My personal health journey started when I was 9 years old. I had lost my father to cancer only a couple years before, but I was too young at the time to understand fully what had happened. As soon as I was old enough to start seeing the connection between diet and the disease, I knew that I was going to make it a priority to take care of myself properly. With guidance from my wonderful aunt and uncle, I experimented with being vegan off and on until I was about 14.
At the time, I was sure that I was doing the right thing for my health by cutting out all animal products. However, I didn’t realize at my young age that just because a doughnut was vegan, didn’t mean it was healthy. Even still, all of my friends and family were shocked at my continued effort and dedication to health at such a young age.
I was 14 when I met my future husband and father to my child. We fell head over heels for each other so quickly, that I began to lose sight of who I was and what I believed in. Eating well was no longer my priority, being with him was. We wound up getting married 16 when I got pregnant with our daughter.
Bringing a child into the world definitely reminded me of how important it was for me to take good care of myself, now for her more than anything. I did the best I could with the resources available at the time. Even though I did end up developing gestational diabetes, the doctors were always impressed at how low I managed to keep my blood sugar throughout the pregnancy.
Once she was brought into the world, I continued to do the best I could to feed her well. Although now, I can honestly say that I had no idea what I was doing at the time. I had all of the best intention in the world, but I hadn’t educated myself well enough yet to know really what I should be doing. She ate your pretty typical diet mostly consistent of the prepackaged meals and snacks they make for babies and toddlers. I assumed that if it was packaged for them, it must be good for them.
I was 19 and had just begun taking online classes to get a degree in psychology when I found myself watching a documentary about the food industry. I was so horrified, that I began to unintentionally blow off my classes and homework just to do research on food and health. I started eating a mostly raw foods diet and was amazed at the changes I saw in myself. I almost immediately was in a better mood all of the time, had more energy, lost 10 pounds, and my cycle became painless and completely bearable!
Just like that, my passion had returned, but stronger than ever before. I knew at that point that I was meant to bring that same kind of incredible transformation to the world. I just had no idea where to start. I decided to drop out of the course I was taking and focus on my current job, while trying to figure out what my niche in the field of health and wellness should be.
My husband and I separated shortly after this time and lost myself in my job for a few years. I was focused on moving up the corporate ladder and trying to make good enough money to support my daughter and I. No matter how far I went though, I always has this little voice inside telling me that this isn’t what I’m meant to be doing.
Finally one day I found and ad for The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and my whole world changed. As I watched the informational video, I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps the entire time. I finally knew how I was going to bring health into the world while still feeling like I could be my authentic self. I decided to quit my job so I could dedicate myself to my schooling and my future as a health coach.
It became apparent to me after having lunch at school with my daughter that the food they are being fed is crap. That is when I decided to narrow my focus to kid’s health. I work with parents to create healthy food and lifestyle choices for their family. Throughout my journey, I learned a lot about what it takes to get a kid to enjoy eating veggies and live a healthier life. I incorporate my personal experiences with what I learned through IIN to create a 6 month program that helps develop healthy habits that are sustainable for a lifetime.