In 1986 Shann Nix Jones was an ambitious journalist in San Francisco who went undercover in the high schools to do a story about the budget cuts in education—a story that Drew Barrymore later turned into the movie, Never Been Kissed. Shann was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and should have had everything—but she was deeply unhappy and decided on a radical change of life.
She takes up the story: ‘I sold my home and came to the UK where I met Rich, a Welsh farmer. He was a gentle giant, a talented wood worker and harp maker who lived on a beautiful self-sustaining farm overlooking the Irish Sea. We fell in love and Rich brought me and my two children to live with him and his two children on the farm.
‘I was plunged into an alien world of feeding animals, lifting hay bales, fighting through knee-deep mud, carrying heavy buckets of water. It was a steep learning curve for a city girl! I learned to make jam, beer, bread, cheese and sausages—and cook dinner for eight hungry family members. I was exhausted and often at a loss.
‘Even so, living in harmony with nature, watching the seasons turn, picking blackberries from the hedgerows and making my own jam gave me something that the city had never given me. I was happy at last.
‘Then my little boy Benji started having terrible bronchial infections and we had to take him repeatedly to the GP for antibiotics. Rich suggested that we get a goat. He knew from his Welsh farming traditions that goats milk was good for asthma and eczema.
‘We bought our first Chuckling Goat, a beautiful black and white girl named Buddug, and I learned to milk her. Benji loved Buddug’s raw goats milk and his bronchial infections stopped—his inhalers were no longer needed.
‘Suddenly we had too much goats milk! It was going off in my fridge. So I went to Yorkshire and took classes on how to make soaps and skincream from our own raw goats milk, just to get rid of the surplus.
‘We found, to our amazement, that the soaps and creams cured Benji’s eczema! Soon other mums on the school run started asking for our products, to help their own children.
‘In 2011 Rich and I both quit our day jobs and launched our little business, Chuckling Goat, making natural healing skincare. We also worked with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to learn how to make kefir, a powerful Eastern European probiotic drink made with raw goats milk and real kefir grains. This is helpful for IBS, coeliac and auto-immune disorders.
‘Then Rich went into hospital for a serious operation and came out with an MRSA infection, down the length of his ten-inch abdominal incision. The doctors had nothing to offer us to treat the superbug infection which was eating its way deeper into his wound every day.
‘Desperate and frightened, I turned to my computer for answers. I found a crazy story of some perfumiers who had used essential oils, back in the days of the Black Plague, to fight infections.
‘I played around with the essential oils that I used to scent my soaps and came up with my own combination of essential oils. I treated Rich with a combination of those oils (which we later called CG Oil) and our own probiotic kefir.
‘Amazingly—it worked. Two weeks later, Rich swabbed completely clear of MRSA. Today he is happy, healthy and back on his tractor.
‘The natural healing skincare products that I learned to make as a result of that adventure were picked up by Fortnum & Mason and today we have our own Chuckling Goat store, as well as a thriving online business. We are now working with Aberystwyth University and the Welsh Assembly Government Innovation Sector to develop further testing and application of our CG Oil and our kefir.
‘My time on the farm, using natural healing remedies to save my family, taught me three important lessons:
‘1: Nature has the answers. She has been working on these issues for 13.8 billion years and she has the answers. The powerful compounds which work to foil bacteria are natural ones—because nature has already tried and tested them.
‘2: You are the planet. Modern medicine is based on the germ theory of Louis Pasteur—that our insides are sterile and that an infection is caused when a germ gets in. Antibiotics are the weapon of choice to find the germ and kill it.
‘But your body is in fact an Amazon rain forest of life. When you experience antibiotics, sugar, stress or environmental toxins, it’s like pouring bleach into the river. It may kill what’s causing the infection but it kills everything else as well.
‘3. Connect and co-operate. It’s not just about killing the bugs, it’s about re-seeding your inner environment. Our most powerful ally is kefir, a powerful ancient probiotic that contains up to 47 different strains of powerful yeasts and bacteria that permanently repopulate the gut, re-seeding it with the good flora and fauna it needs to heal.’
Read more about Shann’s journey in Chuckling Goat