ABOUT DR. HEIDI & MARGIE
OUR STORYIt's a story of friendship, genetics, epigenetics, choices, challenges and managing our genomes daily with the aim of staying optimally well.
OUR EARLY YEARS
Heidi and I've been best friends since we were eight. We went to the same 3 schools and our dads were even transferred from one province to another around the same time.
We've done everything together – from playing together as kids to crazy times at varsity, our first jobs and starting families. Through it all, we had no idea how our similar nutrition, environment and lifestyle choices were impacting our health.
As kids, we slathered on toxic sunscreen and ate crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks. We were exposed to all the 'amazing new technologies' that were hatched in the 80's and 90's such as colourful, sugary breakfast cereals, margarine, new household cleaning chemicals, and new chemical ingredients in face and body care products that preserved them, and that made them smell and feel amazing as we applied them to our skin.
After we left school, we lived together. While studying full time, we partied most of the week in smoke-filled bars and nightclubs, drank LOTS of alcohol, and binged on coffee and energy drinks to stay awake. We ate as healthy as we could afford to as students (!) but also ate a GOOD amount of junk food...especially at 3am after leaving a nightclub! We didn't eat food or take supplements to could help our bodies detox or methylate. We just didn't know.
Of course, we both had the same student job: working for a well-known cosmetic brand at a large department store. We would study all week, party Wednesday to Saturday, then work all day Saturday and Sunday at the beauty counter. Our motto was 'Sleep when you're dead!' (We had not yet learnt the benefits of sleep;) We were young and had youth on our side. We relied heavily on these beauty products to erase the effects of our stress and lack of sleep. We believed these products were better because they cost more and just because we were told so through advertising.
At the time, we didn’t realise the impact that our late nights, stress and all these tiny chemicals and toxins were having on our bodies. After all, our choices and exposures were the same as everyone else’s and they were fine - our food came from the same shops, we used products that could be found in bathroom cabinets across the country, and our stress levels were just a part of normal life. Our friends were on the same contraception, also drank lots of alcohol and also stayed awake until all hours studying and partying.
Around 30, we both cleaned up our diet and lifestyles as we settled into married life and prepared to have our first children. We had both been on the Pill for 10+ years and stayed in stressful jobs until we started our families.
HEIDI'S BIG 'C'
Then, at 35, out the blue, Heidi was diagnosed with breast cancer. It stunned both of us. She was so young and, at the time, had no family history of breast cancer or any other major illness which made it even more of a shock.
She couldn’t understand how someone with her knowledge and healthy lifestyle, following a raw vegan diet at the time, could've developed cancer. She had breastfed both her daughters for 14 months and had just had breast implants to symbolise getting her body back after babies! The breast implants saved her life because they pushed the tumour forward so it was easier to feel.
THEN MY BIG 'C'
At 36, a year after Heidi's diagnosis, my husband and I decided to try for a third child. Excited, I went for a routine ovary scan at my gynae. My doctor told me that my scan was abnormal and that he needed to investigative further. I was rushed in for surgery first thing the next day and I woke up having had an full hysterectomy. Pathology results had shown that I had ovarian cancer. Again, we were both stunned. I was thrust into surgical menopause overnight at the age of 36.
I felt angry that my body had let me down.
I CAN KNOW MORE
In the year after Heidi's diagnosis, she read all she could about how nutrition, environment and lifestyle choices can affect your body and contribute to cancer. She immersed herself in the study of nutrigenomics, epigenetics and signed up to study the Functional Medicine practitioners course.
Heidi learnt about her 'health timeline' and how all the choices that she had made up until our cancer diagnoses had very likely contributed to the development of her cancer. Determined to find the cause, and in the absence of a family history, Heidi did a DNA test. It showed that her body doesn't detox well, including estrogen.
TURNING POINT | DNA
I still clearly remember the moment I opened my DNA report: I too had wonky estrogen detox genes! I called Heidi immediately, half crying, and said: "Until now, I've believed that my body had let me down but actually I've let my body down with all the choices I've made." All of a sudden it became personal. I was ready to change. Suddenly surgery seemed like the easy part. The hard part was going to be making better nutrition, environment and lifestyle choices all day, every day!
In so many ways, it feels like our lives needed to be the way they were to lead us to the creation of JOINCIRCLES.
We decided we needed to share what we had learnt. Because we had both been patients, we knew how disempowering it had been to not have access to our medical data. We wanted to change that.
After you're done with the doctors and surgery, you have to go home and make better choices every day on your own - your medical data helps to personalise your choices. We wanted to create a place where you had access to DNA and advanced biochemistry tests online that you could order without a doctors request, and do yourself at home.
We also knew how challenging it was to piece together better choices and a personalised protocol, so we set about pulling better choices into one place to make it easier for you.
We wish we'd known at 18 what we do now. If we had, we believe we may very well have been able to prevent our cancers.
In 2015, we started JOINCIRCLES. We set about pulling together in everything we had experienced, learnt, studied and wished we could find in one place.
We started curating ranges of products with specific criteria in mind. We chose many of the products in our 'Nutrition' category because they've been designed around nutrigenomic principles and are used therapeutically in Functional and Integrative Medicine. We personally checked every product and ingredient in our 'Environment' category to ensure they are free from xenoestrogens, endocrine disruptors, DNA mutators and carcinogens. And, we've chosen products for our 'Lifestyle' category based on the latest research.
You can shop in our shop knowing that our products will work towards 'turning off' your potential risk for certain lifestyle-related chronic diseases, and help to 'turn on' optimal wellness.
I stand at the centre of my daily choices (circles). I'm empowered to make the right nutrition, environment & lifestyle choices for my unique DNA and biochemistry.
Personalised Scientific Wellness
JOINCIRCLES is an online, future-based, personalised wellness shop that helps you to join better choices around you DNA every day so you can move towards optimal wellness. We give you access to a range of advanced DNA and real-time biomarker tests that you can do easily at home, along with guidance, knowledge, a curated range of products that can help nourish, protect and nurture your DNA, and a network of forward-thinking doctors.