A Natural Approach to Health, with Rhonda Nolan, NTP

Welcome!

My Parents, Age 80, Sharing Tender Moments at the Park

My name is Rhonda Nolan and I am a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.

My sincere hope is that you will find many practical pearls of information, health tips and help within these pages.

Below are some navigational tips to help you, well, navigate.

Home – Great place to be.  You’ll get a feel for who I am and what I do.

About – Allow me tell you my story, which I suspect you may just relate to.

Nutritional Therapy – What it is and why it might be just what you are looking for.

Extras – Currently Under Construction.

Resources – Are you a newbie to the concept on these pages and want to learn more?  Are you an old timer and want to delve deeper?  There’s something here for everyone.

Services and Events – What I do and where I do it, including local events (Medford, OR) that may interest you.

Contact – Got questions?  Ready to book a Health Consultation?  Want to suggest health subjects you’d like to see here?  Let me know.

I am here to help!

Those four words mean different things to each of us.  Transitions happen.  How we approach the change is up to us.

Transitions

In Feb 2011 I was given the pink slip.  After 11 years, my job position was eliminated.  I became one of the millions of Americans unemployed.  What’s next?

Attitudes

Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was given a precious gift.  The transition gave me a new beginning!  I know that not everyone experiences relief and hope when losing their job.  But for me, and for many of my co-worker friends who lost their jobs that Friday morning in February, we were each given a fresh start.  A chance to re-evaluate what we wanted to do with our future – what paths to follow, to not only bring in income, but even more importantly, to pursue our passions.

Priorities

Having juggled a very stressful full time job and a new Nutritional Therapy business, I was exhausted, both mentally and physically.  By slowing down the pace, and enjoying the lack of stress, I slowly regained my health.  Now I had more time to devote to my Nutritional Therapy business.  I prepared and enjoyed giving HealthTalks at the library.  I broadened my education through classes, webinars and seminars.

Opportunities

All of the education, experience, and yes even my previous job; all the passion for nutrition and helping others, all of it eventually lead me to finding a job that I thoroughly enjoy.  I feel so fortunate to have found a job that I love.  It totally fits my personality.  It dovetails with my views and passions about nutrient dense whole foods.  It fulfills my desire to help others. And it fits perfectly in this season of my life.

I am finding great pleasure and satisfaction helping others through my Virtual Assistant job (I work from my home office!) with Wise Choice Market.   Using my experience with sales and customer service, I can touch many lives.  And you can hear my passion for nutrition in the articles I write for their website!  My favorite article subjects and that were fun to write:  What is bone broth and why is it so good for you? and Name that Strain!

Oh, I’m going to shamelessly promote myself . . . I’m also a sales rep for Wise Choice Market.  So whether wholesale or retail, let me know if you or someone you know is interested in excellent top quality nutritious foods and I’d be glad to help.  I can be reached at: info@wisechoicemarket.com  and 541-613-1165.

You can still find me on FacebookAnd drop me a line; I’d love to hear from you.

If you find yourself in a transition, be sure to watch expectantly for opportunities.  Like me, you may find a true blessing in a new season of your life!

Do you ever really think about the foods you eat?  I mean seriously, the source of the food; where it was grown, how it was handled from the ground to your table?

Recently I gave a talk about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).  While researching for the talk, I was amazed at how many foods have been tampered with – even long before they are planted.  I was even more amazed at the long, long, and I mean really long list of foods and non-foods (prescription drugs, etc) that have GMOs in them.  Hidden.  Not labeled. Consumed unbeknownst to the consumer.

Another recent discovery I found was about the salt we use daily.  Additives like aluminum (for anti-caking). Even many of the sea salts are contaminated with lead!

What about the all pervasive BPA?  Not just in plastic water bottles, but also in the lining of canned foods. Now they’re even telling us BPA is on cash register receipts, contaminating paper money when we stash the receipt in our wallets. (In case you’re wondering BPA is a major endocrine disruptor).

And then there are laboratory creations to “improve” on the real thing. Chlorine (uh folks, that’s bleach!) added to create a low sugar sweetener (Splenda).  Approximately 90% of vegetable oils (corn, canola, cottonseed, soy) are Genetically Modified.  Then advertised and sold as “healthy”.  Partially hydrogenated oils (see GMO oils listed in previous sentence) are used to create fake butter, most often called margarine (gives new meaning to “it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature”).

Oh, and don’t forget all the un-pronounceable ingredients in packaged, processed and frozen foods. Yes, even the ones that are promoted as “healthy”.

Personally, the more I know about the contamination of mass produced and highly processed FrankenFood, the more I want to strive to eat pure foods.  Organic foods.  Foods my great grandma served her family.

Lest you think I’m a food purist, let me just clear up that misconception.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been known on occasion to eat something questionable. And I mean really questionable.  Not often.  But, I knowingly eat something I have absolutely no business eating.  Later, the Nutritional Therapist in me gets curious about what exactly I just ate.  So sheepishly I take a look at the ingredient label.  Uh oh.  Not good.  Not good at all!

Let me guess – you can relate right?

The good news . . . an occasional splurge most likely won’t do permanent damage.

The bad news . . . You can’t lie to your body.  What do you mean “it’s questionable?”  It’s poison!   And your body may just take revenge on you; upset tummy, migraine headache, or other unmentionable miserable symptoms.

Know something else about your body?  It may forgive, but it sure doesn’t forget.

Do yourself a favor; heed the warning bells.  Learn your lesson. I mean, how many times does your body need to remind you?  I guess some of us need to be reminded more than a few times.

Or to put it bluntly – do as I say, not as I just did. Twice last month.

Let’s eat real foods that nourish our bodies.  Include some raw foods daily, preferably organic.  Ever try cultured veggies?  They are live with enzymes and beneficial bacteria (probiotic foods) that help with digestion and assimilation of your foods. They also add complex flavors and pizzazz.  Consume nourishing foods, protecting foods.  Your body thanks you.

Did you know that you can’t have a negative and a positive thought in your brain at the exact same time?

Here are some positive tidbits I’ve collected.  As you read them, I challenge you make it personal; to own them.

De-Stress Yourself

  • Listen to your favorite music.
  • Move – get that oxygen flowing to your head.
  • If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.  The moral; worry is stress and if it’s not big enough to remember next year, it’s not worth worrying about now.

Let Your Hair Down

  • Laugh, giggle, be silly, play.  You don’t remember how?  Go to a playground and just watch children interacting with each other.

Live in the Present

  • Time is of the essence. Don’t put things off for later.  Do them now.  Live and give as if today were you last day.

Do not wait; the time will never be “just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”

– Napoleon Hill

Get inspired

  • Curiosity keeps you young.
  • Take time to read blogs or books or magazine articles about success stories related to what you want to do. It will get you energized.

Take Charge of Your Health

  • Want good health? You’ll need to take matters into your own hands. After all, no one is going to do it for you.

“A healthy life is a compilation, an intermingling design formed by a thousand small acts, decisions, and questions. Each healthy thing we do, each life-giving choice we make adds animation and dimension to our overall wellness picture.”

Mark Sisson

Spread Cheer

  • A smile spreads. So go ahead and smile.
  • Avoid the whiners; they’ll just bring you down.
  • Instead be the positive person that others want to hang out with.

Give Thanks

  • Be thankful. There are so many people that have it so much worse than you do. In everything give thanks!

Attitude

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

– Charles Swindoll

And Now Your Get To Meet Great Aunt Willie!

If you have been following this series, you’ll know that my Great Aunt Willie just celebrated her 90th birthday on February 9th of this year.  As part of the celebration she was featured on the ABC news in Fresno, CA.  And now you have a face to match the words I have presented in the Great Aunt Willie series.

As I bring this series to a close, I have to say that I have totally enjoyed sharing it with you.  The nostalgia of my own childhood was brought back to me through my Great Aunt Willie’s words.  And I hope you are inspired to reflect on fond memories from your childhood as well.

The goal of this entire series, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and now this last Part, has been not just to entertain you, which I hope it has.  But it is so much more than that.  It’s the simplicity of life, love of God and family, childhood innocence, having fun even through challenging times in our history.

And as a Nutritional Therapist, my other goal through this series, was to bring the memory and taste of food back to you – real God-made foods.  These foods have nourished humanity for millennia, and yet have been vilified in the last 30 or 40 years.  These foods are alive. They are life-giving and nutrient dense, with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. They have not been damaged by heat processing.  They are pure with no artificial ingredients.  No partially hydrogenated fats such as Crisco and margarine.  No chemicals.  No artificial anything.  No altered genes from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  No inflammatory and disease causing oils such as the vegetable oils on the market today (corn, canola, soy, cottonseed, safflower, etc). But rather pure lard, rendered from home grown hogs.  Not just cream and butter, but RAW cream and butter.  Eggs from pastured chickens. Garden fresh fruits and vegetables, naturally organic of course (no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides back then).  And they have flavor!

I challenge you to return to the wholesome foods like the ones that Willie ate as a child.

To my Mom and Dad . . . Thank you for the faith, values and integrity you have lived in your lives, and have instilled in me and my brothers. You did good!

To my Great Aunt Willie . . . Thank you for your story.  Thank you for your humor.  Thank you for your faith.  And thank you for allowing me to reach others through your words.

If you missed Part 2 and Part 3, you’ll want to catch up on the history of the early years that contribute to who my Great Aunt Willie is today, Part 1.  As I wrap up this series, I bring to you some of the pranks, fun and food on the farm growing up in a large family in the 1920s and 30s.

In Willie’s words, “Being the baby in a big family means many things.  I was loved, catered to, spoiled, picked on, bossed by anyone older than me and the blunt of many jokes.”

“The cruelest of them all – one summer afternoon, we were digging in the dirt under the mulberry trees.  We had dug about a foot into the soil and there in that hole was a beautiful, bright red stone.  The older girls declared it a ruby.  It looked like a ruby to me.  We had struck a ruby mine in our own back yard!”

Now here comes the cruel joke.  A small cloth bag was produced and that lovely red stone, which Willie thought was a ruby, was put in the bag.  Then they continued digging, finding more of those lovely rubies, all the same size and shape.  Well if you haven’t guessed, sure enough Willie had been hoodwinked.  “When it was time to start counting our gain, the bag was opened, and there lay one solitary red piece of glass.”

“They had dropped that one stone into that hole over and over and let me find it.  They stood there laughing.  At that moment I loathed the whole bunch.”

Late summer and fall was harvest time.

Mama and the other women cooked up a storm during the harvest, not only preserving foods for the winter, but also to feed the hungry mouths coming in from the field.  There was fried chicken, potatoes, gravy, green beans, biscuits and so much more.  A real treat was when Papa brought back ice from town.  Mama made gallons of ice tea.

During cotton harvesting time the school closed down for a couple of weeks.  And except for Mama, who stayed in the kitchen, everyone else picked cotton.

Of course in Willie’s eyes there were many distractions; grasshoppers, birds, spiders, lizards and assorted bugs.  “Same ole fuss, fuss, fuss.  Someone had to help pick Willie’s row or she would get lost.”  Well, don’t cha know at the end of the row, Willie’s sack always weighed the least.  “I so hoped no one would notice, but they always did – loud and clear.  It was enough to give a sensitive child a complex.”

But even in the cotton patch there was time for fun.  Papa planted watermelons between the rows.  The kids would find a good melon, break it with a thump on the ground, pull off their gloves and proceeded to do the natural thing – dig in with their hands.  Willie said, “Those were the best melons I ever ate!”

As it turned out Papa planted watermelons in various places.  Early in the season you couldn’t tell when a melon was ripe with just a thump.  So the kids would take a knife and cut a very small, but deep plug and pull it out of the watermelon.  If it was bright red, they’d cut the watermelon and eat it on the spot.  If the plug was green or light pink, they slipped it back into the hole.  Apparently Papa didn’t notice since he never fussed about it.

“Mama cut the rind of the melons in strips.  Next she cut away the green and red part.  Only the white part was left.  It was cut into small pieces and was made into watermelon rind preserves.  What a treat, hot biscuits, butter and preserves.”

“Down the hill from the barnyard was what we called the crossing.  The water was shallow.  It was the place we spent much of our play time.  Near the bridge was a very large tree.  Doug tied a long rope from the high limb.  It was perfect.  We would grab hold of the rope, walk a few feet up the bank of the river to get a running start and take off. We would swing over the river tipping the water with our toes as we glided over. We stood in a line and took turns.  It was a carefree feeling, flying like a bird.”

But this story wouldn’t be complete without even more food right?  Christmas in Willie’s young memories included the tantalizing smell of pumpkin pies, ham, hens stuffed with cornbread stuffing.  “We gathered around the table; thanks was offered for such abundance, then with lots of laughter and chatter, we delighted our taste buds and loaded our tummies.”

And there were community picnics.  “The picnic was held in a meadow with enough big trees to have good shade.  There was plenty of room for baseball, three-legged races, horseshoes, sack races and many other games.”  Fried chicken was the main fare.  And “Mama’s potato salad was the best of all.  The potatoes were cooked tender, mashed, then seasoned with onions, home canned pickles, hard boiled eggs and fluffed with pure cream.”  Hard work, family time, food and fun.

I hope you have enjoyed my Great Aunt Willie series.  It brings back the nostalgia and simplicity of another era – before computers and social media, text messaging and fast food.  Sure there were hard times.  But there were many happy times.  And these children who grew up, had children of their own, each reflecting the rich heritage they grew up with.  I am a product of this bygone era as my Mom’s Mother was Aunt Willie’s oldest sister.

As I bring this to a close, I’ve saved the best for last!  There is a Part 5.  And you won’t want to miss it!  You’ll meet the lady herself – my Great Aunt Willie on her 90th birthday.  Stay Tuned!

I have been gluten free for over 2 years.  In the early days after throwing all-things-gluten out of my life, I felt a strong need to find substitutes for some of my favorite foods.  This is a normal response – and that’s ok.  But finding “healthy” versions of gluten free foods in the health food section of the store has been a challenge.  Most all of the baked goods rely on starches added to rice or nut meal.  These starches are hard on blood sugar regulation, as they contain Amylopectin A, which is a uniquely digestible starch that causes a greater spike in blood sugar than a candy bar.  Oh, and just so you are aware, wheat also has Amylopectin A.

In those early days of gluten free living, I discovered coconut flour makes a great flour-like substitute.  And as long as you don’t have an egg allergy this works well when you feel the need for some delicious home-made dessert.  Hope you enjoy!

Rhonda’s Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cake

With Chocolate Chips (Optional)

3/4 cube butter melted  

5 whole eggs

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (low glycemic!)

6 to 8 drops Stevia (or to taste)

1 t. baking powder

2 t. vanilla extract

2 T. cream or milk (coconut milk ok too)

1/4 cup (+ 1 T. coconut flour if needed)

3/4 cup gluten free semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

With mixer beat all ingredients except coconut flour and chocolate chips.  Add 1/4 cup coconut flour and mix until well blended.  Let sit for a couple of minutes for coconut flour to soak up the liquid. Batter should be somewhat stiff.  If batter is too thin add 1 or 2 T. additional coconut flour.  If too thick add a little more cream or milk. Stir in chocolate chips, if desired.

Grease Pyrex 8 X 8 baking pan with coconut oil (or two 5 x 7” Pyrex baking pans).  Pour batter into pan.  Place in preheated 350° oven and bake for 28 – 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted come out clean.  Remove from oven, let cool slightly before serving.

*Note:  For variety try other nut butters.  You can also adapt this to a fruit and spice cake by removing the nut butter and adding applesauce and cinnamon, or a pineapple/coconut cake, banana cake, etc. Or you can adapt this to a chocolate cake by subbing cocoa powder for the nut butter; just be aware that you’ll need to add additional butter or other maybe coconut oil – and you’ll probably need to increase the sweetener.

Great Aunt Willie (Part 3)

After the inspirational Part 1  of Aunt Willie’s life (on Feb 9th she’ll be 90!), we left off in Part 2 with a few of the wholesome foods from Willie’s earliest memories.

But in the 1920s and 30s, food also played a large part in the art of healing.  And Mama had a remedy for everything . . .

Natural “Cures”

One day one of Willie’s sisters came back from a friend’s house with a rash.  Soon the whole family was infected with “the itch”.  Mama had heard about a miracle potion using sulfur and lard to kill the little mites.  So every night they removed their long underwear and rubbed on the grease.  When most of the kids in school were squirming and scratching, they brought the county nurse in. Apparently all of the kids at school seemed to be infected with “the itch” – except for Nora Nixon’s kids.

Mama also had a cure for a cold; juice from the wild plums she had canned and a teaspoon of baking soda.   Willie said that, “when the soda hit the juice, it burst into a mountain of bubbles and ran like a waterfall over the side of the glass.  One was expected to drink that concoction and drink it quickly.  The stomach felt as though it would erupt.”  A mustard plaster worked well to break up a chest cold.  It also was good for back pains.  But then again, it was difficult to remember there had been a back pain when your skin felt like it was on fire.

Any ailment that Mama couldn’t put her finger on got the time tested Castor Oil, but with a twist – hot black coffee!  Willie said it was a “loathsome blend.”  I’ll bet it was!

Although it didn’t take care of the itch left behind, chiggers were killed by dabbing bacon grease on the bite.  And what did you do when a bare foot met with a rusty nail?  Ah, soak it in a pan of kerosene and all was well.

How about cuts that didn’t require stitches?  Turpentine and sugar!  And if one of them had the grippe (the “flu”)?  A stinky herb called Asafetida was used.  Percy or paregoric was used for colic. (Percy was made with bismuth subsalicylate and Paregoric was a camphorated tincture of opium and anise) Lydia Pinkham compound was used for female disorders.

Natural Soap and Household Cleaners

Mama’s big black iron pot in the back yard was used on hog butchering day to render all the hog fat into lard or soap.  Store bought soap was only used for washing hands, face, weekly baths and shampoo (excellent when used with rain water).  Unlike the neighbors’ soap which was dark and heavy, Mama’s homemade soap was a beautiful light golden color.  Mama’s soap was used for laundry and dishes.  Lye was used for the really tough jobs like scrubbing the wooden floor.

Another “Cure” – Home Cured Ham

In Willie’s own words, “The inside of the smoke house was a feast for the eyes.  The place was full of home grown pork.  The hams were sugar cured to perfection with Papa’s own recipe.  Papa ground meat for sausage with just the right proportion of lean and fat.  The sausage was stuffed in long white bags Mama made.  Its flavor was another of Papa’s concoctions, plenty of sage and pepper.  The sides of bacon were a sight to behold.  We truly ate high off the hog all winter.  Papa cut slabs of ham fit for a king.  While the ham cooked in a big fry pan, the red-brown goodness seeped out.  It made gravy beyond description.  All this was complemented with Mama’s high, light biscuits, homemade jam and sometimes a rare delicious egg-butter. It was golden yellow, smooth, sweet and creamy.”  I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering!

Next time I’ll share memories of  fun on the farm with Willie and her siblings.  And of course more delicious food.