For many years I lived in a seasonal economy, working 60+ hour weeks as a caterer and personal chef. My demanding schedule left little room for much else. My sleep suffered. I barely saw my family, my roommates or my sweetheart. Even while feeding my clients nutritious, organic, seasonal food, my own diet suffered. I sustained myself on coffee and sugar and rarely took a break to sit down and eat a full meal. In the morning I would wake with a sore jaw from grinding my teeth in stress as I slept.
In the “off” season I caught up on sleep, reconnected with loved ones, took time to read, to exercise, to travel. While my immune system felt strong all through the “off” months, each summer I suffered from chronic ailments–recurrent candida overgrowth, sinus infections, muscle spasms, bronchial infections–sometimes requiring multiple courses of antibiotics in only a few months. I felt depleted, exhausted and genuinely concerned about my ability to sustain my lifestyle. I loved my work but I had to find some balance between my ruthless summer schedule and my stress-free, healthy winters.
Through research and experimentation I developed a way to feed myself according to what I was doing. I learned how mood and stress effected my digestion. I learned how to build my immune system up before demanding work weeks and how to soothe and calm it after indulgences or periods of depletion. My yoga practice and exercise routine shifted. Instead of self-mandated rigorous exertion every day I started to listen to what my body was asking for in the moment which often meant moving more slowly and doing less.
This new awareness allowed me to take control of my own health. I felt stronger, calmer, happier. The next summer season I stayed healthy. My success left me hungry for more information, more vetted research and science to back up my own experiences. I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to build my foundational knowledge. By the time I had finished my training as a Holistic Health Coach, I realized it wasn’t just my own health at stake. All around me–in my personal life, in the news, walking down the street–I saw people ailing, wanting to make change but bewildered by the vast and confusing world of nutrition and wellness. I wanted to share my experiences and my knowledge, to act as a guide in the maze. I had found my calling.