Food allergies & intolerance
From a very young age I was always the “chubby kid”, being over weight, having high cholesterol and eating the standard American diet (SAD). I also had an unhealthy obsession with food, which led to my battle with anorexia during my adolescence.
After years of treatment I recovered, but my recovery quickly turned into over indulgence. Making up for lost time I ate, a lot, and my weight steadily increased to over 200 lbs. My diet consisted of bagels, pancakes, and the Friday night family tradition of pizza. I honestly couldn't tell you what my favorite fruit or veggie was. What kept me mildly healthy during that time was my passion and commitment to basketball.
By my freshman year of college, I decided to make a change. I threw out all my junk food and replaced it with salads, wraps, fruit, veggies and all around healthier food choices.
I also incorporated daily workouts and worked my way up from walking a mile to running sprints and weight training.
Within six months, I had lost 70 lbs, which was a huge accomplishment, but it wasn’t about the number on the scale. What really meant the most was how I felt physically and emotionally. I felt free and motivated to stay on my journey toward health and wellness.
Then I hit another roadblock. In January 2009, I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. GBS is an autoimmune disease that affects the peripheral nervous system. Think of it as the pathway from the brain to your muscles. That connection is slowly cut off leading to paralysis. Movement is lost in the upper and lower extremities and finally the cranial (facial) muscles. I had basically lost all my independence and had to be fed, bathed and cared for 24/7. My initial treatment slowed the progression of the disease, and allowed me to be transferred to an in-patient physical therapy facility. After a few weeks my condition worsened and I was given a more invasive treatment known as plasmapherisis. After a few months of treatment, I started noticing my capability for movement increasing. I was able to feed, dress and bathe myself again (with supervision) which felt like a miracle. But it also felt like starting from square one. I lost the majority of my muscle mass and had to re-learn how to walk, write, stand and perform all basic functions we take for granted on a daily basis.
This was a monumental turning point. The “big” picture became clear. I was much more appreciative of life and what could be done with it. I had a purpose. At that point I knew I wanted to help people. I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. My anorexia happened for a reason. My paralysis happened for a reason. I didn’t know it then, but my path toward health and wellness was just beginning.
After graduating college in May 2010, I was even more dedicated to being healthy. I graduated with my B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology and had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I took a crack at law and finance, which ended up not being my cup of tea.
In June 2013, I made another change. I left finance to work at a gym as a personal trainer. With the guidance of some great mentors, I gained a ton of knowledge and insight. I also obtained my Masters degree in Nutrition Sciences in August of 2016, and am continuing to pursue my Registered Dietitian certification at Montclair State University today.
My story is what led me to start Lifestyle Nutrition and my own path to health. I am now able to offer guidance and support to those who are pursuing a path toward well-being.
I hope my story inspires you to make health your lifestyle!