Ever since I started dancing at the age of 4, I was intrigued by the human body, curious about how our muscles worked, how they repaired themselves and how they could either help or hinder our movement.
At about 14, my curiosity expanded to nutrition and how the food we ate could impact our weight. This interest was rooted in my own concern about the weight I was gaining. Around this time, I had to stop dancing (thanks to a temporary knee injury known as Osgood Schlatter’s Disease), plus I had also entered high school, where I was exposed to the huge chocolate chip muffins at the school cafeteria.
I became consumed with calorie counting, eating diet foods (with processed ingredients and artificial sweeteners), working out to make up for extra calories, analyzing food labels, reading fitness magazines and believing anything that promised 6 pack abs and skinny thighs. At 16, I became an aerobics instructor, adding personal training and nutrition certifications a short time later. On the outside, I might have looked strong, but on the inside, I wasn’t healthy. How do I know? Because I was also battling chronic migraines.
I spent almost a decade trying to get rid of my migraines – massage, chiropractors, acupuncture, reflexology, neurology, physiotherapy – nothing worked. It was suggested I take prescription drugs, and although I did at certain points (which often caused eczema), I didn’t want to rely on medication. I wanted the problem fixed. My last resort was to take a natural approach – and it changed everything.
On the first visit to my naturopath and nutritionist, I was shown this image of my blood (via an HLB test). The white you see on the left represents toxins (free radicals). Basically, more toxins = more migraines. That’s all I needed to see. My blood was the tangible starting point I needed, rather than a number on the scale. My new goal was not to have a 6 pack; it was to have clean blood.
A short time later, after some significant but manageable changes to my diet and a lot of education, my blood was vibrant red and I was 100% migraine free (image on right), in addition to many other unexpected benefits like increased energy, amazing sleep, no sugar cravings, no aches and pains, no eczema, just to name a few. I was proof of what Hippocrates and Edison knew centuries ago – that “food is medicine”.
Studies show that at any given time, 80% of the population is on a diet. But this physical, mental, and emotional rollercoaster messes with our insides – with our hormones, our brains, with every cell in our body. It can cause chronic imbalance, which can lead to chronic stress, which can not just contribute to weight gain, but also chronic disease.
Even though food is medicine and physical activity benefits our bodies and minds, a perfect diet and exercise program aren’t the only factors involved in optimizing your health. Because if you’re putting your body under other forms of stress, you can still leave yourself vulnerable to poor health – weight gain, fatigue, and other serious disease. I believe that reaching and maintaining optimal health is about managing the cumulative effect of “The 10 Habits”, the most common daily stressors that today’s working professional is exposed to every single day.
Health can be a complicated and intimidating topic, but having little or no knowledge of it can leave you feeling disempowered and relying on solutions you may not understand.
We simplify complicated health information so you can better understand your body, feel confident asking questions, stop relying on fads and trends that may have long-term health implications, and be better equipped to make informed decisions for yourself and your family.
I share my story because I want people to learn what they’re doing to their insides before they go to extremes to ‘fix’ the outsides. I would like to think that if they knew what was happening inside, they would make different choices. I want people to understand that if they fix the inside, the outside will follow, removing the need for extreme diet and exercise programs, medication, and the likelihood of chronic diseases – from eczema to hormone imbalance to cancer.
Plain and simple, I want people to feel empowered with accurate and reliable information so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families. I want them to listen to their bodies more than they listen to trends. And I want them to have faith that the body is capable of healing itself…we just need to give it a chance.