Creamy Wild Watercress & Nettle Soup

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Wild watercress and nettles are sprouting in Wisconsin, and they are quite the culinary treat!

High in calcium, iron, vitamin c, beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, vitamin E, vitamin K, lutein, b vitamins, and many more, watercress is rich in potent antioxidants that help to fight cancer. It’s been found to help smokers or those exposed to secondhand smoke excrete the toxins found in cigarettes from their urine in just 3 days.  It’s also good for liver problems.

Stinging nettles are my go-to safe alternative to allergy drugs. They help hayfever and any type of allergies, supporting the immune system and anti-inflammatory response naturally, instead of just covering up symptoms like drugs. This mint can be used for prostate problems, PMS, asthma, bronchitis, sciatica, tendonitis, multiple sclerosis, gout, hives, kidney stones, sciatica, high blood pressure, & eczema. Just about one cup of this veggie will give you half the calcium you need for the day, with good amounts of magnesium, manganese, iron, b vitamins, vitamin k, beta carotene, and potassium.

Both greens are excellent for treating anemia, purifying the blood, and for arthritis.   Note: Be careful not to touch the nettles without gloves- they bite!

Ingredients:

2 cups MSG-free vegetable broth

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or organic butter

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 bunch of watercress

1 bunch of nettles

2 medium potatoes, peeled & chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

¼ cup organic whole plain yogurt, extra to garnish (eliminate to make vegan)

Sprinkle of chives to garnish

Himalayan salt & black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Bring the broth to a boil, and add the potatoes. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, heat the butter/oil over medium heat. Add the nettles, watercress, and onions. Turn heat down a bit and cook until the onions are translucent. Once your potatoes are tender, add the cooked greens mixture to the pot and boil for a couple minutes. Place in your food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add the yogurt, then season to taste with the salt & pepper. Ladle into bowls immediately and enjoy!

Megan M. Kerkhoff, CHC, AADP, CFH

http://www.aayushealth.com

Follow me on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AayusHealth and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/aayushealth/

Get Even Healthier!
Are you curious about how easy-to-make changes with professional support & guidance can make a huge difference in your health, happiness, stress levels, and overall wellness? Let’s talk!  
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today, and see how your life can change. 

Ghost Pipes

Update:  I’m happy to say the author of the article mentioned here has updated her article since mine was published. It is a bit more accurate now.

I’ve seen this floating around quite a bit, and it’s created many misconceptions surrounding Monotropa Uniflora, also known as Ghost Pipes or Indian Pipes.

To respect a plant is to tell the truth, not create misconceptions. To honor it. To approach it with both evidence-based information and ancient wisdom. I urge people to respect this plant. I urge people to understand practical use.

On that note, let me debunk some of the statements in this opinion piece with information coming directly from the Wisconsin DNR and the University of Wisconsin Department of Botany.

(Note: As with any plant, distribution will vary from state to state, from country to country. This article reflects information from Wisconsin as well as most parts of the eastern United states. Check with your local DNR/University extension for information on your area.)

Per University of Wisconsin Department of Botany-

Monotropa Uniflora (Ghost pipes or Indian pipes) are NOT endangered, and are abundant in North and Central America. They are widely abundant in Wisconsin. It is not disappearing. It is not rare.

Picking the stems while leaving the roots undisturbed does NOT affect future growth. As with many plants, it is important to leave the roots so that your harvesting is sustainable. It is a traditional Native American medicinal plant, and indeed is useful to humans and has been used for many centuries as a medicine. Medicinal uses are documented, and provide benefits unlike any other plant we know of. Uses range from treating PTSD to chronic pain. As it is very potent and does not work well for individuals with certain health conditions, I would advise using it under supervision of a trained professional.

Ethics and conservation are indeed important. ALL medicinal plants deserve respect. Sustainably harvesting a widely abundant plant is no more about ego, objectification, or “plant porn” than harvesting/photographing echinacea, motherwort, St Johns wort, or any other beneficial plant.

Let me give you an example- one of my favorite medicinals, blue vervain, is rare in Wisconsin. I have only one patch I’ve found. I harvest about 25% of the patch every year, leaving the roots intact, as I have done for about 5 years. The patch has grown noticeably over the years.

In addition to that, Ghost Pipe does not photosynthesize like a typical plant. As it gets all of its sugars from fungal mycelium, the aerial parts are primarily for reproduction and not necessary to sustain the root. So as long as you leave seed to help spread some, harvesting this plant is actually more sustainable than any perennial plant that needs to photosynthesize to sustain the sugars in the taproot.

In summary, there is no science or evidence behind the claims in this article and I’d like to put that to rest. Respect the facts, respect the evidence, respect our environment and the food and medicine it provides for us, respect and pass on our ancestors wisdom and traditions.

 

Read more about this plant and its distribution here: http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=MOUN3

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Wild Ramp & Egg Bowl with Lemon Herb Sauce

Tis the season for wild ramps-  here’s an incredible recipe that can be eaten as a breakfast or dinner. Tastes like a kind of gourmet eggs benedict!

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Ingredients:

  • 10-15 ramps
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of fresh parsley
  • About half cup of your favorite mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Pinch of chili flakes or powder
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Pinch of paprika

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Place the ramps, mushrooms, 4 tbsp of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt in a baking pan or cast iron pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are golden.

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While it is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil and poach/soft boil the eggs for about 3 minutes.

Blend the parsley, 1 tbsp pine nuts, lemon juice, ½ cup olive oil, and chili in a food processor until smooth. Season to taste with sea salt.

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Place the mushroom/ramp blend in a bowl, topped with the eggs. Drizzle with the lemon herb sauce, and then the remaining 1 tbsp pine nuts. Sprinkle the egg with paprika if desired. Enjoy!

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Get Even Healthier!

Would you like support in making your own health dreams come true? Are you curious about how easy-to-make changes can make a big difference in your health? Would you like help in making healthier food choices and replacing bad habits with good ones? Let’s talk!  Schedule a complimentary health counseling consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about!  Schedule your consult by contacting us at  http://www.aayushealth.com,  megan@aayushealth.com, or 920-327-2221.

Megan Kerkhoff is a Certified Health Counselor and Certified Family Herbalist at Aayus Holistic Health Services in Neenah, Wisconsin, and resides in Little Chute, Wisconsin.

Decadent Raw Chocolate Chia Pudding

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Raw, unprocessed cacao is as healthy as it gets- and this is exactly what all chocolate starts out as. In its unprocessed form, it contains a plethora of nutrients that are lost during the processing into dark or milk chocolate. Not only are the candy bars you see today devoid of cacao’s nutrients, they have unhealthy additives like white sugar, artificial flavors, and trans fats added to them.

So why not get the benefits of the real stuff and make your own sweet treats? Raw cacao, usually sold as nibs or a ground into a powder, has some really powerful health benefits. According to studies published in “Journal of the American College of Cardiology” and the “Journal of Internal Medicine.”, it reduces your risk of stroke and heart attack. Cacao is rich in polyphenols, which serve as antioxidants and inhibit blood platelets from forming a clot. This superfood has been shown to lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) while raising your HDL (good cholesterol). It is rich in resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant, and phenethylamine, the “love” neurotransmitter, that boosts mood and libido. Cacao’s high chromium and coumarin content help to balance blood sugar, prevent diabetes, and promote weight loss. Do you ever get chocolate cravings? This could indicate a magnesium deficiency- add in some raw cacao to get your magnesium fix!

Decadent Raw Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

1 cup flax or almond milk

1/3 cup chia seeds (heaping)

1.5 tbsp maple syrup (grade B if possible)

1.5 tbsp raw cacao powder

¼ tsp real vanilla extract

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix together the milk and chia seeds. Let sit for about 10-20 minutes, mixing occasionally, until it turns into a gel. Add in the maple syrup, cacao powder, and vanilla. Sprinkle with raw berries if desired. Serve cold and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

*Not a fan of chocolate? Hold the raw cacao and add a bit more vanilla and some fresh berries. (as pictured on right)

Enjoy this recipe? Check out our 18 Day Sugar Detox coming up in August! You’ll get tons more recipes like this and learn how to beat the sugar addiction for good- no going cold turkey, no cravings, no withdrawal symptoms, all from the comfort of your own home!

 

Get Even Healthier!

Would you like support in making your own health dreams come true? Are you curious about how easy-to-make changes can make a big difference in your health? Would you like help in making healthier food choices and replacing bad habits with good ones? Let’s talk!  Schedule a complimentary health counseling consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about!  Schedule your consult by contacting us at http://www.aayushealth.com,megan@aayushealth.com, or 920-327-2221.

Megan Kerkhoff is a Certified Health Counselor and Certified Family Herbalist at Aayus Holistic Health Services in Neenah, Wisconsin, and resides in Little Chute, Wisconsin.

Reversing Cavities Naturally: An exclusive interview with Green Bay mom Ashley Redmond‏

” The quality of our food  determines in large part the quality of our lives. 
And the quality of what we eat is determined by every step that goes into production & processing- the feeding of the animals, care of the soil, preservation, storage, and even cooking methods.”
-Dr. Weston A. Price
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It’s a rather controversial question: can cavities be improved with diet? Could cavities actually be REVERSED with diet? And while most will agree that cavities are largely caused by sugar consumption and other bad habits, could the nutritional link go much deeper than that? You ask the average dentist and the answer is likely no. You ask local mom Ashley Redmond- and she will give you an unequivocal yes.
Meet the Redmond/Nowak family of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
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In November 2014 Ashley Redmond and her husband Tim Nowak were devastated to find that their 9 month old exclusively breastfed daughter Claire had tooth decay. Unhappy with the invasive and risky options she was given, Ashley decided to take a gamble and heal them on her own through a special diet. After her first set of caps, she decided to stop the interventions- no fillings, no surgery, no fluoride.   Ashley’s is an incredible story of determination, willpower, the miraculous healing power of food, and the wisdom of a mother’s gut instinct.

I am very excited to share her story with you- the struggles, the triumphs, how she did it, and some of her favorite healing food ideas & recipes.

*Note: To protect Claire’s privacy, her parents have asked that we blur her face.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today, Ashley. Tell me a little bit about you!

I was born, raised, and married in Green Bay. Up until just 3 years ago, I worked 12-hour shifts in the Emergency Department of an area Trauma Center. I traded that all in when I became pregnant, and am now working 24-hour shifts as a stay-at-home-mom to our 19-month old daughter, and have never been more challenged… or fulfilled.

My husband, Tim, is a full time Paramedic in the city of Winona, MN (I’ll be relocating to join him soon) and we are also proud parents to 3 goofy and snuggly rescued pit bulls. I am a self-professed book nerd, animal rights advocate, reality show addict, and comfy-clothes homebody.

In time, I seriously look forward to picking back up on my running habit, and completing a few more half-marathons to add to my list. Until then, I’ll happily continue spending my days on trips to the library, coloring hearts and stars with sidewalk chalk, taking all four of my “kids” out for walks in the sunshine, and nursing a giggly toddler to sleep.

When did you first notice there was a problem with Claire’s teeth, and what did you do for treatment?

By the age of 8 months old, Claire already had 8 teeth. It was when she was just 9 months old, however, that I first noticed something abnormal.

In December of 2014 I noticed a light brown spot on the biting edge of her top left lateral incisor. It was comparable to the color of peanut butter. It looked as if the enamel was gone, but because it was on the bottom edge of the tooth (as opposed to the surface, between teeth, or at the gum line) I considered that it could possibly have gotten chipped. It definitely wasn’t smooth. Because I had heard it recommended that children have their first dental appointment by the age of one, I figured it was the right time to go get it checked out.

When Claire was first seen, the dentist said what she most likely had was simply a discolored spot on her tooth. She said it wasn’t a cavity because it wasn’t “spongey,” and to simply watch it. By the next week, I was calling to have the dentist see Claire again. I told the dentist that I couldn’t explain it, but that her tooth looked “shorter.” Sure enough, the dentist agreed that the tooth needed to be capped. Because she couldn’t say for sure if the tooth had gotten chipped, or if it was decay, she actually submitted it as both for the insurance claim. They scheduled the general anesthesia procedure for February. This was now mid-December, and it had been 3 weeks since I first noticed the brown spot.

The following week, however, I called the dentist’s office again, demanding that Claire’s procedure bewasn'tgoingtobeatooth
scheduled as soon as possible. Her tooth had decayed to barely 2 mm past the gum line at this point. I was adamant that there wasn’t going to BE a tooth if we waited any longer. To compound my alarm, her other upper lateral incisor was developing the very same brown, rough spot as the first one had.

I must have made an impression on the dentist; she agreed to do the procedure over her lunch break the very next week, the first week of January. Claire was 11 months old. The anesthesiologist and OR nurse said she was the youngest they’d seen for dental work. The two caps were placed. At this point I wasn’t yet too concerned about decay being a chronic issue.

What about fluoride?

Going in to our first appointment, I had made it clear that I was not comfortable with fluoride. I was relieved when Dr. Meredith accepted that, and never suggested it again. This past July, however, when Dr. Meredith was on maternity leave, we discovered Claire had more decay. We were seen by Dr. Eric.

I asked Dr. Eric about a possible correlation I had read about between celiac disease and child enamel defects. He barely acknowledged my question. I believe “mm hmm” was all I got. He addressed our night nursing, even thinking that if I wasn’t willing to wean (eyebrow raised), that I need to at least wipe her teeth or brush them. WHILE SHE SLEPT. Seriously.

Then he had the gall to say “I suppose you’re one of those people who is against fluoride?”

Now, as I explained to him, I am fully aware that the biological and neurological effects of fluoride may vary greatly and are fully dependent upon both dosage as well as route of administration. As I am fully against the ingestion of fluoride as it is a neurotoxin, I understand that there may be clinical indications for topical application on dentin. He told me at this point that I should consider prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste for Claire, and to make sure to brush her teeth at least twice daily.

“But Dr. Eric,” I replied, “She’s 15 months old. Isn’t she going to swallow whatever toothpaste I give her?”

“Well, yes,” he answered, “But you wouldn’t be using that much.”

…he just didn’t want to hear me.

I declined the fluoride toothpaste, and was told that there really just wasn’t any way around “fixing” Claire’s latest decay without the following procedures:

4 caps on her top central incisors and canines

2 fillings on her bottom premolars

And he strongly urged that we place sealants on 2 other teeth, if not also over top of the 2 fillings as well.

That’s right… it was July, just 6 months after she had to be put under, x-rayed and have caps placed… and she had no less than 5 cavities.

This news just deflated my confidence. I had been doing everything “right,” in an effort to avoid ever again

needing to go through what she had to go through (no juices, no sugars, no chewy fruit, still 95% exclusively breastfed, sips of water straight from a cup after nursing, brushing her teeth with remineralizing paste), and yet here we were again. After this news sat for a few days and my nerve came back, I started wanting more answers and wasn’t quite so willing to roll over just yet.everythingright

I went and got a second opinion from a pediatric dentist in Appleton (Dr. Gonzo). Sadly, his opinion was to be even MORE aggressive in treatment. He insisted upon prescription fluoride toothpaste, and instead of the 4 caps recommended by Dr. Eric, he noticed decay above her current caps and said that those needed to be removed and replaced… for a total of SIX caps.

By this time, her teeth had taken on a blue hue due to being so thin from demineralization. Dr. Gonzo also pointed out what looked like her enamel actually shearing off her canines, not unlike how a snow Avalanche looks when it’s shearing off the side of a cliff. My stomach really sank when he addressed the likelihood of her not-yet-arrived molars developing severe decay as well… or the few healthy teeth still remaining. He said we’re looking at having to do this “a few times” before her adult teeth even arrived.  I was sick to my stomach with this. It seemed like I really had no options but to constantly play catch up to whatever was destroying my child’s teeth. And it was a losing battle.

What treatments did you go ahead with, and where did you get the ideas from? Did you have support from your dentist?

My instinct was strong in saying that something was off, but with so many experts and family agreeing that “it just has to be done,” I began doubting myself. At one point I finally gave in and agreed, but I demanded the MSDS sheets of all substances that would be placed in her mouth. That was what kickstarted my new determination to know EXACTLY what I was agreeing to.

When I read about the fluoride that is impregnanted into fillings, with the sole purpose to provide a continuous leech of fluoride for upwards of 3 years, I HATED it, but rationalized that I still could provide Claire with food that helps the body flush fluoride… so I started planning for the addition of sea vegetables, tamarind, rose hips, even boron.

Then I learned that sealants are made with a plastic that contains compounds, which when exposed to salivary enzymes, converts to BPA. Claire would constantly have BPA, a neurotoxin, IN HER MOUTH.

The MSDS sheets cited needing to avoid inhalation or direct skin contact with ingredients that they were going to IMPLANT IN MY BABY’S MOUTH.

….CUE THE PANIC ATTACKS.

Here is where I started searching for “alternatives to fillings and sealants.”

I came across a video blog made by a mom. If my life depended on finding it, I probably couldn’t. I scrolled every page and read every article out of desperation when I was trying to find something – anything – that would provide me with an alternative treatment for Claire. In this video blog, the mom begins describing her 2 year old breastfed child having severe decay, being told she needed to have caps and fillings… essentially, she was describing our EXACT predicament.

Then she said magical words: “Moms out there, you need to hear this: YOU CAN CURE CAVITIES NATURALLY.”youcancure

She went on to urge listeners to read the book “Cure Tooth Decay” by Ramiel Nagel. And she also went on to say that her child, now 3, has zero cavities and perfectly healthy teeth. Well, I immediately grew elated!

I purchased the book, which is entirely based upon Dr. Weston Price’s research, and cancelled the dental procedures. When I spoke with Dr. Meredith to cancel and explain, she had never even heard of Dr. Weston Price. She knew I was a vegan, and was surprised that I would even consider such a drastic dietary change. She was respectful but doubtful, and mostly concerned that I made sure to keep a very close eye on the progression of decay, as Claire’s decay had proven to be so rapid in the past. Because we caught the decay earlier this time around, I was hoping I had more time on my side.

We also agreed that I would offer Claire daily sips of ice water, to gauge any discomfort. I told Dr. Meredith that I was going to commit to this for 8 weeks, and if there was no improvement, or if the decay was still progressing, or if Claire ever showed signs of pain, then I would do the procedure knowing I had done everything I could think of. She kindly supported me, but I think she was expecting to see me in a few weeks once I realized it wasn’t working. I had to make the same deal with my husband.

Can you tell us more about Dr. Weston Price and his protocol for healing cavities?

Dr. Weston Price was a dentist based in Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1930s. He was the Chairman of Research of the National Dentist Association, which today we know as the American Dental Association. A good bio link for him is at http://soilandhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/02/0203CAT/020305ppnf/price.html

The protocol that I began following was one written clearly in “Cure Tooth Decay.” It focuses on plentiful RAW dairy products, fermented foods, green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, rich meaty soups made from nutrient-rich bone broths, and…. organ meats. Essentially the polar opposite of what not only my ethics were comfortable eating, but also my stomach.

“Price’s conclusions and recommendations were shocking for his time. He advocated a return to breast feeding when such a practice was discouraged by Western medicine. He urged parents to give their childrencod liver oil every day. He considered fresh butter to be the supreme health food. He warned againstpesticides, herbicides, preservatives, artificial colorings, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils, in short, all the things that modern nutrition and agriculture have embraced and promoted the last few decades. Price believed that margarine was a demonic creation. Let me tell you, with recommendations like these, he was REALLY unpopular! But the result of his research speaks for itself!” -soilandhealth.org

Claire and Ashley- blur

Ashley & Claire

What was your diet and lifestyle like before the cavity?

Ugh. The chronic thorn in my side!

Backing up, I had been an ovo-lacto vegetarian for upwards of 15 years when I became pregnant. It was about 3-4 months into my pregnancy, however, that I discovered I couldn’t tolerate any dairy products without almost immediate stomach pain and diarrhea. At the doctor’s suggestion, I tried taking over the counter Lactaid, and with that I was able to have dairy products. I soon found myself popping those Lactaid pills freely and frequently. Just one week after beginning the Lactaid supplements, I was woken from sleep with such a tearing, stabbing sensation in my right upper abdomen that I was concerned for my now almost 5-month along pregnancy.

Without much exam, I went for a gallbladder ultrasound, which had normal findings. I remember during the ultrasound thinking to myself “well, if that’s where they’re scanning, that’s not where it hurts.”

I had a blood draw, which showed elevated liver enzymes. With no other ideas, I figured that the only thing that I had recently changed was the Lactaid being added to my diet, and so I stopped taking it. Within a couple of days, my pain was lessening. When I went for a repeat liver panel, my enzymes were lowering. Just out of curiosity, I started taking the Lactaid again, and within 3 days was doubled over in pain in my upper right abdomen again. I stopped the Lactaid completely after that…and never had the pain again.

And so the rest of my pregnancy was entirely dairy free, in addition to being vegetarian.

When Claire was born, I ate a lot of Morningstar Farms or Boca Burger veggie burgers. Since my dairy intolerance seemed to be directly related to my pregnancy, I was able to consume it no problem. However, within just shy of a month, it was apparent that Claire was having extremely painful stomach issues when I consumed soy, and/or dairy and so I cut both out entirely. I realized that me consuming soy made her scream in pain, and me consuming dairy resulted in her almost immediately projectile vomiting upon nursing. My husband and I made the comment that it was like her little body was doing all it could to get my breastmilk out of her stomach if it had even the slightest traces of soy or dairy in it.

And so, my diet went to eating lots of avocado on toast, tomato on toast, pasta with marinara sauce, rice and beans, veggie stir fries. Very carb-heavy and lots of processed items. We’re talking tons of homemade daily baked bread.

Because really, what else was there? Plain salads weren’t appealing. Plain veggies weren’t appealing. Soy and dairy seem to be in darn near everything from hummus to dressing to mayo…

And as a new mom with a husband away working all the time, my efforts were not going toward a whole lot of effort in the kitchen. I needed convenience. I joined a soy-free/dairy-free/gluten-free group on Facebook. More than once it was suggested to me that if a child is soy and dairy allergic, to also be thinking about gluten allergy. Figuring that I ate so much gluten that surely I would know if Claire was actually allergic to it, I scoffed at the idea and ignored it.

It was after one particularly fresh baked bread – heavy week, however, that Claire’s usual little, benign, chronic skin bumps went full-body. She had always (always) had very small red bumps on her chest or back, but because they never bothered her, I had simply chalked it up to teething one week, or using soap, or heat, or… but when suddenly I realized these bumps were on her calves, thighs, forearms, upper arms… I wondered if gluten actually was an issue.

And so, when Claire was 17 months old, and still 95% breast fed, I committed to an entire month of zero gluten. So at that point we’re soy free, dairy free, gluten free vegetarians. Oh, and I don’t like eggs so you may as well add egg-free to that. My diet was limited to Udi’s gluten free bread (LOTS) for tomato and avocado sandwiches, corn noodles with marinara sauce, and potatoes with Earth Balance butter substitute. Not exactly a well-rounded diet, and my options were getting more and more sparse.

Two weeks after ridding gluten entirely, Claire’s rash cleared up… the rash she had for 17 months was gone. It reappeared after the gluten-free month when I ate half a loaf of homemade bread, as an experiment. Yep, sure enough, within 14 hours it was back with a vengeance. Neither of us has had gluten since then, and the rash has never reappeared.

What’s amazing, though, is that I even felt shockingly different when I went gluten free.

The pain in my feet and knees that would almost send me to my knees upon waking up in the morning? Gone.
My chronic dull headaches and eye strain? Gone.
My flubbery belly? Well… Noticeably less so.
My cloudy “new mommy brain” that was still frighteningly there? Gone.
My old brain was back and sharp as ever! I didn’t hobble when I got up from sitting! I didn’t have the kind of headache that only comes from withdrawal!
My answer was clear: Gluten wasn’t good for EITHER of us.

…ALL of this started coming together, however, when one day someone said they had heard that celiac (which my cousin has, and obviously Claire and myself have, if not a gluten sensitivity at the very least) and infant/childhood tooth decay have a correlation.

That was when the lightbulb really went off for me.
I had never considered the health of my exclusively breastfed infant to be dependent on what I ate.

I had never considered nutrition to be so powerful as to cause perfectly healthy teeth to crumble away.
Meaning I never imagined that breastmilk could be anything LESS than perfect. Never had my nutrition ever been a concern to be discussed anywhere along the way. I’d never heard at any time in my life that breast milk is only as good as the mom makes it. I figured, naively, that I could eat garbage, and yet somehow, out would still come this liquid gold. Unfortunately, my ignorance resulted in supplying Claire with severely lacking breastmilk. One thing that many may pass over is why I decided to go on the protocol liquidgoldmyself; and that is to ensure that the breast milk that is Claire’s essentially sole source of nutrition is as nutrient-dense and nourishing as it can be. As a breastfeeding mother, it’s entirely my responsibility to provide the best possible food for my child.

As I learned more about the correlation of celiac disease to infant tooth decay, it made complete sense to me… her body isn’t getting all of the nutrients that it needs. But I still had been blaming it solely on the celiac label. It took being sleeplessly anxiety ridden over Claire needing multiple more dental procedures under general anesthesia to really start digging into the nutrition that I was providing her, which is what had led to me discover the Weston Price Protocol.

What were some of the biggest changes you had to make? What are some things you added in, and some things you took out?

Immediately, the biggest change was on my end was from an ethically-based vegetarian standpoint. Never had anything trumped my firm priorities of animal welfare and compassionate eating. I needed to begin viewing food as medicine, something I had never done before. I also began diving in to learning where my food would be coming from. It was important to me to know how these animals lived, what they ate, and most importantly to my conscience: how they died. I began calling farms and interviewing farmers, taking several aback as I asked for detailed information in their slaughter practices. I needed to know that what I was doing was going to continue in the most compassionate and respectful way possible.

The biggest change on Claire’s end made me wary… dairy. Remember, this child had severe reactions even if I was the one who directly consumed it, and she only received it through breast milk.

I started by asking the people at our local organic farm-to-table store for recommendations for organic grass-fed dairy. I also began asking farmers who had stands at the farmers markets. One thing that I need to point out is that raw dairy IS NOT ILLEGAL in Wisconsin… so there is no need to be “hush hush” about it in your search to find it. Many farmers will gladly sell raw milk if you ask… the law in WI is that the buyer needs to GO TO the farm to make the purchase. This is a fantastic opportunity for the buyer to see the farm, meet the cows, see how they live and are raised! I now have two wonderful sources of organic grass fed raw milk. One from Holsteins (a1 milk protein), and one from Jerseys (a2 protein).

When I got my first jar of raw milk, even I was hesitant to try it. You hear all the controversy and warnings about it, and that combined with Claire’s allergy made me very unsure. But when I poured the first glass, and Claire wanted to try some, she guzzled an entire 6 ounces and was asking for more! She never got sick.

Tim making liver and onions for dinner (notice all the fermenting goodies on the countertop in the background!)

Tim making liver & onions in style

To this day she refuses pasteurized dairy. She will not eat anything cooked in pasteurized butter, and won’t eat homemade yogurt if the milk is heated to pasteurization… but she will eat raw butter with a spoon, devour raw yogurt, and drink raw milk happily! This made me start paying attention to what it means to eat foods in their natural state.

I also began making my own fermented foods, such as milk kefir (a new favorite), yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, and other veggies. I was super intimidated to start, but soon discovered that the learning curve isn’t steep, and soon felt like I’d been doing it for years. I really recommend others give fermenting a try!

Claire is also getting lots of good fats and nutrients by eating homemade chicken and beef bone broths with plenty of dark leafy greens, root veggies, cabbage, sweet potatoes, mushrooms. I add raw cream and raw butter to many of the soups after cooking to avoid heating it to pasteurization temperature. I sometimes add beef gelatin for extra nutrition. Claire LOVES her soups, and it’s a great way to stretch the weekly food budgets, get hearty nutrition, and get her to try new flavors. It is recommended once teeth are fully healed to then begin introducing sprouted grains and sprouted sourdough breads.

PS: in case people are concerned about weight gain on this protocol (it’s high fat)… as a person who has an obese woman living inside of her just screaming to get out, I have actually lost 10 pounds, am never hungry (have to consciously make myself eat), and haven’t had a single craving for carbs. None.

Broiled Wild Alaskan salmon

Broiled Wild Alaskan salmon marinated with garlic and cracked pepper, served on a bed of organic spinach, arugula and herbs and dressed with a homemade Caesar dressing of wild caught anchovies, raw cheese, pastures organic farm fresh egg yolk and extra virgin olive oil.

Did you add supplements?

Yes. I began taking Green Pastures Royal Blend, which is a blend of fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin11994297_10156028503195032_248179341_n

butter oil. However, when the fermented cod liver oil was called into question see: http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2015/08/24/is-fermented-cod-liver-oil-the-real-deal-or-a-sick-hoax/), I chose to switch to Nordic Naturals cod liver oil and Green Pastures high vitamin butter oil instead. I take 6-8 capsules of each daily, to add up to the recommended 1 1/2 teaspoons.

I began making my own calcium powder from the shells of all the organic, pastured, farm-fresh eggs we were eating. (The hens are a lovely bunch of ladies, and we enjoy visiting them and their turkey roost-mate often.) I aim for a teaspoon daily of this fantastically bio-available calcium. I also take organic seaweed for iodine, vitamin a and calcium… and recently I’ve begun encapsulating organic rose hips for vitamin C. Claire now takes a Cell Salt supplement.

How long did it take for you to see improvement, and how far into the protocol are you?

I began seeing improvement in 2 weeks. The most easily viewed cavity that she has is located on the front of her top central incisor, just below the gum line. In two weeks I saw it become lighter in color, and less deep of a hole. Her teeth also were noticeably more opaque, not as translucent, and not as blue-hued from demineralization. I didn’t know if I was just seeing what I wanted to see, but It was promising, nonetheless.

We are now 8 weeks into the protocol. Claire’s teeth only keep improving. As damage has already been done to her teeth, we are not expecting the evidence of previous cavities to disappear entirely when they heal. Instead, where cavities are spongey, vulnerable, discolored pits missing enamel… her cavities will become (AND ARE) harder, lighter in color, and grow strong with remineralization. Becoming just as healthy as the surrounding tooth, now being healed with the regrowth of enamel, her teeth that were visually unhealthy are becoming dense & shiny white.

What was your dentist’s reaction to Claire’s results?

4 weeks into the protocol Claire’s teeth were examined by her dentist. Dr. Meredith took a good, long time examining her
teeth. Much longer than she ever had… to the point that I was beginning to wonder what she was doing….

Until she sat back, looked at me with a grin, and said- “IT’S WORKING!”  She was amazed, and excited!

ITSWORKINGNot only is she now eager to see how much more improvement we will see, but she’s gone from simply respecting my decision to forgo any dental procedures in exchange for dietary changes, to now ENCOURAGING my decision, and is excited to be able to share this option with other parents!

Any advice for parents out there?

 The two colossal lessons that I’ve learned, and want nothing less than to scream it from the mountain tops are:

  1. Food has the ability to give or take away health.Food can do what modern medicine cannot. What may be marketed as healthy may not actually be healthful. Even “good” foods, such as whole grains, can be damaging if a strong nutritional foundation isn’t built. At the end of the day, our bodies don’t care what our food “preferences” are. It still has its food REQUIREMENTS that cannot be compromised without dire consequences.
  1. This bit may come from my view as a mom trying to heal her child, but resonates to everybody: Listen to your gut.If
    the world of experts is saying something must be done, but it just doesn’t feel right to you, give your instincts a voice. Do the work to find alternative options, and never discount your ability to heal yourself.

foodThere is no way to know if Claire’s dental condition was due completely because of her diet, or also genetics. Today, I can no longer say that the two aren’t markedly reliant upon one another, so I’m not concerned about the question because the answer remains the same. We have control over the food and lifestyle choices that we make… which means that we get daily opportunities to aid or hinder any predispositions to disease. Some will dismiss the healing ability of food and nutrition, as I once did, giving excessive power to the label of “genetics.” But, I hope minds remain open to the possibilities! Claire’s teeth are simply an outward display of her health… can you imagine the healing that’s going on in the rest of her little growing body? I’ve learned that the opportunity to regain control over health, regardless of what’s to blame, is in my hands. I hope my story motivates others to take back some control of their own.

 

And lastly, would you mind sharing a favorite recipe?

Believe it or not, it’s now so hard for me to narrow my favorite recipes down to just one! I’ve come to appreciate food in a whole new light that I now see how much healing can come from something as simple as a milkshake! So below is my favorite recipe: my morning tooth healing milkshake. Rich in minerals, fats, and yumminess, I have this almost every morning, and sometimes as a night time dessert.

Thank you so much, Ashley for sharing your story. It’s inspiring and refreshing!

For more information & studies on the safety & health benefits of raw dairy, please visit www.realmilk.com andwww.westonaprice.org 

Recipe of the Month:  Ashley’s Chocolate Milkshake ImageProxy

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup raw organic milk
  • 1/4-1/2 cup raw organic cream
  • 1 raw organic egg
  • 1/2 tsp calcium powder (from those ground up egg shells!)
  • 1 tbsp raw cocao powder (rich in iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc!)
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • A splash of real vanilla extract

Directions:

Zip together in a blender… and enjoy! The reason I love THIS recipe so much is because it’s so easy to change it up by replacing the cocoa powder for any of the following:

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp nutmeg = eggnog smoothie!
  • A few fresh or frozen strawberries = strawberry milkshake!
  • …or simply omit the cocoa and leave it as a delicious vanilla milkshake.
Get Even Healthier!

Would you like support in making your own health dreams come true? Are you curious about how easy-to-make changes can make a big difference in your health? Would you like help in making healthier food choices and replacing bad habits with good ones? Let’s talk!  Schedule a complimentary health counseling consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about!  Schedule your consult by contacting us at http://www.aayushealth.com, megan@aayushealth.com, or 920-327-2221.

The Hunt for Wisconsin’s Rarest & Most Delicious Fruit

I posted a contest in my herbal medicine group Megan’s Herbal Apothecary the other day- who could identify this native Wisconsin fruit?

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It took quite a few guesses before someone found it online. This is the delicious, elusive, & highly sought-after Mayapple (Podophyllum), also known as Wild Mandrake. I have been searching for this fruit you see here for TWO years, and I had been tracking this particular plant since spring.

So what’s the hype? Well for starters, it’s difficult to find. The plants are few and far between, and each plant only bears one fruit. The fruits are generally only ripe from the last couple weeks of August to the first week of September.

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Every part of the plant you see above picture is highly poisonous. Until the fruit turns a delicate yellow color and becomes soft, it is toxic. Because the ripe fruits are so tasty, they are a favorite of wildlife and are typically enjoyed before humans ever find them. So even if you DO find these rare plants, and DO visit them during the right time, there are no guarantees you’ll get to enjoy the literal fruit of your labor.

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Wait… do you see what I see??

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Could it be?? A ripe Mayapple! Holy crap! 11888113_10100998573328553_9084070862808076319_n

(My actual face when I found it. The toddler was unimpressed.)

Come to find out, my favorite park for hiking in my hometown of Little Chute is full of Mayapple patches. I located about 15 patches, with dozens of plants. Out of that, I got 2 ripe fruits, and 3 green ones that I’m hoping will ripen on my counter.

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Now this is what blows my mind- a hundred years ago, everyone knew what these plants were. Everyone knew how to walk into their backyard and prepare a salad, pick dessert, or season their dinners. This particular park is full of food and medicine, and wild foods always have more nutrition than anything you could ever buy or even grow yourself. I have prepared dozens of medicinal tinctures from the plants I harvest here, and prepared countless (free!) meals. Imagine how our perception of the environment would change, how our health would change, how our grocery bills would go down, how our stress levels would be dramatically reduced- if only we reconnected with this ancient and innate wisdom and basked in the beauty of it?

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Mayapple plants (on the left) growing right next to the walking path. Hundreds of people pass by them each year, not realizing it’s food.

Well, anyways enough of my tangent- but do consider learning how to identify and use wild plants- it’s an incredible experience!!

So anyways, my first bite of this mysterious and elusive deliciousness.

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The Mayapple has an intoxicatingly deep fruity, perfumey scent. The flesh has the consistency and flavor of banana, paired with the flavor of a very ripe pear and hints of tangerine & lemon. The tender skins have a stronger hint of lemon to them, with a sweetly pleasant tang. The membranes surrounding the seeds in the middle are even sweeter- a deep, perfumy essence with a touch of vanilla. But don’t be fooled by it’s alluring flavor- the seeds are poisonous. I sucked the middle part until I got as much of the membranes off as I could, and spit out the seeds in the woods in the hopes they will become another Mayapple patch next year. (Word of caution- eating too many Mayapples can cause digestive upset. Likely why nature was wise enough to have only one fruit per plant, and make multiple fruits so hard to find!)

What an incredible experience! I know herbalists who have gone years without ever getting to experience the delight of finding and enjoying this delicious Wisconsin treat.

So if you’re out and about this time of year- do watch for the Mayapples!

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One last shot of Heesaker Park. (Ooh, what is that in the bottom corner??) 😉

Get Even Healthier!
Are you curious about how easy-to-make changes can make a big difference in your health? Would you like help in making healthier food choices and replacing bad habits with good ones? Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary health consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Contact me at megan@aayushealth.com, or visit us at http://www.aayushealth.com

Megan Kerkhoff is a Certified Health Counselor and Certified Family Herbalist at Aayus Holistic Health Services in Neenah, Wisconsin, and resides in Little Chute, Wisconsin.

Cilantro Detox for Cilantro Haters (and lovers!)

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You see this picture?  It pains me. Deep down to my very soul. Why?  The acrid odor filling my kitchen. Even worse- the FLAVOR.  Oh the terrible flavor!

You see,  I am a part of a rather large group of people who DESPISES cilantro. Apparently there’s some sort of gene that  makes you either deeply adore the flavor or be completely repulsed by it.  Now, I love the IDEA of it.  Cilantro really is such a gift- it gently chelates heavy metals like mercury, lead, and aluminum from the body. It contains phytochemicals that are antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, shown in studies to destroy salmonella and the common cold. It’s anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant. Studies have shown it fights various forms of cancer. It’s been shown to have a calming effect, and be beneficial for sleep and anxiety.

So how do you get the benefits if you don’t particularly look forward to eating it?

My husband got the DTaP shot last year, so I promptly put him on a regimen of encapsulated cilantro to detox the aluminum, glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde, polysorbate 80, and mercury found in the shot. Pills are nice, but they do get pricey. And because they are dried and not fresh, you can lose some of the potency over time.

My daughter was also recently lead poisoned from the trim, doors, and bathtub in our home, which led me to try to find an easy way to administer the cilantro to her.

So on my last trip to Woodmans, I bought a giant bunch of fresh organic cilantro. It was really cheap. I’m not about to ruin perfectly good food by seasoning it with the herb, so I figured- hey, why not juice it? Then I can take a quick shot of it with a chaser every day and be done with it. (Honestly, I’d rather do a shot of cheap vodka than a shot of cilantro, but so be it.)

I added a bit of fresh pineapple to liven up the flavor a bit, and it surprisingly ended up making quite a bit of juice. Enzymes, phytochemicals, and good bacteria all intact, love it. I decided to store some in my fridge, and then make frozen cubes with the rest of it to preserve it long term. I love using this preservation method with juices, infusions, herbs, and even my homemade elderberry syrup. (You should see my husband’s face when he goes to the freezer hoping for ice cubes and all he finds is elderberry cubes. He’s probably going to hate me when he sees my new concoction. Ha! Oh, I adore you Matt- sorry!!)

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So now I have a long-term supply of concentrated, healing cilantro juice. I made another juice with fresh pineapple and cucumber, and added a bit of the cilantro to it for my daughter. As you can see, she LOVES it. Bottoms up!image

Megan M. Kerkhoff, CHC, AADP

http://www.aayushealth.com

Follow me on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AayusHealth !

Get Even Healthier!
Are you curious about how easy-to-make changes can make a big difference in your health? Would you like help in making healthier food choices and replacing bad habits with good ones? Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary health coaching consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about!

Easy DIY Wild Rose Facial Toner

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June is the perfect time of year to forage for wild rose petals. Garden variety rose petals will do just fine, and if you can’t find fresh ones you can use dried.

The benefits of a rose petal toner:
– Anti-inflammatory, so will help sooth redness and irritation
– Anti-bacterial, so will help treat and prevent breakouts
– Helps heal wounds
– Eases sunburn
– Can reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes
– Keeps oily skin in balance

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Run your rose petals under cool water to rinse off any dirt or bugs. Fill a standard mason jar about halfway full with petals and buds, then add 16 fl oz of witch hazel.

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Most commercial witch hazels will have some alcohol added which is fine, but be careful to avoid any that contain chemical preservatives. Save the empty witch hazel bottle.

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It will take about 5 days for the witch hazel to absorb all the oils & phytochemicals of the rose petals. I mark the date I made the mixture on the top of the jar so I can keep track of time.

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Each day, gently shake your jar. Color will vary depending upon the color of the roses you use, but it will end up looking something like this:

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Once it is done steeping, strain the petals, buds, and any particles out with an unbleached coffee filter. My Chemex coffee maker (pictured) does the job perfectly. Pour your new toner in the original witch hazel bottle, and it’s ready to use!

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Megan Kerkhoff
http://www.aayushealth.com

Get Even Healthier!
Are you curious about how easy-to-make changes can make a big difference in your health? Would you like help in making healthier food choices and replacing bad habits with good ones? Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary health coaching consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about!

What if I don’t want to take “the pill?”

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I say birth control, you say… Pill? IUD? Implant? Condom?

Nope, none of those… I’m talking diaphragms! Popular from the 1930’s to the 1960’s, the diaphragm is the most underappreciated and underprescribed of all the birth control methods. It is a flexible, round silicone device that creates a seal against the vaginal walls. After applying a teaspoon of spermicide it is inserted vaginally (similarly to a menstrual cup) and acts as a barrier method against sperm. It is a quick, simple, effective and safe method of preventing unwanted pregnancies.
I began my search for a drug-free method of birth control halfway through my pregnancy, and found that the resources are just not there. It took me about 6 months to discover diaphragms, find a safe spermicide (there is only ONE on the market), and track down a facility where I could get fitted. My hope is that my experience can make finding birth control a simpler task for the rest of you!

Why do I love diaphragms so much?
-Neither you or your partner will feel it. Once it’s in, you’ll never know it’s there.
-You can insert it hours or minutes before sexual activity. It’s just as quick as putting on a male condom.
-Its effectiveness is nearly the same as a male condom. With typical use, you can expect a 16% chance of pregnancy in a year. With perfect use, you can expect as low as a 2% chance of pregnancy.
-Diaphragms are reusable and each one lasts 2-10 years.
-The new health care law requires that your insurance cover 100% of the cost.
-Uninsured? It only costs $60-$80 every 2 years. Birth control pills average $20 per month, which comes to $480 every 2 years.
-Most are latex-free, so those with a latex allergy can use it safely.
-It’s drug free. This was the winner for me. Side effects of your typical birth control pill? Liver disease, breast cancer, hypertension, gallbladder disease, decreased glucose tolerance, headache, stroke, breathing irregularities, depression, moodiness, weight gain, irregular uterine bleeding, headaches, nausea, nutrient depletions. Side effects of diaphragm? Pretty much nada. But the following are some potential downsides.

Drawbacks?
-They are available by prescription only.
-Does not protect against STDs. Use a diaphragm only if you are in a committed, monogamous relationship.
-If you don’t plan ahead, you may have to pause sexual activity for a minute or two to insert.
-Some women may find the fitting and self-insertion an uncomfortable experience. You must be comfortable with your sexual organs to use this device properly.
-Similarly to tampons, if it is left in for extended periods of time it can lead to toxic shock syndrome.
-Risk of infection if the device or your hands are not clean. Always wash your hands!
-Only 16% effective with typical use.

So that 16% chance of failure is a bit scary to me. So to offset that, my husband and I chose to also employ the “pulling out method.” Used on its own, this method has a 27% failure rate per year. When combined with TYPICAL diaphragm use, your chances of getting pregnant fall to 11.7% per year. When both contraceptive methods are used PERFECTLY, however, your chances of pregnancy drop to near 0%. With proper education and practice, this combination can be near fool-proof.
*Do not use a male condom along with a diaphragm- the two can rub together and cause breakage.

Now the spermicide. I didn’t like that all the spermicides on the market contained nonoxynol-9, a surfactant that can cause vaginal lesions. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like putting chemicals in ANY part of my body. So after much digging, I discovered the all-natural spermicide Contragel Green. Read more about it on their website: http://buycontragel.com/

I’m hoping that by spreading awareness of this method of contraception, more women consider it as a safe way to take control of their fertility. I believe it’s not common because it’s never mentioned as an option by doctors. It’s not brought up as an option because doctors are not trained on it or given resources on it. Doctors are not trained on it or given resources because it is not profitable for the drug companies. (Remember the $60-$80 vs the $480??) So it’s up to you to be your own advocate and ask about diaphragms. If you don’t know your choices, you don’t have a choice.

Happy diaphragming, ladies! I’m bringin’ the 60’s back!

Megan M. Kerkhoff
http://www.aayushealth.com

Get Even Healthier!
Are you curious about how easy-to-make changes can make a big difference in your health? Would you like help in making healthier food choices and replacing bad habits with good ones? Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary health coaching consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about!

6-month Roadmap to Health & Happiness

This FREE guide is based on the health coaching curriculum of the
Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which focuses on nourishing yourself with whole foods and creating balance in all areas of life. It’ll give you a taste of what it’s like to work with a Certified Health Coach like myself, or become one yourself! Use it as a 6-month roadmap towards feeling great, looking beautiful, and getting in touch with what you really crave.

Here’s to feeling healthier, happier, and living life to the fullest!