Alright, here we go!
First let’s start with where I am today. I’d like to call myself an intuitive eater. My primary food lifestyle (I choose these words over “diet” – it applies a negative connotation in my eyes) is a mix of whole foods (fruits, vegetables), sustainable meats (grass-fed, organic, free-range, ethical practices), nuts & seeds, and gluten-free grains. If we really want to specify this into a diet, we can call it a mix of Paleo and Vegan. I stay away from processed foods and refined foods as much as possible, but I also don’t restrict myself completely… and you’ll understand why.
I went through many “phases” throughout my health journey. My awareness in what I put into my body truly began in college where I experimented with diet fads, counting my macros, and strict eating, which eventually lead to an eating disorder: binge-eating. This was a time where my vulnerability in body image was high, and my health consciousness was more so an obsession more than a lifestyle. I can confidently say my relationship with food was a bit rocky.
After graduating college in 2015, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression by my primary doctor that I had only met once. I didn’t take this diagnosis with a grain of salt, I took it hard. I believe it was this point in time where I was looking left and right for some guidance, and so I shifted back to the mindset of what I eat matters. From here I remember finding myself spending a lot of time at stores like Whole Foods, buying food that I assumed would resolve it all. Though not exactly the case, this is when my creativity in the kitchen emerged.
For many years later I continued to cook and made grocery shopping a priority, becoming more and more aware of what I was putting into my body and the nutritional value of foods. I started concocting smoothie bowls, baking my own sweets, and meal prepping for work with more variety. My curiosity with food peaked, but I was also counterintuitive with a partying phase and functioning with low quality – to no – sleep.
In late 2018 I moved to Florida, and established even more interest (I won’t say passion, yet) in cooking, and I wanted to blog about it. I had the recipes, I had the tools, and I had a new motivation, but with a transition as big as a move from the Northeast to the South with no set direction in mind, this idea was put on the back burner but my knowledge in nutrition and body awareness continued to manifest. I wanted to be gluten-free because I knew I felt a difference in my body. Dairy triggered my acne, so I consumed it less. Sugar killed my vibe.
In 2019 I got really sick and was exposed to a hefty amount of black mold in my apartment (12 square feet of it). THIS was when so much changed for me, because when my physical health took a turn, I took it extremely personal. I started experiencing erratic skin issues. I had gut issues from all the antibiotics and steroids I took. I had no energy. I physically couldn’t workout anymore due to extreme fatigue. The feelings of anxiety and depression that I thought were a thing of my past swarmed back into my life like an infestation. My self-esteem took a hit. I felt defeated. My body was under high levels of stress and I was taking all the punches.
Thus, my wake up call. I moved out of my apartment, away from all the toxins I was exposed to. As I researched the effects of black mold, I also gained knowledge on how to detox from it – and food played a big role.
Through it all, I like to tell myself that everything happens for a reason. Yes, the exposure to mold toxins was a debilitating period for my health and wellbeing, and it scared me. I’m still working on chronic issues, but this significant point in my life fueled a passion that I longed for, for YEARS, tucked away in the crevices of my mind. I honed in on nutrition, and sure enough in late 2020 I finally published this website.
I take my health very seriously. I prioritize both my mental and physical being like never before, with a heightened sense of body awareness and a “find what feels good” approach. I work with foods I know best while also incorporating new foods on a regular basis that are grown from the ground up, all while taking my time to research and learn how exactly I’m fueling my body and how foods impact us on all levels: individually, socially, societally, environmentally, agriculturally. I also do not restrict myself from foods because I know of my past patterns of binge-eating, but I choose to refrain from processed, junk and inflammatory foods knowing their repercussions. I choose to nourish.
I’ve lived, I’ve learned, I’ve faced my challenges and I’ve made my closing statements. I’m thankful for where I am today; it’s been quite the journey, but without my experiences I wouldn’t be where I am now, understanding my body, and knowing what’s best for me, all while looking to create an even bigger impact beyond the self.