Hi! I’m a functional nutritionist, chef, artist and life-long learner living in NYC. I wasn’t always sipping green shakes for breakfast. I grew up in a nurturing, Greek-American home, in Massachusetts, eating a Standard American Diet.
Although my mom made dinner most nights, like many people in the 70’s, we had our share of processed food; bologna sandwiches, canned vegetables, Ring Dings, pop tarts, and many sugar-coated cereals… I was no doubt addicted to sugar. After basketball workouts in high school, I would ’treat’ myself to Twinkies or packaged cupcakes. Thank goodness, we had lots of fresh fruits and vegetables too, but never did we think about how all those fake ingredients might harm us.
A love of drawing
I loved art as a kid, and in first grade, I remember a project of mine hung up on the wall; a red, abstract image with swirling energy. I was so proud of it! When I was 12, I started taking oil painting classes on Saturdays. Even with the pungent smell of solvent, I was smitten. Throughout high school, I created props for school plays, drew caricatures and created seasonal window displays at a department store weekend job. It seemed natural that art would be my focus for college.
NYC here I come
After graduating from Boston University with a Fine Arts Degree in Painting, I headed to NY, freelanced as an illustrator for editorial magazines and worked in catering part-time as a waiter; my first venture into the food world. These events varied from small cocktail parties to large Lincoln Center dinners and became a great way to experience the city from the sidelines.
Illustration on tourism
Ink on paper
Black & white illustration
Joan Jett, charcoal
The New Yorker
INX, United Feature Syndicate
Fusion of art and food
With the computer now in every office, I leaped into art direction work in advertising and said goodbye to freelance illustration. Instead, I embraced fonts, design, and a steady paycheck for many years. Looking back, maybe because I put oil painting on hold, my passion for cooking grew, and I decided to act on it. I enrolled in culinary school at Institue of Culinary Education (ICE) in 2002.
Cooking and painting have always been connected for me. That’s the reason behind merging my art site with my health coaching. It’s part of how I feel even.
Many of us have passions that we forget about until one day you pick up that knitting needle or start writing, and then you wonder why you stopped in the first place. Can you relate?
Food & Painting in Provence
My desire to be a personal chef was inspired by a 2-week art/food vacation in France one summer. With a group of artists from all over, I painted in Provence for one week, and in the evenings, a local personal chef prepared local French cuisine for us in our villa. This experience planted the seed of becoming a personal chef later on, where I could practice my culinary skills without the chaotic restaurant scene. In France, walking through the farmers’ markets in the local villages we visited, was a wonder of color and abundance, and shopping for food this way seemed immersed in the French lifestyle.
Farmers market in Provence
The Rough Road to Health Coaching
For some people, their own health challenges lead them to health coaching. For me, it was through my boyfriend’s illness. In 2012, at 59, he experienced a minor stroke, landing him in the hospital. When released, there was little support from his doctor other than to call with questions. My boyfriend was petrified at why this mini-stroke happened and frantically searched for answers on what he could do to keep another from happening. His personality had changed too suggesting something had shifted in his brain. I felt helpless, trusting that he was in good hands from his doctor. A month later, a second, devastating stroke occurred. After one excruciating month in the hospital, he passed away.
Through the years since I often reflected at what signs I missed about his failing health. Now that I know more about the systems of the body through my studies, there were definitely health concerns that could have been addressed. The sleepless nights, gut, autoimmune, nervous and cardiovascular issues that I didn’t understand. I know now of many nutritional and lifestyle modifications, and supplements that could have helped him prevent another stroke.
There is a gap in our current healthcare system. After your 15-minute visit with your doctor, how do you begin to implement healthy eating and better lifestyle choices? This is where a health coach comes in, guiding you on how to bring these changes into your life.
This is where my wellness journey started, and as I began to heal emotionally, I enrolled in the Institute For Integrative Nutrition (IIN) where I learned from the world’s top health and wellness experts, such as Mark Hyman, Deepak Chopra, David Perlmutter and more. A new world opened up to me. I learned about the healing powers of whole foods, lifestyle shifts, meditation and often, specific supplements, that can reverse the symptoms of chronic disease.
I became aware of the threats that processed food, environmental toxins, and even the way we think, can affect our health. Genes do play a part, but lifestyle and dietary shifts can often prevent bad genes from being expressed.
I continued my education and became a functional nutritionist through Full Body Systems with Andrea Nakayama.
Through functional nutrition, I learned that all the systems of the body are connected. For example, healing gut issues may resolve migraines or eczema. Through FBS and ongoing education, I now have the tools to help guide you on your wellness journey to look for the root cause of your health issues.
Food is information for your cells. I’ll help you understand some of the biochemistry of what’s going on in your body, for example, if you drink soda or eat processed food. You’ll start to connect the dots between what you eat and issues like IBS, Acid Reflux, or other chronic diseases, and how they can be avoided with better choices in diet and lifestyle. Learn more about my process here.
The Healing Power of Whole Food
I believe whole foods have the power to heal many of the chronic issues we face today. As a graduate of the Academy of Culinary Education with Megan Telpner, I’ll guide you to reduce your processed food intake and teach you how to enjoy spending more time in your kitchen with these healing, whole foods, herbs, and spices. Culinary nutrition services will be available soon.
My healing journey from sugar addiction and rebounding emotionally from tragedy took time. Healing from digestive issues takes time too. There is no one-size-fits-all to wellness. Your bio-individuality consists of your unique experiences such as the food you eat, environment, family history and so much more, which created your health challenges today.
I look forward to guiding you on your wellness journey, from wherever you are right now.