Living the Carbohydrate life.
I was born and raised in Long Island, New York, one hour outside the hustle and bustle of New York City. The greatest influences I had growing up were from my Catholic Italian grandparents who lived around the corner from us and brought the whole family together for big pasta dinners on Sunday afternoon.
Holidays included black and white cookies from the local deli, Friday nights always meant pizza, birthdays were Pizza Frite (fried dough with salt and sugar), and weekends were for bagels.
Food was a huge part of my life and was the context for bringing people together.
In time, all those delicacies and carbohydrates began to catch up with me. By the time I left for college, I was carrying 20 extra pounds, my skin was red and inflamed, and I felt more like a prisoner in my body than using it as an outward expression for the vitality and vibrancy I held inside.
I TRIED to do the right thing in college.
In college, I became a vegetarian in an effort to get my health back on track and gain control of my body and appetite. I moved away from any meat products and filled my diet with whole grain, low-fat cereal, salads, veggie wraps, granola bars, frozen yogurt, vegetarian hot pockets, and a whole lot of diet soda.
At the time I honestly did believe I was being healthy but I was eating a highly processed, refined and acidic diet. My health deteriorated.
I reconnected to my body & spirit in San Diego.
It was 4 years later, when I moved to San Diego, that I started making shifts towards a healthier vegetarian diet.
In order to curb the continued sugar cravings, I decided to go vegan assuming I just wasn’t extreme enough, and that if I took all animal products out of my diet, I would finally reach this epic place of health and vitality that I wanted so bad.
As a vegan, I initially saw huge benefits in my health; I felt connected to my body in a way I never had before. I was predominately eating food from the Earth and this allowed me to recognize what my cravings were – instead of sugar I realized I was actually craving high quality fat, water, a walk, a friend to talk to, or a list of other things my body (or heart) was asking for. I developed a deep and connected relationship with my body and I could hear the messages clearly.
I truly had an experience with knowing that my body can only perform based off the quality of food I choose to fuel it with.
As a vegan, I lost the college weight, my skin began to glow, my spiritual practices were deeper, and I went from a love/hate relationship with my body to a love/love relationship. It was incredible.
During this time, I was living and working within the realm of personal development and I began to connect with my spirit and higher self in an entirely new way. I started to ask myself questions about what kind of impact I wanted to make on the world and those around me, what inspired and excited me, and began to take powerful steps in the direction of my dreams.
I found my purpose in India.
In this place of body connection, I felt strong enough to embark on one of my lifetime dreams, a 3-month journey around India to dip in the Ganges River, explore the Taj Mahal, eat the most authentic Indian food I could get my hands on, and spend weeks immersed in yoga ashrams chanting and moving my body.
During part of my journey, I volunteered in a reforestation village where we lived by the cycle of the sun, only ate the food we grew there, and lived in community sharing my life with other people committed to the path of wellness, travel, and personal transformation.
Part of my job in the community was to help run the kitchen and feed the 30+ people who lived there. I left India crystal clear that my life’s work was to share Real Food from the Earth and Mindful Living with as many people as possible.
I created vibrant health in Austin, Texas.
After returning from my trip through India (and a couple month stint in Italy – yes, I was “Eat, Pray, Loving it,”) I moved to Austin and began working with a whole food nutrition company.
While my spirit was full and expressed through my journey, my body was back where I had began back in New York; puffy and inflamed with lackluster skin. The vegan diet I held so close to my heart wasn’t serving me anymore.
But I had a belief, that in order to meditate, do yoga, and live a spiritually focused life, I had to be a vegan or vegetarian.
An herbalist and nutritionist who I worked with took one look at me on my first day on the job and said, “you need animal protein & fat, NOW.” I gave her all the reasons why I was against adding meat back in but at the end of the conversation her scientific explanations won me over.
In 2012, I decided to reintroduced high-quality, locally sourced animal protein and more fat than I ever thought was “safe” to eat. The effects were instant.
Within 2 days, I felt strong and grounded in a way I hadn’t felt in many years. I felt like all the energy literally drained from the constant swirl around my head and flowed evenly throughout my body; my head was clear and alert.
I felt as though I had the ability to take on more in my life because I had the fortitude, strength, and clarity to step out powerfully into the world.
By adding in high-quality fat, removing all forms of gluten, and living with a plant-focused diet instead of plant-only diet, I felt satiated in an entirely new way – I actually felt full and could walk away from food without thinking about it for another 3-5 hours. I remember going years and years as a vegetarian feeling constantly hungry because of all the carbohydrates in my diet.
It was like coming back to life again; I felt energized and invigorated.
Today, I share Real Food & Mindful Living with the world. Making it crystal clear that there is no one-size fits all. I work with my clients around the concept of bio-individuality and get to the core of what will best serve their body and spirit.
I travel the world with my love, Ross O Brown, sweet dog Maddie, and our son, Cruz. I have made it my life’s work to make a healthy, mindful lifestyle the norm. Working with individuals to bring them to a place of healing is my passion and purpose.
The first thing I did with this new level of health, energy, and vitality was commit to sharing it with as many people as possible. I launched my website, www.carlyshankman.com, in May 2013 and 1 month later, I released my signature cleanse program, 12-Days to Sexy. I essentially wrote down EXACTLY what I did and what I ate to create vibrant health. This was the very first version.
The program has gone on to create a life of it’s own touching and supporting the lives of hundreds of people to reduce cravings, lose weight, reconnect to their body and spirit, find a like-minded tribe, and help clear their skin.
Does eating healthfully take some effort?
Yes. But it takes some effort to feel crappy too.
Today, I follow a plant-focused Real Food diet. I simply follow the guidelines that work for me and discard the ones that don’t.
I have a deep and respectful relationship with my body which allows me to listen to the cues and cravings to know how best to fuel and service my temple.
I do want to let it be known that I see true value in the detoxification properties of a vegan or vegetarian diet. This is the exact reason why there is no animal protein on the first 6-days of my whole food online cleanse program, 12 Days to Sexy.
I believe that if you want to look good, you have to feel good first. My work is a blend of grounded, results-driven, real food nutrition, taught through self-love & self-care practices to create the most radiant and vibrant version of you.
I have a dream that all people will have access to food that serves and empowers them, that we will create space in our life for quiet and reflection, and that we will all lead our lives from a heart centered place in alignment with our passions and purpose.
I have a dream.
Will you join me?
I invite you to join me HERE & experience the magic!