Hi! I’m Amanda Sugden, owner and founder of My Essential Alchemy. I am based in Toowoomba, Australia. I help people to reduce the chemicals and toxic load in their lives by educating, empowering and offering natural alternatives.
I have a passion for research, learning new things and educating others. The 10 years I spent teaching in Queensland primary schools has certainly given me the skills to ignite passion and translate new ideas easily to others. My career as a guidance officer has also taught me valuable communication and listening skills which I incorporate into my daily ethos and work.
From an early age I loved science and had a natural instinct for creating. I would experiment with food, ingredients and modifying recipes-just for the thrill of creating something new, something better, something unique! I still love to cook and create healthy food recipes but today my kitchen is also my happy place for making non-toxic products for the home and body. These days I harness my knowledge of holistic health and healing and combine it with a biology and chemistry foundation from university, extensive research and aromatherapy certification, to create natural products with intention that are backed by science.
I haven’t always led a healthy or fulfilling lifestyle. In fact, it was my childhood with poor food choices, chemical exposure and lack of wellbeing and balance that led me down a path of chronic illness. For most of my developmental years I ate pre-packaged, processed and highly refined convenience food. I was a vegetarian, I didn’t eat eggs and I felt sick if I ate dairy or gluten, plus I had a major sweet tooth to boot. I wasn’t eating the right foods to fuel my growing body let alone provide nourishment for the teenage Amanda who was in high school, with a part time job, social life and had 10 hours of dancing lessons per week. It was not uncommon to have ice cream and chocolate cake for breakfast, or hot chips and frozen peas as a complete dinner. I’m not sure my parents knew what to feed me, which is why it is my mission to provide access to nourishing recipes for those who follow a diet that restricts certain food groups.
As a child I was constantly feeling unwell. I was hospitalised with asthma from a young age, would catch everything that was going around school and I was a regular at our doctor’s surgery and the local chemist. The thing is every blood test would come back as normal and eventually our doctor told my parents that I was a hypochondriac looking for attention and to stop bringing me back. Unfortunately, the signs didn’t point to auto-immune issues back then but the ground work was certainly being laid!
In 2008 I was lucky enough to live and work as a teacher in Yarrabah, an indigenous community in Far North Queensland. This was a turning point in my life’s direction. I saw a rural doctor within the community who took my symptoms seriously. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and pernicious anaemia (an inability to absorb B-12). I also met my future husband, Zeb, who was the complete opposite to me! He didn’t own a TV or a mobile phone, he shopped at the farmers market and cooked his food from real ingredients. I owe the beginning of my wellness journey to him for teaching me how to get back to nature.
Even though my eating habits were improving I was still living a toxic life until after the birth of my first daughter, Tallulah. Becoming a mother changed me and I felt a fierce instinct to protect her and to make sure she ate properly to nourish and fuel her body. Despite our positive food choices, I found myself unbalanced, tired, sick and with more ‘unexplainable’ symptoms. It took 12 months before my doctor got to the bottom of it- Hashimotos Thyroiditis. Another auto-immune disease. My body was literally attacking itself and the only medical advice I had was to take a pill every morning, and when the body attacked another organ or system, to come back and grab another pill to “fix” it.
I remember sitting at home on my couch while Tallulah slept, Googling my condition and crying thinking that this is not what I had planned. I was fearful of what the next disease would be and my life felt like a ticking time-bomb just waiting to go off. I started to research my condition and looked into the previous lifestyle choices that I made which put me into this position. I empowered myself with the knowledge and community support that I needed to improve my life. I’m the kind of person who makes a decision and then wants it done yesterday, so in perfect timing I came across ‘Food Matters’ and joined their online 5 day health and wellness summit. I learnt about the importance of quality food, the power of the mind and the dangers of toxins and chemicals in our environment. The fifth day was about essential oils. I almost didn’t watch it because I didn’t really like all that ‘smelly stuff’ that set off my asthma. But as fate would have it, I had access to free internet so I chose to learn.
I decided that I had nothing to lose so within a week I grabbed a doTERRA kit with the intention of making natural cleaning products with essential oils. It was fun, easy, inexpensive and was a way that I could control our exposure to harmful chemicals. I remember thinking why is it ok for us to use these store bought cleaning products now but not when I’m pregnant? It didn’t make sense that they would be on the supermarket shelves if they had toxic ingredients in them that could make me sick.
I kept on learning about natural health and ingredients along the way and started to detox our home slowly by replacing store bought skin care, body, bath, baby and cleaning products with my own DIY creations. They worked as well as the old products and I knew exactly what was in them. I started a facebook page called Time for an Oil Change as a way to share my oily experience with my friends, family and the wider community. I soon became an expert at reading my body’s signals and realised that sugar and gluten aggravated my auto-immune conditions, so I got serious about eliminating them from our home.
I noticed a significant improvement in my health, wellness and energy. I went back to my doctor for a check up and was surprised to find out that I had no signs of pernicious anaemia or asthma. My body was healing itself with food and natural products. I became aware of the effect that synthetic products had on my body when I came into contact with them- headaches, itchy red skin, dry throat, breathing difficulties and an unpleasant scent.
My friends and family were noticing the difference in my health and reached out to ask if I would help them make positive lifestyle changes. My online community were hungry for education, DIY recipes, essential oil tips and information about safe, natural products. I wanted to help the DIYers to source unprocessed ingredients, suitable packaging and bottles and essential oils of exceptional quality, all in the one place to save on time and postage. At the same time I had many people asking me to sell my handmade products and to create custom blends for them as they didn’t have the time or capacity to make it themselves. And that is how my business evolved into ‘My Essential Alchemy.’ With each year it continues to expand and grow to suit the changing needs of our community. This job allows me the chance to express my creativity and share that passion with others to make a positive impact on their lives.
After years of wondering what my purpose in life is and what legacy I will leave behind, I finally feel at peace with myself and know that although there is much more I want to accomplish, I am on the right path.
“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.” Pablo Picasso
Thank you for your support as we build our lox-tox and high vibrational lifestyle. I am so grateful to be a part of this transformational community and am honoured that you have joined us too.
With infinite love & gratitude,