In A Nutshell, Where My Story Begins...

It all started with my parents, especially my dad. I grew up in a vegetarian household. I was raised Seventh-Day Adventist Christian and diet played a huge role in our religion. Seventh-Day Adventists are primarily vegetarians but there are still many that eat clean meats. They follow the health laws found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy that prohibit unclean meats which include pork, rabbits, insects, birds such as eagles or falcons, and any living being in the sea or water that do not have find or scales. I grew up knowing that pork was completely off limits and, although we didn't eat it in our home by choice, chicken, was okay to consume. That is where it all started but that did NOT mean that I grew up eating healthy foods!

My parents did their best to feed my two sisters and I healthy foods. We mostly grew up on pastas, rice and beans, pancakes, and grilled cheese. I grew up refusing to eat my fruit or veggies just like the majority of children and even adults today. I was a very picky eater and it was nearly impossible for my parents to get me to take a bite of anything remotely healthy.

When I married at 18 and moved away to Japan, I was forced to begin cooking for myself and my husband. It wasn't pretty. I made a lot of canned, boxed, or pre-packaged foods. While I was overseas, my dad had been diagnosed with tuberculosis and was in the hospital for nearly 8 months. Without telling that whole story, that began his health journey. When my dad found out I was pregnant, he was excited and started to tell me how now was the time to start eating healthy. My dad and my mom both tried so hard to get me to eat healthy while I was growing up but finally my dad saw an incentive to get me started. He recommended I read the book, "Skinny Bitch". You have to understand though, the word "bitch" was NOT in my dad's vocabulary so it blew me for a surprise. I laughed and giggled with my husband telling him, "you'll never believe this... my dad said bitch"... like a little immature girl who had never heard the word before. However, I bought the book -- the pregnant version -- "Skinny Bitch Bun in the Oven: A Gutsy Guide to Becoming One Hot and (Healthy) Mother" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. In this stage of my health journey, I simply became conscious of the food I was eating and really only deciphering if it was cake or something more substantial, knowing that the more substantial option was probably better off than cake.

I was 21 years old when I gave birth to my precious twin boys, who would forever change my world in the most beautiful ways.

My parents had continued their own health journeys and became familiar with Dr. Gerson and the Gerson Therapy for cancer treatment. They had also started experimenting with veganism and juicing after watching documentaries on Netflix like "Forks Over Knives" and "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead". My boys were about to turn 8 months old and I wanted to lose my baby weight. I was also thinking about starting them on solid foods and I really wanted it to be healthy, because I had never been healthy. My parents had me watch the documentaries they had seen and recommended I buy a juicer. So we did. My husband and I started our journey with juicing. What an experience!! I couldn't believe that I was actually drinking my veggies. The girl who would never touch her veggies was now drinking them... but hey, it was easier than chewing that stuff.

I loved it so much, I juiced for 30 days.

Me. A girl who grew up on macaroni and cheese, never touched a veggie in her life, refused salads, drank red bull once a day, smoked cigarettes because I suffered from extreme anxiety and depression, ate pop-tarts for breakfast and chocolate cake for dinner was drinking fresh GREEN juice EVERY day for 30 days. You can only imagine, I sure did lose all my baby weight. It was AWESOME!

Not only did I lose all my baby weight but I had never felt healthier in my entire life. I was full of energy, my acne cleared up, my body was tight, I didn't have aches or pains, and I just felt overall freaking GREAT! I was taking the boys for walks every day in the beautiful sunshine and just felt like no matter what the day was going to bring me, I would conquer it. It was then I realized how much nutrition affected the human body and how important a healthy diet was for myself and for the future of my children. I really believe this was when my health journey truly started.

Then my boys were diagnosed with Autism. That is an entirely different story for a different day, different post but it is so important to note that diet, nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle are VITAL components to children with a diagnosis of Autism. Their diagnosis pulled me further and further in to the world of nutrition beyond words can say right now and I am so blessed for how much my precious boys have taught me.

Their diagnosis was the next stepping stone in my health journey. I got to a point where I knew so much about nutrition but still craved to know more so my dad sent me a link to the school -- The Institute for Integrative Nutrition -- and I called the number and signed up to become a student... When it came time to create a website, I struggled with what to call it. I knew what message I wanted to convey but didn't know how to put it all into one. My aunt, who is also on her own health journey and a huge support system for my journey, gave me the idea of "Habits for the Soul"... It clicked. It captured all that I wanted to help others accomplish.

My journey is still going. I am still learning. I don't claim to know everything about everything. I've only simply learned that nutrition and health are the sound foundation for a vibrant and happy life. Food is so important. Food matters. From experience, I know it is a hard journey but I also know that it is SO worth it. I really want to make a difference in people's lives and show them how worth it it really is. I have become so passionate about this and can't wait to share my experiences with the world.

With all my love,