Each one of us has been given gifts in this life. Some are given the gift of problem solving or teaching, while others are gifted with the ability to communicate flawlessly or to solve equations or to sing and dance and perform for an audience. The most successful people in any field are those who take these gifts and turn them into passions. They commit their lives to growing this gift from a seedling to a flowering tree so they can climb all the way up and pick the shiniest, crispest apple from the top. How satisfying that apple must taste!
I was given modeling. By no accomplishment of my own, I was handed the gift of a little seed of opportunity that I buried into fertile soil when I was 11 years old. Since then I have tended, watered and watched my abundant plant grow for years. With an amazing agency behind me, I worked hard to be the best model in my age category by spreading joy on set, having constant high energy and eagerness to work, and by taking criticism well to grow and learn my craft. Even though I was modeling all over the country while being very involved in my High School, I made sure to always be available and ready to work. Through all of this I never once considered my weight or fitness. Shooting for Seventeen Magazine, Hollister, Nordstrom, JCP and Dillard’s was a great thrill and I just assumed I was one of those lucky people who could live life and not worry about my weight! Playing sports also kept my weight in constant check. I was carrying on, tending to my strong, flowering tree with passion and love in the same way I had been for almost 8 years. But then, I went to college. Without the constant schedule of year-round sports, my boundaries of keeping fit and in model shape fell apart.
As a migraine sufferer with food related triggers, I was forced to shift to a healthier lifestyle when I was 13. I’d done elimination diets over the years and found the foods I needed to avoid to live headache free. For stretches here and there I was able to stay on a pretty healthy eating schedule. But then, feeling better, I would fall into cheating with those problem foods. I over-indulged in cake, ice cream, cheese, chocolate… all my triggers that I paid for later with terrible nights of horrific headaches and Emergency Room visits. But I loved these foods, even though they caused me such anguish. In high school, my craving for these foods didn’t affect the shape of my body since I was playing volleyball 20 hours a week in school and on a select team in the off season.
When I went to college the countless hours of exercise came to an abrupt halt. I didn’t know how to balance cheating on my migraine diet with exercise anymore. Life in college was amazing, but I was getting less sleep, barely working out and eating dorm dining hall dinners and desserts. All of the sudden, by sophomore year, my sapling was losing leaves and luster because I no longer knew how to care for it. My agent had to sit me down and deliver the news that I could no longer be available for work until I could get back into model shape. There are certain measurement requirements and I knew I had to fit into a size 2 because I’m over 5’9”!
My dreams about my gift exploding into a stunning and statuesque tree were wilting and withdrawing from me. The battle against food was too much to bear and I was breaking down under its burden. To make matters worse, my migraines were sending me to Emergency Rooms and a host of doctors every few months. I realized I needed to adapt and relearn how to take care of and nurture the gift God had given me. I prayed for strength and self control and slowly, very slowly, God answered my plea. I stumbled upon the book Eat Pretty and nutritionist Kimberly Snyder’s smoothie spot, Glo Bio, the summer after sophomore year while modeling in LA. I studied the abundance of health food knowledge in both and applied them to my life directly. Not only did I memorize the facts of food but I adopted the simple mentality that a radiant, flourishing, healthy body is fueled by radiant, flourishing, healthy foods. And so, my Journey as a Superfoodie begins.
Yes, I live everyday without Dairy, Eggs, Caffeine, Gluten, Artificial Sugar, Nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, mushrooms) and Peanuts – but I no longer consider this a restriction. I see my triggers as opportunities to try new foods that are delicious and have dazzling nutritional value to fuel a vibrant, wonderful life. Everything I eat in a day, I eat with purpose. Knowing that everything in life happens for a reason, I use eating as a chance to add more sparkle to my eyes or shimmer to my hair or oomph to my immune system. On the same token, I avoid anything that will deter my health, like dairy, alcohol, corn syrup and white flour to name a few. Usually “cheat meals” don’t end up being worth it and I’m just left feeling sluggish and flat. My eating habits are not about getting by until the next cheat meal – it truly is my lifestyle that I have come to embrace. With my new way of living, I am able to fully pursue modeling as a completely healthy, migraine free lover of food! This journey has taught me how be the best version of myself by fueling my body with the best foods for health and vitality… now I want to share my knowledge and experience with everyone! Together we can find that balance of eating delicious, healthy and satisfying foods that will add energy, shine and beauty to your life and to the way you look!