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

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 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!   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:


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: 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: or call/text: 309-825-0424 and be sure to visit my website,

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 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, give me a call, 309-825-0424 or send me an email, 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!

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 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! 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.

RSVP REQUIRED. 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 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.


Healthy Eating Through The Holidays

The reason that most major goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first. -Robert J. Mccain

OK! We have our orders....first things first! As you enter into the Christmas season you will have plenty of opportunities to make healthy food and lifestyle choices (first things) or make choices that are not so good for you. Ultimately these will be your decisions, but I'd like to give you some ideas for navigating through the season and keeping your health as a priority.

1. Eat a little bit BEFORE you go to a party. If you go hungry, you may be tempted to park yourself at the snack table and finish off every dip, cake, and cookie.

2. Don't skip meals. You'll only be tempted to overeat later.

3. If you're going to a potluck, bring a healthy dish (and be sure to have some of it!)

4. For parties where you walk around and mingle, keep a cup/glass of water in your hand. You can't eat off a plate if you have a plate in one hand and your drink in the other. Therefore, you can pick up one thing to eat off the food table and walk away.

5. Practice these 3 little words. No. Thank. You. You don't have to eat everything that is offered to you. You don't even have to give a reason as to why you are declining. Just a simple, "No thank you" will do.

6. Increase your vegetable intake during the season. Not only will they fill you up, but you will be giving your body some much-needed nourishment.7. Be the last one in line. The food will look far less appealing after everyone else has had a crack at it!

8. Don't neglect exercise! You may not have time to keep up with vigorous workouts at the gym, but at least keep moving by taking the stairs, walking as much as possible and/or doing "half" your workout at the gym.

9. Practice self-care. Sit down and put your feet up for 15 minutes, take a 20-30 minute nap, soak in a nice hot bath.

10. You don't have to be perfect, just make better choices more often. If you overindulge, move forward and get back on track the next day.

11. "Fill up" on a good conversation. At a party, make it your mission to learn one new thing about every person you interact with. Ask lots of questions,  keep the conversation going.

12. Be a helpful guest. Assist your host by picking up those empty plates/cups, filling up empty serving dishes and offering to hang up guests' coats.

13. Focus on the reason for the season. Christmas is a remembrance of the birth of Jesus. God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die in your place, to pay the debt for your sin that you could never pay. Accepting Jesus' sacrifice for you is the source of eternal life. Though you may die on earth, you will live forever with God in Heaven.

Now THAT'S keeping first things first!


Beyond The Gratitude Journal

“It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” –Tim Keller

Our minds automatically go to "Thanksgiving" this time of year. I love the above quote because it seems gratitude is something altogether different than Thanksgiving. You know that ad: "What's in your wallet?" Well, today I ask you, "What's in your heart?" If you look inside and don't see gratitude, keep reading. Gratitude is something that needs to be cultivated within you. Without it we take life and people for granted. But don't think this only affects others. Research shows that people who regularly practice gratitude feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. Try some of the following gratitude suggestions and see how much better YOU and others feel:

*Print a calendar off for the month of November. Have at least one family member write something they are grateful for each day. Read them at your Thanksgiving dinner on November 23.

*Create a year of gratitude. Set a jar on your kitchen counter. When you feel grateful for someone or some thing, write it down and put it in the jar. Read them out loud each month.

*Go "criticizing, judging and complaining free" for one month.

*Give at least one genuine compliment daily.

*Turn a negative into a positive. Change "It's so COLD outside." to "Look how beautiful it is out there."

*Be mindful of self criticism. Tell yourself, "I'm doing the best I can right now."

*Stay away from "always" and "never" statements.

*Find yourself in a bad situation? Consider what you might learn from it.

*Watch your tone. If you can't pick up your phone and sound genuinely delighted to talk to someone, let it go to voice mail and call them back later.

*Smile more. Smile with your mouth and your eyes. The movement of these facial muscles releases chemicals in your brain that cause you to feel positive and happy. Now you're in a perfect position to tell someone you're grateful for them!

*And yes, there's always the gratitude journal. Include people, situations, and things. But also include feelings, tastes, smells and kindnesses shown to you by others.


Portion Distortion

Hello and welcome Autumn!

Question: How many servings are in a bag of snack-size whole grain crackers? Or a small bottle of your favorite all natural juice? Or that 2 pack of granola bars you snack on?

Hint: It's not “one.” Often, the above products contain two or two-and-a-half servings per package.

Can YOU Eat Just One? More than likely you aren't going to eat half of a snack bag. If you place food in front of most people, they tend to eat it all. Remember the 1980's Lays Potato Chips ad, "Bet you can't eat just one"? They were playing on our need to finish what's in front of us. And it worked. Guess what? It still works!

The Dangers of Supersizing: Snacks aren't the only thing we need to be concerned about. Our meals have gotten bigger over the years and restaurants typically give us enough for 2 meals. Eating too much food in one sitting is hard on your body. Here’s why:

• Food is meant to be spread throughout the day. Eating too much food at one time causes pain, bloating, and slow digestion.

• When a lot of glucose is released into your blood your pancreas has to work overtime, pumping insulin through the body to try to move the glucose into your cells. This can make you feel spacey, weak, grouchy, and/or leave you with quite a headache.

• Thinking there is some type of emergency, your adrenal glands go into “fight or flight” mode and release adrenaline and cortisol, which is the body’s natural response to stress. Over time, this leaves you with an expanding waistline.

• When your blood sugar levels finally drop, you can experience cravings for more food—especially sugar and carbs.

• Research has shown that the immune system is affected for at least five hours after consuming large amounts of simple carbohydrates, leaving you open to getting sick more easily.

5 Tips to Kick Portion Distortion

• Don’t over order – go for salads, soups, and appetizers, which are typically more reasonably sized than entrees. If you do order an entre, eat half and take home half of it for another meal.

• Choose high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains to keep you feeling full and energized.

• Chew well to aid digestion and give your brain time to register you’re full before you overeat. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to tell you you're full!

• Drink enough water throughout the day. Often we mistake thirst for hunger.

• Carry your own snacks. Stock up on snack-sized containers and fill them with baby carrots, air- popped popcorn, or nuts.


Stress Management

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

Previously we addressed Time Management. Now let’s take a look at its cousin, Stress Management. After all, lack of Time Management can easily lead to Stress Management problems. What is stress? What is its effect on your body?  And what can you do about it?

What is stress? We've all seen the "stress tests" where you circle the number of events that have occurred in your life in the past year-good and bad- tally them up, receive your score and somehow from that number determine that you are or are not stressed. It seems, therefore, that stress can come from healthy and unhealthy things, events and people in our lives.From a medical perspective, stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.

How does stress affect me? Your mindset may be, "I'll address that later when I have time." I urge you to reconsider this approach. While you continue on your high-stress path in life, the effects of stress are not slowing down. What you can't see is the changing ratio of good and bad bacteria in your gut causing bloating, reflux, and ulcers; the large amounts of cortisol being excreted from your adrenal glands leading to insulin resistance, adrenal fatigue and autoimmune disorders; or the constricted blood flow leading to headaches, stroke and/or heart disease.

So...what's a woman to do?

LIVE WELL: Be honest with yourself. You don't need to tally up the amount of stress in your life. Simply take a good honest look at all that you have going on. Do you have time in your life for quiet reflection? Are you constantly on the go? How do you handle interruptions in your day? Are you more irritable? Short tempered? Do you have stomach issues? Headaches? Fatigue? Not sleeping well? Poor memory? Low libido? All of these could be the effects of high stress.

Tell someone. You're not Superwoman. A shared burden is half the burden. Reach out to a trusted friend, counselor or therapist.

Socialize.  Don’t spend too much time alone. Get a group of friends together.  Make dinner. Linger longer at the table and enjoy good conversation.

Take the focus off of yourself. Volunteer. Reach out to someone in need. Practice your faith.

SLEEP WELL: Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Turn off all screens 1 hour prior to bedtime, read a book instead (one with actual paper pages).Soak in an Epsom Salt bath (2 cups added to a tub of water) for 15 minutes. Eat a palm-full of cherries and almonds before bed.

EAT WELL: Eat whole foods as much as possible. 80% of your plate should be colorful veggies, 20% is protein. Drizzle olive oil over your veggies for your fat. Don't skip meals.

Maxine says, "Stressed is desserts spelled backwards." Don’t’ fall for it. Limit the sweet stuff!

MOVE WELL: Stretch, take a walk, ride a bike, go for a run, get back to the gym, sit outdoors, breathe deep, laugh out loud, sing, hum.


Time Management

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is. C.S. Lewis

Do you find yourself saying or thinking things like: “I’m too busy“, “I just don’t have enough time”, “The month went so fast!” or “I could use a 25 hour day”? Do you really need more time or do you need to better manage the time you have? As C.S. Lewis points out, time is the great equalizer, we all are given 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day.

True “Time Management” is not a matter of the amount of time you have, it’s how you manage the time you’re given. Undoubtedly there are people and things in your life that you highly value. Understanding who and what they are is the key to addressing your supposed lack of time. When you clearly establish your values you are able to attach the things that you do to the things that are important to you. In this way, the things you do hold value and time is not an issue.

Here’s an exercise to make this happen. Although the following steps are simple, they will require some soul searching to accomplish. This also requires that you get absolutely clear on what you value most in life and what you do with your time. Okay, here it is:

First, write down everything you do in 24 hours. Everything. (ie, drink coffee, read newspaper, text, talk on phone, get dressed, pray, drive to work, eat lunch, check email, work on project, watch TV, etc)

Next, write down 5 things you value most in life. Think BIG- relationships, faith, work, health, people etc.

Now compare your list of your 5 top values to your daily activities.   Do your daily activities support the things you value?


Give the above exercise a try and see how much better you feel about the 24 hours you are given each day. Here are a few extra ideas for time management:

• Do you have multiple big projects? Pick your top 3. Do the hardest one first. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to accomplish it and move on to the next one.

• Ask for help. You don’t have to be a lone ranger. Ask a friend to help you on a project and in return you can help her with something on her list.

• Tell someone what you’re doing and ask to be held accountable.

• Take time to relax. Take a break in between projects. Breathe deeply from you abdomen. (not your chest!)

How did this go?  Were you able to cross something off your list?



Email me and let me know how it went.