Me in a Nutshell


Healthy Habit Rescue Coach



As a teenager I felt a passion to help people live happier, more productive lives. I was intrigued by human behavior and what makes them tick. My heart went out to those who suffered tragedy and trauma in their lives, and I wanted to find ways to help them feel better about themselves, become unstuck and obtain the happiness they deserve.  Becoming a psychologist sounded like the perfect tool to help.


I enjoyed taking the classes, but my life’s direction changed and I didn’t finish my degree. Instead, I became educated in human nature working as a bartender, hairdresser and confidant.  I was always happy with my work, but felt I was missing the mark; I felt I had more to offer myself and the world.


My interest in health and wellness began in my early 20’s.  It wouldn’t be unusual to find me with my nose buried in a natural health book or magazine. My favorite pass-time was reading about herbs, essential oils, and the effects of nutrients and supplements for ultimate health. Shortly following the conception of my son, I was introduced to an herb company promoting health through use of Chinese herbs at a local health fair. I was fascinated with the Chinese philosophy of healing and wellness. Healing was based on the principle of the body being broken into 5 different systems.  So if one part wasn’t working well, the entire system was nourished, not just the part that was failing. For example, I was feeling the rather common nausea that accompanies the first trimester of pregnancy. My best friend became an herbal combination that nourished the entire digestive system. This combination really helped me feel better and be able to return to my old routine of weight lifting and cardio in the gym, as well as hold down a full time job. I had more energy and was excited to share the herb combinations and philosophy with others. I found the company’s manufacturing process of the herbs was done to keep the nutrients of the plants intact.  It was easy to become part of the multi-level marketing company because I believed in the products. Seeing others success with the products awakened my passion to help people heal.


In my late 20’s, I took an opportunity to re-enter college and take some courses in nutrition and a child psychology class.  Helping people as a nutritionist sounded appealing to me. Learning about the human body fascinated me. So, I found my classes interesting and informative.  Some of the biology was a little intense requiring memorization, but I really enjoyed learning the information.  I had already become versed in the area of fats, carbohydrates and proteins and their relation to diet and weight management.  I first became interested in diet once engaged in a weight lifting program to add muscle to my physique. I was able to gain 10 lbs of muscle through diet and exercise.  One confusing problem for me in my nutrition classes was the guidelines and standards the government set for the publics’ health and diet. Now I know, there are compromises in the way the nutritional information was interpreted.  For more about  the RDA and USDA My Plate guidelines, click here.


The Chinese herb company I worked with was struggling to get approval to use Stevia as a sweetener.  The company ended up having to package the liquid stevia as part of a facial mask product.  It was sold with clay, you could add the sweetener to make an at home facial mask.  But most who purchased the mask just used the liquid as a sugar substitute.  We just couldn’t formally market it as a sweetener.  I witnessed how a helpful and safe product was being sabotaged by by the governments involvement with the success of the fake sugar industry.  This made the approval for Stevia, a long drawn out process.


Unfortunately, the same agency responsible for the sales and production of products produced by industrial farming is also responsible for setting the guidelines for diet and health.  These standards are what forms government food programs.  It is the basis of what is taught in nutrition school for dieticians and nutritionists.  For these conflicting reasons, my desire to become a nutritionist/dietician diminished.  I felt there were pieces of the puzzle missing for living a happy, healthy life.


In the last 5 years, I began realizing how food dramatically affects our health. Changes in how our crops and animals are raised and produced are having a direct effect on the health of the nation. Practices in the food industry are developed for big profits, rather than producing a nutritious version that safely nourishes people. Over the years my ideas about health and diet have evolved. I used to always look to supplements for supporting health. Swallowing vitamins pills, herbal tinctures, and essential oils was the focus to help build my body’s immunity and to reach balance. At the time, I didn’t spend much time thinking how my choices of foods acted as a foundation for my immunity.  After all, I ate a healthy diet, I thought.


I am grateful to have crossed paths with an alternative health practitioner and an integrative nutritionist/naturopathic Doctor who changed some of the ways I viewed my diet. It was helpful for my daughter, as well. I was beginning to understand how foods may be ok or healthy for one, but can cause inflammation for another.  A famous Latin proverb claims, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” Author is unknown, but was found in Latin writings tracing back to the 1500’s. This saying could refer to likes and dislikes as well as whether a food is healthy for one, but unhealthy for another.  So, bio-individuality must come into play when considering a healthy diet.


The road to feel better, and help my family and friends served to both educate and fuel my desire to help people become reconnected with themselves. I want to create an aware of how food and lifestyle choices affect personal health and happiness. My hope is to empower and encourage people to take control of their health. You are not helpless in your quest for health and healing. The body and mind have an uncanny ability to establish equilibrium if we feed it the right fuel.


As a community we are beginning to become aware of the connections of food choices and our health.  But what about managing our thoughts and stress levels?  Positive thoughts and stress management is an important component of living a healthy and happy life.


I was diagnosed over 20 years ago with IBS. I was undergoing a sizeable amount of stress at the time.  I was experiencing uncomfortable sometimes painful, cramping, fatigue, gas, and constipation alternating with diarrhea.  I was prescribed the usual muscle relaxer and told to use a fiber replacement, such as Metamucil.  With two small children, I knew I wasn’t going to function effectively as a mom, taking muscle relaxers. So, I just went on with my life, trying to add in more fiber, forgoing the use of muscle relaxers.  The stressful period subsided, the stomach cramps mostly subsided.  Had I known back then what I know now, I would have looked to my foods to see what might be the underlying culprit.  I would have also incorporated breathing techniques, self-massage, and tapping to help manage my stress.


It was probably not for another 10 years before I discovered most of my maladies stemmed from my love of dairy.  Why didn’t someone suggest this to me before?  I craved and ate cheese, frequently.  Finally, when I was tired of feeling tired and having digestive issues, headaches, gas and bloating I visited an integrative practitioner to get some direction and feel better.  She applied energy testing to see what systems were coming up weak and looked food allergies and intolerance.  When the results were exposed, she said, ”I’m sorry to tell you, dairy is not your friend”. I was overwhelmed with the idea of a diet free from dairy, but wanted to feel better.  So, I cut the dairy out.  Within a couple of days, my energy levels increased, my belly flattened out, headaches disappeared. Gas and bloating had diminished.  Probiotics and a medical rice based food, helped heal my gut from the inflammatory damage from eating cheese for so long. My digestion thanked me for it! The digestive system needs a chance to rebuild the good flora and heal the villi before the digestive track will be strengthen and fight immunity.


Today you might catch me sneaking a little cheese, but every time I recognize the uncomfortable symptoms as a connection to a problem digesting dairy.  So, did I think it was going to be impossible to remove dairy from my diet?  Absolutely!  Clearer thinking and elevated energy motivated me to remain dairy-free.


At first, I crowded out the dairy with alternative vegan cheeses. I found a few that I liked. Avocado replaced cheese in recipes.  Milk was substituted with rice or almond milk.  I was even successful in making my own version of Fettuccine Alfredo, the whole family enjoyed. Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten one of my old favorites.


The dairy alternatives were satiating in flavor, but as I became practiced at reading ingredient labels I wondered how healthy the alternatives actually were. I decided to start finding other ways to satisfy my cheese cravings.


Surprisingly, the more I added herbs and avocados to my meals the less I had the cravings.  Adding healthy you enjoy eating helps crowd out what foods are not working for your unique chemistry.


Several years later, I found that gluten intake was at the heart of health problems for my daughter.  With the direction of an integrative nutritionist, we had a blood test performed, followed by a food elimination diet.  Wow, that was a fiasco!  My daughter had a blood test to determine what foods could be at the bottom of her symptoms. But the blood test was only the beginning.  Next, foods scoring high in antibodies were tested to further determine whether the food needs to be removed from the diet. In order to figure this out, you need to strictly eliminate all foods scoring high for antibodies for 2 weeks- 30 days.  Then add one food into the diet, one by one, watching for a reaction.  Most reactions will occur within the first couple of hours.  How do you feel directly following eating the food? How do you feel several hours later?  If you experience a reaction, you will know that food doesn’t work for you, and you need to avoid that food.  If a reaction does occur, wait three days or until you fully recover from the reaction.  You will want to strictly eliminate this food from your diet, particularly while testing. Continue to test each food in the same manner.  If there is no reaction, skip a day and test the next food.


For the first 30 days, so many of the foods we commonly ate came up with antibodies and needed to be avoided until challenged with the food test. Wheat, butter, eggs, corn, soy, dairy and some vegetables we frequently ate, like zucchini showed positive for antibodies and had to be eliminated until we could test them for sure.


The first time I went to the grocery store following the initiation of the blood test results, it literally took me 4 hours to get out of the store.  I had to read ingredient labels for any product I bought.  We were pretty much out of luck when looking at processed foods, even gluten free for they contained one or more of the ingredients we needed to avoid.  So, I attempted to create homemade varieties that eliminated any of the abstained foods.  Let me tell you, I had some disastrous results in the kitchen with some recipes.  We experimented with gluten free grains to replace wheat.  We chose to eat a gluten free diet. We read, labels, cooked from scratch, and searched for tasty alternatives for breads and pastas to replace gluten based versions. Some tasted like cardboard, others tasted good.  Eventually, we found replacements that work.  These days, I avoid processed foods because it says it is gluten free does not make it healthy.  I will have the occasional sandwich with gluten free whole grain bread.  On occasion, I will enjoy a a little gluten, but it is an infrequent occurrence, because I like the way I feel better without it.


It’s not hard to see how my experiences and interests led me to becoming a Certified Health Coach. My education through Integrative Nutrition (IIN) was an integral part of my own healing journey. I personally experienced the power behind having a health coach to motivate, encourage and reach individual health and life goals.


My goal is to empower you to know you are not helpless in your search for a better quality of life.  You have choices that will have a huge impact on your quality of life.  I encourage you to find ways to debunk your stress, rewire the negative talk in your head, and challenge you to pay attention to how your body reacts to the foods you eat and lifestyle choices.  When you become more connected to your body, you will discover how some foods, even healthy ones, can be causing digestive distress and creating inflammation in your body. This is your first key to healing your, digestive  system, increasing immunity and reducing the toxic load wrong food choices can create.  As you begin crowding out foods that don’t work for you, you might experience side effects like clearer thinking, clearer skin, more energy, a stronger immune system, and consistently stable moods.


Need support to help you along your healing journey?  It would be my honor to work with you in a 6 week, 3 month and 6 month program.  Call to schedule your first 50 minute session.  We can conduct sessions in person or over the phone.  I look forward to being part of your path to a healthier and happier future!


Thanks for listening!


Denise Wilson   702-526-2114