Here you’ll find online workouts, mind body exercises, detox tools, recipes, articles and inspiration. Whether you’re just starting your natural health journey, or if you’ve been headed that way for a while, this site is intended to inspire, motivate, and guide you along your path toward improved health and happiness.
My Fitness Journey
I became interested in strength training my junior year of College, but my fitness journey really gained steam during my senior internship with the University of Iowa Strength and Conditioning Department. It was during my internship that I learned about functional training, the kind that focuses on balance, a strong core, and multi-joint lifts that mimic everyday movements. After graduating, I worked as the Personal Training Director at a local health club where I developed a unique style of training that wasn’t found at your typical fitness facility. Instead of using machines, I used balance boards, stability balls, and free weights to help my clients develop functional strength and a strong core.
In 2003 I started my own fitness studio in Des Moines, IA. With the introduction of my new mind body workout Kraline (kruh-lean) in 2008, and the addition of an already established yoga community in 2009, what started as purely fitness, has evolved into a holistic philosophy of training, eating, and living.
My Food Journey
I started to really think about food and how it relates to health when my dad was diagnosed with diabetes. I’d been hooked on sugar all of my life, and had never considered the impact it was having on my mental and physical health. At that time it was fat that was portrayed as the enemy. Even in my college years I recall being at a health fair where they encouraged Tootsie Rolls as a healthy snack. Tootsie Rolls are fat free, so they must be healthy, right?
My dad started on the Atkins diet to keep his blood sugar under control. To learn more about it, I read Dr. Atkin’s New Diet Revolution. The basic philosophy made sense and while its not what I believe about food today, it opened my eyes to what I was putting in my body. Fat is not the enemy. Processed sugar and refined carbohydrates that wreak havoc on our health.
A few years later I read Dr. Weil’s book 8 weeks to Optimum Health. His book gave me a more holistic view of food and life in general.
Over the next 10 years, with much research, I slowly adjusted my diet to be more healthful and more natural. I first cut out dairy, then wheat, then soy. After just a few days of being 100 percent gluten, dairy, and soy free my stomach felt better than it ever had. I realized that the bloated feeling I had experienced all of my life wasn’t normal. A natural consequence of cutting these three things out of my diet was a dramatic decrease in the foods that typically impact blood sugar. I had studied how spikes in blood sugar affect our brains, but it wasn’t until experimenting on myself that I really started to understand it. I had experienced mild anxiety and depression for most of my life, but without sugar and processed carbohydrates these feelings of anxiousness and sadness no longer consumed me. I still get sad, and I still get anxious, but it’s typically caused by life circumstances rather than an imbalance in my brain caused by sugar.
My next big health breakthrough was juicing.
Because of my role in the industry, I am approached often about selling supplements. When someone came to me with a fruit juice supplement I considered it, but I don’t recommend anything without a thorough investigation. I started by simply reading the nutrition information on the bottle. The juice had been pasteurized, leaving the nutritional content far inferior to fresh juice. It also contained preservatives. That got me thinking. Instead of spending $30 per bottle for this pasteurized preserved juice, why wouldn’t I just buy a juicer and start making my own fresh juice?
All of these experiences guided me in a gradual shift to a more natural diet, but nothing got me there faster than a very special lady named Sheree Clark. Sheree is a holistic nutrition counselor as well as a raw vegan chef. She owns a business called Fork in the Road. When I met Sheree I had one raw cookbook and I was juicing maybe a couple of times per week. Now I have over 15 raw cookbooks and I juice at least once a day.
Today, my diet consists mostly of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and pasture raised meat and eggs. I try to eat about 75% of my food raw, and I strive to get lots of healthy vegetable fats like avocado, coconut oil, and olive oil. Most days I completely exclude sugar, grains and processed foods.
As I learn more about the power of food I am inspired to do more. Part of my journey has been to accept that I’m not perfect every day. Each time I skip a workout, neglect to juice, or eat something I know I shouldn’t, my body and my mind notice. The key is to listen to your body, let go of the guilt and start again. Tomorrow is another day.