Hello, I’m Vanessa, and welcome to Healthy Living How To. I’m a 42-year-old wife, mother, blogger and healthy living enthusiast residing in a suburb south of Minneapolis in the Land of 10,000 Lakes with two teenage boys, two furbabies and one handsome husband. Healthy Living How To is an extension of my passion for living healthy in mind, body and spirit in an unhealthy world. Each week I create and share healthy gluten-free and low-carb recipes using high-quality organic ingredients. I also regularly write about topics that relate to living healthy in an otherwise unhealthy world. I give you fair warning, much of what I believe about healthy living goes against conventional wisdom.
A Day in My Life
My idea of a perfect day is waking up early to spend some time in prayer and reflection while enjoying the snuggles of my dog and a cup of dark roasted coffee with homemade dairy-free creamer. A long walk with my husband followed by a breakfast of bacon and eggs is the perfect start to the day. An afternoon spent reading, researching and writing or perhaps creating a healthy recipe, while listening to my favorite Christian radio station and before you know it the day is nearly done. A quick but efficient full-body strength training workout and then off to the kitchen to cook a healthy meal for my family and finally retiring to the couch to catch up on the latest health and nutrition news.
My Passion is Helping Others
Continually staying up-to-date with current research in nutrition, health and wellness is my crazy obsession. For many years this passion, combined with my innate empathy and strong desire to help others, was my career. I worked as a health and fitness professional, coaching countless individuals in achieving better physical health through metabolic testing, weight loss counseling and personal training. I found my niche in the fitness world by becoming an expert in metabolic testing. Having administered well over 1,500 metabolic assessments, I was privy to more metabolic data than any research study could provide. Through my hands on experience and my never-ending search to learn more, I became an educator in my field. This drive to succeed, led to a very successful career and then I crashed.
My Health was on a Downward Spiral
I’ve been an ardent supporter of a low-carb lifestyle for the better part of the past decade. In 2001, like many, I embarked on a low-carb lifestyle by making it my New Year’s resolution to lose weight. At the time, Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution had been revised and was quite popular. I picked up a copy and eagerly read it cover to cover. I was convinced this was the answer to weight loss and weight management for me. I did lose the weight with little effort and had maintained a healthy and fit figure for nearly seven years. In the spring of 2008, my husband Tom and I were at a fitness convention in Las Vegas. We were surrounded by others with exuberance and passion for the industry. I remarked how everyone there seemed so enthusiastic and had so much energy. Meanwhile, I felt flat, blah and tired. This was a defining moment. There was no more denying that something was very wrong with me. In spite of living a low-carb lifestyle, I had gained a lot of weight in a short period of time. I was tired all the time, rarely laughed or had fun, I had no ambition to do anything or go anywhere. Nights were becoming sleepless and I had developed a nasty nighttime eating disorder. All day long I would eat my healthy low-carb meals and then at midnight find myself binging on carbs. My workouts were sporadic as my energy and desire were non-existent. Worst of all, I had no hope. I knew my health was on a downward spiral and had to do something about it. The night we returned home, I felt overwhelming sadness, depression and desperation, but was ready to make a change. At the time, I was working very long hours, six days a week. My work environment had become quite tense and stressful due to several turnovers in management. There was division on our team and going to work most days felt like going to war. This three day escape gave me the respite and perspective I needed. If I was going to regain my health, I couldn’t go back. The next day I resigned.
My Healing Journey
What has transpired between then and now is my healing journey and recovery from adrenal fatigue. I have lost the weight, regained my health and have hope for a healthy future. I worked closely with Jim LaValle and his team at the LaValle Metabolic Institute during my healing process. This involved regular lab testing, nutritional guidance, which included not only a low-carb, gluten and dairy-free diet, but personalized supplementation and lifestyle modifications.
Somewhere along the way, when I wasn’t healing as fast as I expected to, I came to the realization my mental and spiritual health were not exclusive of my physical health. Living healthy in mind, body and spirit became my focus, which required a very personal and spiritual evaluation of myself. The adrenal fatigue I experienced was a direct result of an unhealthy response to stress, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I did not just wake up with it, instead it developed slowly over time, it was part of who I was and how I lived my life.
Complete healing from adrenal fatigue required me to learn a new way of thinking as well as living with a different level of consciousness. I had to let go of unhealthy habits like perfectionism and obsessiveness, as well as learn how to forgive myself and others. The foundation upon which I rebuilt my health can be found in my article 10 Things You Can Do Today.
It has been almost five years since I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. At the time I was not able to see the forest for the trees. Restoring my health and healing did not happen overnight, but over time my symptoms slowly faded. These days, I am quickly reminded when I get out of balance, my body speaks loud and clear to me, only now I listen. When I was at my worst, I felt like a victim who was cursed and now I see adrenal fatigue as my blessing.
Healthy Living How To
The gifts I have been given on my healthy living journey have been abundant, I have been blessed by many along the way and in return I want to be a blessing to you. This is the reason I share my story and started Healthy Living How To. I do not have a mile long list of credentials; there is no PhD, MD, RD or any other “D” after my name. However, what I do have is a brain and the God-given ability to seek out knowledge as well as a spirit filled with passion for healthy living. Healthy Living How To is the place I share with you my beliefs about living healthy in mind, body and spirit, beliefs that are supported by science, personal and professional experience.