About Janine...

Born and raised in Southern California, I enjoyed singing, acting, dancing, writing, and reading. I fell in love with ballroom dancing under the National Cotillions program, teaching kids dance and etiquette. I also had earned an Associate Degree in Film, Television and Radio Production and Associate Degree in Liberal Arts at my hometown community college.

At 14, I went to the doctor for a routine check up with slight symptoms of a cold. The doctor examined my neck and judging by the enlarged size of my thyroid, I was diagnosed with an inflammatory hypothyroid disease called Hashimoto's (Click here! This is a video link to hear my story on the Celebrate Life Panel at the 2012 Macrobiotic Summer Conference). I remember hearing how interesting it was for the doctors to find a teenager with a disease that usually affects women in their 30's and 40's. The gland was swollen to the size of a softball in my throat and had multiple goiters on top of the gland. It became painful, hard to swallow and I wondered if my life would ever be normal. This became a routine of seeing specialists, ultrasounds, X rays, and experimenting with medication. I felt symptoms of cold hands and feet, extreme fluctuations in my weight (the worst was 165 at Age 15), my hair fell out daily, and I had painful acne, fatigue, depression and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia symptoms). Feeling no relief from the medicines or doctors' orders, I felt hopeless. Given the option of radiation to "shrink" the gland or surgery to remove it, I had the gland surgically removed at 17. There was risk that I would never sing or talk the same, because it was a 4 hour procedure to scrape the sticky gland off my vocal chords. After the surgery, still trying medications but feeling no relief from symptoms, my problems got worse as I got older. I was not informed of alternative medicine, acupuncture, or eating healthy. I never looked at my diet or lifestyle as being the cause of my illness. I simply thought, Why me? as I drank my sixth can of soda. Just wanting to be with my friends and live as normally as they did, I ignored all the signs my intuition was trying to tell me. I finally became so ill that I was 100 pounds, dark sunken eyes, no energy, and couldn't eat anything without getting sick.

Pictures: Age 15 (you can see my swollen neck!), Age 17, Age 22, Age 21, Age 22

At 22, feeling dissatisfied and unhappy, I decided to change my life. I did an elimination diet of no gluten, meat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, and processed foods. I also made the decision to detox and stay sober to help heal my body faster. I then religiously went to acupuncture and studied the diet and lifestyle of Macrobiotics. This clean living and eating helped me to feel better than ever. I felt a glow all over, and knew I had made the right choice. My energy stabilized, my weight normalized, my skin/hair/nails became radiant, and my depression and temperature issues were eased. 

This new found passion has given me a new light on life. I have completed all 4 levels of Macrobiotic Leadership Program at the Kushi Institute in Becket, MA, and became a certified counselor. I counsel individuals, couples, and families, including cooking for them, teaching them to cook, and using diagnosis to help them heal from ailments using natural remedies and proper nutrition.

Pictures: Age 23 to 24, at the Kushi Institute, South River Miso Company (rice paddy) and with Jessica Porter at the Macrobiotic Summer Conference.  

I am now 27 years old (but feel more like a 16 year old at heart). I still love singing, reading, ballroom dance, and writing. My new hobbies include yoga, meditation, taking long nature hikes, and of course, cooking with friends and family.