And I really appreciate you stopping by!
I’m an author, vegan chef, and "One Degree" coach. My passion is helping people create vibrantly healthy and delicious lives.
For details on my personal health journey, please scroll down. I figured not everyone wants "TMI" (too much information), so I've shared it below, under the services I provide. But if you do choose to read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts! : )
IN A NUTSHELL: Over the last 20 years, I’ve worked as a wellness coach, chef, caterer, workshop leader, speaker, writer, and mom. I currently reside in Chandler Arizona, but I'm always traveling—so let me know if you’ve got a great idea for me in your neck of the woods!
Here are some of the services I provide:
"One Degree" Coach
I’ve been teaching healthy cooking classes since 1997. I love getting people excited about creating healthy, delicious meals! Some examples of my classes are: Thai, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, raw foods, fermented foods, Ethiopian, vegan basics, Indian, vegan desserts, gluten-free, and vegan cheese. If you’d like me to teach a class in your area, please let me know. I’m always looking for excuses to travel!
Do you have a food company or product? One of my favorite projects is developing recipes for products I love. For example, I had a blast developing recipes for Ziggy Marley’s “Ziggy Marley Organics” line. Please contact me to talk details!
More about my journey:
For me, the health stuff started in my childhood - I grew up with a plethora of issues. I’ve been through everything from chronic illness to depression, anxiety, obesity, severe acne, and constant bouts of strep throat. I still remember the moment I was told I could no longer take antibiotics, because I'd taken them all so many times that I was immune to every kind on the market! In fact, I recently reunited with a friend from grade school. Her memory of me was that I was always sick at home. She remembers being bummed that I could rarely play with her at recess, because I was absent so often.
I also had chronic headaches from age eight onward (I haven't had a headache in years, even now in my forties!), and I began struggling with my weight at around age ten. Being a pudgy kid has a way of ruining otherwise fun activities, let me tell you.
My struggles with chronic sickness, strep throat, weight, headaches, and acne continued until college. When I became vegan in 1991, I was healthy for a while, which cleared up the issues the antibiotics were needed for, as well as instantly clearing up some pretty embarrassing acne I'd had since high school. But then I fell prey to another disease - the "perfectionism disease."
Being vegan had become easy for me after the first few months (which had included some stumbles), but then I began trying to be an oil-free, no-fat vegan. All of a sudden, I had decided that tofu, nuts, oils, seeds, and salt were "bad" and completely off limits due to some popular programs I'd learned about. This led me to a cycle of deprive-and-binge that lasted for many years, because I didn't know how to be healthy and trim in a way that I could realistically live with. (I like to eat, and I love flavorful food. Always have. Period.)
Because of my new desire to be perfect and adhere to this strict oil-free diet, I began to see food as "good" or "bad" and if I ever ate the "bad" (hello, onion rings and chocolate cake), then I saw myself as bad. And, as a bad person, I had to punish myself. It was crazy behavior, really, but I know far too many women who can relate to this, which is why I'm on a mission to help that shift!
I've always loved food, but I had never really learned how to let it love me back. By 1998, I was officially an obese vegan and could barely climb one flight of stairs without being out of breath. This is what led me to make some BIG changes and eventually develop my color-coded system, which teaches people what it taught me at the time - that we can eat what we like, thoroughly enJOY food, and make weight loss a delicious (vs. deprivation-based) process. I could finally lose the weight because I wasn't feeling flavor-deprived. I allowed myself to feel sated for the first time in years, without guilt. This system of joyful weight loss and delicious balance is what I share in my my cookbooks and other programs.
There is more in my story about the years I struggled with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks - but suffice it to say for now that I've always made the decision to face my issues head-on. I'd rather create a solution than put a band-aid on something. My painful experiences have made me stronger, and forced me to develop powerful tools to not only help myself, but eventually others as well.
I'm deeply grateful for my struggles, because they've taught me so much - and now I get to do work I love, helping others discover their own joyful path to vibrant wellness. This is why I do what I do.