As a long time blog enthusiast, I never enjoyed finding a new and exciting blog and having to hunt down an FAQ on the author. I enjoy connections through social media the most when I feel like I have a decent understanding of the person on the other side of the screen, so this is me saying “Hi!” as my first blog post!
First, the basics. My name is Coco, I am in my mid-twenties, an expat living in (and loving!) Amsterdam, and I work in the tech industry by day. Wait…hold up! Tech industry? And you have a health and wellness blog? And you’re an aspiring yoga teacher? My interests have always been hugely varied growing up, and it never seem to wane as I matured. Hence, the dichotomy!
However, I know with yoga and intuitive, healthy eating I have found my passion – and so much more. It’s a way of life for me that goes far beyond the duties of a job. I feel called to share the insight and body peace I have found through this lifestyle.
Don’t get me wrong. It was not always this way! As with most teenage girls, I had a youth fraught with an unhealthy food relationship. I agonized over my body image and yo-yo-ed in weight, and I constantly beat myself up over it. On the surface, it looked like I ate “healthily”, but depending on the season, I was either eating way too much processed food or not enough food at all.
In my early twenties, there were two significant events that flipped my body image and eating habits on their head. First, I was in a traumatic car accident (hit by a delivery truck going 50mph) that left me nearly immobile with pain for months – debilitating neck and back pain, intense migraines, blurred vision, limb numbness, and more. It happened months before I was due to start graduate school in London, and I suddenly wished I could turn the clock back on every moment I had taken my previously healthy body for granted. Chronic pain is a bitch. Chronic pain when you’re 22 almost felt like a death sentence.
Thankfully, I didn’t give up and cave to the pain. I did have to massively adjust my life and I still massively adjust my life to this day. But I attended rigorous physical therapy, took up gentle yoga to relax and re-strengthen my tense and torn muscles, and I started thinking deeply and introspectively about how I could best preserve my health and mobility given the circumstances.
Enter in significant event number two: a plant-based diet. I read Michael Gregor’s famous book “How Not To Die” around the same time, and it was the final straw in shifting my mindset. I no longer looked at food as something that was either going to make me fat or skinny. I looked at is a source of nutrition, fuel, and immense healing properties. I began asking myself the question, “is this going to aid in my recovery and prolong a healthy and active lifestyle?”. If the answer was no, it got ditched!
The same happened with exercise. I was an avid runner before my accident, and in the space of a second, I was left with an injury that prevented me from running for 1.5 years after! Yes, 1.5 years! The intense movement caused pain from my lower back through my neck. This is where I rediscovered yoga from the advice of a few close friends. Moving my body gently has become the single most quick way to alleviate an aching back or tense neck. Kinked my neck in a weird way and feeling pain? 20 minutes of yoga. Back pain after finishing up my work day? 20 minute walk around the block.
The chronic pain never made me want something so badly as a “normal” life again, and I’m so happy that I found food and exercise as my “medicine”. I learned to treat my body kindly, and I’ve never looked back!
My goal with Coco’s Wellness is to educate and open minds to the way we should be treating our bodies – not as a number on the scale or some vehicle to get me from bed to work to couch to bed again. We’re so much more than that, and I don’t want it to take a traumatic accident for more people to realize!
Our bodies do so much for us, and I am huge advocate for holistic, functional health and medicine to keep them in top-notch shape and up to the task of doing what we love. Everything from exercise to work to travel, all the way to climbing a flight of stairs to learning a new language to chasing after a toddler. Ultimately, long and happy lives! I want to be the 90-year-old still going to yoga class and not forgetting a single persons’ birthday or name!
I plan to share information on a plant-based diet, recipes, non-toxic products, yoga, holistic medicine, and everything in-between. Thanks for coming along!