* INTEGRATIVE HEALTH COACH - INTUITIVE EATER - TRAVEL ENTHUSIAST - CAT MAMMA - ALL AROUND HAPPY HUMAN *
I am so incredibly grateful to be where I am today, but I can’t say that it has been an easy journey… It’s hard to pinpoint when my journey towards health started, so let’s just say it began when I went vegan back in 2015. I grew up eating the traditional western diet and continued on that way until I was in my 20’s, when I was inspired by one of my best friends to experiment with a vegetarian diet. I quickly grew to love the way I felt without meat, so I decided to go ahead and cut out ALL animal products - yes, that includes cheese! I was feeling absolutely incredible. I lost weight, my nails and hair grew stronger, my skin was glowing, and I was finally starting to feel happy again. It had been a pretty overwhelming year, so smiling and feeling positive was a very big deal.
Back in 2014, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. She was shocked when she got her results, but I knew it was coming. I watched how she took care of herself over the years and it broke my heart every day; I knew it was only a matter of time. She loved her wine, cigarettes, and decadent meals. She was an amazing cook and was so accepting and understanding when I chose to become vegan - I was hoping she may be inspired to eat a more plant heavy diet as well… but I had no such luck. As the year went on, I watched her lose the little weight she had left. I took her to countless chemo and radiation therapy sessions, and to her doctors appointments. I brushed what little hair she had left and helped pick her up off the couch when she was too weak. It was the hardest year of my life. I was angry because I watched this strong, beautiful, outgoing woman deteriorate right before my eyes and I felt useless. I wanted to help her - I wanted to NOURISH her with whole foods, not watch her eat sugary snacks and red meat - but I was too afraid to say anything. Her cancer quickly spread to her liver and then her brain. She passed away on Christmas morning in 2015. I wasn’t at the hospital with her when she passed, but I felt it in every ounce of my being. I had lost the most important woman in my life, and I was devastated.
I went to New Zealand right after my mom passed and had an amazing two months there with my boyfriend at the time. I decided to give myself the freedom of eating fish, dairy and eggs while I was there and then reverted to veganism when I came home. I did the same thing when we went to Ireland in 2017, only this time… I came back weighing 20 pounds more than I ever had. I wasn’t in a good place at all. I hated myself. Not only was I suffering physically, but I was torturing myself emotionally as well. I knew something needed to change. After months of working out regularly and eating a 100% plant-based diet, I lost 30 pounds. I vowed to myself that from that day forward, I would focus on taking much better care of myself. Not only that, but after watching what my mom went through I wanted to be able to help other people take better care of themselves, both physically and mentally.
I began looking into programs in nutrition and holistic health but was struggling to find anything that peaked my interest - until I met one of my beautiful friends. She was attending the Integrative Health Coach Training program at IIN and told me a little bit about it and I was immediately sold. It wasn’t long after her and I spoke about it that I was enrolled in the program myself. Since then, I have learned so much about myself, the world of nutrition, and have even started building my own business. I have become an incredibly curious and passionate woman that I believe my mom would be proud of, and that is the most important thing to me.
That being said, I still struggle with my personal health each and every day. I have battled depression for years, as well as poor self image, disordered eating, and most recently, major digestive issues, which can be incredibly painful and frustrating. In terms of my digestion, I spoke with doctors, naturopaths, homeopaths, gastro specialists, you name it… and we still couldn’t figure out what exactly was happening to me. However, both my homeopath and my naturopath talked to me about grief and stress, and how we store these feelings in our gut. Thinking about all of the stress and trauma that I had faced within the last few years, it all started making sense. That, and my body was actually unable to digest a lot of the foods I was eating. When my naturopath talked to me about reintroducing meat, I was incredibly hesitant. I had never wanted to do anything LESS than what she was asking me to do, but eventually I listened to her advice, and I haven’t looked back since. If you want to learn more about my journey out of veganism, you can check out my blog post here!
I feel that as a coach, it’s definitely a blessing in disguise that I have experienced all of these issues within my body, as it has made me stronger and more understanding of what my clients are going through, because I’ve been there myself.