My mission is to help you embrace a healthy lifestyle and avoid or reduce the symptoms of chronic illness.
My interest in science and food began in childhood. Being born to scientist parents who grew many of our fruits and vegetables and prepared home-cooked meals, you might say it was encoded in my genes. Unfortunately, the other trait encoded in my genes was a predisposition to food sensitivities and related health problems. My childhood was littered with seemingly unrelated health concerns like unrelenting digestive problems, eczema, clumsiness and balance issues, menstrual complaints, and migraines, for which doctors could give no explanation. Still suffering, but possessing the determination typical of a firstborn, I earned a B.S. in biochemistry and spent my early career working in publishing and communications for scientific research organizations.
I've always been a great problem solver. Even though I struggled for years with endometriosis and infertility, I found the solution to my infertility through in-vitro fertilization and gave birth to my second child in 1999. We had moved to Berkeley, California, where I embraced yoga, a gluten-free diet, and what I thought was healthy eating. Over the next 14 years, I managed my family's two cross-country moves and overcame health crises that followed each move, including extreme vertigo and debilitating fatigue. Yet I failed to recognize that my body was trying to tell me something. Because I was ready for a career change that shifted my focus to working with people rather than words on a page, I decided to pursue a nutrition consultant certification. During that time, I delved further into my health concerns with a functional medicine practitioner. I thought I was doing most things right, but discovered that I had major hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and toxicities that dramatically increased my risk of breast cancer.
I started to work on correcting these issues, but it was too late. At age 50, I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer and a second primary tumor wrapped around my spinal cord. As I began my healing journey, I learned my problems had developed over years of not paying enough attention to my stress, emotions, digestion, and toxic exposures. Because of a debilitating spinal surgery and painful nerve damage from chemotherapy, my life and my family's lives changed dramatically. Just as I was turning around my own health through diet and lifestyle changes, my daughter began to suffer emotional stress because of my illness. She was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and food sensitivities in 2015. We are both on a healthier path today — my breast cancer and her autoimmune disease are in remission.
Even though neuropathy and Stage IV breast cancer are chronic health conditions that can never be "cured," my overall health is better than it has been in years. I credit this to the advanced nutrition training I've completed along the way, as well as to my commitment to stress management practices. I approach health conditions from a functional perspective, helping the body heal itself rather than simply placing Band-Aids in the form of drugs or supplements that just relieve symptoms.
I am excited to be able to share my knowledge and tools with others who want to live a healthier life. I work with clients in person or by phone or Skype to develop nutrition and lifestyle programs for:
→ reducing the risk of breast cancer or any chronic illness.
→ managing an existing health condition—reducing symptoms and possibly medication through diet and lifestyle changes.
Contact me for a free 30-minute strategy session
→ Maria's email: HealingNutritionofSonoma@gmail.com