Let me help you find your strongest bones and body through yoga, exercise, and nutrition.
How my journey began…
I have been in the fitness and health industry for over 30 years. After graduating from college (I taught aerobics at college) my passion for health and fitness led me to pursue a master’s in Exercise Physiology. I subsequently set up fitness programs in apartment and condo buildings all over downtown Chicago.
The John Hancock building was my first! Soon after teaching aerobics and working as a personal trainer, I caught the yoga bug, and life took on new meaning. Motivating people (and myself) through breath and movement became my passion.
Like most of you, I get much more than simply the physical out of my yoga practice. The breath is what guides me in every class. I opened the doors of Healing Power Yoga in 1999, which became a sanctuary for the North Shore and me. It was a place to connect, move, and breathe together.
Seeing the joy and connection in everyone’s faces made each day special. Even though I sold the studio in 2007, I continue to use yoga, breathing, and meditation to help elevate and inspire my life and the lives of those around me.
Want to move with me on your mat at home?
I have over 40 classes online.
I LOVE to share… and how I transitioned into nutrition.
Whether reading a good article about yoga anatomy or eating a nutrient-dense and delicious meal, I always like to share my best finds with others. You will rarely leave my house without new food to try. I know how food can positively impact our mental and physical being, and I want everyone to feel the benefits. Because of my health history (read below), I do everything I can to keep myself healthy.
After teaching yoga for over 28 years, I decided in 2021 to shift directions a little and take a ten-month program to get certified in functional nutrition. What is functional nutrition? In simple terms, it’s getting to the root cause of an issue. Instead of being told you have osteoporosis, IBS, chronic fatigue, or any other issue and taking a pill to deal with it (sometimes that is necessary), functional nutrition dives deep into understanding why you have it in the first place.
The goal is to use food and lifestyle to alleviate any issue so that eventually a client may be able to go off medication, or at least lower it and live their healthiest, strongest life. Functional nutrition counselors often work in tandem with a client’s physician.
The C, B, and O words. CANCER, BRAIN TUMOR, and OSTEOPOROSIS.
And you thought I was so healthy. Well, I am now…for the most part. It can take a long time to reverse years of antibiotic use and years of eating a mediocre diet. I now do my best to find balance in my diet, and I never say never to anything. You will see me over-indulge a couple of times a month in a dessert or anything sweet.
As I like to say, balance is the key to everything in life. Ideally, staying away from refined sugar is best, but I’m not there quite yet. I guess you can say I follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the time I am healthy, and 20 percent of the time I indulge. At home I am ultra clean with my eating and make delicious and nutrient dense smoothies, salads, fish, and other dishes that I love, and when I go out, I enjoy a dessert or a little bread with dinner if I’m in the mood.
After I had kids, I I found myself getting more and more into nutrition. While I have always been interested in nutrition, I think cancer helped guide my way. There is always a silver lining, right? When I was 28 (diagnosed at 16), I had a recurrence of thyroid cancer (very unusual for this kind of cancer) and numerous recurrences following that.
After four major surgeries and a few minor ones, I still live with what the doctors call “highly suspicious” nodes in my neck. Because there are only so many times you can perform surgery in the same area, and I am at high risk for more recurrences, the suspicious nodes are watched closely.
I lived in fear for a long time, especially when my kids were young…they were six months and two years old when I had the first recurrence and a partial neck dissection.
I had over 20 lymph nodes removed and only one was malignant. Like anyone with kids (they are both now in their 20’s), they are EVERYTHING. But, at some point, after being told the suspicious nodes hadn’t grown, I learned to let the fear go. There’s no doubt that yoga and nutrition helped me find more peace and control around my health.
Just as I was finding peace with the cancer, during a routine exam, I was told I had a brain tumor. If you’ve ever waited for test results, you know the agony of the unknown. We weren’t sure if the thyroid cancer had spread to my brain but, within a week, I was told it was a benign tumor called a meningioma. I continue to regularly get MRIs of my brain, as well as do my best to eat an anti-inflammatory diet in the hopes that it will keep it at bay.
Ironically, another person who had radioactive iodine after thyroid cancer, also has a meningioma. Is there a connection? I don’t know. However, I do know that I would have used my functional nutrition knowledge while going through all of these scans and tests for cancer over the years to help with future issues.
My last little health issue is that I have osteoporosis. I was in shock when I was diagnosed and felt like my body was letting me down. I likely have osteoporosis for a few reasons:
1) from being on Synthroid for so long,
2) menopause and not having enough nutrition knowledge in my years leading up to it to prevent or at least help slow bone loss and
3) not realizing I wasn’t absorbing the nutrients I was eating because I had a leaky gut.
Who knew you could be someone who eats so well yet not be absorbing the nutrients from your food? As I learned in my functional nutrition class, “it’s not what you eat, but how you absorb what you eat.” How do you know if you’re absorbing the nutrients from your food? That’s what I will help you to figure out. If I knew then what I know now about the power of food, I believe I would have been able to prevent osteoporosis.
I am about 7 years post menopause and am using much of what I have learned about overall health and nutrition to help myself and others keep their bones and body strong. Through some small shifts in diet and exercise, I have increased my bone density and feel stronger and better than ever. While I get regular scans for my thyroid and brain, I feel empowered knowing that the foods I choose to eat have an impact on my overall health.
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EXPERIENCE AND CERTIFICATIONS::
Masters in Exercise Physiology
Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor CFNC
Co-Led 3 200 hour yoga teacher training programs
Certified Yoga Instructor
Numerous summits covering osteoporosis and inflammation