As human beings, we get to CHOOSE. We get to choose to live the way we want.  We can choose health, happiness and gratitude, or we can choose to make unhealthy choices, ruminate on painful pasts and live in a victim mentality. That is a small example of choices we encounter every moment. We have the beautiful gift of CHOICE, What will you choose?

The path to being Holistically Healthy means choosing actions that will enhance our well being, paying attention to the Trinity of Health, The Mind, Body and Spirit. When you hear, “you are what you eat” it does not necessarily apply only to food, it can be anything you feed yourself, your thoughts, your actions, your choice of entertainment, and the friends you choose to spend time with. Are these choices enhancing your life, or holding you back? What is keeping you from fulfilling your greater destiny?

The Universal law of attraction tells us we will attract the things into our life that we think about and focus on. If this is true, what are you attracting? What do you want to attract? Being in gratitude and focusing on our blessings will  attract more of what we want, we attract more abundance.  This is not to say we don’t encounter challenges, but we learn from those challenges and we Thank The Universe for this lesson and  move on.






Negative or positive, opposite signs

I think every person struggles with negative thoughts and behaviors at one time or another, some more than others.  I would be lying if I said that I didn’t.  I actually have to work pretty hard at keeping negativity at bay and choosing to look at the positive in any given situation.

I have fallen victim to self-defeating habits in my life.  I made a decision 3 years ago to stop drinking alcohol. I have just over 3 years of sobriety.  It sure took me a long time to realize my coping tool wasn’t working for me the way I believed it was. I fooled myself for many years into thinking I was “managing” my stress when I drank! I wasn’t an everyday drinker, I didn’t have to become a rock bottom drunk to realize I needed to stop, but that didn’t mean my drinking wasn’t destructive.

The sad truth is, alcoholism runs in my family. EVERYONE in my family drank, so in growing up I learned that drinking is how you cope with life. If you’re stressed, DRINK! If you’re happy, DRINK! I used alcohol to cope. In doing so, I didn’t learn how to deal with my emotions very well.  In a sense, I stopped growing emotionally once I started drinking.  But, what I believe now, is that I was still learning, just learning what didn’t work in my life.  I have learned to make peace with my past.  It is work in progress. I MADE A CHOICE, I CHOSE POSITIVITY. Alcohol was my way of dealing with negative emotions, it may be different for you.  Perhaps it’s gambling, shopping, food, sex or drugs.  The truth is there are MANY ways to alter your perception and avoid negative feelings.  The good news is, there is a different way to live! We can CHOOSE POSITIVITY, we can reframe those negative feelings and learn from the emotions that are meant to tell us something important.


Since I am relatively new at managing emotions, sometimes I let negativity creep in and I want to nurture it, let it fester.  In the past, that would be an excuse to drink, so I would find something to be upset about and feel like I was entitled to a few drinks! And that helped me avoid coping with those wretched feelings.  I liked to live in the victim mentality. NOT ANYMORE! I have learned to see that most of my miseries were a direct result of my actions.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been a victim at certain times in my life. Yes, I have been hurt by people I loved and trusted. I had no control over some things that happened to me as a child,  it is what it is.  As we know, we cannot change the past, but we can change the way we view it!

I am so grateful for the turn my life has taken.  In the last few years, I have felt such a sense of peace about all the struggles of my past. Failed marriage, troubled children, losing my parents, abuse, neglect, etc.  When I made a decision to face my fears and learn how to process them, it brought me to an amazing place of growth and acceptance! What a great training ground my life has been!

Sometimes though, I have negative thoughts, and I have to make a decision to acknowledge them, find out what the truth is about the present feelings and work through them. What do I have to learn from this? I may need to talk it out with someone, pray, meditate or just wait for those feelings to pass, they always do.  I found that REFRAMING is a great way to turn that negative self-talk into positivity.  I then release it.  Those thoughts can look something like this;

  • I am too old to start a new career.
  • My health is going to make it impossible to do all I need to do to be successful.
  • My Son (who is an addict) is going to die, and then my life will be ruined, I will die of a broken heart.
  • My Autoimmune disorder is going to progress, I hate being in pain all the time, LIFE IS SUCH A STRUGGLE!

The negative thoughts could go on and on! They are usually exaggerated.  With the power of reframing, I can see the reality, and that looks something like this;

  • I am not old, I am experienced! You can get a restart at any time in your life, up until you leave this earthly existence (and then really, that is just another restart!)
  • I am healing! I am learning to heal my body through Holistic Measures, and that is a gift, I am now able to help others to heal!
  • My Son is alive, and I have no way to know what will happen. He may get sober! He may die. I have no control over what he does. I will survive this. I refuse to dwell on that.  I will live in the NOW. I will not bury him in my mind one more time.
  • My health is improving, yes I have some pain, but it could be worse, it is getting better, and everyone struggles with one thing or another.

When I am really struggling with my emotions, it is usually due to lack of sleep or lack of structure. My routines that have been put into place for my betterment may be out of balance. It is important to eat  Healthy Foods, Sleep, Pray, Meditate, Exercise, Socialize and to get out of SELF, I reach out and help others.

Through my training as a Certified Life Coach and Hypnotherapist, I have developed some amazing tools to help me when it gets a little too heavy.  I have found hypnotherapy to be an amazing tool!  I can do self-hypnosis, it’s all about calming my mind, releasing my fears. My head can spin out of control if I let it. I am a (mild) type A personality, I like to be in control of things and when things get out of control, I get very uncomfortable.


It has taken me a long time to learn how to CHOOSE POSITIVITY, I am learning to Let go and Let God…It takes practice EVERY DAY! But it is worth it! I am so grateful to be where I am today.  I am able to be happy most of the time because I choose to be. I choose to do the work that is necessary to be HAPPY, JOYOUS AND FREE!



In a previous Blog, I asked the question, what does holistic health mean to you? What does it mean to be “Holistically Healthy”?

“ho·lis·tic   hōˈlistik/



characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.


characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.”

To sum it up, Holistic means  “Whole”, in holistic therapies we treat a person as a WHOLE BEING.  We do not believe that illness is just a symptom that can be fixed by addressing ONE ISSUE.  Illness has a root cause that is being fed by a combination of things being out of balance.  Knowing the root cause is key, and every disease is rooted not just in the physical body but is connected to the Mind, Body, and Spirit of a person.

Let’s say, a person suffers from chronic headaches, a holistic approach would not be, ” take these pills and call me in the morning”, that would be treating the symptom, the part of the body that hurts, essentially masking the problem.  A holistic response would be working to identify WHY the person suffers from headaches and work on treating the root cause.  It should be is understood that the treatment of a disease or illness should be looked at in relation to the person’s entire well-being, the person as a whole.

With that being said.  How does this benefit us?  Isn’t it easier to go to the Dr’s office and have him address what is ailing you, prescribe an appropriate medication, and send you on your way? I think not.

Having dealt with an autoimmune disorder for the past 15 years, I have found many things that work, and many that don’t work.  As I have shared, treating my symptoms with pharmaceuticals did not work, a holistic approach did. There is a place for modern medicine, but I think we can all agree it has gotten out of control. There is a pill for every ill.  It is an epidemic.

In my journey of holistic treatments, I found there is not ONE MIRACLE CURE.  Many companies, whether they be pharmaceutical companies or natural supplements companies would like you to believe their product is the answer to all that ails you, this simply is not true, I wish it were, but it is not.

In my journey I like to refer to as “My Zehnderful Journey”, I have fallen prey to many advertisements, books and promises from Doctors and even some naturopathic practitioners that promise  “healing” by simply doing this, or taking that. Excited and hopeful, I dive in 100% and find, much to my dismay, it is not the PANACEA.


Pan · a · it · has
panəseə /
 a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases.
  1. “the panacea for all corporate ills”
    synonyms: universal cure, cure-all, cure for all ills, a universal remedy, elixir, wonder drug;

    informal magic bullet
    “a panacea for the country’s economic problems”

If you are seeking better health and well-being holistically, and you understand what holistically means, you would understand that there is no panacea.  In seeking to heal myself, through my education process I found that I had to address all areas of my life in order to feel my best.

I have learned from the process of healing my body. Through education, research and trial and error, I found that I had to address all areas of my life in order to feel my best.


You see if a person is TRULY a holistic coach or health practitioner they will be the first to tell you that your healing will come from different sources.

Diet is very important. Food is medicine! A (truly) healthy diet is choosing to eat S.O.U.L food, (Sustainable, Organic, Unprocessed, Local) it is ESSENTIAL! That is going to assure your BODY is functioning optimally, allowing your physical system to operate properly with minimal stress to your vital organs, allowing you to heal from disease processes that may be taking place in you BODY.

What if you are eating properly, but you are under chronic stress? Like a stressful job, family issues, depression, money problems, etc.  Well, when we are under stress, it is damaging to our BODIES, making us more susceptible to disease. However, the issue (our thoughts) is centered in our MIND, it makes sense we need to address how we think. How do we learn to deal with stress? Some helpful practices are prayer,  meditation, exercise, practicing mindfulness and living in an attitude of gratitude.  Our thoughts are very powerful, if we don’t take steps to make our minds healthy, we are setting ourselves up for illness and disease.

What about our spiritual connection?  Is it necessary to be spiritual to be healthy? I think so. Science has proven that people with faith are healthier, they recover faster from illness than those without faith.  I am not saying you need to prescribe to a specific religion, but we are spiritual beings whether we like it or not. Yes, we are physical bodies, but we have a spiritual aspect that cannot be ignored.  What I am saying is that there is what I like to refer to as the “Trinity” of health, the MIND, BODY, AND SPIRIT. They are all connected and we cannot be truly healthy if any of these aspects are out of balance, they affect each other.


In my journey, my dietary changes have made a tremendous difference in my health, there is no denying a proper diet is key.  But even when I am eating perfectly (as possible) if I allow my stress levels to go up and do not manage my emotions, I get flare ups of my illness.  Stress will make me just as ill as eating a poor diet.  How do I manage my stress? Through spiritual practices.

As a Mind, Body and Wellness practitioner I personally offer different modalities in helping you achieve optimal wellness.  I offer hypnotherapy, life coaching, and holistic nutrition coaching.  They all work together to achieve that balance necessary for helping our bodies heal.  I also believe in many other modalities and do not hesitate to recommend other treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, reiki, polarity, massage, supplements, etc.

We have to start somewhere, the road to wellness is a journey.  We are individuals and what works for one person may not work for another.  We have to take responsibility for our health and not be afraid to take the time necessary to find the right combination of “tools” that bring about the greatest changes for better health.

Be open minded, curious and responsible.  Don’t let anyone tell you they have “THE” answer, there is not ONE answer that fits ALL.  Believe me, I know, I have been on this journey and I AM finding what works for me,  I am healing, through a process, and I know you can too!




Hello!  I hope this QUICK blog finds you well.  I have had a lot on my plate lately, and I apologize that I have not had a chance to write lately.  I am getting married in less than two weeks!  It is a very exciting time for us, but very busy.

I was thinking how I am so very grateful that I am following this “Zehnderful Journey” of becoming “Holistically Healthy”, it has allowed me to keep up with all the blessings in my life. With school, wedding planning, homework, and all the regular stuff that life comes with.  Following my holistic practices has given me the gift of health so that I can sustain all of my activities. While my health has improved TREMENDOUSLY,  I am not 100%, I do have to pace myself and be sure to eat properly, hydrate and get plenty of rest, which I’m sure you know can be a challenge when you are on the go a lot.

The name of my business is “Holistically Healthy”.  It refers to Holistic Health.  What it means to me is being/becoming HEALTHY by holistic measures.  What does that mean?

We had to write an essay on that subject in school.  I had to think about it for a bit before I could properly answer, I would like you to think about what that means to you. So, for this blog, I would like to engage YOU, the reader by posing a question.  Instead of ME telling YOU what it means I would love to hear what holistic health means to you. I hope you will all participate. So, here it goes;


Cannot wait to read your responses!


Living With Fibromyalgia


Do you or someone you know suffer from Fibromyalgia?  Do you understand what this condition is?  Given the fact that Fibromyalgia affects over 12 million people in the United States alone, you probably do know someone who suffers from this chronic condition.  It is very misunderstood.  Here are a few facts:

  • Fibromyalgia affects more women than men.
  • This condition usually affects people ages 35 and up, but it is becoming increasingly more common in younger people.
  • There is no known medical test to confirm this diagnosis.
  • Most Medical Doctors do not understand this condition. They rely on traditional medication and pain management techniques to treat patients.
  • There is no known cure.
  • Fibromyalgia is often confused with many other ailments that cause widespread pain and fatigue.
  • Because it is essentially  “invisible” (you cannot see the disease, physically or in tests, the patient “looks fine”) it is very misunderstood.
  • Many people believe  “it is all in your head”.  The person who suffers from Fibromyalgia often feels guilt,  depression, and isolation.



While the exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, recent studies suggest that changes in the central nervous system may be responsible for fibromyalgia pain.  Fibromyalgia is thought to be the result of overactive nerves. These nerves may be responsible for the chronic widespread pain and tenderness many people feel. But what causes this to happen?  There are some common beliefs on what could trigger the onset of Fibromyalgia.

  • AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE:  People with disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop Fibromyalgia.
  • INFECTIONS:   There is some evidence to suggest that certain illnesses can act as a trigger.
  • FAMILY HISTORY:  Genetics can influence your likelihood as to whether or not you will develop Fibromyalgia.
  • TRAUMA: Physical and emotional trauma have been linked to Fibromyalgia.

Regardless of the cause, it is important to know you can find relief from Fibromyalgia.



I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue over 15 years ago.  The symptoms have been debilitating at times.  There was a period of time when it took all I had to make it through a work day.  At the end of the week, It took me all weekend to try and recover. The best way I can describe it is, when I am in a flare up, I feel like I have the flu, without the vomiting or congestion.  I hurt ALL OVER.  Fibromyalgia pain is different from the pain you may experience from a headache or sprained ankle. Your bones ache, your joints hurt, your skin is sensitive to touch.  You feel you need to rest, but you cannot truly rest because the pain makes it difficult to get comfortable.

If you suffer from Fibromyalgia, you have NO ENERGY, not the type of fatigue you feel when you are simply, naturally tired.  The fatigue associated with Fibromyalgia (and Chronic Fatigue) is so overwhelming, you feel as though your blood is made of cement. You feel a heaviness all over,  you can barely breathe. It takes tremendous energy to try to get up and do something, like take a shower.  I can assure you it is not “all in your head”, NOBODY wants to feel this way.

Like many patients, we have many things we LOVE  to do.  We have a passion for life. Personally, I am not a depressed or lazy person,  but when I am in a flare up I do feel guilt and sadness because I  cannot do the things that I want and need to do.

You are afraid to commit to plans with family and friends because when the time comes you may not feel well enough to go, you may be in a flare up and have to cancel, eventually, you just don’t make plans.

Sleep?  Impossible.  You feel exhausted all the time, but at bed time you are wide awake.  If you happen to feel great one day,  you are so excited to feel “normal” you attack every task you can with vigor, only to pay the price for days after activity with a flare up



This is a very personal question.  What works for one person may not work for another. Some people with Fibromyalgia are completely debilitated, while others may be able to function in a semi-normal fashion.  Many patients are sick all of the time, while others may feel good for periods of time and have occasional flare ups.

Through my journey in dealing with this chronic condition, I have found relief from Fibromyalgia.  There was a time when I was sick all of the time, no relief.  Now, I am well 90% of the time.  When I do get a flare up,  I usually know what caused it, though sometimes I don’t.  Some common triggers are:

  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Not enough sleep
  • Getting sick. If you catch a cold or flu, it takes a long time to recover.
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Rigorous exercise

I am not going to suggest you stop or start any medications.  I am not a Doctor, and my purpose is to help people find Optimal Health and Wellness through Holistic Measures. That is what helped me, and I know it can help you!

Initially, I turned to my Doctors for answers.   I was given medications and Vitamin B12 shots.  These treatments did not help me.  My Doctor told me it was something I will have to live with.  It may go away in time, or I may suffer from it forever.  I went from Doctor to Doctor and found no answers that helped.  I had multiple tests performed,  saw multiple specialists and only got worse over time.

I finally took matters into my own hands. Through trial and error, I found the number one thing that gave me relief, it was my diet.  What I ate or didn’t eat had the biggest effect on my health.  I found relief by providing proper nutrition to my body and taking specific supplements.

When I told my Doctor that my dietary changes were making a big difference in my symptoms, he was not all that interested, he said, “Well that’s good, whatever helps you”. I brought in information for him hoping he might be able to offer this information to help other patients, but he did not embrace my new-found knowledge.  It’s not that my Doctor didn’t care, it is just not the way Doctors are medically trained.  Doctors are not nutritionists, their job is to treat patients through medication, surgery or therapy.  It is truly important to be an advocate for yourself.

Let me ask you something.  Don’t you find it interesting that Fibromyalgia and MANY other inflammatory diseases are on the rise? Why?  The key issue here is INFLAMMATION. Inflammation is at the root of all disease processes.  Everything from heart disease to Alzheimer’s have a common denominator, inflammation.

“The number of people suffering from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases, mental disorders, autoimmune diseases and cancers has increased dramatically over the last three decades”. (BioMed Central).

It’s “an emerging field,” says UCLA’s Dr. David Heber. “It’s a new concept for medicine.” Why is it a new concept?  Because modern medicine focuses on treating symptoms, not addressing the root cause of an issue.  Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Heart disease is inflammation of the arteries. Instead of taking a medication to reduce joint pain or lower cholesterol, we would be better served by reducing inflammation in the body.” (Dr. Axe)

Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine, writes that “inflammation is now recognized as the “underlying basis of a significant number of diseases.”

Research is now pointing to inflammation in our bodies being the root cause of disease. When I started my research in finding how I could Holistically manage my condition, I came across a book called “The Autoimmune Solution” by Dr. Amy Myers, a functional medicine Doctor.  In her book, she pointed out that inflammation was the key factor in Autoimmune diseases.  Her approach to controlling the inflammation was through dietary measures.  She had a very specific eating plan to follow.  I read the book, was convinced it was worth a try and followed it religiously for three months.  I started to feel better! Within the first week, I was amazed!  I had more energy, less pain, I felt I was on to something,  This was the start for me.  Since then I have learned so much and have been able to improve my health in ways I never imagined!

Inflammation is not a bad thing, in moderation.  Our bodies need it to survive.  It is necessary for fighting off viruses, bacteria, etc.  It is what helps our body fight off foreign invaders and heal itself.

There is a difference between chronic Inflammation and acute Inflammation.  Acute inflammation generally comes on quickly and generally goes away in a few days. Chronic inflammation can last for months or years as a result of failure to eliminate the cause and minor, repeated exposure to the agent.  In this instance, I believe Fibromyalgia is worsened by chronic inflammation, and I believe the #1 thing that is causing chronic inflammation is our FOOD.


A radical diet change can be very difficult for many.  But what is it worth to you to be well? To live the life you want?  I believe that saying, “if you have your health, you have EVERYTHING”. Here are the key components I followed that reduced my inflammation and allowed my body to begin to heal.

  • GRAINS: Grains cause inflammation.  So it will be important to eliminate them, at least in the beginning.  I eliminated them strictly for 3 months, and slowly introduced a few back into my diet. I now eat small portions of Quinoa, Chia, and Acacia. The “grains” mentioned are actually seeds but can be eaten like grains. Start by eliminating all grains and seeds, then after 3 months you can gradually add some back in your diet and see how your body reacts.
  • NIGHTSHADES: Nightshade vegetables are known to increase inflammation, so it is important to eliminate them.  The most common Nightshade vegetables are Tomatoes, White potatoes, Eggplant, Okra, Peppers, Goji berries, Tomatillos, Paprika, Cayenne pepper, and Capsicum.
  •  EAT:   Eat foods that are Whole, and Organic when possible.  You can get delicious Organic Fruits and Vegetables at most grocery stores and your Farmers Market.
  • ELIMINATE: Eliminate processed foods and processed sugar treats.
  • ORGANIC MEAT: Consume only quality, free-range, organic meats. Just like any food labeled organic in the U.S., meat products should meet very specific, federally regulated standards, Meat and poultry labeled organic must come from animals fed organic – which also means non-GMO feed, given fresh air and outdoor access, and raised without antibiotics or added growth hormones.
  • GREEN JUICE:  This has been the biggest factor in my healing process.  While changing my diet helped tremendously, Adding green juice to my daily diet elevated my healing to a whole new level.  Within days of starting my green juice regime, I was virtually free from Fibromyalgia pain and fatigue.  Here is a sample recipe:

3 cups fresh spinach and kale
1 large cucumber
1 knob of turmeric and ginger (about ½ inch each)
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley
1 large apples, cored
½ lemon, with peel (or grapefruit)
1/2 beet


  • MODERATE EXERCISE: Walking, swimming, and yoga are great forms of moderate exercise. Many people with Fibromyalgia are not able to recover from rigorous exercise, it is too taxing on the body.  Exercise is really important, but be sure not to overdo it.  Too much will just put you in a flare up.  Moderate, consistent exercise is key.
  • MEDITATION: Meditation is a wonderful tool.  Since stress is one of the biggest triggers for Fibromyalgia. It is important to find ways to manage it.

meditationyes (2)

  • HYPNOTHERAPY:  I am a hypnotherapist, and I believe this is a very effective modality in helping a client achieve pain relief.  Hypnotherapy is being used on cancer patients for pain relief and patients are achieving amazing results. Guided imagery and hypnotherapy are proven to help with so many medical and emotional problems,  I know it has helped me with my pain and my sleep issues.
  • SUPPLEMENTS: Supplements have been a key factor for me.  Finding the right supplements is a process.  What works for me,  may be different for you.  These supplements do many great things for our bodies, but I only listed the benefits as it relates to Fibromyalgia.
  1. Magnesium: Helps Increase Energy, calms nerves & anxiety.
    Helps with digestion, relieves muscle aches and spasms.
  2. Vitamin D: Regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, aids in normal immune system function. Vitamin D improves resistance against certain diseases. It is an anti-inflammatory vitamin.
  3. B Vitamin complex: Increases energy, a mood stabilizer.  Niacin has been shown to help with depression. Vitamin B has anti-inflammatory properties.
  4. Vitamin C:  Vitamin C helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin. Vitamin C helps heal the body, strengthens the immune system and is also a powerful anti-inflammatory vitamin.
  5. Calcium: Calcium is known mostly for its role in building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, but it is also important for proper functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system.

(each individual may have different dietary needs.  This is not intended as a prescription)

I know this might seem overwhelming.  I didn’t make all these changes overnight and I don’t expect you too.  It is important to make adjustments that are sustainable.  However, if you are like me, I wanted more than anything to feel better. I was highly motivated to do whatever it took to find relief.  The process has been a slow one because I had to do all the research on my own. I didn’t know where to turn.   I did a lot of reading and research.  The information I found has helped me tremendously. These results have led me to my passion, to become a Wellness Practitioner with a focus on Holistic Nutrition.  I know you can get relief from many of the symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.

You don’t have to do it alone. It is my goal at Holistically Healthy,  to help you achieve Optimal Health through Holistic measures.  I am here to answer any questions you may have.  Call today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Holistically Healthy


 Bridgett Zehnder – (916) 412-4671


Fast Food Collage with Cheeseburger in center

Let’s face it. We live in a society that is fast and furious. We want convenience, we want flavor, we want more time to do the things we enjoy.  You work all day, your tired, hungry, the kids are hungry, what do you do?  Many times that means we forgo preparing healthy meals.  After all, it is so easy to just order out your favorite Chinese food, or have a pizza delivered. You can even DRIVE THRU one of the hundreds of FAST FOOD restaurants out there and pick up a quick meal.  If this sounds familiar,  you are not alone. It is estimated that fast food restaurants serve over 50 BILLION customers a day!! Incredible! Is this the best way to eat? Of course not.  Here are some more statistics for you:

According to an article by North Ohio Heart/Ohio Medical Group:

  1. Fast food restaurants in America serve 50 million customers per day.
  2. In 2015, Trans fats, which is found in most commercial baked goods and fried foods, were officially deemed by the FDA to cause high cholesterol– the leading cause of heart disease in the U.S.( offically deemed by the FDAmed by the FDA)
  3. According to the American Beverage Association, American consumers on average drink more than 54 gallons of carbonated soft drinks each year, making carbonated soft drinks the most popular beverage in the U.S., almost three times more popular than bottled water, milk or coffee.
  4. McDonald’s sells an average of 75 hamburgers every second.
  5. 44 percent of people report eating out at least once a week.
  6. On any given day, 34 percent of children between ages 2 and 19 consume fast food.
  7. McDonald’s has more locations (35,000) than the combined total of Burger King (14,000), Wendy’s (6,500), Taco Bell (6,200) and Arby’s (3,400).
  8. The average American spends an estimated $1,200 on fast food each year.
  9. Children consume an estimated 12 percent of their calories from fast food.
  10. 20 percent of all American meals are eaten in the car.
  11. More than half of the money Ohio residents spend eating out goes to these restaurants.

I LOVE food.  I LOVE convenience. I also LOVE eating healthy.  I have to eat healthily.  I have been working on my health, primarily through nutrition for some time now.  The food I was eating was slowly killing me.  I was very sick.  I was in constant pain,  chronically fatigued, I had brain fog, lethargy, Basically, I felt like I had the flu ALL OF THE TIME.   I didn’t have the time or energy to live the life I wanted because convenience had taken away that choice.

I was forced to make changes in my life or I would probably end up like my Mother, who passed away at 59 years old.  She was a beautiful woman, one of the most loving women I have ever known.  My poor Mother was sick all of the time, and on so many medications. She carried a large tote with her all of the time, it was loaded with medications.  I truly believe her body could not function on its own anymore, so it gave out.  I was frustrated because I didn’t know how to help her.  I thought she was just complacent, she had just accepted she would be forever ill.  I felt so helpless and sad, not knowing how to help her.  She passed away suddenly, at home, alone.  I miss her every day. But the saddest part was that even though she was still physically alive,  the Spirit of my Mom had departed long before her physical body succumbed to her poor health.  She was so unhappy, miserable, sick and ANGRY!  She didn’t know how to heal her body, she followed her Doctors directions, but sadly never got any better, only worse.  I am not saying there are not some good medications out there, there are true life-saving medications available, but the pharmaceutical companies have noticed we want a quick fix, we want it now, no matter the cost and they are happy to oblige.

The blessing out of all this, and I thank my mother for this gift,  I vowed I would not surrender my health to traditional medicine.  I knew that medications were not the answer, as I saw how they slowly killed my Mother. It helped me discover my gift as a healer. It sparked a passion for me to learn all I could about healing the body through Holistic measures. I love what Hippocrates wrote so long ago (and so true still today) “Let food be thy medicine, let medicine be thy food” That is the journey I am on today.

So what does all this mean to you?  Well, I LOVE FAST FOOD!  Not the type of fast food you are thinking of, rather, I love convenient food.  Thankfully, I have discovered that we do not have to sacrifice our health for convenience.  There is an abundance of healthy, LIVE, FAST FOODS out there!  We only need to change our way of thinking.

I like to cook, I love trying new dishes. But like most folks, I don’t have the time to prepare new, creative dishes all the time. I don’t really even like to cook very much.  I admire my friends who are always creating new, delicious meals,  I wish I was more driven to do so, but I’m not.  Like most of us, I am a creature of habit. We create habits in our routine and they become ingrained in our daily lives.  Some habits are good, while some are habits we need to break.  I think one of the best habits you can break, is dependence on traditional fast foods.  So let’s take a look at some ways you can eat deliciously, conveniently and nutritiously.



How much easier does it get?  If you stock your home with fresh fruits and vegetable, you can quickly make a delicious, nutritious BEAUTIFUL meal. I made this breakfast of fresh fruit in minutes, so can you!


Pound for pound, it doesn’t get any better than fast food the way nature intended.  Grab an apple, enjoy the crunchy sweetness of one of the most convenient foods nature has provided.  Apples don’t need refrigeration, they have a long shelf life and are packed with amazing nutrients.  Eating RAW food is the greatest way to nourish our bodies, as all the nutrition stays intact.


Nuts and seeds are so good and so good for you.  Healthy fats are essential to good health.  I always keep a supply of healthy nuts and seeds available for a quick snack.  They are crunchy,  filling, they also have a long shelf life and do not require refrigeration.  Keep a supply of them in small storage containers to take with you when you are on the go.  They are not messy and will do the trick when you need some FAST FOOD.

I have developed some wonderful “good habits” in exchange for my old “bad habits”.  Preparation is the key.  You need only carve out a little time each week to prepare your kitchen with healthy foods that are quick and accessible.  Here is a list of things I do to assure I can grab a QUICK HEALTHY meal or snack anytime night or day.

  • Make a list when you shop for groceries, remember planning a little goes a long ways.
  • Buy whole, organic foods when possible.
  • Keep your home stocked with fresh fruits and veggies.  Farmers markets are a fun and inexpensive way to shop for your produce.
  • If you are not sure how to shop for healthy food in the grocery store, try shopping on the outer perimeters of the store, that is where you will find the least processed foods.  Most everything you find in a box,  bag, carton or can is processed and you should steer clear of it.
  • Prepare and cook once a week in larger bulk to save time. I cook a couple meat selections and a pot of grains weekly to have handy for salads and other dishes.
  • Quinoa and brown rice are great by themselves, or add some veggies, meat and make a delicious rice/quinoa bowl.
  • Hard boil some eggs while doing your cooking.  You can make your own version of Starbucks “Protein Bistro Box”. You can get these user-friendly boxes on Amazon.com and fill them with your favorites.  They are easy to grab on the go.


If your health isn’t reason enough to quit the JUNK FOOD habit.  Take a look at your pocket book. Check your bank account for how much you spend on eating out,  make a commitment to bringing down the expense by buying fresh, whole foods.

Going cold turkey is not for the faint of heart.  If that is too much to fathom, try cutting back on your FAST FOOD purchases. It is easier to ADD IN good food choices that will CROWD OUT the undesirable. When you do opt for eating out, try cutting back on the number of times per month you eat and reduce the size of your order. Steer clear of options to up-size and embrace healthier options when they’re available. For instance, opt for grilled over fried chicken and pair your meal with a bottle of water instead of a fountain drink.

Remember, little changes of habit can go a long way.  As you start to reap the benefits of your NEW fast food habit, such as saving money, weight release and more energy, you will be more motivated to continue making changes. Those changes will become habits you will want to keep.

I LOVE FAST FOODS! Fresh, whole, organic fast foods, and I think  you will find that you do too!


Phyto what? Phytonutrients or Phytochemicals are an important part of our diet.  We are all familiar with vitamins and minerals.  Most folks know that the food they eat contains vitamins and minerals that are necessary for optimal health.  Alot of people take vitamin and mineral supplements to assure they are not deficient.  Most processed foods are “enriched” with vitamins and minerals (because processing essentially strips the food of any good nutrients, so the manufacturer’s think they can simply add the nutrients back in and all is good, not so, but more about that another time). How familiar are you with Phytonutrients?   Phytonutrients are an essential part of good nutrition. But what are they?


The Greek word PHYTO means Plant,  and Nutrient of course speaks for itself. Basically phytonutrients are a substance found in plants, vegetables and whole grains. They are beneficial to human health and helps prevent various diseases.  They are relatively new to the world of science.  While vitamins and minerals were discovered in 1912, phytonutrients  were not discovered until  sometime in the 1950’s. Scientist kinda put that research on the back burner until the 90’s when a surge of research started.  Once they started digging in they realized the magnitude of this discovery.  Since the 90’s scientist have identified over 40,000 phytonutrients, but they believe there could be as many as 400,00!!  This is incredible!  But what do they do?


The list of benefits of phytonutrients is a long one. Some of the ways they help keep our bodies healthy are by these actions:

  • Antioxidant action– Most phytochemicals have antioxidant properties.
  • Anti-bacterial action – The phytochemical allicin from garlic has anti-bacterial properties.
  • Hormonal action – Isoflavones, found in soy, imitate human estrogens.
  • Interference with DNA replication – Saponins found in beans interfere with the replication of cell DNA, thereby preventing the multiplication of cancer cells.
  • Stimulation of enzymes – Indoles, which are found in cabbages, stimulate enzymes that make the estrogen less effective and could reduce the risk of breast and other hormone related cancers.
  • Physical action – Some phytochemicals bind physically to cell walls thereby preventing the adhesion of pathogens to human cell walls.

Phytonutrients are also important to plant health.  They are what protects the plants from germs, fungi, UV radiation, critters (phytonutrients are bitter, but the bitter the better they are for you!) and other threats.  Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain phytonutrients.

Phytonutrients give food their colors. That is why it is important to eat a variety of different color foods (See my blog “Edible Rainbow”).


As we discussed there are over 40,000 phytonutrients, but let’s take a  look at just a few phytonutrients and discover a little bit about what their benefits are.

  • Chlorophyll:  Clorophyll is found in green foods such as wheatgrass, algae, seaweeds and green veggies. It increases red blood cells, fights cancer, protects from radiation, kills germs, assists in healing wounds, detoxifies the liver and helps digestion and weight control.
  • Carotenoids:  Cartenoids are usually found in orange, yellow and red fruits and vegetable, such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, canteloupe, plums, apricots and surprisingly kale and spinach. Cartenoids supports eye health, cardiovascular health, possible anti-tumor properties, supports male fertility and enhances skin health.
  • Genistein:  Genistein is found in soy.  Isoflavones belong to the group of flavonoids. Because it is similar to human estrogen it is also called a phytoestrogen. It acts as an estrogen, antioxidant, anti-cancer agent and could possibly help people with metabolic syndrome.
  • Hesperetin:  Hesperetin and other similar bioflavonoids are commonly referred to as vitamin P,  however they are not actually vitamins. They are most commonly found in citrus fruits.  Hesperetin assists in the formation of vitamin C, which we know helps our immune system. It also helps with inflammation and swelling in the veins.
  • Resveratrol:  If your a red wine drinker, you may have heard that it is good for your heart! That’s because it contains resveravatrol.  You don’t have to be a wine drinker to to enjoy the benefits of resveratrol.  It is found in the skins of grapes and other dark red berries. Very dark cholocate/cacao is a great source also!  Resveratrol is a powerful anti-oxidant, protects cardiovascular health, helps protect the brain and cognitive mental health, may help prevent diabetes and helps prevent obesity.
  • Theobromine:  Theobromine is found in the cacao bean, therefore it can be found in very dark chocolate.  Theobromine is similar in chemical structure to caffeine, though not as strong.  It does have stimulant properties, but unlike caffeine, it does not stimulate the central nervous system. It is not toxic to humans, but it can be to pets, such as dogs and horses, hence why you are told not to give your dog chocolate. Besides the benefit of increasing your energy levels, it is helpful in that it can lower blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels and can relax the bronchial muscles in the lungs. Theobromine can be used as cough medicine.

These are just some of the benefits of just a few phytonutrients.  Each phytonutrient plays and essential part in making our bodies strong and healthy.  It’s not all about vitamins and minerals ladies and gentlemen!

The biggest AH HA for me, is that our food is much more complex than we ever imagined. We cannot expect to eat processed, nutrient deficient, yet fortified foods and expect to be healthy. We want to get all the benefits a good healthy diet can provide. God of our Universe knew exactly what He/She was doing when our abundant earth was created. Everything works together, nothing in Gods creation is meaningless,  lets try to eat the way nature intended and I bet you will find your body will thank you!



quinoa plant

Remember “Tang”? The Super “healthy” drink of Astronauts?  I remember it so well, and drank it too! (now I am dating myself) Packed with vitamins (synthetic), my folks thought it was good for you. Well, I think we all will agree it is anything but healthy.  Tang was first introduced in 1959. It did not fare well in the market place until John Glenn made it famous in 1962 by bringing it on his Mercury flight.  It was also used on some Gemini Flights.  It became popular because if John Glenn liked it,  If NASA is using it, it HAS TO BE GOOD FOR YOU!  Well, marketing is everything. John Glenn actually said “It Sucked”, LOL.

NASA flights have come a long way since the TANG days. Culinary circumstances in space have changed drastically. Samantha Cristoforetti was the first person to brew Espresso in space! She also learned to mix things up by combining space food staples to create her own culinary dishes. Pretty cool. Samantha has chosen Quinoa as one of her ‘bonus foods.’

I was researching grains for a report in my Macro and Micro Nutrients class. I learned some cool stuff about Quinoa. Calorie for calorie, it is one of the most nutritious foods you can find. As I was reading, I saw a report that NASA is growing crops of quinoa in space because of it’s adaptability and it’s nutritional value.

“SUMMARY Chenopodium quinoa is being considered as a new crop for the Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) because of its high protein values (12-18%) and unique amino acid composition. Lysine, an essential amino acid that is deficient in many grain crops, is found in quinoa approaching Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) standards set for humans. This “new” crop, rich in protein and with desirable proportions of important amino acids, may provide greater versatility in meeting the needs of humans on long-term space missions. Initially, the cultivars CO407 x ISLUGA, CO407 Heat Tolerant Population 1, and Real’ (a Bolivian variety) were examined.  The first cultivar showed the most promise in greenhouse studies. When grown hydroponically in the greenhouse, with no attempt to maximize productivity, this cultivar produced 202 g m -2 with a harvest index of 37%. None of the cultivars were greater than 70 cm in height. Initial results indicate that quinoa could be an excellent crop for CELSS because of the high concentration of protein, ease of use, versatility in preparation, and potential for greatly increased yields in controlled environment” (NASA Technical Paper 3422)


That is alot of space talk, probably hard to understand, but lets look at quinoa as it relates to us earth folk.

Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire back in the day. They referred to it as the “mother of all grains” and believed it to be sacred. Quinoa is not really a grain, it is a seed, a powerful seed. It is more closely related to beets and spinach.  It’s nutritional value sustained the Inca’s and allowed them to thrive, giving them the necessary energy needed to work hard at high altitudes.  It has been consumed for thousands of years in South America, although it only became trendy and reached “super-food status” a few years ago. That tells me we need to start thinking about how food has changed over the centuries and looking at how unhealthy our society is,  we need to get back to basics.

Quinoa is gluten free (for those with celiacs disease or gluten intolerance), it is packed with protein (especially important for vegan’s).  Quinoa is versatile! You can prepare it in so many ways. Delicious, Nutritious, Accessible and has a long shelf life.

You can prepare it for Breakfast….quinoa breakfast



Or Dinner!


This is the nutrient content in 1 cup of cooked Quinoa. :

  • Protein: 8 grams.
  • Fiber: 5 grams.
  • Manganese: 58% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
  • Folate: 19% of the RDA.
  • Copper: 18% of the RDA.
  • Iron: 15% of the RDA.
  • Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
  • Potassium: 9% of the RDA.
  • Over 10% of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
  • Small amounts of calcium, B3 (niacin) and vitamin E.

A total of 222 calories, with 39 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fat. It also contains a small amount of omega 3 fatty acids.

That is a powerhouse of nutrition. Many foods are touted as SUPER FOODS these days. And while they all have some astounding nutritional benefits, in my opinion, Quinoa truly is a Super Food!

Do you have a favorite recipe? Please Share!


Bare Necessities vs Self Actualization


“Be the Best You Can Be!”,  “Become Addicted to Constant and Never-Ending Self Improvement”, “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be”.  Don’t you just love motivational quotes?  It somehow speaks to our innermost self and cheers us on to BE BETTER!!  What does that look like for you?

I think that if you are reading this, or other wellness blogs and posts, you are looking for ways to improve yourself.  You are looking for tools to improve your “Mind, Body, and Spirit”.  I think we can agree that self-improvement is a never ending journey.  We learn and implement important wellness strategies such as proper nutrition, exercise, meditation, positive attitude, and we feel like it is all coming together. We feel healthier, slimmer, more focused, spiritually strong, we love that we are becoming a better version of ourselves. Then,  life takes a turn, we get busy, distracted, stressed, and we fall back into our old familiar patterns. “Inside all of us is this fragile warrior or warrioress for good. Though beaten down by greater odds, it always re-emerges to pull us back on course towards health and well-being, just as surely as we strive to align our eyes level with the horizon”(Arloski)

What is it that makes it so hard to stick with good habits?  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just learn all this good stuff and stick with it, for good?  I think the truth is most people are not able to stick with a diet, or new exercise routine, etc 100% of the time unless they have a profound reason to do so. That reason may be that if you don’t, it will be to the detriment of your basic physiological needs.  That is the basis of Abraham Maslow’s theory “Hierarchy of  Needs”.  His belief and I would agree,  is that there is a hierarchy to self-actualization. Essentially, if a person is struggling with basic physiological needs, such as a person in poverty who is worried about where the next meal will come from, they cannot rise up to the next level (as seen in the pyramid).  Wherever we are in life, if we don’t have our basic needs met, we cannot achieve rising to the level of self-actualization.  However, as Maslow so profoundly stated, “Self Actualization is the intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately, of what the organism is”, we as human beings are that organism.  You have that desire, and you will strive towards it, knowingly or unknowingly.

As a nutrition coach, our goal is to coach someone towards higher levels of wellness, helping them to discover increasingly effective ways of getting their basic needs met. That is helping them do two things: Eliminate inadequacies and shortcomings from their lives  and meet their needs. It is important to understand that people who are conscious of their wide range of needs will set out to achieve them, here and now.

Maslows Worksheet

Take a moment and look at the above worksheet.  Perhaps a good place for you to start in working towards your permanent goal of optimal Mind, Body, Wellness, is to look at the pyramid and think about ways you are meeting these needs. By doing so I believe you can build a stronger foundation of wellness, on your way to achieving your higher purpose of Self Actualization.

Lastly, I would like to leave you with a thought. What is wellness?  Wellness is not just the absence of disease, it is living your life consciously in ways that improve your health and well-being. Constantly striving to strengthen the “Trinity to Wellness”, Your MIND, BODY, AND SPIRIT.




Are you as healthy as you would like to be?  Or, do you feel tired all the time? Do you have pain that won’t go away?  Allergies, brain fog, digestive issues, unwanted fat, unstable blood sugar, imbalanced cholesterol, or fragile immune function? That is a short list of “ailments” many are struggling from. Sadly,  if you are like most Americans, you suffer from at least one of these symptoms.  What research is proving, is that all of these ailments can be a direct result of your diet. I’m sure you have heard the old saying,”You Are What You Eat”.

Like most Americans, when you feel ill,  you probably turn to your Doctor for answers. I know I did, for years!  With no results.  Your Doctor is going to look at your symptoms as a possible disease process.  He or She will run a battery of tests to see if there is any evidence to support  a diagnosis of a “disease” (usually caused by your diet). If they find an issue, say pre-diabetes, they will prescribe an appropriate medication to  treat your symptoms.  That is the typical pattern.  Another symptom crops up, another medication. How many medications are you taking?  Is this the best way to spend your money?  I think not. While I never want to undermine the importance of a Doctor’s role in health care, they are not trained to look at the root cause of disease. Doctors are trained to treat the symptoms.  If you were in a car crash, had a heart attack, or experience any life threatening condition, you want a darn good Doctor to save your life. But how do we prevent illness from starting in the first place?

The truth is,  if you are suffering from poor health, the best way to invest your hard earned dollar is to put your money where your mouth is.  Invest your money in the farmer, in WHOLE, ORGANIC, NUTRITIOUS FOOD, not traditional medicine.  Do you put much thought into what you put into your body?  You really should take a hard look at our food supply.  Chances are, the answer to what is ailing you is in your pantry, fridge, and your favorite restaurant.

Today, I want to share a video that I believe will BLOW YOUR MIND….and quite frankly should make you angry.  Please take the twenty minutes  it take to  watch this presentation by Robyn O’Brien, “Foods Erin Brockovich”.  It is  a little lengthy, BUT SO WORTH YOUR TIME. You really deserve to know the truth about……

Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick