Everyone loves a story. Mine’s not glamorous or turbulent, but it’s real. And I believe there are more women out there just like me searching for true health and happiness.
As an urban professional, I rarely used my kitchen. I relied on microwaves, takeout, restaurants and street carts for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We live in a fast food society that pumps us full of added chemicals, sweeteners, sodium and unhealthy oils many of which we don’t know are in the food we’re eating. Itâ€™s no wonder our society is gaining weight at a rapid pace. Many even have trouble losing weight despite eating what they believe to be a healthy diet.
I spent a decade and a half as a junk-food vegetarian and raging sugar addict without even realizing it. A conversation with a friend at my health club led to my discovery of whole foods and the way they made me look and feel. But there was one caveat – I actually had to cook them.
Living on my own in a Manhattan-sized studio apartment, I had little else than a couple of hand-me-down pots and pans, some dull cutting knives, a steam basket and a George Foreman Grill. Aside from having whipped up some mac and cheese or slice-and-bake chocolate chip cookies in my time, I could hardly find my way around a kitchen. Never interested in cooking, I hadn’t learned how but my desire to eat healthy food was so strong; I got off my couch and into my kitchen and slowly began to reclaim my health.
Starting simply with steamed veggies, it wasn’t long before I forayed into fancier recipes to add some variety and flavor. Sure, I burned my rice and overcooked my broccoli more times than I care to admit, but I gave myself permission to make mistakes which made my kitchen much less intimidating.
Quite the opposite actually, my kitchen became a sanctuary — a place for me to unwind and let go of my day. Much like meditation, after cooking and enjoying a healthy meal, I felt both mentally and physically fulfilled in a way I never had before. I was eating more meals at home, bringing lunch to work and feeling more energetic than ever. I realized that I didn’t have to be Rachel Ray to make a healthy, satisfying and impressive meal.
Despite my new-found love of health and wellness, I had an overwhelming sense that something was missing in my life and it’s not surprising that a love affair with sweet treats plagued me. When I was around sugar, I had little self control and I often substituted it for real food – (Pinkberry for dinner sound familiar?). I tried everything from artificial sweeteners to quitting cold turkey. The sweeteners only caused bloating and the deprivation more intense cravings for what I told myself I couldn’t have.
As I so desperately sought fulfillment in my life, several encounters led me to The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. The day I enrolled at IIN I knew I had come home. My training as a Health Coach woke me up to the reality that sweetness in life can and should come from more than food and I learned how to deconstruct my cravings and stop relying on sugar to find it.
Today, I celebrate a sweet life. I still follow recipes and I’m no gourmand, just a believer in empowering women to find their passion, kick off their stilettos and break in their stove tops as first steps in adopting a healthier, more balanced lifestyle and kissing their unhealthy habits goodbye.
Do you want to live a healthier, more balanced lifestyle free of dieting, deprivation and calorie-counting? If your answer is an enthusiastic, YES, then you’ve come to the right place.