Nyree Yali’s journey to wellness was inspired by her own health struggles as a child and teen and a subsequent desire to help others. She set up her business, Unity Wellness, as a way to help people to live healthier lives through the foods they eat and the products they use. Here she talks about the inspiration behind her business and her plans for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Grab a cuppa, as this is a bit of a journey…
My business really started 45+ years ago. In our family, we joke we have a cesspool rather than a gene pool, given all the health challenges over multiple generations. I was diagnosed with asthma when I was two and given countless courses of antibiotics through childhood for respiratory issues. By the time I was in late primary school, the eczema was driving me crazy and in my teens I had recurrent candida and horribly painful periods that kept me housebound. My doctor put me on the pill to “balance” my hormones. Chips, ice cream and soft drinks were consumed by the family pretty much daily and eventually I was also diagnosed with intolerances to amines and salicylates, requiring a strict elimination diet. I was just really sick of being sick.
When I was 18, I went on a Pacific cruise by myself. I was sitting in my cabin one day, reflecting on life (as you do), when I was hit with a “knowing” that I needed to study naturopathy so I could help other families avoid the same patterns of disease. I enrolled in the local Natural Therapies College when I got home and, after graduating, went on to manage a clinic for a while in the late 90s, with a particular interest in women and children’s health.
I moved from the Adelaide Hills to rural Tasmania at the end of 2001, with plans of opening a clinic in the nearest town, which is pretty much Tassie’s “hippy/alternative” capital. However, life (and love) took an unexpected turn and I ended up working in a telco call centre to pay the bills. I managed to work my way up pretty quickly and really enjoyed mentoring new team members and solving problems. A guy I’d worked with a few years earlier once said if Directory Assistance paid well, it would be my perfect job – and he was right! (Ha!)
I miscarried my first pregnancy, then found it was taking a long time to fall pregnant again. I ordered some herbs from a local practitioner and found out I was pregnant the day before they arrived (SUPER effective!). I knew I wouldn’t want to go back to work after my daughter was born, but didn’t realise that we’d end up on the path of unschooling.
In between some postpartum health issues, I tried a few home businesses, from Thermomix to making jewellery. The jewellery was my creative outlet as, once again, I faced fertility challenges. By the end of 2012, I was burnt out and decided to focus on my health. I released 30+kg of weight, took up yoga and felt better than I ever had.
Daughter #2 was born mid-2014, then two years later, post-partum depletion landed me in the hospital, worrying that I wouldn’t see my kids grow up. The emphasis was again on self-care, good nutrition, gut health, supporting clunky detoxification pathways, chiropractic care and better sleep (still working on that one!). On the good days, I’d wonder what I could do from home to reduce financial stress and that’s when a friend asked me if I wanted to hear about a new venture she was working on that was about “making food your medicine” and “truth on label”. I was sceptical and still in recovery mode, but I agreed to listen to what she was doing.
My mind was blown and my boxes were ticked. Gut health, organics, community, education, supporting local ethical businesses, full ingredient disclosure, an independent Product Advisory Board vetting everything before it can be listed, 100% retail online and no minimum order. It was everything I’d do if I was opening an online store, without the risks and headaches.
Two days later, after not being able to shake it off, I started my business as an Independent Advocate with InnerOrigin, based on that same drive to help people break family patterns of disease that had inspired me 25 years prior. My business back then was ‘Unity Health’ and this time the word ‘Unity’ came back to me as I was so acutely aware of how much our health expression depends on different factors coming together and working in unity.