I’m a certified Culinary Nutrition Educator and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with a passion for learning and sharing, getting creative in the kitchen, supporting and empowering others, and fostering community along the way. When I’m not working, I enjoy getting lost in books, seeking sunshine, smelling fresh air, geeking out on board games, embracing solitude, and sharing a meal with fabulous company.

My personal health journey began in 2012 after my body shut down and forced me to listen. Up until then, I was living a “take pride in running your ass off” kind of life. You know the one... never enough time, always on the run, choosing challenging/high stress work situations. I would bring my work home, both emotionally and physically, on the daily. I was constantly pushing the limit and never saying no, all the while keeping a full social calendar. Sound familiar?

I didn’t take the time to fuel myself with nutritious food, get quality sleep, sit quietly, and nurture my relationship with myself (or my husband). Working as a public school teacher, I always felt like I needed to give more. My nervous system was shot and I didn't make time to take care of myself. I brought home every ounce of pain, hurt, and sadness. While I saw this as complete devotion and love for the teaching profession, in actuality, I was depleting my energy sources and living unsustainably.

The signs were there for years, I just chose to ignore them. I was exhausted; I developed 37 environmental allergies; I was sick all the time; and I could no longer separate my students’ experiences from my own. I barely had enough energy to hold myself up. All of this, yet I would still push through.

My wake-up call came when I was unable to get out of bed one day. Everything hurt, my face was covered in welts, rashes encompassed my body, and I had pneumonia and mononucleosis at the same time. I had no choice but to pay attention. What started out as a high viral load has since left me in a chronic state of pain, fatigue, and monthly inflammatory flares over the past six years.

Throughout this journey, I’ve experienced heartache, confusion, fear, and loss of self. However, through these experiences I’ve also come to realize that I am my strongest advocate. I have complete control over my thoughts, what I put in and on my body, and the path I take forward to live a fulfilling life. I get to decide what the best choices are for me. This first-hand experience with chronic health issues encouraged me to explore new interests, play in the kitchen, and go back to school in 2014 at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. Receiving my Culinary Nutrition Certificate renewed hope and allowed me to realize that I can still fuel my passion for teaching - it just looks a little different than before. Now, I get to educate others on how food, thoughts, and lifestyle choices affect our health.  Thus, the birth of Fresh Things First!

There is a power in educating ourselves,  surrounding ourselves with a supportive growth community, and advocating for ourselves. I am grateful for the opportunity to get know you, learn with you, and support you through the choices that you make along your journey. It’s my goal to work alongside you during this process of discovery by ensuring that you eat colorful, delicious, nutritious food that gets you excited while nourishing and fueling you.