Woman swinging on swing

If you’ve ever wondered why you want to eat well, but continue to get derailed, let me explain. I built my practice around my passion of supporting people who are stuck in this exact rut. We certainly aren’t lacking enough “how to” information in our culture. So clearly it’s not a lack of information around nutrition, even though I know it can be confusing at times for some people to understand which foods are best for their unique body.

There’s something more to the equation of healthy eating…our emotions. You may have noticed that when you’re exhausted and stressed from a day’s work, you probably aren’t very interested in a salad. Or when you have an argument with your partner, you might not want to snack on an apple. People don’t tend to choose healthy foods when they’re feeling angry, hurt or frustrated. What’s interesting to notice is how processed foods like potato chips, mac & cheese and cookies shift your attention away from the uncomfortable feeling. Most people are afraid to feel their emotions so they distract themselves with habits such as overworking, over scheduling, over achieving or getting mindlessly involved in emotional drama, Facebook or their phone.

Not only is our quality of food negatively impacted by our emotions, but so is the quantity of food we consume. Eating too much food can dampen your current negative emotion, only to leave you with a new disappointing emotion such as shame or guilt. Again, people often eat too much so they don’t have to feel their emotions or subtle beliefs about themselves or be present with their current life situation. Other people may avoid emotions in other ways such as restricting food and not allowing themselves to eat when they’re hungry. Most people aren’t aware of their emotional avoidance until they start to observe their patterns. I believe most people eat unhealthy not because they don’t know how to eat healthy, but because they are avoiding negative thoughts/feelings/beliefs/fears or traumas based in the past. Science has recently discovered these painful memories and beliefs are stored in the body.

Emotional pain and negative self beliefs get formed when we experience difficult circumstances or events which can be called trauma. Everyone has experienced trauma to varying degrees. Trauma is when something difficult happens to you and it doesn’t get fully expressed or emotionally resolved so it’s stored in the body. It can be an ongoing situation or a one-time event. Let me share a couple of examples of what trauma can look like so you can recognize it in your own life. It does not need to feel like a significant event to you for the negative energy to be stored in your body.

  • An ongoing experience of parents being distracted and not present with you
  • Kids making fun of you at school
  • Transitions of any kind such as changing schools, getting laid off or fired, moving to a new city/state/country
  • Getting divorced or parents divorcing
  • Growing up in poverty or experiencing financial insecurity
  • Being criticized
  • A parent making negative comments about you either overtly or subtly
  • Feeling like you don’t fit in with your peers
  • Not getting your emotional or physical needs met
  • Not being able to fully express your feelings in childhood or adulthood
  • Any physical, sexual or emotional abuse
  • Making a mistake and getting in trouble for it (or not)
  • Experiencing a break up with a partner
  • Losing a friend
  • Witnessing violence
  • Physical pain or injury
  • Surgery
  • Losing a loved one
  • Being separated from someone you love

I could list many more examples, but hopefully you understand it doesn’t have to be something significant for a subtle, negative thought, feeling, belief or fear to form and adversely impact your nervous system. It’s important to address past trauma so it becomes easier to have a healthy relationship with yourself and food. When you begin to experience more ease, you can choose foods that feel right for your body versus eating (or not eating) to cover up uncomfortable emotions like shame, fear or anger. Eating well should ideally feel easy and natural.

I am passionate about helping men and women find a way off of the roller coaster ride of dieting and restricting. That’s why I’m very excited to offer Quantum Neurological Reset Therapy in my practice. Science shows that when difficult things happen in our life, negative energy patterns can be stored in the nervous system and brain, creating fear, anxiety, sadness and the inability to move forward. QNRT is a science-based modality for bringing balance to the nervous system and brain.

QNRT resets are an option to request with any session you schedule with me. I’ve been delighted with the positive results I’ve seen in myself and in my clients who have utilized this technique. It has made it easier for them to apply the changes I recommend for healthy eating and living. Something interesting to note is when you experience traumatic stress in your life, it covers up your gifts such as freely expressing love, having a witty sense of humor or passionately pursuing a creative talent.

I hope this article gives you hope that you can change the way you eat and care for yourself. The reason you haven’t been able to eat well is not because you lack willpower or discipline, it may be because you have emotional pain stored in your body that you’ve been working hard to avoid. QNRT is an effective, easy and results-oriented way to support your health. You will still need to follow through on the action steps I recommend to improve your health, but it won’t feel as challenging. QNRT, along with the support of a therapist and holistic nutrition counselor, is a powerful combination to help you heal, grow and evolve your body, mind and spirit.

child crying

One of the reasons I chose to become a therapist was because I knew there was an intimate link between trauma and illness. Please know that ‘trauma’ has a wide spectrum, meaning it could be a parent not being attentive to their child’s needs or it could be subtle verbal abuse or violent physical abuse. It’s a situation or experience that interrupts your sense of worthiness and trust in the world. This article will help you connect the dots with how trauma and illness are connected.

I notice in my practice that people often feed and care for themselves based on how they feel about themselves. For example, if a person does not feel worthy, they probably are not going to prioritize their self care.

Know that when you work with me you get the whole package…you get not only excellent knowledge and support around whole foods eating but also tender, gentle care around your past traumas and emotional challenges that keep you stuck in a rut and not able to improve your health.

Trauma can be healed. Getting support can be a first step in living a more joy-filled, healthy life.


Childhood trauma leads to lifelong chronic illness — so why isn’t the medical community helping patients?


Woman swinging on swing

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

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

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

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.



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!


Girl walking on grass field

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?

Food Addiction

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.


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.