By the time I was 27, my health had reached a new level of low.
From the outside, everything looked great. I seemed to be a vibrant young mom with two adorable little girls. I had a flexible career as a personal trainer that allowed me to be at home with them, working opposite of my husband's schedule. After my second daughter was born, I weighed less than my pre-pregnancy weight and seemed to have it all together.
But the truth is, I felt terrible most of the time. Waking up in the morning, I was exhausted. Hearing those first little peeps from my kids reminded me of how little sleep I had gotten the night before. Most evenings, around 9 pm, nausea would kick in. I'd lay in bed wishing for sleep to come just so the feelings of illness would pass. Usually, they would...at around one in the morning.
After some coffee to get me going, I'd spend the morning playing with my kids waiting for their morning nap so that I could potentially nap too. Most days, I didn't really feel like eating much as my stomach remained touchy and food could trigger cramping and diarrhea. Somehow, I did stay an active stay-at-home mom with trips to the playground, library, walks around town, and summers on the beach. But on those ventures out, I could tell you where every bathroom was...just in case. The sad thing is, I thought this way of living was normal. I'd grown up believing that having a "bad stomach" would be my way of life like it had been for my mom.
Stomach upset and poor digestion was nothing new. Growing up, I had nausea a lot but I thought it was because I was an anxious child. After working with a functional medicine practitioner that uses naturopathic medicine to help her patients, I realized that what I had felt was true - I'd always been sick. By the time I was seven, I had my tonsils and adenoids taken out because of so many recurring bouts of strep along with chronic ear infections. All of those antibiotics, combined with the processed foods boom of the 80's left me with a really injured digestive system that was in need of repair. The lack of beneficial bacteria in my digestive tract meant that my intestinal tract was damaged and permeable, meaning that food proteins could pass into my bloodstream where my body would fight them off like they were a bacteria or virus.
When I learned this, it was like WHOA. Now, all of the sudden all of my symptoms that included headaches, fatigue, stomach pains, cramping, gas, diarrhea, acne, and sensitive skin all made sense. The light bulb went on and has stayed on ever since. This sparked my desire to become a functional medicine health coach so that I could help others make sense of their health and take actions to feel better.
I love science and medicine. I also love helping people. I started Insights because I knew in my heart, that in order to really help others feel their very best, it was going to take more than biology and chemistry to make that happen.
Building upon my previous experience as a personal trainer specializing in helping people to get started, I added in the credential of a FirstLine Therapy Lifestyle Educator in 2012. This program and certification provides me with access to clinically proven and supported nutrition information that can aid in the prevention and treatment of chronic illness and disease. This is what I refer to as the science-side of my education. Knowing that there is an equal amount of importance and need to work with the soulful side of our lives and how that contributes to our health, I also completed my certification as an integrative health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
Since completing my training in 2012, I have gone on to attend professional functional medicine workshops offered to practitioners with advanced degrees to add to my education, allowing for me to stay current to the latest advancements in functional medicine nutrition. The pursuit of education will always be an element of my life and career.
AAS Degree, Biology
Additional credits earned from:
Boston University, Biology
The University of Connecticut, Biology & Chemistry
University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Health & Human Performance
American Council on Exercise, Personal Training Certification (2004 - current)
Therapeutic Lifestyle Certification, FirstLine Therapy, September 2012
Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, March 2015
Worskhops & Conferences:
Nutri-Dyn Great Lakes Conference, Bloomington, MN 2013-2018
Functional Medicine Paradigm, Nashville, TN - September 2014
The Ketogenic Diet, Nutri-Dyn, Minneapolis, MN - March 2018
Biomechanics of Assisted Stretching
Pre and Post Natal Exercise
Strength Programming for Older Adults
In-Home Training for Seniors
Running Injury Prevention Specialist
Chronic Musculoskeletal Challenges and Exercise
Understanding and Motivating Midlife and Older Adults
Childhood and Adolescent Nutrition Course
Alternative & Integrative Nutrition
Cardiovascular Nutrition and Fitness Course
Major Cardiovascular Diseases and Disorders
Metabolic Diseases and Disorders
Integrated Fitness Training Workshop: Effective Tools and Techniques
Effective Strength Training
Pilates Mat Tech: Level 1
Functional Foods, Part 2: Fermented Foods and Macronutrients
Functional Foods, Part 1: Legumes, Grains, Fruits, and Vegetables