I was an international baby. I was born in Los Angeles and raised in Korea, with an upbringing that immediately exposed me to female empowerment. I was raised by my grandmother, as it seemed better for all of us as my mom was handling a lot as a single mother in a foreign country. My mother was the epitome of working incredibly hard to provide a supportive life for me and my older brother. Retrospectively, I realize and embrace these intense shapings that my upbringing in both America and Korea gave me. I was almost a fish out of water in both countries but my strong sense of adaptability propelled me to persevere through it all. A fond memory I hold onto is how I grew up eating my grandmother’s food, usually rice, banchan (side dishes), and some sort of fermented soup. However, it didn’t last long as soon enough my eating habits had dramatically changed when I moved to America. I remember going to Del Taco and ordering two hard shell tacos everyday after middle school. Fast forward to after college, I moved to Los Angeles and that’s when the partying started. Los Angeles had (and still has) this persona of being a glamorous place, saturated with partying, drugs, fun times, and intense stardom or B class celebrities trying very hard to make it. And LA really lived up to it’s persona. I consumed my fair share of drugs, alcohol, and late nights. Subsequently though, hangover food was the theme of my early twenties. It kept me going but only until the next drink was with me and the hours melted close to each other, thus making it all sort of “manageable….”
Though I felt on top of the world momentarily - it’s no wonder I had a plethora of health ailments. My rock bottom was spurred on with yo-yo dieting, and an unrealistic and unhealthy narrative for my body image. I was dealing with illnesses, brain fog, and an overall disconnect from my body and the potential to feel incredible. During this time, I started my career in fashion which only made my relationship with my body even worse and harder to manage. The media loves to illustrate the fashion industry as this glamorous pool of luxury, but it’s far from it. I remember each day I’d painfully glance at the time on my computer every five minutes - wondering how I was going to make it through the day. That alone was a red flag for me. I knew that I had no place working in fashion because at the end of the day, I had no energy left for myself. Working in fashion had subtly taken its toll on me, and like many others; I felt I neglected putting my health as a priority. But still I stayed because I not only had to pay my bills but I knew how many women would kill for the position I had. All of this really pushed me to reflect heavily and drastically on what my true calling was. “What was happiness for me?” “Was I really empowered and content right now?” I had to make the executive decision to really stop all the outside noise from coming in and affecting me so much, and ask myself for once - what did I really need?
I started my wellness journey kind of by accident. It developed soon after I got engaged to the man of my dreams late 2017. I wanted to lose a ton of weight before my wedding in May 2018 and had engulfed this tunnel vision for it. So, I adapted a plant-based diet. I would have a papaya for breakfast, salad for lunch, and a plant-based meal for dinner. I did that for 6 months and by doing so, I lost a ton of weight but more importantly, my health ailments started to dissipate. Like most people (especially within the US) I was force fed media projecting that the only way to health is after the fact, and after I’ve been dealt a hand of ailments. Little did I know that food WAS and IS medicine and that the most effective way to health was for me to really take it into my own hands - proactively. It works faster, better and is cheaper than most prescription drugs out there. My partying and fast paced LA days were long over, and my mind switched to a path of longevity. Now my narrative has changed and I'm always proud to say “I haven’t been sick in ages” because I’ve worked so hard for this new narrative. Given half the chance, the body will heal itself by itself. Trust that your body is programmed to be healthy for you when provided the right building blocks such as organic whole foods, love, movement, stability, spirituality, relationships, career, and a higher purpose. I laugh now and I say if I never got married I probably would still be visiting the doctor’s office quite often.
Another monumental stage in my life was when my husband and I moved to Florida - what I experienced during this time is what I like to call my ‘spiritual lesson.’ This was due to his job promotion and I wanted to be there to support him. I left everything that I knew - my first “big girl” job, friends, and family. I can’t lie - I was utterly devastated in the beginning. While the excitement of a new place and the joy of supporting my husband was immensely flourishing - my inner feelings, inner autonomy over my life, and happiness were struggling. This pivotal point was critical for my personal growth and well-being. I was so distracted in LA and felt comfortable because I had everything. When you are stripped of everything you know, and become uncomfortable - that is when you truly grow. I enrolled in an online nutrition school and started to learn how to eat food as medicine. I wanted to learn more because I felt so amazing physically and mentally after pushing for my own change before my wedding.
I didn’t want any extremes going into this new lifestyle - but rather I just wanted to eat healthily and feel better for longer. I spent a lot of time in my kitchen, researching and experimenting with different recipes that were my favorites prior to developing a healthier lifestyle. My mindfulness grew and became a sacred, safe space for me. After a few weeks of eating this way, my life was changed. It sounds dramatic but it’s true. I felt incredible physically, but with that came an emotional and mental shift that I don’t think I could have anticipated. It was a different feeling from the time I wanted to lose weight for my wedding, it was bigger than that. I knew this transformation couldn’t just be kept to myself. So, I decided to start cooking these meals and sharing what I know about living a holistic lifestyle on my Ryupure platform. I don’t label myself as vegan but I do eat mostly plant-based. I don’t believe in diets anymore because this way of living is a lifestyle. It’s birthed from the idea of longevity and wanting more from what little we might receive. I believe that you are what you do majority of the time and with small, consistent changes you will get big results, for a longer time.