Horses are my passion, safe-zone and a vital part of my life. Ever since I got my first horse, when I was nine years old, I knew horses would always be a part of my life...if I had a say in it, anyway. My horse became my best friend and the time I spent with her became my safe-haven; the place I always felt like I could just be me, the place I could go when difficult times occurred, the place that helped get me through difficult teenage years. When I turned fifteen, I was offered an internship after participating in a horsemanship clinic I attended. I couldn't believe that I had been offered an opportunity to further my passion for working with horses...one step closer to my "would-be dream job!" The following summer I began my internship spending nearly every weekend there. As the summer wore on, however, I noticed I was having some health issues that gradually kept getting worse, eventually preventing me from going to my "job." Several different doctor appointments and diet changes later, the doctors and psychologists at the Mayo Clinic came to the conclusion that the majority of my physical symptoms, identified with P.O.T.S. symptoms, were a result of major mental stress...I also found out that I am lactose-intolerant. The environment I had so longed to be a part of had become toxic, severely damaging my self-confidence. My body was reacting physically to the negative environment I was in and I was unable to finish the last part of my internship. So, a very long and hurtful story later, and after being offered an actual training job for the same facility the following summer, I made the tough decision to decline. I must interject that these types of facilities are few and far between my home which added to my hesitance to give up. Although difficult to walk away, I felt such a relief afterward. Now, almost three years later, I can gladly say that it was the best decision of my life. I was offered a new opportunity working with horses closer to home. This new trainer has helped me grow even more as a rider and trainer...and even more than that, she has helped me to restore my confidence.
As a result of my experiences during this time, the one diet that helped me to feel better was the Keto diet...a dairy-free version. Despite the fact that my issues weren't related to food allergies...aside from dairy, the sheer knowledge I accumulated about nutrition after all the research I did regarding grain, sugar, and GMO foods, I chose to stay on the Keto diet. Being on-the-go a lot, and frustrated to never find a grab & go snack that would fit my diet choice, I began to play around with our limited pantry of ingredients and ended up creating some delicious Keto snacks. Because of my love of creating new Keto recipes and creating new, delicious flavors, my mom encouraged me to start Abba Gabba: the grain-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free (low-carb) snack business. I am in the process of building this new grab-n-go Keto snack business hoping to supply others who are looking for healthy, portable snacks.
To learn more about me, check out my blog at www.uniqueleonique.com