As a primary care nurse practitioner, I am always interested in helping people understand and improve their health and wellbeing. In my practice, I have witnessed increasing rates of lifestyle-related illness happening at increasingly younger ages. I began to realize that standard medical care focuses on the intervention of illness rather than on preventing it. I also came to the realization that inaccurate information about our diets has a big impact on how we choose our food. This led me to pursue the study of the science of food and lifestyle and I became certified in delivering lifestyle medicine. This is a relatively new medical approach to maintaining health and reversing (not just medicating) chronic disease.
Lifestyle medicine identifies 5 major practices: good nutrition, exercise, restorative sleep, managing stress, maintaining social connections, and reducing use of risky substances. There isn’t one that is more important than the other. I find that setting specific goals and surrounding yourself with supportive people (whether that is your spouse, your friends, online support groups, your doctor) is a great way to start getting these practices in place.
I am married to Matthew, who works for Grand Rapids Public Schools, and we have three children, with the oldest starting college this fall. We are quite a diverse crew, and that makes life both fun and challenging! We spend a considerable amount of time in the summer going for walks and hikes, mountain biking, kayaking and playing tennis. My favorite way to refresh my mood and get in a good workout is paddle boarding or horseback riding. This past summer we hiked for nine days in Utah and Arizona, totaling over 40 miles in six different national parks.
I love to try new foods and cook new recipes. I am always looking for a new way to enjoy food while at the same time getting in the nutrition that I know my body needs. I have been on a plant- based diet for over 20 years now.