Sometimes we learn new information that turns the world as we know it upside down.
I grew up thinking that I could be healthy by exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy, balanced diet -- with a vague idea that I should eat more fruits and vegetables but could eat most foods in moderation.
However, I saw many people around me doing just that and getting sick, including close family members. So, like everyone else, I despaired that our genes just make us unlucky. I tried not to think about the time in a not-so-distant future when I would have to reckon with the cancer in my genes and disrupt my family's life to fight for my life.
As it turns out, genes are only one piece of the equation. The evidence now shows that what we eat, and other aspects of our lifestyle, can actually modify gene expression. That means we have more power than we know.
When I learned that a major part of the solution for improving human health involves eating a diet of mostly unprocessed plant foods, my first instinct was to deny it, to discredit the sources. If I had never heard this before -- including from the health experts in my life -- then how could it be true?! Yet this body of knowledge thoroughly demystified nutrition for me. The more I read, and the more I met people who had experienced dramatic health improvements by changing their diet, the more confidence I felt that this paradigm-shifting concept was accurate -- and one to which I wanted to devote my time and effort.
Building off of my expertise in organization development and change, I started to apply those skills to the field of whole food, plant-based nutrition, weaving networks and experimenting with programming and initiatives that help people cut through nutrition confusion to experience their best health. My work in greater New York is to empower entire communities to reclaim their health and use their voices for change so that we can heal ourselves and our fragile planet.