It's been a wild few months for me with the opening of CAN CAN kitchen #2 here in LA. So exciting, but also so overwhelming and too many lists of to-do. During this time, I've felt a strong desire to keep sharing the human aspect of CAN CAN Cleanse, the fact that I'm not trying to sell another juice cleanse, but I'm here to make whole, nutrient-rich, plant-based food into liquid form (that tastes good!) and lead my clients on an experience. CAN CAN Cleanse is much more about the mental and emotional benefits than the physical (yes, your body will shed a few pound, but the best benefits are how light and clear your mind will feel and the huge sense of empowerment you'll feel when you finish!) You CAN do it! You can do anything.
With this drive to humanize CAN CAN Cleanse, I felt the need to connect and build my community of like-minded people. I emailed my dear friend and inspirational leader, Lacy Young. I call Lacy a dear friend, but we have actually never met in person before. She's just one of those special people you instantly feel a connection with. What I like most about Lacy; she's open and compassionate and she has chosen a life path to inspire others to be human, embrace challenge and be inspired through health eating habits.
I invited Lacy to share experiences on CAN CAN's blog to humanize the small and large victories she's seen in her life and through her work. I feel honored by her enthusiasm to contribute and that she chose to share her own personal story as her first post.
I'm thrilled to introduce Lacy to you all!
Lacy with a freshly placed sticker for her love project, Campaign For Confidence, June 2013
It makes perfect sense that getting sick would lead to being passionate about health. I just never in a million years thought it would be my story.
Just breathe. I'd say it to myself all day long. Mid sentence I'd have to stop, gasp + wheeze to try and force air in. In 2004 I started experiencing difficulty breathing. It took nearly 2 years to get a proper diagnosis; Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis. It would take seven surgeries and two more years to have the surgery that would remove the mystery scar tissue growing in my trachea.
It felt like I was breathing through a coffee straw all the time.
After a devastating first attempt at the big surgery in December 2007 everything changed. We flew home, moved up our wedding and got married in February at the Wynn in Las Vegas among our friends and family. Looking back I see how being sick was nudging me to LIVE FULLY and I can't help but feel tremendously grateful.
The surgery was a beast. I spent a restless night in the ICU in the most pain I've felt to date. I had a chin stitch (It was really more of a tether that attached my chin to my breast bone.) for seven days and was in the hospital for ten. My sweet new husband and family were by my side. It was a long time for all of us. I kept a Caring Bridge page throughout the event and loved journaling there so much I started my blog shortly after. Another gift from the scar tissue.
Once I could breathe again I committed to healing.
I gained a considerable amount of weight over the four years of sickness. Physical weight, emotional weight. I self-soothed with the foods I'd grown up on. Steak, potatoes, ice cream, Pillsbury orange danish rolls (man, I loved those), frozen pizza, lots of cheese, fast food, candy, cookies, brownies, Little Debbie snack cakes. Never met a sugar or dairy product I didn't like. I thought I was making the healthy choice buying Lean Cuisine frozen dinners and ordering chicken instead of steak. Almost all of my food came out of a box or was processed in some way.
Emerging from that place was WORK. I started making slow + steady changes with the help of a health coach. I did what I could do at the pace I could manage. Some days we spent the entire hour talking about switching from white rice to brown rice and then I'd go and make that one change. It took four years to gain the weight. I gave myself 4 years to take it off. Seriously. I treated myself so gently and still the process was humbling and at times infuriating. I bumped up against every old idea I had about dieting, about weight loss and about suffering to see results.
I spent 6 months with my coach, Jennifer. My experience was so profound that I went to school to learn more. Honestly the entire time I was in school I was thinking 'oh I may do this for work, may not... we'll see.' About mid way through school I started seeing clients and never stopped. I've been coaching for three years now. This work is the best kind of high. I love being a part of transformation.
My desire to empower + inspire started as early as I can remember. I've always known I wanted to reach many people. Health Coaching is one of my vehicles for genuine loving service.
I teach people how to build beautiful meals + deeply meaningful lives. We journey together, co-creating every step of the way. We shine a huge flashlight into the dark places and light up possibility through the power of food. We get real. We get conscious. We identify and move the big rocks and little pebbles that have been blocking the path leading to your healthy life and body. Yes, it is about the foundations of food but that doesn't even begin to sum it all up. It's about believing in your dreams and finally, finally having the tools to power you into action. It's about radical love and self care. It's about lowering cholesterol and blood pressure without having to pop a pill. It's about forgiveness. It's about authenticity. It's about the beauty of leafy greens and raspberries and infusing color into your world. It's nutrition meets therapy in thebest kind of way. It's like the movie theater that serves beer. Best of both worlds! It's that good. And yes, I'm a beer drinking health coach. It's all about balance, ya'll!
So that's me in a nut shell. Thank you oh so much for reading.
Here’s a look at what’s coming up next:
• Veg Pledge is the next food challenge! Join me for five days filled with whole food goodness beginning Monday, November 4th – Friday, November 8th! I’m crazy excited about it! Loads of recipes, a shopping list + the support of a loving community! Expand your current menu + give your body some veggie lovin! $27
• Group Coaching! Join the next group coaching session to Thrive Through the Holidays beginning Nov. 11th + going into the new year. As a bonus, you’ll receive 1 free spot in the next session of Sweet Surrender to gift to anyone you’d like! It’s all about spreading the love!
• Sweet Surrender 10-day Sugar Detox Dec 1 – 10th! Get loads of support + balance in place in perfect timing before the Christmas/ New Year holidays!
Contributed by Lacy Young
All photo credits: Lacy Young