I grew up in the world of Coca-cola (I was obsessed), frosted flakes, lunchables pizza snacks, easy mac, wonder bread, and antibiotics for sneezing. Sound familiar?
As a child, I always had stomach aches and high cholesterol. I was led to believe that was normal, it was my genetics and it ran in the family. I played a ton of sports and was thin, so it never seemed to be an issue. When I went to college at the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!), I was surrounded by a work-hard, play-hard mentality, one that I fit right into. Having never really drank before, I was partying and drinking alcohol, eating cheesy bread, nachos, fries or pizza “late night” almost every night, and not exercising. Sure I had stomach ache everyday, but that was normal for me. Between not playing on sports teams like I had in high school, to eating so much junk, I gained about 20lbs that first year.
Fast forward to graduation. As a psychology major, I got my first job in NYC at News Corporation. I was thrusted into the face-paced world of sales. Wanting to be the best, I worked long hours, was very stressed, and paid little attention to my food. My stomach aches started to really become an issue. As the next few years passed, I continued my sales career in the financial world, and would alternate between waking up with intense stomach pain and diarrhea, and feeling ill almost every time I ate, to not being able to go to the bathroom for days at a time. I also had migraines, was constantly exhausted and felt foggy a lot of the time. Then, I began vomiting on occasion, and that was the final straw- I hate throwing up, and knew that my body was literally rejecting what I was putting in it- something had to be done!
Throughout this time, I was seeing countless doctors, from Gastroenterologists, to ENT’s, to endocrinologists. All the serious stuff was ruled out, like colitis or celiac, and I was told I had IBS and acid reflux. NO ONE mentioned food to me, and that it might be effecting how I feel. No one. And it’s not their fault- conventional medical doctors are not trained in nutrition; they receive less than 24 hours of nutritional training in medical school. Yes, you read that correctly. CRAZY!!
Having been beyond sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, I finally took my health into my own hands. I also dreamed of becoming pregnant, but couldn’t even consider having a babe in my body feeling this way! I began researching alternative ways of healing, and learned how food effects everything- it is the fuel we are giving our body to live after all. I tried an elimination diet to really pinpoint which foods were causing my symptoms. I also found, and fell in love with, functional medicine, which focuses on the root cause of your symptoms. Your symptoms are just that- signals from your body that something is off balance. By uncovering WHY these are there, and looking deeper into your entire medical history and life story, including your lifestyle, relationships, stress management, etc, a clearer picture emerges as to what is happening in your body. FINALLY SOMETHING THAT MADE SENSE!!
I learned that had leaky gut, meaning my small intestines had little holes in them, allowing undigested food particles to leak into the bloodstream, causing an immune response to occur, making my body intolerant to various foods like gluten, dairy and fructose. This can be caused by all the processed and chemicalized food we eat, acid reflux medication (which I had previously been taking), antibiotics, and stress, to name a few, all of which applied to my life! 70% of our immune system is located in our gut, so it’s no wonder I was feeling so sick, when my flora (our bacteria that keep us healthy) and intestinal lining were clearly a mess due to my lifestyle and eating habits!
I eliminated a plethora of foods from my diet for a long period of time so I could heal, and the results were astonishing. I literally felt like a new person. No more stomach aches, headaches, or exhaustion. I was never “fat”, but my small frame, 5”1 body was carrying wayyy too much weight. I seamlessly lost 20lbs as my body rid itself of all the toxins I was feeding it with. FOOD CHANGES EVERYTHING!!
I also began to exercise more regularly, practice yoga and meditation, and take lots of baths! This helped my digestive system, and helped teach me ways to actively calm my nervous system and connect with myself in a way I hadn't been able to before.
I quickly became the nutrition and wellness guru for my friends and family; I loved helping them feel more vibrant through their eating and lifestyle choices. I had an undeniable feeling in my gut, and now that it was finally healthy, I could listen to it. I knew my true calling was to help people achieve their own health and wellness. I know my own journey would have gone so much more smoothly (and quickly!) had I had a coach to support and guide me to my best health. So, I took a leap of faith and left the corporate world, to formalize my education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I also became a mother, and had I not had these healthy habits established prior to her birth, I firmly believe she would have come out a completely different person.
We now know that our diet and lifestyle can actually turn on and off good and bad genes, and I know that I want my clients to learn how to eat in the best way for THEM to have all their healthy genes dominating! Whether you are a pregnant or new mom trying to give your family the healthiest life, or have been living with stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, low energy, bad skin, or just a feeling that something is off, I can help you examine your nutrition from a holistic perspective, so you can live your healthiest and happiest life.