I love the taste of ripe to bursting figs, trying new recipes using food from our garden, snuggling with my cavaliers, and book club with my girlfriends. Most weekend mornings you'll find me either visiting local farmers markets on the hunt for new local products and following it up with a hike at one of my favorite trails or competing in agility with my dogs.
I became a Nutritional Therapist after using real food to overcome my own health problems and my passion is to help you do the same! My health has not always been as vibrant as it is today, in fact it was bit of a rocky road at times.
My food and health stories are an entangled web. We all grow up creating connections with food and health based on the people and life going on around us. Being able to tease them apart and build new stories to heal are what's most important.
I grew up the youngest in a family of five children. Having a dental hygienist for a mother meant healthy food with limited sugars. Every so often my siblings and I got to pick out a sweet treat. My favorite was a big box of sugared cereal - Captain Crunch with Crunchberries! It didn't last a day in our house as we each filled our bowls to brimming until the only thing left was crumbs. That was the beginning of my unbalanced relationship with food. Eating well and then overeating sugary treats became a habit for me, one that lasted well into adulthood. I've had to work hard to cultivate new habits and focus on creating new food stories for myself.
I was raised as a strong woman that could have it all! I consistently had too much on my plate - job, family, kids, sports, you name it. I was constantly tired, muscle and tendon strains started popping up with seemingly insignificant activity, I had recurring ovarian cysts, and I resorted to weekly allergy shots for 7 years to alleviate my often debilitating migraines. I had been eating what I thought was a healthy vegetarian, low-fat diet for over 26 years. Little did I know the emerging health symptoms were the result of my long-term nutrient deficiencies, and while I had worked with traditional health providers, no one was looking to the root cause for true healing.
Adding to my own health story, soon after my daughter was born my mother was diagnosed with melanoma and then breast cancer. She conquered both only to have melanoma return with a vengeance, metastasizing to her brain. She was given 6 months to live yet surpassed that by 2.5 years following alternative nutritional therapies, giving her time to watch her grandchildren grow just a little bit more.
Following the same intuition, I started researching how I could boost my own health using real food as my concerns of getting cancer compounded my already growing health issues. First I cut out gluten, now almost 10 years ago, as an experiment to see how it affected me. My migraines soon became a thing of the past and my chronic environmental allergies reduced to a dull roar. I was elated to say the least! Next I focused on supporting my muscles and connective tissue as the constant tweaks kept me from doing activities I loved most. I dropped my low-fat, vegetarian lifestyle and plunged head on into Paleo. I first had to work on my digestion. I had hypochlorhydria, low stomach acid, and needed support to digest protein. I also wasn't digesting fats as well as I should due to my long term low-fat diet. With the proper support, my body started returning to balance and I saw great improvements. My energy increased as my blood sugar became more regulated and my body began using fat for fuel. My connective tissue started to heal as I incorporated healing bone broths and pastured meats. And, my ovarian cysts became far less frequent as I gave my hormones the fat and nutrients to function as they should. I also slept more soundly and my cravings for carbs dropped dramatically!
After a year, I still had some remaining energy and inflammation issues and worked with my naturopath to get to bottom of them - an underactive thyroid and MTHFR ended up being the culprit. Finding the right natural supplementation and adding in more carbs better supported my hormones and returned my energy. I also tested for food allergies and sensitivities, temporarily removing the few foods identified and allowed my gut to heal. This was the final chip in reducing inflammation in my body - who knew I was so limber!
Along the way I started to learn that saying no was okay - I didn't need to do it all. I found ways to bring mindfulness into my life and cultivated ways to take care of me. All of this, coupled with using real food for nourishment, is what helps me stay balanced. I understand the healing power of whole foods and targeted supplementation for my unique makeup - there is no one-size-fits-all diet! Now when issues come up, such as my recent transition into menopause, I look at it as a way to reevaluate the balance I have in my life and adjust accordingly. I am creating my own new food and health stories - and so can you!
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