May 15, 2003 was a day that changed my life. I made the choice to become a vegetarian during a time when it was really unpopular. I struggled all my childhood with the idea and taste of meat. I had no idea that this was my destiny and now I am setting out to change the world.
I have been a vegetarian since that day in 2003 and vegan since 2015. As a small child, I began to question the foods I was given to eat. Asking where they came from and refusing to eat a lot of foods, typical American kids foods. I hated everything. I was not a picky eater, although many people believed that is what it was. I knew even then that it was not the food my body needed. Fast forward to my first year of college, 18 year old me read an article that Billy Martin from the band Good Charlotte wrote about being vegetarian and it was like a light bulb went off. All those feelings I had been having made sense. I was inspired to do the same!
But, it was not the spectacular, fairy tale story you may think. I was met with immediate reactions of why, you will never succeed at that, let me know when you are done doing this, aren’t you going to miss it, won’t that be too hard, where will you get your protein from, and is that healthy for you? Remember this was just cutting out meat, not even all animal products. The reason for this, was not that I had horrible people in my life, it was that I chose to do this at a time when there was little information out about it; it was not mainstream and no one knew what the results of this diet was. Their questions at the time really felt to me as though they did not believe in me and I could sustain that lifestyle, and I am sure there were some who did think that, but their questions were legitimate questions. And you know what? I could not answer them. Their doubts drove me harder and harder to make sure I did not fail, but I really had no info or knowledge on this lifestyle to back up their doubts.
So, I became a very unhealthy vegetarian. For years, not knowing how to cook, plan, shop or even eat properly, I succumbed to the fast food lifestyle. I ate out for every meal, just made sure to get my food without meat and thought, wow I am so healthy. You know what, I was so sick and didn’t even know it. I thought I had IBS because my stomach issues were so intense. I thought I had a thyroid or adrenal gland disease, because I suffered from foggy brain, fatigue and severe anxiety. I also had chronic sinusitis, yep sinus infections every single month that I could not beat without antibiotics. You know what? When I cut out the dairy and other animal products and cleaned up my diet my symptoms lessened or diminished completely. I was making myself sick and didn’t even know it.
Today, I am married to my amazingly supportive vegan husband and we are raising our son that we adopted at birth and has been a vegan since. We are instilling in him everything that I will be teaching you in this program in hopes of his ongoing success. He already is off the charts for growth and abilities for his age, rarely gets sick despite being around a million kids, and is a major foodie, eating everything that is placed in front of him. At the age of 2 he begs for raw veggies cut up, like peppers, onions and black olives. I am not saying this to brag, I am sharing with you that it works and you can do it too!!
Changing my life by the way I eat has been amazing. However, the best part is being an inspiration to others. Hearing from some of my high school students that are vegetarian and hearing how their family supports it at their age is heartwarming. Also, effecting my family and my household is a daily reminder of this blessing. My cats eat organic, holistic food and the affects of the change in food is great. They have thick, silky coats, have more energy and less vet visits. I feel like I have had the biggest effect on my husband. When we met, he ate horribly. His eyes have been open and he feels better and totally supports living the green life! Some people criticize this lifestyle, and I am okay with that. I have a lot of information to back it up and hope there is a way for me to help you on your journey.
Other than my love for plant based living and all things green, I am obsessed with cats and have 4, I am a dance teacher for almost 20 years, yoga and fitness lover and hummus is the best thing on planet earth!
I have a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Akron and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Kent State University.
I have a diploma in Nutrition, Advanced Nutrition and Childhood Nutrition from the Shaw Academy. NAFC certified Nutrition Coach.