I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I learned innovative coaching methods and practical lifestyle management techniques. I was trained in over 100 dietary theories; everything from gluten-free, Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Macrobiotics, and everything in between.
I attended graduate classes at Maryland University of Integrative Health, and regularly attend herbal medicine and functional medicine conferences. I avidly research diet trends and food politics and strive to stay as current as possible.
My company, Elemental Health, was created over 25 years ago out of a deeply compassionate concern that you learn just how avoidable degenerative and autoimmune diseases actually are!
I believe in the basics and keeping it simple. I combine my therapy and medical knowledge with my health coaching skills to help you to reverse or avoid any degenerative conditions or any chronic pain you may be struggling with.
My specialty areas include gut health, brain health and microbiome balancing. I consider these areas to be elemental to your overall health, therefore this will likely be areas of our initial focus.
Health coaches help you to become healthier by supporting your ability find solutions to your own health and lifestyle challenges through strategic guidance. Instead of going to a practitioner who tells you what to do; we will examine and problem solve your situation by identifying strategies you can initiate through thoughtful dietary and lifestyle change.
The difference is that you are ultimately put in the driver seat but with strategic support. As your health coach, I will listen carefully to help you navigate the world of contradictory nutrition advice to determine what changes ultimately support you.
I am ultimately interested in your overall happiness and in supporting your most important relationships, your work/play balance, your connection to a higher power, developing your creativity, etc. Remember, this is about YOU.
Together we examine how all the various areas are connected. Does stress at your job or in your relationship cause you to overeat? Does lack of sleep or low energy prevent you from exercising? As we work together, we will look at how all parts of your life affect your health as a whole.
Gut health is a primary area of focus in functional medicine. Please use this link for more details about functional medicine.
I think of our gut as the house and the microbiome as the family living inside the house. There are certain strategies to keeping the house well repaired and other strategies to keep the family inside happy and healthy. “Healing and sealing” the gut will help prevent large, undigested food particles from entering the blood and immune system. Leaky gut is known to be a primary root cause for systemic inflammation, autoimmune diseases, allergies and more.
Advances in genetic sequencing only 10 years ago provided an explosion of information on the gut microbiome. This prompted The National Institutes of Health (NIH) to found The Human Microbiome Project. We now know that this 5 pound organ (and yes, it has officially been added as an organ in our body!) controls, well, basically everything. I am not overstating this; it controls our immunity, nervous system, brain health, skin health, our moods, our emotions, our cravings, our weight, blood pressure and much more.
Even some so-called healthy foods can throw your microbiome health off and this is where individualized strategies can be very helpful. I can help you get started in examining how your past medical history and food choices may be impacting your present gut health. Moving forward we will develop a step-by-step plan where you can reseed and regrow your inner garden.
I received my degree in Occupational Therapy from The Medical College of Virginia in 1985 and currently work as a hospital based therapist. My experience over the past 30+ years has included acute care hospitals, neonatal intensive care, pediatric hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home health, skilled nursing facilities and school systems. The majority of my career has been with adults and children who are struggling with neurological and orthopedic challenges, developmental delays, brain injuries, post-trauma recovery, degenerative diseases, and autoimmune challenges.
Occupational therapists help you regain your independence and help you to re-engage in the parts of your life that are most meaningful. We use special exercises, neuro-reeducation strategies, balance retraining, cognitive retraining, visual-perceptual retraining, etc to treat various deficits and help you regain your independence.
I love working with my patients and their entire family. My experiences as an occupational therapist, a health coach and a caregiver have empowered me with tools and insights to best support you on your own journey. I want to help you achieve balance, happiness and health.
Guess what I have had to work on over the years...balance! My own personal journey seems to be about major lessons in self care and balance; areas I have not done but so well in until recent years.
One part of my history I will share is that of being the primary caregiver for 25 years for my dad who had multiple sclerosis and later he also acquired an anoxic brain injury. These intense care-giving years occurred during my 20’s, 30’s and part of my 40’s; and this was while trying to juggle a personal life and professional career. Let’s just say that I had a lot to learn about the value of self care and balance!
It is true…you end up teaching what you most need to learn. I have been using a technique called live cell microscopy for 25 years as a tool to help you improve your digestive and immune wellness (link). When I was able to see how my own cells had actually changed in response to my chronic stress, well let’s just say I started “getting it”. I feel these experiences are so valuable and have empowered me enormously with personal insights to support you on your journey as well.
I don't care how busy my life is, my little organic garden gets top priority. It is amazing how much can be grown in a really small space! And your microbiome loves it when you play in the dirt.
I grow vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Nothing smells better than dirt in early Spring!
I have traveled all over Europe, Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. I love our National Parks but am happy with just a simple walk at the park that is closest to where I am.
I try to support any opportunity you have to spend time in nature, to take a hike or just to be in stillness.
This is a pic I won First Place for in a photography contest and feel proud of. During discovery sessions with my clients, it amazed me how many people listed "a lack of creative outlets" as one of the primary areas that they wanted to improve.
Improving time for self-care and creativity for myself and especially for you has become very important to me.
Cooking seems to be the perfect intersection for creativity, nourishment and family/community connection.
I LOVE teaching basic , simple cooking techniques. I want to help my clients understand how processed foods effect their overall health and how cleaner foods can help improve your overall wellness.
I created the Food is Medicine RVA group as a way to learn how to move away from processed food and learn simple, basic cooking techniques at home. Please come and join us!
My spiritual beliefs guide me in my life's choices.
If spirituality is an area that is important to you then I hope to provide strong support for you. But we address this at your discretion. My philosophy here is also is to keep it simple.
I love my pets, and I know you love yours! In addition to two spoiled cats, I love spending time with big and miniature horses.
I have also loved elephants my whole life. A couple years ago I had the trip of a lifetime and went to South Africa! I spent 2 days riding and interacting with elephants. This is my all-time favorite pic!