Crappy health, hit rock bottom, discovered food can heal, opened a food education business, grew a ton, realized I was a coach for women, cultivated an awesome community, got some training, discovered I could reach so many more people online than one-by-one in a generic rented office, made some videos, created The New School Kitchen, and now riding the high of finding my passion and purpose as I work alongside my members to continue the life changing work of consistently loving my body with good, real, clean food.
For years I visited specialists and heard much of the same advice: take the purple pills, the allergy spray, Ritalin and anti-depressants, eat more fiber, use the skin cream, and stop being a hypochondriac.
At the age of 29, I hit rock bottom. Health-wise I was a mess, and I had been for so long that I thought it was normal.
When my son was born he expressed many of my same symptoms and sensitivities. I lamented the life I saw before him and soon realized that I was grieving my own history of constant illness.
At four years old I was nearly hospitalized for extreme constipation; I suffered from childhood stomach aches so bad that my mother once thought my appendix was bursting; my chronically inflamed tonsils were removed when I was a teenager; debilitating seasonal allergies haunted me, and an adulthood of low energy due to anemia was left untreated because I was told there was little that could be done.
Similarly, there was little I could do about my acne, constant weight fluctuations, chest pain, heart flutters, heartburn, stomach ulcers, random vomiting episodes, and constant struggles with attention span and depression. It was pretty disheartening considering my age.
But something came alive inside of me as I stared down at my writhing, gassy, infant son. A part of me refused to keep living as the sum of my symptoms. I had to find a path to healing for both of us.
Curiosity, persistence, and an unwillingness to accept our fate led me through an extensive investigation and I discovered that food could be the cause of, and solution to, all of our problems.
I found out I had the markers for Celiac, an auto-immune disease. As I learned about auto-immunity and the effects it has on all of your body’s systems, not just the digestive tract, my entire life and all of my symptoms made sense. I began to see my body as a unit of integrated systems depending on, and working with, each other. It may sound obvious, but this was an entirely new and shocking concept to me!
I began to change my diet, and my body, my mind, and my entire life began to shift.
I was floored to discover that eating deeply nourishing Real Food had the power to transform me in such a profound way. Many of my physical symptoms abated, and even more astonishing to me, I experienced an emotional and mental relief that felt like freedom, and for the first time, a true sense of happiness and joy.
I quickly realized that in order to continue to heal, it meant a lot of time in the kitchen. I enjoyed cooking, and had even (ironically) studied how to make pasta in Italy one summer, but I wasn't prepared for the amount of energy this lifestyle required of me.
Sourcing, shopping, prepping, cooking and eating deeply nourishing food became a part-time job. And it wasn't always an easy, joyful, or fun one. But as I discovered methods and practices to make it easier, I felt confident that helping others do the same could become my full time job.
So in 2012 I found myself opening a food education business that immediately seemed to resonate with the local community in Wilmington, NC. After teaching countless classes, speaking broadly throughout the region, and coaching hundreds of amazing women, I got so excited about the way my clients were healing and thriving that I trained at Duke Integrative Medicine's amazing Integrative Health Coach Program, and got the science and credentials to back my passion and purpose.
The New School Kitchen was created with the idea that in order to affect large scale change I would need to reach a broader audience than just my local community, so that I could help so many others transform their lives in unexpected and magnificent ways through food.