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©2018 by Serene Earth LLC

My Story

Your body is your most prized possession. It’s your home you were given to walk this earth with and the only one you’ve got. There are no replacements, returns, or quick fixes to keep it running smoothly. Unfortunately, that's exactly what I tried to do most of my life.


I grew up in an extremely strict religious household. My entire childhood was based on Biblical Old Testament living. We followed a diet of clean vs. unclean foods, based on the chapters of Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the Bible. We could only eat fish if it had “fins and scales” and eat only land animals with a “split hoof and that chews the cud”. The rest, we were taught, was an abomination to God.


We adhered to a strict diet of brown rice, brown flour, brown sugar and no added sweets such as ice cream, candy, cookies, etc. While this sounds healthy, an extreme form of deprivation like this during the formative years of my life made me crave those things even more. This soon developed into obsessive habits and eating disorders.


During adolescence, I developed extreme sugar cravings. Sugar became the ultimate reward in life. I craved it ALL THE TIME and looked for everywhere I could. I would steal candy from shops and hide it in my bedroom. I would eat butter and sugar in a cup because that was the only thing in the house that was sweet. I even learned how to cook so I could be around food and have access to sugar all the time. When I moved from home I subsisted on a diet of Jack in the Box curly fries and Haagen Daz ice cream. The more I ate it, the more I craved it.


In my early 20s, I started modeling had to stay a certain weight and within certain measurements. It was then that I discovered the great world of bulimia! Since my addiction to food (mostly sugar and processed carbs) was so strong, there was no way I could stop eating them. So if I was going to gorge myself on ice-cream and pizza and still fit into a size 2 at 5’10, then I had to get that food out as fast as it went in!


My struggle with bulimia went on for nearly a decade. I would eat, binge, purge, not eat for three days, go on whatever water or juice cleanse that was popular at the time, drop a few pounds for an event, then start back up again. I did anything I could to stay thin and keep within my measurements. I took drugs, tried picking up smoking, drank only coffee for days and abused laxatives to a point where I could not go to the bathroom without them. I felt my body dying inside and I didn’t care. I couldn’t stop.


In my late 20s, I hit an all-time low. I was sadder than I've ever been, I stopped socializing, modeling or doing anything that required me to get outside the house. At the time I was working from home, so I had no reason to leave. I stayed home eating ice cream and cupcakes for months. My weight ballooned to 170 pounds, and this made me hide even more. I went from being a drug-fueled party girl to a depressed model to now being depressed AND overweight. I knew my life was going down fast and I had to make a change.


In early 2010 I moved to Austin from Houston to finish my degree and hopefully get my life back on track. I started school again and worked tirelessly at a full-time job plus studying, while trying to manage my weight the whole time. I still thought the source of my happiness was a number on the scale. I would get to a point where I was happy with my weight, then something would happen in my life to cause me to slip back into a binge, and the cycle would start again. My self sabotage continued for 3 more years.


In 2012, I noticed that my hair was falling out. Not just normal falling out, but pouring out of my hair. I went to doctors all over Austin and they all said the same thing. Use Rogaine. Manage your stress. You may need hair plugs one day. I was 28, the last thing you want to hear is that nothing can be done about your hair. And how in God’s name do I manage my stress when the source of my stress is staring at me in the mirror every morning, watching my hair attach themselves to my hairbrush instead of my head?

Desperate, and in need of a change, I did a complete overhaul of my life, starting with another extreme diet, this time raw veganism. Being vegan had nothing to do with the animals, the environment, or ethics. It had everything to do with keeping hair on my head, manage my life better, yet still be able to eat as much as I could whenever I wanted and not get fat from it.


From one day to the next I switched my diet and the results were incredible. Little did I know, I completely detoxed my body from all the sugar, processed food and junk I had poured into it for a decade, filling it with only raw, organic, pure, natural goodness. My hair grew back, longer, and thicker than ever. My skin cleared up.


I had boundless energy, I was the strongest I’d ever been in my life, and I was happy! I never craved meat, ice cream or processed foods, ever! The thought of meat, dairy or ice cream made me sick! What’s more, I could eat all day and all night, and I never gained a pound! I was toned, strong and looked better than I ever did before. I thought I had finally found the key to my diet success.


Unfortunately, this diet was not sustainable for me. While I loved being on it and was great at coming up with creative raw vegan dishes, I really missed cooking. When I realized I was actually beginning to forget how to cook, I decided to make a change and slowly added cooked vegan food back into my diet. My body reacted fine, but I noticed my hair wasn’t as long and lush, my eyes and skin not as bright, and I started to crave more cooked food.


In my early 30s my body was changing. I no longer felt strong and healthy on a vegan diet. I was tired, had brain fog, I craved carbs. Lots of carbs. Carbs I hadn’t touched for 6 years, like pizza and pasta. I tried eating the vegan version but I felt like crap. Store-bought macaroni and cheese, vegan or not, is not good for you. It’s still processed junk. Don’t eat it.


I remembered the beautiful 2 years when I was a raw vegan and tried it again, but it wasn’t the same. Eating bowls of raw zucchini noodles twice as big as my head didn’t appeal anymore. I also noticed that I was interested in trying meat again. The thought of this, whoever, brought me so much shame. Think of all those people who told me years ago being vegan wasn’t sustainable long term. And my adamant proclamation that I had found the magic key to my health. Yet here I am, eating meat again. How did I end up back here, after all this time?  


In 2017 I visited a holistic healthcare practitioner. We talked for 2 hours about releasing guilt from food. I’m approaching my mid-thirties. I’m craving meat because I need more protein. My body is devoid of the b12 nutrients, zinc and other vitamins meat provides. She suggested I incorporate organic, grass-fed meat back into my diet, and see how I feel.


Right away, I noticed a change in my body. Not only did I enjoy the meat, but I felt stronger. My energy and strength returned, my cravings for sugar and carbs began to disappear. Slowly, I added in a bit more red meat. It gave my body the extra kick it needed. I became stronger than before. I could lift heavier, run faster, and held yoga arm balances that always eluded me when I was raw vegan.


Since then, I've learned to optimize my diet based on what works best for me at present. What gives me the most energy and clarity? What did I eat the day before that is making me feel tired now? What can I add in, what can I take out? Most importantly, I removed the guilt surrounding what foods I should and should not eat.


The body cannot thrive on one specific diet your entire life. It’s living, moving, and working every day, and its needs will change, just like you change. I understand now that health is so much more than macros, micros, and exercise. It’s what motivates you to get up every day, the goals you are working on, the goals you’ve reached and the relationships you treasure.


I also understand that true happiness starts from within. I was never happy with who I was on the outside because I was never happy on the inside. It doesn’t matter how amazing you look. If you do not love yourself, you will never be happy. Loving yourself is the greatest gift you can ever receive. Losing those 10 pounds, getting a new boyfriend, moving to a new city, that may work for a time, but you’ll always come back to the same sad place you were before.


My story is not uncommon. My story also isn’t a testimony on how I beat my eating disorder and never struggle with food anymore. Not at all! It’s still a struggle. I’m tested all the time. I can choose to eat a donut because I know it tastes delicious, but how I am going to feel afterward? Will it make me want to go to the gym? Probably not. Will it make me bloated, depressed and lazy? 100% yes. That thought alone is a great deterrent for eating that donut.


And you know what? I’m at a stage in my life now where eating a donut (or, more likely half a donut) will remind me why I never touch that stuff in the first place. I know I will get sick from it, so sick that I can’t even finish the damn thing! Sometimes a literal taste of why you don’t eat crap is better than any motivational pep-talk you can give yourself.


I understand that what worked for me will be different than what works for you. But I won’t ever guilt you into adhering to a single diet as one true path. I will help you make small changes, here and there. Add new habits in, don’t take any out. Once I get to know you and hear your food story, I can more accurately put you on a path to health and healing. What’s more, I will be there right alongside you, supporting and walking right next to you. Join me in this journey, you will not regret it!

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