Wisconsin is where I call home . . . famous for cheese, beer and brats. So how in the world did I become interested in healthy food?
I grew up on a dairy farm in a small town called Clear Lake where most of my best memories come from some old dirt road. If a family was going through a crisis, they were bombarded with comfort foods like tater tot hotdish, meatloaf and brownies . . accompanied with a warm hug and caring ear.
I truly had the best parents in the world, Mom taught me everything I know when it comes to cooking and baking. We ate off the farm from big gardens filled with countless vegetables. Oh, such joy to eat a carrot out of the ground! Just give it a good rub on the jeans and it’s “clean enough” to eat. Mom and I spent hours in the kitchen in the fall season to can the season’s harvest so we could enjoy this fresh food all winter long. Little did I know that eating “real” food then would be today’s media buzzword, “Eat REAL food”. She taught me the importance of making every meal balanced, and to add color to the plate with colorful vegetables. She was so ahead of her time.
I was inspired to become healthy through my personal battle with Ulcerative Colitis (UC). UC is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) distinguished by inflammation of the large intestine (rectum and colon). It has many of the same symptoms as Crohn’s Disease. (On the picture to the left, I’m the one wearing jeans and I am with my niece, Lori Jarchow).
I was diagnosed with UC when I was just 14 years old and at 26 years old in the year 1991, my condition became so severe that the doctors insisted I get a Total Colectomy (complete removal of the colon/large intestine).
Following surgery, my surgeon told me that I would never be able to do endurance sports because I would dehydrate too quickly without having a colon (one of the main functions of your colon is to absorb water). I decided to prove her wrong (sorry, Dr. Lowry). I was so thankful that Mom taught me the importance of eating healthy food because eating this way helped me recover from my surgery very quickly, and has since kept me healthy!
Since 1998, I’ve completed over 35 marathons (PR 3:25), including Boston Marathon a couple of times (and I continue to qualify despite my age!), dozens of half marathons (PR 1:33), and oodles of 10Ks and 5Ks.
After turning 40, I decided to up the ante and dive into triathlons; in the last 10 years I’ve completed 5 Ironman competitions (PR 11:52), plus a number of Half Ironmans, Olympic and Sprint distance triathlons.
My favorite race is the “70.3 Puerto Rico” (70.3 means the distance = it is 70.3 total miles consisting of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 miles cycling and a 13.1 mile run). March 2016 was the first time I competed in Puerto Rico. I took 2nd place in my age group and qualified for the 70.3 Ironman World Championships in Australia. In March 2017, 2018 and 2019, I competed again in Puerto Rico, and placed 10th, 3rd and 2nd respectively. In September 2019, I competed in the 70.3 Ironman World Championships in Nice, France — that was a highlight of my triathlon career. All races in 2020 were cancelled due to covid but I’m training now for the 2021 70.3 in Lubbock, TX! Never let age define you . . . I am in my mid-50s yet I’m still competing like those in their 30s (well, maybe a little slower)!
I truly believe that if I ate like so many Americans do – an overconsumption of processed, junk food – that I would never be as healthy as I am after a Total Colectomy and go on to compete in sports like I do. I know – without any doubt – that a healthy diet plays a pivotal role in achieving great health.
As a Certified, Functional Health & Nutrition Coach and successful entrepreneur, this stuff isn’t my passion. It’s my life.
Am I committed? No.
I like simple food, real ingredients, and tasty combinations. And call me crazy but I like to eat stuff without hormones, antibiotics, and GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). Lastly, I want to eat food that supports the local economy and local farmers, fisherman, ranchers, growers, etc.
For the last few years, I’ve taught dozens of in-person classes (28-Day Sugar Detox and 28-Day JumpStart to Health) to groups ranging from 20 to 80 people. In addition, I’ve taught many cooking classes, meal prep workshops, have hundreds of personal clients and have done in-home cooking parties.
My clients KNOW what to do (it’s pretty simple actually), but they still struggle with putting it altogether. Time – or lack of it – is by far the biggest reason they don’t always eat healthy. I knew there had to be a better way. That’s why I created my signature online program, EATSIMPLE28.
My mission with EATSIMPLE28 is to bring back the basics in the kitchen – eat simple food!
You all know that eating healthy is important. You also know that it’s easier said than done! It doesn’t have to be this complicated. Trust me on this one. Grandma didn’t spend hours in the kitchen – she had chores to do!
The EATSIMPLE28 is an online program where you’ll receive a new meal plan every 28 days. This 28-day meal plan includes 16 entrees (4 for each week) plus breakfast, snacks and dessert recipes for each week. It’s better than any “eat clean” program out there. Join us and I promise it’ll change your life forever. You can read more about it HERE.
Like many over-40 people, I’ve had two careers. Prior to nutrition, I had a long, successful career in publishing and marketing yet I know without a doubt that my true calling is nutrition, cooking, creating recipes and helping others. My enthusiasm for healthy nutrition led me to the acclaimed Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, NY where I received my Holistic Nutrition Specialist Certification.
I was single for 15 years, then I met the man of my dreams, Bob Jackson . . . and life went from not-so-bad to wowza-life-is-awesome. Unfortunately, in May 2013 he had an unexpected heart attack, and passed away instantly. Bob taught me to be kind, generous and giving, something that is so rare in mankind today. He was truly one-of-a-kind. He changed me, and I am now doing my very best to be like him: kind, generous and giving — and my clients, friends and family are the benefactor of this.
Now knowing what I know about health and nutrition, Bob had all the symptoms of heart disease: chronic inflammation + diabetes + toxicity. If I can improve just one person’s life or better yet – save a life – then this is all worth it. I never want anyone to go through what I did.