Living Naturally - Our Story

The Living Naturally Story

It all began back in December 1988, in Hillcrest, KZN, when the health shop Food for Thought, opened its doors.

The shop was the realization of a dream for Irma Schutte, the founder of SA Natural Products. Food for Thought was always meant to be more than just a health shop. It was warm, welcoming, full of laughter and fun, a place where everyone who crossed the threshold was taught, inspired, listened to, and advised on how natural products help in following a more natural lifestyle. It was a place to share knowledge and ultimately, to help people attain better health, naturally.

Through her own health problems that allopathic medicines had been unable to relieve, Irma had experienced firsthand the impact of a balanced natural diet, drinking more water and using specific remedies to support the body to regain its homeostasis. This newfound way of life had seemed all too good to not share with others experiencing their own health problems and so the dream of opening her own store as a place from which to educate and guide the public to understanding natural products, as well as be able to supply them, had been born.

As the business grew, Irma went on to qualify in homeopathy and iridology whilst also continuing her research into many other modalities and travelling to numerous countries to source the best in class products for the shop and for SA Natural Products. The more she learned, the more she shared. The more she shared, the busier the shop became. Soon people were having to make appointments to see her and gain from the ever-expanding knowledge and advice she offered. Irma was teaching people the principles of Living Naturally.

So where does Living Naturally begin?

It starts with our desire to have good health and be well and active for as long as possible. It takes us on a journey to make better choices every day around what to eat and drink, what we apply to our bodies, the exercise we do, the way we give our bodies time to rest, the words we speak and the thoughts we have. The first tool Irma gave to people who asked what they should be eating or what should be in a living naturally kind of kitchen was her ‘Back to Good Health’ diet sheet. It started people off with the basics by addressing their questions of what should one eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? What should you drink and what is an ideal snack? What about lunch away from home? What do I pack in my child’s lunch box? There are so many diets in the world, which one is the right one? What makes food healthy? And the list goes on…

Other questions followed: Which supplements do I need most? I only have R100 to spend on a product every month for my health, so what should I use? How can I keep my family well? What can I use in place of…? Is there another way to treat…?” and so the questions kept coming.

Food for Thought was a family business in which the children worked too, and it kicked off their lifelong education in the principles and modalities of living life in as natural a way as possible. They learned the difference between an herbal and homeopathic remedy. What combination and single remedies are. What is an amino-acid and what minerals and vitamins do in the body. What are Bach Flower remedies and tissue salts? How to discern between a good quality product and a quick fly-by-night? And how to identify the signs the body gives to indicate it needs support.

By the late 1990’s Irma had a popular radio show and a weekly column in the Sunday Tribune called Living Naturally with Irma Schutte. In this, Irma would give accounts of customers who were benefitting from this ‘new’ world of natural products and lifestyle choices. On Mondays, she would be inundated with queries from readers interested to learn more or seeking her advice for their own particular health concerns.

By the mid-2000’s, recognizing many people’s need for more comprehensive yet accessible education on how to adopt a naturally oriented lifestyle, the various systems in the body and how they work, as well as how to incorporate natural medicines into daily life, Irma with her daughters started working on a Living Naturally manual. They filled many pages with information on the immune system, the digestive system, and also incorporated the A.Vogel UK and Canada course materials on plant based medicines, as well as the importance of choosing quality products and understanding their origins and manufacturing processes. Sadly, in April 2009 Irma passed away, leaving behind 21 years of knowledge that she had amassed in the form of manuals, pamphlets, copious notebooks, radio recordings and newspaper articles. She also left the unfinished Living Naturally manual manuscript, along with her dream of turning it into a course for anyone who wanted to learn more about attaining better health the natural way.

A few years later, the training department at SA Natural Products decided to bring Irma’s dream to fruition. Using all the information she’d left behind and the knowledge of other natural health experts, some of whom had worked with Irma, they completed the Living Natural manual that Irma had planned. The book was beautiful. Rich in information that was ready to be taught to a world that in recent years has become more and more interested in natural products and medicines and their place in healthcare. The question was, who could teach all this information?

There’s a saying, ‘when the student is ready the teacher will appear’. In 2017 Dr David Naude a well-known homeopath and previous Director of Durban University of Technology’s Homeopathic department, took up the position of Head of Medical & Research at SA Natural Products. Dr Naude had known Irma well and had done many radio shows with her. He also understood her vision and ethos for the Living Naturally manual and course. And as both a practicing doctor and a previous lecturer, he knew how to teach and impart information in an easy to understand way. Dr Naude reviewed, updated and edited the final manuscript, and finally the Living Naturally Academy course was ready to launch.

Since November 2018, Dr Naude and Estie Schreiber, Irma’s daughter and Head of Marketing at SA Natural Products, have run numerous Living Naturally Academy three day courses across South Africa, teaching homeopaths, pharmacists, clinic sisters, front shop staff, health store owners, and even members of the public the principles of Living Naturally.

This site is an extension of the Living Naturally Academy and course material. Here you will find many nuggets of knowledge and information to help you live a more natural lifestyle, as well as information on upcoming Living Naturally Academy courses.

And so the story continues…