The Roots of Health – Episode 11: What Are My Kids Eating? with Kathryn Kos

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From an ancestral perspective (or otherwise, for that matter), it is a huge challenge to nourish your child the way that you want and to maintain any sort of control over what they are eating on a daily basis. It’s healthy for our kids to have a social life, yet when they are at a friend’s house, all bets are off when it comes to food. At school, so many of our kid’s classrooms are cupcake and cookie factories with birthday celebration after birthday celebration. It’s not uncommon for parents to have NO IDEA what their child is eating when they send them off to school.

So, what does a health conscious parent do to make a difference? How do we influence change without judgment? Well, it starts at home… with setting great examples, packing nourishing lunches, and supporting your child to learn how foods make them feel.

My guest today is Kathryn Kos, a nutritional therapist at Primal Bliss Nutrition who is raising   primally inspired children. Kathryn gained quite a following on Facebook by posting daily photos of her son’s lunchbox. She has since released an ebook of healthy lunch ideas, called Joshua’s Primal Lunchbox.

Kathryn and I talk about our kids, and how our modern culture makes it really challenging to keep track of what our kids are consuming. And this can be a tenuous situation, when we’re with friends our kids are offered foods that we wouldn’t offer them at home. How do you manage this situation without being perceived as unreasonable or straining friendships?

And the school environment… how do you deal with the copious amounts of sugar that your kids are offered?

If you haven’t already read this article by Yoni Freedhoff called, “Why is everyone always giving my kids junk food?”, be sure to click here and ponder his words.

Kathryn provides some ideas for packing healthy lunches, and also recommends some healthier, convenience foods to have on hand.

It can be overwhelming to ensure that our kids have parent-approved food options in our modern social environments, but rest assured, there are a few things that you can do to decrease some variables:

  • Be proactive in the classroom and in the schools – offer healthy solutions rather than fume over the status quo.
  • Focus your efforts where it counts the most – at home – be a great role model for your kids, they do learn from us.
  • Investigate PlanetBox lunch boxes as a way to pack appropriately sized, healthy foods from home… and be green, and save serious money.
  • And check out Kathryn’s ebook, ‘Joshua’s Primal Lunchbox’ for nutritious lunch ideas for your kids. You can find it at

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The Roots of Health – Episode 10: Human Kids with Charby Ibrahim

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Attention Parents of small children. Are you exhausted by your kids? Do they drive you crazy when they don’t sit still or play with their food at the dinner table? Do you feel frustrated by the lack of adherence to your ‘house rules’? Let’s take a step back for a second and observe your kids in a different light: from the perspective of their species and their natural environment. This is what ancestral health is all about.

My guest today is Charby Ibrahim. He is a Nutrition and Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Teacher, Writer and the man behind ‘The Ancestral Body’. Charby co-hosts one of Australia’s top health and wellness pod-casts called ‘The Primal Shift’, and has recently started producing his very own health and wellness TV Show – ‘The Ancestral Body’. One of Charby’s real passions is working with young people and he’s recently fulfilled a dream of his by publishing a children’s book called ‘My Bunny-Mate’ – which is a thought provoking tale of health & wellness for all ages.

Charby and I chat a bit about his personal health story and the reason behind his interest in health & wellness, about his connection to kids as a teacher and health educator, about how we should support the ‘human-ness of the human’ when it comes to kids behavior and health, and how imperative it really is that we should even join in with their play. Ah yes, the student becomes the teacher…

Of course, this all ties into the message in Charby’s book. ‘My Bunny-Mate’ (illustrated by Daymel Garcia – hardcopy here) is a charming tale of a little boy and his ‘Bunny-Mate’. He promises his mom and dad that he’ll take good care of his bunny and – with good intentions – proceeds to treat this bunny like a dog, by putting a leash on him, or as a person by feeding him treats and tucking him into bed. But his Bunny-Mate sets the record straight by telling him how a bunny prefers to move, eat, sleep, and poop!

Your primal humans will love it…

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The Roots of Health – Episode 9: John Wood of US Wellness Meats

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We have so many choices these days. When we go to the grocery store, we’re presented with a litany of options. If you’re shopping for meats, you’ll either be leaning over a refrigerated stack of pre-packaged ground beef, steaks, chicken, pork (insert your dinner option here) or peering through a glass display of meats where you can select your own particular cut to bring home.

Have you ever given a thought as to where those cuts come from? As to the conditions under which that animal was raised or the resources consumed in order to raise it? Did you know that the way in which an animal is raised influences the nutritional content of its body and therefore… your dinner?

Did you know that you have a choice… to select meat from healthy, humanely raised animals, animals that were grown by mother nature, animals whose interaction with our grasslands actually help to stabilize and support those same lands? Meat that is… really good for you?

Yep, you do. It’s called grass-fed meat. Meredith’s guest today is John Wood, a 5th generation family farmer who co-owns and operates a pasture to consumer online grass-fed meat business called US Wellness Meats. John and his partners – who were influenced by the work of Allan Savory – raise animals sustainably and humanely letting mother nature be their guide to promote not only their health, but the health of the land, the health of the community, and the health of the consumer.

To place an order or to find out more, visit And if you’re a farmer who is interested in learning more about how to shift your practice toward a more sustainable approach, visit

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


More about John Wood:

John Wood is a life long resident of Lewis County Missouri. Following a Farm Operations B.S. degree at Iowa State University in 1975, John returned back to a 5th generation family farm and was involved in day to day management of conventional Northeast Missouri family farm from 1975 to 2000.

In February, 2000, John and 3 partners created a pasture to consumer online grass-fed meat business on farms in NE Missouri and Western Illinois. Grassland Beef, LLC d.b.a. U.S. Wellness Meats was organized officially on September 1, 2000. Marketing commenced on November 7, 2000, and continues today nation wide and into several foreign countries. Grass-fed beef, lamb, butter, cheese, bison, free range poultry, ABF & GMO free pork, organic snacks, wild caught seafood, raw honey and gourmet rabbit compose the core business model. U.S. Wellness Meats have been featured by pro sports chefs, doctors, trainers, authors and the likes of Fox News in recent years.

During the past 39 years, leadership positions were held with Lewis County Extension, Lewis County Farm Bureau, Missouri Young Farmers, 3 year stint on the Missouri Soil and Water Commission during the mid1990’s, and 2014 Governor’s Award for Agricultural Achievement

It is exciting to be in an industry that supports animal agriculture, treats animals with respect, entry position for young farmers with low overhead, good for the land & plant community, good for the rural community and improves health and wellness for our consumers.

The Roots of Health – Episode 8: Laughter Yoga with Shelley Bell

Emily Jean

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In the past few weeks Meredith has presented a strong case for food as medicine. It’s pretty clear. But there’s another medicine that you may be lacking in your life. Laughter.

How often do you laugh these days? You may be among the millions of humans out there with a serious laughter deficiency, and that’s troubling. Laughter is a universal language that provides stress relief: it brings you into the present, focuses your mind on the giggles at hand rather than the stressors that may dominating it, laughter helps you to breathe, to connect with others, and to take this life of yours a little less seriously. We could all use an increased dose.

This week, Meredith chats with Shelley Bell, a Certified Laughter Yoga teacher, about laughter, laughter yoga, laughter clubs… even phone laughter… you really have no excuse, you must laugh. And you’re encouraged to fake it even. Flex that laughter muscle, feel better instantly, and reap the benefits for hours to come.

Shelley Bell is a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher and Holistic Health Coach. She leads a Laughter Club in Northridge, CA, and trains people to become Certified Laughter Yoga Leaders in the Dr. Kataria School of Laughter Yoga. Shelley does Laughter Yoga Presentations and workshops for various groups throughout the Los Angeles and surrounding areas, including assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. She is passionate about helping people to build up their laughter muscle and rediscover their inner joy.

Why not see if you can find a Laughter Club in your area? Or join Laughter Club via Skype. No excuses, friend. As they say, laughter is the best medicine.

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

The Roots of Health – Episode 7: An Epidemic of Health with Dr. Terry Wahls (Part 2)

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This week we hear Part 2 of Meredith’s interview with Dr. Terry Wahls (if you’ve landed here and haven’t heard Part 1, click here to listen first).

Last week, we heard Dr. Wahls’ personal story – of reversing the symptoms of her Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis using food as medicine. It is clear to her that the food component of her recovery has had the biggest impact on her overall health. This week, we dig a little deeper.

In Part 2, Meredith and Dr. Terry Wahls discuss a bit about detoxification (and what foods are important for ensuring that the Phase 1 & Phase 2 detoxification pathways in your body are in working order), about how to stimulate digestive enzymes – an important first step in accessing the nutrients in your food, the promise of understanding and manipulating the human microbiome as it relates to Multiple Sclerosis patients, and about food sensitivities, elimination diets, and ketogenic diets (where carbohydrates are severely reduced, proteins are moderated, and healthy fats make up the bulk of ones diet). Ketogenic diets are likely part of our ancestral history. As we moved away from the equator, fruits, veggies, grains, and beans (main sources of carbohydrates) would have been largely unavailable during the winter months.

Scientists and physicians require more than just anecdotal evidence (one person’s story – that may not be scientifically reproducible) to move forward with healing protocols for the general population. Dr. Wahls is addressing this concern through clinical trials on MS patients. We chat about some of this exciting work and offer ideas about how you can make a difference by supporting this research, by purchasing her book and becoming a beacon of health, by direct donations to the Wahls Foundation, or by setting up a link to donate to the Wahls Foundation through the Amazon Smiles program.

Dr. Terry Wahls inspires millions of people to re-evaluate their relationship with food. She aims to spread an epidemic of health.

She is the author of The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine and teaches the public and medical community about the healing power of intensive nutrition.

You can learn more about her work from her website: She is conducting clinical trials testing the effect of nutrition and lifestyle interventions to treat MS.  She is also committed to teaching the public and medical community about the healing power of the Paleo diet and therapeutic lifestyle changes to restore health and vitality to our citizens.  You can follow her on Facebook, on twitter at @TerryWahls. You can learn more about her research or purchase her book at

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


The Roots of Health – Episode 6: Food is Medicine with Dr. Terry Wahls (Part 1)

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To many, food is simply calories. It’s a necessary part of life that prevents us from being hungry and gives us energy. We define food as whatever happens to be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Food is just what we eat – with little awareness about how it interacts with our bodies.

My guest today is living proof that food is information for your body. That food provides the building blocks for the chemistry of life.  That food can either be your medicine, or your poison.

(She was also my inspiration… and helped me to see that I was in control of the chemistry of my own life… I spend a good bit of time telling her how important she is to me… )

Dr. Terry Wahls inspires millions of people (watch her Ted Talk) to re-evaluate their relationship with food. She is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa where she teaches internal medicine residents, sees patients in a traumatic brain injury clinic and conducts clinical trials.  She is also a patient with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, which confined her to a tilt-recline wheelchair for four years.  Dr. Wahls restored her health using diet and lifestyle. She now pedals her bike to work each day.

She is the author of The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine and teaches the public and medical community about the healing power of intensive nutrition.

You can learn more about her work from her website: She is conducting clinical trials testing the effect of nutrition and lifestyle interventions to treat MS.  She is also committed to teaching the public and medical community about the healing power of the Paleo diet and therapeutic lifestyle changes to restore health and vitality to our citizens.  You can follow her on Facebook, on twitter at @TerryWahls. You can learn more about her research, support her research, or purchase her book at

This is Part 1 of 2 of my interview with Dr. Wahls. Tune in next week to learn more about exciting clinical research that Dr. Wahls is conducting and what you can do to help her spread an epidemic of health.

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

The Roots of Health – Episode 5 – Fermentation with Jill Ciciarelli

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We’ve all heard of probiotics, they are beneficial bacteria that you can consume to help your body to digest, assimilate nutrients, create neurotransmitters, and strengthen your immune system.  They are all the rage in health communities these days, with good reason. But what comes to mind when you think of them? Chances are you think of some sort of probiotic supplement.. or maybe yogurt. You may also think about the cost associated with them.

Well, guess what? There’s a very affordable way to incorporate a wide variety of probiotics into your diet. AND you can create them right in your own home! The process is called fermentation.

Fermentation has a very rich history. It’s a food preservation technique that involves culturing foods & drinks with bacteria & yeast. It can be done in a process known as wild fermentation where your food is literally inoculated with the bacterial strains found in your own home, or with the aid of one of many bacterial starters, like whey for example.

This week, Meredith talks with Jill Ciciarelli about fermentation, about being creative in the kitchen, about reaping the health (and financial!) benefits of experimenting with fermentation in your own home, about just how easy it is to do, and about her book, Fermented: A Four Season Approach to Paleo Probiotic Foods.

Jill is a food lover, kitchen adventurer, board-certified holistic-health coach, and keeper of the blog First Comes Health. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The Pennsylvania State University, a bachelor’s degree in Italian language and literature from the University of Pittsburgh, and certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in holistic health, Jill has channeled her various passions into instilling a desire for long-term health in her clients. She has helped them reach their health and wellness goals by advocating an ancestral way of eating and serves her community as the Weston A. Price Foundation chapter co-leader. You can find her fermenting and experimenting in her urban high-rise kitchen and follow along with her on her website, First Comes Health.  Jill lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Brian (aka Dude), and Quincy, the sweetest kitty in the world.

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


The Roots of Health – Episode 4 – Stress & Your Body with Norma Richardson

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Are you prone to illness? Exhausted, headachy, or brain-foggy?  The root cause of your illness just might be stress.

We all face modern stressors, both good and bad, both acute and chronic.  Good stress, also called eustress, is related to getting a job done, or excitement and joy. Good stressors are resolved in some timely fashion.

But bad stress, or distress, is what we really need to be aware of. Our bodies have an innate mechanism for dealing with acute stressors. Stress hormones are signaled to respond to temporary stressors and when the stressor is gone, the stress hormones decrease. This is known as your body’s fight or flight response, and it helps us to survive particularly stressful (physically and mentally) situations.

From an ancestral perspective, our acute stress response has an evolutionary advantage – that of survival. Enter modern stressors. What happens in our lives today when our brains can’t tell the difference between ‘I better run away from that bear’ and ‘I hate my job’ or ‘nobody loves me’ or ‘I wonder if I’m going to get sick’ or ‘I’m not going to have enough money to pay the bills’ or (insert your more chronic stressor here). Our stress response is then on high alert and our stress hormones are constantly pumped through our bodies.  If our bodies are preoccupied with chronic stress, they are not in a position to heal, and our immune systems become compromised.

How do you identify chronic stress in your life and what can you do to decrease stress in order to increase your odds of staying healthy?

This week, Meredith talks with Norma Richardson a.k.a. the Healthy Mood Coach from The Center for Mind Body Wellness.  Norma talks about how to be aware of your body’s stress signals and discusses strategies to relax, ground yourself, and bring your mind back to the present – where true healing can take place.

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



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.


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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.