Frog Killer To Fiercely Compassionate Animal Advocate and Health Educator

I overcame being raised in a violent home, with a father who was schizophrenic, to published author, speaker and business owner. From a time when being raised on a farm meant chicken butchering days were mandatory to being an advocate for the ethical treatment for all animals. And from sugar addict to healthy, whole-food vegan and health coach. My life has been a wild ride but it’s been worth it. 

I want you to know the real me rather than just list what I have accomplished over the years. The one behind the strong smile, education, experience and fiery passion for inspiring people to gain better health and happiness.

My family and close friends have watched me have success in my career. They have also seen me fall to my knees to a point lower than I thought I could come back from. This is my story. I hope it gives you some insight to who I am and why I have chosen a career in helping people understand the benefits of eating a plant-based diet and health and wellness enhancement.

February 7, 1977 – A New Aquarian Is BornMom Dad And Baby Rachel

I was born to Shelley May Goldbeck and Garth Lorne Olsen in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. These two young parents, 18 and 19 years old, had no idea the little devil that they had just spawned. Just kidding… I was a great child. The one thing my mother would say was that I was very stubborn and liked to live by my own rules, which is still true to this day. 

I had the run of the place until my little sister, Harmoni Gari Olsen was born two and a half years later. I can see from pictures that I loved her very much and was a great big sister…until our teenage years then I wasn’t so nice all the time. 

I had a great family. My father’s parents, Grandma and Grandpa Olsen, were like our second parents. We spent a lot of time with them and loved every minute of it. There was nothing like going to grandma and grandpas house. My mother’s grandma, Great Grandma Goldbeck, who was the same age as my dad’s mom, was also a big influence in our lives. They are all dearly missed. 

As a young child I loved animals, especially cats, dogs and horses. I would bring stray cats home to my grandma’s house all the time. Wrap them in blankets and carry them around the house. 

One video my family loves is one of me playing with a cat in my mother’s garden. This was after my Grandpa Olsen, who was baby-sitting me, was explicitly told by my mother to not let me play in the garden (apparently I liked to do that). I love that he let me do it anyway because the video is something to be cherished, shows the love I had for animals even at a young age and how I was destined to help people find compassion and love in their hearts for all living things both human and non-human.

Grandma and Grandpa Goldbeck, my mother’s parent’s, raised and raced horses so I definitely got my love of horses from them. I was on my first horse at their farm when I was only two years old and loved to ride and work with them. I will share that story later. 

Happy Times Turn Into A Nightmare

When I was about six years old my father, a Grade 10 Royal Conservatory pianist and piano tuner, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. This would change our lives, as we knew it, forever. 

This diagnosis was scary for everyone. My dad had no idea what was going on and neither did anyone else. The doctors didn’t really know how to treat, or deal with, mental disorders back then; therefore, placed my father on a variety of drugs to test and see which ones worked the best. Some worked ok while others seemed to make him worse. 

We spent much of my childhood visiting him in the mental ward at a variety of hospitals feeling very uncomfortable. We didn’t know dad anymore. He was very unstable, would scream at nothing, be happy, then be sad and become violent within seconds. 

I very clearly remember a couple of horrifying incidences that I am sure traumatized me as a child and have effected me well into adulthood. 

One incident I can remember quite clearly was when my dad got into one of his violent episodes. He would grab chairs and throw them through the large glass windows of our house. The only thing my little sister and I could do was hide behind the large stereo speakers my parents had in the living room waiting for our mom to calm him down or other help to come.

I would do my best to stay strong in hopes of helping my sister be less scared.  I would reassure her that everything was going to be ok even though I didn’t know what would happen. To this day, I remain the strong one as much as I can to protect her and anyone else who needs help. It’s interesting how childhood events shape us into the adults we are. 

I am confident that it is because of this experience that I have chosen a career in coaching. A coach is someone that is there to help guide you, make you feel safe and secure and to lead you in the right direction, which I did for my sister often during those scary times.

The second incident was I came home from school one day only to find all of my favourite records, one being the Mini Pops, had been burned. My dad had gone on a rampage and torched everything he thought was related to the Devil. I was heartbroken and remember crying while my mom tried to console me. As a kid I didn’t understand why he would do that but as an adult I know he couldn’t help it. He was sick. 

Because my dad was very ill we spent a lot of time at my Grandma and Grandpa Olsen’s place. My mom thought it was best that we stay away from my dad as much as possible during those times. Unfortunately, dad’s sickness was very hard on my mom and it threatened our safety. She made the tough choice to get a divorce. I think this decision was really hard on my mom and likely effects her to this day. She was very religious at the time and did not believe in divorce but I think she knew if she stayed she’s be placing us, and herself, in more danger. So she left. 

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working with many people who have a hard time letting go of the past and old belief patterns that are no longer serving them. Although I’ve had to go through my share of loss I believe it’s these experiences that allow me to help others let go of the old and embrace new and better things for their lives.

The Frog Killing Incident

We lived on an acreage until I was about 12 or so in a house my mother built. I am not exactly sure where my dad went at that time to live but I know he was in and out of the hospital a lot. 

We were lucky to stay on the the acreage for awhile where we had cats, a dog, chickens and horses. I loved living on that acreage and to this day love being in nature with animals. 

Anyone who has grown up in, or been around, farm life knows the hard work that comes with it. Since my mom was now single we had to learn how to do many chores around the yard. 

My mom had a huge garden and so weed duty was critical. I didn’t appreciate that garden back then but I would sure love to have it now. 

To keep the animals safe, and the yard looking clean, fences were built and needed to be painted. Painting seemed to be a kids duty. I remember countless hours dipping the brush into the paint and slathering it on each board making it as perfect as possible. 

One day while painting, I saw a frog. He was just sitting there minding his own business when I took a piece of hard straw, which I loved to chew on, and stabbed him in the back. I picked him up, watched him kick until he died. 

I think about that now and I am horrified that I would even do that! What would make a child do something so heartless to a living thing and not think anything of it? My theory is, that on the farm animals’ lives were not always thought of like our own. They were food or a level beneath us when it came to priorities. If there was a choice between feeding a litter of puppies or us the puppies would go. 

Each year it was mandatory that we participate in chicken butchering. We were forced to watch the chicken’s get their heads cut off and flop around until their hearts stopped. Watching their little bodies being dipped in hot water so we could pluck their feathers and pull their guts out does something to the psyche that I don’t think is healthy. 

Even as child I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of doing this and I remember pleading with my mom to not make me do it but it was just what we had to do to eat. 

I am very thankful that I no longer have to participate in these days even though my mom and grandparents still continue this ritual. However, the experience taught me to respect life no matter what and that it can be easily taken away. 

This is why I love to inspire my clients to upgrade their thoughts to a more positive level. Love themselves and others as much as they can and respect all living things.

The Terrible TeensHarmoni, Rachel & Shane

When I was 13 years old, my grandfather (dad’s dad) passed away. I remember immediately vomiting when I got this news. Grandpa Olsen was the best man I had ever had in my life. He kept me safe when I was scared, took us for pop and donuts at the Co-op and loved us more than anything.

For many years I felt like his death was my fault because I had encouraged him to go to the hospital to get help. He hadn’t been feeling well for quite sometime and no matter what my Grandma Olsen or parents would say he wouldn’t’ go. Then one day I said, “grandpa, maybe you should go to the hospital,” he went. He died of pneumonia shortly after that. 

It was well known by my family that I was his favourite. I am not sure why but I loved it. One day when I was just old enough to write I had taken a key and scribed my initials, R.J.O. into the side of his brand new car. He was furious when we saw that his paint was scratched and wondered who was responsible for it. My grandma showed him the initials and he knew who it was immediately. My grandma told me that if it would have been anyone else they would have been in big trouble but all he did was say to me, “it’s ok honey, just don’t do it again.” Until the day he died he left those initials in his car. 

I miss that man so much. They don’t make them like him anymore. 

I believe losing my grandfather at that point in my life was when things started to go down hill.

I started to experiment with drugs when I was only 14 years old and did a little drinking, although booze was never really my thing. I started to date, and get in trouble with boys at about the same time. I even chose them over my horse (ugh). My mom sold my horse because I wasn’t taking care of her anymore. Boys and friends were more important. To this day this decision is one of my biggest regrets. 

Pistols And CoffeeI hated high school and got out of there with the minimum credits needed to graduate and went to work with my Grandma and Grandpa Goldbeck’s racehorses at the track when I was 17. I lived in dorm rooms at the end of the barns and was in horse heaven. I never liked how the horses were used for financial gain of the owners because they were just disposable commodities. However, my grandparents treated their horses very well and respected them as living beings; although they were still money makers. If they weren’t making money they were sold. 

The sad part is when I worked with these horses everyday I got to know their personalities. They were my friends. I could tell them anything and they would listen. Then one day they would be gone. I had to learn to let them go and become closed off to my emotions. 

After working with the horses for a couple of years, and having to work for trainers other than my grandparents, I decided it was time to move on from the track and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. 

My Journey Back To School

When I left the track I go at job working at a bar on the weekends. I met many new friends and learned how to really party. It was there that I met my first real long-term boyfriend. He was good man that often reminded me of my Grandpa Olsen. He was well-educated and encouraged me to go back to school. I thought this was probably a good idea. 

I enrolled in Alberta Vocational College, which is now Bow Valley College, took an aptitude test and was told I had to start back at a grade 10 level.  I couldn’t believe it but I agreed. I will never forget sitting in math 10 wondering if I would ever get through all of this again. Well, I did. Two years later I graduated with my matriculate diploma and on the honour roll. 

I was accepted to the University of Calgary pre-veterinarian program, which I think is really just a science based program that would qualify me for vet school.  I really wanted to be a vet because I loved animals so much. However, after failing my calculus midterm and spending time with a vet to see what it was really like I realized it was not for me. I couldn’t stand the thought of putting down an animal who was perfectly healthy and apparently vets are asked to do this often. 

I chose to then major in psychology. I thought psychology was a good idea because I was curious to learn more about my dad’s illness. I spent the rest of my time at the University taking psychology and a variety of other interesting courses. Although, about two years in I switched my focus to kinesiology where I majored in sport psychology. I didn’t think I’d want to be a psychologist, because there was too much school involved, but thought the sport side would be fun to learn more about the body. Little did I know then I would have a long-time career in this field helping people train and take care of their bodies to build strength, better health and independence.

My Career Begins

I graduated from the University of Calgary on the dean’s list in 2004 and was hired as a kinesiologist U Of C Grad Pictureby Alberta Health Services (AHS). I worked in a chronic disease management program for eight years. At the same time I started personal training at Spa Lady part-time and this began my two decade career as a trainer. 

While I was at AHS, I learned a lot about how to deal with chronic disease, the causes and treatment of each condition. What I found the most distressing was the fact that pretty much every one of the diseases my patient’s had were all lifestyle related. They were all preventable by just making healthy lifestyle choices. This sparked my further study in holistic nutrition and desire to train for bodybuilding competitions (I’ll share that story in a bit). 

Soon I wanted to expand my career and get into management. I was told that I would need have a Master’s In Business to even be considered for a management position. I gave this some thought consulted with friends and family about going back to school and decided it was a good idea. 

To keep costs down and be able to work while going to school I chose to get my degree with the University of Phoenix, which at the time had a campus in Calgary.  The classes were mainly online but we had to meet in the classroom every six weeks (the first day and last day of class). I met many wonderful people there and learned a lot about business. 

When I was about half way through my degree it became clear to me that getting a job in health care management was not something of interest to me. I did not do well with office politics and bureaucracy, which caused me so much stress that I was placed on two stress leaves by my doctor. I knew it was time to leave that job. 

I made the tough decision to leave the role and start my own health coaching practice. Financially, this was probably one of the worst decisions I made. However, I was happier. Over the years building a business was harder than expected but I was able to keep my head afloat for awhile. Besides, health coaching has always been a great passion. There is nothing more rewarding that helping someone go from a place of despair, feeling down because they are overweight and unhealthy to then helping that person take one step at a time towards better health and happiness. This not only allows by clients to feel a great sense of accomplishment but it brings me great joy to serve others in this way. 

When I graduated with a Master’s in Business I was on top of the world. I thought that everything was going my way, my big career or business income was sure to come. However, I had been personal training on and off at various studios around the city and still liked it. 

So, I thought I would keep doing that for awhile before getting serious about a new career in business. 

In the meantime, after breaking it off with a colleague who I had dated on and off for six years (which was another good reason to leave AHS), I started to date a man who was eight years younger than me. I encouraged him to get his personal training certification and we ended up working together until he suddenly chose to leave my life. 

My Journey To A Vegan Lifestyle

At this time, life seemed to be going quite well so I thought I would focus on my own health and getting my body to where I wanted it to be. I had never been comfortable in my own skin and always seemed to a be little overweight. 

Rachel-LoveTo get more serious about my training I decided to train for a figure competition. Figure is a division of bodybuilding that requires women to have a more natural physique. I knew a few people who were training for these types of events and was introduced to a trainer. Him and I became good friends and he helped me train my body for these competitions. The workouts were hard but I could do them. The problem was, I still struggling with energy due to my poor diet. I always thought I ate well but knowing what I know now I certainly did not. 

He put me on a typical bodybuilding diet that included lot of chicken or fish, minimal carbs and some sort of green veggie like broccoli or green beans. Everything had to be very bland and I couldn’t add sauce or seasonings due to the extra calories and salt. I followed the diet for a few months but found myself falling off the wagon and cheating more and more as time went on. He often questioned why my body wasn’t changing as fast as it should be but I said I didn’t know. 

Well, I did know. I wasn’t following his diet plan consistently. I had major sugar cravings that I succumbed to on a regular basis and struggled with binge eating when I was emotional. He soon figured out that I was struggling with an eating disorder and suggested I stop the diet until I could  get myself some help. I agreed. 

Things had gotten so bad I remember a time when I was extremely upset about a personal issue, came home and pretty much ate everything I could get my hands on. I was so full that I thought my stomach was going to burst. It was so bad I had to call in sick to work the next day. It was awful. I knew I had to get help. 

I started seeing a councillor for my body image and eating disorder issues. She helped me a lot. I started to find comfort in things other than food and began to develop a healthier relationship to food by learning to prepare more delicious and healthy meals.

During this time, I kept up with my workouts and thought I was ready to start training for another competition so back on the diet I went. After a couple of weeks of following the diet perfectly I noticed that I was severely bloated, I was breaking out in acne and my digestive flow had completely stopped. My trainer told me that this could be normal because there isn’t much fibre in the diet and suggested I take a laxative. I was not comfortable doing this but ended up having to give them a try. 

Not too long after this it was my mother’s birthday and we had a celebration filled with delicious food. I was allowed a cheat meal once a week so I stuffed myself with pork ribs amongst lots of other things. After this meal I became so sick I could hardly take it any more. My digestion completely shut down, I couldn’t go to the bathroom and I knew something was wrong. This was when I started to get serious about finding out what I could do to help my digestion feel better. 

I love to read, so in my quest for knowledge to enhance my health, I came across a book that started my transition to a plant-based lifestyle. This book is one that many people have heard about, “Eat Right For Your Type,” by Dr. Peter D’Adamo. It is one theory of nutrition among the sea of other theories. Dr. D’Adamo’s research shows that people with specific blood types process food differently that eating according to your blood type, A, B, O, or AB, will reduce inflammation, weight loss, and enhance overall health. I found this book intriguing and thought I would give it a try. What did I have to lose?

For my blood type, A, Dr. D’Adamo recommended a diet rich in plant-based foods and as close to vegetarian as possible. I decided to stop the bodybuilding diet again and give this a try. 

Red meat seemed to be the biggest culprit of digestive problems due to its slow digestion time. I immediately stopped eating red meat after learning that an individual with my blood type, A, has low stomach acid making digesting meat more difficult. That would explain why every time I tried the typical bodybuilding diet that was mostly meat protein I could not digest it and my digestion would shut down. 

At first I craved red meat, especially in the summer when my friends would fire up the barbecue and cook a filet mignon to perfection.  However, when I made the choice that feeling better was worth denying the fleeting satisfaction of tasting the meat it became much easier to stay away from it.

A couple of years after giving up red meat I realized that my digestive system was still not as healthy as I knew it could be. I continued to experience cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. So, I decided it was time to slowly cut out other animal products to see if this would make a difference. I soon gave up chicken and shortly after all poultry. For quite some time I continued to eat fish, eggs, and dairy yet my digestive problems persisted.

While in school for my MBA, I was fortunate enough to meet a psychologist, who eventually became my friend. Since we had developed a friendship, I discussed my digestive problems with him many times. He one day observed that I was suffering with stomach cramps after we had lunch and suggested that perhaps it was dairy that was causing my problems. 

Lactose and casein, two proteins in dairy, often cause symptoms like pain, cramping, and bloating in the digestive tract, which I experienced often after eating. I did not want to hear this and refused to believe his suggestion as dairy products, including cheese, yogurt, and milk chocolate, were among my favourite foods. 

Knowing how stubborn I was, he challenged me to cut out dairy for one week to see if it made any difference. Since I wanted to prove him wrong, I accepted his challenge and immediately cut out all dairy for what I thought would be only one week.

Within three days, my stomach and intestines felt noticeably better. I began to study the effects of dairy on the body and was shocked to find out that it causes mucus build-up and many other problems. Knowing that the issues dairy causes in the body are mostly due to the infection, pus, steroids and other toxins contained in the products from conventional farming methods I knew immediately I had to cut out dairy products forever to avoid the negative health effects. 

With hesitation, I admitted that my friend was right and thanked him for the suggestion. If it weren’t for his challenge I don’t think I could have cut out my favourite foods. 

After a few months I finally began to lose weight and see positive changes in my body composition. I was working out hard, felt great, and my stomach aches had diminished. I still experienced constipation and diarrhea on occasion but for the most part the regular pain was gone. I decided it was time to take my diet to the next level. 

As a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast, I had always been interested in the bodybuilding industry and I even trained for a couple of figure competitions. Sadly, due to my food and sugar addictions, and trouble digesting the vast amount of meat that seemed to be required, I was never able to lean out enough to stand on the stage. I knew going back to eating meat was not an option so I decided to try again as a vegetarian. 

I began to research vegetarian bodybuilders and coaches, which at the time proved to be harder than I expected. I eventually found a fitness pro in Toronto who was raw-vegan. A raw-vegan diet is one where all food is consumed raw or cooked at temperatures below 115 degrees Fahrenheit.  

After speaking with him I knew he would transform my body and help me lean out enough to stand on the stage and finally realize my goal as a figure competitor. 

I was still eating fish and eggs so he suggested that I cut those foods out of my diet and go completely vegan. I had always been curious about eating a diet that was 100% plant-based, or vegan, but I was not sure I knew enough about how to get the right balance of nutrients I needed to be healthy. He promised he would help make the transition easy and show me what I needed to know to be successful. To learn more about the various styles of vegetarianism , and benefits of going vegan, please read, “10 Terrific Reasons To Go Vegan.”

I quickly learned that many of the foods I was already eating such as spinach, kale, and other leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils were providing me with high amounts of protein and other essential nutrients. These plant-based foods proved to be easier to digest and were much more satisfying to me than animal based foods. 

Rachel Pre-Competition Bikini PictureOver the next four months, I lost about 25 pounds and was close to competition. My muscles were defined and I had the lowest percentage of body fat that I ever had in my life. Four weeks out from the stage my coach decided to place me on an all-juice fast, which he believed would help me lose the last little bit of fat I still carried in my belly and my glutes and legs. 

For ten days I juiced a variety of green vegetables and apples. This was one of the hardest things I had ever done in my life. Because food had always been comforting to me I missed the act of eating. My social life seemed to be slipping away and I became more and more unhappy. Although I was leaning out and losing more weight I continued to look in the mirror and hate what I saw. 

Two weeks from the big competition day I asked my coach if he thought I would be able to lose the last little bit of fat I still carried in my belly. From what he saw in my pictures he didn’t think I would be ready. So, even though I had worked so hard the last three and half months, had lost almost 30 pounds and was lean, I decided to quit.

Coming off of a juice fast and feeling like a failure threw me right back into my old habits. I started eating heavy foods too fast such as too many nuts and seeds, sugar and other junk food. It didn’t take long before all my hard work was gone. I was 25 pounds heavier again! Right back to where I had started! Then I knew my emotional eating, lack of self-love and self-esteem was still a big problem.

I had allowed my negative emotions and skewed view of my body to take over; however, I recognized the great benefits I saw over the previous few months of training. My digestion was improving and I had a lot more energy. Even though I would not step on the stage I knew that I would eat a plant-based diet for the rest of my life. So, I became a certified vegan nutritionist and chef to inspire others to take control of their own health and wellness. 

Eating a plant-based diet for health reasons is a great idea and one which I am so grateful to have found. However, being “vegan” was a different ball-game. 

When I decided to eat a plant-based for health it was easy at times to “cheat” and eat dairy once in awhile or eat fish at a friend’s place to not be rude. However, when I started doing my research on what it meant to be vegan this is when my life really changed. 

As I looked into how our meat is raised, slaughtered and presented to us for purchase I was horrified and extremely distressed. I had been raised on a farm where we butchered chickens, so I knew animals were killed for food,  but right up until the moment those chickens heads were quickly cut off they were well taken cared of and respected as living beings. 

I had no idea that factory farms were raising animals in horrific conditions and torturing them before slaughter. I also didn’t even think about where things like leather and fur come from. I watched a video of an animal being tortured and skinned alive for it’s fur and to this day it traumatizes me. It is something I will never get out of my head. 

I know it’s hard to hear this stuff. I get it. It’s hard for me too but we need to have this awareness and be responsible for how our actions effect others. This is why I wrote an article, “How To Vote With Your Dollars Without Compromising Your Values.” I had realized that by buying leather, down and fur products I was contributing to this suffering and it horrified me. I knew this could not happen any longer. 

Besides the horror that animals go through, I learned that factory farming has tremendous negative impact on the environment. Factory farming has been shown to one of the biggest contributors to climate change and pollution. The demand for land use is so high that agriculture is responsible for a large majority of rainforest destruction and fisheries harm other life in the oceans. 

So, being vegan for health reasons is definitely a great thing but when learning the truth behind this industry that cares for nothing else but money that sealed the deal for me. 

This is why I have chosen to dedicate my life to educating people on the benefits of eating a plant-based diet and living as a vegan; free of animal products. Many pf my clients are excited when they find out it’s not as hard as you might think and they always feel better when they make the switch.

My book, Going Meatless, was written with these clients in mind. It is a book that is dedicated to teaching people, step-by-step, how to become a healthy vegan.

Rachel And Pebbles In Park

Sometimes people ask, is there anything that would get you to eat meat again? What if you were starving to death? And my solid, confident answer is NO. Because eating animals is more of a harm then benefit to health, environment and animals I see absolutely no reason to ever eat the stuff again. If it came down to eating meat or die…you could probably guess which one I would choose. 

Every day I look at my dog. She is a sweet, loving little being who has just as much right to live and be properly cared for as any other animal. In my eyes, she is no different that a cow, pig, chicken, lamb or goat, because they are also smart, sentient beings. 

From On Top Of The World To Rock Bottom

Rachel In Kitchen With Vitamin
Photo Credit: Sonja Kae Pictures

Now that I had learned everything I had about living a vegan lifestyle I wanted to share this with others. Over the past few years I have written books, including Morgan’s Journey, The Magic Of Living Nutrition and Going Meatless, to help educate the public on the benefits of living without meat and the use of animals products. Since then, I have fully committed my life to this cause. Although it has come with many ups and downs. 

I was in the midst of re-building my business and was learning from top coaches. I had a fiancé who I was about to marry. Life was good. Until one day it changed on a dime. 

My fiancé and I were really good friends before we started dating. We dated for four years and I thought it was going pretty well. Of course, like any couple we had our struggles but I didn’t think it was anything to be worried about. Everything would work out just fine. 

Then one day, he came home, sat me down, looked me in the eye and point blank said, “Rachel, I don’t want to marry you. I no longer love you and haven’t for at least six months. I just didn’t know how to tell you. I’m moving out.” 

Just like that he moved out the next day. Completely out of my life. It was like someone took a dagger through my heart and moved it around a few times. I remember countless nights on the phone to my mom, or in my bed, screaming at the top of my lungs asking why this would happen. He was my best friend, the love of my life. Or so I thought. 

This personal trauma was more than I could take. I completely shut down, could barely hold it together let alone focus on a business. I had to move out of, and sell, my condo and live in my sisters basement.  My business, which was barely off the ground anyway, was quickly forgotten about. I was done. I could hardly go on. 

To top it off I was in an extreme amount of debt, over $100,000, that had accumulated from school and business investments. I was barely keeping my head above water with the minimum payments. I had no choice but to claim consumer proposal, only one step away from bankruptcy. 

This was one of the biggest blows to my ego. I had always taken pride in being able to pay my bills on time and having great credit. However, after speaking to a finance professional I knew that if I stayed on this path I would die before paying off my debt. Little did I know this painful experience was going to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. 

The Road Back To Happiness

Rachel And Kyle In Granville IslandFor two years I lived with my sister, and my mother who moved in shortly after I did to recover after her breakup with my step-dad, before I was able to get into my own place. 

During this time I was very grateful for my sister who allowed me to stay with her for a fraction of what rent would have cost my in my own place and she gave me the emotional support I needed to recover. I found a new job, teaching students how to be personal trainers, to help get me back on my feet and soon begin to rebuild my coaching practice. I took a yoga certification and began teaching fitness and yoga classes to make a little extra money. 

I met a wonderful man, who I live with today, who has helped me regain confidence in not only myself but also men. He is also vegan and as much of an animal lover as I am. Together we support each other in our personal and professional endeavours and have a great love and respect for one another. 

I have now been in the health and wellness profession for over 20 years and helping people gain better health and happiness is still my biggest passion. I am lucky to spend my days teaching fitness and yoga classes while building my online blog and business and am more financially stable than I ever have been in my entire life. 

I inspire hundreds of people, online and offline, to upgrade their health with plant-based food and physical activity and to live a more compassionate vegan, and environmentally friendly, lifestyle. 

Rachel Head Shot
Photo credit: Sonja Kae Photography

When I am not inspiring others, I love to go on long walks and cuddle with my dog, spend time outdoors, watch movies, with my loved ones, workout, practice yoga, meditate, read inspiring and educational material and write books and articles.

I truly believe that the low points in our life shape us to be the person we are meant to be. If it wasn’t for my positive and negative experiences I would never be able to help people the way I help them now and I am grateful for that. My hope is that you can look back on your experiences and feel the same way. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope that I have inspired you in some way to make some positive change in your life and believe that all things are possible.

I would greatly appreciate if you took a quick moment to support my blog by subscribing and continue on this journey of inspiration, upgraded knowledge, health and compassion. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me anytime. 

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With much love,


Rachel Joy Olsen, BSc. MBA

Author, Blogger, Health & Wellness Coach