And Why I'm Relevant
For those of you curious about who I am and why my work as a nutrition consultant might be relevant to you, I’ve created this article to give you some context. As a connection-oriented human, I love learning about the people who’s work and messages align with me.
Although I agree that the message can often be more important (universal, even) than the messenger… I’ve always wanted to know more about my messengers. So, here’s more about who I am and why I might be relevant to your life.
My Childhood Recap
Like so many of us today coming from a divided home, my parents divorced when I was eight. What folks closest to me also know is that I was raised in a religious “community” (it was a cult, really) with a handful of other families up until I was about five. My parents raised us largely off-the-grid in Northern California where we were unschooled and sheltered from most media and industrial influence. We moved to the Central Coast when I was five and for the following three years, the beach was essentially my classroom.
Sounds like a fairy tale, but it was based on unstable foundations which impacted the health and development of everyone in my family. When my parents divorced, we were all placed in public school for the first time, given tv as a babysitter, and began subsisting off top ramen and wonder bread. But the biggest trauma for us all was that my mom left. I was eight at the time — the middle of five children — and raised primarily by my dad thereafter.
The reason I choose to include this early life detail is because healing and growth involves dealing with unresolved childhood issues. Always. I’ve yet to work with a client who doesn’t have something from their childhood which needs to be acknowledged and respected. Our childhoods are also the birthplace of our character strengths, our core values, and various habit-patterns which have served us along the way.
My childhood sounds rocky, but I’ve healed and grown from much of it with these strengths as takeaways:
- Independence and driven by internal goals and visions
- Ambitious and driven towards meaningful work in the world
- Fiercely passionate about the outdoors
- Super goofy and able to hold paradox, irony, and contradictions (thanks, dad!)
- Socially and emotionally intelligent
- Introspective and self-aware
- Lover of all things beach, ocean, and redwoods
- Highly sensitive and compassionate towards others’ trauma
Personal Health struggles
Again, like so many growing up in Industrial Western Civilization, processed food and tv played big roles in my early years, contributing to the development of various symptoms I assumed were normal. I had severe migraines, intestinal issues, behavioral issues like unstable emotions, tantrums, severe social anxiety, and issues calming down and sleeping.
I channeled all my craziness & emotions into physical activities such as surfing, skateboarding, and basketball. I was raised believing that as long as I remained petit, it was normal to eat any crap I wanted to the point of sickness. So I developed patterns of overeating early in life and thought that was normal also.
By my teenage years, I was diagnosed with clinical mood disorders, eczema, acne, bulimia, and went on medications for all of the above. After four years of this, my intuition kicked in and told me that the drugs weren’t the answer. So, I quit all meds, went vegan, and enrolled in a holistic health school in San Francisco. I wanted to understand as much as I could about myself and my struggles and I didn’t know it at the time, but health became one of my core values. I was twenty-one.
Some takeaways from my personal health struggles:
- Developed most of my core values through these struggles
- Became passionate about health sciences and honest applications thereof
- Began to see my own symptoms in others’ stories and bodies
- Developed a holistic, functional, and evolutionary lens to view health and
- Have the personal experience to understand what others are going through
- Passionate about healthcare reform from the bottom up!
Early child development Background
In my late teens, I landed a job as a pre-school teacher assistant. I immediately loved this work and went to college for a degree in Early Child Development. Shortly after I moved on to become a full-time preschool teacher, giving people twice my age parenting advice. This work evolved into private nanny, tutor, and special needs contracts, eventually leading into postpartum doula, lactation consulting, and newborn care.
I often joke that I’m better with babies and small children than “big people,” having spent most of my adult life with small developing humans. Throughout my education and career background in this work, I’ve been able to gain invaluable knowledge and wisdom applicable to both my health consulting career and to larger societal issues.
If we want to understand what’s normal for humans, viewing human growth and development through the lens of childhood can be super helpful. If we want to learn how to be free, how to preserve our youthfulness & resiliency, to live creatively with a beginner’s mind… children can teach us these things. Here are some of my early Child development takeaways:
- We all have various aspects of our inner child inside
- Children can be some of the greatest teachers
- All illness and addiction patterns begin in childhood
- We all deeply desire creative agency, control, and fun!
- We all get socialized to forget what feels good, children help us remember
- Trust and emotional connection is CRUCIAL for health
- Growth never needs to stop!
- Curiosity can be the difference between stagnation and growth
- Physical intimacy is what our bodies were built for.
I took my first nutrition class in high school and I hated it! I thought it was dry and clinical & it felt irrelevant to my life at the time. It wasn’t until I was forced to face how I felt each day that nutrition became of interest and only years into my health journey did it prove to be the greatest lever I’d use for gauging everything else in my life.
As I mentioned above, I was sick a lot as a child and forced to navigate multiple disordered moods and eating patterns as an adolescent. My fascination with health began with modern psychiatry and didn’t become holistic in nature until I hit a wall with the standard medication route.
I attended a year-long holistic health practitioner program at age twenty-one, which gave birth to a new world of holistic thinking for me. This program was a great source of meaning and support for me in my early twenties, yet lacked a lot of foundational science, so I decided to go back to college for a dietetics license. I realized during this period how misguided much of the vegan “education” I’d received earlier on was.
I made it through the required hard science courses of my program, but after realizing how conflicted I felt about what was taught in the licensing program (not holistic!)… I decided to drop out of my program. It was a tough choice, yet I’ve never regretted it! I enrolled in a private holistic nutrition academy and went through a two-year consulting certification program.
Once this program was complete, I followed it up with a year and a half of integrative health coach training to get more coaching and behavioral change skills. In the past few years since, I’ve had several clinicians and research mentors and continually reading, listening, researching, and furthering my knowledge-base and understanding of human health. Here are some takeaways from choosing the path that I did:
- I avoided Food Industry influence
- I avoided the pharmaceutical Industry influence
- I had wonderful teachers I respected who walked the walk!
- I avoided University bureaucracy
- I get to learn from out-of-the-box thinkers
- I got the hard sciences first to build a solid foundation
- I got a holistic perspective which led me to functional medicine!
- I got the behavioral components which are so intrinsic to coaching
- I’m forever learning with continuing education!
Evolution and Philosophy of my Work
Over the years, how I choose to apply nutrition has evolved as I have. In the first half of my twenties, I was vegan, vegetarian, and even mostly raw for a while. There were some pros to this way of eating and living for me at the time. For example, I developed habits towards whole foods consumption and I raised my standards towards quality and sourcing. These habits and values remain with me to this day, despite the unsustainability of my vegan years.
Truth be told, my health deteriorated as a vegan and eating animals again was one of the greatest choices I’ve ever made for my health.
This truth has greatly influenced my approach to coaching and consulting. Since my mid-twenties, my research has included medical anthropology, history, regenerative agriculture, trauma therapy, and a deeper dive into the impacts of plant biochemistry on humans.
My current philosophy is an ancestral one and emphasizes an animal-based approach to diet. This approach focuses on removing plant anti-nutrients and toxins when necessary and focusing on the bio-availability of nutrients. My main career focus is on addressing mood and behavior disorders through diet and lifestyle interventions. The deeper I go down this rabbit-hole, the greater I see is the need for animal-based nutrients and the removal of foods that disrupt core biochemical processes.
In my work, I aim to both educate and empower my clients and the world at large in understanding some basics on how our bodies and minds work — drawing from evolution, history, and science as templates. I’m currently getting really excited about emerging fields like epigenetics, nutrigenomics, and the diet-based approaches being used by functional psychiatrists to treat commonly believed “incurable” mental health disorders. Some core aspects of my work:
- Connects the dots between ancestral wisdom and modern science
- Encourages Inner Child work and addresses early-life traumas
- Emphasis placed on nose-to-tail animal consumption
- Emphasis placed on questioning common nutrition myths
- Emphasis on elimination diets
- Both educating and empowering
- Takes environment, nature, and community into account
- Constantly evolving with science and knowledge-base growth
- Always functional, root-cause oriented
- Emphasis placed on meditation and mindfulness practice
- Encourages everyone to be their own health journalist!
Ok, now that you all know more about me, I’d love to hear from you! what can you relate to in my story? What would you like to hear more about? There’s so much to learn and share — let’s keep this conversation going!