Hi! I’m Adrienne Marie Peters. Welcome to my blog! I began exploring creative cooking and various styles of movement as a child and have developed my skills over the years. I am continuously learning and growing as I journey through life. In this blog I will share recipes and healthy eating tips with an emphasis on special diets. I will also offer stories about my healing journey, and share mindful fitness practices. My fitness background was born out of dance, so I will share stories about my adventures dancing as well.
I am a Certified Herbalist, Reiki Practitioner, Yoga Instructor, ACE Fitness Instructor, Barre and Zumba Teacher. I have studied and continue to learn many forms of dance and movement. Some styles of dance that have truly moved me are: Belly Dance, West African, Afro-Brazilian, Samba, Modern/Contemporary, Dance Theater, Release Technique, Improvisational Dance, Fire-Dancing (spinning Poi specifically), and I’m currently learning various partner dances! I graduated from New College of California in 2003 with a BA in Humanities (emphasis on Movement Studies/Arts and Social Change). One of the best college courses I took as part of the Movement Studies curriculum was Somatics. I learned to meditate, gained a basic understanding of the Chakras and started to make sense of how and why movement was healing. Thank you New College for such an awesome class!
I taught pre-school for years and loved sharing all forms of movement with little ones. My senior year of college I started my own dance project called, The Movement Express. I decided to expand upon my dance offerings in pre-school settings, and began teaching Dance Theater in schools throughout the Bay Area in Northern California. I then had the opportunity to work with Youth in Arts and Young Imaginations, as an Artist in Residence for their youth dance programs. During this time, I decided to take my love of dancing deeper by learning more about body mechanics. I was teaching a dance class at a women’s gym and I began to notice how empowered the women were by being strong in their bodies. I decided to investigate this further and became a Certified Fitness Instructor. I LOVED learning anatomy and furthering my knowledge of how the body and all its complex systems work. I continued to work with Youth in Arts and Young Imaginations for several years, while simultaneously building my fitness business. I taught dance fitness classes and incorporated elements from the styles I loved while focusing on strengthening the body and finding release through deep stretching. I also apprenticed at an NASM Personal Training studio for a year and soaked up as much information as possible.
During this time, I was raising my son as a single parent and hustle was my middle name. I eventually needed to take a salaried job to better support myself and my son. I continued to teach dance and fitness classes before and after work. When Zumba came along, I was so excited because it was very similar to my concept of fusing dance and fitness. I earned my certification for that and began teaching it at several studios and gyms. When Barre came along, I jumped on that bandwagon too! During this time, I was living in Southern California and managing a non-profit for under-served youth. Around the same time, I injured my hip and had to take a break from teaching. I also had to stop running and all other forms of high impact movement. I had always practiced yoga for personal benefit and incorporated quite a bit of yoga-esque stretches and warm-ups in my dance and fitness classes. Due to my injury, I became a devout yogi. I began walking and doing yoga every day. No more running or big workouts for awhile. As the stress of my day job was wearing me down and my passion for yoga was growing, I knew I had to make a change. I signed up for Sundara Yoga Shala’s Yoga Teacher Training Program. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Holly, the owner and lead teacher meant business. I swear it was harder than many of my college courses. I had to work through so many layers of emotional stuff that I had been carrying around for years. We store so much in our bodies. The course was rigorous academically, physically and emotionally. I ended up quitting my day job to further pursue my yogi calling. It has been a wild ride, with many ups and downs, but it was one the best decisions I’ve made! I have been teaching yoga, dance and fitness full-time for 4 years now. It has been quite rewarding, but also very challenging. I spend a lot of time in the car driving to several studios and people’s homes to teach privates. I thought about opening my own brick and mortar studio, but I don’t feel quite right about it at this time. I am instead beginning to focus my efforts online. I have a series of yoga videos that I will be sharing soon! I am offering private skype sessions as well as in-person privates. I now offer personalized health-coaching services both in person and online. I have had to spend a lot more time at home due to digestive health issues, and working online allows me to focus more on my own healing while sharing my knowledge.
When I was in my early twenties, I became very ill after a trip to Mexico. I was sick for 4 years before the doctors finally discovered that I had a terrible parasite infestation. I had been carrying amoebas since that trip to Mexico (4 years earlier) and the little buggers wreaked havoc on my body. They were very hard to get rid of. I was on intense antibiotics for 6 months and had to be re-tested before the San Francisco Health Department would clear me to go back to work at the pre-school. Eventually I was cleared, but I had a long road of healing ahead of me. My immune system had been in over-drive for a long time. My gut was seriously damaged and I developed numerous food intolerances. It seemed that anything I put in my body caused extreme inflammation. After years of trying several prescriptions and supplements, as well as various diets, with no positive results, my body gave up. I ended up being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance after collapsing and having seizures on the bathroom floor at work. I was given IV fluids and potassium, which stabilized me enough to go home and figure out how to change my life. This is when my focus on cooking for healing really began to take root.
I literally began cooking at 3 years of age. I helped my mom in the kitchen and did as much on my own as I could. Some of it was pretend, but when I got my Easy Bake Oven, watch out world! I was an unstoppable force in the kitchen. I loved experimenting with different ingredients. I grew up very poor and we did not have a lot of materials to work with, so I I had to be resourceful. In 4th grade, I introduced my Apple Space Cake to my class and it was quite well-received. At 16 I became a vegetarian and spent a great deal of time in the kitchen. At 17 I became vegan and this opened up a whole different world of interesting ingredient substitutions. Over the years I have been vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, and a full omnivore. After the hospital incident, my doctor had me cut out dairy, red meat and wheat. At that time I was an omnivore, so it was a drastic change to my diet. I noticed an immediate improvement in my symptoms and eventually became vegan again. It seemed like a logical evolution of the dietary restrictions I had been given. Unfortunately, I became quite ill again and have been struggling with chronic inflammation, SIBO, acid reflux, ridiculous allergies, and asthma. Sometimes my symptoms would keep me from being able to leave the house. It is hard for me to share these details, because I am a bit of a proud person, and I don’t like to blast my suffering. I like to paint rosy pictures of my happy, healthy life, but if you’re reading this blog, you may have been drawn to it because of your own struggles. I am sharing my vulnerabilities here in the hopes that my healing journey helps to inspire yours.
Last year was a doozy for me. I was in and out of the doctor’s office more times than I can count. I was put on so many different medications and supplements, tested, poked prodded and still I was not better. My most recent colonoscopy and endoscopy found polyps in my esophagus, an ulcer at my ileum, as well as adhesions and general inflammation. I was diagnosed with illeitis (inflammation where the small and large bowel meet) and another fancy medical term for GERD. A follow up was scheduled for 6 months later when they would send the camera up further into the small bowel to check for Crohns. My health continued to decline. I woke up every morning nauseous and had a difficult time getting my breakfast down. I would wake throughout the night in tears from severe abdominal cramping. Some days I honestly could not leave the house because of my fear of being away from the bathroom. I became desperate and determined. Upon the advice of my naturopath, I decided to once again majorly change my diet. Intellectually and emotionally, being vegan fits for me. I think it is good for the planet and I just don’t like eating animals. I was holding on tightly to my ideals and had a hard time opening up to making dietary changes that included animal products. If you’re vegan and reading this, please try to stay open minded and respectful of my personal choice. There can be lot of judgement about peoples dietary choices from every aspect of the spectrum. For me, this came down to one thing, survival.
I have been on a strict SCD/Low FODMAP diet for a little over three months now. I do not eat any grain, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn or other starches. I do not eat any sugar. The only sweetener allowed on the diet is honey. I can not consume any legumes or soy. My vegetable and fruit intake is limited to specific allowable items. I have been dabbling with some very specific dairy items. I seem to be able to tolerate goat dairy, cow yogurt, dry curd cottage cheese, and hard cheeses. Meat, eggs and fish are really the only items on the diet that are not really restricted. There are a great deal more details that I will save for a later post, but the I’m hoping to share what a radical shift it has been for me to go from being vegan to adhering to this diet. I was so desperate, I probably would have tried eating rabbit turds if someone told me it would help. I began by slowly introducing a little bit of egg baked in muffins. After I was able to tolerate that, I tried a little chicken bone broth for healing. That was a tough one for me to get down! I felt an immediate improvement, however. My energy level increased and my tummy settled for the first time in weeks. Then I started trying small bites of fish here and there. Once I was somewhat comfortable eating some animal products, I started eliminating all of the illegal items. It took me about 2 weeks to be ready to officially start the diet. It starts out extremely strict (like 3 items) and slowly builds from there. I had immediate results. Rather than the 5-10 trips to the bathroom in the morning, I was having 1 or 2. I began sleeping through the night and woke sans nausea. It was a miracle. I strengthened my resolve and decided to stick with it. As my body was initially healing, I had some major setbacks. I felt like I was under water. I had zero energy. Normal tasks felt monumentous. Teaching was more challenging than it had ever been. All I wanted to do was sleep. I tried not to fight the process. I rested as much as possible. After a few weeks my energy level began to pick back up and I started to normalize. Now, I feel amazing! I am kicking butt and loving life!
During this process, I have been spending an enormous amount of time in the kitchen. Just about every singe thing I eat is from scratch. I have come up with some pretty tasty and fun alternatives for snacks and desserts as well as delicious main courses and side dishes. Over the years my friends and family have suggested that I cook professionally, but I always feared that would take all the joy out of it for me. I love to share food with others. I thrive on nourishing my friends and family. Simply, I truly enjoy feeding people. I am excited to share my love of cooking with you. I will share vegan, paleo, gluten-free, SCD-friendly, Low FODMAP-friendly and clean eating recipes here.
I know this is quite a long post. If you’re still here, then hopefully you have connected with something I’ve shared and will come back to my site to see what new experiences and ideas I might be sharing. Some of my posts will be strictly about yoga or fitness, and some will be about general health and wellness, in addition to my recipes, tips and explorations in the kitchen. I am so happy to be sharing this adventure with you!