How I got here
The third child in a litter of eight, I was drawn to the kitchen. I wanted to help make things…cookies, salads, peel potatoes… When I was about 10 years old a copy of Betty Crocker’s New Boys and Girls Cookbook found its way into my Christmas pile. Properly armed with a legit cookbook, I was on my way! I began preparing meals, baking train cakes for my siblings’ birthdays and seriously having a blast. Adults were amused and maybe even impressed with what felt like to me, my place in the world!
My interest in cooking expanded beyond the kitchen and into the garden. I convinced my mother to buy me a package of hollyhock seeds and let me plant them next to our bulkhead. It was mind blowing to me that those teeny tiny seeds actually produced those big beautiful flowers. That amazement has never left me. Though I never actually grew food in those early years, I was certainly fascinated by the miracle of it and was drawn to the fields where it was happening.
Eating food you have grown and prepared, seemed the epitome of fulfillment. And, somewhere in that fascination with cooking and growing food, the idea it was connected to health was germinating in me.
In my mid teens I started having negative reactions to some foods. Something I’d eat would cause my entire body to break out into hives. A standard Sunday meal, like pork roast and potatoes, sent me into absolute agony. I would literally double over from the pain under my ribs. There was a family history of gallbladder disease, and it looked like I was destined to follow in the footsteps of my grandmother, mom and aunts.
Intuitively, even at that young age, I knew that my body was reacting to and rejecting the foods it couldn’t handle. No one talked about making dietary changes, it was just sort of accepted – oh yeah, well, you know there’s a family history… Fear of being cut open to remove a body part along with my gut intuition, I knew there had to be a better way. (Interesting, isn’t it? We’re born with intuitivity, and learn, as we get older and wiser, to disregard it). I paid close attention and made connections to what was causing my pain. By changing my diet, I changed the expression of my genes and the destiny of my gallbladder. We are still living together today – harmoniously.
My fascination with food was fueled by those simple events. Skeptical of processed foods and their ingredients, I sought out co-ops offering foods not found in your standard grocery store – hippy grits, if you will. I started gardening, canning and preparing as much as I could from scratch. Hardly perfect, however, real food with lots of vegetables was the goal and pretty much the norm for me.
Fast-forward to being a wife, mom to three daughters and working outside the home. By the time my third daughter was born, that goal and norm seemed harder and harder to maintain. Feeding and caring for a family of five, maintaining a house, a job, and trying to find a little time for myself was hard, in fact, almost impossible. Convenient foods were guiltily welcomed and a drive through Burger King felt like a kitchen vacation. In spite of my lapses, my family survived. if nothing else, it softened my “judgey” self and nudged me toward better planning and strategizing simple solutions.
When our youngest daughter was in first grade, I started a deli and catering business. We were all about real food, colorful platters, unique salads, soups and baked goods – all made from scratch. That early inkling of better planning and strategizing helped me be a better business owner. My struggles to feed my family the most wholesome meals I could also prompted me create “take out” meals for busy parents to bring home. The business grew steadily over the years and managed to support our family and educate our children. I thought of it as the “little engine that could”. Exhausting and sometimes pretty stressful, some of my dearest memories are of the deli with my family members that worked there over the years.
A labor of love for over 20 years, I sold the deli with the goal of doing something less demanding. I craved a schedule I could control!
What came along next was a healthy vending company. I sought to bring healthy snacks to schools and businesses. It felt like a no brainer in 2010! President Obama passed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. It addressed and improved the nutrition standards of all foods sold in the school lunch and breakfast programs. The standards were a definite improvement, but hardly optimal. Big Food wasn’t about to let go of its very profitable stake in the school lunch programs. Never the less, ecovending got its’ footing and took off.
Launching and growing ecovending required meeting with school nutritionists to discuss guidelines and adherence. I was pretty comfortable with my understanding of nutrition, however, I was self-conscience by my lack of formal credentials.
I enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and I became a certified health coach! But…with this education, I now had some soul searching to do regarding selling food in vending machines. To be fair, there are some decent vending foods available. Fresh juices, organic, fair trade, gluten free, etc, are way better options than a Snickers bar. But, I’m a food from scratch kinda gal. That’s where my heart and soul resides. I want to teach people how to make their own protein bars and fresh juices.
Well, it turns out that IIN was just the beginning for me. It opened up a world that spoke to me. That world of nutrition, health coaching and working with people to find the root cause (s) of their issues was where I needed to live.
After completing IIN, I enrolled in Holistic Nutrition Lab Digestive Intensive. I learned so much about the gut, its vital role in health as well as the physiology and anatomy of the digestive system. I fully understand that all dis-ease begins in the gut.
Using the intuitive detective work I used to save my own gallbladder, and what I have learned through formal training, I help my clients systematically uncover what the source of their health issues are. We work together to find solutions that work best for them, and develop a practical and ‘doable’ system for their dietary changes.