Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach (CTNC™)

My Story

A long-time reader and writer, I've been blogging since the dawn of blogging.

I had at least four blogs before I created this site, running more than one concurrently, even. Part of my evolution as a blogger was transitioning from a multi-topic, multi-passion blog, to “Andrea the Gastronaut“, a niche (I thought) food blog I created in May 2008. While “food” turned out to be a broader topic than I'd thought, over time I noticed that most of my posts were focused on health and wellness and that the posts that I enjoyed writing the most were those that involved research.

Several years ago I adopted the mission statement, “writes to educate”.

The Call to Help People

I'm an introverted empath. I imagine that some of you just nodded your heads because you understand, and/or relate.  I've always known that I want to help people. One of my first answers ever to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was “doctor”. In high school, I thought I wanted to become a lawyer to help people. Writing was always somewhere in my head.

I'm addicted to Learning.

I participate in tele-summits, webinars and group detoxes, and online (sometimes offline) workshops. I considered myself a “nutrition researcher”. After several years, close to a decade, of fighting it, I enrolled in The Institute of Transformational Nutrition in fall 2015. I quickly found that I already knew the answers to a lot of the test questions without “studying”, because I'd been studying informally for several years.

Blank lined notebook

I am an advocate of healthy eating and healthy living.

I believe in eating real food. Not all processed food is bad nor are all ingredients that are hard to pronounce, but some items that are considered “food” shouldn't be designated as such. Putting it in your mouth doesn't make it “food”.

I also believe that there is no one perfect diet. Everyone's needs are different. We can all agree on a lot of what is uniformly “bad”.

I'm a bit what some people would call “woo woo”, but also grounded.

I meditate, but also keep my feet on the ground.

I use oracle cards and believe in the power of meditation and mantras. I also believe in doing the work. My fairy godmother isn't going to come down, wave her magic wand, and turn a pumpkin into a car. As Brene Brown says in her new book Rising Strong, “I don't believe faith and reason are natural enemies. I believe our human desire for certainty and our often-desperate need to ‘ be right' have led to this false dichotomy.”

Another new favourite quote, from Mindy Kaling: “Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled.” I want to know and show my shit.

People love a “How I healed myself” story…

I don't have a big transformational story. I didn't have a disease that I cured. My natural healing success stories are more subtle.

For example, I've never been on meds for ADHD. When I was around 20 years old my mom casually dropped the phrase “ADD” into a conversation noting that she'd been discussing it with my aunt. My aunt subsequently advised me to read the book The A.D.D. Nutrition Solution: A Drug-Free 30 Day Plan by Marcia Zimmerman. It changed my life. I remember a moment after I'd been following the advice of the book for a month or two: I was in a job interview and held eye contact with the interviewer. This was a significant achievement for me. My life changed when I started on a regiment of essential fatty acids and started eating more fish (among other recommendations that I've mostly long since abandoned). My ADD is worse when I'm not consuming enough fat.

I've used diet, herbs and probiotics successfully to treat my excessive candida population. St. John's Wort, kava kava and other herbs have helped with depression and anxiety. In my later university years I found that taking  kava kava before an exam reduced my anxiety and allowed me to think more clearly so that I could access the information I needed and do better on the exam.

I've successfully used essential oils. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. When I have a headache I'm still more likely to reach for the ibuprofen, and sometimes I turn to cold meds to kill symptoms while the immune-boosting “natural” remedies are doing their thing.


The Family Business, or How I inherited my passion for healthy living)

My story is my history. I grew up in and around the medical profession. It was ingrained in me. I was raised on it.

Here's an early memory:

I'm perhaps 4 years' old. Maybe 5. I'm sitting on my mother's lap in a chair in my grandparents' kitchen. In one hand i'm holding a bowl of sugar. I'm moving my hands up and down, like balancing scales, as instructed by my aunt who was visiting from her home in Sherman Oaks, California. At the time I was aware that it had something to do with the fact that I was still peeing the bed at night (this is how I'm estimating my age – I stopped when I was 6). Several years later I learned that she was testing me for sugar sensitivity, which may have been related to the bed wetting.

My maternal grandfather was a doctor. When I was sick he'd come over or I'd go to his house. His black bag always had the tools to diagnose my earache or my sore throat. I'm almost 40 now, but I distinctively remember sticking out my tongue so that he could look at my tonsils with his light scope and him changing the bit on the end so that he could look in my ears.

The aforementioned aunt, Hyla Cass, is a world-renowned doctor (M.D.), author and lecturer who’s often called on as an expert on television  and radio and in news publications in the area of integrative medicine. She is occasionally an expert in the online events that I promote, but I don't consider that a conflict of interest because she's an expert. She inspires me and challenges me and for some reason I feel uncomfortable calling her out by name here,

When I was growing up my mother ran a medical lab where she examined slides through a microscope. Now she's an Integrative Psychotherapist, Counselor, and Wellness Consultant with an overall interest in wellness and healthy living. She's trained in many healing methods and is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist.

My sister is a wellness information junkie like me. She refers to herself as “an advocate of health and wellness, and passionate about essential oils and living a healthy lifestyle” and “a health-conscious mom.” She's studied aromatherapy, muscle testing, nutrition, EFT tapping, therapeutic touch, Qigong and other forms of energy medicine. She's a certified reiki practitioner.

My brother took what I joke is the most “conventional” route of healthcare career of the family, and became a veterinarian.

I have friends who are nutritionists and my network of natural health experts continues to grow. I don’t always seek them out and sometimes I don’t learn about their expertise until later but we end up together.

I'm your guide.

What's your story?

Drop your name and email in and tell me.


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