I Was born a Health Nut
Well, not really but in my childhood, I had a growing interest in natural remedies. I was born in St. Jean, Quebec, the youngest of 4 children (and a twin sister). My father was a Ph.D. Economist and my mother took care of us at home. My parents came to Canada from Antwerp, Belgium and settled in Ottawa, searching for greener pastures after WW II.
My mother was a very good cook and my father was the quintessential gourmet. No food was too fancy for him. His life was all about eating well. My father had live Lobsters and fresh Atlantic Salmon shipped to our door from the maritime provinces. I think it's safe to say my twin sister and I were probably the only kids in the school lunchroom who ate homemade lobster sandwiches. My parents prepared Porterhouse roasts whenever we had company. We ate too much red meat and too little fibre. In my late teenage years, I realized this diet was not healthy, and I wanted to learn more about whole plant-based foods and herbs.
Illness in the Family
Most of the members of my family were healthy, however, in his early teen years, my brother started acting strange and was eventually diagnosed with Schizophrenia at age 14. We were told it was incurable, and my parents sadly gave up on him. He led a very unfulfilling and unproductive life. I remember visits to the Royal Ottawa Hospital where we would visit him in his drugged state, barely able speak. He would tell us how horrible his shock treatments were. He also spent time in those horrible regional psychiatric institutions where very severely mentally ill patients stayed. It was awful to see him suffer so much. I noticed early on that his medications did little to improve his condition. He seemed to go from medication to medication and most of the time, refused to take them anyway. Because of this, I began to distrust conventional drug therapy. He also suffered from painful eczema on his hands and lower arms. Now here was the key to his problem, the eczema was a sign of a food intolerance that was never addressed… my brother probably had undiagnosed celiac disease. He could have been treated, his life could have been different if only my parents had looked to natural therapies early on. He eventually passed away when he was 33. It was a very sad ending to a very sad life.
Discovering Natural Therapies in My Teen Years
In my last years of high school in Ottawa, I worked for a European-trained Reg. Massage Therapist, and discovered how powerful drugless therapy could be. One day in my mid-twenties, while attending U of Waterloo, I had the opportunity to see a lecture given by Dr. John Ray Christopher, a Utah-based Master Herbalist, at the Toronto Hilton Harbour Castle hotel. Dr. Christopher was a legend in his own time. He was well known in natural therapy circles but his practice was threatened many times by the U.S. medical establishment. I was stunned at his knowledge and confidence in the healing power of herbs. That is when I started my official journey into the field of natural therapies. In 1980, I became a manager of a health food store in Calgary and I signed up for an Iridology course at the Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Working at the health food store was wonderful and it gave me more opportunities to learn and grow in this new amazing field!
ADHD Changes My Life
In my 30s, after marriage, with the help of wonderful midwives, I gave birth to what I thought were two healthy children, however, they were later diagnosed with ADHD & learning disabilities. After 2004, I read up as much as I could about diet and supplements for ADHD. It was clear that medications had serious side effects. There had to be a better way to help my kids. I read more about the work of Dr. Abram Hoffer, and other well known leaders like Dr. William Walsh. I also found out about the Defeat Autism Now movement. Many Autistic & ADHD children were improving with chelation therapy, natural diets, and gluten-free & casein-free diets and supplements.
Back to School at Fifty
In 2008, when my kids were older, I returned to school to get back into the workforce. I wanted to study something in the nutritional field or herbal medicine, so I decided to attend the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto and get a diploma in Applied Nutrition. It was quite a drive away from my home in north Richmond Hill but I enjoyed the program so much!
Things I've done since Nutrition School:
I've had great fun doing personal appearances on local T.V. such as Rogers. On my video page, you can view some of my segments on Rogers Daytime and Finding Your Bliss, and In The Know.
Whole Foods Cooking Classes
Within the last five years, I have taught several cooking classes through the towns of Aurora and Innisfil Recreation depts. These classes have focused on plant-based food prep and gluten-free cooking. In addition, I have also taught DIY skincare, both in my home, and through the Innisfil recreation dept. In these classes I teach how to make simple and effective skin creams, deodorants and other personal care items from simple ingredients and doTerra essential oils.
Live Demonstrations & Lectures
I've done many live demonstrations, including my favorite, Agriculture in the City, hosted by the Ontario Dept of Agriculture, at the Burlington, Ontario mall. Here I held a green smoothie presentation in front of a huge audience of shoppers.
In 2011, I gave two lectures on nutrition at the employment depts in the town of Stouffville. In December later that year, I spoke a the Rotary Club of Newmarket on the subject of Coconut Oil and Alzheimer's Disease.
Lunch & Learns:
At CleanRiver in Aurora, in June 2014 and Priestly Demolition, King Township - At these lunch & learns I focussed on the nutritional benefits of green smoothies.
Nutritional Demonstrations at the York Region District School Board: Keswick Public School, Oak Ridges Public School and Aurora HIgh School - At these 3 schools I showed the students the importance of leafy greens in the diet and how to make green smoothies.
Wellness Events: At a Fairy Lake, Newmarket, June Wellness Event in 2012. Here I had a booth/table and was able to speak about coconut oil and Alzheimers Disease, and the benefits of green smoothies.
At Cintas in Newmarket, I was able to promote my services and mingled with their staff about how important a good diet is to support good health.
In January 2018, I conducted a live catering segment at the "Clean Start Wellness Retreat" at the Hartman Gallery in Mount Albert, and prepared a nourishing lunch in front of the participants.
In June and Sept 2012, I spoke at the Raw Vegan Festival, Dufferin St., Toronto. On my video page, you can see the presentations I made there, where I spoke about how to make green smoothies and the benefits of coconut oil.
I also participated in the Soupalicious, fundraiser event hosted by the Compost Council of Canada at Toronto Wychwood Barns. Here I provided two huge soup pots of my signature Thai Red Curry Lentil & Vegetable Soup. I was told by a taster that it was one of the best tasting soups there!
I provided and served several pots of the same soup at Empty Bowls, a fundraiser event hosted by the Pinetree Potters Guild at the Aurora Cultural Centre in the Fall, of 2014.
I also develop my own recipes, feature them on my Facebook pages, and have written my own e-book "30 Reasons to Drink Green Smoothies" (be sure to grab your copy below for free).
What I'm Doing Now
Today I work as a Personal Holistic Chef. My key focus is cooking healthy meals, often with a traditional focus, with fresh whole foods and superfoods, using healthy fats, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds.
Check out my latest feature on NewMarketToday:
Let's connect soon! Feel free to download my e-booklet, the form is just down below.
Start your journey for better health and more energy!