City/Town of Residence: Wakefield
Occupation: Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Thai Massage Therapist, Natural Health Educator and Wellness Coach, Organic Produce Buyer and Green Juicer at The Alternative Food Cooperative
What motivates you? Feeling good, and noticing the difference practicing yoga and eating organic, delicious food makes in my life, and in people’s lives in general.
Have you always been into health and fitness? I grew up in a very busy, sport-conscious family that worked hard making the world’s best donuts (Allie of Allie’s Donuts is my father). My sisters and their families have kept the RI legacy going strong, well into the health-conscious 2000s, because the donuts are scrumptious. Starting at an early age, I ate a donut a day, and drank lots of coffee. By the time I was in my late teens, my adrenals were pretty shot from all the caffeine, yeast, oil and sugar, and I was often tired and moody. Since I started buying my own food in college at the Alternative Food Cooperative, which was on the URI campus, I’ve been dedicated to eating and doing things that sustain my wellness. I’ve always been a nature girl, a Taurus and all.
Is a life of donuts why you went to the extreme, and became a “health nut”? I knew I felt better when I ate less sugar, and I never liked soda. I am of healthy stock (my father’s side is full of ball players and farmers) and I always felt great eating my mother’s garden-fresh veggies. I exercised regularly and when I didn’t, I felt crappy. I ran track, played lots of softball, and was a cheerleader (my early, unknowing, asana practice). I always loved the beach, mountains, forests and farmland; nature feeds all of our souls. Hence, I moved out west to teach school as soon as I graduated from URI, and with a big sky (not donuts), I got really clean, clear and healthy.
What do you love most about RI?
I’m a native Rhode Islander, and grew up on a lot of land in East Greenwich. I’ve always lived in cool places: Burlington, VT; Sedona and Flagstaff, AZ; Santa Fe and Taos, NM; and Williams and Ashland, OR. I lived in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, CA most recently, adding up to a total of 15 years spent out west, but Rhode Island is where I wanted to raise my son and South County is just perfect. Shane is now 11, and we love biking and walking to town and the beach in all seasons. I especially love retreating to Hazard Rock to do yoga and meditate; retreating whether home or away is essential for me, just as much as a good party now and then is. You’ve got to relax and have fun!
What practices have you sustained over time to keep you fit and healthy? Since my twenties, I’ve been living an organic lifestyle and practicing yoga. I started yoga at 28 when I was going through a divorce and working at Harvest Natural Foods in Newport. Yoga changed my life; it was just what I needed, and still need. Besides yoga and meditation, my monthly visits with Monica (eyes, lip, chin and neck threader) are key to me feeling good about myself. I use all-natural products in my home and on my body, including a natural toner and coconut oil on my skin. I body scrub and oil pull, and do at least two juice cleanses a year.
What key advice do you give for wellness? Discover what fuels you—it might be vegan raw foods, green juicing, organic gardening, walking dogs, surfing or quahogging. Always try to be of service to the planet, even if it takes a dozen jobs. Do what you love and find a way to make money doing it. Try to be around nice, fun people in your community. Go to yoga classes or join a gym. Be a member-volunteer at your local Natural Foods Cooperative. As a volunteer, you’ll get a discount and immerse yourself in the culture of healthy living. One last thing: Google MIT research professor, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, and listen to her research on glyphosates in GMO foods. You will never eat non-organic food again.