War on Average

encouraging each other not to be satisfied with mediocre

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Finding Health and Passion in a Busy Life

CropperBy Christine Cropper


In June of 2013, I found myself as a busy mom (of three small children, one a newborn) who had been on medication for my acid reflux disease for the past 12 years. I needed energy, needed to lose weight from my having my third baby, and I knew that I wanted better health for our family!

Another mom from preschool was so kind to help me in the drop-off line each morning. We became fast friends and in the process she shared with me how she had found energy, had lost weight and began creating a healthy life for her family. The company she partnered with was Shaklee, a company that I found to have history, integrity, and high quality products that I could trust.

I started with my own health, using what we call the Vitalizing Plan, one meal replacement per day and my Vitalizer strip of vitamins. I had so much healing by just using this kit that I was eager to learn more about natural solutions to our entire family’s health. After using the kit for almost three months, I had lost 15 lbs, my cholesterol had gone down almost 30 points, and my acid reflux disease was gone! I came off Prilosec and I wanted to learn how to help my kids. My then four-year-old daughter got stomach aches every time she would eat and she also had eczema all over her legs. I listened to a health stories conference call and listened to some Wellness Webinars. That education led me to start her on our Incredivites (children’s multi), Chewable C, and Optiflora probiotic. Within a couple of weeks, her eczema was disappearing and her stomach aches had become much less frequent. I was elated! About six months to a year later, my then one-year-old son was experiencing respiratory issues every time he would get a cold or virus. The doctors called it “reactive airway” and wanted to put him on a daily steroid. I absolutely did not want to do this, so I looked to Shaklee for a better, safer solution. I added our chewable omega 3, called Mighty Smarts, into his daily regimen along with Incredivites, Chewable C, and Optiflora. It worked!!! He has gone a year and a half now without any respiratory issues whenever he gets a cold or another virus! Also around this time, my husband started using Optiflora probiotic and noticed a large change in his digestive health. His family has a long history of colon cancer and he was excited to start approaching his health in a preventative way. He fell in love with the quality and integrity of Shaklee products and the company. We know that all of our children and ourselves now have a stronger immune system because of Shaklee. We love our non toxic cleaning products, we love our skin care products (vitamins for your skin), we love our Life Shake, supplements and basically everything that Shaklee produces is fantastic, safe, and works incredibly well.

Then in April of 2015, my husband and I were invited to a large Shaklee event. We felt compelled to learn more about how we could share the health that we had found with Shaklee with others. We definitely knew that we always wanted Shaklee to be a part of our family’s lives to keep us healthy. We are both teachers, so we thought, ‘why wouldn’t we want to educate others on how to have better health? What if we could build a business and help make other people’s lives better? After all, it is our passion to serve others.’ It made complete sense to us that we would build a business with the Shaklee opportunity. However, there was always a reason why it wasn’t the “right time”. We were just so busy and overwhelmed with daily life and taking care of our three little ones. Also at this point I was eight months pregnant with our fourth child and I could barely do the laundry, let alone think about starting a business, so I waited. Then our fourth baby came on June 12! We knew that we wanted to start our business some time soon, and we knew that it would probably never feel like the “right time” because life will always have a lot going on. So we took a leap and started our business on July 1, 2015. We are so glad that we did! We earned our initial investment back in the first month!

The best part is that we never felt like we had to do anything alone as we began our business. Our leaders helped us every step of the way, as well as many other people on our team. Even in the midst of the chaos of my postpartum life, I was always supported. Our leader allowed us to host our launch event at her home and she was always willing to get together to help us with skills and planning. The community that we have the opportunity to work with is truly phenomenal! There is so much support on our team! You are never alone and any answer is just a phone call or text message away. We have tons of resources and did I mention the free training that we receive? When I was teaching I had to pay for my training, now I receive free training every week. All in all, joining the business has been one of the best decisions for me and my family. We became business leaders within three months and we are now looking to build a team of our own! What a rewarding and exciting field to be a part of! Our country needs to move towards prevention and Shaklee is going to lead the way. When we take small steps that lead to big results, this is called the Shaklee Effect. We feel empowered to be a part of this revolutionary company!


For more information on the products Christine mentioned or about the Shaklee opportunity, contact the Shaklee distributor that sent you this blog link.

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Change Your Health and Change Your Life: Janeen’s Story

Post 33.1

Health is more than health. When I share that, I share many stories. I share Amber & Lenna-Grace’s story, but I also often share Janeen & Dan’s story. I have the privilege here to document their story for you. Janeen and Dan didn’t just lose weight—they got their health back and in the process gave their daughter and son a whole new health as well.

Here is a short video to introduce you the Dan and Janeen.


Recently, I sat on my back porch with Janeen and she shared her story with me:

Our healthy journey started when my husband, Dan, came home from healthy visit and it was anything but healthy (this was almost three years ago). He was close to diabetes, high blood pressure and they wanted to put him on all these medications. But the doctor gave him three months to lose weight before he started the medications.

His dad has his first heart attack at 51 and then he had five more and lived unhealthy and unhappy. Dan was 43 at this point. I didn’t want him to have that story.

My friend, Pam, had been calling me, interested in my health. I said, “It’s time to call her.” I met her for coffee, we sat and talked. I signed up with the Shaklee180. In the first month, I lost 17 lbs and Dan lost a ton of weight too.

1044659_10200726385540335_24547869_nSix months after we started our Shaklee, we were at a Black Crows concert and Dan fainted because his blood pressure was so low! Six months earlier they had wanted to put him on medication for high blood pressure.

Dan and I continued our healthy journey of losing weight, eating healthy and enjoying our new lifestyle.

To date I (Janeen) have lost 70 lbs and Dan has also lost 70 lbs. He is now off all medications. His numbers are perfect. His diabetic numbers are all normal.

He is off his sleep apena machine. That has been great for our marriage. I couldn’t sleep with the snoring and the machine. He sounded like he was choking. I forgot about that!



It is a great feeling to feel GOOD and to feel more attractive to my husband. We both feel more confident.

But we as women are our own worst critics, so my health and feeling more secure has made me a better wife too. But I know that his weight loss has given him more confidence in himself and I sure think he’s sexier!

When you are healthy you feel more confident and secure in all areas. When you are insecure you are never good at anything.

I was afraid to walk into a place and maybe someone would make a comment and I would be ready to respond with a joke. When you are worrying about yourself, you can’t be as good of a mom. It is liberating to feel this way! I know this health change has made me a better mom.

11209357_10205382947071463_4816147408517183531_nI have so much more energy with my kids, I could run around with them all day. I couldn’t do that before. We have done three 5ks together as a family.

Then my daughter, Payton, at age 11, saw the success that Dan and I were having, and wanted to try it too. She lost 30 lbs, slower, in about eight months with a shake a day and a boost in the morning and a healthy lunch.

She had great success with the program. Her swimming improved and she was able to preform better as an athlete, which is what she wanted. She made it to regionals for the first time in six years with swimming.

In that first month I started the Shaklee 180 program, I also shared with friends and clients and ended up finding 17 other people who wanted to go through the same transformation and it turned into a successful business! I have been on all-expenses paid trips to California, Nashville and even Paris because I shared my own story!


12178260_10156150943535263_1901743968_n (1)Then I thought what else does Shaklee have? We had just been so focused on the 180 program that we had not looked at much else. But then I was just so into feeling good I had to see what else was out there!


We all decided to try the Vitalizer. After we were on the Vitalizer, I noticed how much better my son Chase was doing. He has ADHD and Autism. He also has a learning disability.

Before Shaklee, he stuttered, he was nervous. He’s a non-reader. He is in sixth grade and was reading at second grade level. He didn’t have a lot of energy. He was a couch potato. Very introverted. He didn’t have any friendships. Literally none.

Life at school—he couldn’t concentrate, he was teased, he wasn’t assertive. The teachers used to call us all the time—he wasn’t concentrating, couldn’t pack his bag, couldn’t listen. Simple tasks that every kid does, seemed like Chase had a struggle with.

We had made huge changes in our whole family’s diet. We had gradually removed all dyes (and you’d be surprised what all has dye in it). Removed almost all processed food. We used to go through seven 12-packs of pop in a week and now we have none. We have also removed a lot of dairy.

Chase was a carb freak, so we have significantly reduced his carbs, especially wheat.


11150350_10205041666059651_1815019911466889176_nFirst we just did Vitalizer strip. Then we had a meeting with our Shaklee Nutritionist. We were so amazed with how Chase was doing that we needed to ask more questions!

He was thinking clearer. He seemed less frustrated. He seemed to be able to concentrate better. That intrigued us to try other things to see what else was possible.

So after that meeting, we added GLA and extra OmegaGuard for his brain. We also added extra B-Complex. And we gave him Gentle Sleep Complex before bed to help him calm down before bed.

Then he continued to improve. His brain definitely seemed to think clearer with the increased Omegas. It just seemed like everything kept improving.

I learned that there are 20 neurotransmitters in the gut and they communicate with your brain and when they are clogged up it’s not transmitting. So the diet changes and the probiotics made a huge difference as well.

Besides cleaning out his gut, MindWorks was the biggest transformation.

Last summer MindWorks came out. Every summer he has tutoring and every summer he has the same tutor. Nothing else had changed.

Every kid in Special Ed needs to catch up when the school year begins. But instead of catching up, this year he jumped six reading levels (which is one grade level)—he had been on MindWorks for one month.

He made the flier at school:
IMG_1190 IMG_2759


IMG_6430In the beginning of school year there was a math test and he got a 31% after MindWorks for a month. Retested in December and got an 81%. His teacher wrote this note, “Have Chase tell you the big news!”

Today he came home with all A’s on his report card for the first time ever!

He is assertive now. Now he is not afraid to go engage people. His teachers say: “He has a lot of friends at school, he just doesn’t know how to take it home.” He is doing great in the classroom with the other kids. We are still fine-tuning his social skills but at least he will go up and talk to someone!

But his personality and family issues have improved too. We used to have to go to therapy as a family to help with Chase’s affection related to his autsim. He would want to give his sisters 20 hugs a day. My daughter would send him to grab her something from the basement and he would do it to get another hug. We had to work with him and teach him how to manage his affection. And now, without any more therapy, MindWorks has helped with those issues. He has begun to realize what affection is proper for him just with adding the MindWorks.

He is being more assertive and true to how he feels with his family and other people. He never would have been like that before. He has more confidence because he is reading better and fitting in.


IMG_8690This has changed my life as a mom in incredible ways. When a kid can sit there and do their own homework, you can spend more time on the other kids—there are three and I wasn’t able to spread myself among them. The other kids would feel like I was always with Chase because he needed to so much more help. And that’s a terrible feeling. I didn’t like giving one more attention to the other, but he needed it. I feel like now I am able to divide myself up more evenly and that feels so good.

Between all of those things, there is more peace in our home.

Even today, I got a text from a friend. She was at her wit’s end with her son being out of control and thinking he needed medication. He could not focus. So she tried MindWorks. Today she texted me “Hey that MindWorks is awesome. He forgot to take it today and that was all the proof I needed. It took him twice as long to do his homework and I had to stand next to him the whole time. It was a night and day difference.” That is a gift to her whole family.

Sometimes I wish I would have never started medication so I could see these kind of results. He just recently went off the rest of his medication!

10421642_10202873020924878_61004060619376664_nSo it’s not just my marriage or just me as a mom, I feel like my whole entire life is different.

I feel like I am a better mom because I have my health. I feel like I am a better mom because of finding health. I enjoy cooking more. I feel like I understand HOW to give my kids health too.

And honestly, there is much more to Shaklee than just great products. Those prodcuts and the edication I have received from Shaklee has been life-changing, but so has the opportunity to share that with other people. And not just cause I got to go to Paris!



11707376_10205772575091920_1241050275853214261_nMy full-time job is coloring hair and I love it. I don’t ever plan on quitting. My Shaklee business is not to replace it, it is to enhance it. Most of my business is at the salon. The rest is facebook because I am sharing these amazing results with our family’s health—because that it was is exciting in the life of my family!

I think feeling good goes with feeling healthy. I always loved making people feel pretty on the outside and now I get to help them also feel pretty on the inside by helping them with their health. This business makes me feel good because I want other people to feel the way my family feels—and help them know there are solutions out there.

We used to always feel awful. We just didn’t know we felt awful.

I am passionate about this business because of how it’s changed my life and the way I feel. It’s contagious! I want everyone to feel like this. I want people to know I can help them and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I want people to know that health can change your life.


This is what I want to leave you with:
It’s never too late to start a healthy journey.

Never say you are going on a diet, change your habits then change your health. It’s not like I’ll never eat a canoli again, but I don’t eat them like I used to!

Don’t get frustrated, baby steps lead to big steps. It’s not always a quick fix, it’s a process. If you’re not seeing the results you want, tweak something to make it the right process for you.

–Janeen Nufer


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Essentials for Making Your Body a Power-House of Immunity

I get to share these absolute essentials often as a speaker on nation-wide coaching and education webinars as well as during informal settings like play dates at the park or fitness center. I have seen the impact that paying attention to these can make so I wanted to provide them in a more widely available format. Many are no-brainers, but difficult disciplines to create. Others may require a more in-depth look at what deficiencies may exist that contribute to a weakened immune system. Either way, I am glad to provide a way to launch into pursuit of better health!

To improve and/or maintain health there are four essential recommendations: For in-depth information for the first three, check out Michelle’s great post.

  1. Nutrition:
    This is KEY. Decrease sugar (which includes grains) and increase vegetables. Sugar decreases immunity and vegetables increase immunity. This seems simple but it takes effort to have a nutritious diet. However, the effort you make to pursue nutrition and prepare healthy options will replace effort you may currently be putting forth in other areas. Consider time spent at doctor’s offices, home from work or school or even funds spent to meet deductibles or pay co-pays for office visits or prescriptions. (We offer help with nutrition plans for all our Shaklee members). You may have heard “abs are made in the kitchen” and so it goes for immunity as well.Planning ahead to make the best nutrition choices as often as possible is very important. When you know you will be attending an event that will involve less than healthy options, be sure you consume protein and vegetables earlier in the day. You can also learn more about how to off-set the effects of an evening of poor nutrition or even a few alcoholic beverages with supplements. A quality, proper supplement will help your body process the occasional cheat meal or beverage and ensure you are not left deficient due to the stress that the less healthy choices may put on your body.
  1. Sleep & Stress:
    Our bodies need sleep to repair and rest. Not getting enough quality sleep leads to a weaker immune system. Never underestimate the impact stress creates on the body. Often the symptoms of stress or lack of sleep will not show up until it is too late. This is why it is so important to design a sleep schedule and stress management routine (it can be very brief, especially if your body is equipped with the appropriate raw materials to internally regulate stress.) Stress will greatly hinder your immune system. (Shaklee members can contact us to help with these areas).
  2. Habits:
    Habits are the small actions that yield potentially enormous benefits. Make the simple steps to stay healthy part of your routine: wash hands, have your children change out of their school clothes before their naps. If you want to learn even more then get educated about food sanitation and how germs can spread through food (My friend Monica has some great professional advice!)
  3. Supplements:
    Many people already feel like they have a good handle on the first three essentials, but are looking for even more ways to stay healthy. It seems to be getting more and more difficult, especially for those exposed regularly to schools, gyms and public workplaces. Because of this, I often get asked which supplements are best to boost immunity. These are just BASIC suggestions. Talk to your Shaklee consultant to determine a more customized and most cost effective plan for you. If you’re wondering why we choose Shaklee, watch this little video or ASK US! We are passionate about the Shaklee Difference!

    Start with a healthy base:
    I recommend everyone (young and old) to be on a QUALITY multivitamin with research that backs it’s effectiveness. Why supplement? Despite even the best efforts to eat organic and all natural, our food supply does not contain the vitamins and minerals it once did. Even organic produce is grown for yield and not for nutritional value This means the choice is ours whether to supplement in an educated way that eliminates deficiencies and allows our bodies to function the way God designed them.
    For seasonal immunity and those who require additional immune support:
    Optiflora probiotics: Over 70% of the immune system is in the gut. Probiotics help to maintain a healthy digestive system. Shaklee has a patented triple-encapsulated delivery system that guarantees delivery of the full dose of probiotics at the right point in the digestive system. This is especially important for those who have Candida issues, have recently been on antibiotics, steroids, or those who experience digestive issues.

    Vitamin C: Shaklee makes a chewable Vitamin C for children (better than Flinstone’s in every way, including that it is all natural and has no toxic fillers or ingredients like most over the counter kid’s vitamins have). Shaklee also has a sustained release Vitamin C supplement for adults. Ask me why sustained release is key for certain supplements. There are good reasons, but from a cost stand-point it ensures your body is getting it’s money’s worth of the supplement you ingest.

    Vitamin D: Bioavailability matters and ensuring that the Vitamin D you are taking is absorbed into your body is key. Vitamin D is chocked full of benefits for year round health and immunity, but especially important during the colder, cloudier winter days as well as if you work indoors most of the day.

    That extra boost:
    These supplements are great for when you feel like you or someone in your family is coming down with something or even once you are undoubtedly sick. Either way, taken regularly, they will help you avoid getting sick or at the very least assist your recovery and cut the time significantly that it takes you to get back to feeling human again. In our family we have avoided sickness countless times in the last several years simply by keeping these on hand and using them at the right time. Not only do we rarely get sick now, even with very young children, we have more time in our lives because of the down-time and effort being sick requires.

    Vitalized Immunity: Is a tasty (alka-seltzer-like) orange flavored tab that dissolves in water and boosts your immune system with a variety of vitamins. Has the equivalent of sixteen orange’s worth of vitamin C in addition to other immune boosting ingredients. (For kids under ten I usually give ½ of a tab.)

    NutriFeron: Scientists and medical communities have identified interferon as being crucial to healthy immune function. NutriFeron is an exclusive, patented formula, which provides a proprietary blend of four plant extracts designed to naturally increase levels of interferon in the body and provide immune support at the cellular level. When symptoms of sickness begin to become evident this is what our family begins to supplement with immediately and are close to a perfect record of fighting off the sickness before it takes hold.

    Defend & Resist: Defend & Resist Complex strengthens your body to respond to environmental challenges by giving your immune system what it needs to stay strong. Key ingredients in Defend & Resist have been shown in laboratory studies to help to stimulate the body’s natural resistance with Echinacea purpurea, help to maintain a healthy immune response with black elderberry and enhances immune support with larch tree. Who knew such little-known natural sources could be part of supporting your body, which was designed to be strong, to fight off sickness and germs?!

    The first two of these were staples in our home daily leading up to Christmas when everyone we talked to seemed to be sick and when nutrition and sleep were at a low. We managed to stay completely healthy despite regular contact with sick family and friends over the holidays. Yes!!


These are simple guidelines to begin a roadmap to a stronger immune system. Your Shaklee consultant will be able to help you customize a plan to your specific needs and even taking budget into consideration.



“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

My dear friend Elisabeth and I were pregnant together with our first babies—my oldest and her daughter Alyce (a-leese) in this testimony. This story about how a new understanding of health and how God created our bodies brings so much joy to my heart. I was a pleasure to dialog with Elisabeth about the value of healthy food—in health but also how that relates to all of life. These stories are why I love what I do. These stories are the Shaklee Effect.



“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” –Hippocrates
Guest post by Elisabeth Enos








I’ll admit, in the area of health, I have lived a pretty blessed life. Up until my pregnancy, I had never been hospitalized. I have never broken a bone, had a food allergy, wasn’t stung by a bee until my early twenties, and have only had the flu a handful of times in my entire life.  So when I got the call from my doctor’s nurse regarding my 25 week ultrasound, (you know the one where they tell you whether you are having a boy or girl), I was stunned. Well, more like hysterical. Her voice still rings in my ear,

“Mrs. Enos, we have found something on your baby’s left kidney and we are going to ask that you make an appointment with a maternal fetal specialist.”

“What does that mean?!” I gulped between tears that came so fast, my throat hurt from lack of proper breathing.

“Honey, I’m sorry. I really don’t have any information other than that. But please know, sometimes these things can be false readings. That’s why you need to make the appointment.”

But her silver lining in my cloud of fear was nothing more than an illusion; something was wrong with my baby’s kidney and they couldn’t be sure what until she was born. So, every month, sometimes every two weeks, I trudged to the maternal fetal specialist’s office for another ultrasound just to monitor and make sure nothing else had gone awry. Thankfully, it didn’t. My precious daughter was born pretty quickly on a Tuesday morning at the end of April, and she came out with a beautiful Apgar score. All was right with the world.

She had a VCUG done the first day of life, which is where they catheterize you and place special ink in your body to monitor how the urine flows in and out of the kidneys and bladder. The diagnosis became clear: she had kidney reflux. This condition arises when the ureters, the tubes that attach from your kidney to your bladder, are curly versus straight. This causes urine to back up into the kidneys, which also can make some people more susceptible to urinary tract infections. And with reflux, a UTI is a big deal because now you have infected urine directly in a major organ, leading to a kidney infection.

Alyce had the worst possible case one can have. On a scale of one to five, with one being the least amount of reflux, Alyce was a five. Not even a day old, she was assigned a pediatric nephrologist that placed her on antibiotics for preventative measures, the thought being that if she did have bacteria in the urine, the antibiotic would kill it and lessen her chance of infection.

Until the age of three years and eight months, Alyce has taken a “preventative” antibiotic. Every. Single. Day. She has been assigned a pediatric nephrologist, urologist, gastroenterologist, and psychologist to monitor her condition. All this fuss over a birth defect that I was repeatedly told by the best of the best doctors care was “not life threatening.”

Could have fooled me.

So, I did what any mom would do. I took my daughter to her $500 doctor’s appointments that were always located in downtown Chicago at the heart of either rush hour or my daughter’s nap time, gave her medicine, and tried to feed her what I thought was a proper diet. I breast fed her for 15 months, gave her homemade baby food, and did my best to keep her away from germs.

It really wasn’t all that bad and I actually started to forget about the condition until she got her first UTI at 8 months. We had all contracted (accept for me, thank GOD!) a horrible stomach flu at Christmas that was quite debilitating. I just thought Alyce, being still an infant, was having a hard time getting over it. Really, the flu had turned into a UTI. She became lethargic and droopy, and when her urine output stopped, I finally rushed her to the ER and she was hospitalized for four days. We spent her first New Year’s in the hospital.

She received intravenous drugs and oral medication after we left to kill the bacteria. After she recovered, our urologist explained to me that since Alyce had been on antibiotics since birth, she had grown a resistance to amoxicillin, so now she needed to go on a “stronger” preventative antibiotic.

And so round and round we went. And she kept getting infections. UTI’s that required hospitalizations because the types of bacteria Alyce kept contracting were “mysteriously” pathogens that had built antibiotic resistance and needed harsher drugs. So we would stay in the hospital. Get more IV drugs. Take another oral medication. And then start back up on a preventative antibiotic.

In the meantime, Alyce’s diet had gone down the tubes. Listen, I am not a picky eater. I have always loved brussel sprouts, begged for more beets, and outside of boiled liver and onions, there is not a meal I won’t eat. But my daughter….she is the pickiest eater on the planet. She is a much better eater now, but to this day, broccoli will make her gag.

And then on top of it all, seeing your kid suffer tons of catheterizations, endless doctor’s appointments, too many trips to the ER to count, you kind of just want to make them happy. So if it was a particularly trying day and she wanted fries and chicken nuggets, why not?  I mean the esteemed children’s hospital we paid tens of thousands of dollars to, had a fast food joint located in their facility. They obviously shared the same feelings as I did, right?

But this poor eating led to laziness and negligence in our nutrition. To top it off, over the years I had developed into a germaphobe and basically couldn’t leave my house without a Lysol can. I will self-admit, I got so bad, I sanitized the hand sanitizer. Making eggs was like suiting up for open heart surgery; one drip of egg white on the floor and I practically put on a hazmat suit because I was so afraid Alyce would touch it and get some sort of infection that would lead to a UTI. And then we would be back in the hospital.

I avoided family. I avoided friends. I lived my life in a bubble. No, honestly, not even as happy as a bubble. It was a cage. A prison. A tormented life of fear over the next infection. When is it coming? When?!

And they did keep coming. One after the other. We would have months of good health here and there, which would help me calm done some, just to be replaced by seasons of illness. When we moved into our new home this past August, that’s when it really got crazy. Alyce didn’t have UTIs, but she was sick all the time. From August to early December of last year, she had four ear infections, croup, the flu, some sort of crazy throat infection, and finally, the worst UTI of her life. This UTI was odd because all her other ones were contracted from E. coli, which is usually the culprit behind all UTIs. This time though,it was a drug-resistant, mutated form of the common bacteria called pseudomonas. Pseudomonas is everywhere. It’s on you right now, it’s on your walls, it’s in our soil, it’s not that big of a deal. But this particular strain was a real nightmare and the only way to fix it was by giving her a potent antibiotic, so strong in fact, that the nurses told me it is commonly used for kids with cancer. She received this intravenously for 15 days, three times a day. She went home with the IV in her arm and I got to play nurse for two weeks, giving her medicine that took 45 minutes to administer. Me, taught by a nurse, of how to open the PIC line, give her saline solution, then the drugs, followed by a round of blood clot medicine.

It was incredible. An experience that I would find to be one of the worst, and also best times of my life. While still in the “worst” stage, I cried out to doctors, pleading with them to please tell me if there was anything I could do to prevent these infections. All answers were, “No. Give her the daily antibiotic.” There was a corrective surgery, but interestingly enough, Alyce didn’t qualify because of some other medical issues that could have caused major complications. My astute, highly sought after urologist even finally looked at me and said, “Guys, your daughter is really a mystery to me. She falls into the small percentage of cases where I don’t know what course of action to take next.”

Why, God? That is all my mind, my being, my heart could utter. It was not out of anger though. I promised Him a year ago, after going through so many seasons of being mad at Him, that I would never, no matter what trial he wanted me to endure, get mad at Him again. Never. So I pleaded, like a mother in labor, “please show me the way. Please show me the way.”

That’s the amazing thing about God’s Promises: He does show the way! He told me I needed to change Alyce’s nutrition and quick. I didn’t know how. But I knew He would show me. I contacted my friend Harper for information on Shaklee supplements. I knew her family enjoyed great health and that would be the start. She and her nutritionist discussed the importance of changes in diet and the value of nutrition and pointed me in the direction of supplements for Alyce like Alfalfa, an immune system support supplement called Nutriferon, and a kid’s fish oil chew for brain, eye, and immune health development (Mighty Smarts). I ordered them right away.

But there was more to the puzzle, more pieces to find. As I was sitting there feeding her another not so nutritious lunch, my husband “randomly” started reading to me an article on coconuts. It said that coconuts are antifungal, anti-parasitic, and basically go into the body and remove bacteria and viruses when consumed. I did a double take. ‘Are you serious? I never knew that!’ My mind started to churn; ‘what if Alyce ate coconut? Would that possible naturally kill the germs causing her UTIs and other illnesses? Is it as simple as feeding her the right foods?’

So I went on the hunt, devouring books, articles, documentaries, pod casts, anything I could find on boosting the immune system through food. And I learned about how the immune system actually works. Seriously, my faith in God never grew so large until I learned about what this complex personal army can do! It is an amazing function of our body that unfortunately has been untapped and beaten up by years of eating processed food, refined sugars, and bad meat.

Immediately, Alyce went off all refined sugars and eventually processed foods. She won’t eat greens or carrots, so I bought a juicer and juice heads of kale, carrots, green apples, and pomegranate seeds for a special super drink she consumes twice a day. We avoid foods that contain vegetable oils in their ingredients list as best we can, and do avoid ALL packaged food that contains soybean oils. We eat a lot of coconut in any shape or form: oil, shreds, flakes, water, milk, manna, etc. We replaced all white sugar with coconut sugar. We eat sprouted bread that contains no flour. We only eat organic produce and meats, and this summer, we are praying to be able to afford a service that delivers our produce, meat, and eggs straight from a local, organic farm in Illinois.

My philosophy with health is this—get as many nutrients as we can from our food, then “supplement” with supplements. Ideally, we should be eating a diet where we receive all our nutrients from food, but unfortunately, that is usually not the case. As much as we try, it is almost impossible to eat a perfect diet and our food supply is not what it used to be and our foods don’t contain the nutrients they used to. As much as I might try, getting Alyce to eat fish is impossible, so she gets fish oil. I give her the alfalfa supplements in her green juice that I make because it is just another boost of those phytonutrients that keep her immune system up and going.

And as for my daughter? She is a completely new child. She used to have fevers at least once a week. She was timid and anxious around children and usually cried at the few play dates I kept. She had tantrums every day, multiple times a day, and was addicted to sugar, fat, and oils. Today? Not a single fever, sniffle, bad night’s sleep since we changed her nutrition. Her attitude has changed, her speech improved, and she interacts well with other children. We are not in a cage; she can explore the world freely and will actually be starting preschool in a few weeks. You know, that germ filled place where kids sneeze in each other’s faces? Yeah.

But I am not afraid. God has shown me the grace and calling He has for us to live healthy, eating a whole foods, non-processed diet that He created! He did not create Bagel Dogs. Sorry rabbit, no more Trix at my house. But he did create dates, and delicious grains that allow me to make her a breakfast that not only keeps her healthy, but tastes better than Red 41 and high fructose corn syrup. I have lost weight, so has my husband, and I don’t count one single calorie. My husband’s sister who is 16 years old and lives with us, has had asthma her whole life. She doesn’t anymore. My allergies are almost completely gone and my brain is so alive, I actually have more time that I used to. Seriously. I don’t have to lament on the couch because I am worn out, anxious, and tired. I use that time to read, write, and help others change their eating habits. My marriage is happier. And honestly, I feel more connected to God because I am putting in my body the very things He created for us so we could be healthy and live out His Purpose.

I mean, after all, isn’t that what makes life worth living?  If you don’t eat right today, don’t fret. Just make changes NOW and not tomorrow. Seek out people who are living the healthy life. Ask questions and don’t stop until God brings you the answers. My family and I are not magical people. Anyone can enjoy this health, I truly believe that with all my heart.

Most importantly, God gave us this life to enjoy. What’s stopping you?

Thank you for reading my story.


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Healthy Snacks with the Girl Scouts

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Over the weekend I had the privilege of sharing with a beautiful group of girl scouts the importance of healthy snacks and give them some great health snack ideas.

My amazing friend, Maggie (of Maggie Fortson Photography) joined me, along with my preschool daughter. Maggie has an art of capturing the beauty of each person and you will savor the sweet moments she captured. And my daughter adored being a part of the day with the older girls. She is all ready to be a Girl Scout herself in a few years.

Thank you, Girl Scouts, for letting me come and share with you!

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Below is what I shared with the girls, and I hope it is helpful to you as you look for healthy snack ideas!

Why Is a Healthy Snack Important?

Food gives us nutrients our bodies need to grow and energy we need to play! For active girls, snacks can be an important source of nutrients and energy. Do you know eating the right foods can also help you focus better in school?

Since what we eat matters so much, it’s important to pick snacks that will help us as we grow, play and learn! So how do we pick a healthy snack? Look for two key factors: protein and veggies (or fruit).

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Many people often get protein from meat, but there are lots of great sources of protein. Our bodies need protein to build our muscles, for energy, and for focus. Even a lot of grown up women don’t get enough protein and it affects their energy and focus. Starting good snack habits now will help you make good snacks choices as grown-ups too!

Vegetables are so important! Vegetables are the best source of nutrients for our bodies. They provide all kinds of vitamins to help us grow and stay healthy. Fruits are great and much better than other snacks, but vegetables are the best.

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So what are some ideas for snacks?

To make with your mom:
Peanut Butter Bites
(which we made together at the event)

Big Dippers:
Carrots dipped in Sunflower Butter
Celery in Peanut Butter
Apples in Almond Butter
Add raisins to any of these to add a yummy addition!
Mix and match for variety!
Broccoli, carrots, celery, zucchini or cucumber dipped in hummus or salad dressing
There are so many yummy flavors of hummus to try!

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Make your own trail mix with any of these items:Shaklee (13 of 45)
Protein: Cashews, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, walnuts
Dried Fruit: Raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, banana chips
Misc: Coconut flakes, dark chocolate bits

Dairy-based protein snacks:
String Cheese and Grapes
Cottage cheese with peaches

(Do you know that too much dairy can lead to congestion, mucus, and ear and sinus infections? Be careful not to do too many dairy-based snacks and avoid them when you have a cold)

The sweet Girl Scout found this helpful and I hope that you do too!

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Veggie and Protein Smoothies


Everyone always seems to be looking for ways to get extra veggies and protein into their diets and especially into the diets of their kids. Smooties are a great and delicious way to do that. Veggie or Protein smoothies are great for breakfast or an afternoon snack. I usually give my kids their smooties after naps.

And get the kids involved! Let them help make the smoothies and then it’s their creation 🙂

A key ingredient in any smoothie is a quality protein that you can be confident is made well and doesn’t contain artificial ingredients or fillers. I use Shaklee proteins for my family because of the Shaklee Difference. For my kids I most often use the Shaklee Meal Shakes or sometimes the Energizing Soy Protein. I stick with vanilla because I often make shakes for a before bed snack when we’ve had an early dinner so I avoid the chocolate. For myself, I use Shaklee180 smoothie mix (which is safe for the kids too, if you choose to use that one). These are also all great to make Peanut Butter Bites.

All of my smoothies contain almond milk as a base. How much almond milk (or milk or water) you use it mostly dependent on the consistency that you want the shake. My kids do much better with a more liquidy drink. I often add coconut milk to my children’s smoothies (full fat) to add fat and the health benefits of coconut milk. When I don’t have that available, I add straight up coconut oil and just blend really well.

Almost all my smoothies have banana in them as well. This is for flavor and consistency more than health benefits but bananas have great nutrients too. I usually do about 1/3 of a banana per person.

Veggie Smoothie:
A veggie smoothie can be made with whatever veggies you have in the house, which is great. And the great thing is that often RAW veggies and the hardest for kids (especially little ones who are not great at chewing yet) to get and have the most health benefits. Just blend them up—even if it’s a small amount:
Carrots: These add a sweet flavor and a good color. Just make sure to blend well to avoid chunks.
Broccoli: Start with a very small bunch. Not an extremely strong flavor but evident.
Spinach: No flavor change! Just turns the drink green. Put in as much as you want (frozen works too).
Kale: Start with a very small amount. The bitterness can be offset by other flavors but experiment carefully.
Zucchini: Adds a creamy texture without a lot of flavor change
Avocado: A great addition for thickness (especially for those who use water)

One of my favorite smoothie sayings is, “Peanut butter covers a multitude of vegetables.” I often add peanut butter to the shakes. I can add raw broccoli, kale and such and they still mostly just taste the peanut butter. This also works by adding frozen berries.

Protein Milk Shake:
There are times when my kids just need a totally delicious yummy shake and they really only need protein and the other nutrients found in the protein mixes. Examples are when they have had a meal with too many carbs and need to balance it out with protein or when I really just need to get some vitamins in them (see below).

With those I just mix the milk, banana, peanut butter and protein mix.  Or, today I did frozen berries, milk, banana, and protein mix.  These are incredibly delicious and very nutritious. If you are trying to move your child away from an all-grains breakfast, I would start with a shake like this.

Other Additions:
Protein shakes are a great way to get other vitamins into your kids if they do not want them mixed in something like applesauce. Some that I crush for my kids in shakes include:
Nutriferon: A very powerful immune booster for sick seasons and situations
Alfalfa: A great natural decongestant and anti-inflammatory
Defend and Resist: For when a cold or sickness is just beginning
Vitamin D:  To boost the immune system and improve mood and energy

I also mix these chewables in for my littlest one when needed:
Incredivites Multivitamin Multimineral
Chewable Vitamin C

Sometimes I also add in Chia Seeds.

If the color of a green smoothie bothers your kids (I have one that it does), mask the drink in a non-see-through cup.
The kids drink up and get so many good things in those little growing bodies!
Hope this helps get you started with making protein or veggies smoothies for your family! Is there anything else you add that you can share with us?


Five Ways to Offset the Sugar Overload


So, of course, last week was Halloween and we let our child partake in the trick-or-treating and the festivities. So not only did we get a house full of candy from her two costumed gathering excursions, and have the leftovers from our own house—but we also hosted a baby shower on Saturday.

And even though Halloween is over, we are only just entering the sugar overload season. Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the parties and gatherings and activities are full of high sugar sweets and high carb foods.

Now if you know me personally, you know that we are not the kind of “healthy” people who give out pencils at Halloween and have children that can’t identify a Reeses. We let our children learn moderation, as we hopefully show by example and let them enjoy the same festivities and special treats that we do.

All that to say, the REALITY is that SUGAR EFFECTS US. I plan to write more extensively on this topic, but you can read many resources to prove that “Consuming too much sugar suppresses immune system cells responsible for attacking bacteria. Even consuming just 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution (about the same as in two 12-ounce sodas) reduces the ability of white blood cells to overpower and destroy bacteria.” (WebMD)  Quotes aside, I clearly see the effects of sugar in my daughter’s behavior and her health. So what do we do?

Here are five ideas to help offset the sugar overload in your children (or you)

1.  Planning and Moderation: Consider all the opportunities over the week where sugar will be consumed. Plan and set expectations beforehand so everyone is prepared. Limit the sugar and look at the whole picture of the week or weekend.

2. Protein Balance: Before they have all the sugar—make sure to give them healthy proteins so help combat the effects of the sugar. Protein shakes, eggs, meats, and nuts are great ways.

3. Vegetable Balance: Don’t forget to give your children the nutrients they need to keep their bodies healthy. Their bodies have the power to fight illness but need the fuel to do so. Giving them plenty of vegetables will help keep them healthy so they can have a few treats over the holidays.

4. Probiotics: Sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your gut. And since 80% of your immune system is in your gut and 40% of your brain receptors are in your gut—it’s health is quite important and that’s why these sugar clearly effect behavior and health. You can help heal the gut and revive the good bacteria with a quality probiotic.

5. The Vitamin Milkshake: We like to make the Vitamin Milkshake for our kids which includes: almond milk, peanut butter, banana, frozen spinach, protein, Vitamin D, Nutriferon (half), and alfalfa. Paired with the above it helps boost their immunity when the sugar brings it down.

What else do you do to offset the sugar overload?


Five School Survival Supplies You Can’t Find at Target


Nostalgia wells up in me every year when the “get back to school” season hits.  I’m excited that next August I’ll get to take my own daughter for the first time to grab up all the fun back to school necessities!

Even if you have all the right notebooks and pencils…and for the teachers, all the right bulletin board materials and grading pens, you still don’t have everything you need for a truly successful year.

Every year during the first months of school my Facebook feed is full of teachers or parents commenting on the current illness and ailments of their own, their kids or their classrooms.  It doesn’t have to be that way! Your fall and winter season as a family or as a teacher can be a healthy one, unencumbered by lost days and weeks recovering from illness or nursing your loved ones back to health.

Here are five school survival supplies to make it a more cold and flu free year.


1. Multi-Vitamin: Because of the quality of our food supply, it is very difficult (pretty much impossible) to all thenutrients our bodies need from what we eat. Adding a multivitamin (Incredivites for get children before they can chew, Vita-Lea with iron for women, Vita-Lea without iron for men) makes a big difference in your immunity’s first line of defense. The children’s vitamin in particular is the first children’s vitamin with lactoferrin—the immune boosting protein found in breast milk. (And no, you can’t get this at Target. My friend, Kylie Hinkle gives an amazing explanation of this on her blog in her post “What You Need to Know about Children’s Vitamins.”  In addition you can take a look at the Shaklee difference and this video for one example).

2. Optiflora probiotics:
80% of our immune system is in our digestive tract, which effects not only how healthy we are, but how the rest of our body functions. Even our moods and emotions. You can learn more about the importance of a healthy gut in this great explanation by former science teacher and business partner of mine, Katie Odom. She also covers in more detail what makes Shaklee’s probiotics significantly more effective. In summary, because the microflora in probiotics is delicate, they often are destroyed by the acid in our mouths and stomachs.  Studies have shown that as little as 5% of what is included in the typical store bought probiotic actually makes it into your gut. Shaklee’s triple-encapsulated system guarantees that all of the microflora listed will actually make it to your intestines where probiotics live and do their work. This is why people often see completely different results when using Shaklee’s probiotic. AND the tiny pearl is easily swallowed by even the smallest children (my daughter started swallowing it in applesauce before she was a year old).

Shaklee-103. Nutriferon: When it comes to immunity, Nutriferon is the most amazing product in my arsenal. World-renowned immunologist Dr. Yasuhiko Kojima first discovered interferon in 1954, while he was conducting research at Tokyo University. After 40 years of painstaking research, testing hundreds of natural compounds, he developed a unique blend of four powerful plant extracts that boost the body’s natural production of interferon. Scientists and medical communities have identified interferon as critical to healthy immune function. NutriFeron is the only dietary supplement in the U.S. created by the discoverer of interferon that naturally increases the production of interferon in the body. This product has been life-changing for us as we protect ourselves during the flu season and prevent ourselves from catching something our children may have picked up. During cold season, when someone I know we’ve been around has the flu, when my children’s diets have compromised their immune system, I always add this (crushed and added to a shake or applesauce) to my children’s vitamin regimen. With small children I crush a half, but older children can have a whole tablet.

4. Vitamin C: Simple, yes, but effective. Children can add a simple chewable Vitamin C (of the highest quality) and adults can use the very effective Sustained Release Vita-C for all day immune boosting.

Shaklee-145. Shaklee 180 shakes and barsFor both teachers and students, starting your day with a quality source of protein and nutrients will give you energy and focus to make the most of your day. Many students see a distinct difference in their attention in class when getting enough protein, which helps stabilize blood sugar and appetite. The bars also make great after-school snacks or for before sports and extracurricular activities. (These shakes and bars are safe and HEALTHY for children of ALL ages).  They’re priced at a great value for what they contain and beat out the store bought meal bars all day long.

If you’d like to hear more about making this year your best health year yet, check out our these webinars on helping children and teachers have a healthy and successful school year filled with great testimonies:

How To Help Our Kids Have Their Best Year Ever
Teachers Nutritional Survival Kit … How to Stay Healthy and Sane This School Year.
Raising Our Kids in an Increasingly Unhealthy World
Why We Trust Our Kids to Shaklee

Shaklee-7Bonus item for the best year ever: Omegas!  Mighty Smarts for children can help greatly with mental focus and brain development. Not only for those struggling with attention disorders, but for all kids.




Vitamin photo credit: Maggie Fortson Photography


Convenient, Easy, and Healthy Baby Finger Foods

Feeding a child well has its challenges, but for me, the most difficult stage is the finger foods for the toothless baby. With my second child I have found a few things that have made it easier and I’d like to share them with you.

I start solid around six months (avocados, bananas, broccoli, etc.), but around eight months, if that long, both my girls were so independent that they wanted to feed themselves. I had a hard time keeping a well-balanced assortment of food available. And now that my toddler eats everything we eat, I was only preparing for the little one.

I started using jar freezing as a way to make it much more convenient to have food prepared for the toothless wonder. It’s made things so much easier.

For example, I start with either ground beef, a crock pot roast chopped small, or a rotisserie chicken chopped small.


I added well steamed broccoli and carrots chopped small.

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Sometimes I also add quinoa.


Put it in the jar and place them in the freezer. Then in a few days, I am able to just pop the jar out and have a couple days of meals already prepared. It’s also great for road trips or when we will be out all day but need to have food.


Hope these ideas will be helpful to you! Do you have any other suggestions that you think I should add to my next set of jars?