Crystal is a music teacher in Houston, Texas with a passion for lifting heavy weights and eating healthy whole foods. Her interest in nutrition came from growing up as “the fat kid.” In her 20s, she started researching and trying out different “diets,” all with varying degrees of success. Paleo is the only thing that hasn’t felt like a diet, and it has impacted more than just her waistline! For three years, she’s experienced improved strength and fitness, clear skin, stable moods, and a strong immune system. She loves to help others learn about good nutrition and functional fitness as she continues on her own health journey!
Ellen has a B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a major in psychology and an M.A. in counseling psychology from the Adler School of Professional Psychology (Chicago). She worked for eight years in the youth services department at a public library and is currently in year eight of substitute teaching in grades pre-K through 8 with a focus on children with special needs. She is married with two boys, ages 13 and 15. She has always had a mild interest in nutrition but in the fall of 2011 became more interested due to a couple of friends who introduced her to Paleo/primal eating. She started reading books and blogs and listening to podcasts on the subject and was both resistant and intrigued. In February of 2012 she did her first 21-Day Sugar Detox and was hooked. She has continued to learn more about nutrition each day. Ellen’s health mission going forward is to keep her diet as close to a Paleo/primal ideal as possible: one that is full of healthy protein, fat, and carbs and free of gluten, grains, and legumes with limited dairy. She is still on a journey of learning and experimenting. She also enjoys exercise and has been a runner for close to 25 years. About a year and a half ago she added CrossFit to her routine and found she really loves the challenge and the CrossFit community. She also enjoys cycling, yoga, hiking, and walking.
Eric studied public relations at San Diego State University, but he ended up going into high tech. For the past 25 years, he’s held a variety of sales and marketing roles, the most recent being cofounder of a small software company. Eric has been interested peripherally in nutrition since college. He took a Nutrition for Athletes class one semester, and it covered all the things you’d guess: carb loading, low-fat, etc. He pretty much followed standard nutritional dogma. He first encountered the concept of the ancestral diet in the summer of 2010, when a friend recommended a book called Deadly Harvest that was written by a British nutritional anthropologist by the name of Geoff Bond. The idea that our ancestors evolved eating food from their environment made perfect sense to him, and he jumped in with both feet to follow a similar diet. He lost more than 30 pounds, with the first 20 coming off in only 20 days. He’s been paleo/primal ever since. Today, Eric shares this experience passionately with everyone he knows, along with the importance of exercise, sleep, and play as critical components of long-term health. He is committed to supporting others by helping them learn about the benefits of a paleo/primal/ancestral diet and encouraging experimentation to find what works best for each individual. His vision is for a healthier human race living more in harmony with our plane.
Jessica Chandler has a BBA in Operations Management from Baruch College and currently works in marketing in the financial industry. She became interested in nutrition and specifically Paleo through a lengthy search to identify what she later learned is gluten intolerance. From there, she found that not only did going gluten free provide a solution, but following a Paleo diet also created a template for lasting health. Jessica also runs a Paleo focused blog called The Paleo Professional. Going forward, Jessica’s passion and health mission is to continue to spread the real food word in order to play a role in debunking the many nutrition misconceptions out there.
Julie has a BS in Sports and Recreation Management from Lake Superior State University and works as an event planner and communications specialist for a large food-service company in Houston, Texas. She had been a lifetime dieter and has always struggled with her weight until about two years ago when a friend had huge success by switching to a whole foods based diet and doing weight lifting. Julie did a 30-day challenge based on the book It Starts With Food and kept on going! Eventually she discovered Paleo and realized it was more about feeding herself quality food than limiting her options like a traditional diet. Paleo taught her how to cook and her body weight has finally stabilized without the need to count calories or stress over her fat/carb intake. It’s true freedom after so many years of yo-yo dieting! She loves sharing her Paleo/foodie adventures on her Facebook page. Julie’s health mission going forward is really focused on helping others realize the true benefits of ancestral-type eating. Along with her husband, she advocates this lifestyle to everyone and anyone who will listen in order to help them realize the true effect that fake-processed food has on their bodies, their health and their longevity. She is also preparing for her first child in February 2014, so she’s focusing more on fertility, children’s health and discovering ways to navigate the world of processed food with a child in her family. It will be a new Paleo challenge for sure!
Katie is currently pursing her Holistic Nutrition certification from the Nutritional Therapy Institute in Denver and will have her NTP in June 2014. She is a Nurse Practitioner with over 15 years in the medical field having worked in wide range of settings from the outpatient care to the critically ill. Managing chronic health conditions of society day-in and day-out and watching those conditions turn acute and even fatal has moved her to find a different way to intervene. She has always been interested in nutrition and for years was in search of the magic “quick fix” or latest fad diet to keep weight off and yet feel healthy and well at the same time. She was introduced to Paleo through her Crossfit gym. Eating real foods, as our ancestors did, with a goal to be healthy, capable and strong made a lot of sense to her and in turn, made a lot of sense to her body. After seeing successes both personally and with her family, she began mentoring others and has continued to see lives changed and health evolved. She quickly realized this was a passion for her and decided to pursue a formal education in order to continue to help people achieve the same. Katie is committed to helping people optimize their health by healing themselves through their food and lifestyle choices. For the most part, she believes we shouldn’t need to rely on popping pills to treat medical conditions (both physical and mental) or counting calories, carbs or “points” to optimize our weight. Often times, this is just putting a band-aid on problem and it’s bound to catch up with us. If we start with what and how we put food in our body we can address much more than just the number on the scale and begin to realize our health potential.
Keri attended William Jewell College to study Psychology and is considering a return to school to obtain either a holistic coaching degree or nutritionist certification. She currently works as a Software QA Analyst for a Kansas City-based anesthesia billing software company. Keri has always had a passion for cooking (and eating) good food–she thinks she was one of the first people to watch Food Network 24/7! Food was comfort, celebration and nourishment all at the same time. Then about a year ago, she was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Since the time of that diagnosis, she’s gone through several gluten-free diets, all of which included processed foods and kept her on grains and dairy. Many of her symptoms, including joint pain, acid reflux, TMJ, sciatica, painful periods, constipation, stomach pain, headaches, belly bloat, weight that wouldn’t come off, anxiety, depression, mood swings, frequent sinus infections and fatigue, she attributed to aging and not to the inflammatory properties of the food she was eating. Until she read Practical Paleo, she could never wrap her head around the Paleo lifestyle; she always assumed it was another fad diet, created to make people millions of dollars while people yo-yo’d with their health. She would really like to help others find the nutrition and wellness lifestyle that works the best for them and for their bodies. She doesn’t exactly know what that looks like yet, but for now, Keri is telling others about her experience and passing on relevant information that she hopes will assist them in their own wellness journey.
PTC (prior to children), Kym was a Certified Medical Assistant and worked for a family practice clinic and a gastroenterologist. Currently, she works for the government. She recently obtained her AA, and in January of 2014, she will begin her education as a nutritional consultant at Bauman College. As long as she can remember, Kym has always been interested in health and nutrition. Sadly though, she believed the Standard American Diet. It wasn’t until her oldest son was diagnosed with ADHD that she began questioning what she had been raised on. In 2010, she stumbled upon Paleo and thought it was the craziest thing she’d ever heard, but she gave it a try anyway. Her life has never been the same! Kym is an avid athlete. She loves to run, completing 5 marathons, at least 20 half-marathons, and numerous 5/10k’s. She also loves to cycle and swim, and she just competed in her very first triathlon. Her next goal is a half-ironman! She is proof that you can be an endurance athlete and Paleo. Kym wants to change the world! She wants to teach others how to take control of their health and to really believe that they can do it. She has seen first hand how life changing “going Paleo” can be and she wants to share it.
Melissa was raised in a small town in Northern Californian Gold Country (Sonora) and after high school and some college, decided to move to sunny San Diego for a change of pace and scenery. She has always loved books and reading, which led her to a job working for a book distributor. Eventually she became an Assistant Book Buyer for Costco in Seattle, WA, where she has lived since 2002. She has always been passionate about the outdoors, but her eating wasn’t healthy and she carried quite a bit of extra weight. Living on her own and being surrounded by healthy and active people helped start her on a journey to weight loss and healthy living. After having two children, she struggled to get back to a “healthy weight.” She tried a Crossfit class, which led her to Paleo and the Balanced Bites Podcast. Everything Diane and Liz spoke about just made sense and she started implementing Paleo into her life about 18 months ago. Her goal is to continue living a healthy lifestyle and to share her passion and knowledge with others in a respectable and responsible way.
Paul is a seasoned marketing and pricing leader with years of experience in the space. Paul has a Chemical Engineering degree and a Masters in Business Administration. He also serves as a board member at a local food bank. Paul is an avid gourmet chef and when faced with a diagnosis of painful arthritis, he took the challenge and decided to try a different path other than medication. He adopted food as his medicine and dove into the deep end on a cold January day. Sixty pounds lighter and able to exercise again with a total lack of pain in his joints, he is a total convert to the Paleo lifestyle and wants to help spread the news and hope as far and wide as he possibly can.
Paul has a BA in math/computer science, neither of which has gotten much use in his 19-year career as a UNIX/Linux System and Network Administrator. He is currently employed at a small high-tech start-up outside of Boston as their Principal Systems Architect and Automation Engineer where he constantly attempts to automate himself out of a job. Paul has always had a passing interest in health and nutrition but it became significantly more focused after his introduction to Crossfit and reading Robb Wolf’s book. It was about this same time which he dragged his wife to Diane’s second-ever Balanced Bites Nutrition Seminar and it’s been full-steam ahead ever since. He has no current plans going forward other than just learning and teaching others what he knows as best he can, which is the mission his partner, Paul Adair, and he have for their blog/Facebook page, The Thoughtful Cave Dad. Someday he may pursue something more formal, but for now he’s quite busy with family, work, and listening to as many Paleo/Health-related podcasts as possible. When he’s not working, listening, reading, or blogging, he loves to spend time with his wife, his daughters and his 10 chickens.
Rene has a BS in Fitness and Human Performance from University of Houston: Clear Lake and a MS in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from California University. He started eating Paleo when he read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and after listening to Robb’s podcasts for a few years. He followed the plan, and it changed his life. Now he tries to promote eating whole foods and not the SAD diet that got us here in the first place. Rene’s health mission is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and influence as many people as he can along the way.
Shannon is a part-time certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Consultant. She works full time as a Sales Manager for Crate & Barrel. She began her Paleo lifestyle while doing research on a ketogenic diet in Fall 2010 and took control of her life and health. She knew there had to be a better way to eat and eat real food. Shannon found Balanced Bites and the 21-Day Sugar Detox in 2011 and did her first detox in January 2012. The detox was so simple to follow and she never felt like she was on a detox. Her skin cleared up, she slept better and she was in control of her cravings. She feels the 21-Day Sugar Detox can help so many, and she looks forward to helping people reach their health potential.
Tonja was born into a military family, so she began traveling the world at an early age. She spent her formative years in Europe where she developed a thirst for travel and a diverse palate. In the early 90’s, she studied Photography at the University of New Mexico which eventually led to hanging out of very small airplanes to take pictures as an aerial photographer. She then set her feet firmly on the ground and entered the world of corporate advertising. In 2004, her husband and she were blessed with a son and a year later a daughter. In 2009, Tonja’s life was changed forever with the loss of her mother to cancer. Never a healthy role model, her mother’s death brought her to a cross-roads in her life. She was unhappy with her health, her weight, and her lifestyle, and she vowed NOT to walk down the same unhealthy path as her mother. A friend pointed her toward a book from a well known Paleo author, and she quickly realized that the sugar, carbohydrates and factory foods she was feeding her family were killing them–one bite at a time. She committed to cleaning out her pantry which was a turning point for both her and her family. Around that same time, her son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Given the medical advice to medicate her son, she turned to food as his medicine. She has found that by sticking to a Paleo template, his focus improved and his emotional state is much more stable with fewer meltdowns and quicker recovery. She currently homeschools her children and focuses on making healthy choices in all aspects of life. Her family willingly shares their knowledge on any subject with anyone who asks, and are currently working on a website to chronicle their Homeschool-Paleo adventures.
Trecia has spent the last 10 years as a substitute para-educator in a large school district. Her focus has been mostly with disabled students and students with learning difficulties. Before that she was a stay-at-home mom and small business owner. She became interested in health about six years ago when her weight topped over 200 lbs. She lost 85 lbs. using a diet aid, which ended up causing all sorts of health issues. Since then she’s been working to improve her health. Paleo made the most sense as far as helping to improve her health. She continues to read, research and experiment with foods. Her mission is to help others recognize how the foods they eat can affect both their physical and mental health.