“I came to my kitchen to heal.”
I’m asked often how a Chef became a skincare formulator.
Working for almost 20 years as a professional chef, and understanding the power found in living foods and plants, I decided to leave the corporate workplace as a Research and Development Chef to pursue a career in holistic cooking and living. Having some health issues of my own, I began a journey of healing, discovery, and a founded new desire to create something reflective of myself. For several years, I’ve taken unnecessary chemicals out of my home and diet, which has aided to my recovery. I have also adopted a holistic lifestyle and diet, which I know makes me feel more energetic, balanced, and healthy. Soon I began replacing the products with hundreds of chemicals found in body care and skin care products inside the home, with non-toxic products that were safe for my family and animals. Soon this journey led to a business idea which became Bocanna skin. My dedicated to formulating skin care products, reflective of the quality standards, I’ve has gained throughout my professional career. Using my experience in both food and product development, my commitment is to bring you well researched and honest products, that I’m proud to use in my own home.
It takes guts to face yourself and make the changes your body is asking you to change and healing starts in the gut. Gut health is the key to health.
Often I’m asked how a Chef became a skincare formulator.
For myself, it was a natural extension of my cooking abilities, and food is deeply personal for me. I grew up in central Texas and spent part my childhood on a small farm and at my grandmother’s cattle ranch. One of my best friends was our pet pig Wilber and many of the other animals that lived with us on the farm. Growing up respecting food and the earth it comes from, it most naturally seemed right for me to become a Chef. I always say food chose me because I’m still chasing the next best dish. I have spent the last 20 years as a professional Chef chasing my food dreams and learning more about my craft every day.
I started my professional career as a Pastry Chef after culinary school. In 2008 I was scouted by one of the largest food companies in the world to work on some products for their snack line. I spent almost ten years with this company, making consumer products found in everyday grocery stores and chain restaurants around the world. My time as a corporate formulator working with food scientists and chemists in a laboratory-type setting or extensive manufacturing facilities was eye-opening. This window into the processed food industry had given me a unique perspective on what was really inside of our consumer foods. I was in deep, and I was sick, both mentally and physically.
During this time, I was in my late twenties, and my health issues lasted through my mid-late thirties. My body had changed from the once young, vibrant Chef, to a beaten and aching shell with the love of food fading out, and food sensitivities adding up. In hindsight, I wish I could have made all the changes I needed, overnight. It took me seven years to reclaim my health, but I know that the journey was necessary so that I would keep the lifestyle changes.
I’ve never had a proper diagnosis or consulted with my doctor except to get an MRI of my back after years spent in agony, from an old kitchen injury. My stomach was always upset, and I felt lethargic, irritable and my sex drive was in park. Eating anti-acids barely helped and I had inflammation and chronic pain throughout my body. The gentlest massage on my shoulders felt like someone was cramming a rod through my body. Electric shocks shot through my left shoulder and down every single vertebra from an old injury that occurred many years ago in the kitchen. I looked hard at many factors on what to change, and I knew I could not lose the weight in a gym. I already had a physical job where I stood twelve hours a day. I had no physical energy to rough it on a machine while people stared at me. So, I started researching my symptoms, and I felt that I had candida overgrowth. I began flushing sugar out of my life, and once I conquered sugar, well, getting rid of the remaining problem foods was like icing on the cake! It wasn’t easy; in fact, doing a sugar flush is one of the worst experiences you can go through. As a chef, I threw a fit, and I felt no way a gourmand artisan should limit their palate.
Nevertheless, I stuck to a strict ketogenic diet for 90 days. I’m not going to lie; it was awful for me. I could not eat any more meat or cheese. My body wanted living foods, and after the 90 days, I introduced natural sugars and living foods back to my diet. Living foods are primarily fruits, vegetables, starches, beans, and whole-grain bread. I fully embraced a living foods diet minus the refined carbohydrates and dairy that the ketogenic diet removed. I also brought back maple syrup, honey, and molasses. When I am extra hangry for a sweet snack, I dip a big soup spoon into the jar of honey and eat it just like that. I also had to start the healing process of internal struggles, which accounted for much of my stress eating, which I have found through yoga and meditation. Through this holistic approach to living, it has caused me to begin the process of cleaning up every aspect of my life. From what I eat, to what I clean my home with, what I feed my animals and loved ones, what I put in or on my body, to what I allow in my home and mind, holistic living has captivated me. I am forever a student in healing.
I am also a firm believer in the earth and the precious gifts it freely gives. I believe in the healing power of plants, and we have barely tapped into their complex healing abilities. Addressing my diet was the first step, and its always evolving for the better. My kitchen pantry and refrigerator became very foreign to my old ways, now reflecting something like my great-great grandmother’s.
I began removing processed foods, chemicals, dyes, and fragrances from my home. It started in stages, and I continue to seek more natural ways to eliminate chemical exposure from my life as much as possible. These chemicals act as hormone disrupters, and once I removed them, I felt better and reclaimed more of my health by doing so! Creating my skincare line came very naturally to my journey to living a clean, more holistic life.
Bocanna skin was created from a desire to create a personal skincare line with ingredients I could find in my home pantry. I’ve spent several years perfecting my line, and I’m finally ready to share it with other people. I love that I can use the standards from 2 decades as a Chef, to make a strong foundation, based on honest and transparent processes. I love to work with local farmers and partners by crafting relationships of trust and mutual respect for our earth.
I know that my journey needs to be shared, and I wanted to help others find their path to wellness. I also believe the food movement and wellness movement are hand in hand. I wanted to support a sustainable and renewable future, full of rich agriculture, responsible farming, and fields full of flowers.
Living foods are the key to a healthy gut. This is a living plant that is grown organically in rich soil outside and animals that are fed organic, primitive diets.