The Roots of Health – Episode 3 – To Gluten or Not To Gluten with Joe Rignola

Despite the fact that there is little solid data out there to support the wholesale demonization of gluten, it remains a hot topic in health and wellness circles.  Why is this? It’s simple… many people find relief from headaches, stomach pain, gastrointestinal issues, brain fog, joint pain… the list goes on and on… by removing ‘gluten’ from their diets. There are countless anecdotes out there (including my own) that suggest that ‘gluten’ is the culprit.

What we know is that gluten IS the culprit when it comes to celiac disease. For humans with that diagnosis, gluten will forever be off the table. But the clinical diagnosis of gluten sensitivity or intolerance remains challenging because there are very few accurate tests (Cyrex Labs is the leader in this field) and there are very few qualified practitioners who would order those tests.

For those who are self-diagnosed ‘gluten sensitive’, is gluten really to blame? Or is it guilt by association? When gluten is removed from our diets, we are really removing the gluten-containing grains wheat, rye, barley, +/- oats. Could it be that we’re sensitive to the whole grain? Or, according to a new study, maybe it’s not gluten but an entire group of short-chain carbohydrate foods known as FODMAPs (which stands for fermentable oligo- di- mono-saccharides and polyols) that wreaks havoc in the guts of many humans. No matter what the exact cause of our health concerns, a naturally gluten-free diet (read: increase naturally gluten-free foods such as whole fruits & veggies and eliminate processed carbs & gluten-containing grains) tends to be a fine recipe for health gain.  As of yet, no one has ever been diagnosed with a gluten deficiency.

This week, we find out more about gluten and better understand how it may or may not factor into your own life with our guest Joe Rignola.  Joe is the founder of Wellness Punks and author of the best-selling books, The Definitive Way to go Gluten Free and Sow, Planting the Seeds for Health, Well-Being and a Superhero Life. He’s also a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and Certified Health Counselor.

Additional resources:

Here’s a nice graphic showing high and low FODMAP foods.

In the show, I mention the Gluten Summit.


You can subscribe to The Roots of Health at and also on iTunes.


The Roots of Health – Episode 2 – Awareness, Control, Intuition, Balance, & Body Love with Emily Jean

‘Health’ is this ideal that many of us seek, but often we are actually harming ourselves in the pursuit of it.  The messages that we receive in modern life, messages about beauty, weight, exercise, diets, about how we’re currently not good enough, are messages that we understand to be true and they have a huge control over our thoughts and actions… That is, if we let them. It’s time to break free of restriction, gain some awareness, identify your controls, cultivate intuition, find balance in life, and learn to trust and love our bodies.

This is the message of our guest this week.  Meredith introduces Emily Jean, a coach, speaker, and writer who works with ‘bold babes’ who are ready find balance with food and end the restriction mentality in all parts of their lives.

Become aware of the controls that you have in your life, learn to stop letting food judge you (because, you’ve probably given it that power), and own your beauty. Emily Jean wants to help you realize that every body is beautiful.

Let’s question conventional health wisdom and investigate ancestral health as a means of informing your path forward. By cultivating a new perspective, rediscovering your primal-self, and thinking outside the box, you can wake up healthier every day.

You can subscribe to The Roots of Health at and also on iTunes.

The Roots of Health – Episode 1 – Primal Bliss

Today is the day that I begin to bare it all… and you’ll see more and more of me each week (well, it sort of feels that way).

The very first episode of The Roots of Health is live today!

This show provides a glimpse into my own story – a story that informs my approach to human health & wellness – and a story that will inform this show going forward.

In light of that – I wanted to induce everyone to a practitioner with an alternative approach to health. I interview Kathryn Kos of Primal Bliss Nutrition… Kathryn is a mama, a primal foodie, nutrition blogger, and Nutritional Therapist. She specializes in helping people to restore hormonal balance in their bodies and to manage autoimmune conditions. Nutritional Therapy is unique in that the focus is on finding the root cause of health issues and treating it through nutritional protocols. She helps people heal at the foundational level through fixing digestion, balancing blood sugar, and helping people to better absorb vitamins and minerals

In this episode, you’ll learn about functional evaluations, lingual-neuro testing, your body’s innate intelligence, and Kathryn’s top 3 most important things that you can do for your health today.

I’m thinking about bringing Kathryn back before too long to chat about raising healthy kids today… a topic near and dear to both of our hearts.

The Roots of Health explores the disconnect between our health and our modern environment. I’ve got a bunch of topics outlined for upcoming shows… (if you’re one of the 300+ humans who have spent the past year getting a weekly kick-in-the-ass from me… then you’ll be familiar with many of said topics.)

If not – then you should get on that list – because your mental and physical and emotional health are worth it.

Let’s question conventional health wisdom and investigate ancestral health as a means of informing your path forward. By cultivating a new perspective, rediscovering your primal-self, and thinking outside the box, you can wake up healthier every day.

You can subscribe to The Roots of Health at and also on iTunes.

Formula for Change

There is a formula for change. Did you know that?

A lot of us are in contemplation mode – we’re realizing that something in our lives needs to change in order to reduce stress or to make ourselves happier or to otherwise gain health… We can admit that change is necessary, but that’s all we’re willing to do. I find a lot of people in this position.

Or maybe we’re determined (in our heads) to make a change… but we’re sort of stuck there. We might be actively learning, researching, observing, or dreaming up various approaches that can shift our lives on a new path toward our goal… we’re super good planners, but not super good do-ers.

The next step – or actually making change happen – seems to be insurmountable. We don’t know how to get ourselves to actually execute this change. We know what we need to do, but can’t seem to do it.

Realize this. Resistance to change (and that’s what it is) happens because change is different and uncomfortable in some way. The reason we aren’t doing what we know we should is because it’s outside of our comfort zone… it’s super easy to keep on doing what we’ve always done… we’re on autopilot really, and it’s not so easy to turn off the autopilot and head in our own direction. Maybe we’re afraid that we’ll do something wrong, maybe we’re perfectionists and require years of researching ‘the right’ way to do things, maybe we lack perspective or awareness. Maybe we’ve lost our instinct, and rely too much on information, waiting for other people to tell us what to do. <<< Been there.

FACT: We won’t get different results if we keep doing the same things. This is just true.

Here’s a new perspective… I learned this when I hired ActionCOACH Business Coaching a few years back to help me grow a consulting business. Change is scary whether or not you’re talking about making personal change, or making changes to your business in order to grow profits, but the equation remains the same.  Here it is:

(D x V) + F > R

What does this mean?  Let me ‘splain.

R = your resistance to change. This might look like fear, uncertainty, anxiety… or comfort.  If you are interested in making a change – you’ll need to make the left side of this equation greater than the right side – so your resistance is trumped.  Let’s figure out how to make that happen.

D = your dissatisfaction. If you’re contemplating or planning change already – you’ve got your reasons. Maybe you’re unhappy taking prescription medication, maybe you’re unhappy with how much body fat you have, maybe you’re unhappy with some key relationships in your life, or you’re unhappy with your food choices. Maybe you keep beating yourself up every day that goes by that you don’t move. Maybe you’re living with chronic pain, maybe you can’t remember the last time your laughed. Maybe you have no idea what you want to be when you grow up. Quantify in some way your dissatisfaction… (I can help you to quantify this visually if you sign up for my 52-Week Kick-in-the-Ass).

The take home message is this… all else being equal, you’ll only make change if your dissatisfaction is greater than your resistance to change. Often times that takes pretty serious health issues or ‘wake-up’ calls to overcome resistance. Fortunately, dissatisfaction isn’t the only variable that we can quantify.  Let’s see if we can avoid scary ‘wake-up’ calls.

V = a vision. This involves your imagination and your feelings. Start with what you are dissatisfied with, and imagine what your life would be like if you eliminated that stressor. Imagine how you would feel. Creating a vision is powerful – it can help us to overcome resistance when the dissatisfaction is relatively low (read: before any medical, social, mental, physical, financial emergencies).

It’s very important not to discount your feelings in this vision, and maybe even to allow your feelings to dominate your vision. Why is this? Simple. Sometimes our mental images can be unrealistic, unattainable, or even someone else. It’s very easy in this modern world to daydream about other peoples body’s, and to imagine what we would look like with their body. A huge-giant-most-important-learning here is that we are all different inside and out. A huge-giant-most-important-outcome of your health gain is to see your own body for it’s beauty, warts and all, and to put a shit-ton of effort into loving it. <<< We need to compare ourselves today – to ourselves yesterday to measure results, not to compare ourselves to anyone else. You win if you love yourself more and more each day. Negative self-talk does not help this side of the equation. Let this be a challenge to you.

Dissatisfaction and Vision will be your ‘why’ you want to change. Let’s move on….

F = your first steps. Here we go – this is what we need to figure out how to do. How do we take our first steps toward doing what we know we need to do?

So, maybe you’ve got your dissatisfaction and vision all figured out, but you’re still resistant to change. This really means that you don’t perceive the stakes to be high enough for you to change. But there’s this other variable in there… these so-called first steps. How can the first steps set you up for success or failure?  Many people will fail to take the first steps because they are scared or overwhelmed by the idea. Many people don’t really know what those first steps are… and a lot of the time, people set themselves up to fail because they design a first step that’s just too damn big to take.

First steps should be easy peasy. Seriously, if you are looking to make change, and you’re currently staring down the barrel of big huge overwhelming change… you’re unlikely to do it. It’s way too different from what you’re already doing.

Let’s pretend for example that you routinely have headaches, but they aren’t completely crippling, just annoying (or maybe you haven’t decided that they are crippling yet). You’re dissatisfied with that. Sometimes these headaches (or stomach aches, or joint pain – insert your pain here) stop you from hanging out with friends or playing a game of frisbee or reading a book to your child… You’ve got a vision in your head, that it would be great to feel energetic, to be pain-free, and to be ready to spontaneously participate in any activity. You’ve done some research and you’re aware that food intolerances or nutrient deficiencies or inflammatory foods might be the cause of your headache. But you love the foods you currently eat… they are delicious, satisfying, easy, comfortable, and you’d rather live with the headaches than give up X (insert your favorite food here)… especially if it means that you have to give up most of what you’re currently eating. (See any dietary approach that is restrictive – this is a big big big turn off to most folks, and the reason that they either don’t attempt to change, or cultivate food guilt because suddenly they can ‘cheat’ and feel bad about their choices… ugh.)

This presents a quandary, right? I mean the pain of your headache times the vision that you have for a healthier you isn’t great enough to overcome your resistance to change. Honestly, this is me, with dairy. I know that dairy makes me clear my throat over and over again – I call it ‘the gerf’…. but it’s not annoying enough for me to give up dairy.

But, what if the first steps were small… or exciting even? Would you be willing to make change then? What if your first step was changing one of your go-to foods with another for a while, to see what happens? Maybe replace it with a food that you’ve never had before… maybe that food will taste even better, who knows… Maybe this means exploring different desserts, maybe this means trying something new for breakfast, maybe this means swapping out a cup of coffee for a cup of tea… Maybe if you consider this first step more of an exploration rather than a permanent change – maybe you’ll be more game to move ahead.

Some people can make giant leaps that lead to sustainable change. They are excited by the idea of change, even without facing any dissatisfaction. Some people can craft a strong vision that helps to propel them into change. Some people are so unsatisfied with something that they’ve reached a tipping point and have put their minds to it – their dissatisfaction is now greater than their resistance to change.

Where are you on this spectrum? Have you figured out what is keeping you from making the changes that you need to make?

I’d argue that most people haven’t broken their resistance to change down in any sort of way because it’s not something we tend to be aware of. So consider yourself aware now.

How will you use this information?

Continue reading

Food is medicine: Not all the same prescription.

This is part 3 of a 3 part series where I connect some dots about our collective health. In part 1, I run down a few things about our microbiome – like some current applications and research that make me think our non-human cells have serious control over our health. In part 2, I chat about all of the innocent victims. Part 3 relates our food choices to our gut health and mental health. Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here.


Observation #3: Food is Nourishment and sometimes Food is Medicine – not necessarily the same prescription for everyone.

There are so many dietary camps out there, with strong voices in each attempting to convince the masses that their way is THE way.

These days, if you’re eager to label your dietary approach, you can choose to be:

  • Vegan – eat no animal foods
  • Vegetarian – sort of Vegan + some combo of eggs and dairy
  • Flexitarian – mostly Vegetarian with self-permission to eat meat/fish once in a while
  • Macrobiotic – Grain-heavy approach with emphasis on quality local foods, intuition, and balance
  • Paleo – grain-free, legume-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, seed oil-free – hunter/gatherer type approach
  • Primal – Paleo + full fat dairy
  • WAP (Weston A Price) – sort of Primal + traditionally prepared grains
  • Low-carb – high fat, med-low protein, maybe 50 – 100 grams of carbs per day
  • Very low-carb/ketogenic – maybe 20-50 grams of carbs per day
  • and oh-so-many-more

There are hundreds of dietary approaches out there. The people who are proponents of any specific approach like to classify the typical western diet as the ‘SAD’ approach (standard American diet). So even if you opt out of sticking your approach in a box – someone has done it for you. Awesome.

But I digress.

First of all, there ARE health benefits to having a dietary approach – no matter what it is. For example – if you really BELIEVE that the foods you choose are health promoting – if you have awareness and any reasoning as to ‘why’ you’re eating what you are – chances are you’re health conscious and indeed - you’ll reap some benefits. <<< This is fascinating. And also probably a super important piece to the health puzzle. I mean, on the contrary, if you just know that you’re ruining your health by the food decisions that you make, well, you probably are. Food guilt is a huge stressor.

You’ll hear people claim that sugar is killing us or that fat is killing us or that animal food is killing us or that all carbs are killing us… (seriously – you can’t win – it’s really the stress of worrying about this I think)…

But also – let’s not only look at what we’re eating, but who exactly we’re feeding (re: We are not alone).

There’s some great research on this right now - but it’s all in it’s infancy as far as I can tell. We’re still defining exactly who is in our microbiome, what is a healthy balance, who are the ‘bad guys’, how we can alter it etc… but watch this space, because I firmly believe this is the future of medicine.

What is it that our microbiome needs to thrive?

IF the root cause of autoimmunity and metabolic disease is related to an imbalance of your gut community, then we’ve got to figure out how to re-balance it. Right now – we’re hearing about the importance of a high fiber / high resistant starch diet for feeding a thriving gut community. There’s research that increasing resistant starch in your diet improves blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity. Maybe this is due to the increase in abundance and byproducts of certain gut bacteria.

Your gut flora munches on fiber from whole foods to create a short chain fatty acid called butyrate – which does you HUGE anti-inflammatory favors. (FYI – you can also get butyrate from… butter. Eat your butter.) That’s right – your gut bugs turn plants into fat – and that fat reduces inflammation. This is how herbivores – like cows – can get the nutrients that they need just by eating grass. This is probably how a human who chooses not to eat animal foods can thrive – they have the right microbiome to create the nutrients that they require. (That and there’s probably a serious contribution from insect protein in their diets – but again – that’s a story for another day. <<<< speculation.)

Anyhow – so far we think healthy, beneficial gut bacteria thrive on carbohydrates/fermentable fibers/resistant starches.

Do they eat fat or protein? I think so – but there’s a lot we still don’t know. A diet rich in fat and protein supports a very different gut flora than a diet rich in fermentable fiber… but is one diet any better or worse for our health?  That is the question that the Human Food Project aims to answer.

So do you simply go ahead and introduce more fermentable fibers into your diet to re-balance your microbiome if you are sick? Maybe, maybe not.

This is where a low-carb approach might actually be therapeutic.  Or a ketogenic approach - in an extreme case. These low and very low carb diets may be useful in starving / rebooting an unhealthy gut microbiome. I say therapeutic for a reason – for many people, this means it’s a great temporary approach.

[Aside: It also turns out - that if you live in northern climates - and you strictly eat seasonal foods - you'll likely be eating more carbs in the summer months and fewer (if any) carbs in the winter months. So too will your microbiome change seasonally.]

Part of a microbiome reboot/rebuild could then include fermented foods to introduce a variety of bacteria to your body for your physical and mental health. This is a tenant of the Weston A. Price / Primal / Paleo / traditional foods approaches. This along with playing in the dirt, removing unnatural personal care products, responsible use of antibiotics, eating more foods from the Earth, avoiding toxins… sleeping, destressing, finding a passion in life so you don’t obsess about food… Clearly – there’s a lifestyle shift involved with rebooting your microbiome.

Anyway – from a lower carb approach – a re-seeding with a healthy balance of gut bugs – one might work to increase their whole food carbs, starches, fruits, veggies to feed their new symbionts such that they thrive.  I understand that women in particular may require more carbs for hormonal balance.

However, many people – thrive on low carb diets and are as healthy as can be (see: Inuit and Masai… and Jimmy Moore). Their gut microbiome must be successfully adapted to their natural diet.

But introduce westernized foods, and all bets are off.

I suspect that the key is natural food here. Maybe seasonal and local food to - because maybe there’s a change in the available microbiome depending on your geographic location on Earth. If you’ve ever traveled – you may have noticed that your digestive system can be off even if you eat the same foods <<< local bugs may be your culprit.

Of course, I love to believe that our guts hold the answers (see dogma: Part 1). I’m open to other ideas as they develop, but for now, I’m watching this research with serious interest. I’m keeping my kids just barely clean, I’m letting them walk around outside without shoes, I’m encouraging them to eat from the garden, and I’m trying let their own food instincts rule (within the limitations of what I bring home from the market to be honest), I’m doing a lot of kitchen science – fermenting sodas, kombucha, sauerkraut, even chicken feed… bottom line, I’m trying to cultivate some family microbiome here.

It seems to me that while we can’t put a finger on just one thing that’s causing our ill health today, an unbalanced microbiome keeps popping up as a potential culprit, that once addressed, seems to help.

I hope you’ve clicked through a few of these links… or maybe you’ll bookmark this series and come back to play sometime. If you’re still with me – please let me know in the comments… because you really rock for sticking this out.

We nuked our friends.

This is part 2 of a 3 part series of me connecting some dots about our collective health. In part 1, I run down a few things about our microbiome – like some current applications and research that make me think our non-human cells have serious control over our health. In part 2, I’ll chat about all of the innocent victims. Read part 1 here.

Artwork by Claudia Jean

Observation #2: Before we understood its presence and importance, we effectively nuked our microbiome.

Consider the following… (I’m speculating some here)

I should plug this book here – called An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Disease by Moises Velasquez-Manoff. This guy is a science writer – he’s not claiming to have the answers – just observations – and personal experience.

So, maybe we have taken sanitation too far? I mean – there’s a place for a sterile environment… it’s for immune compromised humans – who ironically – may be less immune compromised if they were allowed to cultivate their microbiome in a not-so-sterile environment (that’s my speculation).

What about cancer cells? Are they just a fraction of everyone’s microbiome that are allowed to grow out of control, hi-jacking some niche left behind where once healthy cells have been compromised by our blind trust in personal care products or industrial food preservatives or artificial colors or herbicides or our chronically stressed and exhausted states? (again – thinking out loud here)

So my point here is this. We are not alone – yes… our microbiome is important to our immunity & health – yes… and we are getting sicker & larger these days the farther away we get from our natural environment – yes…

Now that we have some clue that our microbiome is a key feature of our bodies… what can we do to keep it healthy or to re-balance it? Besides playing in the dirt more, eliminating synthetic and anti-bacterial personal care products, eating organic whole foods from the Earth, reducing our overall toxic load, using antibiotics only when truly necessary, relaxing, de-stressing, and sleeping…

More in part 3.

We are not alone.

I’m about to use this space to unburden my brain from the thoughts and ideas whizzing around in there. This’ll be Part 1 of 3 of such unburdening. Read Part 2 here. Read Part 3 here.

I’ve been learning about health & wellness for a few years now… like immersed in it. I follow podcasts, I read everything I can get my hands on, I track down references and draw my own conclusions from data, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking… (time to start doing, but that’s a topic for another day). I do this in the name of curiosity and wonder and amazement and improvement and now… service to others.

But I have to admit, when you get thisclose to the health & wellness dogma out there  - conventional or otherwise – it’s easy to blur the lines between was is actually fact, and what is actually just so strongly believed. I’m using these posts as a place to sort some stuff out. I’m talking out loud to my peeps here.

[Aside: I found this photo the other day - it's a classroom in my high school - probably my senior year. The banner across the top of the chalkboard caught my eye... ]

Can Entrenched Ideas Be Altered By Facts?

This is the danger any human faces when they are seeking answers. We are pretty strongly wired to want to know what’s right, and then to decide what’s right based on our own experiences, and then to let everyone else know how wrong they are – because clearly, they haven’t figured out the right way. I do my best to be objective and scientific… but it’s really difficult to resist drawing conclusions ahead of the evidence sometime.

I say this as fair warning my friends… because I’m about to stitch together a story that’s been developing in my mind. A story about our ill health, our diet and lifestyle, our environment, and some likely ways forward. I’ll reference where I can – and let you know when I’m speculating. It’s my vision of what’s going down with us here in the developed world. This story takes place as a series of observations & interpretations, ’cause that’s how I roll.

Observation #1: We are not alone.

This we know. I’d say this is fact. We are not alone in our bodies – we share our bodies with our microbiome. In fact, there are estimates that 90% of the cells in your body are the bacteria, yeast, viruses, parasites etc… that make up your unique microbiome. We are just really scratching the surface in our understanding of this ‘forgotten organ’ of ours.

We know, for example, that fecal transplants – literally transplanting the poop from a healthy individual into an unhealthy individual – cure a C. difficile infection (a bug that wreaks havoc on your digestive system) 90-100% of the time – depending on the study group. This is really a slam dunk for the importance of our microbiome on our health.

People have experimented with particular bacterial communities (probiotics) to treat eczema. People experiment with parasites to treat neurological disorders and other autoimmune diseases. Researchers are now tinkering with drugs that alter a person’s microbiome to control blood sugar dysregulation. New science (on mice) suggests that the increase in metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors correlated to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes) is correlated to a microbiome that is out of whack. Researchers are making mice obese or lean by shifting and sharing bacteria from obese or lean humans into germ-free mice.

We think that our microbiome somehow trains, strengthens, or otherwise challenges our immune system (like a vaccine does) to keep us healthy. We think that our microbiome and their byproducts can help us to create neurotransmitters like serotonin that help keep us happy – and out of depression.

There is probably oh so much more that these invisible guys do. Respect.

But, this is a frontier area of research – with serious limitations today. For example, a gut microbiome sample measured by 2 different labs identifies 2 very different communities. Shit. Literally. The very collection, handling, and processing of these samples expose them to change. Oh, and how do we know what’s a normal and healthy microbiome in a population where it’s so common to be sick? How will this information be interpreted and used? Is it safe to monkey with nature in the form of drugs that alter your microbiome – when we haven’t yet figured it out? (Perhaps a rhetorical question.)

Why manufacture drugs when nature has figured this out for us? Should we all just close our eyes, rub ourselves together, and trust in nature? This is what happens at daycare facilities day in and day out.  Kids are exposed to viruses and like little vectors bombard their classrooms with it – leaving the healthy kids just a little stronger thanks to the immune challenge.

It’s clear that there’s something to this microbiome stuff… we are not alone – and we could stand to have some compassion for our non-human cells, maybe welcome a few more bacteria to the party once in a while to shake things up in there.

More on that in Part 2.


5 Reasons Why There’s No Time Like the Present…

I’m a health coach – I’m throwing my all into spreading some serious health around. I’m pretty passionate about what I’m doing these days.

I’m also aware of how my brain works. I’m one of those people with great ideas running around in my head – and I end up thinking that everyone can see those ideas for some reason.

For example: I’m giving a free health & wellness seminar that I call ‘Thrive’ (I really need a better name for it – I’m on that)… it’s scheduled from 4:00-5:30 on Friday, June 27th at Jules Pilates Studio in Madison. I’ve arranged it, it’s going to happen… and now of course people will know about it, because it’s going to happen.

I didn’t say I was a marketer ;)

So, let me tell you a bit more about it – and then I’ll get to the meat of this post.

5 Reasons That There's No Time Like the Present + FREE Thrive Health & Wellness Workshop | From This Day Forward Health Coaching

This workshop is during Dane Buy Local’s Independents Week celebration (June 27 – July 7)… It’s a workshop that walks you through some important phases that you’ll likely go through if you are about to seize the day – to begin your own personal health revolution… today.

  • Motivation
  • Open mindedness
  • Awareness
  • Where YOU begin
  • Food as Medicine
  • How to travel this journey

In this workshop – I’ll outline my own (ongoing) personal health journey – because I believe it’s a common story that goes something like:

  • girl thinks she’s fat
  • girl loses weight conventionally/restrictively
  • girl’s friends encourage her because they think she’s looking hot
  • girl loses health
  • girl’s doctor fails her
  • girl takes ownership of her body
  • girl’s head has to change/fight convention
  • girl finally begins to thrive…

It’s about a diet mentality gone very wrong, and thankfully I discovered the error in my ways – and I really want to share it with you.

I’ve also got an important exercise for you to do. Despite the baseline commonality that conventional health & wellness wisdom may be wrong about a lot of things, we all live unique lives.  We all have unique stressors: our support networks, our habits, our jobs, our environment, our perspective, our upbringing – all as different as can be. Our bodies are all informed by vastly different circumstances – making our starting points in this quest for health very different. In this workshop, you will see where YOU should start.

Finally – I’ve got a unique approach to human health, which is why I question a lot of conventional health advice. My background is in geology and paleobiology/evolutionary science. I am very interested in how the human species best thrives (you might be too)… I call my approach ‘ancestral’ – and I’ll talk about this more at the workshop.

In addition to the valuable information that you will take away from this workshop, I’m offering some crazy deep discounts on my group health coaching program for the duration of Independents Week.  Like, 2 for 1 – so bring a friend – bring your own personal support network – and the 2 of you can split the investment. Express your interest anytime from June 27 – July 7 – and your program fee is only $65 / month for 6 months.

And because I’m incredibly interested in your success in this program – I’ll even let you try out the first session before you invest. For real.

Hey – if you happen to be reading this and thinking to yourself – “Damn, self, I’d love to hear what she has to say, but I’ve missed this opportunity.” Fret not. Contact me and I’d be happy to arrange a workshop for you and your colleagues.

And now, our regularly scheduled programming.

5 reasons why there’s no time like the present to invest in your health.

1) Your current life & health is the sum total of everything that has happened to you and your body since the day that you were conceived. Seriously. It’s taken you (insert your age here) years to build you so far. Small, consistent, daily shifts in your current routine will change your body & life. The sooner you start, the more life you can soak up down the road. There’s no time like the present.

2)  ”Procrastination is the thief of time” – I’m pretty damn good at this, and you might be too. “I’ll start tomorrow” is sort of a survival technique that many of us live by. Problem is, we don’t reap any rewards today – or tomorrow –  if we’re always planning to change at some point in the future.  There’s no time like the present.

3) We’re pretty comfortable in our routine, right? Which is why we often fail to see the bigger picture. It can be exciting to shake things up – to jump outside of your comfort zone where real change happens. Plus – there are SO MANY OPTIONS out there… gazillions of new food, ways to move, things to do, blades of grass to touch… abundance!  You’re robbing yourself of variety and quite possibly some great joy if you stick to the way things have always been done. Imagine the possibilities… There’s no time like the present.

4) Do you have minions kids in your life? These guys are so malleable, they literally soak up information all day long. Their lives and their bodies are on some sort of trajectory that is largely influenced by what goes on at home. You are one of their most important, if not the most important role models. They will learn their habits from you. Is there a new direction that you’d like to go? They’re watching… there’s no time like the present.

5) The monetary reason… right now – I’m offering deep discounts for in person group health coaching… designed to help you slowly and sustainably shift your life and health in a health gaining sort of direction. Money talks, I know. This small – proactive investment in your health today could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars down the road. You can see this I’m sure. 75% of our health care costs today go toward largely preventable disease maintenance. There’s no time like the present to take control.

Let me help you to do this… you’ve already read this today, you have some interest and awareness – you’re on your way, don’t lose momentum.

You’ve got some serious assets there…

[I've just sent this post out via my monthly newsletter - and wanted some more eyes to see it, so here ya go]

You've Got Some Serious Assets There | From This Day Forward Health Coaching

Let’s pretend that the day you were born, you had a bank account with $200,000 dollars in it… all to yourself.

Two Hundred Thousand Dollars, born with it. Score.

So, you begin your journey in life… dipping into this account to buy clothes, to buy books, to buy food, to buy experiences… to assist you in living life. Actually, you feel pretty rich when you’re young, right?  I mean $200,000 is an entirely different game than the tooth fairy is playing.

But as you get a bit older, you realize this asset is finite. This bank account makes a bit of interest… but not nearly enough to keep you from eventually going bankrupt. You might consider investing some of this money to earn a higher return, you might even consider hiring a financial advisor to help you to grow this money.

Oh, and you’ll most likely work a job as part of your financial strategy. In fact, your entire educational paradigm might revolve around earning a stable income, because hey, money is where it’s at.

Fast forward a few more years and you might get creative or change your perspective with respect to money along the way. You might re-prioritize things. Asking yourself, “What do I really need this for?” or “What’s the best use for this money?” (This is something your advisor would definitely prompt you to do – in the name of planning).

Bottom line, it’s an asset. We generally know what to do with assets. We can grow them, we can maintain them, protect them, or we can use and deplete them. Sort of depends on your goals, your financial knowledge, your risk tolerance, your willingness to learn for yourself or to reach out for help…

Do you see where I’m going here?

We ARE born with our very most important asset. Our health. Without our health, we are less likely to be able to grow or maintain any other assets in our lives. The challenge here is that, while you can know exactly how much money is left in the bank, there is no easy way to measure the balance of your health – until you start losing it.

Young bodies are resilient, they can withstand a lot of abuse. In fact, in our youth, we constantly dipped into our very most important asset with very little re-investment… but to our young eyes, we still had a huge pile of health left. We required instant gratification, with little thought to any long-term strategy of growing or maintaining health, with little thought to our future selves.

Fast forward to a time when you may be ready for your body to create new life. These days, pregnancy has been delayed later and later in life – while we figure out our own relationships, wants, needs, responsibilities, and work to have monetary assets on hand to raise babies. I had my first child when I was 30 – and I know many families that didn’t welcome kids into their home until closer they were closer to 40 or even 50.

Ironically though, fertility begins to decline after age 30. So, when we’re finally ready, our bodies are saying to us, “yeah, f*ck you”.

My body told me this – loud and clear – we had to see a reproductive endocrinologist, a.k.a. the egg whisperer, to conceive our second child – and I was only 33.

BUT, if you’ve been managing your (health) assets properly, you are more likely to build healthy families later in life… AND to recover from childbirth more fully.

What does this mean? How do you manage your health assets properly? That is the $64,000 question. :)

Here are a few big ideas worth sharing.

Step 1: Awareness.

Seriously. And this is a challenge. Because most of us figure this out too late in life. We suddenly become aware of our health only when it’s deteriorating. Shit. If you are reading this, you need to forward it to someone young and invincible. Create awareness… let me be the bad guy if you have to. Why do we know more about money and material stuff and medicine than we do about the needs of our own bodies?

So, simply put – this is your what. We need to recognize that we have health to maintain, and that we have a pivotal role in that.


Step 2: Perspective.

Also a challenge. We sort of gain more perspective as we age, right? How do we cultivate perspective when we’re young? Oh there are so many ways. All of them require unplugging and observing real life. By experiencing real life. We can gain perspective by helping others… We can gain perspective by jumping out of our comfort zone, we can gain perspective by traveling, by meeting new people. We can lose perspective by doing what we’ve always done in the same place day in and day out. 

So, simply put, this is your how. We need to be able to see that what we do everyday - has consequences for our health outcomes decades from now.


Step 3: Self-love.

You can be aware, even have a great perspective, but without really caring about the person that you are, well – there go your chances of growing or maintaining health. Maybe this should be Step 1. It’s so important to cultivate this. This means that you can look at yourself – inside and out, and love what you see, love what you feel. This means that you know that you’re worth it, this means that you have empathy for your body and mind. That you have some extreme self-care in place, that you prioritize you, prioritize life.

So, simply put, this is your who & why. It’s you, because you love you – and that’s why.


Step 4: Curiosity.

Curiosity, flexibility, willingness to change or consider new ideas. An ability to hear a new idea and say, ‘Isn’t that interesting!’ rather than ‘No way, I don’t buy it.’ It’s pretty vital to your health to be able to cultivate your inner explorer/scientist AND to allow your instinct to have a voice. This skill is particularly important to counteract the pull of media and advertising, two market-driven forces that don’t necessarily have your best interest in mind.


With awareness, perspective, self-love, and curiosity in place, you will do the best that you can for yourself and your health. The one-right-way to manage your health is the way that is most true to you.

Do you have these things in play? Which piece is the most difficult for you?

I’d like to thank a new friend, Christie at Forward Fertility, for planting this analogy in my head the other day… if we only viewed our health the same way we view our financial assets, then we’d be more proactive about growing & protecting it.


You are so worth it


Want to be part of something big?

See, I have this thing… and I’m so passionate about this thing, and I know that this thing is something big.

And I want to share this thing with you, so badly.

It’s a project that is far reaching… I’m on a mission that could add quality years to your life, and tens of thousands of dollars to your bank account. I’m currently trying to quantify exactly what that would mean to you.

But for now, I can give you some rough estimates. I’ll use myself – 5 years ago to give you an idea of what I mean…

5 years ago, I was on 2 prescription medications: cabergoline for elevated prolactin & consequent infertility, and a beta blocker called nadolol for wonky heart beats.

I think that these were generic meds, and I had some insurance to help cover the costs – so my out-of-pocket cost was something like $10/mo ($120/year) for these prescriptions, I was pretty lucky. Without that coverage, I would’ve paid more like $300/mo ($3600/year!).

But the larger cost of taking those prescriptions stems from the fact that those medicines were designed to relieve my symptoms. And they did. My prolactin levels came down, I got my period again, and my heart stopped randomly flipping out. A fun side effect of both of those drugs was low blood pressure. No matter how hard I worked out at the gym, I could not get my heart rate up above 140 bpm. That was interesting for sure. I wonder what the long term effects of that would have been. Hmmmm.

My doctors were content with this drug solution – and I was too. Hell, it didn’t cost me much and my problems were solved.

Anyway, back to the larger cost. There was something going on in my body that was causing my prolactin to elevate, and my heart to flip out. And for sure, it wasn’t a cabergoline and nadolol deficiency. While my body was screaming at me loud and clear that something was wrong, I was busy trying to silence it instead of listening to it.

Here’s where I get to be arm wavy – because I know how this story really ends ;)

If I had stayed on that path of medicating my (not life-threatening but scary) health issues, I might have set myself up for some more serious health issues. If you can’t tell if your body is sick (because you’re treating the symptoms), then you sort of run the risk of actually having compound health issues.

But in my case, I had a wake up call. Somewhere between my doctor failing me and my instinct telling me that I wasn’t designed to be medicated, but I WAS designed to heal.

I also looked around me – observed the health issues that my family was tackling – and decided that the various thyroid diseases, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and gall bladder disease that is prevalent in my family – was not going to take me down. There must be things that I could do to decrease my chances of any of these diagnoses.

Because 75% of chronic disease…. it’s preventable.

AND $3 out of every $4 spent on health care are attributed to chronic disease management. Here are some estimates for the cost of chronic disease:

(I have a hard enough time saving for retirement – these numbers are scary)

So there’s a huge potential cost for our health care – and an even bigger cost to our quality of life down the road… that we have a whole lot of control over.

More than you may realize.

My own health journey has me pretty fired up to share. So fired up to share that I’ve found new purpose in life.

Which is actually a huge positive feedback thing for me… and my health. HUGE.

Here’s where the something big comes in. I’ve started a group coaching program that I call THRIVE. It’s a program for women who are tired of feeling shitty. For whom conventional medicine & dietary advice is failing. Who have open minds and are ready to make change. For women who aim to gain health in a way that makes perfect sense.

And when you do gain health – and you’re ready to pay it forward – I have you covered too. For me, part of thriving means having more to give – and I hope to give back to our community in some way.

I know that life is expensive today. We all have lots of bills. This part of the reason why a group coaching approach makes sense. The individual investment is relatively low, and the rewards can be enormous.

And the community, support, and accountability – well, it’s super nice.

Right now, and through the end of April 2014, I’m offering 2 for 1 if you enroll in the THRIVE program with a friend. That’s 50% off.

It is currently offered in 2 locations in Madison.  The group at Jules Pilates Studio on the west side of town meets every other Wednesday from 5:15-6:45 pm, and the group at Chrysalis Hair & Body on the east side of town meets every other Sunday from 2:30-4:00 pm.

AND if you’d like to try it before you invest – just RSVP to me… I’ll set you up.

Bring a friend :)

You are worth any investment really… You are so worth it.