a 20-something chips + salsa connoisseur with a love for green smoothies + good eyebrows

                                   My favorite  brand  and my favorite beer

I'm Cass, a proud Montana transplant born in sunny Southern California. At a young age, my parents decided on a whim to pack up and move to Montana for a new adventure. Random right? But I wouldn't have it any other way....

I grew up pretty healthy. My family owned a restaurant so I learned to cook at a young age. I stayed extremely active being a multi-sport athlete while also having one of the best outdoor scenes in my backyard. 

After high school, I made the decision to continue my education at Washington State University. To this day, it remains one of the best decisions I've ever made.....GO COUGS!

College was an absolute blast. The schoolwork came easy to me, I made a ton of friends, I partied almost every night, and it was a quick-ish drive from home. As all the fun came rather easy to me, it wasn't always a walk in the park. College was the first time I really stepped out of my comfort zone and small town mentality. I didn't know how to handle the new found freedom while juggling finances, schoolwork and a social life. I started to become one VERY stressed out human being.

Partying became my release and boy did I party a lot....like Taco-Tuesday all the way through Sunday-Funday a lot. Soon, a "dirty 30" became a part of my daily vocabulary, and not soon after that my body started to change. The 'freshman 15' slowly became the 'freshman 20' then the 'freshman 30'. I was a completely different person. Sometimes I wouldn't even recognize myself....

While in college I started to get sick ALL the damn time. I constantly had a runny nose and a cough, I was exhausted every single day, and I never wanted to get out of bed for fear of seeing other people. It felt like I had a disease and it most certainly was; I was depressed. 

I decided to get blood work done to see if there was something else going on. When the results came back, it showed I had about 10 different food intolerances, including dairy, gluten, almonds, eggs, and corn among others. My doctor explained to me that when your body is so stressed out it believes the foods you eat most often are the culprit. 

With my new found knowledge, I started to change my diet. Ya I dropped a little weight here and there, but one thing that was impossible to shake was the partying....and with partying comes a hangover. I was in a situation I just couldn't seem to avoid. I tried to counteract this by spending hours on the treadmill and not touching a single weight for fear of bulking up. This "cardio party" did absolutely nothing for me. Running by day and drinking by night was the lifestyle I just had to accept....or so I thought.

After graduating college, I moved back home to rural Montana, unemployed and partied out. Skiing was the only thing on my mind, so you could say I had some time on my hands. I started to research new ways to workout; there were fitness accounts on Instagram that would post workouts I could do in my living room. Pinterest boards that offered quick and efficient routines in under 20 minutes....And new interval styles of training that left me sweatier in 12 minutes than an hour of running ever did. I started working out in my garage with simply an interval timer and my own body. I started noticing changes in both my body and my mind. I was hooked.

After finding a simpler way to work out, I started to focus on the way I ate. No more Starbucks skinny vanilla lattes, no more foods deemed "low-fat" and "sugar-free", and no more calorie-counting diets. I wanted to eat real food like real people do, full of healthy fats, good carbs, grass-fed meats, and all the colors of the rainbow. I quit nitpicking everything I ate. When I had the occasional handful of chocolate chips, I didn't feel disgusted....I felt human.

I dropped nearly 10 pounds in the first couple of months. I was healthier, happier and, most importantly, stronger. My food sensitivities started to slowly diminish, I stopped viewing fitness as punishment and food was no longer intimidating. Nearly 4 months after I graduated college, I was down 25 pounds. I felt normal again. Other people started to notice and give me praise, which felt good, really good....but I wasn't doing it for them, I was doing it for me

During that year, I was on top of the world. I had a healthy body, a sound mind and a loving support system......until the unimaginable happened. My dad passed away.

My dad was always good at taking care of his family, friends and even strangers, but horrible at taking care of himself. Soon, his unhealthy habits started to catch up with him. For the last 5 years of my dad's life, he developed health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Then, in October of 2013, my dad had a serious stroke that put him in the ICU for nearly 3 months. During that time, I saw things no child should ever see happen to a parent. He would take one step forward while taking two steps back until there was no more room for a comeback. It was, and will be, one of the hardest things I'll ever have to go through. 

I'll always be a firm believer that through trials and tribulations comes clarity. After going through my personal struggles and the health complications with my dad, it put the true value of one's health and wellness into perspective. Because of this, I have never been more passionate about something in my entire life.

A couple years ago, I decided to pursue a career in health and fitness. I'm currently a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise as well as a Certified Holistic Health Coach through The Institute of Transformational Nutrition (click HERE to learn more). And now, I'm blogging my way through the web one recipe and sarcastic comment at a time. 

My ultimate goal is to change the world's perception of what it means to be healthy. Little by little, I'd say that I'm well on my way...

XO, Cass