I fell in love with gardening later in life. Having grown up on a farm under my grandmother's green thumb, one would think that I learned under her tutelage. Alas, I never paid the proper attention to the harvest, the canning, and certainly not to the healthy aspects of a fresh diet.
I was overweight for much of my youth and basically half of my life. I spent 10 years transitioning from 280 pounds to an appropriate body mass and size. From a somewhat slow moving me to an athletic me. It took a little longer for my mind's eye and my language to catch up to my new "image" .
I was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 at a time when I thought I was finally healthy. I had just run a marathon, and I was thin and ‘fit’. After all, I had been following the FDA Food Pyramid to reach my proper body weight. After being diagnosed, I delved into specific cancer-nutrition research and learned that the traditional FDA food pyramid may not have been best diet option from a cancer prevention standpoint. I quickly became overwhelmed with conflicting information, and I didn't know whether to become vegan, vegetarian, or carnivore. Each cancer-specific diet recommendation had the science to back up the claim, but each sent me in a different direction.
Over the last 12 years, I have attended conferences on Nutrition in Medicine with ICNM, The Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine, The National Health Association, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, Stanford University online, The Cancer Healing Kitchen and The University of Copenhagen online. My cancer journey, an insatiable desire for evidence-based research in nutrition and a lifetime of complex weight control gives me a great passion and real-life experience to help other survivors find their nutritional direction.
I now practice a largely vegan, plant-based diet, getting healthy nutrients from natural, clean ingredients. My organic heirloom garden is filled with rainbow-colored produce packed with super nutrients. The research is compelling and there are many "superfoods" that I eat each day; Asian mushrooms are high on my daily intake list.
This quest led me to wonderful opportunities; 10 years with Wind River Wellness Retreats where I have coached and empowered survivors on their health journeys, both with nutrition and general well-being. Terra’s Table Mushrooms where I have grown and produced a 100% natural mushroom powder as a culinary spice since 2015. And for the last 6 years, The Produce RX Farm delivery program with the local free clinic, where doctors prescribe plants and vegetables to their patients. Proving that proper nutrition matters.
I know 100% that the food we eat, the sleep we get, the stress we release, and the joy we feel all play an important part of our health and recovery from a cancer diagnosis. I am thrilled to be a health, nutrition and wellness coach with The After Cancer where I get the privilege to share my journey, knowledge and experience in coaching other cancer survivors through a healthy survivorship.
I am 12.5 years cancer free!