If you are interested in your health and weight management,  we have a great class for you!  It will be held at Nature’s Pantry, Monday, August 28, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.with Jessica Reynolds, Registered Dietician. Jessica is very personable, energetic,  knowledgeable and full of “vim and vinegar”.  She will be presenting ideas and ways to help you obtain and maintain a healthy weight!

According to Jessica the class will be about adding some good into your life. This course will help you:

  • Recognize that health and well-being are multidimensional and that they include physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional and intellectual aspects.
  • Promote eating in a manner which balances individual nutritional needs, hunger, satiety, appetite and pleasure.
  • Transform nutrition information into practical, daily living for you and your family.
  • Create well-rounded grocery lists for a healthy lifestyle.

As many of you have guessed from my random blogs, my passion is nutrition and helping people find and maintain vibrant health.  Recently, I was attending a health webinar where the following information was given:

  • Only 15% of extremely over weight people eat too much  (2,800-4,000 calories)
  • But 35% of extremely over weight people eat normally  (2,000-2,700 calories)
  • And 50% of people who are overweight eat very little  (800-1,500 calories

According to Jessica, “restrictive dieting is an ineffective long term prescription for obesity, as up to 95% of dieters regain the weight they lost, and sometimes more, within three years.  Restrictive dieting and weight cycling can lead to physical complications including slowed metabolism, reduced muscle tissue and body temperature, as well as eating disorders”.

I was so surprised to learn that many of us that are overweight don’t eat enough healthy calories to maintain good muscle strength and energy. Also there are more overweight individuals that are struggling with malnutrition than you would think.  You don’t have to be skinny, with your ribs showing, to be  malnourished!

Consider the following statistics according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2013–2014:

  • More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight.
  • More than 1 in 3 adults are considered to be obese.
  • More than 1 in 20 adults are considered to have extreme obesity.
  • About one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight.
  • More than 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be obese.

Those statistics are very saddening and I want this class to be positive and helpful for you and me and anyone else that might be struggling with their weight management.   If you would like some ideas, motivation and help, stop in and register for our class “Healthy Weight Management” at Nature’s Pantry,  1907 4th Street in La Grande, Oregon or call 541-963-7955 soon, because space is limited.

I hope to see you there!

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!



As any new year comes around many individuals make resolutions.  One habit or resolution,  that I would like to see established in people’s lives, is the practice of eating breakfast. So many people hurry on with their lives skipping this improtant meal.

We have many choices in any given day and one of our first daily choices should be to eat a healthy breakfast.  It’s very important to break the fast after sleeping, with a nutrient dense breakfast!  Do you take part in this life giving meal?  If not, this new year would be a good time to begin.

Do you struggle with eating breakfast?  I talk to a lot of people during the day and I find that many of them do not eat breakfast.  There seems to be 3 main reasons:

  1. Some aren’t hungry in the morning
  2. Many have frantic morning schedules
  3. Others are trying to cut calories by skipping their first meal

The first reason can usually be solved by drinking 16 oz. of water upon arising. This helps get the appetite going within the hour.  The second reason could be solved by getting up 30 minutes earlier.  The trouble with the third reason is that the calories saved are usually offset by overeating in the evening, sometimes binging.

Many studies have shown that breakfast eaters generally keep their weight under control better than non breakfast eaters.  A University of California study of 16,000 people’s eating habits showed that those that ate breakfast had the lowest body mass index. Starting your morning with breakfast can  boost your metabolism.

Eating a good breakfast may cut down your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.  It may improve your mood and can increase alertness.  Many studies show that performance at work and school improve by eating a nourishing breakfast.

When a person wakes up in the morning their blood sugar can be low from the body using available stores of fuel for functioning during sleep.  Even lower blood sugar can result from no morning meal; which can cause memory issues,  irritability, poor concentration, inability to focus or a bad mood.

One idea is to prepare for your breakfast the evening before, especially if you have a very busy schedule.  Thinking and planning ahead makes the morning go smoother. Some people pack breakfast in a bag,  lay out their food and even set their table the night before.

There are those people who say they can’t stand the thought of food in the morning.  If that’s your stance then at least drink something with protein, good carbs and nutrients.  Some might prefer to pack breakfast to go; such as a green smoothie, fruit, nuts or a healthy whole grain breakfast muffin to eat mid morning.

Beginning your day with a good breakfast with high fiber, some protein and complex carbohydrates will help keep your blood sugar stable, keep you  more alert, help you have more energy, be more emotionally stable and possibly give you a longer life.

It’s my hope that you will choose to “break the fast” every day by eating a healthy, nourishing breakfast and possibly adding many healthy years to your life.

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!





WHOLENESS – How I Spell Health & Fitness


Teaching healthy living has been a passion of mine for most of my adult life. True health and fitness depend on treating the body, mind and soul as a whole unit. The acronym WHOLENESS”  outlines the basic principles that I have learned in my formal studies in nutrition and have observed in truly healthy people. Thinking about wholeness can help keep us on track when enthusiasm for taking care of our bodies wanes. Wholeness can be attained at any age by following a few basic health habits.

W = Water

Drink water like a camel!  Since the human body is more than 70% water, not drinking enough of it can dehydrate every body system. But drinking 6-8 glasses of pure water a day can protect your joints,  brain, heart, pancreas, and skin.  It will help control false hunger pangs, aid in elimination, and stave off premature aging. Drink about half your body weight in ounces every day.

H = Healthy Habits

Establish a regular, healthy routine or rhythm. The body is programmed to work optimally on a 24-hour circadian cycle. Eating, sleeping and exercising at regular times every day supports health and fitness and can actually prolong life!  Many people who live to be 100+ say that they followed regular routines throughout their lives.

O= Outside Air

Go outdoors and breathe deeply every day. Diseases, including the dreaded cancers, thrive when there is a lack of oxygen. Fresh air will help prevent brain fog and help keep you focused. Getting outside for a breath of fresh air can clear the mental cobwebs. Filling your lungs and life with fresh outside air will help keep you physically fit and mentally sharp.

L= Love

Cultivate a love of God, love of others and a lifestyle of forgiveness. Don’t hesitate to actively seek help in coming to terms with present pain or with old issues. Nine out of ten illnesses originate in the mind. Worry, bitterness and unresolved anger, can wreak havoc on every system in the body. On the other hand; love, trust, and forgiveness are life giving and health preserving.

E= Exercise & Elimination

Get moving and make sure to keep your colon moving, as well. Walk, swim,  rebound, or any other aerobic exercise for 30+ minutes daily.  Rotate exercises adding resistance exercises, such as weight bearing exercise, every other day for bone health. S-T-R-E-T-C-H  like a cat upon arising and after you exercise to keep flexible as you age. Exercise is good for mood, circulation, digestion,  respiration and elimination. Just like exercise, regular elimination is a key  to wholeness. Nutrition, water and herbal elimination aids can help regularity, if you struggle in that area.

N= Nutrition

Eat a fibrous, unprocessed “rainbow.” The fiber in vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds help keep your colon swept out. Five to seven servings of dark, bright colored fruits and vegetables every day provides your body with very powerful anti oxidants and enzymes it needs for both function and repair. To preserve valuable nutrients, look for food grown without much processing. Eat some raw fruits or vegetables, loaded with digestive enzymes, with every meal to insure proper digestion.

E= Endorphins

Tickle your funny bone and avoid “stinking thinking.” Laughter and a positive attitude release endorphins. Endorphins are the feel good hormones that help keep your body healthy. Laughter is good medicine and a happy heart can actually strengthen the bones!  So make a point to laugh every day and go out of your way to interact with people who support positive thinking.

S= Sunshine

Soak up sunshine for 15 minutes every day. Exposing just your face to sunlight for that short amount of time, whatever the season, causes the body to produce Vitamin D. (Vitamin D helps strengthen bones, improve mood, keep your immune system healthy and prevent cancer.) Sunlight also can lift the mood and help to prevent seasonal affective disorder. Take precautions against sunburn, but don’t fear the sun.

S= Sleep

Don’t burn the midnight oil. Go to bed early and get six to eight hours of sleep every night.  Your body is programmed to heal and repair itself during sleep. Going to bed too late and/or not getting enough rest can short circuit physical and emotional health.  Conversely, regular, adequate rest can support health and give you more energy and lead to a longer, healthier life.

Practice the 9 habits of WHOLENESS outlined above this coming new year and look forward to better health.

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!

Why Love Local?




  • Locally-owned businesses promote community well-being by building neighborly relationships and contributing to local causes.
  • When we know the people behind the products, a connection develops that doesn’t exist when we shop at chain stores or online.
  • Local businesses offer better customer service. They serve their customers in a personal and powerful way that just isn’t possible via email, in a store the size of Lake Tahoe, or with someone on the phone who is three time zones away.
  • Locally-owned businesses preserve the unique culture and character of a community.
  • Locally-owned businesses ensure that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community.
  • Locally-owned businesses create more jobs locally, and if supported well by the community, offer better wages and benefits.
  • Local businesses often develop awesome work environments and happy employees.
  • A community that heavily supports locally owned businesses fuels entrepreneurship, which is a key for families to move out of low-wage jobs.
  • Buying local can improve family health. Foods like local honey, produce and animal products are generally healthier, than foods produced with chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, hormones, antibiotics, GMO’s, etc.


  • Communities with many locally-owned businesses are stronger than local economies with fewer and larger employers.
  • Communities with many locally-owned businesses have an economy with greater stability. Just as a diversified portfolio helps protect against shifts in the market, many small businesses create stability in a local economy.
  • Locally-owned businesses stay put and this means they are more invested in the community, and therefore, are also more reliable generators of jobs and income.
  • Dollars spent at locally-owned businesses has a multiplier effect in the community, strengthening and building the local economy.
  • Dollars spent at local businesses get reinvested in the community.
  • The majority of dollars spent at companies with outside ownership leave the area weakening the local economy.
  • A community with many small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices in the long run


  • Local businesses operate with environmentally sustainable practices. Massive production and a disconnect from the land and people lends to poor environmental stewardship.
  • Local business care about the well-being of the local environment and work toward sustaining it for their children and grandchildren.
  • Locally-owned businesses require less infrastructure and overhead and make more efficient use of utilities and public services.
  • Small, locally-owned businesses are nimbler and can make decisions, implement new practices, and adapt to change quickly.



Please save the date, November 3 for GIVING THANKS TO LOCAL BUSINESSES @ Nature’s Pantry

  • Thursday, November 3 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Lots of Free Samples
  • Many local vendors
  • African Market Basket Gift – Drawing

Some of the local business owners that will be in the store or represented will be:  Platz Family Farm, Dianne’s Salsa, Wild Carrot Herbals, Knead’s Bakery, Sei Mee Tea, Le Bebe Cakes, Marketplace Family Foods, La Grande Crossfit and More!




We live in a fast paced society where many kids have grown up eating at fast food establishments.  It’s convenient and easily becomes a habit for many families.  We get so busy we don’t have time to cook.  There are many consequences with this lifestyle for us and for our children.

If we want our bodies to be healthy, we have to put nutritious food into them.  One old saying is; “garbage in, garbage out“.  Some of the garbage out might be: lack of energy, joint aches, brain fog, poor grades, mood swings or illness.

With health care unaffordable for many of us, we need to be proactive with our food choices in order to keep ourselves and our children healthy.  We need to create our own fast food at home. 

I personally choose one day, usually Sunday afternoon, to do some cooking ahead for the week.  By preparing a few foods in advance, it makes it quick and easy to prepare a meal at the end of a busy or stressful work day.

This past weekend I cooked a pot of quinoa and a pot of black beans. We had them with a salad for dinner.  I put the rest in the refrigerator and froze some.   They can be used as a complete protein at a meal or they can be used as a side dish with meat, fish or different vegetables.

This week I have used the quinoa in several different salads, in wraps and with stir fry.  The black beans were used in soup, mashed for refried beans in enchiladas, used in a Mexicali bowl with the quinoa and they all had different spices, seasonings, condiments, tastes and flavors.  Delicious!

Each time I used one of the fast foods I had pre-cooked, I used different vegetables and proteins with them so that it seemed new and exciting and not like left overs.  Tuesday night we made tacos with corn tortillas, the black beans,   lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado and salsa.  They were quick to make and so yummy!

I’m not saying we eat those same foods every day, I just have them on hand for quick meals when needed.  It does take a little pre planning but it is so worth an hour or two of your time to plan a few days of good food that will help save time and prevent eating at fast food places during the week.

There are so many different combinations you can prepare ahead and have ready for a quick “fast food” meal. If you need suggestions just contact us,  we have lots of ideas for you.  This week I think I’ll cook brown rice and lentils to use in my fast foods.  Cook ahead to prevent cooking when you are stressed!

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!




Do you find yourself worrying or being anxious because of the economy, the political issues, or just plain old every day stress?

I have found, through the years of helping customers with their nutrition needs, that a lot of people struggle with mood issues.  On some days stress levels, in peoples minds,  are over the top.  But very few consider that what they put into their bodies had anything to do with their stress or brain health.

I’ve come up with 10 tips for better mood and good brain health:

  1. Exercise:  We are created to move and we need 20-30 minutes a day, 5 days per week of activity to help anxiety, stress and poor mood. Exercise increases circulation to every part of the body, including the brain.
  2. Water:  The brain is 80% water, so it is very important to drink enough water to keep the brain hydrated.  Ideal water intake would be half of your body weight in ounces daily.
  3. Omega 3 Fatty Acids:  The brain in 20% fat and needs DHA found in Omega 3’s.  Eat walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, or salmon daily to get Omega 3’s. If you don’t eat these foods, take Omega 3 supplements.
  4. Good Fats:  “Eating avocados daily will keep the psychologist away,” according to Dr. Axe.  For good brain health, eat half a medium avocado daily. Coconut oil also is a very good fat to nourish the brain.
  5. Berries:  Eat organic berries daily.  Blueberries are at the top of the list for powerful antioxidants.  All berries are good for your brain health.  According to Dr. Weil, “berries are good for good cognitive function”.
  6. Fiber and Probiotics: Eat 25-30 grams of fiber a day to keep toxic waste moving along.  Too many toxins in the body can cause brain or mood issues.  Poor mood can start in the gut, so keep your good bacteria healthy.
  7. Nuts and Seeds:  Eaten in their raw form, are high in good fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals necessary for good brain health, which leads to better mood. Avoid hydrogenated fats that nuts can be roasted in.
  8. Cruciferous veggies: The cabbage family, especially broccoli, is good for preventing cancer, including brain cancer. Eat a rainbow of vegetables and greens to properly nourish your brain, improving serotonin levels.
  9. Sunshine:  20 to 30 minutes of sunshine a day can supply vitamin D, which supports good mood. Supplement with D in the winter months to prevent low mood or cabin fever. Doctors suggest 1 to 5,000 IU’s a day.
  10. Trust in God:  Spend time in meditation and thankfulness every day.  People who are happy generally know that there is a God greater than themselves.  You will worry less when you are thankful.

There are many other reasons and remedies for good mood and better health.  I’ve just given a few ideas that might help you in your quest for overcoming moodiness and having a happier brain.

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!



Owning a health food store for 30 years gives you insight into all kinds of habits we humans struggle with.  Through the years I’ve had customers come in wanting help to stop bad habits such as the following:

  • quitting smoking
  • losing weight
  • reducing sugar intake
  • eating fewer refined or fast foods

On the other hand, I’ve had just as many people come in asking for help in establishing new habits.  Some of the habits people wish to develop are:

  • eating more vegetables
  • drinking more water
  • being more physically active
  • eating healthier foods

What I’ve discovered is, the more often I repeat my habit, the more difficult it is to get rid of it.  But that works the other way also, the more you practice the new habit, the easier it is to do it.  It’s easy to do it and it’s easy not to do it!

All habits, good or bad, require five basic steps to overcome or to become.

  1. Face the facts – Is this something I really want to do?
  2. Make the decision – Set your mind.  The brain controls all habits.
  3. Know your triggers – Don’t play around with your weaknesses.
  4. Quit worrying –  The more you talk about your bad habits, the more reinforced they become.
  5. Trust in God – He is strong and will give you His strength.

All five of the above take a commitment on your part and will not be accomplished without concerted effort.  I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it.  No one can do it for you.

As a nutritionist, I can offer suggestions that will help you on your path and I will gladly do that.  There are many foods and particular nutrients that will help you in your quest to quit smoking, lose weight, eat less sugar or eat less fast food .   It’s good for all of us to form habits of eating more veggies, drinking more water,  being more active and becoming healthier.

One nutrient example is: glutamine, an amino acid that fuels the brain; when lacking, can cause cravings. There are many nutrients that could help you in your decision to form new healthy habits.

Decide today, set your mind to it, learn your triggers,  start positive self talk and let God strengthen you. Remember, we are here to help you in your quest for good health.

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!






When I was in my early 20’s I was in a bad car accident that smashed my right knee.  After several surgeries, casts, crutches and months of physical therapy,  I have had 48 years of good activity with it.  I’ve been able to hike many miles, water ski, snow ski and live a good active life. 

The surgeon told me that my knee would treat me well for 40+ years and then it would start complaining.  Time has sped by and my knee talks negatively to me frequently. 

I thought I would share with you a few things that have helped me keep a naughty joint moving with little complaint.

  • Stretching:  A physical therapist taught me years ago to stretch every morning first thing and every evening before going to bed.  A good chiropractor also gave me some stretches to do while working.
  • Walking:  My surgeon told me I would limp, if I didn’t keep moving my knee.  He said,  “When it hurts, keep moving.  Do not resort to being a couch potato just because you have a little pain.”  So, I walk to work.
  • Foods:  I have discovered through the years that if I eat too much sugar or too many refined carbs my knee complains more.  It does best with high anti-oxidant foods such as fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and lean proteins.  I’ve learned to eat mostly whole foods with little refinement.
  • Fats:  My poor knee and other joints in my body appreciate good fats; such as, avocados, nut butters, coconut oil, olive oil, flax oil and hemp oil.  It doesn’t do very well with trans fats, such as;  deep fried foods, heavy fatty proteins, fast foods or greasy refined foods.
  • Supplements:  My poor knee likes natural anti-inflammatories such as Bromelain (an enzyme from pineapple), Turmeric root, Boswellia and White Willow Bark.  These herbs help bring down the inflammation.  I also like taking hyaluronic acid which helps keep my joints lubricated.
  • Water:  I have found that staying hydrated is the most important thing I can do for my joints.  The cartilage stays sponge link and cushions my joints when I’m hydrated.  It gets thin when dehydrated and my joints will start aching and my knee complains loudly.  I freeze water and ice my knee for 15 minutes if gets over worked or swollen.
  • Attitude:  When I think about my poor knee too much, it gets worse.  One of the best things I do for it is stay active, hydrated, eat well and not focus on it.  When it’s really acting up I ice it while reading something positive and motivational.  The less I focus on it, the better it does.

My goal for my knee is to keep it flexible by stretching it, active by moving it, healthy by feeding it right, hydrated by giving it plenty of fluids, and not allowing it to run my life by giving it a good attitude.

Forty eight years after the accident, I’m still enjoying life with a bum knee but not letting it ruin my life.  I must admit,  I’m golfing more and skiing less,  but I’m active and it’s working.  The day may come when I need another knee surgery,  but that is not my focus,  nor is it my goal.

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!



DO YOU WANT A BRAIN BOOST?  There are many foods and nutrients that will nourish the brain and keep it healthy for as long as you live! 

  1. OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDSThe brain is 20% fat and needs omega 3’s.  DHA, found in omega 3’s, is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain. Eat omega 3 fats daily; such as, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts or salmon. Take omega 3 supplements if you do not eat the above foods.
  2. SMART FATS:  Eat mono saturated fats; such as avocado, coconut and olives. These foods will help decrease food cravings. Cravings for simple carbohydrates are common; they work havoc on a person’s blood sugar, which in turn negatively affects our brain health.
  3. BERRIES:  Eat organic berries because berries hold onto chemical  herbicides and pesticides that can harm our brains. Eat berries daily,  blueberries are at the top of the list, but all berries are powerful antioxidants that help keep your gray matter healthy.
  4. CRUCIFEROUS VEGGIES:   The cabbage family, especially broccoli, is good for preventing cancer, including brain cancer. Eat a rainbow of vegetables and leafy greens every day to properly nourish your brain. They are high in antioxidants and will also strengthen recall abilities.
  5. NUTS AND SEEDS:  These foods are high in good fats and help prevent brain decline. They are also full of brain protective amino acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals that nourish our brains and keep them happy.
  6. HERBS AND SPICES:  Many spices or herbs such as; turmeric, cilantro, garlic, onion, oregano and saffron have anti-inflammatory properties or detoxing substances that help keep the brain sharp and healthy.  Sage  is an herb that also helps increase memory and concentration.
  7. WHOLE GRAINS:  Fiber rich whole grains help keep your blood sugar level. Try to eat 25-30 grams of fiber a day, to keep toxic waste moving along. Toxins in the body can cause brain and memory issues.
  8. WATER:  The brain is 80% water, so it is very important to stay hydrated for good brain function.  Ideal water intake would be to divide your body weight in half and drink that many ounces of water. (Example, 150lb person would drink 75 oz. per day.)  Do you want a brain boost on the go, Think Drink!   Water, water, water and more water, especially when hot.

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!