by Elizabeth Rago
Inflammation. Chronic pain. Unpredictable digestive system. Brain fog. These are the words that have described my body and mind over the last ten years and left doctors scratching their heads as to what the true “diagnosis” is for my specific yet annoyingly random symptoms.
I’ve tried so many diets and cleanses and nutritional systems, and while many of them helped me restart, lose a few pounds and release several inches off my body, none were long-term financially or sustainable for my lifestyle.
Combined with a few years of trauma, my health, and especially my diet, took a backburner to simply surviving the day. Hours were spent in bed because I physically couldn’t move and a list of prescriptions grew with the frequency of flare-ups that came in so many forms steroids just couldn’t suppress.
While attending a local women in business meeting, I mentioned the frustration and spiraling of my body and mind, thinking all of my own crazy was bringing on my pain and illnesses to holistic nutritionist and certified culinary expert, Dee Dee Mehren.
An educator of helping people build and maintain overall good health, Mehren shared with me her own experience of combating an auto-immune disease post-childbirth and the hereditary lung disease that impacted her mother. She had to dig deeper to find out the root cause of these issues.
Living in Toronto at the time, Mehren decided to study Holistic Nutrition at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and then, after moving back to the United States, she studied at The Edison Institute of Holistic Nutrition and completed a certification to become a Certified Holistic Nutritionist. She also later became certified as a Culinary Nutrition Expert to expand her learnings into the kitchen.
During our conversation, Mehren explained that her mission is to empower people to have the energy and vibrancy required to pursue their life's passion.
I immediately asked how I could have some of that vibrancy and energy in my life and she told me about the 30 Days to Feeling Fabulous program she’s conducted the last 3 years in January.
I’ll be honest, I immediately thought, “here we go, another cleanse/short-term fix,” until she said,
“This isn’t a quick-fix, Elizabeth. It’s a sustainable way of living long-term.”
But embarking on complete lifestyle change smack dab in the middle of the holiday season spelled out nothing short of failure, yet when you’re on a mission to feel better - you don’t want to wait.
After a heart-to-heart conversation over Facebook, Mehren encouraged me to try out some of the recipes instead. Throughout the month of December, my husband and I softly implemented Mehren’s healthier recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
A mere week later, I saw a drastic difference - simply from eating the recipes. My brain fog was considerably better, the inflammation that coursed through the right side of my body in the form of arthritis hurt less and my usually swollen hand was noticeably smaller. My digestive system was running like a champ throughout the day instead of making me sprint for the bathroom after any meal (healthy or non-healthy choices alike).
We opted for the Paleo version of Mehren’s program (she also offers plant-based and Keto versions) and found the recipes to not only easy to whip up for a busy family of five, but they also tasted fantastic and flavorful. Based on the idea of the four pillars of health: nutrition, movement, stress, and sleep, Mehren’s plan kept me satisfied and tore through the weariness I felt, allowing me to fully engage in activities and exercise.
Next, my mood was steadier. Anxiety was manageable and I could definitely see a change in my overall mood, especially when faced with stress.
Now I’m ready to experience all the benefits of the 30 Days To Feeling Fabulous that starts on January 13 that includes: 28 days of recipes, entry into a closed Facebook Community group, daily posts on the four pillars of the program including a “challenge” of the day in nutrition, movement, stress, and sleep, weekly videos and Facebook live Q&A sessions and motivational emails. Mehren also partners with many community experts including Ginsberg Chiropractic, Advanced Physical Medicine in St Charles, Within Reach Health, Cryoplus Wellness, Salternative Spa, Spenga Geneva, Orange Theory Fitness, Spenga, Prana Yoga, Peak Fitness and Geneva Fit.
The recipes are simple and fast to execute. And if you don’t want to cook, Mehren has partnered with Quenby Schuyler owner of Geneva-based Q's Kitchen to provide meals using top quality, clean ingredients for an additional cost. Additionally, if you are out and about in downtown Geneva Chelsey from Green Gypsy Juice will have smoothies, elixirs, and lattes from Mehren's program available.