I am just a girl from Juanita, whose calling became Wellness and Longevity. Here is my story of how I got here.
Just after I graduated college, and 6 months after having a significant heart attack while mowing the lawn, may dad died of Congestive Heart Disease. After the heart attack, he was told his body was not otherwise healthy enough to be considered for a heart transplant. He was 49 years old and my cheerleader parent. Directly after his passing, I started my career as a pharmaceutical sales rep for Pfizer Laboratories, that sold among other drug categories, drugs for heart disease. During my training, I learned much more about my father's condition and recognized the weight of the impact of the lifestyle factors that lead to it: Type-A personality, a fast food diet, no consistent exercise, drank and smoked his entire adult life. As a kid, I remember reminding him that "people who smoke get lung cancer", but ultimately, it was his heart that gave out first; certainly not helped by the 2-packs a day. I was at home the morning he passed. My life would never be the same. That being said, I likely would not have learned the same lessons I have now learned, albeit tragically, from my fathers early passing.
As one can imagine, my fathers passing had tremendous impact on my life and subsequently, my zeal at the time for selling cardiovascular drugs. I was very successful calling on doctors of many specialties, selling cardio meds, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics. Later in my career, I went to work for a small Neurological-based biotech company that sold a diagnostic for Alzheimer's disease, drugs for Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy and Parkinsons. Ironically, at that point in my life, I had no idea what Holistic Medicine was or that personal knowledge of how our miraculous body works and intentional lifestyle choices could have saved my father's life.
At the time, Heart Disease was considered a disease of heredity, made worse by lifestyle factors. Today, science tells us only 5% of the cases are actually due to heredity. Doctors knew even then it was preventable, but when they did see the signs in a patient, they would mention lifestyle changes that would be necessary for health and the better ones even suggest seeing a dietician, but doctors likely felt lack of empowerment to really help patients make the changes that have been their lifestyle choices for decades. Such a responsibility took time, patience and knowledge of things doctors were not trained in, such as diet and nutrition, managing stress and exercise, etc. Many doctors still today, are not good role models themselves. Patients without someone at home with the finesse to help them with these changes, are sadly at a disadvantage, as it can be very difficult without good support. To this day, heart disease is still the largest cause of death in men and women at about 1 in every 4 deaths. I feel this fact is absurd and a huge failing of our traditional medical system, as it is largely preventable! With knowledge of the possibilities lifestyle can make and early detection of signs, I believe patients can be their own best health advocate, rely less on medical professionals, and make these changes themselves. To do this they need to learn good choices in many areas, be supported and to feel empowered. That is where a health coach can come in!
With my decade of seeing naturopathic physicians coupled with my research into common ailments, disease states and natural remedies for my own health purposes, and most recently, my certification in Integrated Nutrition, I know for certain that it is possible to dramatically improve, heal yourself and purposefully avoid many illness and diseases. I have done it. A common misconception that we are slain by the genes we inherited from our parents and grandparents. In reality, we are slain mostly by our lifestyle choices (many of which are unintentional) and how we think about our selves within our environment. With knowledge and skill around our choices, one can make them much more wisely. This is where a certified nutrition coach, like me, can play an integral part in a persons wellness and longevity. The effect of these all-important choices have been scientifically proven time and time again within many of the most common diseases, such as Alzheimers, Obesity and Diabetes and of course, Heart Disease.
The burgeoning field of Epigenetics is going to change the way we look at healthcare. In short, it is the study of the impact our environment can have on the way our genes express themselves for the good or the bad. This field is incredibly exciting to me and has produced numerous well conducted and documented studies that have become the science behind my passion of informing people. I hope to help people make conscious decisions about their healthy lifestyles so that they slide into their golden years feeling vital with love, grace and wellbeing.