Growing up, I didn’t eat well. My father worked in product development for a large food company, so our cupboards were full of the newest, coolest foods. What I know now is that although new and cool, they were also extremely processed, and not very healthy. As a headstrong and defiant child I snubbed my mother’s cooking (turns out she was a foodie ahead of her time) and picked out my own foods at the grocery store and prepared them for myself: SpaghettiOs, peanut butter and fluff sandwiches (that’s marshmallow spread for those of you who aren’t from the Northeast) and case after case of Tab.
I literally didn’t eat a vegetable other than iceberg lettuce from the time I could say NO until the time I was seventeen.
As you can probably imagine, I was constantly unwell. There had to be another way.
My weight fluctuated and my self-esteem suffered. This led to eating disorders and more unhealthy choices. In college I was introduced to all kinds of new ideas, health food being one of them. I became a vegetarian (a bit heavy on bread and cheese at the time but that’s another story), developed a passion for cooking healthy and delicious food, and started taking part-time jobs in the food industry while I was in school. First as a baker in a macrobiotic restaurant and later in a health-food deli, catering, and a number of restaurants.
Through this community I was introduced to alternative medicine. As a psychology major with a new-found holistic approach to my own life, I knew that there was a mind-body connection missing in the traditional psychology classes I was taking. On my quest to find that link I spent a summer studying massage and therapy in Northern California.
There, I learned about Naturopathic Medicine & a new world opened up to me.
I ordered a catalog for the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, OR, and never looked back. After switching my major to pre-med and adding an additional year of undergraduate studies to complete the prerequisites for my medical degree, I took six months off to spend living in a meditation center. I had many jobs there, including helping to plan classes for children and teenagers.
I finally landed in Portland in 1992 and completed my medical degree in 1996. During school I had the opportunity to co-found a vegan restaurant (a short venture – turns out it’s not a great idea to open a restaurant when you’re a full time student, go figure.) I spent those years playing with my own diet and nutrition to find out what worked for me. I worked with many patients and found that although I was vegan, that this wasn’t the right approach for everyone. My own stress level was very high and I got a bad case of mono after my third year of medical school. My energy tanked and I could barely function for months. A vegan diet was no longer working for me and I had to re-invent my own health from the ground up, once again.
Over the years, through my recovery, I learned that for me, there are certain things I need to do to keep myself healthy, energetic, and vital. There are certain places where I simply don’t have wiggle room. With an understanding that I’m choosing health, and the tools to care for myself, I don’t mind a bit.
Now, after 16 years in private practice I know without a shadow of a doubt that there is a vitality sweet spot for every single person.
Your sweet spot is where you are doing what you need to do to care for yourself with your healthcare, nutrition, and lifestyle. A place where everything lines up and the changes that might have seemed daunting are second nature to you. A place where you feel the best you can — given the life you’ve got. I’m here to help you discover where that spot is for you.
I opened Evergreen Natural Health Center in 2007. I currently live in Portland, Oregon with my husband and 6-year-old son.
Please, take a look around the site; I’ve filled it with resources to help you get (and KEEP) your health on track. Not sure where to start? You can find healthy recipes, wellness tips and more on my blog. I welcome in-person consultations at Evergreen Natural Health Center in Portland, Oregon or we can rendezvous virtually by Skype from the convenience of your home or office.
For my official third person bio, please click here.