I discovered that health is about balance and flexibility.
The first time I really started to think about my health was when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was a senior in college. My maternal grandmother had passed away from cancer when I was 8, so when my mom called me and told me the news, I had this vision of the ancestral connection among the three of us. I decided that I was going to empower myself with as much health knowledge as possible. A voice in my head told me that from now on I was going to eat only “whole” foods. I didn’t know exactly what this meant at the time, but I ended up emptying out my fridge and refilling it with fruits, vegetables, and brown rice. That plan didn’t last too long, but it was the beginning of my search for the perfect diet. The one that would ensure my health, give me a perfect body, glowing skin, and make me feel happy all of the time. Because who doesn’t want all of those things?
I grew up with a pretty good understanding of a balanced meal. My mom cooked a lot of vegetables, grains, and proteins. Although, we definitely enjoyed pizza, mac ‘n cheese, and microwave dinners, too! I loved Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and Oreo cookies. In 6th grade, some friends and I decided we wanted to be vegetarians, a decision that lasted 10 years for me. In my 20’s I started reading up on nutrition and trying out different diets, most of which left me feeling unsatisfied and constantly thinking about my next meal. I started to wonder how all of these diets could claim to fix all of my problems by making me feel great, but none of them worked.
I have an aunt in California who has practiced the concept of “food as medicine” for as long as I can remember. I started asking her questions about what she ate, what cookbooks she used, and who she trusted in the nutrition field. Just after I ordered a stack of books per her recommendations, a family friend told me about this incredible nutrition school, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). The authors of the books I had ordered were all guest speakers at IIN, so I knew I had found the right place for me. I studied over 100 different dietary theories and discovered the concept of bio-individuality: everyone’s dietary needs are different. I also studied how food, physical activity, relationships, career, and spirituality are all components that make up a picture of health.
I realized that no one diet would give me all the things I wanted to be and to feel. That I needed to learn what foods truly nourished me so that I could be energized to take charge of all other areas of my life. I discovered that health is about balance and flexibility. Exploration and experimentation. This experience was truly transformative for me and I love sharing it with others.
Outside of my passion for health, I love listening to and playing music, spending time with friends and family, enjoying good food, and being outside and exploring (even in the often-cold, windy city of Chicago). Oh, and I can't forget my guilty pleasure/fascination: watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians.