Born and raised in Ukraine, I was exposed to traditions where delicious and healthy eating was the focal point of my daily life. My interest in cooking started at a young age, thanks to my grandmother, who was a cook and made sure to pass her skills on to her grandchildren. Each year, I would spend my summer break at my grandmother’s farm. The food I ate was fresh and delicious, comprised entirely of homegrown fruits and vegetables.
In 1986, when I was 15, the Chernobyl disaster occurred. It directly affected me and most of the Ukrainian population in numerous ways. During cold months, when fresh greens and vegetables weren’t available, I had stomach pains almost every day. My girlhood memories are connected to hospitals, tests without anesthetics, and numerous treatments. I was unable to truly feel like my best self, but I learned how to live with my health detriments.
Years later, in 2002 I made the move from Ukraine to the United States. Ironically, my first job in my new country was at a gastroenterologist’s office. There, my grandmother’s belief that the food we eat has a direct impact on our health, was strongly reinforced in my mind. Seeing numerous patients suffer day in and day out, propelled me to transition to a vegetarian lifestyle.
Around the same time, my twin sister was diagnosed with a pituitary gland tumor. Our first instinct was to seek traditional treatment, however the medications that would prevent her tumor from growing had severe side effects. After many sleepless nights of overwhelming pain, she made the choice to stop medicating. Frightened by what was happening to my sister, I decided to act. The only thing left to do was to begin extensive research to find the root of her health problem, as well as an alternative way of healing. With my encouragement, my sister became a vegetarian and eventually adapted to a raw vegan diet. Some five years later, her tumor was found to be non-existent.
Soon thereafter, upon getting a routine mammogram, I learned that I too was facing my own health challenges. The childhood memories of pain from conventional medical treatment forced me to get well on my own. Unlike my sister, I was not yet a raw vegan, but a vegetarian. However, having seen what it had done for her, the raw vegan lifestyle became my way of healing. One year later I was free of all signs and symptoms.
What started as an attempt to aid myself, turned into a way of helping others; I began to share my experience with my friends and acquaintances who expressed interested in a more clean lifestyle, which inspired me to join the Body Mind Institute and become a Certified Nutritional Coach and a Raw Chef. Further, I extended my nutritional knowledge at the Hippocrates Health Institute by enrolling in a Life Transformation Program. Attending numerous health seminars, I had the chance to listen to medical doctors, researchers, herbalists, and world class athletes speaking about the science of food and it’s impact on our health. I continue to expand my education diligently through books, videos, lectures, and periodicals, with the emphasis on prevention, and how small changes can insure a healthy and harmonious life. I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge with you!