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  • 02/17/2017 9:57 AM | Anonymous

    Confessions from a Former Pharma Rep - The Interview

    Dustin: Vanessa, your story is amazing if I do say so myself. What was your childhood like? Were you raised on the Standard American Diet?

    Vanessa: My childhood was amazing and yet plagued with trauma at the same time. I had two of the best, most loving parents in the world, and still do. I never once doubted their love for me. However, I had an extremely abusive grandmother growing up who completely distorted the meaning of love.

    Both of my parents were entrepreneurs so my grandmother babysat me all the time. From the time I was born until 15 years of age, I endured physical, mental and emotional abuse, which would soon have a negative impact on my life going forward, and drastically change the relationship I had with food. In high school, I met a different side of me, the anorexic.

    I was raised on the Standard American Diet (SAD). My mom wasn’t able to breast feed me because she developed cysts in each breast which were blocking the milk ducts. This was very painful for my mom and the doctor gave her shots to dry up all her milk. (I can’t help but wonder if those cysts were a result of her predominately animal-based diet.)

    Mom tried five different baby formulas and said every one of them caused projectile vomiting. I was unable to digest any of them. Knowing what I know now about dairy, this all makes a ton of sense to me. My tiny body knew right away that stuff didn’t belong in my digestive tract! Mom ended up putting me on one part condensed milk with 5 parts water. My favorite thing to drink, however, was apple juice.

    Growing up, two of my most favorite things to eat were cheese (any kind) and chocolate! I suffered with severe constipation and painful earaches my entire childhood. Looking back now, I only ever got constipated after consumption of chocolate and cheese. My parents thought I was allergic to those two things. It wasn’t that I was allergic to cheese and chocolate, my body couldn’t handle the dairy. Today, we know for a fact that dairy is directly linked to constipation and ear infections in children.

    Dustin: Tell us about your career aspirations as a young college student. What type of program did you attend, and what degrees did you graduate with?

    Vanessa: I lost my beloved grandfather (my mom’s dad) when I was in the eighth grade. He died of heart disease just after he turned 60. He needed a heart transplant, and could have been put on the list. But Papa kept saying, “This is the heart God gave me when I was born, and this is the heart I am going to die with.” This devastated my mother and I. I was very close to my Papa. He was the most genuine, loving, caring man I knew. He tried so hard to take up for me when my grandmother would abuse me, but his heart was weak. I remember being terrified he’d have another heart attack just from that.

    The moment I lost my Papa to heart disease, I vowed to spend the rest of my life helping other people with heart disease. I’ve kept that vow to this very day.

    I started out as pre-med in college because I wanted to go to medical school for cardiology. I was so fascinated with the human body and its performance, I also got a degree in Sports Medicine and Exercise Physiology. In graduate school, I did several internships in cardiac rehab and fell in love with it. I got to help people, every day, feel better and enjoy life a little bit more. I got to interact with patients and build beautiful relationships. So I received a Master’s degree in Cardiovascular Physiology and was offered a position as Chief Cardiovascular Physiologist and Program Director at a Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center in New Orleans (Chalmette specifically). I was so excited about this position, I put medical school on hold and accepted the job. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life.

    Dustin: I see you were a former NFL cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints. What was that experience like, and how did it impact your life?

    Vanessa: I was a “Saintsation” (Saints NFL Cheerleader) for six years. Those were some of the best times of my life. I became a cheerleader shortly after accepting the position as Chief Cardiopulmonary Physiologist in New Orleans. One of my favorite things about being a cheerleader in the NFL was sharing the experience with my patients. They got the biggest kick out of telling people their ‘cardiac therapist’ (as they lovingly called me) was an NFL Cheerleader. And what made them smile made me smile. John, one of my heart patients, used to carry around a wallet-sized picture of me in my Saints uniform and tell everyone I was his girlfriend. Those people were my heart!

    During my time dancing in the NFL, I switched careers. Medicare changed reimbursement policies around cardiopulmonary rehab and the doctors that owned the clinic where I was working were forced to shut it down because they were losing money. This absolutely broke my heart because I couldn’t imagine a day without my patients, and soon, I was going to have to.

    I always say there is no such thing as coincidences in this world. It was during lunch one day in March 2004 that I was told the doctors were closing the clinic. Later that same day, at 4:30 pm, I received a phone call from the District Manager of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world requesting a phone interview. Apparently a position opened up in New Orleans, and a friend of mine who was already working in pharma recommended me for the job. Long story short, after four interviews and a trip to Dallas to meet the Regional Vice President, I was offered the job.

    I was determined to keep my two jobs, Saintsations and Pharma rep, completely separate. I didn’t want the two to mix. I never told any of the doctors I called on I was an NFL Cheerleader. I was so afraid of how they would perceive me...would they see me as a credible source of information, would they still treat me professionally? All these questions ran through my mind, and I decided to keep quiet about it.

    That didn’t last for very long because many doctors attend Saints games in the Superdome. And the news spread like wildfire because at the time, I was the only Saints Cheerleader who was also a pharmaceutical rep. Doctors who never talked to me before all of a sudden came running down the hallway towards the sample closet where I’d be stocking their shelves with drugs. I went from being just another pharma rep to local celebrity status over night. You may be thinking this was advantageous to my business, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. While it got me into most any office, getting the doctors to discuss medicine during football season was not an easy feat! Furthermore, I had to work that much harder to be viewed as a reputable source of information for my products. My number one priority when I got the position in pharmaceutical sales was to be seen as someone who provided value to all my customers; not just a pretty face. I did establish credibility and rapport, but it took a good year of going above and beyond to do so.

    As rewarding and fun as it was being a Saintsation, it was also extremely stressful. Every year I had to audition all over again. And...once you make the team, the stress doesn’t end there! We had to audition for every game, praying we didn’t get cut. The year I was Line Captain, I was the one responsible for making cuts every game. Had I known that I would have to cut my friends from games, I would have never taken that position. But all in all, they were some of the best years of my life!

    Dustin: You suffered from anorexia and bulimia before adopting a plant-based diet. How has your perception of food changed from that point in your life to now?

    Vanessa: From 1990 – 2006, I suffered predominately with anorexia and exercise bulimia with bouts of binging and purging. I had the worst relationship with food. Food was the enemy! And if I succumbed to food, I either had to get rid of it, or do another hour of cardio at the gym.

    I was an absolute SLAVE to calorie counting. I remember I used to have this notebook that was nothing but the addition and subtraction of calories on a daily basis. I would constantly add my intake of calories and subtract what I burned in the gym, on paper, at least a hundred times a day. And when I wasn’t writing it down, I was thinking about it in my head. I didn’t allow myself to go to bed unless I was in the negative. Once the final calorie count was made, I couldn’t eat anything. If I did, I had to go back to the gym to burn it off, or run up and down the outside stairwell if the gym was closed so people wouldn’t think I was crazy. It was sheer torture. With this disease also came perfectionism. Only A’s were acceptable. Getting a B on a test or exam was no different than failing in my mind. Somehow I managed to constantly add and subtract calories in my head, while studying enough to be a straight A student. I drove myself crazy. I was also on the dance team in college, so there was pressure to maintain a certain weight to stay on the team.

    My perception of food today couldn’t be more polar opposite than it was when I was sick. I have an amazing relationship with food. I know it is nourishment for my body, mind and soul. My body is strong and healthy today thanks to a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. I know of no better medicine than that of whole, plant- based foods. I don’t even look at calories today because I trust my body to let me know when it’s hungry and when it’s full. Furthermore, I tell my clients not to even worry about calories. I don’t want them to stress over something that really has zero scientific meaning. Our body’s needs change on a minute to minute basis. And ultimately, your body gets the final say-so as to how many calories it needs at any given moment in time. To say we can possibly know what that number is, on a minute to minute basis, is absolutely ludicrous. How fortunate are we, that we don’t even have to worry about counting calories, especially when consuming the “right” calories!

    Now that I’m fueling my body with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, I’m operating a much more efficient machine. I’m learning to trust my body’s cues. I never thought in a million years I’d be able to do that. To understand hunger and fullness after starving myself for so many years is truly a blessing. Hunger was the enemy, and I would do anything I could to repress it. Today, I embrace it, without fear. And that, to me, is nothing short of a miracle.

    Something else interesting happened when I switched to a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. What many people might not realize is, even if you’ve been in recovery for anorexia for ten years, you never fully stop having “anorexic thoughts”, or “fat thoughts.” For example, “Do you really want to eat that pizza Vanessa? You’re looking a little chunky today.” Or, “I can’t believe you ate that piece of pie. Good luck getting into your jeans tomorrow.” The thoughts do become less and less frequent, and the volume does get lower and lower, but they never fully go away. You just learn how to not identify with them anymore. We are not our thoughts, we are not our mind. We’re so much more, we are energy.

    After switching to a whole food, plant-based lifestyle, I noticed I stopped hearing the eating disorder thoughts! I’m not sure exactly when it happened, I just remember one day realizing it had been a while since I heard her (the anorexic). There really are no words to describe how peaceful it’s been not having to deal with those thoughts anymore! I won’t say they’re 100% gone, but pretty darn close. While I’m extremely science oriented, I really can’t explain this from a scientific standpoint. All I know is I’m truly grateful I discovered whole food, plant-based living!

    Dustin: You worked as a drug rep for 9 years. Did you believe that pills were once the only answer to everyone’s medical problems?

    Vanessa: As a drug rep, I whole-heartedly believed pills were the answer to medical problems. I had absolutely no idea just how important nutrition was and how big of a role it played in disease. The connection between diet and disease is a powerful one! I now realize that food is our best medicine, and that we can literally eat our way into or out of disease. I realize that the answer isn’t more pills, it’s less pills. I realize now that I was a part of the healthcare problem, not the solution. And that was unacceptable to me.

    I sold medication for just about every disease state you can think of, I was in the industry so long. I spent a lot of time in internal medicine, urology, cardiology and endocrinology. I sold meds for conditions like high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, type 2 diabetes, benign prostatic hyperplasia (just a fancy name for enlarged prostate), erectile dysfunction, impetigo (a bacterial skin infection common in kids), overactive bladder, genital herpes, an antibiotic for adults and pediatrics, and the list goes on. Most of these conditions can be fixed by consuming a whole food plant-based diet rather than pills that ALWAYS come with side effects. (I hesitate to use the word “side effect” because it really isn’t a side effect of the medication....it IS THE EFFECT OF THE MEDICATION.)

    Did the meds work?? Well, they did lower surrogate markers like HbA1C, PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. (A surrogate marker is an event or a laboratory value that researchers hope can serve as a reliable substitute for an actual disease. Blood cholesterol levels are surrogates, or substitutes, for heart disease.) But the question you always have to ask is, does this lowering of my numbers equate to better health outcomes? Is lowering my cholesterol going to reduce my heart attack rate directly? In other words, will this statin not only reduce my cholesterol, but will that lead to a reduction in fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular events? That’s the entire purpose of taking meds. It’s not to have pretty lab work, unless that pretty lab work means you’ve also improved your health outcomes and reduced your risk of having a major event. We must be mindful how easy it is to exaggerate their [surrogate markers] conclusions beyond the data. For more information on the deception of surrogate markers, please click the following link:


    I’ve seen people with beautiful blood work drop dead of a heart attack! Why? Because an improvement in surrogate markers (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc...) via drugs does not equate to improved outcomes. Drugs artificially lower numbers, but most do little to reduce your risk of having a heart attack, or dying from a heart attack. One of the many problems today is the FDA approves drugs simply on surrogate markers, not whether or not they actually lead to better health outcomes. That’s a major flaw in the system!

    Let me give you a concrete example, here is an excerpt from the FDA approved PI (Package Insert) for Lipitor (a cholesterol lowering medication):

    LIPITOR significantly reduced the rate of coronary events [either fatal coronary heart disease (46 events in the placebo group vs. 40 events in the LIPITOR group) or non-fatal MI (108 events in the placebo group vs. 60 events in the LIPITOR group)] with a relative risk reduction of 36% [(based on incidences of 1.9% for LIPITOR vs. 3.0% for placebo), p=0.0005 (see Figure 1)]. The risk reduction was consistent regardless of age, smoking status, obesity, or presence of renal dysfunction. The effect of LIPITOR was seen regardless of baseline LDL levels. Due to the small number of events, results for women were inconclusive.


    • The first sentence states that Lipitor significantly reduced the rate of FATAL coronary heart disease... 46 people in the placebo group died and 40 people in the lipitor group died. A better number but truly how significant?
    • It goes on to say...with a relative risk reduction of 36%. Relative risk reduction? Does this mean anything to you? No! You want to know the absolute risk reduction, that number means something! To get this number, you simply take 3.0% – 1.9% = 1.1%

    The absolute risk reduction for having a coronary event based on the data above is 1.1%! That’s it! So, this multibillion dollar medication causes severe liver damage and the side effects listed below, all for a 1.1% risk reduction of dying from a coronary event (and this isn’t even a comprehensive list of side effects): unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, confusion, memory problems, fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine, swelling, weight gain, urinating less than usual or not at all; increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss; nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); mild muscle pain diarrhea; or mild nausea.

    Pharmaceutical companies will often report findings in relative terms if the absolute findings were less than significant. It makes it look like the drug is performing better than it really is.

    Let’s use the example above...there was a 1.9% incidence rate in the lipitor group and a 3.0% incidence rate in the placebo group. 3.0% – 1.9% = 1.1%. How many doctors would prescribe a medication with so many side effects to only get a 1.1% risk reduction for a fatal cardiovascular event? Furthermore, would Lipitor have been the biggest blockbuster drug in the history of pharmaceuticals based on this data? I think not!!

    Pharma manipulates the data and reports their findings in relative terms. How do they get this number? Simple:

    • 3.0% – 1.9% = 1.1%, 1.1% 3.0% = 0.36 ...move the decimal to the right two times, and bam! You get a relative risk reduction of 36%! Looks a lot better than an absolute risk reduction of only 1.1% doesn’t it?!

    One has to ask themselves, is it really worth it? Do the risks outweigh the benefits?
    Disclaimer – in no way, shape or form am I suggesting you stop taking any of your medications. Always talk to your doctor first before discontinuing any medication or adjusting the dose of your medication.

    The point of me showing you this is to make you aware of some of big pharma’s tactics, and to demonstrate how pharmaceutical companies brainwash reps into thinking the drugs are really helping people. Our glossy sales aids only reflect the relative risk reduction because it looks a lot better. I believed what they said. I do remember questioning them one time about this. They did a really good job convincing me the absolute terms didn’t matter. I’m grateful to know better now.

    Dustin: What was it like to work for such a powerful industry? How did your feelings about this change over time?

    Vanessa: I’ll never forget the day I was hired after enduring three very stressful interviews at home. Then, I was flown to Dallas to interview with the Regional Vice President of Sales (RVP). It was pretty intimidating. So you have an understanding of how the company was structured, in the United States, every division (HIV, Vaccines, Cardiovascular/Metabolic/Urology, Respiratory, etc...) of the organization was divided into Regions. Each region comprised anywhere from three to five, or even six states. Within each state in the regions were “districts” (multiple districts existed in every major city for every division of the company). Each district had a “district manager” who reported to the Regional Vice President (RVP).

    The RVP in Dallas loved me and my passion for helping people, and I was chosen for the position. Very shortly thereafter, I was told to wait at home for the delivery of my new car! What?? A brand new, free car AND a gas card so I never had to pay for gas again! I was blown away! A couple days later, I received a huge delivery from UPS (I was still processing the free car!) This delivery was a brand new, free computer and printer for my home office, as well as a branded computer bag to carry my laptop and sales material. Holy moly...I’m making more money than I’ve ever made before, plus a free car, free gas, free computer and free printer!

    Then...another delivery came. It was a free mobile phone. The company took ownership of my cell phone number and began paying my phone bills every month! As if this wasn’t enough, I received free health insurance, money every month to put towards things like a gym membership, new tennis shoes, etc...and, any prescription medication I would ever be prescribed during my time as a pharmaceutical rep was FREE! It didn’t matter what the dose was, or how many pills were in the bottle, it was free! I was given a corporate credit card (I’d never owned a credit card before) and, I was told I was expected to spend the the entire budget each quarter or I wouldn’t get any more next quarter. This was a strange concept to me. I was able to sell just as much product as the other reps, if not more, while spending less company money, yet this was frowned upon.

    A few days later, if you guessed that I received another package in the mail, gold star for you! I’m now on a first name basis with the UPS guy! This time the delivery was a huge box, a little bit bigger than what a printer would come in. I felt bad for the UPS guy, I lived on the third floor of an apartment complex! He definitely got his workouts just on my deliveries! When I opened the box, it was full of text books, binders, and cassette tapes (yes, I’m telling my age now!). There was a syllabus included which provided me with the daily expectations of the material I had to get through. Now, I am a school nerd. I LOVE school, and I was a straight A student in Grad school, however the amount of material that I had to read and study on any given day was hardly possible. I woke up at 6 am every day, began my studies, had my mom or friends bring lunch and dinner to me because I couldn’t spare the time to go pick it up for myself. I studied till 2 am, went to bed, and started the process all over again the next day. This went on for four weeks. At the end of each week, I was flown to Dallas where I was tested on all the material I had studied the previous week. You couldn’t score any lower than an 85 on any test or you were fired on the spot...don’t pass go, don’t collect $200. Terminated. As you can probably imagine, this was very nerve-racking! This went on for four weeks and four trips to Dallas. Somewhere in the middle of these four weeks, I had a mental and emotional breakdown on the floor of my living room buried in books and covered in my notes. I realized that I had to pick and choose the material I thought would be most relevant and included on the test because it simply wasn’t possible to get through all the material in a given day. So that’s what I did. I prayed the entire way to Dallas that I picked the right information to commit to memory.

    I made it past the four weeks of “home-study”! I know what you’re thinking...I must be so relieved now that it was over. Not so much. When I returned to New Orleans from my last trip to Dallas, there was a letter in my mailbox from the company telling me I literally had two days to pack a bag with enough clothes for four weeks, because I was heading to Philadelphia for “in-house” training. Two days to pack?? Away from home for four weeks?? Holy moly, this train ride was just getting started! Thankfully, I was still riding the high from making 100’s on all my tests during home-study. That gave me just enough energy to prepare for the next phase.

    Two days later, I was on a plane headed to Philly for the next four weeks of my life. I was told we weren’t allowed to go home, and truth be told, there was NO WAY I could’ve gone home and still passed all my exams. I literally studied every spare moment I had, after class, in between classes, in the bathroom (sorry, too much information probably) and on weekends. I had no life. My life was pharma. The same rules that applied to home-study regarding grades also applied to in-house training. If you made anything less than an 85 on an exam, you were fired on the spot. Only this time, you were escorted out of the headquarters building by security. I remember some mornings, on my walk to the elevator, I’d look down in the cold lobby (as I did every morning) and see four or five of my classmates standing on the pristine, white marble floor, next to all their luggage waiting to be escorted out by security. I felt really sad for my classmates. Now they were out of a job after surviving four weeks of home-study and however long in Philly all because they made an 83 on their exam.

    After a lot of blood, sweat and tears (okay, maybe not so much the blood part), I graduated from in-house training. In my brain were scripts I memorized verbatim, about the products I was selling. These were the selling messages the company expected you to deliver to doctors, exactly how they wrote it in the scripture. There were also scripts I memorized to overcome any objection a doctor could possibly throw at me as to why he wouldn’t prescribe my product for his patients. I had glossy sales aids to show doctors and they triggered my memory of the scripts imprinted on my brain.

    I was told, and I don’t know how accurate this number is, but it sounds about right...by the time they finished training just one rep, they had already spent $300,000 (this was back in 2004)! So, needless to say and at least in my mind, I was onto something BIG! I was about to make a HUGE difference in the world and do something really important. Why else would they be spending so much money on me, plus the free car, free gas, free phone, free healthcare, and the list goes on. I, Vanessa, was one of the chosen ones...after eight weeks of studying, 4 in home study and 4 at headquarters, and a ton of stress, I got to go out and change lives for the better. People were going to live longer, more vibrant lives because of the work I did every day. At least that’s what was drilled into my brain over those eight weeks of training. I came to believe it! And because I care about people and want nothing more than to help people, I was good at what I did. REALLY good!

    We would have Regional Meetings once or twice a year. They usually lasted for three days, and we spent those days sharpening our selling skills and product knowledge. On the last day, the entire region would gather in one large room, and they’d bring four or five people onto the stage. Each person was purportedly taking one of the drugs we promoted. They each took turns giving testimonies that were profound, touching and nothing short of inspiring. One had more energy to play with her grandchildren, a father was able to walk his daughter down the aisle, another one was able to attend their kid’s baseball games without having to worry about running to the bathroom every 5 minutes, and so on and so on. By the time they were done,

    I was amped up to get back home and sell as much of my product as possible because I wanted EVERYONE to feel just like the people on the stage felt!! To this day, I wonder if they were real patients, or just people paid by pharma to pull at our heart-strings. I suppose I’ll never know.

    Pharma had it down to a fine science. They spent a lot of money researching the best system in which to convince us we were doing the right thing by people. Most reps today truly, whole-heartedly believe that they are changing lives by what they do every day, for the better. In my mind, and in the minds of many other reps, we were only there to do good by people via delivering samples and being a valuable resource of information for doctors. So the next time you see a rep in your doctor’s office, be angry at the industry rather than their pawns because most of those pawns have been completely brainwashed.

    The thought of food as medicine never once crossed my mind until I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives. We live in a pill society where taking pills has become the norm, whether that be pharmaceuticals, supplements or nutraceuticals. It was certainly the norm in my mind. I used to see patients in waiting rooms at doctors offices with shoe boxes loaded with medication. I cringe at that thought today because it’s a shoe box of poison, slowly killing them, mentally, physically and emotionally.

    I became very angry at the entire industry once I woke up from my unconscious state, because I realized how many lies were told to me by pharma, and thus how many lies I ended up telling my costumers. (Of course, I didn’t know they were lies at the time.) People were not getting better or reversing their disease from all the pills they were taking. In fact, in many instances, they were getting worse. We know today that medical error is the number three killer, just behind heart disease and cancer! Medical error comprises drug to drug interactions, drugs not dosed correctly, hospital acquired infections and procedures that did not go as planned. But the bulk of that is drug related. We live in a disease-care system, not a healthcare system. If drugs were meant to reverse disease, I wouldn’t have been making big bonus checks every quarter. My bonus checks were based on prescription refills. As long as people were refilling their prescriptions, I was making money.

    Today, my number one goal is to help people reverse their disease via whole food, plant-based nutrition and discontinue their meds, many of which I convinced doctors to put them on in the first place!

    Dustin: After watching Forks Over Knives you vowed to not only change your own life by adopting a plant-based diet, but also to help others do the same. How do you do this today?

    Vanessa: I just recently rented my own space located in Thrive! Chiropractic & Wellness 6705-B 38th Ave North, St. Petersburg, FL where I can see clients and teach health and wellness classes. I also have clients all over the U.S. that I see virtually.

    I don’t sell supplements, nutraceuticals, or any kind of pills for that matter. I believe people’s paychecks are much better spent in the produce section of the supermarket or at their local Farmer’s Market. There are a lot of gimmicks out there and if you ask me, the supplement industry is behaving no differently than the pharmaceutical industry, only they are far less regulated. They can claim their product will give you wings to fly because they’re not monitored by the FDA. I can understand the desire for a magic pill to fix all our ailments. Who wouldn’t want that? But there is no such thing. The magic pill is a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.

    I’m a certified Health and Nutrition Coach, so what I offer my clients is much more than just nutritional counseling. Here’s what Nutriception®, my health coaching business, is all about:

    • It’s the difference between falling off the wagon and FINALLY getting the results you want!
    • It’s the difference between feeling alone and feeling SUPPORTED. Part cheerleader, part tough love coach.
    • A master of HABIT CHANGE and a student of life.
    • Hold your hand through healing WITHOUT making you feel small. Help you find what’s right for your unique body.
    • Help you FEED the opportunities and STARVE the problems.
    • Slow you down to the speed of life.
    • The difference between I WANT to do it & I DID it!
    • Someone who STRETCHES you to achieve goals you never dreamed were possible. The best GIFT you could ever give your mind, body & soul.
    • Solve your problems by loosening their grip.
    • Willing to say to you what MOST people won’t.
    • Cause you to see LIFE through fresh eyes.
    • Supports you to have the body you want & the HEALTHY LIFESTYLE that supports it. 
    • Makes it easy to FOLOW-THROUGH with what you already know you should be doing. 
    • Helps you BUILD healthy HABITS that align with how you want to feel every day.
    • Revolutionary LEADER who grows and procreates WELL-BEING.

    Dustin: What kind of additional training or certifications do you have in nutrition and/or health coaching?

    Vanessa: After spending 20 years in the medical industry, 12 of those years in medical sales, I left corporate America to pursue a career in Health and Nutrition Coaching. I attended every Plant-based conference I knew about. I had the opportunity to meet some of my personal heroes...T. Colin Campbell, PhD, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Pam Popper, Dr. Michael Gregor, Dr. Neal Barnard, and many more. I became obsessed with learning all I could learn from these people. I read all of their books, and I researched constantly. The more I learned, the more I realized I just couldn’t get enough.

    I enrolled in Dr. Pam Popper’s course titled Food over Medicine. After I graduated from her program, I enrolled in eCornell and T. Colin Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies to get my certificate in Plant-based Nutrition. I’m currently in cooking school hosted by Forks Over Knives and Rouxbe Cube. I’m a Certified Health Coach by the Health Coach Institute, and this year I will complete my Holistic MBA Program with Health Coach Institute.

    I’ll always take as many courses as time permits because I want to be the best of the best for my clients, and I absolutely love learning!

    Dustin: If you could make one sweeping change to this world to make it a better place, what would it be? 

    Vanessa: That’s a loaded question! Where do I even begin!

    I’d change the face of healthcare so that it would truly be HEALTHcare, not disease-care. Doctors would be focused on treating the underlying causes of disease rather than the symptoms of disease. Food would be our medicine, not pills.

    I’d do away with the lobbyists from the meat industry, the dairy industry, the food industry, and the pharmaceutical industry in government who are largely impacting the way this country is run, and it has nothing to do with the health of the public. I’d create a resource-based world rather than complete reliance on the monetary system. Money = debt. Henry Ford once said, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and money system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

    We have everything we need given to us from our amazing planet. WE are the master minds of technology, not the government. The government needs US, we don’t need them! We don’t need a monetary system in a resource based world where there is abundance for all. I’m a big believer in Jacque Fresco’s Venus Project. Will I ever live to see that materialize? Probably not. But I’ll never stop praying for that type of world.

    For more information on The Venus Project, click the link below...

    I’d end the suffering and abuse of all animals so that they can experience freedom and peace again. I don’t believe anything was put on this earth “for” us. I don’t believe we have the right to exhaust our planet’s finite resources nor do we have the right to use animals any way we choose. We, humans, are not entitled to anything. We just got lucky enough to be born on such an amazing planet, which is being destroyed every day by our own doing.

    I’d replenish our rain forests and redirect the 1.67 billion tons of grain used to raise cattle to feed the hungry so that there would not be another hungry mouth on the planet.

    I’d educate the world about the power of whole food, plant-based living so that Westernized diseases would be a thing of the past.

    Dustin: Thank you so much Vanessa for sharing your story and being such an amazing inspiration to everyone out there. Your love for humanity and this world shines bright for all to see. Don’t ever stop being the person you are. This movement toward healthier living through a plant-based lifestyle needs your passion and expertise in the worst way. 

  • 02/16/2017 12:48 PM | Les Cole, MD

    Do you have PMS?

    Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) affects up to 75% of women. 20 – 40% of women have seen a medical doctor (often Ob-Gyn) for PMS symptoms. But if you have seen an alternative practitioner, these numbers are probably low

    The symptoms of PMS are many and varied, generally begin/occur between 2 weeks before your period to a few days after and include:

    ·         Abdominal bloating

    ·         Acne

    ·         Angry outbursts

    ·         Anxiety

    ·         Appetite changes

    ·         Asthma attacks

    ·         Avoidance of social activities

    ·         Backache

    ·         Bladder irritation

    ·         Bleeding gums

    ·         Breast swelling & tenderness

    ·         Bruising

    ·         Clumsiness

    ·         Confusion

    ·         Conjunctivitis

    ·         Constipation

    ·         Cramps

    ·         Cravings - salt/sweet

    ·         Crying spells

    ·         Decreased hearing

    ·         Decreased productivity

    ·         Decreased sex drive

    ·         Depression

    ·         Distractibility

    ·         Dizziness

    ·         Drowsiness

    ·         Eye pain

    ·         Facial swelling

    ·         Fatigue

    ·         Fear of going out alone

    ·         Fear of losing control

    ·         Finger swelling

    ·         Food sensitivity

    ·         Forgetfulness

    ·         Aches & pains

    ·         Headache

    ·         Herpetic outbreak

    ·         Hives or rash

    ·         Hot flashes

    ·         Alcohol sensitivity

    ·         Sensitivity to light & noise

    ·         Inefficiency

    ·         Indecision

    ·         Insomnia

    ·         Irritability

    ·         Joint pains

    ·         Leg cramps

    ·         Leg swelling

    ·         Mood swings

    ·         Nausea

    ·         Palpitations

    ·         Panic Attacks

    ·         Poor coordination

    ·         Poor judgment

    ·         Poor memory

    ·         Poor vision

    ·         Restlessness

    ·         Ringing in ears

    ·         Runny nose

    ·         Seizures

    ·         Sinusitis

    ·         Sore throat

    ·         Spots in vision

    ·         Suspiciousness

    ·         Tearfulness

    ·         Tension

    ·         Tingling in hands & feet

    ·         Tremors

    ·         Visual changes

    ·         Vomiting

    ·         Weight gain

    If you have any of these symptoms during this time period, you likely have PMS.

    Many times the following PMS symptoms are diagnosed as Psychological or Psychiatric problems and are treated with Psychiatric medication like anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications.

    ·         Anxiety disorder

    ·         Depression

    ·         Seizure disorder

    ·         Panic attacks

    ·         Agoraphobia

    ·         Eating disorders

    ·         Various personality disorders

    If you have PMS, the most likely cause is Estrogen Dominance. This is an imbalance between Estrogen and Progesterone in your cycle. This can be easily measured with a salivary hormone test. Once these 2 hormones are rebalanced, the majority of symptoms improve. This corrects the underlying problem and helps to prevent you from having increased risk for endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, infertility, miscarriages, birth control pill side effects and breast cancer in the future.

    How do you know if you have PMDD? Is it the same as PMS, just worse?

    Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) affects approximately 5% to 8% of cycling women. There are still many medical practitioners that don’t believe PMDD exists. If you have PMDD and sought help, you may have been told this, or worse, that you are depressed or have a mental health problem. Most practitioners, who acknowledge the existence of PMDD, believe this to be the same process as PMS, just worse – like PMS2 or PMS on steroids. It is not the same condition. It is a different condition altogether.

    If you have severe “Psychological” (Emotional) symptoms such as

    ·         Depression

    ·         Anxiety

    ·         Irritability

    ·         Feeling overwhelmed or out of control

    ·         Mood Swings

    ·         Sensitivity to rejection

    ·         Social withdrawal

    ·         Sudden sadness or tearfulness

    ·         Seizure disorder

    ·         Panic attacks

    ·         Agoraphobia

    ·         Eating disorders

    ·         Various personality disorders

    ·         Bipolar disorder

    ·         Obsessive Compulsive disorder

    that are only present or worse during the 2nd half of your cycle, whether you have any or no physical symptoms, then you likely have PMDD. Because of the cyclic nature of PMDD – it may especially be mistaken for Bipolar disease. If you have PMDD you may have wound up in the Psychiatrist’s, Psychologist’s or Therapist’s office as either the your first stop or through referral. Whether diagnosed as PMDD or a “Psychiatric disorder”, it is likely you have been treated with anti-depressants, anti-anxiety or other psychiatric medications and found inadequate benifit.

    PMDD is not a Psychiatric disorder. It is a hormone imbalance different from the Estrogen Dominance that causes PMS. This imbalance is more pronounced in the second half of the cycle and can cause profound symptoms. Estrogen dominance is not the cause so rebalancing Estrogen and Progesterone won’t help here. If you have PMDD and someone puts you on Progesterone your symptoms won’t improve and may actually worsen. Most Ob-Gyns will prescribe birth control pills, however, there is only one indicated for treatment of PMDD but most often is of little use and some birth control pills, shots, creams and patches may actually make things worse.

    At times the same cause of the imbalance can cause imbalances in other hormones leading to acne, sometimes severe.

    And, if you have PMDD, as well, as other typical symptoms of PMS, such as bloating, heavy and/or painful periods, painful or swollen breasts, etc. you could also have estrogen dominance (PMS) that needs correcting along with the proper treatment for your PMDD.

    At St. Petersburg Health & Wellness, we get to the underlying problems. Call us at 727-202-6807 to get better answers.

    Les Cole, MD practices Functional, Anti-Aging, Integrative & Preventive Medicine and is certified by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine in Functional, Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine and by the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine. Delene Cole, LMFT is a Marriage and Family & Integrative Mental Health Therapist with additional certifications in Hypnosis, Internal Family systems Therapy and Soul Collage. To learn more about PMS & PMDD and other topics to improve your Health and Wellness, visit stpetehw.com, Like us on Facebook, or call St. Petersburg Health & Wellness for an appointment 727-202-6807.

  • 02/08/2017 3:29 PM | Carla Clayton

    Are You Eating These Carbs?

    Did you know that an astonishing 52 percent of all Americans, think it's easier to do their own income taxes than to figure out how to eat healthier?
    eating healthier
    And ultimately eating healthier is the key to long term weight control.

    It's really no wonder we don't have any idea what we're supposed to eat nowadays, there's just SO much contradictory recommendations.

    Eat low carbs. Eat no carbs .
    Eat ALL carbs. . . .
    Who could possibly make sense of all these competing prescriptions?

    If you're confused, don't feel bad. I felt the same way.

    The experts recommend you choose carbs with a glycemic level under 80. These foods can give your body enough all-day energy without causing an insulin surge that may store excess body fat.
    Here's just a few examples of healthy carbs to choose:
    examples of healthy carbs
    1. Fruits:
    Apples, cherries, grapefruits, pears, peaches, strawberries, plums, oranges.

    2. Beans & Veggies:
    Black beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, chickpeas, cucumbers, , green peas, lentils, lettuce, lima beans, mushrooms, onions, peppers, snow peas, spinach, sweet potatoes.

    3. Grains and cereals:
    Oatmeal, and wild rice.
    Here's one thing I recommend. Don't try to make too many changes all at once or you'll be more likely to give up.

    Small changes over time add up! By the way if you found this info helpful, I recommend you download a copy of my FREE ebook,  7 Secrets to Losing Weight.

    To a happier you,

    Carla Clayton
    Certified Health Coach

  • 11/18/2016 12:53 AM | Michael Whalen MA, LMHC

    Wellbeing Is A Skill – Mindfulness Training Teaches

    As a holistic practitioner, I believe that health and wellbeing are the result of the inter-relationship of our mind-body-spirit, our relationship to one another, our fellow creatures and planet Earth. I further believe that we should take responsibility for the health of our mind, as well as our body and spirit.

    The exciting news is that we now know that we have the power to train our minds and to shape our brains for wellbeing. We are no longer trapped in the circumstances or our lives. We can develop resilience, outlook, attention and generosity; the essential elements of wellbeing. Wellbeing is a trainable skill and mindfulness training develops all the elements of wellbeing.

    Personal And Scientific

    I have been fortunate to have personally experienced the benefits of mindfulness from 20 years of practice. I have seen the benefits of mindfulness unfold for clients in my counseling practice, and, of course, as a mindfulness trainer. But, there have also been thousands of scientific studies showing the powerful effects of mindfulness on the wellbeing of those who learn and practice it.  MRI’s of the brains of practitioners show profound positive changes in areas responsible for emotional regulation, focus, compassion, and memory.

    Functional, real time MRIs show that when we do mindfulness training exercises the areas of the brain responsible for compassion light up. Research also shows that mindfulness training leads to greater emotional and social intelligence - skills very important in today’s relational workplaces where advancement is 63% related to social ability and only 23% related to technical skill.  Mindfulness practitioners show increases in creativity and problem solving. And mindfulness training counters age related brain shrinking, adding gray matter to the brain.

    Time Is Precious – Focus Is An Asset

    Philosophers tell us that our most precious commodity is Time. We travel the pathways of our life on a journey through time. Because our experiences are transient and disappear from one fleeting moment to the next, it makes sense that the more we pay attention to the present moment the greater the sense of fullness in our lives. Mindfulness increases the bandwidth of our experience.

    Does time seem to speed by? Perhaps that is because you are missing the moments as you fly by on the auto-pilot of constant thinking. Being mindful offers a way to focus and catch more moments. In our chatter-cluttered culture, focus becomes a great personal asset.

    Present Moment Awareness

    The more aware of the present moment we become, the more opportunities we have to explore the amazing gift of Life on Earth. When we create opportunities to listen to and understand the connections between our body sensations, thoughts and emotions, we become more aware of our truest needs for wellbeing. The body tells the truth; the mind is less reliable. Mindfulness training helps us to tune into and listen to the body’s subtle signals.

     When we attune to life in the moment we are better able to discern what others are feeling, too. We  discover moments of gratitude. We take in the encompassing beauty of Nature. Every moment that we are alive, measured by each breath we take, is an opportunity to see things anew, because each moment is a never-before, never-again moment. Mindfulness Training helps us to be present, awake and aware.

    Traveling on Auto-Pilot – What’s Missing?

    When we travel through life on auto-pilot, skimming over the surface of our lives, we occupy and spend most of our time in our head, thinking. We miss out on a lot. We eat automatically, not seeing, smelling or tasting the food we put in our mouths and bodies. The amazing color of an orange: its elegant fragrance; its texture grazing our lips; the bursting of its sun-ripened flavor in our mouth, on our tongue; the sense of nourishment from our sated body – all of that goes missing. But we can change how we encounter the world through mindfulness practice, which, through specific exercises, teaches us to attend to the sensations, images, feelings and thoughts that make up our experience.

    Awaken to Heart and Meaning

    It is our nature to have busy minds. But, if we lose the ability to focus in this distraction-driven culture, we lose some of our connection with life. We lose connection with what has Heart and Meaning to us because what the heart feels can’t break through the clatter; because what has Meaning needs to be attended to in order to be recognized. Mindfulness helps us tune in to our heart and the feelings of our joy positioning system which guide us toward wellbeing.

    Learning to pay attention to the moment is what mindfulness is all about. Being awake and aware to every moment of our life, the good and the bad, enriches our experience. But how do manage that?

    Calm  Clarity  Creativity  Compassion  Empowerment

    Mindfulness Training or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructors use mind-training exercises (a specific kind of meditation), body movement, and teaching of concepts to enable the mind to learn to be present. In a mindfulness class you learn several different methods to become mindful. You set aside time each week where you can come to learn, practice and just be. The group helps support you as you develop a regular mindfulness practice.

    As you learn to focus the mind you access calm, creativity, clarity and compassion. Your physical health improves because you are managing stress, enhancing your immune system, getting better sleep. Memory is enhanced as brain cells in the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center, grow.

    While the science is very impressive, perhaps the most impactful thing about mindfulness training is the self-awareness that comes from present moment awareness. Many people become aware of things they have been doing automatically for years that don’t contribute to their happiness and wellbeing. They begin to see that they have choices. They learn to take back control of their life. They discover that their power lies in awareness of the moment and choosing mindfully, rather than reacting.

    Take A Mindful Breath

    So, I invite you try this exercise. Take a mindful breath right now. Pay attention to the in-breath… and the out-breath… just notice. As you put your attention on the breath your mind takes a rest from all the chatter. It centers on the breath in this moment. Yes, the mind is busy, but see if you can follow the breath for the entire duration of an in-breath and the entire duration of the an out-breath. Repeat. If you get distracted, which is natural, simply return your focus to the breath. Breathe with mindful awareness for a little while and simply notice what happens in your body, your mind, your spirit.

    This single exercise won’t get you the full benefits of what a regular mindfulness practice brings, a regular state more open to calm, focus and clarity. But you will become present and aware in this moment. It might not bring a great insight or carry you to the heights of ecstasy, that is not what mindfulness is about, but you will be aware that you are alive in this moment. That we get to be here for this breath, and all that this moment offers, is a joy. It is something to be grateful for during the Holidays, and every mindful moment.

  • 11/16/2016 7:44 PM | Anthony J. Adams DDS PA

    In my first year of dental school, I read a book, “The Mouth: a microscope of the body”. Now, many years later, scientific study after scientific study affirms that one cannot ignore the systemic relationship between oral health and whole body health. The inverse is also true. One cannot optimize whole body health while ignoring the oral cavity or the dental materials used to treat the mouth.

    I Increasingly work with physicians who like me appreciate the benefit the patient gets when dentistry and medicine work together. Some physicians will not treat certain conditions until certain dental materials are removed from the patient’s oral cavity. I have had local patients and patients from other countries come to our practice due to their concern over how the removal is accomplished. Public awareness of the oral-systemic connection and specific protocols is increasing. We have had a significant new patient demand over the last two years. The healthy arts evolve. The relationship between medicine and dentistry is definitely evolving.

    There are conditions, which may be related to the offgassing of mercury fillings. In this article, I will only write of a few.  

    Chronic fatigue can be exacerbated when the hemoglobin’s 4 binding sites which normally carry the oxygen molecule to the cell, are fully or partially blocked by mercury molecule for the life of the red blood cell (normally 120 days), thus depriving the cell of the needed oxygen.

    Indigestion can be exacerbated when mercury molecules decrease the function and numbers of good bacteria thus decreasing digestion process. Poorly digested foods become attacked by the immune system thus producing a sensitivity or allergic response. Poorly digested proteins, rot (putrefication) producing more toxins. Also poorly digested foods pass thru the intestinal wall then are picked up by the lymphatic system. This is called Leaky Gut Syndrome Hypothyroid condition causes gum disease and increase in tooth decay. Bruxism (tooth grinding) is often associated with hypothyroid disease. Hypothyroid disease is very difficult to treat with mercury toxicity present. 

    Tis the season for reflection, gratitude and thanksgiving. We should all be thankful. That includes all that has been accomplished and what remains to be accomplished. I separate this into two categories. The first is family and holiday. The second is finance and business. This year, like it or not, we have all been part of a historic election process. It has been challenging to all.

    Tis the Season………..

    To be grateful and give thanks for your blessings

    To finish important things that matter.

    To let go of that which you cannot change.

    To embrace all the blessings coming.

    To use your dental insurance now or loose it.

    To use your dental insurance because in the current political climate we do not know what will be.

    To fix your mouth before it gets worse or more expensive.

    To schedule your needs before others fill the available schedule.

    Tis the season to take advantage of a great non-threatening, no cost to you, comprehensive exam and necessary X-rays. If you are looking for an exceptional dental office willing to take the time and give attention to you, then you should call us now.   

    Healthy Body Dental - Anthony J Adams DDS 

    25877 US Highway 19 N Clearwater, FL  33763

    727-799-3123   www.HealthyBodyDental.com 

  • 11/15/2016 2:17 PM | Lynne Wadsworth

    Does this sound familiar? You hear about this wonderful diet that will guarantee weight-loss, so you try it, only to gain even more weight back once you’ve lost it? Well, here’s why “diets” don’t work….

    Don’t feel bad. You are not alone. Just because a diet works for one person, does not mean that it will work for you. Diets are destined to fail, and it should come as no surprise. After all, the word “die” is within the word “diet”. That should be your first sign. You want to live your life.

    Here are the top 5 reasons that diets are doomed to fail:

    1. People choose to use a diet to achieve a short-term goal. That goal is usually to lose weight before an upcoming event. Diets are perceived from the onset as a temporary action used to obtain an immediate result. Once that result is achieved, the diet is stopped and old eating habits return.

    2. The yo-yo diet or weight cycling. As mentioned, many people go on diets, lose weight, and then gain weight, often more than they lost. And, for some reason, the cycle is repeated. To quote Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This repeated failure can have negative effects on a person’s mental health and could result in an eating disorder.

    3. Many diets are based on the premise of counting calories using a formula meant for the general population as opposed to the individual. Everybody processes calories differently. This formula supports that caloric expenditure exceeds caloric intake and will therefore promote weight loss. It has become clear that this premise is no longer true. Every calorie is not created equal. Calories consumed from spinach or sweet potatoes are much more nutrient-dense than calories consumed from a processed, low-fat muffin. In addition, if you were to consume too few calories, your body goes into survival mode, slowing down the metabolism. You run the risk of your metabolism remaining sluggish once you start consuming more calories.

    4. Before even starting a diet, people believe that they will be depriving themselves of foods they love. Entering into a program with this mindset clearly does not support success. This constant experience of deprivation will bring on food cravings that will be difficult to ignore.

    5. This brings me to the last reason why diets do not work. They do not address food cravings and how to handle them. Everyone has cravings. Having the tools to help navigate through those cravings and reach for healthy food alternatives will help to eliminate them.

    Unfortunately for many individuals, diets only offer a quick fix to a larger problem. Learning which foods nourish the body and which don’t is the best approach to eating in order to obtain weight-loss and optimal health. This was a hard lesson for me to learn. I tried all the latest fad diets and was a first class yo-yo dieter for years. Now I have learned how to change my lifestyle with a lifestyle-diet, it has revolutionized my life.

    Have a healthy and happy  holiday season,

    Lynne Wadsworth, CHHC

    Holistic Health & Wellness, LLC

    Click here for my "Free Mini Reboot Guide" with proven tips to help you scale down your eating so you can slim down your body.

    "Free Mini Reboot Guide"
    Proven tips to help you scale down your eating so you can slim down your body.

  • 11/13/2016 2:15 PM | Les Cole, MD

    Our Paleolithic ancestor’s genes grew up with the world, when we were dependent on what we could hunt or gather for food. At that time there wasn’t growing or shipping of food. They relied on animals, roots, leaves and during one season of the year fruit and vegetables that developed from the blossoms of plants. These blossoming fruit and vegetables became ripe and therefore sweet with sugar during the season before it got cold and plant growth and animal populations diminished, thus depleting the food chain. How long the cold season lasted and thus how the depleted food chain became determined the survival of not just individual Paleoliths but also the species as a whole. For this reason Paleoliths whose metabolism could convert this rich source of sugar into a storage form of energy had the greatest chance for survival during the cold season.

    So what would the characteristics of these Paleolithic winter survivors be that gave raise to modern men & women? First, they would need a way to easily detect sweet food. They would also need a strong drive (craving) to eat it in the brief time it was available. And they would have the ability to convert any extra sugar (not fulfilling immediate energy needs) to fat for storage. This would insulate them against the cold and provide a constant energy source when the food chain was lean or even temporarily non-existent.

    Our current genetic makeup is surprisingly similar to our Paleolithic ancestors, meaning our bodies still work just like theirs did. Taste buds for sweet are located on the front of our tongues, just as theirs would have been making it easy to lick potential food to identify sweet foods for survival purposes. As for a strong drive to eat sweet, studies show that if you do a functional MRI (fMRI) on a person and give them cocaine, their addiction center in their brain lights up. If you give a person sugar and do an fMRI, their addiction center lights up the same or more as the person on cocaine. That’s right; sugar is more addictive than cocaine. And so our Paleolithic ancestors also would have been – for survival purposes – addicted to sweets.

    And, finally looking at the ability to convert sugar to fat and store fat, we look at 2 fat producing mechanisms in modern humans. First, Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas in response to glucose. Glucose is found in many sugars and sweeteners and is what starch is made of. Insulin forces glucose into muscle and other cells for energy but excess glucose is sent to the liver to be converted to fat. Insulin then forces fat into fat cells and prevents it from leaving fat cells to be burned. So Paleoliths would not burn fat as long as sugary and starchy foods were available keeping the fat stores in place for winter. Secondly, fructose (the sugar found in fruit) though it doesn’t stimulate insulin, it increases the enzymes in the liver that make fat from both fructose and glucose. Both of these mechanisms improved the survival of our Paleolithic ancestors when sweet foods were available just before the cold season.

    But even though we have the same genetic makeup and metabolism that are wired for survival, we no longer live in the same conditions. We now have extra sugar (high-fructose corn syrup and others) added to many of our foods, except for whole foods. Fruit is available year round, not just before the cold season. Food is always plentiful; there is no “lean” season. Processed carbs, which are mostly starch (glucose molecules strung together), is quickly digested to sugar (glucose) in our mouths. We have a food industry that is preying on our sugar addiction. Just recently we learned that Sugar Lobbyists paid Harvard researchers (years ago) to make sugar “look healthy”. The list could go on and on.

    It is interesting that we still increase our intake of food, especially sweets in the fall (holiday time). This is tradition based on the celebration of food & sweet bounty that, while great to celebrate, may no longer be healthy for many. It is also interesting that during the winter months the burning of fat (weight loss) is the national obsession – the number 1 New Year’s resolution – also an attempt to replicate our Paleolithic ancestor’s behavior.

    Importantly, fat does not stimulate insulin, so fat does not make you fat unless you eat it with sugar or with or in processed carbs. This is the reason low carb, higher fat diets have been shown to be the most effective for weight loss. When you eliminate sugar, sweeteners & processed carbs and add healthy fats to your diet, you not only feel better but also have decreased inflammation and can live a healthier, longer life. Join us at our office Tuesday, December 13, 6-7:30 p.m. for a Free Seminar “Enjoy Your Holidays and Maintain a Healthy Weight – The Science of Insulin & Holiday Snacks & Desert Recipes” where Dr. Shaily Shah, DO, ABAARM and Dr. Les Cole, MD, ABAARM will discuss Control Your Insulin; Contorl Your Weight & Health to “Live Well” & Carrie Gerard, RDN will provide you with healthy recipes.

  • 11/07/2016 4:57 PM | Nichole Alonso

    We all have heard how important fitness is for our health and well-being, but why is it so hard to have fitness success? Many of us feel disappointed in our ability to maintain an exercise routine, or maybe we do keep a routine and aren’t seeing the results we hope to achieve. Let’s check out some key factors of fitness success… (for this article “fitness success” will refer to physical well-being and reaching physical goals you set)

    • 1.       Accountability

    It is easy to tell yourself that you will get up tomorrow and start a whole new healthy life….and then the morning happens and something sneaks in to derail your plans. When you are really ready to make healthy changes, set up a way to be accountable. This could be a reliable and supportive friend, personal trainer, or a supportive fitness group that will be excited to see you each day. It is best when you have someone to check in with regularly and will not led you fade away on your fitness plans.

    • 2.       Choose Your Level

    There are some fancy new trends in exercise that you might be tempted to try, but be careful, these are not for every level. Be sure to consult with a fitness expert before you start an exercise program. The professionals will assess your health background, exercise experience and goals to help you match the right program for you. The danger with trying a program that is too difficult is that you may feel overwhelmed and not want to return. More important is that you could get injured if you start with something too advanced. Injury hinders your ability to exercise and reach your goals.

    • 3.       Set Realistic Goals

    Is your goal to be back at your high school weight? Look like a supermodel? Chances are those are not healthy goals for you. Again, a fitness professional can help you set goals that are within your body’s limits as well as your lifestyle capabilities. Goals should have an appropriate time frame and reflect what is most important to you in your journey to optimal health. We find that our clients see the best results when they exercise at least 3 times a week. That is a great initial goal.

    • 4.       Measure Your Results in Various Ways

    Most people measure their progress in pounds. Weight is sometimes misleading. As you exercise and change your diet, your body composition changes. Some other methods may be body fat percentage, inches and photos. More than just physical changes, the first results our clients notice are increased energy, better mood, improved self-esteem, better quality of life and daily functions become easier. Keep a journal of your mood and energy to become aware of the immediate progress.

    • 5.       Stretch

    Many people bypass stretching. Stretching should be a part of every workout and possibly have a whole day to itself. Stretch after your workout when your muscles are warm and hold the stretch for at least 1 minute. This allows for better range of motion and injury prevention.

    • 6.       Rest

    Some of us get so excited and we forget to take some time to rest. Your body and mind need some time to recover from your workouts. A lot of the muscle growth occurs during rest. Your rest day could include that day devoted to stretching. Along with time off from exercise, make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep.

    • 7.       Vary Your Exercises

    Most people have the goal of losing weight and they tend to go hard on the cardio. Cardiovascular training is great for your heart, but there are some more efficient ways to lose weight and get other great results. Strength training using your own body weight or other resistance can add muscle, which leads to more fat burning. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn, even when you are not exercising. You will also strengthen bones, improve posture and prevent injuries. Change the routine often, possibly incorporating many types of exercise throughout the week. Your body and mind will thank you for the variety. Consult with the professionals to get an idea of what is best for you.

    • 8.       Hydrate and Supplement Properly

    We know this, right? Muscles need hydration. We all could probably focus on more water intake and when you increase exercise, you need even more. Water helps with weight loss, body function, energy and so much more. Add lemon juice to give you an extra boost in energy, metabolism and detoxifying your body. Also check your vitamins and other supplements. Many of us are unable to eat enough nutrients, so supplementing with protein shakes and vitamins can keep you feeling strong and healthy.

    • 9.       Proper Form

    And again, consult a fitness professional to make sure you have the best form possible in your exercise. As mentioned before, injury can prevent progress in many ways. The exercise videos are fun, but they cannot check your form. Continuous exercise with improper form can lead to injury, most commonly knee pain from improper squats. Proper form also ensures that you are targeting the right muscles groups. Get the most out of your workout by doing it correctly from the start.

    • 10.   HAVE FUN!

    Exercise does not have to be torturous! As personal trainers, of course we love exercise, but you can too! Find something that you genuinely enjoy doing. There are so many options like dance, hiking, kayaking, weight lifting, etc. If the exercise isn’t exciting enough, at least find a fun group of people that make the time enjoyable and the exercise will be fun as well. If you enjoy what you are doing, you are much more likely to continue.

    These are just a few important keys to success. Every person’s journey is unique and should be customized with care. We would like to extend an offer of a complimentary consult to help you get started, or improve your exercise program. Contact us by phone or email to set an appointment!

    -Custom Movement Fitness Team

    Nic and Mandi




  • 11/02/2016 8:11 AM | Barry Foster

    The Coach’s Corner by: Barry Foster, RCC, CRC, CPBA

    Hello, and welcome back to the Coach’s Corner where we will continue to explore tips, strategies, and practical advice to assist and guide you in growing personally, professionally, and building/improving your business/practice.

    As we discussed in my last Coach’s Corner I’ll be sharing with you the ABC’s of personal, professional, and business development, over the next few months.

    “A” is for ATTITUDE. A positive attitude! A magnetic attitude! A MOJO-filled attitude!!

    “B” is for BELIEFS. An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists even if it hasn’t been

     seen or proven to exist - faith, trust, reliance, confidence

    “C” is for CULTURE. Your personal habits, routines, customs. A way of life.

    Today we’ll focus on “Attitude”. A positive attitude! A magnetic attitude! A MOJO-filled attitude!!

    “Mojo” is a term I use a lot. A real lot. No, constantly! Some folks know me as the “MOJO Man”.

    If you’re not familiar with the term, “MOJO”, it’s the positive spirit, the energy, the burning enthusiasm we have within us that everyone can see and feel when they meet us. People want to be around someone with “MOJO”. They’re fun, optimistic, always have a “can-do” attitude, energetic, and have a real love and zest for life. You know the type of person I mean.

    For some, the flame of their MOJO may have been turned down for a while -- for any number of reasons. Getting that flame turned back up takes some action. For a few it will be hard, but you have to do the hard stuff first. Get rid of those negative thoughts, turn them around to a positive: “we really need the rain”, “I’m grateful for ….”, or an affirmation, “I am strong and will get through this”. The human mind cannot hold a positive thought and negative thought simultaneously, so choose a positive one!

    Get active, get around positive people. Give a “thank you” to positive thoughts. Start each day with some motivational sayings or uplifting videos. Go to www.simpletruths.com where you’ll find all sorts of inspirational material. Make it a positive habit!

    Begin thinking positive thoughts and doing positive actions. You’ll feel your spirit ignite! The flame within will begin to burn bright and hot! You’ll get your MOJO on and you’ll attract and inspire others with your MOJO. Nothing can stop you.

    Until next month, stay positive, confident, strong, and get your MOJO on … and then some!



  • 09/10/2016 3:58 PM | Deserie Valloreo (Administrator)

    Hello and welcome to the Coaches Corner! Where we will explore tips, strategies, and practical advice to assist and guide you in growing personally, professionally, and GROW your business/practice.

    This column will always be about your “MOJO”!! “MOJO” is the positive attitude one has burning inside them that others can feel and want around them! People want to do business with people who have their “MOJO ON”!! So a good way to “engage” clients is to be positively attractive. High energy, enthusiastic, a big warm, welcoming smile, and a friendly, will-do mindset, are the spices people want and are looking for in a service and/or product provider.

    We must be 100% ... “and then some”, on the inside, before we can engage and be 100% ... “and then some”, on the outside.

    So “how do we get to be 100% on the inside”?? We must come to grips and be aware of what prevents us from being all we can be, (100% ... and then some). Talk to your friends, family members, co-workers, current customers and clients, anyone you know, and ask them: “can you feel my MOJO”? “How positively attractive am I to you”? You get the idea. Get some feedback and input from those you know, love, and trust. They’ll tell you like it is, if you’ve got your MOJO ON!! If they seem a bit hesitant to give you that input, what are they trying to tell you?

    During the upcoming months I’ll be sharing with you the A, B, C’s, of personal, professional, and business development. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please email me at bfoster@everyoneneedsacoach.com give me a day or two to answer and I’ll give you my thoughts.

    Until then, stay positive, confident, strong, and get your “MOJO ON” ... and then some!!


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