I've always been independent, unique, and a bit of a risk taker. Navigating through my own mental health struggles as a teen, I was diagnosed with depression at 14, prescribed a high dose antidepressant, and told this was required as lifelong treatment. Therapy was offered only after I was medicated, and with no questions asked about my lifestyle habits at the time. At 15, I was ironically featured on CNN as a success story for a report about increasing trends of teens receiving mental health treatment. A few years of struggling in and out of behavioral health programs, I felt called to speak on it. I first started public speaking at the age of 17 for the Illinois chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). I was outspoken about much-needed changes to the system; that it missed the mark on understanding and supporting human beings, that I felt worse than before, and felt unseen, and unheard.
While studying psychology in school, my physical and mental health was at it's lowest point until I decided to take control. I got serious about my fitness and nutrition and was amazed how much my mental health improved. Within 12 months I completely changed my life around, gained emotional stability, and full independence from pharmaceutical interventions given to me as a life sentence. I knew this was big.
I dove head-first into studying nutrition and exercise physiology, and spent 12 years working and studying across every different avenue within the health and wellness field only to realize that there is NO single item or approach that "did it all" on its own. It was only when I brought it all together, when I combined the effects of nutrition, fitness, sleep, environmental factors, with mental health that it clicked. A full-circle moment and birth of the methodology.
I found my niche of working with high performance individuals like athletes, tactical populations, and anyone required to perform well under physical and psychological stress. I felt especially called to bring this concept and support to those most stigmatized against and limited around receiving appropriate care: men, and all individuals of the BIPOC community. As a football performance dietitian, I've worked with D1 programs, NFL Combine prep programs, and individual pros. I've traveled the country coaching and educating tactical populations including military personnel, government agencies, and first responders.
One more piece of the puzzle became clear after all this time working with individuals under high stress: that is the impact of the influences, attitudes and beliefs around you or the system you are in. A human being can do everything to take care of themself, but the progress they make will be limited to the support, resources, and influences around them. I've witnessed highly functioning and incredibly capable individuals depleted to the point of permanent, life-altering, and even life-ending decisions made, because they were placed in a system without support.
It's with a strong moral obligation to truly protect individuals that I've made a lifelong commitment to progressing our knowledge and application of nutrition and lifestyle factors beyond physical health but that address cognitive function, mental health decline, neurodegeneration, and CTE progression, not only seen in collision sports and tactical performance but across all individuals.
I currently reside in Pittsburgh, PA and in addition to my current work will also be pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience, and an array of impact projects to round out my days, with a habitually early bedtime to round out my nights. I take advantage of every opportunity to be active, outside, spread the good vibes, and laugh at my own jokes in case no one else does. I have nothing but love to give and I hope you'll share it with me.
A Special Dedication
My Poppy is with me in spirit at all times and a constant source of inspiration. He had a lifelong thirst for knowledge, diligently researching anything new to him, and always shared what he learned to spread the wealth of knowledge to others. He defied the odds placed against him when diagnosed with Parkinson's, a neurodegenerative disease, as he halted the disease progression for over a decade and half through his lifestyle and mindset. He prioritized staying physically active, mentally sharp, and hydrated better than anyone. He knew something that I'm dedicated to understanding; the power of your mindset and your lifestyle impacting your clinical and cognitive health.