~ I didn’t know how to be a vegetarian when I stopped eating meat almost 23 years ago at 15. I just loved animals & knew my moral compass was pointing me in a different direction. I also didn’t have the internet or a host of books to help me understand my new found starvation, because without protein you get hungry, but I wasn’t going to back down!
~ I didn’t know at 18 yrs old when I graduated that you could study food, nutrition or health other than becoming a doctor. No one told me, if they even knew themselves. I was going to get my MBA & be an Advertising Account Executive, live in NY & create ads that made you want to buy products. Now I don’t even have cable or satellite, rarely watch TV bar a bit of Netflix & don’t buy what I don’t need. Proud to rock a 10 year old top that still looks damn good, & I hand stitch patches in jeans I can't yet part ways with.
~ I didn’t know that travelling to Central America on an open ended ticket at 19 years old would change me in more ways than I could have ever imagined, including a car accident that altered the rest of my life! I still don’t know to this day if it was for the better, but I kind of think it was since I became a different person & for a long time was much nicer than I’d ever been. I was also open to all sorts of ideas & things I’d never tried, some good, some bad. Then there are also all the people I met that I might not have & many of those are irreplaceable in my life.
~ I didn’t know how a severe brain injury would change my personality, my way of thinking, or my ability to focus, learn, hold a job, or make important decisions. I didn’t know how to cope with chronic migraines or too much noise & movement for almost 3 years. I didn’t know when I would return to my ‘normal’ self, or if I would, or what normal even was. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t stay in one spot for any length of time, not a job or a place to live, I always had to be moving, planning, going.
~ I didn’t know at 24 yrs old that I wasn’t able to look at a computer screen continuously for more than 30 minutes without falling asleep. This put a big damper on my plans to go back to school & cost me seven thousand in student loans after I had to quit a 1 year course 3 months in to it. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life without a formal education, diploma or certification of some sort to my name. I had always based my value on my intelligence & now I felt robbed & confused.
~ I didn’t know that everything I was trying, the failures & the wins were setting me up for something better that I just couldn’t see yet. I didn’t know at 27 yrs old that leaving a toxic relationship after 6 years would open my heart up again (like inflating a balloon type open), free my mind, my spirit & renew my energy levels in ways I’d never known. I didn’t know I could love my life as much but I was still a fast learner & gaining confidence with every new day!
~ I didn’t know that when I decided to love myself above everything else & walked into a Mental Health & Wellness Centre run by two of the kindest Buddhists I’ve ever met, that my life was going to change yet again. This time in some of the best ways I could have never imagine!
~ I didn’t know that once you love yourself & are happy in your own mind & body that you will ultimately attract others to you that are also happy in themselves & share a love for life. I really didn’t know that 2 days before my 28th birthday I would meet a man so perfect for me that 10 years later I still have to check myself to make sure he’s real.
~ I didn’t know that when he asked me to give up cigarettes I would quit cold turkey & not even touch another one in almost 10 years now. Nor did I know that action would set me on a path towards health that I had never really considered before. Once you can breathe it’s amazing what your body wants to do!
~ I didn’t know that at 32 yrs old I would develop a passion for running & feel better than I’d felt in years. I had no idea I could run 6-7 km a day rain or shine on my treadmill & still want to walk my dogs later that day. I didn’t know that my body had such capabilities or that it felt so damn good to be able to move like that.
It was about here that I started to know...
~ I started to read more on nutrition, health, mental health & diets out the door. I tried vegan, pegan, paleo, gluten free, keto, raw, shakes, pills & probably a dozen things in between over the years. You know what though, none of them lasted because they (diets) are a box & no one wants to live in a box, at least I don’t. So I expanded my box & made a door I could come & go through as needed.
~ I started to address my mood swings & struggles with depression that dated back to my teens but were gone for a while due to my accident & the “scrambling of my brain”. Yes, that is the neurologists exact phrase for what had occurred in my head. He told me my brain was like an egg & simply put had gone from a fried one to a scrambled one. Everything was still there just not in the same way it used to be.
~ I started prepping my meals & eating to support my mental health & waist line. I went from eating out every Friday night to 1 Friday night a month & it was almost always the same amazing beetroot salad & deep fried dill pickles (balance my friends, balance). I increased my protein intake with more vegetarian options than had ever been known or were available to me prior.
~ I started to think more about my future & what options I had. Then at 33, my husband & I, along with our 2 dogs moved to Ireland! I took up running outdoors with the dogs, got even more interested in both of our health, since he is a Type 1 diabetic (pancreas does not work). Then after my first year in Ireland I decided that I wanted to help others feel as good as I did.
~ I started a 3 year diploma in Nutritional Therapy at 34 yrs old & continued to understand more & more the links between how we eat & how we feel. I committed to this fully & loved every minute of learning. I was excited at the possibility of helping people to understand their own health the way I understood mine & knew that coaching people to better health & lifestyles was what I was meant to do.
~ I started to have really bad issues with one of my knees at 36, probably due to pounding pavement with 2 big dogs dictating my pace, oops! So after many months of trying to ignore the pain I had to give up running. This really bothered me but I decided I would just walk equally as hard & for a bit longer to make up for it. I also decided to start doing more Yoga & HIIT workouts in my living room which turned out to be even better for my body than running.
~ I started to wean myself off the anti-depressant I had been taking the last year of college when the pressures of work, school, the bad weather, negative self-talk & all the other things you can think to throw in the pot started to get the better of me. I also started to see a therapist, which I cannot recommend enough. I’m not perfect & have my issues too but through many trials & errors I have found what works for me to keep a happy, healthy balance in my mind & body. My goal now is to help others realize they also have this potential in them.
~ I started to really eat for my mental health, I took more time for myself, found a deeper love for yoga & walking. I went to physio to discover it was not my knee but my hip that was the issue & am now working towards ridding myself of that issue all together. I started a website, a business, & an online presence to help reach people that may relate & want advice on helping themselves to feel better.
~ I started to have more compassion & empathy for what people are dealing with day to day. This has helped me to create plans & actions for people based on their needs & not what is trending or being pushed in today's quick fix market. I’ve learned that health doesn’t have to be hard but it does take consistent effort that gets easier with time I promise.
~ I started to not judge people by their shopping carts or what they were feeding their kids in a moment. I started to consider what else was happening in people's lives & what changes they might be able to make to help benefit their own health & their families by default. I decided to practice what I preach no matter how challenging it can be some days. Most importantly though, I’ve committed to not judging a book by its cover because you never know what you’re going to find inside.
We all have potential, it's just a matter of learning how to tap into that & you can. We all can!