My journey started back in 2003 when my first son was struggling in school. He was in kindergarten but I got calls from the school nearly every day due to his behavior. During the months I was desperately trying to figure out how to help him, I suddenly experienced a kidney stone. I knew there must be a natural remedy. The search for answers to help both my son and myself through diet is when my passion for natural living, nutrition, and food as medicine began. I studied how food affects behavior in children and how to make changes to our diets. My family became my daily experiment as we tried different eating styles from gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, raw vegan, green smoothies. Eventually I settled on a Simple Whole Foods Diet for my entire family.
Was there a book/moment/piece of content that changed everything for you?
During college, I managed a Vitamin Store. Part of that job required knowledge of supplements. We sold a book titled, “Prescription for Nutritional Healing” which I spent hours reading day after day for four years. When the store was slow, I’d study that book. I learned so much about how vitamins, minerals, herbs and foods work in the body and what they do. That book ignited a fire for learning more about how to correct imbalances and stay healthy.
How do you keep you and your family on track in the hustle and bustle of life?
To keep my family on track, I’ve honed routines over the years. Making sure everyone knows what to expect reduces stress levels for everyone in the family. I keep everyone on the same page by using a simple app called Cozi. I’ve used it for nearly 10 years. Each person in my family can see appointments, grocery lists, to do lists, etc. from the app on their phone. I store my favorite recipes in there as well. It’s such a useful app. Besides that, it is my habit to record appointments on that calendar the moment I make them, because otherwise I may forget the details, mix up the date or time, etc. Routines and habits like always cleaning the kitchen before we head to bed contribute to a household that runs smoothly.
How did you transition your family to a more wellness-centered lifestyle, including the elimination of added sugar? How did you deal with any resistance?
The first step I took in making the transition to a healthier lifestyle was the addition of a simple salad. Everyone was expected to eat at least a small bowl of this salad, which I called a “Rx Salad” (the recipe is on my website). After salads, I just slowly started adding more and more vegetables to our meals. There was some resistance, but I was persistent. In hindsight, I may have been a bit too strict about it, but all six of my children are healthy eaters now, even as adults on their own, they eat well. As for sugar, I went cold turkey. My son was having behavioral issues in school, so I eliminated all the “white” foods. Sugar and flour were out, along with food colorings, preservatives, and chemicals. That met a lot of resistance! Nowadays, my children do eat a moderate number of natural sugars like maple syrup, coconut sugar, or honey. They’ve learned to self-regulate. We never had a habit of eating desserts after every meal. I never gave any of my children soda, so none of them drink it. In fact, my two youngest, who are both teenagers now, have never even tasted a soda! In kindergarten, I picked my son up from a school party. He asked, “Mom, do you have any water, I’m so thirsty!” So, I handed him my water and asked, “Didn’t they have anything to drink at the party?” To which he replied, “Yeah, just black water.” (Referring to cola, which he’d never seen before!)
What are your current top 3 book recommendations?
Book recommendations – Honestly, the books I spend the most time with are my cookbooks. I have an online cookbook club, and an extensive cookbook collection! The way to enjoy healthy eating is to make appealing and fun. Spending time in the kitchen with people is a very healthy habit.
How would you describe your approach to working with clients? How has it changed?
When I work with clients, whether they’re trying to lose weight or get their kids to eat vegetables, the first thing I do is look at what habits they have. Good and bad! Breaking the sugar habit is one of the hardest things people may try to do, but it can be done. There are supplements that can help as well as mindset changes. Most people I’ve worked with over the years have told me that I give great pep talks – that’s what I love to do, be a cheerleader for good health!
Where can our readers find you and your content?