Laurie LevyHi. I’m Laurie Levy. Thank you for visiting Eat, Nourish, Thrive.  Let me tell you about how I came to be a Natural Foods Chef.

First, I’m a mom. And while I’ve always cared about my son Gavin’s diet, I never knew that the foods he was eating were actually contributing to a series of digestive problems.  Gavin was five years old when he began to develop stomachaches; he had pain in his abdominal area. Soon after we learned he was dyslexic and was having trouble focusing at school.  The gastroenterologist prescribed a generous daily dose of Miralax, a common regimen we followed for a few years.  At first it helped but then the symptoms actually worsened to the point where they became a daily hindrance.

Unsure of what to do, I contacted a nutritionist who advised me to stop the Miralax at once and take Gavin off dairy and gluten. This was a big step for us because even though we had maintained a relatively healthy diet, milk and bread and pastas were staples in our household (as they are for many families with young children). What was I going to feed Gavin now?

The first few weeks of the new diet were taxing because I worried that Gavin wasn’t eating enough. Still, we persisted. I’m so glad we did because within two months we both noticed a major difference. Gavin’s stomach pains went away and his focus at school improved. He was a much calmer child. The results were really quite dramatic.

Seeing firsthand how diet affects the body the way it did with Gavin was a huge influence for me. I’d already fantasized about becoming a natural foods chef but I was too busy teaching art and tutoring to make the commitment. In fact, you could say that my teaching experiences led me to become a chef. I’ll never forget the seventh IMG_1173grade art class I taught in 2011. In the middle of painting a still life of a fruit display I noticed that half of the class was asleep on their desks. The kids were irritable and lacked energy. “What’s going on?” I asked them. “We didn’t eat breakfast,” a few said. “We were texting until 2 a.m.,” a couple of others chimed in. Next thing I know they pulled out some powdered donuts and soda.  I might have been the teacher but that day an important lesson was reinforced: we are what we eat.

Last year was a challenging one for me. My own energy felt low and I was having increased anxiety and trouble sleeping on account of hormonal imbalances.  Then I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) breast cancer. I had two separate lumpectomies and must now take Tamoxifen for five years. The diagnosis terrified me, but after the shock wore off, I realized how lucky I am that I have something easily treatable. I also knew that an organic, nutrient-packed diet with lots of leafy greens and whole grains would boost my vitality. It did.

Like so many others, my cancer scare made me think long and hard about the randomness of life.  It’s true that much of what happens to us is beyond our control, and yet we can in fact exercise more conscious choices about a healthier lifestyle.

Once I knew that I was cancer-free, I wasted no time in pursuing my dream. Within a week, I enrolled to become a Natural Foods Chef at the Nutrition Therapy Institute.

I’m so privileged to be able to share my passion for cooking and good health with you. Together, let’s eat, nourish, and thrive!

Laurie Levy