There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.- Thornton Wilder

OK, I admit it. I like to listen to other people’s conversations. There. I said it. 

But let me explain. I don’t pursue this in and of its self. I don’t set out to listen to private conversations. But if I find myself in a situation where people are talking, I like to hear what they’re saying. For example, when I’m lying on a beach with my eyes closed I can pick up on about 3 different conversations around me. I find this fascinating. I begin to think about who these people are, what are they saying that gives them away (accents). What is their relationship with one another? What kinds of things are they going to do while they’re here?  I’ve gotten some pretty good tips on cool tourist places to go on vacation! My kids and I eavesdropped on a couple while on Waikiki Beach and discovered a great breakfast burrito place on the North Shore of Oahu.

Like I’ve said before, my husband and I walk every morning. Part of our walk is on an old railroad line made into a sweet walking trail.  A few weeks ago I started noticing people’s conversations. Of course, as we’re passing them I only get snippets. But it’s enough to make me wonder, cause me to smile, prompt me to want to weigh in or even do a double-take.  Two women approach, the short one says, “that’s amazing.” As they pass us the taller one says, “ocean view.” I had to restrain myself from saying, “Now, the ocean view is NOT oceanfront. Your “view” could be a little sliver of blue between 2 buildings.” But I kept walking because my husband would be mortified if I made a comment like that. The middle-aged man passes me by, “I just need to figure this out.”  It’s killing me. Figure WHAT out?? Or the lady on the left says, “It’s a sharing bag, so of course I shared it with myself.” I had no idea what that meant, but upon googling it, I deduced she may be a teacher as this is a means of kids bringing items in a bag to share about themselves. Or maybe she’s in a Book Club and she brought something yummy to share in her bag and no one showed up so she ate it all by herself. Lady, you might want to book an appointment with me if that’s the case.  Now I’m thinking, ‘seriously Renee, this is way too much mental time spent on a complete stranger’s life!’ But then a dear woman passed by and I hear, “….the best recipe ever….” Wait! I love new recipes, especially BEST recipes. And no, I didn’t stop and ask her what it was. But it made me think of the BEST recipe to share with you. I’ve given this recipe to many clients and they love it. One even told me it reminded her of Cocoa Krispies! So, dear reader, I have said all of this simply to bring you to the point of sharing a recipe I found online from Wickedspatula.com.  Drum roll, please.

PALEO CHOCOLATE FUDGE GRANOLA (from wickedspatula.com)


1 lb mixed nuts (about 3 cups - I used pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews)


  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cacao powder

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Pinch of sea salt


Preheat oven to 300° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In your food processor or blender pulse the nuts until they are broken down to the size you want. I like mine on the chunky side but be sure not to over-process.

Place the nuts in a large bowl and toss with chia seeds and coconut flakes.

In a small pot over low heat melt the coconut oil. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cacao powder, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt until smooth.

Pour the fudge over the granola and toss to coat. Spread the mixture evenly onto the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes stirring once or twice.


*It's hard to tell if the mixture is done since it's already brown from the chocolate. Simply take a bite of a nut to gauge the doneness. It should taste toasted and crunchy.

That’s it, ladies. Your life will never be the same!  Many thanks to the unknown lady on the trail!

Here are a few of my suggestions.

I make a double batch.  It makes a lot, but I like to have it on hand to share with others.

I use mostly walnuts (super healthy nut) some pecans, some almonds.

I cut the sweetener in ½ and use ½ maple syrup ½ honey.

So, for the recipe above I would use ½ T maple syrup and 1 T raw, local, organic honey (total 1 ½ T instead of 3 T).

If you don’t eat Paleo/grain-free, add in some oats and cut down on the nuts.

I usually let mine bake a bit beyond 30 minutes.

Try this and email me to let me know what you think! renee@yourfoodfight.com

Enjoy these last weeks of summer!

Get in the ring or stay in the ring,



I generally start my newsletter with a quote. I tried to find a good one about “free stuff,” to no avail. I did, however, find www.ofree.net, a website devoted to making sure you get free stuff and free samples. I was hesitant to click on it as I’m one of those people who think I’ll get a virus on my computer with every odd click out there. But, the lure of free stuff was too great. I mean, who doesn’t love free stuff? 

So, I hesitantly clicked on this site as if my computer would blow up. And, once on it, I didn’t want to open up any of the offers for the same fear as stated above. But my curiosity was overwhelming. so click, I did. However, with a cursory look at some of the offers, clearly, this wasn’t all FREE stuff.  

“Get your custom 11 oz mug (11 oz?? not 6 oz, not 8 oz…11 oz) for free. Just enter promo code XYZ and pay $5.99 shipping…..”  Ok, clearly this isn’t free if I’m paying $5.99.  

One of my sisters and I once paid shipping costs for some free makeup. 45 years later, we’re still waiting for it to arrive. See what I mean?  Free stuff really isn’t free. 

Or how about this one, “Get Free XYZ  Sunscreen after cashback! New members only.” In this great deal, I not only have to become a member of something, but I have to pay upfront and hopefully get a refund. Right! Like we’ll hopefully see that makeup someday, too! Is there really anything in this life that’s free? 

I’m going to suggest to you that there certainly is!  Every month in my newsletter I tell you that a Health Consultation with me is always FREE.  I really mean it. It is F. R. E. E. Which is why I don’t understand why you haven’t taken me up on it. It costs nothing.  

Let me tell you two things that it isn’t:

1. It isn’t a “free first session.” It is one hour in and of itself for you and me to review your health history. You have no obligation to ever see me again. 

2. It isn’t a gimmick to get you in the door. I genuinely hope that at your FREE consultation I can give you a few recommendations so that you can move towards health. Why? Because I care about women’s health/lack of health.

So what’s required of you? Call, text or email me and tell me you’re interested in the “free stuff”- a Health Consultation. We’ll decide on a date/time together,  I’ll send you my Health History form for you to print and fill out. Then you and I will meet at my sweet office (or on the phone/Face Time or Skype…which is, by the way, how I see many women around the country) to spend an hour reviewing your form and talking about you.  Oops, I guess there is one hidden cost-one hour of your time. 

A small price to pay. Definitely worth it!

Now, in addition to waiting for the makeup to show up, I’m going to be waiting to hear from you.  If I were you, I’d take me up on this.  

I better run, I have to close out all those free offers I clicked on so I don’t leave myself open to some sort of cyberattack with an exploding computer. Is that even possible?  In my mind it is. We’ll talk again next month….or at your FREE Health Consultation, whichever comes first.

One more thing, dear Reader, there is something else in life that is free, God's grace- His unmerited favor extended to you through the death of His Son Jesus. Want to know more/talk further? Call me!





On Friendship, Food, Tornadoes and Wire Shelving

When your best friend asks you to take a 9 day trip with her to a beautiful lake home, you would be a fool to say no-except in this case, there was one caveat-she needed some help painting this home.

Now, I’m no painter, but I knew I could help in some way. And help I did! (Lesson learned: when you live a busy life, it’s great to get away for a bit with a treasured friend.)

While Stacy worked her painting magic on the walls and ceilings in the upper and lower level (10 foot ceilings), I made it my business to cook, clean and provide the comic relief (oh, I did dismantle several wire shelving units in closets).  But by and large, Stac did the hard work. (Lesson learned: I can now remove and reinstall wire shelving. While I hope I never have to do it again, if needed, I know I am able.)

We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and by Saturday I was pretty sure we didn’t bring enough food to make it to the following Thursday.  Could we have driven 30 minutes to get groceries? Sure, but that would have taken at least 90 minutes from our time and we really couldn’t afford it. 

I was fairly certain that with a “Little House on the Prairie” mindset and a willingness to appreciate all things, we could get by. And not just get by, but thrive. However, my Health Coach ego took quite a hit. I teach women every day to plan, prep and prepare meals in advance. I had severely underestimated how much 2 hungry women can eat. (Lesson learned: Manual labor makes you hungry.)

Without the Ingles’ cellar filled with root vegetables nor Pa to go out and hunt for us, I made a meal plan and diligently stuck to it. And I must say, Stacy was always surprised, but never lacking when it came to food. She offered to pitch in by going fishing (the home is on a lake) and suggested I could forage for berries (just like Ma Ingles). Thankfully we didn’t have to succumb to such antics.

Pretty sure the Ingles didn’t have a Nutribullet, but we were certainly grateful for ours and the daily afternoon smoothies (Sunwarrior Chocolate Protein Powder with Flax Milk, natural peanut butter and banana).  

Thankfully, my son had just taught me to make bread with 4 ingredients and the microwave:

¼ cup almond flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

dash of salt

1 egg

Combine all of this is in a medium size mug and whisk very thoroughly with a fork. Microwave for 90 seconds. Invert on a plate and there you have a small loaf of bread.  We cut the loaf in fourths and toasted them in the toaster (another item Ma Ingles never had). Stacy and I are both grain free (we have Hashimoto’s) and saw this as an absolute treat every day. If you have an Autoimmune Disease, eating a Paleo style diet is a great way to reduce inflammation.  However, you may want to hold the legumes (beans, peas, lentils) for a while, if you’re not making any progress with your healing. You also want to make sure you’re not overdoing it with almonds. In large amounts they can be inflammatory.

We made it to the following Thursday with enough food to actually have sandwiches on the way home, so we didn’t have to stop. Stacy reported to me that she lost a few pounds on the trip, which delighted her and we never went to bed hungry. (Lesson learned: planning, prepping and preparing meals is the smartest way to eat well-I actually already knew this, but this object lesson hit it home for me.)

We endured several severe storms while away and drove through Jefferson City, MO just hours after an F3 hit. Pretty devastating to see.  We did receive alerts on our phones about a tornado warning/take cover, which we disregarded. (After seeing Jefferson City, lesson learned: Heed the warnings!)

So this trip was not only a fun time with my best friend, but I learned a lot of new things about myself, about friendship, food, tornados and wire shelving.  I also had an object lesson on how the things I teach my clients are valuable….when you implement them!

I’m not going on any more extended trips this summer, but I am in the last few months leading up to my 2 youngest kids’ weddings (Sept and Oct). I’m sure I’ll have plenty of new lessons to learn through this process. I’ll keep you posted!


“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived and dishonest--but the myth--persistent, persuasive and unrealistic….” - John F. Kennedy

I think we’re all in the same boat.  You finally get this food thing figured out and then “new research” tells you you’re wrong….again.  Take, for example, eggs.  We’ve been told for years that egg yolks increase our cholesterol, so we shouldn’t eat them very often.  Hello egg white omelets. Blech! As it turns out, egg yolks don’t increase our cholesterol and most of us can handle an egg per day.  AND eggs are known to shut down hunger hormones so eating eggs at breakfast may help your appetite later in the morning. 
But be honest, you still wonder if the “new research” is true.
Part of the problem is that Nutrition is the only science that is usually true, even when it seems like it contradicts itself.  The reason is, Bio-individuality: what works for one person, may not work for another. One person’s food is another person’s poison. There are, however, some food myths that have been debunked.  Let’s take a look at a few.
Myth: I won’t gain weight if I drink diet soda.
Truth: Diet soda can actually cause you to GAIN weight.  When you drink a diet soda (or pop….as I called it growing up), initially your body thinks it’s getting sugar.  Your pancreas gets the message to release insulin in order to get the “sugar” into your cells for energy. However, sugar is not available and insulin in a sense “demands” sugar. Your brain then responds by signaling that you’re hungry, in order to get some sugar.  Bottom line…you overeat when you drink diet soda.

Before I go any further I want to say hello to the women I met at the McLean County Employee Wellness Fair in April.  Welcome to Your Food Fight Newsletter. I enjoyed meeting you and talking about all things health!
Ok, back to our next myth.
Myth: Eating fat will make me fat.
Truth: This myth really took root in the '80s and '90s.  We were told that we should eat a low-fat diet.  So we avoided it like the plague and ramped up fat-free options of all our favorites. Little did we know that when you take the fat out of our fav foods, you increase the sugar (and salt). And now we know....sugar is inflammatory and inflammation drives all chronic illness-heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, depression, etc. The truth is that eating healthy fats; avocados, flax, walnuts and their oils along with extra virgin olive oil, while limiting carbs and reducing/omitting sugar is key to health.  You'll stay full longer and keep your blood sugar balanced. This is good news!
All this talk about sugar may make the savvy among you concerned about your microbiome-the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.  You may be tempted to consume some yogurt to balance things out. But take a look at this:
Myth: Yogurt is good for your gut.
Truth: Sure, some yogurt has some probiotic in it.  Check the label for Lactobacillus, that’s what you want. But while you’re looking at that label, check out the amount of sugar in a serving of that yogurt.  Herein lies the problem. Yes, you may get some probiotic, but the sugar is going to do more damage than the probiotic is going to help you.  Still worried about your gut bacteria?  Make your own sauerkraut (you only need cabbage and salt!), make your own pickles (cucumbers, water, salt, dill, garlic) or eat some kimchi. These fermented foods are the real deal. Your gut will love you!
Myth: Bananas are the best source of Potassium.
Truth: Brussels sprouts and broccoli have more Potassium per serving.  Here are some other reasons to eat broccoli…every day.
            Lots of vitamins and minerals
            Contains powerful antioxidants to protect against chronic diseases
            Two of those antioxidants are lutein and zeaxanthin- powerful  
            Protection against Macular Degeneration
            Reduces inflammation
            May protect against cancer (breast, kidney, colon, prostate)
            High in fiber which may stabilize blood sugar
            High in Vitamin C helps support the immune system
            High in Vitamin K and Calcium for strong bones and teeth
Myth: Our food doesn’t contain Trans Fat anymore
Truth: The FDA allows manufacturers to claim “zero trans fat,” even though there may be up to 0.5 g of trans fat preserving. The WHO says for heart health the maximum amount of trans fat you can safely consume is 1 gram in a 2000 calorie diet.  That would be only 2 servings of a product that has 0.5 g/serving. The problem is that the label says “0”.  Here’s your work around-read the ingredients.  If partially hydrogenated oil  (code for trans fat) is listed, don’t consume it.
And the final myth has more to do with food preparation than actual food.
Myth: Wood cutting boards aren’t safe to use.
Truth: So sorry if you threw out your wood cutting boards when this information surfaced. Or, maybe you’ve been hesitant to use that wood cutting board you’ve had since the ‘80s.  Well, the truth is that the bacteria sink down beneath the surface of the cutting board and they don’t multiply and eventually die off.  Go ahead, slice your next roast on your good ol' wood cutting board!

Stick with me kid!  I won't dupe you and will always work hard to bring you the truth. Wondering what else I know? Want to figure out why you crave that sugar?  Wondering why you eat from the time you get home from work until the time you go to bed?  Desperate to feel better and reduce pain?  Stumped by why you're not sleeping well?  Struggling under the weight of stress?
Head to my website: www.yourfoodfight.com to contact me.
Let's set up your FREE health history consultation.

My dear reader, Spring may feel like a myth this year, but it really is here!

Some Tips From My Personal Experiences

A few days ago I turned 56.  I feel great!  I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder in August 2017 and really didn’t feel well at all.  I was already making some good choices where my diet was concerned, but have stepped things up since then.  I thought I would share 8 things that have had the biggest impact on my health.  As my clients are used to hearing me say, what works for one person may not work for another. In the Coaching World, we call this bio-individuality.  Perhaps some of what I have learned will be good for you or maybe my healthy choices will spur you on to come up with some changes of your own.

Whole foods diet:  I have been grain free (no wheat, corn or rice) for 8 years and refined sugar free for 5 years. This has been good for me. But in September 2018 I went to a whole foods diet.  I’d like to say that it’s 100%, but I do eat grain free tortilla chips “from time to time” (sometimes I just get a hankerin’ for them).  But other than that, I eat a 100% whole foods diet-nothing processed.

Walking for exercise: I walk 4 miles (in an hour) 5-6x/week. This did not let up during the winter. I purchased good walking boots and bundled up.  I know I could do a lot more in this area, but right now this is what works for me.  My husband or my best friend Stacy joins me so it’s good for my mental health, too!

Figure out your feet problems: If your feet hurt, get them checked out!  I developed Plantar Fasciitis.  If you’ve had it, you know painful it is.  DON’T put off getting this taken care of. Thanks to Dr. Paul at McLean County Foot and Ankle I have the stretching exercises I need and custom made orthotics, which make all the difference!

Purposeful about good sleep: I take my sleeping seriously. I have excused myself from evening gatherings because I need to get home and get to bed.  2 things have made a big difference for me: 

1. I wear a sleep mask to block out all light.

2. If I wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep I take a supplement that contains Valerian Root. Works like a charm!

Addressing pain/tension: My neck and upper back, along with my lower back, can be quite painful at times.  Using a Spoonk acupressure mat (available on Amazon) has made a significant difference in this area.  I lay on these mats, one at my neck and one at my lower back, every night before I sleep.

Limited chemicals on my skin: I have made significant changes in this area, including the following:

No longer use hairspray.

Moisturize my face at night with organic coconut oil and during the day with an organic moisturizer from Juice Beauty.

Use Ivory as my bath soap.

Moisturize my lips with any of the lip balms that Katie at PrairiErth Farm makes.

A great, clean brand is Kopari. However, I don’t use it because I discovered 4 years ago that I don’t need deodorant.  Did you ever try to go without it?  You might not need it either. What I realized is that I stopped eating refined sugar 5 years ago and stopped needing deodorant 4 years ago. Connection? At any rate, I’m happy not to be applying aluminum to my skin every day.  

If I paint my nails, I use Dr,’s Remedy polish.  When I have a manicure, I don’t allow her to rub her paraben laden lotion into my skin. I just skip that part!

Natural cough/cold remedies:  This may seem radical: I rest.  

I take naps, go to bed earlier, and eat soup and other nourishing foods.  For nasal congestion I put a warm compress across the top ½ of my face.  I dry brush my skin to stimulate my lymph system and optimize my Vitamin D level. This issue only came up recently because last month I had my first cold in 10 years.

Manage stress: Walking and stretching helps. So does diaphragmatic (belly) breathing. I spend the first portion of my day in prayer and Bible study/reading and I keep the TV off as much as possible.

I hope some of what I have changed has helped you!


The Itch of Cravings

“I am made for more than a vicious cycle of eating, gaining, stressing...” 

― Lysa TerKeurst

Do you ever get an itch on the palm of your hand or the bottom of your foot that no amount of scratching soothes? Sometimes I think food cravings are like this. Once the thought gets in your mind, it’s hard to shake. It starts like a little tickle, just a passing thought. You might think you’ve gotten past it and then- there it is again, taking on a life of its own. It can overpower you for a moment or even a full day, subsiding when you rest your head on your pillow, only to rise up the next day.

Where does this “itch” come from? What can you do about it?

The simple answer is that your body is speaking to you, telling you something is missing. “So, when I crave chocolate it means I’m missing chocolate?” Not exactly, but good question. Take a look at the following cravings, the deficiencies associated with them and what you can do about them:


WHAT MIGHT BE MISSING: Chromium Phosphorus, Sulphur, Tryptophan

TRY THIS: Onion, cinnamon, apple, sweet potato, chicken, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, lentils, cranberries, asparagus, garlic, sesame seeds, oatmeal, spinach

CRAVING: Chocolate


TRY THIS: Whole grains, nuts, seeds, greens, fruits


WHAT MIGHT BE MISSING: Calcium, Iron, Salt, Phosphorus

TRY THIS: Broccoli, spinach, Black cherries, Sea salt, Apple cider vinegar, Chicken,




TRY THIS: Meat, fish, beans apples, pears



TRY THIS: Celery, olives, tomatoes


WHAT MIGHT BE MISSING: Essential Fatty Acids

TRY THIS: Flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts

The most common food craving I see in my practice is SUGAR. And while Chromium, Phosphorus, Sulphur or Tryptophan may be at play, it’s just as likely to be caused by something other than a missing nutrient.

Consider the following:

Hypoglycemia: You eat a bunch of sugar, your blood sugar rises and the pancreas releases A LOT insulin. The insulin shuttles sugar into your cells (out of your blood) and your blood sugar drops rapidly (hypoglycemia). You feel anxious, shaky, light headed and sugar is just what you “need” to make it all go away. The cycle then begins all over again.

What to do: Keep your blood sugar stable. Increase healthy fats (including nuts, seeds, avocados), start your day with protein, increase fiber.

 Stress: Your body is always seeking balance. High amounts of stress in your life cause your cortisol levels to remain elevated. Think fight or flight. You may crave sugar as it makes Serotonin (the calming chemical) more available, thus balancing out the agitated fight or flight response.

What to do: Work on stress reduction/unclutter your life, prepare for things in advance, give yourself down time and extra time for getting places, confide in someone who will listen to you.

Lack of sleep: Poor sleep can increase ghrelin (the hormone that tells you you’re hungry) and decrease leptin (the hormone that makes you feel full), leading to sugar cravings and overeating in general.

What to do: Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. No screens 2 hours before bed, finish all eating 3 hours before bed, sleep in a dark room or wear a sleep mask.

Dehydration: Not getting enough water can make it hard for you to metabolize glycogen (stored glucose) for energy, so you crave sugar for a quick source of energy.

What to do: Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day. Not thirsty? Set a timer on your phone to drink regularly.

So what’s your “itch”?

Don’t Hate Me: I LOVE January and February!

“Soup is cozy.” ― A.D. Posey

Oh, I know there are some of you who cannot even comprehend loving the first 2 months of the year.  I know I’m not an anomaly because I have one sister who feels the same way. And yes, we live in Illinois.  I’m kind of like a baby who has her days and nights mixed up. I’m nearly giddy as I take down the Christmas decorations and ready my house for the first 2 months of the year.  And I am seriously done with summer by July 5.

I love the first snow…and the second and the third.  I love being stuck in my house while ice builds up on the roads.  I’m always hoping for a blizzard, enough snow that would shut down the whole town.  One year I got a phone call on an icy Monday morning that my dentist appointment was being canceled.  I told the gal, “I have been waiting for this phone call my whole life!” (my candy-loving sisters and I used to erase our dentist appointments off our mom’s calendar when we were little…those were the pre-novocaine days- YIKES!).

I keep a well- stocked kitchen so I don’t have to prevail upon the grocery store to stock up for weekend weather. I keep candles at the ready and flashlights easily accessible, with batteries of course.  The 3rd weekend in January was just such a weekend.  My first thought upon waking was what I would wear to keep warm and how I would position our furniture in front of the fireplace if the electricity went out.  It felt like Christmas morning! Seriously, does anyone else think like that? How about this? Does anyone think about a nice hot bowl of soup in winter? C’mon….even if you don’t like the cold and ice, is there anything better than hot soup on a winter day?

So, in honor of “my most wonderful time of the year” and National Soup Day, which was February 4, here’s some information for you about soup.  And as it turns out, soup isn’t only cozy, it also happens to be good for you. Check this out:


When you eat hot soup your warm blood rises to the surface and shares it with the rest of your body. That’s why you get that nice warm feeling over a bowl of soup.


Soft vegetables and pre-cooked soft, meat makes for a great meal that is easily digested.  This makes soup the perfect meal for when you’re not feeling well. Rather than working to digest a big meal, your body can concentrate on healing.


Meat, vegetables, and herbs: all a great combination for feeding your body right down to the cellular level along with plenty of fiber.


We spend a lot of time indoors with our heat turned up in the winter. This can be dehydrating.  Soup is a great way to get more fluids.


If you’re trying to lose weight in the New Year, soup is a great way to set you on the road to success.  Broth-based soups are generally low calorie and quite filling.

Here’s a recipe to get you started!

Chicken Soup

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil

  • 1 cup zucchini (cut into 1/4 inch slices)

  • 1 cup yellow squash (cut into 1/4 inch slices)

  • ½ cup onion coarsely chopped

  • 2 stalks celery (thinly sliced)

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • 4 cups chicken broth

  • 3 chicken breasts, shredded (cooked- see below)

  • 1 teaspoon oregano (dried)

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

  • 2 limes

  • 1 piece avocado (Sliced)

-Brush chicken w/avocado oil, sprinkle w/garlic salt and pepper and bake for 1 hour (or until cooked thru) at 350 degrees. Shred the chicken once it’s cooled. You can cook this the night before.

-Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the yellow squash, zucchini, celery, garlic, and onion. Stir the ingredients occasionally until they start to soften.

-Add chicken broth and allow the mixture to boil. Turn the heat down and add the shredded chicken, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.

-Cover the stew and allow it to simmer over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

-Ladle soup into bowls. Squeeze lime juice into each bowl.

-Top with chopped avocado and serve.

Mmmmm- enjoy!

So….What’s Up With Romaine?

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.- Doug Larson

I had to laugh as I read the above quote this morning. I was eating my breakfast of Applegate Bacon (uncured, no sugar added), 2 farm fresh eggs, avocado, and steamed broccoli. And I have to say, the broccoli was just as delicious to me as the. All in all, this was an excellent meal. Good fat, plenty of protein and a green vegetable. Lately, I have been having salads with my breakfast. I learned the beauty of this from the time we have spent in Hawaii. They often add a small side salad to breakfast, a great way to get a good veggie in first thing in the morning.

Speaking of salad, what is up with Romaine? Seems like every time we turn around there's a big warning about it. Do people who harvest Romaine specifically, not wash their hands while everyone who harvests all the other lettuces do? That doesn't sound plausible. Besides, we've had plenty of spinach warnings, too. So I did a little investigating and found out that we don't know exactly why Romaine is contaminated more often than other lettuces. What we do know is that more people get sick from leafy greens than by eating undercooked hamburgers or sushi. Here are a couple of the theories as to why lettuce can make us sick. The culprit is E.coli, a bacteria found in our guts that usually doesn't cause any harm to humans. But some strains are dangerous. Those strains are what cause the "Romaine Issues." Bacteria are transferred from animals to us through contaminated water. There are also some types of bacteria that are harder to wash off. If all that isn't enough, it's the pre-chopped, pre-packaged options that are the greatest offenders (tho whole heads of lettuce can be a problem too). Traveling cross county in plastic causes the bacteria to grow. Also, bacteria can get down into the core of lettuce where it is harder to clean. Women are affected more often than men because we tend to eat more salads. And who cooks their salad? Eating raw vegetable adds to our exposure.

Now you're thinking, 'Great, I was planning to up my salads as part of my new year's resolution to get healthy.' By all means, please do! Here are some recommendations to do it more safely:

Buy your produce whole and without packaging.

Run fresh produce under water for 30 seconds.

Water and vinegar solutions can reduce, but not completely eliminate bacteria. The ratio of vinegar to water is 1:3.

Wash your hands in warm water for at least 20 seconds before handling lettuce.

Discard all the outer leaves of the lettuce.

Rinse your produce until no traces of dirt remain.

Wash your produce before you eat it, not necessarily the day buy it.

Pay attention to any reports of E.coli outbreaks and follow instructions when you should avoid it.

All of the above suggestions are helpful but won't eliminate the problem completely. In my opinion, the single best step you can take is to know your farmer and buy locally. Who do I recommend?

Dearing Country Farms www.dearingdesigns.com

PrairiErth Farm. www.prairierthfarm.com  

Both provide organic, fresh produce, meat and eggs, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) options and so much more. Connecting with your farmer is a win-win. You are supporting them and they are supporting your health. Plus, it's wonderful to see familiar, friendly faces at the local Farmers' Market! Double plus: Bloomington-Normal offers a winter, indoor Farmers' Market at the Colosseum in downtown Bloomington the 3rd Saturday of the month from Nov-Apr, 10 am-12 noon.

Dearing Country Farm also provides fresh seafood. Every 2-3 months they make a trip to Florida and bring back super fresh seafood. Contact Brad and Jackie through their website listed above.

It's a new year! Let Your Food Fight, LLC be a part of your plan to maintain or regain your health.

Visit www.yourfoodfight.com for more information and to sign up for one (or more) of the classes listed below.

$10/class (plus a small processing fee), life-changing information, food samples, and a relaxed atmosphere to learn and connect in.

Are you a current client? Don't forget, you attend free when your friend(s) sign up to attend.


Sign up at www.yourfoodfight.com


Healthy food and lifestyle choices to help maintain or regain your health

Saturday, January 12, 2019, 10 am-11:30 am


Let's bring them both into the light

Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 6 pm-7:30 pm


Discover why sugar has such a hold on you and what you can do about it.

Saturday, February 2, 2019 10 am-11:30 am

Contact me to set up a time for your FREE Health Consultation.

It costs nothing to meet with me for the first time.

Morning, afternoon and evening options available.

www.yourfoodfight.com Renee@yourfoodfight.com (309) 825-0424

Get in the ring in 2019!



Poor health is not caused by something you don't have; it's caused by disturbing something that you already have. Healthy is not something that you need to get, it's something you have already if you don't disturb it. ~Dean Ornish

It's that time of year again! No, not Christmas....cold and flu season. We covered Christmas last month. Are you putting some of those tips into practice? I continue to make my Christmas cookies on the weekends. Today my Amazon purchases will arrive and I shall....let the wrapping begin (as opposed to isolating my self in our bedroom in a wrapping frenzy AFTER our daughter returns home from college)!

Let's talk about how you’re going to stay healthy during the Christmas season, and all winter long. I’m guessing I could fill this page with things you already know: Get lots of rest, reduce your stress, wash your hands, eat your veggies, reduce/avoid sugar, increase your water, etc.

So here are a few more obscure things that may be helpful to you:  

Cold viruses stay on hard surfaces from 2 hours-7 days. What does that mean? If someone comes to your house with a cold, wipe down the surfaces that were touched with a combination of water and bleach.

Likewise, the flu virus is alive on doorknobs and phones for 2-8 hours.

Ok, here is a real pet peeve of mine (you’re getting an inside look at the Coach’s mind). Our phones are incredibly DIRTY. So while I’m out to eat with you, please don’t hand me your phone so I can see a picture or read a text. And, while you are in your kitchen cooking food, if you touch your phone, please wash your hands and continue to cook away!

Most people would say they know to increase their Vitamin C if they are getting a cold. But did you know that Vitamin D is a powerful antibacterial and antiviral? Get your level checked (you want the 25- hydroxy test) to find out if you should be supplementing.

Keep your hands off your face (oh boy did my kids hear that a lot while growing up). Most people touch their face an average of 4 times an hour, and they touch shared surfaces about 3 times an hour. Germs love warm, moist, dark areas. Your eyes, nose, and mouth are all avenues for allowing a virus to have its way with you.

Gargling isn’t just for fresh breath. My mom was a big believer in gargling with salt water for a sore throat (and for canker sores!). But did you know it’s also a great way to prevent yourself from getting an upper respiratory infection? Perhaps you can add a salt water gargle to your morning and/or nighttime routine. You can even try gargling green tea. Some say that gargling with green tea is more effective than plain water at preventing fevers in children. For those of you with kids, give it a try and let me know!

I almost hate to even write this word, but surely you have all heard of Norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness that can cause nausea, projectile vomiting, and watery stools. This virus can live on hard surfaces for 7 days. You’ll find this little bugger in crowded places like schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and cruise ships. It’s spread by touching contaminated surfaces (like counters or doorknobs), eating food that an infected person has touched, or even inhaling the virus.

Did you know that one study showed that people who go for a brisk walk several times a week reduced the number of sick days they took by about 40 percent? So bundle up and get out there. Just be careful with ice!

Here are ones you probably haven’t thought of: stock up on pens and keep a supply in your purse! When a doctor’s office or cashier hands you one, tell them you have your own. While you’re at it, keep a stylus in your purse too. When an I Pad is pushed towards you to sign after getting your haircut, nails did, or a massage, etc, use your own stylus so you aren’t touching the screen everyone else has had their fingers on.

Though I know you know to wash your hands, did you know that the temperature of the water really doesn’t matter? Friction is the most important feature of good hand washing. So lather up and rub your hands together for 30 seconds or so, under hot, warm or cool water.

Most of us are in the kitchen more over the holidays. Your kitchen sponge is loaded with germs. Once a week run it through the dishwasher or heat a damp sponge in the microwave for 30 seconds.

And finally, give a great gift to everyone you meet this season:  If you're sick, stay home!


Sign up at www.yourfoodfight.com

Healthy food and lifestyle choices to help maintain or regain your health SATURDAY, JANUARY 12, 2019, 10 AM.

Discover why sugar has such a hold on you and what you can do about it. Saturday, February 2, 2019, 10 AM.

Let's Agree Not to Procrastinate

“Do you know what happens when you give a procrastinator a good idea? Nothing!”   – Donald Gardner

Is it too soon to be thinking about Christmas?  Not if you're Hobby Lobby.  I truly love the store and their perpetual 40% off coupon.  But seriously, I think they have had their Christmas stuff out since July!  I imagine many are more organized than me. But I'm going to assume that I am more organized than some of you.  So let's face the facts, Christmas is 7 weeks away from today.  How prepared are you?  My purpose in asking you this is to decrease the amount of stress in your life over the next 2 months. Stress is the root of all chronic illness. So let's not make ourselves sick over something that is supposed to be joy-filled.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:
-Set a spending budget.
-Make a gift list.
-Start watching for sale items.
-Buy one Christmas gift this week.  Psst: if you're going to shop at a brick and mortar, go on ——Monday nights. But don't tell everyone otherwise it will end up like a Saturday, crowds and all. 
-Wrap gifts as you buy them.
-Deep clean your home BEFORE you decorate....then leave it be (well, just a quick spiff up if needed).
-Consider writing a note to each member of your family as one of your gifts.
-Go through your Christmas decorations and decide what needs to be pitched (next year, do this while you're putting things away!).
-Start a new family tradition.
-Bake a batch of Christmas cookies and put them in the freezer (I have a double batch of Bon Bons in my freezer already!).
-Double one or two of your meals and freeze them for those busy December evenings. 
-Plan your holiday meals.  Make a list of the things you need from the grocery.
-Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child  and take it to a local collection center (McLean County, IL, that's Cross Pointe Church of God at the corner of Ft. Jesse and Airport Roads 11/12-11/19. visit www.samaritanspurse.org for drop off hours).
-Decide now how you will make sure you are actually going to celebrate the birth of Jesus. (It IS His birthday, after all)

Reach out to someone who is lonely, grieving, in a nursing home, assisted living or lives alone.
Don't forget about those in your life who are care- givers for elderly parents, a sick spouse or a child.  Offer to give them a day or evening of relief so they can have some time to themselves.
And don't forget to take care of yourself, too!

Does the interior of your house need a paint face- lift before the holidays or in the new year? Give Susie a call at 309-452-3873.  She just painted my house and I LOVE IT!!

Need some inspiration for self care?  Call, text or send me an email and let's find a time to talk.  A health consultation with me is always free!

renee@yourfoodfight.com   309-825-0424

Mark your calendar for my annual new year class (recently updated). This year you have 2 dates to pick from.

Food Your Greatest Weapon
Saturday, January 12, 2019 or Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 10 am

If you're struggling with an Autoimmune Disorder, have a chronic illness or just want to stay healthy, this class is for you!
More information on my website as the date gets closer.

With all this talk about Christmas and the new year,  I don't want to forget to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.  I'm thankful for each one of you and pray you will enjoy your families as you gather around the Thanksgiving table.  Safe travels for all of you who will be on the road, rails and in the air!


How Now Shall We Eat?

“Work before eating, rest after eating. Eat not ravenously, filling the mouth gulp after gulp without breathing space.” - Maimonides (1135-1204)

Welcome Autumn!

What a delight to have made it through a hot summer and now enjoy "good sleeping weather" once again! Of course, this time of year is the precursor to another season, "The Holidays." Now is the time to prepare for what is coming. One area I think we may need a little help in is how we are eating, not what we are eating (we'll save that for a later date). I have been observing myself along with others at the table. Folks, we eat fast. I'm pretty sure this is an American thing, though most people, no matter where you live, will rush through a meal from time to time. And it doesn't appear to be a contemporary issue. Maimonides from the 12 Century addressed the same thing in the quote above!

Do you ever just stop to enjoy the food that's in front of you? Do you even look at it? Are you really tasting it? Apart from the aesthetics, there is the issue of what our snarfing of food is doing to our bodies. If you suffer from any amount of heartburn/indigestion (60 million Americans will experience heartburn once/month) or really any digestive issue, how fast you're eating may have something to do with it.

What else could be an issue? Your stress level, how well you're sleeping, your posture while eating, distracted eating (TV and tablets) and even who you are eating with (friend or foe)! Keep reading for some tips on slowing down. I don't expect you to do this entire exercise for every single bite, but I do suggest you run through it a couple of times and see what's missing in your eating. Are you thoughtful about how your food looks, how it smells and how it tastes? Are you chewing well, savoring, and swallowing with intention? Improving any one of these areas may help you be a more thoughtful eater, make your mealtimes more enjoyable, and improve your digestion.


Look at your food and imagine you’ve never seen it before. Look at it carefully. Notice the color, imagine what it might taste like.

Bring the food up to your nose. Try not to think about what it is, just experience the smell, Now describe what you smell.

Do you notice what's happening in your mouth? Saliva is being produced, even though you haven’t even put the food in your mouth yet. Your mind, connected to your body, is causing you to react.

Put a forkful/spoonful of food in your mouth. Notice how your tongue starts to move right away. Now notice how the food feels on your tongue. Isn't it amazing that this small, but strong muscle, knows just what to do with every bite?

Now that the food is in your mouth, start biting into it very slowly. Then begin to chew. What's happening? Are you starting to identify the types of sensations in your mouth? Crunchy? Chewy? Sweet? Sour? Describe what you are experiencing. This next step is critical, and where I think we really fall short. Put all of your attention into chewing. Is the taste changing? Certainly, the consistency is! Try to keep it in your mouth a bit longer than your desire to swallow. Chewing 30 times really IS recommended. Swallow the food. Follow it down into the stomach. Notice the satisfaction of receiving the food.

Breathe deep.

Send me a quick email and let me know if this was helpful!

Looking for more healthy eating tips? Have you been diagnosed with a chronic illness or an Autoimmune Disorder? Are you confused or overwhelmed with what you should do next? Have you tried different things to "get healthy" and failed? Step into the ring and let's figure this thing out! An initial health consultation with me is always free. Give me a call, email me or visit my website:

309-825-0424 renee@yourfoodfight.com www.yourfoodfight.com

Really Good Advice

“I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.” ― Oscar Wilde

Is it just me, or did the summer go especially fast this year? Fast and HOT in Central Illinois!  Of course, children returning to school in mid-August doesn't help the matter much, and I don't even have school aged children at home anymore.  I'm just musing, time; summer; weather and kids are not the point of this month's newsletter.

This month I simply want to pass on some good advice.  I was scrolling through my old IPad from 2011 and ran across something I titled, "Really Good Advice."  Turns out, it IS really good advice and worthy of passing on. I found it sandwiched between Skunk Smell Recipe (how to get the smell of skunk off your dog) and a recipe for 10 Minute Peach Cobbler.   I did not note the author, however, so if anyone knows who put this out there, please let me know!    Check these out and take some of this good advice:
1. Pray
2. Go to bed on time
3. Get up on time so that you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say no to projects that won't fit into your time schedule or that will compromise your mental health.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and de-clutter your life.
7. Less is more (Although one is often enough, two are often too many).
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places
9, Pace yourself.  Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time, don't lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time (My dad's favorite!)
11. Separate worries from concerns.  If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety.  If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.
12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, (or at a trusted neighbor's) extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the kid in your every day.
16. Carry a spiritually enlightening book with you to read while in line.
17. Get enough rest.
18. Eat right.
19. Get organized so everything has its place.

20. Listen to something while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write down your thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.

23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to pray.
24. Make friends with godly people.
25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures and sayings on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good, "Thank You, Jesus."
27. Laugh.
28. Laugh some more.
29. Take your work seriously, by not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude. Most people are dong the best they can.
31. Be kind to unkind people, they probably need it the most.
32. Sit on your ego.
33. Talk less, listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the General Manager of the universe.
36. Every night before you go to bed, think of one thing you are grateful for that you have never been grateful for before.
And here are a few of my own:
37. Reduce your stress. It's a bigger deal than you think.
38. You've heard it said," Live each day like it's your last."  How about this instead, "Live each day like it's the last day of every person you meet."
39. Before you correct someone, encourage them.
40. You don't have to be perfect.  Just make better choices more often.

After reviewing this again, I'm not totally in agreement with Oscar Wilde's quote.  I'm going to take some of my own advice.  Time to slow down and laugh more! See how easy that was?

Are you struggling with a new diagnosis?  Craving foods and you don't know why?  Feeling overwhelmed by all the health information out there on the web?  These are all reasons why women decide to sit down and talk with me. What's your struggle?  I'm happy to listen and help.  Meeting with me for the first time costs you nothing and often times I can give you a couple of recommendations for free.  Let's find a time to sit down and talk.

Email me:  renee@yourfoodfight.com or call/text: 309-825-0424


How Now Shall We Breathe?

"I take a breath when I have to." - Ethel Merman

Breathing. It's the most natural thing in the world. You don't have to think to breathe, you just do it.  But breathing well? Now that's another issue all together. I want you to do something for me. Take a really deep breath. When you inhale, do your shoulders rise? Yep, you're not breathing well.

Let me show you what deep breathing (or belly breathing/diaphragmatic breathing) looks like:

Sit relaxed in a chair, feet on the floor or lie down. Place your hands on the your lower belly or on your ribs at the sides of your body.  Inhale slowly through your nose. Concentrate on expanding your belly or your rib cage (think blow fish). Keep your shoulders in place. As you inhale, your diaphragm (a big muscle) is moving up in your abdominal cavity.  Now exhale deeply through your mouth. Feel your belly contract. Your exhale should be a bit longer than your inhale. In through your nose, belly goes out. Out through your mouth, belly contracts. Slow and deep. Repeat several times.

I know. It doesn't feel natural. But keep practicing. It will.

You may be thinking that's a lot of effort just to take a breath. But here's why it's so important.

Belly breathing does the following:

Lowers blood pressure

Lowers blood sugar

Decreases anxiety

Improves mental focus

Relieves pain

Relaxes your pelvic floor

Improves digestion

Strengthens your lungs

Helps you sleep better

Boosts energy

Improves your mood

Plus, every time you breathe this way, your diaphragm massages your heart.

Is that amazing or what??

Now that you know what deep breathing is and why it's so important,I really encourage you to become more conscious of your breathing pattern.

Here are a couple of suggestions for when to use this type of breathing:

Anxious during the day

Can't sleep at night

Suffer with chronic pain

Irritable or easily angered

Having surgery or a minor medical procedure

Stuck in traffic

Overwhelmed at work

Feel tension in your neck/back

Relief from these issues and more can be just a breath away!


Well, it's that time of year again. Kids, teachers and school employees are heading back to the classroom. How would you like to be in a small group coaching "classroom" of sorts? Now is the time to get a group of your friends together (total of 3-5 women) and enter into a group coaching experience with me. It's fun and much less expensive than individual coaching (1/2 the price!).

Do you find yourself saying any of the following?:

WHAT are we going to have for dinner tonight?

I wish I knew how to feed my family healthier meals.

I don't have time to cook healthy.

Why do I always give in to chocolate (sugar, bread, cookies, etc)?

I'll guide you in the principles of healthy eating/healthy living, meal planning, shopping and prep, recipe sharing, etc, as well as addressing individual health issues.Being healthy doesn't need to be stressful and can actually be fun!

Email me for more information about individual or group coaching: renee@yourfoodfight.com or call/text: 309-825-0424 and be sure to visit my website, www.yourfoodfight.com

I'm breathing well and living well in the ring. How about you?



How did you sleep last night? Revisited.

"Continuous effort - not strength nor intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."

–Winston Churchill

Several months ago I asked you how you slept the night before. Granted, the question was rhetorical since I didn't expect an actual answer. However, I did have an answer. It went something like this,
"I slept like a baby. 9 hours." Well, that was then, this is now. For the past month, I haven't slept more than 6 hours/night. And you say, "What?? The Coach isn't sleeping?" 

Here's my take on it. We all run into rough times in life. Maybe your sleep is off. Maybe you're not eating as well as you once were. Maybe you just don't have the drive to exercise like you used to. Whatever it is....it happens. Where we run into trouble is when we stop caring, stop trying and sink down deeper. As Winston Churchill says above, continuous effort is the key to unlocking your potential. 

For me, that means I'm not satisfied with my sleep and I'm making every effort to correct it. Doing nothing just isn't an option. In other words, I'm not going to take this lying down (pun intended!). As I stand back and look at my sleep habits over the past month I realize the following: 

I have been going to bed later.

I have been going to bed hungry.

I have been watching TV before bed. 

Continuous effort means that I see these things and I do something about them. Moving forward, I will be in bed between 9-9:30 pm, I'll eat a larger dinner and the TV goes off at 8 pm. 

Where do you need to apply continuous effort? Good health doesn't just happen. Take a look at your life, make a plan and set it into motion one small step at a time. 

Not sure where to start? Summer is a great time to set up your Free Health Consultation with me. Visit my website at www.yourfoodfight.com, give me a call, 309-825-0424 or send me an email, renee@yourfoodfight.com. I'll find a spot for you! 

In the ring! Renee 

Good Food/Bad Food

"A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe." 
-Thomas Keller

The quote seems obvious. Of course, recipes/foods have no soul.  The writer speaks of something more than just throwing food on a plate and calling it a meal.  He speaks of the experience of
creating, presenting and sharing a meal with others.  Just as food doesn't have a soul, food is neither inherently good or bad.  Yet, in certain circles, in certain minds, food is indeed bad.  We live in strange times where food is concerned.  The person next to you could have any manner of food dispositions: gluten free, dairy free, Paleo, Keto, vegetarian, Pescatarian, Vegan, low carb, FODMAP, low fat, Atkins, Ornish, South Beach, DASH, etc, etc, etc.  

To be clear, a particular diet may be necessary for a particular person, even at a particular time in life. But overall, your way of eating may not be right for the person sitting next to you.  This we refer to as Bioindividuality- one person's food is another person's poison. We live in a culture where food is often demonized.  Gluten? Bad!  Carbs? Bad!  Fat? Good! (tho yesterday
it was "bad").  Honestly, it's a lot to keep up with and there really is no need for all the labeling.  In fact, an unhealthy obsession with health food has been given the name "Orthorexia".  The end result can truly be the elimination of so many foods that the diet becomes unhealthy and the person becomes riddled with anxiety, shame, and guilt. Orthorexia can also damage relationships.  If you think the way you eat is the best way for everyone, you can alienate those closest to you.

So here are my suggestions:  
If a certain food causes negative symptoms, remove it from your diet, watch your symptoms and journal how you feel. If you feel better, leave it out for a time, but try to reintroduce it at a later date. (Unless it's a true food allergy)
Don't always stick to the same foods. Use different oils, different sweeteners, eat different sources of proteins, fats, and carbs.
Eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. (More veggies than fruits.)
Enjoy and appreciate what's on your plate.
Try not to make others fit into your ideas about food.
Rather than taking something out of your diet, ask yourself, "What can I add to my diet?" (Unless it's a true food allergy or you have an illness that requires taking something out.)

The updating of my new space is going well! I'm looking forward to having you over. Some ideas that are being discussed:

A women’s self-defense class (provided by my office neighbor who teaches jiu-jitsu).

A combined spiritual rest-physical rest class.

Periodic Thursday night gatherings for women.

Let me know what else you're interested in! renee@yourfoodfight.com

My rates are increasing July 1. If you've ever considered scheduling with me, now is the time! Don't forget a one-hour Health History Consultation with me is always FREE!



June 12, 6-7:30 pm $20. Worth every penny!Green Top Grocery, Bloomington IL.Reservation is required. Go to www.yourfoodfight.com and click on Events/Classes. SPECIAL RATE FOR MY FAITHFUL NEWSLETTER READERS! When you sign up for this class, enter the discount code: YFF for 25% off the class!

True story: I was in Kroger with a friend recently. She was picking up some frozen gluten-freeUDI's buns for hamburgers. I hadn't had them in years and asked, "Are they better these days?" She said, "They're ok. You have to toast them." This is EXACTLY why you need to come to this class. These rolls are moist, fluffy and delicious! No more dried out bread/rolls that you have to toast and load up with butter or a nut butter just to choke them down.. My mouth is watering just thinking about my gluten free/grain free rolls!

Struggling with food? Can't decide what is best for you? Email or call me and let's set up a time to talk!

Renee@yourfoodfight.com 309-825-0424


When Health Is Lost

"When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost."  -Billy Graham



To my readers who have been struggling with health issues:  Oh I have so many things I want to tell you!  Having travelled the health/illness journey for 9 years with my daughter and my own journey for nearly a year, I want to spare you from the heartache and the despair.  Because the truth is, how you view your health has everything to do with your wellness.  Your path to health is something you are working out daily.  You are moving towards health. Your positive mindset and willingness to dig in, is what will propel you towards health. 

So this month, I want to share some of the things I have learned over the past 9 years. Yes, keep doing the physical things: eat well, sleep well, move well., but add these mental exercises to them:

1.  Decide today that you are moving towards health.
2.  Remind yourself that you are smart and can figure this out.
3.  Each day is a new opportunity for learning more about your mind and body.
4.  Be open to trying something new.
5.  How you view your health has everything to do with how healthy you are.
6.  Ask other people how they have maintained or regained their health.
7.  Think big picture. If you mess up today, start over tomorrow.
8.  You are not a victim.
9.  When you learn something new, teach it to someone else.
10. It's usually not just one thing that restores health, but a combination of small steps.
11. Gather a good support network around you.
12. Layer your life with things other than physical health: friendships, faith, service, and self-sacrifice.
13. Your health does not determine if you are good or bad.
14. Trust that God has a plan for your life.

And finally, remember, you are not alone.  I am here for you. Need someone to talk to? Need someone to listen?  Give me a call!

Spring Cleaning

"They’re sure housework won’t kill you, but why take the chance?” 

-Author Unknown

The above quote is true in part. In all my years of Nursing, I never saw anyone die from cleaning. However, I’d say it’s worth the effort.  But what about Spring Cleaning? If you've ever done it, you know it can be quite taxing on the body. I must admit, it’s been a while since I have participated in this once semi-yearly routine. Back in the day when I was home full time with small children, my dear friend/neighbor (Susie) and I encouraged each other in this seemingly forgotten practice. Alas, it has once again gone by the wayside. But this year, I mean to bring it back! No, I’m not going to hang rugs over a clothes line and whack the dust out of them (clothes lines also seem to have gone by the wayside). But I am going to take some time to think about some of the hidden areas in my house, my body and my heart. 

Keep reading and take a whack at it for yourself. 


Kitchen countertops- Keep them clean and smelling great with diluted lemon juice in a spray bottle. 

Disposal- It takes a hit on a regular basis. Freeze lemon and orange rinds with vinegar or water in ice cube trays and run them through your disposal for 10 seconds. 

Dishwasher- Place 2 cups of white vinegar in a dishwasher safe bowl on the top shelf. Run your dishwasher without any dishes to remove the funky smell of this much-used appliance. 

Cast-iron skillets- Pour some club soda in the pan while still warm so the food particles don't stick. 

Tub- Cut a grapefruit, lemon or orange in half, sprinkle each half with salt or baking soda and squeeze as you’re cleaning. Rinse with water. Take a deep breath in! Mmmm! 

Wood furniture- Mix 1 cup olive oil with 1⁄2 cup lemon juice. Rub into furniture with a soft cloth. 

Laundry- Add 1⁄2 cup of lemon juice to your rinse cycle for brighter colors, super white whites and a clean lemon scent. 

Smelly room- (perhaps a teenage boy's room?) Get rid of tough odors with a bowl of vinegar in the room overnight. 

Carpets and rugs-(pets?) Sprinkle them with some baking soda and vacuum after 15 minutes. 

Windows- Ditch the blue stuff. Mix 1⁄4 cup vinegar with 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Spray windows and wipe with newspaper (yes, newspaper-it really does work). 




Lungs- Step outside as often as possible and take a deep inhale in from your gut/belly goes out! Crack the windows of your home for 5 minutes/day.

Mouth- Buy (and use) a tongue scraper.

Gut- Consider using a probiotic for a healthy gut. And/or eat fermented foods: homemade pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, sourdough bread.
Increase your fiber: eat more fruits (w/skin), legumes and beans (and increase your water at the same time). Eat the skin on your sweet potato. Eat beans or lentils as your main protein for a meal 2x/week. Add lettuce and tomato to your sandwhich instead of cheese. Snack on hummus and veggies. Add garbanzo beans to your salad. Eat oatmeal for breakfast.

Liver- Support your liver: eat beets, artichokes, bone broth, egg yolks, and olive oil. Drink dandelion tea instead of coffee. Oh, and ditch the alcohol.
Switch to a whole foods diet by eliminating processed foods (anything with a label on it).

Get to a Farmers’ Market for some fresh, local produce.


Spend your first waking moments each day thanking God for a new day.

Read the Gospel of John.

Pray for others.

Volunteer your time.

Think of others before yourself.


Forgive others.

Be kind.

Love deeply.




A Health Consultation with me is always FREE.  When you schedule your free session with me in April or May and then sign up for a 6 month program, you will receive either one free session (pay for 11, but get 12 sessions) OR a free in home pantry assessment with recommendations. Your choice! 

PLUS: I will be teaching a new class on Tuesday, April 17, 2018,  6-7:30 pm at Green Top Grocery, 901 East Washington St., Bloomington IL. 

Life is Sweet (Step away from the sugar bowl!)

Come find out why sugar has a hold on you and what you can do about it!

Email or text me by April 16 if you'd like to attend. 

Seating is limited and you only PAY WHAT YOU CAN.


www.yourfoodfight.com renee@yourfoodfight.com 309-825-0424 


Hashi What?!

"Health is not valued till sickness comes." Thomas Fuller

As I recently lay on my bathroom floor with a paramedic over me, administering much needed pain medication for a kidney stone, he asked if I have any health conditions. According to my foggy memory, our conversation was short. I said, "Hashimoto's" and I heard him distantly say, "What is THAT?" No one in my bathroom answered him. Why? Because none of the other EMT/Paramedics likely knew the answer. And yet, it's the most common autoimmune condition in the U.S. In fact, many people don't even know they have it. They have simply been told they are hypothyroid. The symptoms of Hashi that initially catch your attention are the symptoms of hypothyroid: fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and poor concentration, to name a few.

As a Health Coach, I see women who are at varying places on the health continuum. But Hashimoto's (Hashi) is one illness that really catches my attention, because I see a lot of it. Did you know that one in five women will develop Hashimoto's Thyroiditis in her lifetime?

Seriously, what IS Hashimoto's anyway??

What really concerns me is the lack of understanding around Hashimoto's. Our local newspaper ran a half page article on it a month ago. I saw the headline and thought, "FINALLY!" Then I read the article and thought, "Typical". If you read such an article you would be led to believe that all you have to do for Hashi is pop a pill and you'll be fine. I'd like to add my two cents.

First, let's get to the original question. What is Hashimoto's? According to Dr. Izabella Wentz, Pharma FASCP, in her book, Hashimoto's Protocol, "If you have Hashimoto's, the immune system recognizes the thyroid gland as a foreign invader and launches an immune response against it as if it were an invading virus, bacteria, or other pathogen. This autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland eventually results in the thyroid gland no longer being able to produce sufficient thyroid hormone. This in turn leads to a hypothyroid condition."

What I have found in my practice, is that most women think as long as they take their thyroid medication they are treating their Hashi. This simply is not true. Yes, thyroid medication treats hypothyroidism. If you're on it, stay on it until your doctor says you can go off of it. But did you know that 95% of all hypothyroidism is caused by Hashi? Pills won't treat or change that.

So what's a woman to do? Before you make any changes, I suggest you work with an integrative physician to determine what triggered your Hashi (i.e. environmental pollutants, food, etc?) You also can make some key food and lifestyle choices that will lead to a healthier you, no matter whether you have Hashi or not.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:


grain (wheat, corn, rice)refined sugarconventional dairy and meat foods that are genetically modified processed foods

toxic chemicals (personal care products/household cleaning products)

REPLACE (add in)whole foods; grass fed, organic meat and dairycolorful fruits and veggies (lots of them: think rainbow)healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), coconut oil, walnut oil, nuts/seeds fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, picklesexercise, daily stress reduction, prayer, good sleep hygiene


supplements specific to your needs


begin taking a probiotic

As I said, all of this can be overwhelming. If you're newly diagnosed or just need someone to talk to about addressing your Hashi, email me or give me a call. Or maybe you know someone with Hashi. Let them know I'm here to help. I have implemented many of the above suggestions and am seeing a reversal of my symptoms. It feels good to be taking measures to return to a healthy me. I'd love to help you do the same.

You're not in this alone. I'm literally in the ring with you on this one! Renee

I will be teaching my class, Your Food Fight: Food Your Greatest Weapon at Green Top Grocery on March 20th at 6pm. It's loaded with good information for women on maintaining/regaining your health. Email or call me by March 13 if you or someone you know would like to attend. Space is limited. It's FREE! GREEN TOP GROCERY 921 E. Washington St. Bloomington IL, 61701 Renee@yourfoodfight.com 309-825-0424

"I can't eat that." (and other weight loss food lies we tell ourselves)

“In two decades I've lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.” Erma Bombeck

It sounds like Erma believed a few lies about weight loss. I wonder how many you have believed through the years. I don't mean to rain on your Valentine's Day parade, but there are a few things I think you should know no matter what time of year it is. Maybe you'll find yourself among some of these common myths.

Lie #1: "I'm going to cut calories and exercise to get into that dress."

The Truth: Cutting calories below your resting metabolic rate-the number of calories your body needs simply to function tell your body it's starving, which results in burning muscle (not good!) for energy + slowing your metabolism down=loss of muscle mass and weight gain. So if you are exercising, make sure you’re eating more calories than your resting metabolic rate. (Search "resting metabolic rate" and you'll find a calculator to figure out what yours is).

Lie #2: "It doesn't matter what I eat, as long as I keep my calories super low."

The Truth: The 'calories in/calories burned' idea simply doesn’t work. Just take a look around. Consider all the people you know who restricted calories for years and have had a yo-yo experience with their dress size. Losing weight is a matter of what you eat. Some simple guidelines to start: Limit your grains (wheat, corn, rice), reduce your refined sugar to less than 25 g/day, increase your water (1/2 your body weight in ounces/day), increase your green veggies, and enjoy the sweetness of relationships with others.

Lie #3: "I'm cutting out all fat so I don't get fat!"

The Truth: The growing obesity epidemic is evidence that low-fat diets don't work. America has had a LOVE affair with this way of eating since the 1970's AND we are bigger and sicker than we have ever been. When you eat good fats (extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, seeds, and nuts), you increase your fat burning capacity. And yes, while fat has more calories, adding healthy fats into your diet will also make you feel full quicker.

Lie #4: "I need to lose weight, so I'm not going to eat carbs."

The Truth: Chances are when you think of carbohydrates, you think of bread, pasta, cake, and cookies. Reducing/avoiding these is definitely a good idea, but do you realize that vegetables and fruits are carbs? Did you know that they are filled with something called phytonutrients (chemicals that contain powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation)? Simple carbohydrates (like refined sugar) enter your bloodstream quickly and if they aren't used right away, they are stored as fat. Complex carbohydrates (beans, legumes, nuts) are absorbed more slowly, allowing more time for your body to use them. You also need to consider the glycemic load of the food you eat-the effect of a total meal on your blood sugar. The glycemic load takes into account how all the foods work together to affect you. Mixing beans and vegetables provide a low glycemic load, while spaghetti + sauce has a high glycemic load. So pick your carbs wisely: veggies, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds. Combine them with a healthy fat, and you can feel good about what you’re eating.

Lie #5: “High Fructose Corn Syrup is the same as sugar.”

The Truth: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is absorbed very quickly into your cells and leads to the production of triglycerides and cholesterol. And here's the real kicker...when your body processes sugar, your brain gets the message that it's full. But with HFCS, your brain gets that message very slowly, so you tend to overeat and gain weight. Check labels for HFCS.

Lie #6: “I use artificial sweeteners so that I don’t gain weight.”

The Truth: The general problem with artificial sweeteners is that your brain doesn’t know the difference between them and real sugar, so it tells the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin then gets all fired up, waiting for the sugar that never arrives. In a sense, insulin demands the brain for sugar creating hunger. Bottom line, artificial sweeteners, at the very least, have been associated with overeating and obesity.

Hopefully, this clears a few things up. If you have questions, remember it costs nothing to sit down with me for the first time.

I’d love to know what works for you. Tell me your weight loss success story!

And as far as Valentine's Day is concerned, no matter where you are in life and relationships, know that you are loved beyond measure by Almighty God! Renee




You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C. S. Lewis

Happy New Year!! Have you made any New Year's resolutions? Personally, I am a resolution maker and a resolution keeper. Years ago I resolved to purchase all the birthday cards for our nieces and nephews (13 total) in the first week of January, put their monetary gift inside, address the envelope and put a stamp on it (use "forever" stamps...I learned the hard way). When their birthday rolls around, I just write a note and it's ready to be mailed. Consequently, through age 18 all our nieces and nephews have received a timely card with a gift from Aunt Renee and Uncle David. Feel free to borrow that one!

Another year I resolved to pack all of our Christmas decorations away in red/green boxes. To this day, I love to see them on the shelves in our garage....come December 1 I always know where everything is.

And many, many years ago I resolved to spend my first hour(s) of the day with God in Bible reading and prayer. It's the most precious part of my day.

I share these 3 ideas to show you that you don't have to "remake" yourself starting January 1st. Pick one thing you want to do in the new year, one thing you want to change, a new habit you want to form and do it. Keep it simple, practical. Just imagine, if you do this every year in 10 years you will have 10 solid things you have changed.

If you want to form a new habit, attach it to something you already do. Maybe you want to dry brush before you shower every morning tto stimulate your lymph system, but never remember to do it until you are already IN the shower. You could say, When I finish my morning coffee, I will dry brush for 5 minutes. Refine it even further and say, When I put my coffee cup down, I will pick up my dry brush.

Different but similar, when I turned 49 I purposed to try 50 new fruits and veggies before I turned 50. It was an interesting year. I never realized how many things I had never tried!

So what will it be for you? A resolution? A new habit? A personal challenge? Let me know what you’re planning to do, I really would like to know.