I'm originally from Lowville, NY, a little town close to the Adirondacks. I was fortunate enough to find my trade early in life. After graduating high school in 2003, I attended a two-year massage program at Saranac Lake's North Country Community College. This program allowed me to embark on a rewarding professional journey that has since become an integral part of my identity. My massage instructors introduced me to the world of alternative health care, instilling in me that to be a massage therapist is to be a wellness educator. I learned that my work's responsibility is not only to care for my clients' bodies but to teach them how to actively care for their own bodies outside of our sessions.
I earned a BS in Community Health from SUNY Potsdam in 2008. Since moving to Ithaca, NY, I've worked many jobs alongside my massage practice, from cleaning houses to teaching daycare. I have been an instructor at Finger Lakes School of Massage and am a DONA-trained birth doula. I spent a year at the Nutritional Wellness Center and completed the professional level of Nutrition Response Training (TM). In June 2019, I became a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) through the Nutritional Therapy Association.
My passion for healthcare spans many fields. I'm devoted to further exploring the benefits of my work for women's health, prenatal and perinatal care, individuals with autism spectrum disorders, and much more. I've developed a recent interest in heart health, particularly in women, due to a health scare with my mom. You can read about that here.
My Health Journey
When I was 16 years old my summer job was babysitting for my two young nephews. Kurtis was 6 and Kane was just a few months old. That was the first time that I noticed how lethargic I felt all the time. I remember thinking to myself, "I'm sixteen years old, I should be bursting with energy" but instead I just wanted to sit inside with the boys and watch TV all day.
When I went to college I didn't take the best care of myself, like most college kids. Though it wasn't until my junior year when my health really started to decline. By that time I had tried just about every hormonal birth control and all of them seemed to give me problems. At one point I had my period for 3 months straight and when I spoke to my doctor about it she said it was just my body adjusting to the new birth control. She wanted me to stick it out for another few months. No thanks!
In addition to the never ending period and crazy hormone mood swings, I was getting frequent yeast infections, to the point where it never really felt like they were going completely away. I was absolutely miserable and quite honestly felt like I was going crazy. I quit the hormonal birth control which helped a little but the infections continued.
I moved to Ithaca in 2008, which is really where my whole food journey began. I ended up seeing a doctor in town about my chronic yeast infections. I told her that my mother and sister had both suffered from systemic candida overgrowth in the past and I wondered if I had it too. She told me she thought that idea was "bunk" and suggested I go on an antidepressant to help with my moods. I knew that would only be a band aid on a much larger issue, and by the way I'm not sure how that would have helped my poor vagina either! I knew I had to get to the root of the problem.
So I left that doctor's office, never to return and found a holistic nutrition practitioner who helped me change my life almost over night. She helped me to identify my food sensitivities, walked me through a detox protocol and most importantly - introduced me to whole food nutrition. As my diet improved, my entire life improved. I had more energy than ever before, extra weight melted off my body with ease, my moods leveled out and I was able to handle stress in a completely different way. I broke up with my boyfriend, chopped my hair and quit my job for a more rewarding one. I was a new woman!
So life was perfect from that point forward right? Haha, not quite. As it turns out - it is REALLY hard to maintain a perfectly "clean" diet, 24/7 in this American society. At least, it is for me. I fell off the wagon. Quite a few times actually. In fact, I've arrived at the conclusion that I am not, nor will I ever be a "purist" when it comes to food. I believe that finding a balance is key, but even that can be a tricky thing to define.
So while I waxed and waned between "eating my best" and "YOLO" for several years, I stumbled onto the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner class from the Nutritional Therapy Association. I decided to take a leap and delve deep into the world of whole food nutrition so that I can help educate others. I loved this course and the NTA's foundational approach to health. I love guiding clients by honoring the wisdom of how our ancestors ate and prepared foods. The truth is, every body has unique, bio-individual needs. There is no "one size fits all" diet that is perfect for all humans.