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.
Sarah works full time as a biller for the department of Radiation Oncology at the Strong Memorial Hospital. She is currently attending the Onondaga School of Massage with the hopes to become a Licensed Massage Therapist next year. In what little spare time she has left, she enjoys lifting weights and cooking up new and delicious Paleo style recipes. Sarah became interested in Paleo after dealing with a diagnosis of IBS and trying to deal with all of it’s unpleasant side effects. She learned Paleo could potentially aid with digestive issues and decided to give it a try in the summer of 2012/ She has been following a Paleo style diet ever since and has completely resolved her “IBS” symptoms. Sarah enjoys sharing how the effects of a whole foods diet can greatly impact our lives.
Lifestyle & Wellness Expert, Nutritional Consultant
Michal has always had a love for food, cooking and all things nutrition related. She grew up in South Africa where she studied biological sciences and got her degree in Optometry with a minor in holistic nutrition. After some travelling, disguised as learning overseas, Michal immigrated to Canada where she worked in business development and team building. A less than positive experience with the current acute care medical system and ‘Standard American (Canadian) Diet’ whilst trying to overcome a chronic health issue, led Michal on a path to discovering that food truly is our best medicine and that all healing begins in the gut. Once recovered, Michal wanted to help others reach their optimal level of health, wellness and vitality that a real food approach to diet gives. She is now a certified life coach, a graduate of IIN and enrolled in the FDN program (hoping to be completed by the end of 2014). She is a nutritional consultant working with individuals looking to improve their general well-being, with a special emphasis on naturally and holistically healing the damage that disordered eating creates in the entire digestive system.. When not counselling others or trying to keep up to date with the online world, Michal is an amateur cook, testing her newest food creations on brave volunteers. She is enthusiastic about sharing and gaining knowledge with and from like-minded individuals and is excited to be a part of the Diane’s team.
Jennifer is a student at Portland State University seeking a Masters of Public Health with a minor in Psychology. She started her Paleo journey in 2011 when a personal trainer suggested The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. After reading the book she committed her family of five to Paleo and learned how to cook and shop economically. Her training in culinary arts, and background as a personal chef, helps in finding creative and resourceful ways to eat Paleo on a budget. Jennifer is passionate about spreading the benefits of Paleo and supporting others in making eating Paleo manageable and fun!
Courtney Cronk, NTP
Courtney is a stay-at-home mom in Portland, OR, and owner of a nutritional therapy practice called Nourish Portland. Fueled by her own health challenges (including Hashimoto’s and SIBO), Courtney stumbled upon the Paleo diet in 2011, and her passion for real food nutrition led her to become a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) in 2013. With an MA in Applied Behavioral Science/Counseling, Courtney employs her expertise in human behavior and performance with a thoughtful approach towards optimal nutrition and healthy living for those with whom she works. Believing that food is indeed medicine, she finds it especially rewarding when people make the connection between what they eat (or don’t eat!) and how they feel. A proud, self-proclaimed nutrition geek, Courtney often spends her free time reading the latest books, listening to recent podcasts, and watching current “summits” and “sessions” on anything to do with holistic nutrition.
Cassie Kanable, BS, NTP
Cassie holds a BS in mathematics/economics from Linfield College and received her education in ancestral nutrition from the Nutritional Therapy Association. She currently runs her own practice, Stumptown Nutritional Therapy, LLC in Gresham, Oregon and works as a pastry chef, serving gluten-free, real-food-based desserts at a restaurant just east of Portland, Oregon. Cassie grew up with an abundance of processed foods, plenty of sugar, and a family history of Type 2 Diabetes. She was introduced to a real-food-based lifestyle when she first tried CrossFit back in the spring of 2012, after struggling with her weight and counting calories for years. She immediately dove into learning as much as possible about the Paleo/Primal lifestyle starting with the Balanced Bites Podcast. She participated in her first 21-Day Sugar Detox in February of 2012 and enjoyed fabulous results including a reduction in persistent acne, better sleep, and improved body composition – in fact, she loved it so much that she stuck with it for a total of 90 days! Through her own personal success with a real food lifestyle, Cassie began mentoring friends, family, and fellow athletes. In October of 2012, Cassie lost her father to complications of Type 2 Diabetes at the age of 58. Her father’s death catapulted her into pursuing a formal education in nutrition and, to this day, serves as a motivation to help others regain their health and reverse modern disease perpetuated by our Standard American Diet. Cassie specializes in holistic nutrition consulting as it pertains to fat loss, fueling for athletes, and digestive wellness – seeing clients both locally and remotely. Cassie loves to teach real food seminars and cooking classes at local CrossFit gyms and natural grocery stores. When she’s not working, listening to Podcasts, reading, cooking, or “Instagramming” her every meal @stumptownnutrition, she enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their chocolate lab Paisley.