Woman swinging on swing

Sample Program Material

I thought it might be helpful for you to read an excerpt from the program binder that you would receive as part of your 4-month program. This sample material will give you a better understanding of the work so that you can decide if this approach is a good fit for you.

Why You’ve Invested in this Program

You probably decided to invest in this program because you want to experience a change in how your body and your life looks and feels. Some people want to lose weight, others need to gain weight and still others don’t care as much about the weight, they just want to feel better. By upgrading the way you eat and how you care for yourself, you have tremendous potential to create positive changes in your life.

This Program is Unique

This program is unique in that it will address both the physical and emotional side of your health. Keep in mind that you want to find a way of eating and caring for yourself that’s satisfying so that you want to continue it. The goal with eating is to truly feel satisfied. Many people try diets that help them lose weight, but they are unsatisfying and their cravings are so intense that they eventually quit and then they revert to their old way of eating and put the weight, plus a couple extra pounds, right back on.

It’s important that you understand how this journey is different from what you may have done in the past. Many people have been on diets. I’d say one of the characteristics that most people associate with a diet is willpower. The downside to using willpower to improve your health is that willpower often has a negative, depriving quality to it. It’s pushy and demanding. And it’s not sustainable. Nobody stays on a diet for years. Instead they keep searching for a new way of eating that they hope will finally lead them to the change they’re seeking. I’m going to invite you to explore a sustainable, gentle and effective approach to improving your health that is grounded in love.  (Gentleman, stay with me, this applies to you too!).

Love, not Willpower

Self love, a transformational energy, will help you improve your health. Love is an ACTION. We tend to think of love as static, meaning “yes, I love myself or my partner.” But love is also an action that we decide to take based on how we feel. Consider a couple who says they love one another, but they don’t treat each other respectfully, they aren’t affectionate, and they rarely do anything for the other person. That’s not how love acts. But interesting enough, many people treat themselves this way.

For example, how many men and women, either don’t eat breakfast at all or if they do, they just grab something convenient and processed, they power through their morning running on coffee, they mindlessly eat their frozen lunch with a Diet Coke, and then grab some low-quality food from the vending machine around 3:00pm. When they get home from work they eat crackers and cheese standing up at the counter, then devour several large handfuls of chips, and finish with a couple of cookies. Then they feel guilty, throw themselves on the couch to watch some TV they don’t care about while their thoughts start to ruminate on beating themselves up for eating poorly yet again. They numb out in front of the TV, go to bed late only to be awakened by a loud, demanding alarm asking them to do it all again. This isn’t love. This is an unconscious, unkind way to treat yourself. Even if this isn’t your same scenario with food and self care, you probably can notice some patterns of neglect that you have in your daily life whether it’s lack of movement, not enough joy, too much work, etc.

If you feel a bit nervous about exploring unconditional self-love, you’re not alone. Many people find this a brand new concept and feel uncomfortable with it. I’ll help you understand and apply this concept at a pace that challenges you, but does not overwhelm you.

Eating Processed Foods is Not Love

When I suggest a person is going to improve their health by applying greater self-love, they get confused and think they can just eat that second piece of cheesecake or go through the drive-through window because that is being kind to themselves because they are feeling stressed and tired. Let me be VERY clear. It’s not love to eat food that damages your body. That’s actually abusive. Loving yourself does not mean eating processed foods and skipping the gym. It means getting in touch with what you’re truly craving and actually giving that to yourself. Not because you ‘should’ but because you’re choosing to care for yourself. You might truly be craving a delicious, whole foods meal, more connection with friends, you may desperately need more sleep or you may want to spend time exploring a creative activity you used to enjoy.

Everything is Food

I’m suggesting you begin to tune into what your body is truly craving. This takes time and patience. I will support you in creating this awareness. When you’re having an intense craving for sugar and processed foods, know that isn’t what your body actually wants, that is an addiction (studies show sugar is as addictive as heroine!). People often have intense cravings for sugar or processed foods because their body is not getting the quality food it needs and/or it is helping them to numb an uncomfortable feeling.

What I know is that the body was made to run on real food from nature. And when it doesn’t get these nutrients, health doesn’t go well. But let’s expand our definition of food in a way that helps you get what you need from this program. Here’s a concept that is probably new to you. EVERYTHING IS FOOD. What do I mean by that? We are ‘feeding ourselves’ with other things besides food. For example, if you have a passion in your life like knitting, hunting, sewing or competing in a sport, that is food. Meaning it’s feeding you with joy and satisfaction. We are meant to have lives that satisfy and fulfill us. Interesting concept, huh? When we aren’t getting what we need in life, often we’ll reach for something else to fill that void, such as food. Food wasn’t meant to fill the gaps in our lives by making us feel less bored or happier. That being said, it’s so important to get pleasure from your food and thoroughly enjoy it, but if that is your only pleasure in life, it’s going to be more difficult to change your habits with food. So in this program we will be talking about ways to ‘nourish’ yourself separate from food.

Why Do You Want to Be Healthier?

Many people use the word ‘should’ when they talk about eating and exercising. I invite you to approach this in a more self-satisfying way. Get in touch with WHY you want to be healthier. Is it because you want to have more energy for your kids or grandkids? Is it because you are passionate about your work and want to have more energy to invest in it? Is it because you feel like you’re not really living your life because you feel shame around your body? You’ll see in this first binder tab that I’m going to ask you to write why you want to invest your time and energy into improving your health. You don’t have to do this work. You get to do this work for reasons that mean something to you.

woman organized experience life magazine

Tangible Steps for Building a Healthier Life

This article by Experience Life Magazine is excellent! It offers many valuable resources on improving your health. And what you’ll notice is that health encompasses much more than eating well and exercising. The “Skills and Know-How” section is a great way to access where you are currently with many important aspects of your health.


Woman swinging on swing

Your Needs and Desires Matter

When someone starts a diet (which I don’t recommend), they focus on what they can’t have. That usually doesn’t feel very good.

I’d like to offer a unique, effective, loving approach to upgrading the way you eat. Start to notice what you want more of in your life and give yourself that. Sound dangerous? Well let me clarify something very important. I hear many stories of people ‘rewarding’ themselves with sugar and processed carbs because they ‘deserve it’. Interesting…..does that mean they deserve more pounds, more guilt, more stomach aches, etc.? There is nothing loving and kind about eating processed foods that don’t nourish you. It’s actually being really unkind to yourself. I’m not overlooking the 5 or 10 minutes of relief or joy people feel from eating a Snickers bar from the vending machine, but those feelings don’t last, do they?

I invite you to dig deeper, much deeper. Allow yourself to explore what you want more of in your life. I am so fortunate to work with some amazing clients who do the work necessary to change their relationship to food. These people start treating themselves kinder, exploring their long forgotten creative side, engaging in dating, allowing themselves more fun, rest and relaxation. And guess what? They start to eat more whole foods.

People often reach for food that doesn’t serve their health because there are unmet needs in their life. Some people want to deepen their spiritual practice or relationship with others, but they ignore these callings and eat sugar instead. I’ve been doing this work for 9 years and I see amazing results when people begin to create a life they enjoy and treat themselves with a deeper kindness and respect. The results are that they are able to change the way they eat without pain and deprivation. When they get more of what they need in life, they stop using food to stuff the uncomfortable feelings they have from not meeting their heart’s desires.

More discipline, self-hate and deprivation won’t create lasting results in your health. It instead creates a roller coaster of painful emotions and intense shame for continuing to gain the weight back.

Ask yourself, what are you truly craving in life?

Sugar Cravings

Food is Medicine

My Mom recently heard this interview on Minnesota Public Radio and called me to let me know I had to listen to it. I’m so glad I did. This podcast features Mark Hyman, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for functional medicine, James Gordon, executive director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine at the Georgetown Medical School, and Penny George, the board chair of the Penny George Institute Foundation which supports the work of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing in Minneapolis.

They discuss how real food, social connection, time in nature and connecting to something greater outside of yourself (spirituality) are key components in healing. It’s such a hopeful perspective on how these leaders in holistic health are making significant changes in how we get well.

I especially appreciated their shared perspective that an illness is an invitation and a doorway into a healthier, more satisfying life if we are open and willing to do our work in healing.

I invite you to download this today and be inspired by the positive change you can create in your life.



Sassy Spoon Restaurant

I came across a restaurant that serves naturally raised, local meat, whole fats AND everything they offer is gluten-free, so I had to share!

Sassy Spoon, located in the Nokomis neighborhood of Minneapolis, is a gem! My husband and I ate there yesterday and ordered the turkey meatballs and yucca patties….absolutely mouthwatering and delicious!! I believe real food comes from farms and gardens and this is exactly what the owner Tamara  is offering. And there is gluten free beer and wine to enjoy too.

And to take it a step further, this restaurant serves bone broth! It doesn’t get any healthier than that. I hope they get so busy they need to open additional locations. Healthy food can taste amazing and she’s making that happen!

Tell your friends and make time to visit this establishment. Show your support for healthy, local, real food!


WAP - farm image for blog

Proud Member of the Weston A. Price Foundation

I am a member of the Weston A. Price organization. I believe in their mission and value the scientific knowledge they offer on whole foods. I also appreciate that they aren’t funded by the government or any other private interest group.  I highly recommend subscribing to their quarterly journal that is packed with valuable information on health. And it’s available for just $40.00 a year. The one comment I would make on their mission is about dairy products. It’s been my experience that not everyone can digest dairy. I believe in the benefits of raw dairy, but it’s not for everyone. Below is an excerpt from their website to learn more about their mission.

“The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism. It supports a number of movements that contribute to this objective including accurate nutrition instruction, organic and biodynamic farming, pasture-feeding of livestock, community-supported farms, honest and informative labeling, prepared parenting and nurturing therapies. Specific goals include establishment of universal access to clean, certified raw milk and a ban on the use of soy formula for infants.

The Foundation seeks to establish a laboratory to test nutrient content of foods, particularly butter produced under various conditions; to conduct research into the “X Factor,” discovered by Dr. Price; and to determine the effects of traditional preparation methods on nutrient content and availability in whole foods.

The board and membership of the Weston A. Price Foundation stand united in the belief that modern technology should be harnessed as a servant to the wise and nurturing traditions of our ancestors rather than used as a force destructive to the environment and human health; and that science and knowledge can validate those traditions.

The Foundation’s quarterly journal, Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts, is dedicated to exploring the scientific validation of dietary, agricultural and medical traditions throughout the world. It features illuminating and thought-provoking articles on current scientific research; human diets; non-toxic agriculture; and holistic therapies. The journal also serves as a reference for sources of foods that have been conscientiously grown and processed.”

Young girl walking on grass field

It’s a Journey, not an Event

Within the “diet industry”, there are an abundance of promises for quick fixes and FAST results. However, these short periods of dietary changes seldom create long-term outcomes. After years in my practice, I recognize that releasing weight and becoming emotionally healthy go hand in hand.

When losing weight too quickly, you may find it difficult to keep up with the changes emotionally. Let me explain. Most people do not realize that processed food is usually their way to cope with uncomfortable emotions. For example, how often have you gone through a pint of ice cream or a favorite dessert when you were anxious or lonely? How often have you overeaten and then promised yourself that the next time, and the time after that, will be different?

Although these habits can be changed, they require a longer-term approach that involves layering changes over time at a pace that works for you AND addressing the emotional root causes of your relationship with food. For example, if you are bored with your career and desperately want to be in a relationship, it will be more challenging for you to sustainably change your relationship with food until your life becomes more satisfying. Processed food and sugar is readily available and one of the main reasons for consumption is to give you a momentary high and block uncomfortable feelings. When you are carrying an underlying, unpleasant emotion throughout the day, due to boredom or lack of a meaningful relationship, you will often turn to food to get you through these emotions. How often do you need processed food to help you cope?

What I’m suggesting is that you become aware of the emotions that are blocking you from nourishing yourself with whole foods and also realize that the process of health is a journey, not an event. Listening to your emotional needs and learning how they can sabotage even the most dedicated dieter requires bringing to your awareness why you do what you do. And often, when you create positive changes in your emotional wellbeing, it affects not only your weight, but your life. Keep in mind that sustainable change is not a one-time event, but a continual refining of the journey.

Everyone’s journey to wellness is unique. Depending on how you’ve cared for yourself over the years will determine how long your journey to wellness will take. Here are some significant reasons that cause your recovery to take longer:

• Trauma and/or a difficult childhood
• Long term pharmaceutical drug or alcohol use
• Heavy sugar consumption
• In some cases, a long-term vegetarian or vegan diet
• Ignoring your health for a long period of time
• Ignoring chronic food sensitivities
• Toxic relationships

You may wonder why negative emotions are so important to bring to your awareness and resolve for a weight loss program to be successful. Most people do not realize that emotions are stored in the body and need to be addressed for good overall health and wellbeing. For example, the ‘heavy emotions’ of deep-rooted shame, unworthiness and guilt, are stored in the body and can often perpetuate weight gain. It is imperative to look at the whole person when creating health, especially the emotional side.

Creating health takes time, but a commitment to growth brings with it some amazing results. For example, some of the people that I’ve counseled have discovered their artistic side, started new hobbies, developed new friendships, started new romantic relationships, changed jobs, grown closer to their partner and have grown and evolved in many ways.

Quick fixes do lull us all into a feeling of “this time will be different”, but when we look back at all of the ‘promises’ it just might be more satisfying to make a commitment to confront what is not working and try a sustainable approach. People often think that getting away from their beloved sugar or processed food is going to be miserable, but eating satisfying, delicious whole foods leads to having more energy, feeling comfortable in your body, freedom to move as you’d like, positive moods, better confidence and so much more. When will you start your journey?

addicted to food

Are You Addicted to Food?

If you’ve worked with me, you know that I have shared that some people cannot be ‘casual’ with sugar or other triggering foods.

In my practice I believe in transitioning into whole foods at a pace that works for the individual, while paying close attention to the emotions that surface as they upgrade their way of eating. That being said, some people find food as addictive as drugs and alcohol and they often need a different approach to heal.

Here’s a valuable article that shares 8 Common Symptoms that are typical of food addicts as well as the science behind the addiction.


Maple Sausage with Cinnamon Apples

This breakfast combination is the perfect marriage of savory and sweet and provides a tasty alternative for those with egg allergies. I enjoy these with Swiss chard sautéed in butter, a piece of buttered teff Thurobread brand bread, and fermented vegetables. I make seven patties (scant 1/3 cup each) and freeze half of the uncooked meat to bring out later in the week. I make the apples all at once and just store in the refrigerator for the week.

Approximately 7 servings


1 lb. ground pastured pork
2 tsps. chopped sage
2 tsps. maple syrup
¾ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
1/8 tsp. marjoram
3 apples, sliced thinly
2 TBS butter
½ tsp. cinnamon


1. Sauté the apples, cinnamon and butter in a skillet on low heat. You can add a little water to help them cook more quickly. Put a lid on the skillet to keep moist.

2. Place the pork, sage, maple syrup, salt, pepper, nutmeg, red pepper, and marjoram in a bowl and combine well. Form the mixture into patties 2-inches wide and ½- inch thick.

3. While the apples are cooking, heat another skillet over medium-high heat.

4. Fry the sausage patties in the skillet until cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Recipe compliments of Danielle Walker.


Braised Beef Short Ribs

I have a theme to my cooking lately . . . delicious, satisfying and QUICK to prepare! Here is my latest which is Braised Beef Short Ribs. It makes a large portion and contains plenty of marrow from the bones which is healing on so many levels.

Braised Beef Short Ribs (serves 8-10)

Ribs are a flavorful cut of meat with plenty of healthy, satisfying fat. Although you can bake them, I find the slow cooker to be more convenient. Ribs are not inexpensive, but when you figure you can get up to 10 servings from this delicious recipe, the cost per meal is very reasonable.


6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. sea salt

12 grass-fed beef short ribs

2 TBS coconut oil

6 carrots, chopped

6 celery ribs, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 turnips, peeled and chopped

2 bay leaves

2 cups red wine

2 cups beef stock


  1. Turn the slow cooker on high.
  2. Stir minced garlic, ground pepper and sea salt together. Then season the beef short ribs with the garlic, salt and pepper mixture.
  3. Heat coconut oil in a cast iron or stainless steel skillet. Sear seasoned ribs approximately one or two minutes on each side.
  4. Transfer the seared ribs to the slow cooker and add carrots, celery, onion, turnips, bay leaves, red wine and beef stock.
  5. Cook the ribs and vegetables on high for approximately 5 hours, or low for approximately 8 hours. The ribs are done when they fall off the bone and are very tender.


Recipe compliments of Jenny McGruther.