I wasn't always so balanced.
I didn’t grow up with hippie parents who served me granola and homemade yogurt, or grew our food in the farm out back. It was Toaster Strudels, Blue-Box Macaroni and Cheese and TV dinners in my house, though my dad has always had a pretty epic garden (which I'm still thankful for, when he sends me home with juicy tomatoes and just-picked kale). Despite not really thinking about my health as a child, as many teenagers do, I became pre-occupied with 'getting healthy' (aka losing a few pounds, because that was the thing to do) jumping from fad diet to cleanse and back again. Though, unlike many of my other friends who cared more about popcorn at the movies than losing three pounds, I took it to the extreme- right into an eating disorder. I battled an eating disorder in my late teens, and though I sought out help, it truly wasn't until a trip to Italy opened my eyes to what eating from the land meant, what real food, made with love was and how vibrant life could be when eating food for nourishment and pleasure that I started to open my eyes to the world of nourishment without extremes.
Of course no path is a straight one; after studying nutrition in college my journey took me to culinary school; and through a debilitating digestive disorder that cost me months of my life and almost cost me my career; I gained a new perspective on holistic health- health not just in the food we ate but how we ate it; nutrition of body, mind and soul. I studied holistic nutrition and worked as a natural foods chef for several years before becoming pregnant with my first daughter, eight years ago.
After a difficult pregnancy and a traumatic birth experience (I'll spare you the details), I came out of the experience feeling both defeated and empowered- that there was more to nutrition than simply choosing foods from the health food store. I began moving more and incorporating fitness into my wellness journey. Against my better judgment I decided to sign up to compete in a fitness competition. After 12 grueling weeks of prep, I placed second- only to experience my second major health crash only weeks following. This one was no joke. I went from lifting hundreds of pound the gym one day to barely able to lift an eight pound weight. I could hardly get out of bed and caring for my two year old was a chore. It was humbling, and terrifying- and I realize now God gave me that experience as a wake up call- that I was once again putting my body through extremes, abusing the GIFT of the body I had given.
I vowed to no longer let extremes take over my life.
I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue- my body had literally waved the white flag of surrender. She was no long willing to put up with the extremes- and my journey to holistic healing and intuitive eating began.
I started digging into traditional wisdom behind the foods we ate. I let go of control over my body in favor of nourishment. I started truly looking at food as both fuel and pleasure. Food was no longer the enemy. Our bodies are not an opponent to be fought against, food became an ally to nourish and honor the one body I have been given.
Food has the power to nourish us, to heal us, to energize us, and even take over our lives, if we let it. How many of us are caught in the trap of the diet mentality? Fearing food and fearing that without control over every morsel, our bodies will somehow fail us?
Nourishing myself, truly, wholly- allowed me to heal in ways I never thought possible. To tune into a body that has allowed me to birth two babies, hike mountains, run a marathon, speak to groups of women to share my story of healing from the depths of disorder and despair into the light of my beautiful balance.
I made it. To a place of true nourishment, intuition and pleasure. And no matter what your story, your journey- I want you there with me. I'm here to help you find your beautiful balance- with balanced eating, and simplified routines for less-stressed cooking and eating. Because food, and our bodies, should be celebrated for the gift they are- let's start gathering the party supplies.