Hello and welcome to Nutritiously Natalie! I am thrilled that you took the time to stop by.
That's me, Natalie, in my favorite room of our house, the kitchen of course! I live in Montana with my husband Kyle and our chihuahua Killa, in the most magical little mountain town that I feel so blessed to call home. My story might be a little different than others, but I am so grateful for the journey that has led me to nutrition and wellness.
I have always had a love for good food, cooking, and healthy eating, however, the way that I looked at all of those things drastically changed when I was diagnosed with a life threatening illness. After a month of feeling just plain icky, and the doctors not knowing what was wrong with me, I finally passed out in a grocery store and was taken to the hospital where I was diagnosed with Leukemia. At the age of 24, and still a newlywed, my world was forever changed in an instant. Little did I know then how much good could come out of something so bad.
After my diagnoses, I immediately spent 29 days in the hospital receiving my induction chemotherapy, and then one week a month for the following few months to receive my remaining chemotherapy treatment. I was not allowed to go outside or leave my hospital floor, and if I wanted to leave my hospital room I needed to have a face mask and gloves on at all times. (One thing I will never take for granted again is fresh air and sunshine!) During this time, I was put on a strict neutropenic diet where I could not eat any fresh fruits or vegetables. A neutropenic (nu-tro-PEE-nik) diet is for people with weakened immune systems, like cancer patients. This diet can help protect you from harmful bacteria and other harmful organisms found in certain foods and drinks. Basically, as long as it was packaged, processed, or cooked I could eat it. Sounds pretty crazy, huh? It did to me too.
As someone who has always been obsessed with salads this seemed hard to fathom. How would I be able to succeed on the road to get healthy if I couldn’t fuel my body with all the proper nutrients? Well, needless to say, I had plenty of downtime in the hospital so I began researching recipes that had healthy ingredients I could still eat while on a neutropenic diet, which then led to my discovery on the benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet. I was in love! I knew that it was something I wanted to give a try so almost over night that was exactly what I did.
After finishing treatment, I decided to put my passion to work and study to become a certified Holistic Health Coach. My hope is to help others who are going through similar health challenges, as well as those wanting to change their lives by transforming their relationship with food. I truly believe that changing my diet helped me through my treatment and believe it or not, it has helped me to feel better now post-cancer, than I ever felt before.
I started Nutritiously Natalie to share with you all of the wonderful neutropenic recipes that I made for myself while on the diet, as well as delicious plant-based recipes that your whole family is sure to love!