eczema.

6. What is your exercise routine like?

Warm-up includes walking 5-6 laps and 16 laps non-stop running.

I run and walk 5 to 6 days per week for an hour. In the evenings from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm, (I do) approximately 22 laps. It makes you feel good. A total of 7 miles daily.

7. What is your advice to people who want to take their health seriously?

You must take adequate exercise, sunlight, rest or sleep, eat right (nutrition)- more vegetables and fruits with a slice of fish for protein, drink lots of water and natural fruit juice and avoid sugar at all cost, likewise use little or no salt or better yet black lava sea salt. For example, when making my porridge, I use ripe bananas as a sweetener instead of sugar or optional honey. Last, but not least, praying is a great medicine.

Thank you for sharing Madda Mush I.

Visit Madda Mush I’s Website to learn more about her holistic remedies.

*Name changed on request

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