Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Journey to Becoming a Health Coach

Out of necessity, I have been interested in nutrition for as long as I can remember. My mom didn’t really cook so it was fast food and processed foods for most meals growing up. Although I didn’t make the connection back then (I thought it was my lack of willpower), this diet combined with my inherited slow metabolism, caused me to be pudgy from about age 8.  I remember being on my first diet in 3rd or 4th grade and was pretty much on a diet off and on until after my daughter was born over 20 years later.

Usually my diet corresponded with whatever fad was going around – low fat (remember Snackwells and Olean chips?), weight watchers, calorie counting, low carb, no carb – you name it I tried it.  Of course along with this came even more damage to my metabolism along with mental anguish and an unhealthy dose of self-loathing.

When I became pregnant with my daughter several years ago, I stopped my dieting and ate (pretty much) whatever I wanted. Mostly, because I was highly addicted to sugar, this meant ice cream every night. My waist-band was now elastic and I was able to convince myself that the 3 chins I’d gained was just the baby stealing my beauty (this happens with baby girls, right?). After the baby was born, the breastfeeding would burn the weight off….or so I let myself believe.

Five months after she was born, at my heaviest ever, I had an epiphany that would change my life forever and the lives of my family. I had decided that I wanted to make her baby food (still a bit “forward thinking” back in ’09) and I was given a wonderful book called Super Baby Foods that explained exactly what I should feed her to make sure she was getting all of the nutrients that her growing body needed. It made me so happy to make her these “super porridges” - chock full of veggies, whole grains, and super foods. One day, as I was discussing this “enlightened” way of feeding my daughter with my sister, she said something so simple but so powerful: “I’m sure we should be eating the same way too.”

Somehow, I had never considered this before. Eat to give my body what it needed on the inside? Always before I had eaten with what the food would do to the outside of my body in mind. Would it make me gain or lose weight? I had never considered that my body needed nutrients from my food. From that day forward a passion was born in me to discover what my body needed and the foods I could eat to provide for it. I discovered vegetables and how amazing and unique each one can taste after you break your taste buds of the sugar, fat and salt they crave from a processed foods diet.

Meanwhile, as a side benefit, my energy was soaring, my skin glowed, my mood improved and weight began to effortlessly fall off. It was like I had learned this huge secret that set me free from the dieting chains and I wanted to share it with everyone. Books began to pile up on my bedside table with titles like ‘The Real Food Detox Diet’ and ‘In Defense of Food.’ It was all so simple but why did the common person not know about this “new way of eating”?

A few years into this new way of life, I knew that I had to make a change in my professional career and follow my newfound passion to help others discover how great they can feel going back to the basics and eating real foods.  At that time I had been in IT as a business analyst for over a decade and it had never been a good fit. The cubicle I sat in day in and day out felt more like a torture chamber for my soul, but I didn’t have the courage to make a switch and I didn’t know exactly how I could best use this passion of mine. In 2012 I could put it off no longer and I began taking classes at the local community college. I didn’t think a traditional nutritionist or registered dietician was where my calling was, but I knew very little about other careers in the wellness industry. One fateful day in early June of that year, I met a health coach and after he explained what a health coach does, it was like the Heavens parted and I knew that was the exact path I was designed for. The following month I signed up at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and quickly realized this was one of the best decisions I had ever made. In 2013 I launched my company, Nutritious in the City, and quit my corporate job shortly after. My journey over the last year and a half has been hard but amazing. Finally being in line with my purpose and passion and able to help hundreds of people on their healthy journey has been worth the struggles and insecurities I continue to conquer as a small business owner.  I have a vision of a world where people feel good and energized by the foods they eat, processed or fast foods are not the norm, and families gather around the kitchen island to cook together, laugh together and inspire one another. I adore the coaching profession where I get to come alongside my clients and not only teach them how simple healthy eating and cooking can be, but also encourage and support them as they embark on their own transformation.

If any of this resonates with you, please reach out to me at I would love the opportunity to hear about your health goals and how I might be able to help you reach your full potential.

If my career path intrigues you or inspires you, I would be honored to give you more information about my school and my new career path. With preventable diseases reaching pandemic proportions in America, we need all the wellness professionals we can get. Thank you for sharing in my story!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Cleansing is not Scary!

You know how nice it feels after a good spring cleaning (by you or someone else)? The floors are mopped, the windows shine and all of the clutter has been cleared away. Well, just like our homes need a good cleaning, a seasonal cleanse allows our bodies to become shiny and new again too.  It allows our body to reboot our metabolism, boost our immunity, clears the cobwebs from our minds, gives our skin a chance to glow, and allows us to lose weight effortlessly.

Are you afraid that it will be too hard or that maybe the challenge isn't worth it. You want to be happy. You want to feel energetic, vibrant, and full of joy. Do you remember what that feels like? You can be confident in the fact that the challenge is worth it. AND, I will be with you every step of the way supporting you, answering your questions, and cheering you on, because I know you can do this.

Are you concerned about giving up your daily coffee, chocolate, or evening cocktails perhaps?

Are you afraid I’m going to make you drink juice and smoothies all day?  

Maybe you think that you will feel hungry or deprived. No worries, my friend, because I’ve created this cleanse so you can pick which level of adventure you want to go on. Having all these feelings are natural, but you know what is not natural?  Feeling like we have to constantly count calories, not eat any fat, and go around in circles from one diet to the next. The thought of doing that for the rest of my life sounds just plain exhausting!

There is no reason to be scared because you will NOT feel deprived. We are going to keep it simple and eat wholesome, nourishing foods. The only thing you have to lose is some unwanted poundage, dark circles and puffiness under your eyes, and that feeling of lethargy that has been dragging you down. You will discover your blueprint for the foods that work for your unique body.

I have everything you will need:  a step-by-step guide, the recipes, a shopping list and meal planner, as well as a transition recipe packet & food diary. I will be with you every step of the way with daily e-mail support and to cheer you on. A guided group cleanse starts on May 1st - or you can buy the cleanse and pick your own dates!

Check out all the details here:
Register now and change your life forever!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Forward Cleanse - Have More Energy in just 15 Days!

Image courtesy of Suat Eman/
Spring is finally arriving in Chicago and across the country and with it comes a sense of renewal. Spring is the time to clean out the house and get rid of all of the clutter that has accumulated in the past year. Time to put away the bulky sweaters and jackets and start dreaming about days outside, summer vacations and trips to the beach.

Um yes, that sounds great, but what about these extra pounds I put on (to keep me warm) this past winter? And what about these bad habits I seem to slip into that result in me finishing off Jane's grilled cheese or eating my entire meal while sitting in front of the computer? Yep, its that time of year to not only clean up my house but clean up myself as well.

A few years ago I did my first cleanse and although it was challenging, it was also invigorating and exciting and renewing.  I lost about 5 pounds, felt lighter and more energized and I experienced better digestion after the cleanse was complete. I felt a sense of accomplishment that motivated me to continue eating well and drop some of the bad habits I had accumulated. Luckily I had Jon as my partner in the cleanse which made a huge difference. We supported each other and cheered each other on (there might have been a few grumbles in there as well - mainly from him).

I remember thinking "everyone should do a cleanse." This is what motivated me to launch a cleanse that is doable for the average person who might initially freak out at the thought. The heart of my detox is only 7 days (a 4 day elimination diet to start and a 4 day transition diet to end - 15 days total) and it involves eating real food. You won't be starving or at a loss for what you can eat. I've designed my program so that your detox experience will be positive and you will succeed!

Some of the benefits you can expect from my detox include increased energy, better digestion, weight loss, recharged metabolism, bad eating patterns dropped, toxins flushed from your body and much more.

The cleanse starts April 11th and I would love for you to take this journey with me. I will be supporting you every step of the way, including doing the cleanse myself. There will be a Facebook group for us all to encourage each other and share our experiences. My detox guide and kick off tele-class will give you everything you need to know, including recipes and other detox tips, to succeed. If you have any questions along the way I will be giving personal email support as well.

What do you have to lose? Grab a friend, co-worker or spouse and join me and other like-minded people and let's all Spring Forward!

You can learn more about the cleanse and sign up here: or email me at

The cleanse is only $39, quite the bargain for everything you will receive. If you really want to do the cleanse but the cost is prohibitive, please reach out to me at - there are a few scholarships available.

Friday, March 29, 2013

"Kitchen Sink" Smoothie and the Importance of Mixing up your Greens

This morning I was able to go on a walk outside (yeah spring!) with a good friend. When I got home I had a hankering for a green smoothie, but knew we were pretty low on groceries as I have been traveling a lot lately.  I quickly scanned the fridge and was encouraged when I found a handful of cilantro. I've been in a kale/spinach rut lately and have been meaning to start incorporating more greens into my smoothies so this was the perfect chance. Changing up your greens is important to get nutritional diversity. But even more importantly, you should change them up because all greens contain small amounts of toxins that are present for the plants to protect themselves from predators. For example, kale contains goitrogens which could interfere with thyroid function in some people. Spinach contains oxalic acid which in large amounts can potentially be harmful. Most likely it would take months straight of eating 1-2 bunches a day, but each person is different and you never know your exact limit.

Luckily there are lots of leafy greens that can be added to your smoothies. Kale, collards, bok choy, parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, chard, lettuce, broccoli and beet greens to name a few. As I have committed to mixing up my greens, I'll be sure to share recipes with you.

I thought today's smoothie turned out delicious and was quite a mix up from my standard smoothies. I encourage you all to get adventurous and try different greens, veggies and fruit in your routine as well.

Pineapple Cilantro "kitchen sink" smoothie
1 handful cilantro
1 celery rib
1/4 cup fennel
1/4 cup honeydew melon
1/4 cup frozen pineapple
1 inch fresh ginger
1 cup coconut water

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Coconut Oil - The Latest Health Craze

Everywhere you turn someone is talking about coconut oil. So what is all the hype about?

For years coconut had a bad reputation because of its high saturated fat content. 40 years ago a study linked saturated fat to increased heart disease. However, this study was flawed in that it used hydrogenated coconut. The negative effects of hydrogenated oils are now well known and the thought that saturated fats are bad for you is being re-evaluated. 

Coconut oil is derived from the meat of matured coconuts. It is slow to oxidize or become rancid and has a shelf life of approximately 2 years. Coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) which are found to not have a negative effect on cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. The gall bladder and liver do not need to process MCFA’s which results in instant energy, an increase in metabolic rate and improved circulation. 

Coconut oil solidifies at 76 degrees so in the summer it will be liquid in your pantry and in winter it will be solid. You can simply heat it in the oven or stove top if you want to bake with it and need it in a liquid form. 

Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees so it is an excellent choice to bake with or cook with at moderate temperatures. Avocado oil remains that top oil to cook with at high temperatures. 

Health Benefits:
  • anti-viral - it contains lauric acid which converts to monolaurin which is toxic to viruses, bacteria, fungeses and other bacteria
  • hair care - deep conditioning and anti-dandruff benefits
  • skin care - excellent skin conditioner and protects against ultraviolet exposure
  • weight loss - can speed up metabolism
  • lowers risk of diabetes, heart disease and improves cholesterol levels
  • improves bone health - aids in the nutrient absorption of minerals such as calcium and magnesium
  • fights chronic fatigue - medium chain fatty acids produce energy as opposed to body fat which improves metabolism and prevents fatigue. It has been shown to kill organisms in the body that steal your strength and can cause fatigue
  • Alzheimer’s Disease - documented cases of supplementation with coconut oil improving this disease

Other Interesting Facts about Coconut Oil:
  • the only other source of lauric acid is breast milk
  • regular consumption of coconut oil has been associated with improved immunity and reduced sickness
  • it is a natural remedy for pneumonia
Have you started using coconut oil yet? 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

picture courtesy of
Avocados are so good for us! Although they were shunned in the low fat craze days, they are now highly regarded as a super food.  They are high in vitamin E, anti-inflamatory, lower cholesterol, improve your vision, protect your heart and fight against certain types of cancer.

Although I love avocados added to many of my meals (salads, sandwiches, veggie burgers, mexican food, etc), the little one won't go near them. Unless of course they are disguised as chocolate. Lucky for me there are many recipes I can use to incorporate cocoa powder without all of the sugar you find in processed chocolate products.

If you haven't tried an avocado pudding recipe yet, I urge you to give it a chance. You'll be surprised how delicious it is.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding (from

Makes 1 cup pudding, enough for 2 to 4 servings, depending on how chocoholic you and your guests are
1 avocado, ripe and soft
¼ cup to ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Trader Joe's)
¼ cup milk (I use almond milk but you can use regular milk or any other milk substitute)
3 tbsp maple syrup or liquid honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh and put in a blender, or the bowl of a food processor. Add ¼ cup cocoa powder and the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides. Taste and add more cocoa powder until the pudding is chocolatey enough. Add more maple syrup (or honey) if you’d like the pudding sweeter, and milk, if you’d like it looser. Divide between serving cups and serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

kid tested, mother approved!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Janey's Saturday Morning Smoothie

This past weekend Jane decided that she wanted to make a smoothie. She has been on a kick lately of only wanting chocolate banana smoothies so when she expressed interest in making up a new one, I was very excited. We looked through the fridge together and she decided on an apple banana concoction.

 At the last minute she decided to add a few strawberries.

Apple Banana Strawberry Green Smoothie

1 handful spring salad mix (can use any greens)
1 banana
1 small apple - seeds removed
a few strawberries
Kid tested, mother approved!
1 Tbs hemp seeds (mom's idea for a little added protein and good fats)
1 cup Good Belly probiotic juice drink (can substitute other juice, water or almond milk)

Blend and enjoy