I’ve been involved with health and wellness since 1989 when I first began my journey into the world of healthy eating and living an active lifestyle. Prior to that, I was a fast food junkie who’s daily activity consisted of walking from the couch to the fridge and back again. I grew up eating McDonald’s, pizza, and Coca-Cola. When I was 10 years old, I weighed 150 pounds and could easily chow down a Big Mac, large fries, chocolate shake and a large Coca-Cola, and that was just one meal!
My childhood diet had me dealing with severe constipation and emotional instability, which later led to acne, hormonal imbalances, yo-yo dieting disorders, substance abuse, depression, and even having such severe blood sugar issues with hypoglycemia, that one psychiatrist mis-diagnosed me with having bi-polar disorder. When this same psychiatrist suggested putting me on lithium, without even testing me or anything, I decided it was time to take my health into my own hands.
I read and studied everything I could about health and nutrition and the mind-body connection. I started to eat healthier and began an exercise program which sparked my interest in weight training. As I became cleaner with my eating, I noticed more energy and better moods. In May of 2005, a friend educated me about factory farming practices and the horrendous treatment of animals raised for food and I became an instant ethical vegan.
Shortly after being vegan I developed some digestive challenges and discovered I was allergic to soy, dairy, and eggs. Most people would simply go back to eating animal foods at this point, but my ethics, and moreover my conscious, would not let me. This led to my discovery of the raw vegan lifestyle. My first introduction to this lifestyle was through Dr. Douglas Graham. Dr. Graham taught a version of the raw vegan lifestyle referred to as being a “frugivore”. I really enjoyed this lifestyle because I could eat as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted, without guilt, fear, or shame, provided it was fresh ripe raw organic fruits and veggies. I thrived on this diet! So much so, my personal trainer thought I was taking steroids because of the strength gains I’d make from week to week.
I ate like a frugivore for 3 months and felt fabulous and looked the best I’d ever looked in my life. I was also very new to this world and there wasn’t all the support out there that there is today, so through self-discovery I soon discovered other so called raw food gurus which led me down the path of “superfoods”, raw cacao, and the high fat raw vegan diet. This is also when I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition / Columbia University’s Holistic Heath Coaching certification program.
Over the next 5 years I would see my once vibrant and thriving health from my frugivore days slowly dissipate. By January of 2010 I had gained back most of the weight I initially lost when I first went vegan and was now suffering with hormonal imbalances, blood sugar issues – now Metabolic X Syndrome, and an inability to lose weight no matter how much I exercised. In early 2011, after being put on a high protein high fat vegan diet and feeling horrible, even to the point of throwing in the towel on my now 6 years being vegan, I decided to go back to what I know works, the frugivore lifestyle.
To assist my journey, my partner, Chef Alicia Ojeda, and I created the 811rv 30-Day Challenge event and have been hosting this event since January of 2012. It’s a 30-day challenge event where we introduce people to the frugivore lifestyle, meeting them where they are at, realizing not everyone can jump in 100% and continue on that path indefinitely, my partner and I are perfect examples of that as we are still both not fully 100% raw yet, although we are closer to reaching our goal every day. You can learn more about the Challenge by clicking the link above.
While my personal dietary choices are that of the raw vegan frugivore lifestyle, my coaching practices are more about working individually with each person’s goals and desires. The road to perfect health is a lifelong journey and it is my job to assist you on the journey that serves you best in reaching your fullest potential.
My educational background:
- University of Miami – Bachelor’s degree in Business Management / Entrepreneurship, minors in Music and Music Business
- Institute For Integrative Nutrition / Columbia University – Certification as a Holistic Heath Coach
- American Council on Exercise (ACE) – Certification as a Personal Trainer
- American Red Cross – Certification as a Lifeguard, Water Safety Instructor, Swim Coach, CPR/AED
- USA Triathlon – Certification as a Level 1 Coach