Background: Born and raised near San Francisco, California though my parents and entire extended family are from Colombia (South America, in case you don't know). I grew up speaking Spanish at home, English during the day, and I get made fun of by J (fiancé) for saying things in English like, "Get down from the car" (instead of, "get out of the car", apparently). I think in Spanish a lot and when I get angry its mostly in Spanish. I've lived in Paris, twice, so I speak French too, and sometimes there's nothing more appropriate than the instinctual French swear word. I'm closer to 30 than I am to 20, which freaks me out and brings me joy all at the same time. We have 2 insanely magical cats named Elliott and Hugo (follow them on Instagram @elliott_and_hugo) and I'm unapologetically obsessed with them. J and I met while I was living in Paris and he was living in Virginia (where he's from), he then moved to San Francisco to be with me when I was moving back home, and after several years in the city, we moved out to Charlotte, North Carolina, for J to get his PhD there and be closer to his home. I'm totally out of my element living in the South but taking it as an opportunity to learn and to advance myself and stretch in new ways. So here we are!
Before moving to Charlotte, we took a few months off and decided to travel. We spent most of our time in Colombia visiting my family and traveling around the country before getting settled in our new southern lives. I've been mentally crafting blog posts for the past several months about extended travel in Latin America, especially as a vegan, so stay tuned for that. I'm also traveling for several weeks around Argentina in December and January and I'm fully unprepared for another intense round of 'making it work' and surviving off Clif Bars in the most steak-crazy country on earth. Wish me luck and stay tuned.
Health/Fitness/Wellness/Yoga: I'm a certified health nut. Not even sorry when my first craving in the morning is kombucha and I make weird spirulina smoothies for breakfast. I'm the first to admit I'm a little health-crazy and go inconveniently out of my way for fresh, local, organic, non-GMO spinach, but I love living this way and I love feeling good in my body and soul.
I wasn't always like this. I don't think I ate a vegetable until I was 20 years old. Probably the first green thing I ate that wasn't artificially colored cereal was an avocado, and I was terrified to try it. I was a real shithead maniac and I didn't give a fuck. My years in college were defined by Lean Cuisines (my idea of healthy eating), Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Woodstocks Pizza, and substances I shouldn't mention in case my parents read this. (Sorry mom). Basically, I was your average American college student, or prior to that, your average teenager. My best friend and I would go buy a box of donuts and eat the whole thing then go straight to lacrosse practice, where somehow we wouldn't die. Oh to be young again.
I laughed as I wrote that because my life couldn't be more different now. I go to bed at 9:30 so I can wake up at 5:30am to lift weights at the gym or go to yoga (well, I did when I had a big-girl job. Right now I'm on sabbatical). I rarely drink alcohol and when I do I fall asleep instantly. I have a juicer and nothing gets me going more than fresh kale juice. I use words like, "energy" and "ujjayi breath". I'm vegan. I like asparagus. Who have I become!?
My journey towards finding my health has been a long one and I hardly remember where it started. I had the fortune of already being athletic, so I never had to start working out. In between the lean cuisines and bowls of cereal, I still made it to the gym on a regular basis. I have a few people and a couple experiences to thank for showing me how to be an adult who knows how to feed herself and actually give a fuck. A roommate and dear friend of mine was the one who made lunch for me one day in college and plopped half an avocado on my plate, and I ate it to not be rude. This was my awakening. Green things can be fucking good. I also lived in France for a while with a host family, where I discovered how sacred food actually is. I've lost love ones, my dad has overcome cancer, I had high cholesterol (no surprise there) even though I've always been fit and at a healthy weight, I've had my own run-ins with death (nasty car accident), and suddenly things really start to make sense. Life is precious and goddamnit I don't want to die before I need to.
In my journey towards health, I also struggled a lot with body image and an unhealthy relationship food. I fluctuated with weight gain and loss over the years and lots of bad experiences with crash dieting and binge eating when I was at my lowest points of self hatred. I've been *too* skinny and I've never been fat but often felt that way. I've looked for inspiration on how to look one way or another and I've blindly followed whatever health guru caught my attention in any given moment. I've done Tone It Up (lots of opinions on that at a later time) and other health cults. I've had personal trainers, watched every YouTube workout video, joined every gym, downloaded every "30-days to XYZ" program and tried every health program under the blazing sun. Some things worked, some didn't, and over the years I've picked up the pieces that help me thrive and learned to let go of the programs or thought patterns that do not serve me. To say it has been a journey is the understatement of the year. Nothing had ever healed me entirely but everything tried - until I found myself through Veganism. Here I have truly found peace.
Vegan: This will be a separate post for a different time, but becoming vegan has been the most powerful journey in my life. To keep things simple: veganism allowed me to unlock a latent and hidden compassion in my heart, not just for animals and for the environment, but for myself. Discovering true and profound self love has given me the tools to find balance, equanimity, true health, stability, and serenity, making all my food, fitness, health, wellness, and personal choices come together seamlessly and effortlessly. Becoming vegan made me the best version of myself, and I cant wait to share this liberation with the rest of the world.
Yoga: Like veganism, my yoga practice has shown me a path towards compassion and self kindness. I've been so moved by the benefits of yoga and the power behind what it can unlock that I've decided to become a yoga instructor to share this gift with others. I will be taking a month-long intensive 200hr YTT (yoga teacher training) in Charlotte in November. Stay tuned for my progress in developing my practice and my teaching skills!
So thats it. Well, for now at least. I could sit here and write for hours but I doubt you care that much at this point, so lets just keep it at the basics. This blog will dive deeper into all the themes above, and so much more. Stay tuned. And thanks for reading!