author Celia Anne Browne
Naturalist, activist, actress and blogger Shiva Rose has created an environment that celebrates a holistic, healthy and authentic life style without sacrificing taste and glamour.
Her blog is called The Local Rose, this is where Shiva shares eco conscious tips, recipes, and interviews other inspiring women. She also created her own beauty line simply named Shiva Rose.
I was invited to Shiva’s home in the Pacific Palisades California on a brisk Sunday afternoon for this precise interview. We had had a nice rapport over correspondence, connecting through shared mutual friends. Shiva greeted me at the gate in a flowing floral dress, minimal makeup, barefoot and with a warm hug.
Her home is a Los Angeles Eco Sanctuary, where she and her two daughters tend to a cat, rabbits, chickens, and grow their own vegetables. Upon arrival and having been offered some freshly sliced papaya and guava, I asked Shiva if there was a particular subject she wanted to focus on and share with AGB readers. Her response was the subject of ‘living fearlessly’, for her life had offered her challenges that frequently summoned all her courage and inner strength. Shiva Rose is a survivor, at the tender age of ten Shiva’s family had to flee their home country of Iran. Due to the revolution her American mother was in danger and her progressive Iranian father was on a list to be executed. ‘My father managed to negotiate for us to get access back to Germany. I’m not sure about the details of how. The country was in complete chaos but they finally agreed to let us leave due to my father’s connections. The family were only allowed to take one thing with us, I chose a stuffed animal Suza Belle, given to me by my grandmother Rose, my namesake’.
At age twenty-six and a year after the birth of her first daughter, Shiva was diagnosed with autoimmune disease, not one but three: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and Scleroderma and was informed by her doctor that she had only one year to live. Each disease potentially devastating Scleroderma was the most serious. Scleroderma is a collagen related disease that causes a hardening of the skin and organs, making them stone-like and often resulting in fatality. Anyone who has received a diagnosis knows that you are at a major crossroads and every choice you make is paramount. After some allopathic options, Shiva chose to embark on a holistically healing protocol.
CAB: When you were diagnosed with autoimmune, what kind of treatment do you begin with?
SR: When I was diagnosed I did a mix of both traditional Western medicine and holistic methods. I took a pill called Plaquenil for several years, which is an anti-inflammatory, and actually a medication prescribed for malaria. I also began to look into herbs, vitamins and dietary changes. I refused steroid medications because the one time I did it wreaked havoc to my hormonal system.
CAB: How long after the diagnosis did you begin alternative protocol?
SR: I think it was a long process of discovering the right protocol. It really wasn’t until the last five years, that I have lived a life without symptoms. This came about by committing to a clean organic diet, more fats such as coconut. Ghee, raw goat milk and butter, medicinal broths, and other things like super tonics and antioxidants.
CAB: You mentioned to me that you incorporated acupuncture with lots of Chinese herbs. Later on MSM, Turmeric, Red Clover, Ashwaganda, Nettles. Any other herbal supplements or otherwise worth mentioning?
SR: I am trying lots of tonics right now such as He Shou Wu, Pine Pollen, Ashitaba. I am taking some serious antioxidants like Glutithione. I am also making sure to have healthy probiotics daily. I love a little cacao in my life to uplift the spirit and sooth the sweet tooth!
Also a life communing with nature, having a spiritual practice, a community of friends and making sure my adrenals and hormones are supported all contributed to less stress and a pain free life.
CAB: You also mentioned that you were primarily Vegetarian and in recent years you went gluten free, avoiding GMO’s, when did this happen?
SR: I went 100 % organic the more I spoke to scientist and activists like Dr. Vandana Shiva and Robyn O’brien who revealed to me how toxic GMO’s are on our health and food system. I know I can now feel it instantly if I eat a contaminated food item with dangerous GMO’s. I also now have barely any inflammation in my system.
CAB: When did you start to introduce meat into your diet?
SR: I introduced a bit of meat or bone broth a few years ago when I was acting in a three hour play in Ventura County. I had two shows a day, and I had barely any stamina or energy. I was desperate to try anything to have the strong life force to make it through another performance. I rarely do consume meat of any kind; however taking it medicinally has given me back some chi and zest.
CAB: What is the major difference between your diet now to how it was previous to your diagnosis?
SR: I think being vegetarian now is a lot different than it was ten years ago. Today there are so many incredible restaurants and products available so a vegetarian can be healthier. I feel that it was all the toxic wheat ingredients that added to the autoimmune condition and inflammation. Perhaps if I had eaten healthier as a vegetarian, things would have been better. Experts say that it takes seven years for the body to be fully depleted from specific B vitamins that only come from animal protein. Maybe its best to be a vegetarian for seven years then nourish with humanely raised meat broths, and then back to the vegetarian protocol!
In reflection Shiva acknowledges to what extent she had been suffering earlier in life. She had a lot of low energy in her twenty’s and thirty’s, she had an underlying hormonal imbalance that was never properly addressed till later in life, and depression. “You can get used to anything, you can get use to pain and lethargy.” Shiva is a fearless activist, having been arrested many times. Quoting author and essayist Edward Paul Abbey, noted for advocacy of environmental issues, “sentiment without action is the death of the soul.” She has protested the Iraq war, and was very proactive at The South Central Farm and it’s dismantling. When it comes to the environment Shiva will attest to following all the issues surrounding the Keystone XL Pipeline, Fracking, GMO and Monsanto.
Shiva’s two daughters, Colette Blue and Charlotte Rose are from her marriage to former husband, actor Dylan McDermott. She muses on her love for her daughters expressing that “they are the Sun and Moon in her life”. Shiva has been able to recreate an abundant life, by regaining her health, creating a successful, holistic living blog “The Local Rose” and embarking on a new natural beauty line.