Oct 10, 2015

About

Hey, thanks for stopping by to get to know me a little better… up close and personal.

Who is Helyn anyway? I’ve been asking myself that question for decades now. When I find out, I’ll let you know! 🙂 Seriously, though, isn’t it weird writing about yourself? Even though I am a writer by trade (one of my far too many trades), I find it somewhat narcissistic to write a bio. But here goes…

I was born in New York City and raised on Long Island. No, I don’t have a New York accent. I think I lost it somewhere in upstate New York, where I attended a small, private college on my way to becoming a large animal vet (horses were my greatest love). Got my AAS degree and stopped the higher education there. Life was way too interesting elsewhere…

I had a brief stint as a musician (guitar and vocals) after college and tiptoed around the 1980s punk rock music scene in Manhattan. That was interesting alright. But so not me. Shortly after, I was offered and accepted a job in Florida at the posh horse farm where I did my college internship. After being an assistant trainer to one of the “greats” of show jumping, I realized I would never make any money in the horse business at that particular echelon, so I dove into my second career of choice: hairstyling. That lasted for over 20 years, on and off. I had two of my own salons and I loved the business—and most of all the people I serviced. In between all of that I was a chiropractic office manager, a veterinary technician, a chemical water testing laboratory technician and a cancer research lab technician. Then I began writing, published two books of poetry and was suddenly caught up in the glamorous whirlwind of Hollywood as an aspiring screenwriter (among hundreds of thousands of other dreamers). I have five completed feature-length scripts that are still waiting to find their homes on the big screen. But alas, L.A. was not for me. I hate earthquakes and I’m a country girl at heart, dammit! So I moved back to Florida and took up freelance writing to pay the bills in between more hairstyling gigs.

 Segueing into nutrition, I began eating a macrobiotic diet and became absolutely fascinated with how food affects our health. I read everything I could get my hands on and came away with what I would consider a self-earned, self-taught degree in health and wellness. Then, life happened. Literally. I had a child. This period of my life was the most exhausting, most rewarding and most exhilarating of all. My son was, and still is, the greatest joy of my life. I stayed at home with him until he was three years old. What did this entrepreneurial-spirited woman do to fill all of those at-home hours after having been a business owner, horse trainer, hairstylist, writer and musician? I watched Food Network TV, of course. And I learned how to cook. Baking became a downright obsession. I started a little home-based business selling cheesecakes and gourmet cookies. It didn’t last long, because it got too big! I would have had to open a commercial kitchen and there just wasn’t time for that much commitment outside of raising my son.

But my love of the kitchen, stove, oven and all things culinary did not stop. I was enthralled with creating recipes and perfecting food on the plate. Fast forward to my son’s pre-teen years and I realized that we needed to make a change. I didn’t like the future that I saw on the horizon. Too much commercialism was seeping into our lives. I wanted the best for him, so I had taken a job at a private school in order for him to attend—free tuition for staff members’ children (career number 3,721 or so it seemed). I was a single parent by then and for most of his childhood. Anyway, at this very exclusive, private school, there were very exclusive, private students (a.k.a. wealthy). So now the game became; who has the best skateboard (ahem, can we say $160 for a skateboard?), who has the nicest iPod? ($70), the coolest skating shoes? ($90), the newest X-Box? ($250), whose parents drive the best cars? WHAT? Yes, it got that bad. 

my gorgeous son, all grown up!
 So I sold my hair salon (yes, I did that too, while working at the school), scooped up my little guy and rolled off into the sunset to a private, wilderness boarding school in rural New Mexico. There, my son found himself. Without TV’s, video games or iPods. Without designer shoes or fancy cars. We had nature. We had the vast starry sky and the enchantment of the high desert. We had horses, goats and pigs. We had a true group. It was a godsend.
After having worked in the executive strata at his other school, I was placed as the Registrar but guess what? I eventually found my way into the kitchen. No, you can’t keep me away! I was responsible for feeding the students and staff, learned how to operate a commercial kitchen and how to meal plan and cook for a large, diverse and demanding crowd. It was challenging but I was at home in that little kitchen. Of course, I was. 
“my” kitchen at the school
 Are you still with me? Gawd, I am rambling now I guess. I hope I haven’t bored you to death with my life story. Well, here I am, still the country girl at heart and living in the spectacular Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. It’s heaven on earth. I also found the love of my life! He’s my daily inspiration and greatest fan. We’ve been eating plant-based, whole foods for almost three years and there’s no turning back. What started as a commitment to achieving better health for us both has become a lifestyle of the greatest kind. Eating nutrient-dense foods has literally saved my life.
me and my man on the Appalachian Trail
 I prefer hiking boots to high heels, gardening to manicures and a simple, quiet life, free of drama. Besides cooking and blogging I love my two kitties, exploring the mountains with my sweet man, thrift store shopping, and working on home improvement projects. My family is the fiber of my soul. I love them unconditionally, infinitely and eternally.

When I was two years old, I wanted to be a nurse. So that I could help people. I hope, in some small way, that I am fulfilling that childhood dream of helping others live a healthier, happier life by sharing my plant-strong recipes and nutritional education with my readers.  

keepin’ in simple
 
 
 

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