I’ve never been much for cooking. I mean, I can make meals happen, but let’s just say that pots and pans are not my best friends. And life is moving so fast, keeping us all so busy, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about coming up with recipes and cooking “healthy” food for the family.
That’s why Liz Conlin’s story is so intriguing.
She didn’t grow up dreaming about becoming a personal chef. She actually set out to become a real estate agent. But when she graduated college in 2007, it wasn’t exactly the best time to dive into becoming a real estate agent. So she decided to learn the “other side” of the industry and became a loan originator. She ended up staying in the mortgage industry for almost 10 years before leaving to work for a smaller Texas bank, where she met an awesome mentor.
Everything was great, except she didn’t feel fulfilled.
That’s when she accidentally stumbled upon the Personal Chef industry while researching last-minute weight loss strategies to try to win a weight loss competition at work. She knew of Private Chefs, like in the movies, but had no idea that Personal Cheffing was even a “thing.” She immediately started researching and calculating numbers to see if this was even a viable option. A few months later, she was on a plane, headed to San Diego for a two-day seminar on building a business as a Personal Chef. That was May 2015. She turned in her notice by October, interviewed, and trained the new “Liz” for a few months, and was out of there by Christmas.
Voila! Fridgefull Thinking was born.
She shared her new website on Facebook and had clients within a couple of weeks. Everything was going great until she woke up with one swollen knuckle February 9th. And then for weeks, she woke up with stiffness and pain in different fingers. The pain was getting more severe, and her obsessive Googling wasn’t doing her anxiety any favors. Certain her doctor would calm her down, he instead recommended she see a Rheumatologist. It took months to get an appointment. Meanwhile, she was exhausted and in chronic pain. She dropped pots, pans, and other heavy items. She was having a hard time doing anything that required gripping, like opening jars, holding a knife, or using a vegetable peeler. She was finally diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation to the joints and to other areas of the body as well.
The timing seemed terrible, but it turned out to be just right.
Liz is so grateful that this diagnosis came at a time when she could make her own hours, and more importantly, make her own food. She successfully completed her own elimination diet this past February, one year after her symptoms first surfaced. She cannot imagine what life would have been like working a stressful job while dealing with this diagnosis. She and her husband Troy, eat healthier than ever before. Bonus! Not only has her pain diminished, but her skin has cleared up, she’s nearly 30 pounds lighter than she was when she quit the mortgage industry, and she’s finally in control of her stress and health.
Business is booming.
She still cooks for one of her very first customers, and pretty much stays booked all the time. She’s helped people complete elimination diets, Whole30 and Autoimmune Paleo. Word spread quickly that she could cook allergy-friendly food and handle elimination and other special diets. The only way to grow at this point was to cook for more than one client per day, which she has recently started doing with the help of an assistant. But she couldn’t possibly make room in her schedule to cook for all of us.
So Liz is going to teach a cooking class at our upcoming GNO In The Kitchen!
There, she’ll tell us more about her story, answer questions, and give us guidance and ideas on how to take simple steps to incorporate healthier ingredients into some of the recipes we’re already making. Liz is like one giant ball of brilliance, joy and fun, wrapped up in a beautiful girl with a giant heart. The first time we spoke, there was NO doubt, she is a HeartStories Sister, to the core. (Seeing her dance at the GNO Birthday party was certainly proof of that!)
Most of all, I hope Liz’s story encourages you to keep going.
Keep looking for the the good that can be made from whatever is going on in your current circumstance.
Wonderful things happen when you keep cooking up life, with love.
to more love,
(top) featured image cred: Krista McDaniel