About this Girl

 "When your diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When your diet is correct, medicine is of no need" - Ayurvedic Proverb

Like the average American kid, I grew up eating Doritos, Fudge Rounds, Snickers, sandwiches on white bread with supple cheeses and drinking Mountain Dew. Although I'm sure they must have been there somewhere, I don't recall having many rules or limitations on what I ate nor was it a huge topic of the household.

After some shifts in our family dynamics, my dad began to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Working out and walking became a regular part of his life and this influenced not only my life but my two older brothers and older sister as well. He began making more holistic meals, salads and an array fat free essentials were peppered throughout the kitchen. 'I can't believe it's not butter' spray, 'WoW' potato chips, fat free brownie mixes and salad dressings. Yes, this was the 90s. This was the decade of fearing all fat.

Soon, we made a move from Wisconsin to Colorado. I've found that Colorado embodies healthy in many ways. Walking, hiking and biking become a routine part of our lives. My sister and I also rode horses, a sport we took up back in the mid-west. Greens with lunch and dinner accompanied by a lean protein, became the norm. 

(L to R): Brother Dustin, Sister Krista, Brother Jonathan, Me
Estes Park, CO 1999

Despite the household changes with more of a focus on health, and surrounded by the pristine beauty of Colorado, during my early teenage years I continued to eat pretty much whatever I wanted without  a care for what it meant for my body and I certainly didn't think about how it affected my mood. I then proceeded a lifestyle of smoking, drinking and overall neglecting my health in just about every facet that you could imagine. It wasn't until I pulled myself out of the dangerous life with the help of my family and friends, that I slowly began to learn what health was and that our bodies have an expiration date. 

In 1999 my mom survived a Myocardial Infarction (heart attack). And then in 2003, she was diagnosed with breast cancer - which she elegantly fought and survived. In 2002 my Dad was in a nearly fatal tractor accident - jolting the entire family. Then, in 2004, my beloved step-mom passed away. A mother, a mentor, and a best friend. All of these events,  along with the awareness of my own mortality, opened my eyes to the preciousness of LIFE. 

Still, I had my fair share of relapses when it came to cigarettes but ultimately- somewhere around 2005, I decided that it just did not fit into my life anymore. I was living with my sister, attending college, working out everyday, including weight lifting and jogging and eating my perceived version of a healthy diet.  For the first time in my life I began to feel what health was. 

From that point on, exercise became as routine as taking a shower for me and ate what I perceived at the time to be healthy nutritious foods (whole grain bread, soy veggie sausages, organic corn chips, low fat cottage cheese and yogurt and minimal meat). But, my body wasn't responding well to the food that I was eating - and so the road to research and experimenting began.

Over the course of a few years, I had countless doctor visits, underwent numerous elimination diets, experimented with herbs and supplements, gave every diet in the book a try and battled an eating disorder (Orthorexia). 

What I had to learn was that the answers to the questions that I was seek - and seek now - lie within me. 

Boulder, CO - 2012 
By listening to my body I have found a healthy lifestyle that works for me on an emotional, spiritual and physical level. I believe that this lifestyle will change and evolve over the course of the years as my environment and body changes. Staying in tune and hyper-aware of how my body and mind are responding will be essential so that I can make the inevitable changes that are necessary to continue to achieve optimal health.

From Boulder, CO, I traveled to Bar Harbor, ME to live in 2013 and then made my way to Southern Florida, and onto Philadelphia, PA - which is where I currently reside. 

Hiking in Acadia National Park (Mt. Desert Island home of Bar Harbor, ME 2013)


- Ashley

I do my best to credit all photography and art (that are not my own) to the original source. If there are any images credited incorrectly or you would like them removed, please email me and I will remove them immediately. 

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