I became a Holistic Nutritionist in 2014 to help others feel better.
As a kid I had chronic health issues with a nose that dripped, eyes that itched, and lungs that felt as if an elephant was on them. On the upside I was creative, loved babies, being in the woods, with animals, and playing! Despite physical hardship I genuinely felt excited to be alive.
I was insecure about my health issues; none of my friends had the same problems and I was embarrassed by how much I blew my nose, how eating pizza ruined me for days, how a dusty house set off my asthma. I truly understand living life in an uncomfortable body.
I loved to cook and at age 12, some friends and I opened Fat Mama’s; a restaurant with a healthy menu that we served to the neighbors! I got into food because my mother was a nut, driving hours for organic food (1980 + hard to find) and ordering from Walnut Acres, one of the first organic food companies, to distribute to our community. She kept a garden and chickens and her efforts to live naturally in modern suburb fueled me; that and my desire to get off the medication I was on.
When I was 14, I created a booklet of allergen-free recipes for my mother’s Montessori school and in college, I worked at the first Whole Foods. I stopped eating pasteurized dairy and refined sugar and fasted, drank wheatgrass, and did colonics with friends. I was in awe that my body had the ability to self-regulate and harmonize with a bit of help.
Labeled, not limited by age 20, I had mast cell syndrome, MTHFR, anemia, Sjogrens, asthma, and what felt like a million allergies.
My search for harmony continued and on the day of college graduation, I drove to California where I found a book Zen Macrobiotics which inspired me to apprentice with Cornelia Aihara; a Japanese elder who taught yin/yang principles. I cooked medicinally, walked barefoot in the dew, chanted, and applied ginger compresses for people with terminal cancer, watching as the water turned black from discharge.
In 1999, I started working as a Personal Therapeutic Chef preparing meals for those recovering from illness or healing serious imbalances. I loved creating menu plans for each person’s health and diet needs.
Esalen days were spent in a boisterous, loving kitchen perched on the cliffs of Big Sur. I let loose, shaved my head, baked for a community of 250, and cooked with more flexibility while maintaining the discipline I’d come to cherish. During this time I had the pleasure of baking a cake for Joan Baez and prepared meals at Tassajara Zen Monastery.
Being pregnant is when I experienced a rare prenatal condition called hyperemesis gravidarum; for 12 weeks with my first son, 15 with my baby girl who I miscarried, and 40 with my youngest son. I was unable to eat unless I craved that food 100% and often went days without eating a thing. I couldn’t drink more than a teaspoon without vomiting and took drugs meant for chemotherapy patients. I went to the ER for intravenous feedings and could not lift my head without the world spinning. These pregnant periods instilled empathy for others moving through a challenging life experience.
Witnessing transformation happened when my oldest started solids and became bloated with chronic diarrhea/vomiting. At 2, I admitted him to intensive care for weight loss, listlessness, and dehydration and he was diagnosed with borderline Celiac disease. I was told to avoid “much gluten” and instead eliminated all the top allergen. He bloomed! This transformation motivated me to keep exploring ways food heals.
Dealing with yeast overgrowth came at age 34. I was rock bottom with my health and unable to keep up with the demands of work and life and being a mother. I will forever be grateful for a Naturopath who diagnosed me with systemic yeast overgrowth.
For three years I used B.E.D. to bring my body, and ultimately my life, back into balance. This experience pushed me to share what I learned to others with yeast, viral, or bacterial related health issues. In 2011, I hung up my hat as a Personal Chef to become a Holistic Nutritionist.
Finding balance has taken me a lifetime. I also see now how food is just a small part of the whole; especially when childhood trauma and triggers enter the picture. I enjoy helping people feel better, especially those starting from zero or in an otherwise complicated situation. I am known for my innate ability to investigate the toughest situations and enjoy diving deep to understand where you are and want to go.
Today I am off all medication except for asthma. My belly feels great and I am mostly at peace with the discomforts I do live with. I now consult with others seeking nutritional support.
There is a dance only you know how to do. ~ Gabrielle Roth