We are not much different from you. Get to know us on a deeper level and let us tell you where we come from, what got us here and why we are doing this.
My name is Vevian and this is my story.
When I was born, my mom cried, because after having two daughters, she wanted a boy, my dad told me. I was born in Bagdad, Iraq and am of Chaldean descent. My family moved to Detroit when I was 1 and there is where I spent the majority of my life.
I have always been a deeply compassionate person who wanted to please everyone. However, I was really isolated and didn’t really have any friends growing up.
At the age of 6, my mom left the Catholic religion and joined a Christian sect. My dad is, and will always be Catholic and was furious that my mom decided to join this religion. I was raised in this sect.
This strict organized religion did not allow any type of outside association. I wished I could be friends with my schoolmates and attend after-school activities, but I was not allowed to. My father started drinking heavily and became physically and verbally abusive to my mom because of the religion. I used to be terrified of him! I can recall 3 times the cops came and took him away, my mom laying on the ground and my sisters and I shaking in fear and crying.
I hated everything about my life. I hated being different. I was the hairy Chaldean girl who was always made fun of. I could never talk to my mom about “normal” things like homework, friends or boys. She could never relate. I kept it all inside. In my teens, I got baptized into the religion, to make my mom happy, and was also sexually molested by several people.
When I was 21 my father stopped talking to me because of some stupid incident that happened during our first and only family vacation. 5 years later he had his second wave of cancer. I stood by his bedside and held his hand. No words needed to be said, our tears spoke for themselves.
I got married at 24 to flee from my home life. Little did I know I went from a controlling mother to an even more controlling marriage. Shortly after I got married, I started working as a chef/nanny/household manager for a family. That is where my love for cooking and creating recipes flourished. I cooked dinner for the family every night, cooked for guests and helped host many dinner parties.
I was done being in a controlling marriage. I got divorced and was also disfellowshipped from this religion. I was no longer allowed to communicate with this community which I was a part of my whole life. This also included communication with my mom. What I thought was the worst thing that ever happened to me, ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me!
Once I stopped living for others, I slowly realized what made me happy! I started my Instagram account and found a new community to be part of. As my audience started growing, I decided I needed a fresh start and moved to Chicago and launched my first e-cookbook in December 2012.
Since then, I have lived with over 50 families across the globe through a project called “Fit Nation” where I taught families how to grocery shop more efficiently, and create healthy recipes based on their families wants and needs. I have also written 14 e-cookbooks, and have taught dozens of cooking classes. I got certified as a nutritional coach along with my husband.
Combining my passion for cooking, nutrition, and teaching people how to love themselves beautifully vulnerable, I strive to bring out the best in people I work with.
Its never too late to start over. If you weren’t happy with yesterday, try something different today. Don’t stay stuck, do better! You deserve to be happy!
My name is Benjamin Ronaldo Patrik Vozmediano Nilsson, but you can just call me Benjamin. I grew up in Solna, a little town outside Stockholm, Sweden with my older brother and our Swedish mother and Spanish father. Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve had this huge curiosity on life! I always had to touch things and preferably even smell them. My initial years in school were tough, I struggled a lot. Often did I got thrown out of the classroom for the rest of the day because I wanted to do all these other things instead of sitting down and listen. I had “ants in my pants” as my teachers said.
My parents never took me to a doctor to see if I had ADD or ADHD (and I’m thankful they didn’t) but I am pretty sure that I would’ve been diagnosed with that. I don’t believe in those 3-4 letters. Instead I do believe that some of us have more curiosity, more creativity and foremost; more energy than others.
Fortunately I had access to some amazing playgrounds during my childhood where I could unleash some of my energy. I also got involved with different sports early on and Basketball became my favorite one which I played between the age of 8-18. The gym also became an early playground due to the fact that my dad was a gym freak and I joined him as often as I could. Any form of training has, and will always play a very important part of my life. I later got certified both as a Personal Trainer and as a Nutrition Coach.
My parents got divorced when I was 13 years old. From the age of 13 to 19 I got psychologically abused by my dad. Literally almost every time I talked to or met my dad during those years, I had to listen to him telling me all these bad, negative and nasty things about the person I loved and cared about the most, my mom. More sadly, is that she hadn’t done anything wrong at all and is the most loving, caring and unselfish person you can imagine. That affected me profoundly.
During my 20’s and 30’s I had some major internal struggles that put me into some serious deep dark holes where the enjoy of living was equal to 0%. Severe anxiety and depression, apathetic towards life, I didn’t care if I would die or not. In those lonely dark moments, when it was so quiet and I was all by myself and talking to myself, is also when I really got to know who I was. Listening to my heart, like this never ending drumbeat, telling me to keep on going, keep on pushing and not give up. But from the outside looking in, those struggles are often hard to see. I was pretty good at hiding them which I believe many of us are.
I got screwed big time by my ex-wife. I got let down big time by (what I thought was) my closest friend. In both those situations I didn’t understand why. Why me? What have I done to receive this treatment? Overthinking and overanalyzing things. I had so many why-questions in my head, that I was going crazy. Instead of getting resentful, I started to see them as lessons and that they were only pointing me into a much better direction. I also believed that this happened for a reason and that I will understand the “why” further on in life. If it’s in a couple of weeks, months or several years; it doesn’t matter. Time will tell me the “why”. I had a favorite quote from Steve Jobs that I kept pondering: “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” I trusted in all of those.
My situation isn’t unique at all and my problems aren’t so different no one understands. Someone’s had it even way worse and flourished. But I can only speak from my own experience and what I’ve been going through and what I believe is the secret sauce to thrive in those dark periods of time. I have learned to accept that this will always be part of my life. But instead of getting sucked down into these dark holes, I welcome them and I see them as my teachers.
3 countries and 8 cities later, I look back and tell myself: The dots most definitely connected and I am so fucking grateful and thankful that all these things happened to me. Because if not, I would most likely not be sitting here, writing you this text and be doing what I love and what I’m most passionate about!
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS AND WHY DO WE SHARE THIS?
After working together with so many clients, in person and online, our purpose in life has become more clarified. Combining it with the all the experience of our own struggles and battles, our plant medicine journeys and our big passion of helping other people, is what got us here today. We want to help people find the happiest and healthiest versions of themselves by focusing on our 4 core pillars as the foundation. There are so many people out there that are suffering so much, both openly and in silence. Having that effect on helping these people overcome their struggles and to thrive in life, is for us the most valuable currency there is.
Why do we share all this? The more honest and vulnerable we become to you, hopefully the more honest and vulnerable you become to us. And there’s where we believe we can help you.