Discovering a Passion
Soon after I graduated high school, I began experiencing severe anxiety attacks alongside symptoms of chronic fatigue, IBS, and hormone imbalance. The solutions presented to me were 'precautionary' thyroid surgery and pharmaceuticals. I denied the former and the latter left me so lethargic and mentally disengaged that I was unable to work or begin college classes. I genuinely feared that I would never be back to myself again. The anxiety attacks kept me awake, night after night, thinking that I was having a heart attack. Not seeing me improving at all, my Mom (who works in the medical field) scheduled for a colleague to do cardiac testing. When the tests came back normal, and she heard about my situation, she recommended that I see her Chiropractor. While skeptical, I was in a position where I'd try anything.
There, I was introduced to Functional Medicine and the concept of Mind + Body healthcare. Through integrative methods like muscle testing, we discovered food intolerances and gut imbalance; addressing each through dietary changes, structural and supportive body work, and supplementation brought almost immediate relief of my symptoms. I began learning, for the first time, how to advocate for my own health through my food and lifestyle choices. The sense of empowerment and vitality that I felt was emotionally overwhelming.
Coming out of the mental fog from my anxiety medication, I enrolled in college classes. Part of me thought that I was 'fixed', but in hindsight I had a lot more to learn. My first quarter a professor showed Food Inc. and I was outraged. I remember leaving that class so agitated, thinking 'why does no one talk about this?' I'd been successful in altering my diet to accommodate my intolerances, but I quickly realized that there was so much else wrong with the standard American diet. From toxic hydrogenated oils and harmful additives, to excessive pesticide usage and inhumane treatment of livestock, my eyes were opened to the dishonesty and profit-favoring tendencies within the US food system.
Since then, even when I've pulled away, I've been continually pulled back toward health and wellness. By embracing my healing journey as an ongoing pursuit of self care and an integral part of my story I discovered a deep passion for nutrition and public health. Alongside Art, I studied Nutritional Science in college, focusing on Culinary Nutrition. I continue to cultivate this passion in my daily life through research, cooking, and sharing what I've learned with others.
I view food as an incredible source of healing - an integral tool in the body's innate ability to heal. My health journey and nutritional education gave new life to my perspective on food. I prioritize eating whole, fresh foods, foods with minimal ingredients and processing, and local and/or certified organic foods whenever possible. I question instead of trusting labels or claims at face value. I also believe in enjoying the creativity and culture surrounding food, not restrictive eating patterns. Above all else I focus on balance and awareness in my diet, and hope that by sharing my experiences I can help others to cultivate the same sense of empowerment that I found.
The transition from known and loved foods to healthier alternatives can be difficult. To help, I recently created Kitchen Detox, an infographic series that compares common unhealthy kitchen staples to healthier options. View some examples below, and visit Thunder + Lace on Instagram for more information on these swaps! Looking for a specific swap? Contact me and I'll help you find a healthier option!