How I Ended Up Becoming A Functional Medicine Health Coach
My life has been a wild, beautiful adventure full of twists and turns, but I thought now was the perfect time to share a bit more about myself and my journey to where I am now.
I was born in Cleveland, OH, but moved to New Mexico aged 12. I spent the middle part of my life on a rural farm in southern NM, growing pecans and raising ostriches. Yes, you read that right, ostriches! I was a full-on cowgirl for those years – showing horses and even being crowned Fair & Rodeo Princess one year.
But things changed massively for me aged 18, when I moved back to Ohio to go to college at Kent State.
It was during college that my passion for fitness took root. I became a spinning and aerobics instructor at the university – kicking off my life-long love affair with wellness. I graduated in 2002 with a degree in education, and although I loved teaching, I quickly realized public schools were not the right fit for me.
Following this I transitioned into a business career that led me back to my true passion – helping people get fit, healthy, and live a more meaningful life. I founded O Yoga Studios in 2011 and had the honor of growing the yoga community in Syracuse, NY, for over 8 years before selling the business in 2019.
From there, I transitioned into corporate people leadership – using my coaching skills to help to scale two tech companies while working on both my MBA and my certification in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition.
My career has taken many forms, but the common thread has always been my passion for helping others thrive by guiding them to shift their mindset, take action towards goals and embrace self-care. I look back over the last 20+ years and see all of it was preparing me for my true calling in life – my dharma – to help people create optimal health as a functional medicine health coach.
My own journey with health issues started when I was only 17 years old. That’s when I was first dignosed with Crohn’s disease. My body and mind always felt heavy and fatigued. The doctors prescribed drug after drug to alleviate my symptoms. The toxicity of the meds, plus the inflammation in my body made me feel depressed, anxious and scared.
Yet despite the prognosis from doctors and the dread of having my colon removed – I stayed optimistic.
Deep in my intuition, I knew there was an alternative to the medley of drugs, doctors appointments and constant trips to the hospital.
And so my journey of exploration began. It took me down many rabbit holes, trying different diets and alternative remedies – macrobiotics, vegetarian, vegan, raw, anti-candida, Ayurvedic, juice cleanses, superfood smoothies and herbal tinctures galore. All of them promised to be the “miracle cure”, but they were temporary band aid solutions at best.
I also discovered amazing healing tools along the way. Yoga and meditation helped me calm my nervous system, quiet my mind, and access deep peace. The profound impact yoga had on me led me to open my own yoga business, which I nurtured and successfully grew over 8 years. It allowed me to share the power of yoga with thousands of people.
Those practices led to periods of remission from major symptoms, so even though there was always a cloud of heaviness and fatigue over me, I accepted it as normal and went about my life.
But in February 2019 I suffered a major relapse in my health. I had just boarded a plane for Costa Rica as my husband and I were planning to co-lead a yoga retreat, and for the first time, my son and dad would be joining, My excitement was through the roof!
Unfortunately, fate was waiting to teach me a life long lesson. I never made it to the retreat center. After years of quiet, my disease came back full force. By the time we landed in Costa Rica, I was dangerously ill, and getting worse by the minute.
I boarded the next flight back to Syracuse and was admitted to the hospital. It was over a week until I was stable enough to leave.
The flare-up happened so suddenly – one moment I was “fine” and the next I was in the hospital. In retrospect, my body had been sending warning signals for months. The inflammatory response in my body was widespread. In addition to Crohn’s disease, I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Rosacea, Eczema and Episcleritis. I was devastated. I felt overwhelmed, disheartened and confused.
The cycle of endless doctor visits and meds began again, and I complied… Until one day my body reached its limit. I had a severe allergic reaction during and infusion treatment.
Leaving my yoga retreat to spend a week in a hospital bed. missing out on my trip to Costa Rica, and the extreme reaction to the meds was a turning point in my life.
It woke up something in me – a deep knowing, a force, my spirit – that said, “Okay, enough! It’s time to figure out what the root cause of all this implantation is and make whatever changes are needed to heal. I am ready to fix my health, end the fear my family feel every time I am rushed to the hospital and remove the obstacles preventing me from living life to the fullest!”
I had no idea where to start, so I turned to mown library and opened a book that had been collecting dust on my shelf for years – The UltraMind Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman. It totally transformed the way I thought about diagnoses and treating illnesses. My doctors only treated the symptoms, filling me with drugs.
I discovered the concept of treating the whole person, not just the symptoms. Addressing underlying root causes, maintaining health through lifestyle choices, and a new paradigm for approaching holistic health – “functional medicine”.
Started seeing changes based on recommendations in the book, but I needed individualised guidance to go a level deeper. So I found a Functional Medicine Practitioner to work with.
As I began to heal, my passion for the topic grew. I took a deep dive into study…learning everything I could about the Functional Medicine approach to health. I pursued formal training and became a Board Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner® (FDN-P).
FDN is a holistic method of identifying malfunctions and underlying conditions at the root of most common health complaints. It’s and emerging field and growing body of work bridging the gap between clinical nutrition and Functional Medicine through laboratory assessments to embrace metabolic individuality.
Now I’m able to help others unlock their healing potential…
When I restored myself to radiant health, I also discovered a new way to express my passion doe helping others!
In my work with clients, I combine the FDN methodology, experience from my own healing journey, and 15+ years of yoga study. This unique blend helps people restore the pillars of health and return to vibrancy through my AMEND program (Action, Mindset, Energy, Nourishment, Detox).
It’s and honor that you’re here with me and trusting to guide your healing journey!
I’ve got you, let’s do this!