I grew up in Central Pennsylvania and attended Penn State. After college, I started a family and I was a single parent to my daughter, Jasmine, for 20 years. I later lived in Dallas, TX, and most recently moved to Napa, CA. I married my wonderful husband, Laurence, in 2012 and became step-mother to Jordan and Elli. I have worked most of my career in human resources. When I hit the big 4-0, I realized that I wasn’t getting any younger and it was time to get fit. I started running and practicing yoga more regularly and loved it so much that I became a running coach and yoga teacher. Helping people is central to who I am, which has driven me in my career choices. My concern about human and animal rights and the environment, led me to make a lot of the choices that I do around food.
How I Got Here
I grew up eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). Dinner included meat, a starch (rice/potato) and a vegetable. As a teen, I started to explore a vegetarian diet, but like most teens, I ate a lot of junk food. I now follow a vegan diet. Change in diet happens in stages, not in the drastic ways that most popular diets promote.
There was a period in my life when food was the enemy. I was anxiety-ridden, scale-obsessed, self-doubting, calorie-counting and a compulsive exerciser. Growing up, it never occurred to me that what I ate affected how I felt. Over time I came to realize the simple but profound power my relationship with food played in my life. I recognize the challenges that people face when trying to do something good for themselves while fighting cravings and breaking old habits. Like many women, I have struggled with my self-image and have been challenged by eating disorders. I have tried many popular diets and even used Fen Phen (!) in the mid-90s.
Throughout my adult life, my weight has fluctuated greatly. When I made the positive changes at 40, my life totally changed. I feel better (mentally and physically) than I ever have and I attribute it to my quest for wellness. By making small changes to my lifestyle in my diet and fitness, I am at a point where I am comfortable with how I look, who I am, and the positive choices I make every day about what to put into my body. I realized that food consumption possesses the capacity to affect one's mood, energy level, sleep quality, skin and self image. This awareness of how energized and strong I feel when my body is properly nourished keeps me dedicated to healthful habits.
I passionately consume plant-based whole foods daily, selecting locally-grown foods when I can from farmers' markets to become increasingly educated about where my food has been grown. Buying organic is important to me, particularly with produce ranking high in pesticide residues when grown conventionally. I work hard to ensure my food is non-GMO.
My diet consists of a rich variety of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and herbs/spices. I limit highly processed food. I do not consume any animal products including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. My dietary choices reflect my values of minimizing animal suffering and promoting a sustainable environment.
My family became my first clients. As an active family, we are always looking for ways to fuel our active lifestyle. Switching to a whole food, plant-based diet was a big help in reaching our fitness goals along with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and halting the aging process. I also found that many people in my social circle would seek me out for coaching in both their diet and fitness because of the changes they have seen in me as well as my extensive knowledge about fitness and nutrition.