Nutrition Store and Healing Center
My interest in healthy eating and dietary supplements began when I was 21. It became my most important thing at age 24 when I was diagnosed with cervical cancer!
I’d grown up in a tiny all-Dutch community in Minnesota—population 1,000. My parents owned a meat market famous for my dad’s extraordinary bologna. That’s where I learned the ins and outs of running a retail business.
As young as seven-years old, I loved working in the store, especially climbing on a stool to ring up a customer’s purchase. Everything I know about running a store, I learned from my dad.
What I didn’t learn was healthy eating. Dutch “cuisine” is heavy on pastries, cookies, and cake. The ongoing joke was: “The Dutch don’t eat three meals a day. They eat six!
Yes. Really. We did.
Breakfast was usually oatmeal, toast and cheese, or eggs, fried fish and potatoes.
The mid-morning snack, called kleine lunch (“little lunch”), was coffee and a pastry, cookies, or cake.
Dinner (“diner,” served at noon) was meat, potatoes, and vegetables from our huge garden—followed, of course, by dessert.
The mid-afternoon snack was our second little lunch of the day.
Supper (“avondeten”) was a comparatively light meal of soup, a sandwich—and dessert, of course!
We ended the day with our final little lunch before heading off to bed.
Whew! Can you believe it?
Two things likely offset our unhealthy diet. One: the meat was from our naturally healthy pigs, grass-fed cows (no antibiotics) and venison when dad bagged a deer during hunting season. Second, we had fruit trees galore and a huge vegetable garden.
A LIFESTYLE SHIFT
When I was 20, I moved to Southern California. Dazzled by the southern California lifestyle, it wasn’t long before my Dutch cooking went by the wayside.
When I got my cancer diagnosis three years later, I faced a hysterectomy with a 6–8 week recovery time. I was 2,000 miles away from my family and divorced, I had no one to care for me and my three children.
Fortunately, my doctor had a patient who needed a place to live. Heather moved in, and brought her healthy Seventh-day Adventist Church vegetarianism with her. My greatest good luck was she also happened to be an herbalist, though at the time I had no idea how life-changing her knowledge would be.
The amazing vegetarian meals she prepared (absent three daily “little lunches,” of course) always included a cup of herb tea. I didn’t know or care what the herbs were. I just drank the tea, grateful for the care.
Until then the only thing I knew about herbs was how to season food with them. You know, oregano for spaghetti, nutmeg for pumpkin pie, things like that.
When I went for my post-op checkup, my doctor was amazed at my progress. “I can’t believe how far you’ve come!”
When I got home, I ask Heather if her herb teas were responsible for my better-than-expected recovery time. Her face beamed as she told me how the herbs played a big role in my healing. In that instant I knew I had to learn everything there was to know about herbs.
Heather brought me medicinal herb books from her library and I spent every waking moment of my recovery devouring those books. When I recovered, the first thing I did was embark on a mission of tracking down every natural healing book I could find. (There was no internet in those days.)
I took herb classes from a group of hippies who owned a new age shop in Venice Beach. I gobbled up anything written by natural health trailblazers like Adele Davis, Dr. Linda Rector-Page, and Jethro Kloss. NOTE: They were on the right track for their time, though modern knowledge has invalidated some of their more extreme advice.
I experimented on myself and my children. My kids never got a baby aspirin or an over-the-counter cold or flu medicine. My medicine cabinet was stocked with medicinal herbs, tinctures, and essential oils.
I bought our snacks at the health food store: sesame candies, carob cakes and cookies. Needless to say, there were no “little lunches” in our house! A favorite dessert was a banana mashed with peanut butter and honey. I educated my kids on the evils of Frosted Flakes, Kool-Aid, and the likes!
My obsession for keeping up with the latest information on natural healing has never abated.
FAST FORWARD T0 1995
My kids were out of the nest. I’d built a career as a marketing rep for a computer parts manufacturing company. When I got laid off and jobs were scarce, I settled into a Suzy Homemaker role.
After a couple of months of lolling around, boredom became the flavor of the day. When I noticed an ad for a parttime job at a health food store in a nearby town, I applied and got hired that day!
In some ways it was a humbling experience to go from a high-paid, fast-paced marketing job to earning $5.00 an hour stocking shelves. But I loved it! I had so much fun there. When the store fell on hard times and didn’t have payroll money, I stayed on working in exchange for store product.
One day, while idly thumbing through the local “Buy & Sell,” I saw a little ad: “Family-owned business for sale.” That tickled my long-buried love of working in our family shop as a child. I tore out the ad and stuck it on the refrigerator. Three weeks later, when I was cleaning all the notices off the refrigerator, I thought “I’ll at least find out what the business is before I toss this.”
When I asked the woman what the business was, I couldn’t help bursting out laughing when she said, “It’s a health food store.”
We chatted a little. I told her how I got obsessed with natural health. She said, “You should talk with my husband.”
I told her, “No way. I can’t afford to buy a store.” But she insisted and a couple hours later her husband called and invited me to coffee.
I agreed, but warned him, “You’ve got to understand, I can’t buy your store” (Though I didn’t know the price, whatever it was, I knew I couldn’t afford it.) We met in person. Right away I found that he had the same passion about natural health as I did.
He had sold the store three times! Each new owner failed and he’d take the store back. They either knew a lot about business but nothing about health, or knew a lot about health but nothing about business. He kept saying, “You have to buy my store. I’ll make it happen.”
No way. I knew if he carried the paper he’d want to be involved and I didn’t want that.
It happened that a close friend called me that night wondering where I’d been all day. I told her the story and she said, “You need to buy that store. That’s what you’re so interested in!“
“I don’t have the money to buy that store.” I was firm about it. I put the idea out of my mind and went to bed.
She called the next morning—at 7:00 a.m! “Listen,” she said sputtering with excitement. “I’ve got the money for you. We’re going to be partners.”
“What? I haven’t even seen the store!”
“We’ll go look at it. We’ll negotiate the price.”
Within five days the paperwork was done. I had a business partner and we owned a health food store.
MORE TO LEARN
Within just a few weeks of running the store I knew I needed more education in herbs and alternative health. I enrolled in the Clayton College of Natural Health correspondence program with the intention of becoming a naturopathic doctor. I completed the Bachelor’s and Master’s but California changed their law.
The end result was, if I wanted to become a naturopath, I’d have to go to Oregon for a two-year internship. No way that was going to happen.
Drowning in disappointment, I gave up the idea.
WAIT! ALL WAS NOT LOST
A few months later, my husband ran into people from the Holistic Life Institute. When he told them I’d been on the path to become a naturopathic doctor and had the rug pulled out from under me, they said, “Have her send all her transcripts and I’ll see what I can offer her.”
Energized by the possibilities of another chance I gathered every transcript from every medical course I’d completed, including those from my early days as a Certified Inhalation Therapist and Certified Lab Technician.
A few days later I received a call. “You are so over qualified, but you need just need four more classes to earn a doctorate in natural health. You won’t be able to do a lot of what a naturopathic doctor can do, but you’ll have impressive credentials.”
Buoyed by the idea of moving forward in the natural health field, I eagerly jumped in. I paid for the courses but the disappointment at this “second best” opportunity had me putzing along at a snail’s pace. After about three months my director called to short-circuit my lollygagging. She laid it out plainly. If I wanted my doctorate, I had three months to complete all four courses.
DEFECATE OR DECOMMODE
Well, that lit a fire under me. I turned over the store management to my employee, and for the next thirty days worked like a crazy person to get it done.
I never left the house except for one time to interview someone essential to my research. I worked a 24-hour non-stop schedule of work, eat, sleep. If it wasn’t for my husband regularly putting food in front of me, I’m not sure I would have eaten.
The end result was I finished on day 29, went to Office Depot, made copies of my work, put it in two manuscript boxes, shipped it to Orangevale, went home, and crashed for four days.
There were six people who had to read and approve my work. Two weeks later the director called me. “Congratulations! You passed with honors.” And that is how I earned my DNH, Doctor of Natural Health.
Of course, that wasn’t the end. The learning never stops. New research unveils new science. I jump at every opportunity to keep up with science and new developments in the natural health world.
I attend annual science conferences and train the store staff on all I learn. Additionally, the staff is kept up to date on store products with dinner trainings by product representatives. The staff also regularly tunes into online training on health products and their efficacy. They are well versed in matching products to conditions and stay up-to-date on the latest findings.
MORE THAN A HEALTH FOOD STORE
Over these past 25+ years the store has evolved into more than a health food store. Besides the natural health products, there’s the herb vault, a metaphysical section offering crystals, stones, jewelry, incense, candles and more.
YOU’RE INVITED . . .
Please stop by and take a look around. Scope out the herb vault. Take a peek at the sound and vibration healing bed. Visit with the staff and get answers to your questions.
I can’t wait to meet you!