Category: Balanced Living

My Journey from Vegetarian to Owning a Pasture Raised Meat Business

My Journey from Vegetarian to Owning a Pasture Raised Meat Business

Once upon a time I was vegetarian. Now we own and operate a pasture raised meat business. (Grass fed and finished beef, pasture raised pork and chicken all minus antibiotics or added hormones)

Quite the switch.

When I was ohhhhh around 20 (feels like just a couple years ago) and I went to Alaska for the first time (as a vegetarian), I had the privilege of spending a couple of weeks with a family who was homesteading in the middle of absolute nowhere. The nearest town was 30 miles away by dog sled or snow machine during the winter and by boat in the summer. And that “town”…well if you’ve seen the show Northern Exposure {popular in the early 90’s} then you know what kind of town I’m talking about. You know, where the “airport” and post office are all in one and smaller than my house. You get off the plane outside on the tarmac regardless of the fact that it’s 30 below outside. Oh, and the plane is half cargo. Some of the cargo was fresh produce that people living way up there eagerly anticipated once a month.

ONCE a month! Can you imagine fresh veggies and fruit only once a month??

Needless to say, when the woman of the house {i.e. cabin with no running water and heated only by wood stove} I was staying at asked, “what should we have for dinner?” my first night there and it turned out my options were moose, caribou or….well…moose, I was not surprised.

“My first experience in temperatures so frigid. No store anywhere within reach. Yup, I’ll be eating meat” was how my thought process went. Then, off we went into the “yard” with a chainsaw where she started uncovering something from under a mound of snow. There was dinner. Not even kidding.

My reasons for following a vegetarian lifestyle back then were pretty weak. I was early into my whole health and fitness journey and was very much following trends {and more interested in being skinny than anything else related to health}. So, low fat and vegetarian it was! I would go out with friends and order a pizza with just veggies {cheese was too fattening}. No joke. Thankfully I had good friends who didn’t give me too hard of a time or try to force feed me pepperoni and cheese *gasp*. I will tell you, however, the biggest driver for me was my disgust with how meat was farmed in our country and I really associated it with fast food. Yuck.

Eating meat in the far Northern regions of Alaska in the dead of winter with a family that was completely living off the land, changed my perspective.

After that experience, I moved to a small town in Alaska, not nearly as remote as Kotzebue, however the grocery store was a 2 hour drive away from where I lived (still accessible any time of the year). {I lived in Healy, just north of Denali National Park}

What I noticed when I lived up there was that people hunted and would feed their whole family for the entire year from a moose they shot; and they were SO thankful. I hunted with friends and the experience was completely different than what I expected. The word honor comes to mind. When you work hard for something versus just picking up a package at the store or ordering it off the menu at a restaurant…it makes you really understand and appreciate what you have in front of you.

This was such a far cry from what I was used to down in the lower 48. Not to mention, wild meat had SUCH a different taste.

There is a lot of confusion today with what is good and what isn’t good for you. What I find that many people overlook WHERE things come from and what that means for the integrity fo the food. I haven’t ate a burger from a fast food restaurant in ….you know I can’t even tell you how many years. But, I was still buying meat from the grocery store and not really thinking much about it until in the recent few years. Then I started getting grass fed beef locally and fast forward to now where we have partnered with Pacific Northwest farms who meet our strict standards and we are selling it!

One of the biggest reasons to go for grass fed over grain fed is that grass fed beef contains far more omega 3 than omega 6. Why do we care about this? On our Standard American Diet {S.A.D.} we eat an alarmingly off balance ratio of omega 3/omega 6. This causes systemic inflammation which is at the root cause of basically any known chronic disease in our modern culture. Meat is not the only culprit; not by a long shot. We get an overabundance of omega 6 from all the highly processed vegetable oils in our processed foods {canola, soy, corn, safflower…}.

According to holistic practitioner Chris Kresser, “Depending on the breed of cow, grass-fed beef contains between 2 and 5 times more omega-3s than grain-fed beef, and the average ratio of n-6:n-3 in grass fed beef is 1.53:1. In grain fed beef, this ratio jumps all the way up to 7.65:1”. {For more on this subject AND why meat and saturated fat are not to blame for heart disease like we’ve been told for so long, go here.}

Minus the hormones, minus all the inflammatory omega 6, minus the antibiotics, what do you get?

You get significant amounts of B vitamins, including B 12, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, niacin, and vitamin B6. You get vitamin D, iron & zinc. You also get a good amount of other vital minerals such as magnesium, copper, cobalt, phosphorus, chromium, nickel, and selenium. And the best part is that these nutrients from a meat source are far more bioavailable than any other sources {meaning your body will actually absorb and use much more than it will from other sources}.

I totally respect those who choose to be vegetarian. That’s not what this article is about {and I’m not interested in debates. You respect my decision, I’ll respect yours}.

What this is about is my own journey, and digging deep into the science behind health rather than just following trends.

It sure feels good to know exactly where our food comes from, to know that they are happy, healthy, well cared for cows! And I will say that I feel like a happier, healthier, more cared for human being having much more nutrient dense food in my diet every day.

Why the KETO Diet Might Not Be For YOU

Why the KETO Diet Might Not Be For YOU

There really is no one size fits all approach. We all know that.

There are some key ingredients to any kind of “plan” out there that I would argue are essential for anyone, though:

  • Based on whole foods
  • Includes a good amount of healthy fats
  • Eliminates (or at least drastically reduces) processed foods
  • Gives your body what YOUR body needs (this is where things get confusing)

So. This list really leaves a lot under its umbrella. I consider this a good thing.

We all have different needs, but also different values surrounding our diet and lifestyle and different things we just plain are or are not interested in.

It’s no secret, I am a big fan of the ketogenic lifestyle. I’m also a big fan of the paleo lifestyle. Why do I promote KETO so. darn. much?? Because I have seen it help people over and over again, get to a place they JUST COULDN’T no matter what they did. It allowed them to start burning fat for fuel and reduce inflammation and FEEL GOOD.

My goal is to share how to follow a keto diet focusing on a whole foods approach AND my programs are targeted toward women. This is HUGE. We are so very different in how our bodies operate then men. You just can’t put your body on the same exact protocol as your husband or boyfriend and expect things to go well.

“Aside from all of this stuff, how do I know it’s the right avenue for me?” Is this what you’re thinking? Well…let me share a few ways to know when it’s NOT right for you:

1) You’re just doing it for some quick weight loss
You need to do your research. The ketogenic diet is not something meant for just dropping a bunch of weight fast and then going back to the standard American diet. This should really be thought of as part of a lifestyle: teaching your body how to burn fat for fuel and creating habits that are sustainable and that promote a healthier overall you.

2) You’re not ALL IN
The ketogenic diet is not something you can “sort of” do. You’re either following it 100% or you’re not. Now, there are big benefits to eating a higher fat/lower carb diet of any kind. However, the ketogenic diet is very specific in terms of how much fat and how little carbs in order to get into ketosis. If you’re not willing to fully commit, it’s not for you.

If you are married to your excuses more than your desire to be healthy: not for you.

3) You’re vegetarian
Ok hold on here: before you get ready to send me a nasty-gram, hear me out. I am not saying that you CANNOT be vegetarian on the ketogenic diet. But, if you are, it will be DIFFICULT. If you are dairy free on top of it…10x harder. Lots of people are dairy free and do amazing on KETO {in fact some people say it’s absolutely necessary but I disagree}. BUT, dairy free AND vegetarian…different story.

I am a big fan of seeing people include good grass fed, hormone free, organic meats in their diets. The ketogenic diet is NOT high protein, but moderate. And those protein sources are important. I also don’t like to see women try to meet their protein needs with soy based products do to potential hormone disruption.

Here is some further information on the topic: red meat in particular.

4) You’re mourning over the thought of giving up your sugar and fast food.

Okay. I’m not saying the ketogenic will NEVER be for you. However, a much better plan if this is you, would be to taper down. Start with Paleo, which cuts out the sugar and processed foods and go from there.

Truly, there is A LOT of tasty food you can eat on the ketogenic diet that makes it pretty easy for people to follow compared to other plans. But, if you have not yet pried your little fingers off the convenience foods and sugar, it will be harder.

5) You feel like you’re “all in” but you don’t want to worry about the “details”

Well, you’re going to have to worry about the details if you want good results AND if you want to feel good doing this.

The ketogenic approach is not just any old “diet”. Think of it like this: your body has been used to a certain kind of fuel for quite awhile. That means at a cellular level your system has adjusted and adapted to what you feed it. Truthfully, the ways in which it has adjusted and adapted are very likely NOT IN YOUR FAVOR! But, any change, even good change, takes some deliberate effort.

Changing the type of fuel your are giving your body will mean changes big and small from the outside in…all the way down to your individual cells.

This is why the type of fats & proteins are crucial. This is why {you will hear this in my programs} electrolytes are CRITICAL. This is why you HAVE TO BE PURPOSEFUL.

Okay, I know I probably made KETO sound like a big scary, hairy, overwhelming thing to jump into: but it’s not.

You just have to have a good talk with yourself and do your homework before deciding if this is a good fit for you or not. No one wants to try a program without being fully committed only to walk away feeling like they failed. Again. I sure don’t want that for you.

Did you make it through the list and you’re STILL interested in KETO? You’re saying: “heck YES. I went through that list and I know: I’M 110% READY!!” Then I want to invite you to join one of my upcoming programs OR, if you’re the person who has done gobs of research and you just need a meal plan and a little jump start: I have an option for that too!

Starting January 1st my KETO for Women Groups are starting {I run them monthly}! Find out more and/or sign up here.

I hope you all had a FANTASTIC Christmas and that NO MATTER WHAT you do with your health and fitness, that you do it with purpose and intention and that you FEEL AMAZING! <3

5 Basics You Need to Get Started on the Ketogenic Diet (psst: it’s pretty simple!)

You’ve been spending months pinning keto recipes on Pinterest, reading blogs and watching YouTube videos all on this high fat way of life. You’ve even made yourself a bulletproof coffee or two. It’s time, you’ve decided, to jump in with both feet!
Now what?

Here are a few basics that I HIGHLY recommend to anyone getting ready to embrace this awesome lifestyle!


Please let me take a minute to let you know that this whole keto thing does NOT have to be complicated! It really doesn’t! You can easily get overwhelmed and tripped up by all the differing opinions and perspectives out there. But if you take ONE piece of advice from me let it be this: YOU DO YOU! You decide how you want to do Keto and let everyone else do it in their own way as well.

What do I mean by this??

Some people like to track macros, some don’t. Some include dairy and peanut butter, some don’t. Some people test their ketones, others don’t…. and on and on. You get it. There are only truly a few MUSTS for success on the ketogenic diet.

Here are my recommendations:


This is a FREE APP you can download on your phone & it makes it super convenient to TRACK YOUR MACROS.

Do you have to track? NOPE. But, I would recommend doing it in the beginning if you are totally new to this whole thing. Why? You will be surprised with what foods have carbs and how high they can be! If you truly want to get into ketosis, it is important to figure this piece out early on.

Do you have to use myfitnesspal as your tool of choice? NOPE. But, it’s FREE and pretty easy to use. There are others out there. If there’s something else you prefer: go for it! Remember: YOU DO YOU. I just caution against making things too complicated for yourself.

Do you need to purchase the PAID version of myfitnesspal? NOPE. Don’t need it. Everything you need you get with the free version.


They are important for everyone, but EXTRA important when you’re following a ketogenic protocol. When you are starting out with this new way of eating your kidneys will shift from retaining water & sodium to getting rid of them at a faster rate. Of course our bodies will work to keep everything balanced and due to this our blood volume shrinks to maintain sodium blood concentration. What does this feel like? Irritability, brain fog, headaches, fatigue, constipation…KETO FLU

But don’t worry! We can do something about it! ??

Making sure you are getting enough electrolytes will help stave off these keto flu symptoms! You need:

  • Sodium (5000-7000mg)
  • Potassium (1000-3500mg)
  • Magnesium (300-500mg)

SODIUM: I use sea salt & Himalayan salt & just make sure to use it on my food. If I am having a day where I am particularly fatigued, irritable, having brain fog…I’ll put some in my water with lemon. I also take a little pinch before a workout & it helps with stamina.

POTASSIUM: You can typically get what you need from potassium rich foods (listed below) & you do need to be careful that you do not overdo Potassium as that can be dangerous.

  • Spinach
  • Avocados
  • Mushrooms
  • Meat
  • Blackberries
  • Broccoli
  • Radishes
  • Kale

You really need to supplement for this. Over 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient which causes a whole host of issues. When you are following a ketogenic diet, your levels will drop even further, as mentioned above. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! You MUST supplement in order to feel good and replenish your electrolytes!

You can find a pill form or powdered drink. Also, soaking in a bath for 20 min in Epsom salt is an excellent way to absorb magnesium into your body {magnesium also helps with muscle fatigue & cramps, constipation and sleep}. What I recommend and use {a couple different options}:

Natural Vitality Natural Calm Plus Calcium Magnesium Anti Stress, Organic, Raspbery Lemon, 16 oz

Triple Calm Magnesium – 150mg of Magnesium Taurate, Glycinate, and Malate for Optimal Relaxation, Stress and Anxiety Relief, and Improved Sleep. 120 Capsules.


In order to stick to this, you need to set yourself up for success! Remove the garbage from your house & keep a basic supply of keto foods stocked at all times so you don’t find yourself reaching for things that will derail you.

As a holistic health coach, I encourage people to buy things that don’t just match the macronutrient profile you need to aim for, but also are free of chemicals, hormones, preservatives, nitrates & nitrites & pesticides, etc.


All of these artificial and harmful substances in our foods cause underlying issues that have HUGE long-term impacts on our health. Everything from hormone disruption, chronic inflammation and autoimmune conditions to neurological conditions. I sure hope your goals in regards to your health go beyond just looking good in a bathing suit.

Where can you shop and not spend a FORTUNE??

The good news here is that a lot of grocery stores are starting to carry healthier options that are free of all the crap. This is AWESOME! However, if you’re like me you A) like a good deal and B) love convenience.

If this is you, I invite you to check out Thrive Market online! They offer TONS of amazing options that are organic and HEALTHY at a fraction of what you would pay at most grocery stores. Their mission is to make healthy foods more accessible to everyone both financially and by delivering them right to your door {I know not everyone has a grocery store in their that offers good options}.

With Thrive Market you pay a yearly membership fee {like Costco}. HOWEVER, you get to try your first 30 days FREE! Also: shipping is always FREE on orders over $49 {HELLO…do you EVER walk out of the store with less than $49 worth of groceries when you go for more than just a couple of items?? Me neither!}.

Use my link for Thrive Market here and get 25% OFF your first order!

Some of my favorites from Thrive: macadamia nuts, NuCo wraps {coconut wraps}, coconut oil, Lily’s dark chocolate, pink Himalayan salt, Swerve, Primal Kitchen mayo & dressings…to name just a few!


There are 3 ways you can test your ketone levels:

1. Urine Strips: super cheap but I would NOT RECOMMEND this.

When your body starts producing ketones at the beginning of your journey the urine strips will indicate this by showing you a color on your strip that lets you know what level of ketones it detects. HOWEVER, in the beginning your body spills ketones out through urine because it is not efficient at using ketones for fuel ⛽️. Weeks and months down the road your body becomes a pro at using ketones for fuel {yay!! ?} but then they won’t be as prevalent in your urine. DO NOT mess with your head by using urine strips!!! ? You could be deep in ketosis and not know it with these because we need to know what your ketone level is at in your BLOOD, not urine!!!

2. Breath meter: measures acetone in your breath. New machines are becoming available for this as we speak. I personally do not have experience with them so I cannot recommend either way. Research suggests that the level of acetone in your breath is a good indicator of ketones in your blood.

3. Blood ketone meter: ❤️
This is what I personally prefer & recommend. I want true measures of ketones in my blood therefore I love this method ?? There are spendy devices out there but I found one that is very affordable! {They also offer helpful tutorial videos which I watched to help when I first started and to be SUPER HONEST: I was scared to prick my finger ??‍♀️ But the video really helped calm my nerves and it’s truly no big deal now. Plus, the guy has a cool accent and somehow that just makes it all better. I know I’m not the only one thinking this.}

KETO MOJO is what I use. Any other device I found was well over what I was willing to spend. I bought mine for $49.99! AND the ketone strips are .99 right now {if you get in on their founders club offer} rather than $3-4/strip! NO JOKE.

SIDE NOTE about testing your ketones. Is it an absolute NECESSARY thing in order to be successful?? NOPE. Is it helpful YES! This is totally a personal choice and I started out not testing, but it sure does help keep me on track and teaches me a ton about how my body responds to certain foods and even exercise in terms of ketones.


When your body produces ketones they are considered “endogenous” ketones. When you consume ketones and take them into your body, they are considered “exogenous” ketones.

Considering the fact that you are reading a blog post about the ketogenic diet, it is highly likely you’ve heard of exogenous ketones and have seen advertisements for them. Let me give you a little insight into exogenous ketones:

Are exogenous ketones necessary to have success on the ketogenic diet? NOPE {are you surprised?}. Are they useful? They sure can be!

So, these guys are awesome in several different circumstances, but once again, it is a personal choice as to whether or not you use them.

1. Getting through the dreaded keto flu. Exogenous ketones can really help boost your energy and stamina through this period! If you are good about getting your electrolytes in, then this will add one more awesome tool against keto flu!

2. Mental clarity. I personally like using my exogenous ketones when I have a project to focus on or if I have had a crappy nights’ sleep and need that extra energy. What I LOVE about ketones is that you don’t get that caffeine high and then crash. It feels like natural energy…because it is! Our bodies LOVE ketones for fuel!

3. Before a workout. Exogenous ketones can offer that extra energy source for an intense workout.

4. To help get you back into ketosis. So…for my birthday I chose to indulge with my favorite meal: fish & chips and a hard cider. (Excuse me as I drool.) The next morning I took my exogenous ketones AND got right back on my keto plan with a bulletproof coffee!

IMPORTANT: Exogenous ketones are NOT meant to replace following a ketogenic diet. This is not a tool to use so that you can eat whatever you want. It does NOT work that way and you will cheat your body out of becoming a fat burner {and your results {or lack thereof} will show this. If used correctly, exogenous ketones can be a fantastic tool in your tool belt on your keto plan!

What I use & recommend {and WHY}:
I have tried several different exogenous ketone brands. I LOVE Perfect Keto because they were created by a functional practitioner (Dr. Anthony Gustin) who aims to provide a product without all the unneeded “junk” in it. He also purposes to have a more affordable product (there are some EXPENSIVE ones out there!) that you can easily access by just ordering online. I like simple. I like effective. I like functional. We have a winner!

Now for a plan…

If you are going to be successful with a ketogenic protocol, you need to be committed. Make sure it’s the right time for you. Make sure you are ready to dive in and not let distractions derail you {life will ALWAYS bring distractions: its ultimately up to you}.

If you’re ready but need some extra tools I would like to offer some of mine!

For $19 you will receive:

  • A list of keto friendly foods to stock your kitchen with
  • My very own list of staples that I personally always keep stocked in my kitchen
  • A 4 week meal guide complete with recipes that you can use & modify to help you start out on the right food

**please note, part of how I support this blog and my desire to help people with their health and fitness goals is by partnering with companies that I personally use and recommend. Therefor, there are affiliate links on this post. One of which includes: is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to “” (, or,,, or

The Pursuit of Happiness: 3 Steps You Can Take to Retrain Your Brain

Every single thought you have creates a chemical reaction in your brain. EVERY. SINGLE. THOUGHT. This changes the physiology in your body.

Our negative thoughts, therefore, if left unchecked, will obviously takes us down a road toward anxiety, depression even obesity, violence, job dissatisfaction…etc. This is according to Dr. Amen, who I would consider to be a brain guru. He attributes our overall health and success to our brain health.

Now, before you get all carried away and think we all need to have a Pollyanna perspective on life, do understand that there is an appropriate amount of anxiety that is designed to drive us to make positive changes. If you are an individual who practices more of the “ignorance is bliss” way of life, and your responsibilities get lumped into what you ignore…this is absolutely the WRONG direction to go down. Or if you choose to stuff your feelings, so speak, rather than dealing with them…same outcome. It will lead to more UNHAPPINESS as you are not living in reality, letting problems mount and feelings fester. These things WILL come out someway or another {not to mention, people in your life tend to suffer from this way of living}.

If, however, you find yourself “stuck” in a negative thought pattern and you are able to be real enough with yourself to know that this steals your happiness: there is hope. There is a ton of hope, in fact.

Here are three very practical things that you can start doing TODAY to help retrain your brain <3 PROTECT YOUR BRAIN

Our brains are far more susceptible to damage than most people think. One reason for this is that we are used to walking around like this and the symptoms we deal with seem “normal” when in fact they are not. For example: sleep issues, mood disorders, problems with focus and brain fog, memory issues…just to name a few: these are issues that we attribute to age or stress, and some of that is true. However, we can do a lot to experience far better brain health and therefore, far better overall health than we give credit for.

Start with the obvious stuff: wearing a seatbelt, wearing helmets when appropriate, being careful with how sports are played (there is a plethora of information out nowadays regarding the brain damage football & soccer players in particular sustain and how it impacts their lives later on).

Think about what goes into your body: drugs, alcohol, too much caffeine, certain medications, smoking. Many of these substances reduce brain flow by a tremendous amount, which in turn decreases brain activity.

In addition to those things we take into our bodies, it is important to reduce your toxic load from the things we don’t mean to put into our bodies: Cleaning supplies, detergents, dryer sheets, fragrances, beauty supplies, pesticides… Research is finding that this toxicity is connected to ADHD, Autism, lower IQ, chronic inflammation and more. These issues are even being found in babies born to mothers exposed to environmental toxins

Sleep: too little sleep, or poor quality sleep will cause damage that can appear like heavy drug use or even chemo on your brain. Our brains repair during sleep. If you are chronically lacking sleep, you are depriving your brain of this repair.

Manage stress: this can be a hard one, with the fact that some stressors are unavoidable. However, consider ways in which you can reduce or better manage any chronic stress you currently have. This might look like counseling, adding exercise to your routine, perhaps saying “no” to some things and reducing the load you have on your “plate”, it might mean changing jobs… The bottom line is that chronic stress will cause stress hormones to build to the level that is toxic to the brain and will even kill brain cells.


Our brains thrive off of healthy fats and omega 3 fatty acids. Our Standard American Diet {SAD} greatly lacks in these areas and instead is extremely heavy in sugar and simple carbs which leave the brain deprived and us feeling, lethargic, craving more junk, moody, with blood sugar issues, with chronic inflammation, with brain fog. Diets like PALEO & the ketogenic diet are PRO BRAIN! It is important to get rid of old messages we have been taught about saturated fat and cholesterol {both things our brains NEED!!} and to let go of the “low fat” mentality! ALSO: eat your eggs, most importantly the yoke!


This takes some dedication, but it can do WONDERS!

“Research by Mark George, MD and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health demonstrated that happy, hopeful thoughts had an overall calming effect on the brain, while negative thoughts inflamed brain areas often involved with depression and anxiety.” Amen Clinic

How do you do this?? You can start here:

Consciously challenge your thoughts: rather than let your negative thoughts run wild and direct your day, your mood, your outlook, face them, challenge them and change them. Of course it won’t feel natural to do so and your mind will want to snap back to that comfortable negative space, but just keep doing it! “Fake it ’till you make it”! Get yourself in the habit if switching to a positive thought and eventually it will happen automatically.

So there you have it: three things you can start doing TODAY to change your brain from limping along and being unhappy, to thriving! I know the first step contained a lot of different things. So: cross off the ones that are not an issue for you. From what is left, pick one item and work on that one thing until you have effectively changed it and can move to the next thing.

DO NOT try to change too many things all at one time!! This is a sure way to fail and then feel worse than when you started.

If you are at a stage in life where you need some guidance along this journey, a health coach can be a great benefit to you. I am happy to set up a free 30 minute consultation with you and come up with a plan/program to help you become the happier, healthier, more vibrant person you want to be!

Set up a consult through email:

Understanding Inflammation and What to do About it

I used to think that inflammation was something that strictly had to do with the obvious, such as arthritis. I didn’t understand what it was, what caused it or how deeply it affects so many of us and in ways that I had never connected. Chris Kresser {one of my favorite holistic practitioners to follow} stated that “inflammation is at the root of nearly all modern disease, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disease, allergies and many more. He went onto include mental health conditions such as depression.

So what IS inflammation? Well it really is designed to help us in a lot of ways. When our body is fighting issues such as damaged cells, viruses, bacteria, etc. it is a protocol meant to help and heal. What has happened, however, is that our modern day, American culture has created a situation with chronic inflammation that is not beneficial to us. This is due to our sedentary lifestyles, our highly processed foods, high stress, gut issues {because of a lot of these same things}, food sensitivities, etc.

One huge culprit is the oils and processed carbs in so much of our food such as: corn, soybean, canola, safflower, and sunflower oils. Unfortunately these oils were pushed on us for years and our foods are so highly laden with them that we have developed a huge imbalance in Omega 6 & Omega 3 fats. Omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory (best source: fatty fish -> sardines, mackerel, herring, and wild salmon). Because Omega 6 fats are EVERYWHERE & in EVERYTHING (seriously, even the “healthy” stuff you think you’re buying…READ YOUR LABELS!), the ratio has just been too hard for our bodies to fight. Inflammation has taken over. And this is just ONE cause of inflammation!

Highly Inflammatory Oils to STAY AWAY FROM! One of the best things you can do TODAY to reduce chronic inflammation in your own body is to pay attention to your diet! Here are some tips:

  • Reduce sugar and processed carb intake {shop the perimeter of the store rather than buying mostly boxed/packaged items that are FULL of inflammatory ingredients.
  • Eat fats that reduce inflammation and protect our hearts and brains:
    • Organic coconut oil
    • Extra-virgin olive oil (organic)
    • Avocados
    • Grass-fed meats
    • Grass-fed butter
    • Nuts—walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia
    • Fatty fish—sardines, mackerel, herring, and wild salmon (NOT Tilapia! It has almost ZERO omega 3 & unfortunately a lot of people love it because it is such a mild fish. Sorry friends! It’s not benefiting you like you might like to think it is!)
  • Use herbs & spices that help reduce inflammation:
    • Basil, chili peppers, cinnamon, curry powder, garlic, ginger, rosemary, turmeric and thyme (you can even get creative and make drinks/teas with these!)

Beyond the diet…here are some other tips:

Incorporate essential oils that help reduce inflammation:

  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Frankincense
  • Myrrh
  • Helichrysum
  • Basil
  • Eucalyptus
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Wingergreen
  • Cassia
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Geranium
  • Jasmine
  • Lemon
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Blue Tansy
  • Cilantro
  • Clary Sage
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Lemongrass
  • Melalouca
  • Melissa
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
  • Sandlewood
  • (You can order oils here & I am happy to help with any questions/guidance!)

Reduce stress, physical & emotional/mental
If you don’t have a good support system, plug into one! Find a church, find a support group, check out for local groups there’s something for everyone, moms, hikers, singles, runners…etc. I started my own moms group when I was a stressed, working, single-mom in college and it was a SAVING GRACE!If you need a counselor, find one! Google therapists in your location. Many are willing to charge based on a sliding fee scale. There are lots on-line as well (even apps!). If nothing else, pick up a good book to help you trouble shoot things you are going through. One I love is Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It’s great for those of us who say “yes” FAR TOO MUCH and end up spread thin, stressed out, resentful and left with no energy for the things we need to pay attention to in our own lives.Listen to your body! I see way too many people over exercising thinking it will help them reach their goals. The sad thing is that I watch them get themselves stuck in a cycle where they can’t fathom the idea of peeling back {and don’t you dare suggest it to them} but they feel like crap and/or their body is holding onto fat, their immune system is breaking down and injuries occur all too easily.

So, there you have it. I hope you really take some time to switch things around if you are dealing with chronic inflammation. I know it can be confusing. Start with small steps…choose ONE THING to change and then go from there. No need to add more stress by trying to change everything all at once.

If you are in need of some support and more individualized guidance, feel free to connect with me for a free consultation. We can determine if some health coaching is what might benefit you! Just email me here:

Shutting it Down

I am going to attempt to write what is on my heart and mind without sounding super esoteric and “woo woo” as I hear people say. First of all I am neither of those things and secondly, I really don’t take myself so seriously.

I am sure I’m not the only person bouncing through life who feels that the messages out there regarding health and fitness are just OVERWHELMING. I mean how is anyone supposed to figure ANYTHING out and stick to anything long enough to solve a problem for themselves? And, the impression I get from some schools of thought is that I just am not safe ANYWHERE eating ANYTHING. In truth, our environment is CRAZY compared to how it was during our grandparent’s generation. The water was better, the soil was richer and cleaner, we weren’t inundated by chemicals, relationships were better, technology was far less distracting and all consuming, people were less busy (understatement), our movies and music polluted our hearts and minds with WAY less CRAP. This is just the surface of what I could go on and on about. But what the heck are we supposed to do about the stress on our bodies, our relationships and mental and spiritual health short of packing up and moving to some remote island where we can live a sustainable lifestyle with a small tribe of people (sound like a cult yet?).

What I see more and more with folks trying to figure out why their body doesn’t cooperate with them anymore, why they have weird ailments, can’t lose weight, have zero energy, etc. is that they get swept up in a whirlwind of mixed messages. Anyone relate to this?? Yes, all of this stuff is tied together. Yes, we are complex creatures with complex bodies and complex lives. Yes, we need to fix things at a fundamental level. However, we don’t have to stress ourselves out MORE and add to the problem on the way to figuring it all out. Right? Right.

Let me just take a minute to look you in the eye (figuratively of course) and give you permission to just shut that junk down. Quiet all the chatter for a bit. Listen to what the heck is going on in YOUR body, your spirit, your mind. What is going on in your life, with your relationships, with your home, with your surroundings? NONE of the other stuff matters if you aren’t in touch with this stuff.

Now, please hear me out. My faith is most important to me and I am not saying you need to go meditate in the desert until your inner child emerges. What I am saying is that we are so confused with messages being shouted at us in so many different forms of media daily, and we are so DISTRACTED from how our lives were divinely designed to be that… DUH… of course we’re sick! Of course our hormones are revolting against us. Of course we are gaining weight, stressed out, have all sorts of health issues and are taking 9 different pills. That is the perfect image of a modern day American right there. But, it doesn’t have to be YOU.

Okay, so you agree to turn off the noise for a bit, stop being quite so busy and turn things OFF (cell phone, TV, computer…) long enough to think and be real with yourself. Now what?

On the journey to better health and vitality it is important to try things out and figure out what works for YOU. There just is no one size fits all with any of it. What is pretty universal is all the stuff I already mentioned that we need LESS of. Now what do YOU need MORE of? More prayer? More time outside? More uninterrupted time with your family? More time away? More real, whole foods? More sleep? More movement? More water? I mean it can be pretty basic. However, we tend to ignore all these things and it just piles up until the mountain of neglect is so huge we just don’t know where to start. That’s when the messages around us really become tempting and we forget that we are our own experts.

I hope that you feel even a little inspired to turn down the noise of our modern life and get in touch with your reality. From there, I hope you make some small changes toward a healthier, more balanced you. Don’t for a minute think this is selfish. Your kids will thank you. Your spouse will thank you. Your coworkers and friends… people will thank you because you will be more present and happier and I can guarantee that you will inspire someone along the way.

The Sweet Spot

When I was younger…in my 20’s (I swear that was just yesterday), I was so obsessive about my fitness that I would be a bear if I didn’t get my minimum number of workouts in per week and it had to be for a minimum amount of time as well. It’s as though I thought my body would puff up in one day if I missed a workout. I struggled hard with body image and weight in childhood & adolescence. It’s amazing how wide that pendulum swing can be. It took several years to settle. Thank you, God, that it did.The journey has been interesting and eye opening, however.

A few years ago I went to see a holistic doctor after struggling with my energy level and being confused by it. After all, health and fitness is my thing…I thought I was doing everything right. My diet was spot on, my exercise was spot on…what the heck? To my surprise, the doctor sat down in the office and started asking me about my life starting back in childhood. I was very impressed by this, given that I was in the midst of earning my masters degree in Health Psychology and really learning how tangled the web is that connects our physical, mental/emotional and spiritual selves. What a concept that a doctor would ask me about my mental/emotional health from childhood on. I had never had a doctor spend time fully listening to me about surface level issues let alone asking me all this stuff. This is when I first learned about Adrenal Fatigue.

Truly the man scared me. He talked about what chronic stress can do to a body and there I was thinking I was not part of that population. I have never smoked, drinking has amounted to one or two glasses of wine a few times a week (hello antioxidants). I never eat fast food. I exercise 5+ days a week. I have awesome friends and a solid network and my faith is integral to me. What’s the problem? What stress? If there’s any there I know how to deal with it…or did I? I was a single mom, working and earning my masters degree at the same time. Sleep was something I did not do much of.

So really, what does all of this mean? Since that appointment I have done a lot of research on Adrenal Fatigue and it has made a lot of sense looking back. I realize this has been something I’ve struggled with for years. Now, I know when I am dipping back into it. In fact, this past year has been the worst ever (you’d think a girl would learn, right?). I had so much transition in my life, a lot of it actually good, but change nonetheless, that my body just decided it had had enough. My energy levels plummeted, my immune system took a nose dive, my sleep suffered horribly…

What do you do when you hit bottom?

You breathe. You pray. You rest. You take care of your body by not overworking it.

This stuff is NOT easy for me! Thankfully I found PiYo a few years back and started teaching. It has been such a Godsend for my body. The strength and balance I get without the hard impact has been amazing. However, I stopped teaching classes at night for now. That was a huge step for me toward simplifying my life. I didn’t like leaving a dinner time and coming back when it was pretty much bedtime 3 times a week. Plus it made it hard for my body to settle down at night. I gave up running for several months to let my body heal as well. Running is such a love of mine, but it can also be so hard on the body. I’m back at it and thankfully it feels good again!

I have been practicing the art of saying “no” as well. Seriously not easy for me! And I say “practicing” because I have a ways to go yet. But, it’s amazing how freeing it feels to protect your little world by saying that. When I say no to something that doesn’t fit my own schedule or goals or that of my family, I am saying yes to the direction I am really trying to go in and I am saying yes to my family. That part feels amazing.

So now, I am enjoying exercise on my own terms rather than having it dictate me and how I feel about myself. I am being more purposeful in decisions I make and making sure they line up with what I want life to look like for my family and myself. I am embracing “no” as something that can can be such a gift. It’s always an adventure, life is. I love that I am operating less on caffeine and autopilot and more from intention. It’s kind of nice.

If you are caught up in the constant going, always busy, saying yes to everything cycle….I encourage you to sit back and breathe. Then pick something today to say no too and say yes to something better.

Dream a Little Dream

Today Ashton and I spent some time on a couple of projects in the kitchen. He used to LOVE cooking and baking with me when he was really little. Not always the story these days. Today he was super into it and it just made my heart happy?

I am starting a new venture in life with my business and a lot of the “why” behind my goals are because of that cute, sometimes stubborn, often funny kiddo of mine. Today sure did validate my decision. He commented several times on how good it felt to just hang out and do something like that together…not be plugged in, not be rushing around everywhere, just be together and creating stuff. I was impressed by the maturity in what he was recognizing and yet wanted to cry at the notion of my 10 year old, that seems so old and so young all at the same time, essentially asking me for “more of this”.

Well, “more of this” is what we shall have. Life is changing. And, although I know it won’t all be easy…the sacrifice…I know it will be worth it.

I preach balance all. the. time. Well…here I am creating it. I’m leaving my job for many, many reasons. This living breathing example is one of them. Sometimes we have to step off our current path if it means staying 100% on a journey with those we love most.

Here’s one of the things we created ? A healthy “dessert”. You should try it! Ashton was impressed by my chocolate drizzling skills which made me think “oh I love that I can still impress you”. I know those days are numbered! I will cherish each one. ❤️


  • Cut up fruit
  • Melted chocolate
  • Melted chocolate AND peanut butter (Duh. Have to have this one too!)
  • Shredded coconut
  • Chopped nuts

You decide what fruit and how you want to assemble. As always: simple, easy & delish!

Now, go hug your little (or not so little) ones?

Stress and adrenal fatigue

Chances are if you’re part of this fast paced, over stuffed, over stimulated, over stressed culture you have experienced adrenal fatigue. This is an issue plenty of people deal with, however there is very little knowledge about it in mainstream medicine and therefore our society in general. Typically, doctors don’t recognize a problem until the adrenal issues have gone to an extreme level and thyroid issues ensue. This is not to point at doctors, it is simply outside of the realm of the modern medical perspective at this point in time. I will add though…awareness seems to be slowly occurring and I remain hopeful.

So what exactly is adrenal fatigue? Our adrenal glands are small walnut sized glands located above the kidneys. They create corticosteroids like cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline that then communicate specific messages to our brains that release certain hormones in response. I am going to keep it simple for the moment and focus on “CORTISOL”.

Our bodies are amazing and designed to work in very intricate ways with impressive communication skills. Cortisol may be a familiar word to some as it is linked to stress and weight gain.

Here is what happens: stress comes in different forms, physical, emotional, mental. What is stressful to me may not be to you and vice versa. We all have different tolerance levels of stress as well as different ways in which we deal with (or avoid) stress. However, when stress becomes chronic, our bodies become overwhelmed.

If I am dealing with a high level of stress for a prolonged period of time, rather than stress hormones spiking and then returning to normal, they will remain at an elevated level. Specifically focusing on cortisol today…if I have an overload of cortisol I will likely experience things such as headaches and backaches, cravings for junk foods (salty and sweet…refined stuff), sleep will be an issue perhaps having a hard time falling or staying asleep and then feeling tired even if I do get an adequate amount of sleep. A big one for a lot of people is weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Cortisol tends to make us hold on to body fat especially around the belly (aren’t we lucky?). Then it gets overzealous and won’t let go. Some people will experience depression and/or anxiety as well as gastrointestinal issues. Infections and allergies are also more prevalent with high levels of cortisol. And one more…it can kill your sex drive.

Anyone relate to any of this stuff in conjunction with some stress you’ve been dealing with? Yup. We all do at least at some point in life…especially in our crazy, fast paced society that has too much, is too busy and far too distracted.

If these type of stress responses continue for long, because we are not able to change the level of stress in our lives or haven’t figured out how, then our adrenal glands get worn down. **newsflash** We are not meant to have chronic stress in our lives. After a while our adrenal glands say…”well, I’ve put in my hours. This ‘overtime’ was not in my job description…I’m out”. They end up slacking off, but it’s because they aren’t equipped for the overload.

When adrenal glands become fatigued, the symptoms are like those I mentioned above. The symptoms often become more pronounced and you will likely have a more difficult time “shaking” whatever you feel you are dealing with.

I went to a naturopath several years ago because of this heavy fatigue I was experiencing that I didn’t understand. I eat healthy and balanced and exercise regularly…but the doctor sat and talked to me about my life in general. He even talked about past stress (yes, some childhood questions came up). He essentially brought to light how spread thin I was and how my body just needed rest (not just the sleep kind of rest) and more balance in all areas. I do struggle with this and have learned to be aware of it and manage it far better than ever before. This whole issue with our adrenal glands can really be a good thing…IF we listen!! It can motivate you to seek balance in your life. And balance, as we know, is one of my favorite things. <3 My hope is to help individuals to start recognizing the havoc that is being reaped on their bodies BEFORE it gets to such a critical level that medication and other things are necessary just to regain some form of “normal”. ATTENTION: once we reach critical levels with our health in general, we risk never being able to return to “normal” without the aid of modern medicine…which can often lead to other issues. It is super important to address problems and symptoms when they are manageable! Our issues are an opportunity to create healthy change!!! As I finish this I am noticing it is nearing midnight. Oops. I am a work in progress 😉 Good night sweet friends…

Where Do I Start???

Is this you?? Have you been wanting to lose weight, get in shape, have more energy, be a good example to your kids, just FEEL BETTER, but you don’t know where to start? OR you start and can’t seem to keep going? OR you just feel OVERWHELMED?

Here are 5 simple tips to help get you going!

    One of the biggest issues I notice with people is that they want to wait until circumstances are perfect in order to start getting healthier. “I’ll wait until after the holidays” “I need to get through this busy time” “I need to wait until I have extra money to buy healthy food” “Maybe when…”START NOW! You are either procrastinating and really not willing to change things yet OR you’re over complicating it! Life is never going to present the perfect scenario for this stuff.You just have to want it bad enough.
    If you jump into this trying to start exercising 5 days a week (when you haven’t been like….at all), totally overturning your diet, cutting out all sugar, saying no to alcohol (bye-bye nightly glass of wine), waking up early, drinking only water, blah blah blah… your head spinning yet? This is what I see people do ALL. THE. TIME. And it makes me a little crazy. Maybe a lot crazy.Don’t do it! Pick one or two things and go from there. AND don’t pick monumental things!! Think LESS.
    Think BALANCE.
    Think BABY STEPS.
    Think LIFESTYLE CHANGE (not “diet”…notice that’s a four letter word?? Just sayin’”
    I think most of us get this one, but, we still don’t always build it into our plan very well. Accountability could mean you check in with someone every day, or it could mean you’re actually doing it with someone! The best kind of accountability is when it is a “doing it together” kinda thing. It makes it FUN! You can relate to each other and have a mutual “YOU CAN DO IT!” thing goin’ on.Have you ever noticed that when you are pulling someone else up who is struggling, you get inspired and motivated yourself? Same with teaching. When you teach someone something you have to be a step ahead to be able to show them what you know. So that makes you dig in a little deeper.
    Seriously people. Change is hard. BE PROUD! Make a chart of short and long-term goals AND rewards for those goals! Don’t skip this part! You need to recognize the small and big steps toward progress that you make. And remember, BIG CHANGE OCCURS FROM LOTS OF LITTLE CHANGE.
    lost 5 pounds, buy a new book, get a mini-massge
    exercised all 5 days you said you would, buy a new nail polish
    drank water instead of soda all week, spend the $ you would’ve spent on soda on a fitness
    magazine or clean eating magazine that inspires you
    reached your goal weight, go on a little mini-trip, get a new exercise outfit, new running shoes…Get the idea?? IMPORTANT: Please, please, please do NOT reward yourself with FOOD!! Talk about a slippery slope! Be kind to yourself, take care of yourself. Reward yourself in ways that keep you on your healthy path <3
    This is another biggie! (Maybe they all are…hmmm….) If I take something out of my life, I need to purposefully replace it with something, otherwise I will subconsciously replace it with something that is NOT beneficial.Extreme example, but I had a guy in my office recently who used to be a drug addict and now he binges on soda and crap food. No big surprise there. Junk food and sugar really hit that happy spot in our brains. Like REALLY. No wonder America is the way it is in terms of health. Ok…let me stop before I really get going on that one. ;-)Here’s the GOOD NEWS: exercise also hits that happy spot in our brains! Like REALLY 🙂 I know it sucks a little at first…but you keep your head up, hold onto your accountability peeps, keep inspiration around you all the time and FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT!! One day, you will stop and realize: “I FEEL AMAZING”! Then you’ll be hooked. Trust me. It’s worth it, my friend.

If you are on a journey and trying to change habits in your life I would LOVE to hear from you!!! I want to know if you have tips to share, what’s worked, what hasn’t?

I CONSTANTLY have groups going on and YOU would be welcome to join anytime! Just send me a message and I’ll let you know what’s currently going on and you can team up with us 🙂 Better together is a true thing.

I hope you are all having an amazing weekend and get to take a minute to refuel and recharge <3