Why I Became a Nutritionist, Way Back ThenOct 26, 2021
My life has always revolved around being a health food enthusiast, an athlete, and living a sustainable life. This was my calling!
Even as a child, I used to tell my mother to pack me healthy lunches for school, or remind my little brother to eat his vegetables. I was always aware of the foods others were consuming, and would surely voice my opinion if they were eating “unconsciously”. In 1999, at only 12 years of age, I was already digging into books about nutrition and health. Discovering the answers to unlocking our optimal wellbeing has been my true calling. With a desire to learn more and deepen my knowledge, I took high school courses that focused on health, became a fitness instructor at the young age of 18, and continued on to post-secondary education in nutrition. I worked my way through university as a fitness instructor and clerk at a health food store. I became certified as a Holistic Nutritionist in my early 20s and continue to practice today. I’ve also been an accomplished athlete for most of my life, and still consider myself one. I am always trying to reach my full potential in all aspects of life.
I can honestly say I eat real food the majority of the time, but like you, I am not perfect and certainly can’t always avoid the modern processing of our foods 100% of the time. I am a foodie, so I also enjoy tasting all the new foods our traveling and cultural experiences offer. Anyone who knows me is aware that not only was my journey into this holistic lifestyle a natural progression but that I’ve always had a genuine interest in health, nutrition, and fitness. And now looking back I think it was probably meant to be, as with having encountered serious health issues, this path to holistic health was my savior.
I’ve Been There Too…
Throughout my teenage years, I experienced some severe hormonal issues, depression, and developed an eating disorder. These issues and more, identified separately by doctor after doctor, were actually all symptoms of what was finally, after 6 years, diagnosed as being Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Along this process, I found little relief through conventional treatment. My own personal battle with this complicated metabolic and hormonal disease led me to great personal discoveries. Upon diagnosis, I was told by a medical doctor that my PCOS was incurable, and that I’d live with these horrible symptoms the rest of my life unless I started taking the recommended prescription medications and lost some weight (I was 5’7” and weighed 115 lbs at the time!). I was also warned that if I chose to opt out of the medication, it could lead to severe complications as a result of my disease – osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and cancer, just to name a few. Then, it really came down on me when I was also told that I might not be able to have children (I now have two beautiful children who were naturally conceived and birthed – read about my unassisted birth here and my natural birth with midwife here.)
I remember the doctor clearly and repeatedly telling me that food had no effect on my condition after I asked several times. When the initial shock passed, I came to my senses again and that’s where I had my breakthrough. I started questioning the paradigm, and at that point, I knew I was going to break free from conventional medicine. It was time to go by my own rules and let nature be my teacher. That’s when my true-life learning began, and my journey started into holistic health and nutrition. If you want to know more, you can read my full PCOS Journey Back To Health here.
I educated myself about true health – holistic health. Through various alternative therapies, including the use of natural supplements, medicinal herbs, exercise, stress management, and changing my thought patterns, I took my health into my own hands. Within a couple of months, I was symptom-free and remain symptom-free from a disease believed to be incurable. I’m also a proud mama of two that was able to conceive, labor, and birth – completely naturally. You can read about how we got ready for our natural, unassisted birth here. Holistic health is how I live and what I teach. My passion. My life’s purpose.
I was an anxious person and prone to stress – a perfectionist and my own worst critic. I’ve worked towards changing my thought patterns which improved my health tremendously. The way we view, act and respond to the world impacts our health just as much as the foods we choose to consume.
Without my own experience, I’d never be able to relate to my clients. Everything happens for a reason. I’ve since been able to manage my disease better than ever, and maintain a deeply held passion for holistic health and helping those with hormonal health, including PCOS and PMS, fertility, pregnancy, children’s nutrition, and family health. Through my own journey, I learned how to best help myself, and others.
After the Storm Came the Rainbow
In 2008, I went on to get my formal education as a practitioner at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto, Canada. I was exactly where I was meant to be – I graduated with honours. Prior to my time at IHN, I studied Applied Human Nutrition at the University of Guelph, where I obtained an entry scholarship and managed a demanding academic schedule as a student-athlete. I now hold the exclusive designation of a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP) as a member of the Certified Nutritional Practitioners Council of Canada (CNPCC).
I took the knowledge I gained from my studies and went beyond it, truly getting to know the way food affects not only our physical body but our emotional health as well – the way it all correlates to our happiness. Our relationship with food influences our connection to our own body and influences our relationship with others and the planet.
I will forever be a student. I have a passionate curiosity about my field. My journey continues to send me deeper into my education and connection with food, and self. My discoveries in holistic health are far from over – there will always be innovation and room for philosophical growth, and I am continuing to embrace and enjoy every new thing I learn along the way from cooking with new local foods to trying "alternative" therapies that I can then recommend to my own clients.
You know you’re in the right field of work when every day feels too short and fun! I don’t ever find myself looking at the clock – I don’t have enough hours in a day! I am extremely busy with my career and family life – but when you love what you do, it doesn’t really feel like work. It’s called happiness.
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