I grew up in Toronto, the last child of six to a new immigrant, newly single mother. When I was born, my eldest brother, seventeen years my elder was embarking on leaving home. My life was simple, but happy. Days filled with imagination, creativity and wonder filtered into the kitchen.
But life back then was different. I was nine when I started being left home alone and nine in the mid-eighties is different than it is now. No microwaves. No internet. Just me and whatever was in the cupboard and fridge. I became my own Master Chef Junior of the Sad American Diet. I made canapés out of bologna and crackers, canned Viennese sausages on toothpicks and peanut butter and jelly cracker sandwiches. It was a filling, sugary and salty plate of happy goodness. I would have my own parties with those plates with soda as my drink of choice. I had the fanciest parties and all of my best stuffed animals were always invited. VIP ONLY.
But, all those parties took their toll and I started gaining weight. I remember being eleven and 110 pounds. I remember going to the doctor and being put on my first diet, (which I don’t think my mom understood...listen, my mom is from Jamaica, not Asia, if you’re wondering.) Jamaicans didn’t go on diets.
So I started getting active. I joined sports teams. Volleyball and field hockey were my sports of choice. But something weird started happening...I started to gain MORE weight! Now, I realize it was muscle I was building, not as much fat- but you tell my 13-year old self that! So I was 13 when I got my first stretch mark. And boy, that fucked me up. Cue: ego
Wow...we are so mean to ourselves.
The only solution I could think of was don’t eat. (Thanks DJ Tanner!) I was starting high school and the only thing I could think of was to starve myself. It seemed pretty easy. I was so uninterested in food, I didn’t want to explore, venture or experiment with anything. I can’t even remember what I was eating between the ages of 13-16...wtf?!?
Years of experimentation went by; fad diets, hitting the gym hard, University, alcohol, binge eating, then finally I was an 🧑🏻 adult. Why don’t I remember any fruit? Or vegetables? Oh yes, I stayed away from them. I learned at an early age that I was highly allergic to fruits and nuts. Something about being highly sensitive to cyanide. 🤷🏻♀️ I’m still unsure but am still anaphylactic to them. Danger zone for me.
Flash forward to my late twenties...I was working two jobs, about 70 hours a week, in $40K in debt, in a failing relationship, far from family and just trying to keep my shit together. Stress level - outta control. So of course, I got sick.
I started to lose my hair and nails. I was tired all. The. Time. And when I say tired, I mean there was no physical way of me staying awake all day long. I lost 45 pounds in 3 months (finally!) but it was happening all the wrong way and when my hands couldn’t stop shaking and my heart was racing , I knew something was sincerely wrong. I went to the first doctor, who told me I had a fungus and that’s why I was losing my hair and nails. Thankfully, I went to a second doctor who sent me for blood work and found out I had hyperthyroidism, or Graves’ disease. My heart rate was so high, I was weeks away from a heart attack. 🥺 I was 27 and really sick and so scared.
I’m stable now. After radiation treatment, my thyroid cane back into “normal” range. 🙏🏽 but it was the scare of my life. And not wanting to be on medication for the rest of my life, I knew there had to be another option. FOOD...but that’s for another time.
Life is still challenging. No one week is the same and often, I experiment on
myself. But I have been able to really become quite intuitive in how my body feels. I can tell if something is off and what it may be. I know when I am dehydrated vs hungry, when I need to move vs rest and especially when I need to have something that will truly be delicious. I don’t feel bad about eating potato chips, but I make sure that I have some veggies to balance it out as well. It’s all about balance ;)
Well, that’s it for now….me in a nutshell.
Throw me a message if you want to know more or know how I can help YOU!
Eat well. Work hard. Seize Wellness.