I'm Rachel, a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner and 21 Day Sugar Detox Certified Coach. I am a Vermonter, currently residing in Burlington, VT with my husband Corey and our two German Shepherds, Ruca and Tron. We have both lived in many different places over the years, ranging from New Hampshire and Massachusetts to Wyoming and Colorado, and while all of these places are beautiful in their own way, Vermont continues to call us back, reminding us how special our culture and community is here in the Green Mountains. Corey and I are both avid hikers/adventurers, nature enthusiasts, dog lovers, and aficionados of damn good local food.
As a Nutrition Therapy Practitioner and 21 Day Sugar Detox Certified Coach, my main mission is to provide guidance, support and motivation for my clients to implement diet and lifestyle changes they can maintain for a lifetime. I focus on improving digestive function, decreasing sugar consumption, conquering cravings and finding a healthy balance of whole foods to efficiently fuel each persons individual needs. I advocate for an Ancestral (Paleo) approach to diet and lifestyle as I believe it is within this framework that our health can thrive. I also enjoy utilizing the insight that personality/tendency quizzes can offer, not only for helping my participants gain a deeper understanding about themselves but to also assist me in creating personalized coaching strategies based on the unique behavior/personality of each individual. My main goal as a NTP and coach is to help clients achieve lasting behavior change (one of the most crucial aspects of preventing and reversing chronic disease) based on their doctors recommendations or personal heath goals.
My own journey to better nutrition and health began in 2011 after I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an Inflammatory Bowel Disease and autoimmune condition. I had just graduated from Colby-Sawyer College the year prior with a degree in Exercise Science and was eager to ramp up my personal training career. I soon found out my body had other plans. For the next couple years I coped with being sick, exhausted, unsure, and afraid of the foods I was eating because everything seemed to negatively affect me. Getting out of bed in the morning was a struggle and leaving my house became a stressful event because of the uncertainty of not having quick access to a bathroom. My G.I doctors offered little guidance in the realm of nutrition and using food to heal, but I knew there had to be a correlation. I began researching food as medicine and slowly started the transition away from processed, conventionally grown foods, to consuming only organic, local, "real" foods.
While this started to help, my colitis was still beating me up physically, mentally and emotionally. Challenging the very core of who I was. I needed to take greater action. I was hungry for a more in depth knowledge about nutrition and the role it played in our health and I felt that I wanted more answers than what Google University had to offer. In January 2014, I decided to pursue a formal education in holistic Nutrition Therapy from the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver, CO. I completed the Nutrition Therapy Practitioner program in June 2015 and have since been independently practicing Nutrition Therapy both online and locally in Burlington, VT. In June of 2017, I took on another certification as a coach for the 21 Day Sugar Detox, a successful nutrition and lifestyle program created by Diane Sanfilippo, and have ecstatically been coaching groups and individuals to beat sugar/carb cravings all while establishing healthy eating and lifestyle habits they can maintain for a lifetime.
As I continued my education, I also continued tweaking my diet until I found something that (I felt) finally supported my body in its healing process. I adopted a diet based on the paleo template, with shades of Autoimmune Protocol and haven't looked back since. Many people hear the word "paleo" and think it's about caveman re-enactors eating massive amounts of meat. Definitely not the case! At its core, a Paleo diet is about quality and nutrient density. People who follow a Paleo template eat mostly vegetables, a moderate amount of high quality seafood & meats, along with complimentary portions of nuts, seeds, fruits and healthy fats. Many people will also assume this is a very boring and bland way to eat. The truth is, since adopting a paleo diet, I've never experienced more delicious, flavorful food, along with the satisfaction of knowing that it is promoting my health! Not only did I experience tremendous improvements in symptoms of my ulcerative colitis, but I also experienced a medley of other benefits ranging from blood sugar stabilization, increased energy levels, better sleep and decreased irritability (something that benefits everybody!)
Implementing a new way of eating may seem extremely difficult, but in all reality YOU control how you approach a diet like this. I have never been a perfectionist and I certainly don't plan on starting now with trying to be "paleo perfect". Through the practice of intuitive eating and mindfulness, I've learned to listen to my body and respond appropriately to what it's telling me. This is how I know which foods, exercise and lifestyle rituals works best for me and my health.
I've learned so much since embarking into the world of holistic nutrition, but one of the most important things I've discovered is the importance of having an entire team to support you on your journey to better health. As I continue to heal, I have the support of my GI doctors, a MD and a functional medicine doctor, an acupuncturist, a personal trainer, my husband, family and friends, who give me more love and support than I could ever ask for.
While I'll admit that, at the beginning of my diagnosis, I was frustrated, sad and angry that this illness was "disrupting my life", I now understand that this disease presented itself in my life for a reason. It was asking me to slow down, take a look at the kind of life I was living, the food I was eating, the amount of stress I was experiencing and the people I surrounded myself with. While it took many years of practice to change my mindset, I have since not only accepted my disease but learned to love it. By practicing love, I take back the control, cultivate a deeper appreciation for every little thing in my life and improve my well being from the inside out.
While I will continue to practice healing myself everyday, it is my hope, that with the knowledge I obtain through my education, personal struggles and experiences, I can help others that may be seeking the path to better health and wellness. Please feel free to reach out, share your story and let me know how I can help you regain control of you health and revolutionize your life.
Sending love from my plate to yours,