Through a series of obstacles I have been faced with while growing up, in October of 2011 I found something that has truly challenged me and brought me to a healthier way of living. Let me back up…I haven’t always been in shape, in fact for most of my life I have been overweight. Growing up I never had a good relationship with food. I ate when I was hungry, sad, mad, tired, stressed, uncomfortable…you name it and it was an excuse to eat. My weight hit its high of 265 pounds my senior year of high school and stayed there for a few years. About a year after graduating I moved out on my own and had a roommate that always seemed to have all the attention on her if you know what I mean. Eventually, I had enough of being uncomfortable in my own skin and wanted a serious change. At that point, I decided to join weight watchers. In addition to following the program and going to meetings, I started doing the elliptical at my apartments fitness center. I remember my first day there, I could barely do five minutes on the elliptical on a low level. I went home that night in tears wondering how I was ever going to tackle this weight loss if that was all I could do today while gasping for air. I stayed at it every night and was able to do more and more each time. The weight started to come off and I was hooked. After a few months, I decided this little fitness center wasn’t doing it for me anymore and I joined Lifetime Fitness. I spent every spare minute I had after work at Lifetime Fitness. If you have ever been to one you will understand how amazing their gyms are, they have everything! Over the next 2 years, I managed to lose 95 pounds which brought me to 170 pounds. I had maintained that weight for the last 8 years until I started to slip here and there and gained about 14 pounds back. I knew I either needed to fix what I was eating or work out harder and because I love to eat I decided I would lose it in the gym. So in addition to my usual hour on the arch trainer at the highest level, I added a bike ride to the gym. It still wasn’t cutting it, I wasn’t losing the weight. This brings me to my opportunity to join a Crossfit box.
Through my journey, I have empowered many of my friends and family along the way. For example, my brother John was born with Hirschsprung’s disease. Per the Mayo Clinic, “It is a condition that affects the large intestine (colon) and causes problems with passing stool. Hirschsprung’s disease is present when a baby is born (congenital) and results from missing nerve cells in the muscles of a portion of the baby’s colon.” Over the years he has had many problems come up because of his eating patterns and the disease itself. I introduced him to the Paleo eating lifestyle and the Crossfit community just before he moved across the country to Seattle. So at that point, I could only hope he would stick with what I have taught him and he has. John says he feels so much better eating healthy and doing Crossfit. He just did his first Crossfit competition supporting Toys for Tots, I couldn’t be more proud of him! Who knew that bringing his eating habits back to the basics could be the key to cure his pain?
As I started my research on food startups and searched for a space in Sarasota I simply could not find what I needed; there weren’t very many resources available to me. I also found that many restaurants were not suitable for me to use with a high risk of cross-contamination involved with making gluten-free meals. Therefore I came to the conclusion I will have to have my own space. I took the plunge and purchased a mobile commercial kitchen as well as a brick and mortar. I couldn’t be more excited about it, I love my space!
This way of eating is not only a diet, but it is also a lifestyle and I want everyone to benefit from what is has to offer. Above the Grain offers fresh healthy meals and catering for those who either choose not to cook or just do not have the time. So why not eat as healthy as you possibly can while still enjoying what you eat on the go. The demand is there and I can’t wait to be able to cater to you all! This business model is unique and one of the first to come to this area over 5 years ago. Time flies when you are making big changes to a community.