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This is an interesting story – if it wasn’t for this, there would be no “The Health Coach Group”.


2009 – was spent in and out of the hospital for tests – every single GI test – all the way to fighting with insurance and winning the ability to swallow a camera – only to find – NOTHING.  The GI Specialist threw up their hands and said they couldn’t find anything wrong with me – so they were going to quit looking.


Sorry if this is TMI – I couldn’t leave my house before 1p.m. any day – because I had to stay close to the toilet.  At the time, as an Interior Designer – that cut out 2/3 of my work day – I couldn’t visit clients in their homes and that is what I did every morning – so it was a big deal.


In 2006 a holistic doctor had told me I had leaky gut and took food allergy tests – which excluded almost everything (or so it seemed at the time).  I showed it to my regular doctor and he said “life is short” eat what you want.


When the doctors gave up on me – I decided it was time to make some drastic lifestyle changes.  I gave up almonds, green beans, kidney beans, rye bread, all gluten, all dairy, all processed foods and – even though I didn’t need to – I gave up meat.  I didn’t really like meat and I’m not sure why, but I must’ve felt like I fit into a category as a vegan that way and would seem normal – in some respect.


I went raw…by accident.  I gave up all the foods I was allergic to and somehow accidentally found out that I feel best when I am eating raw foods.  I had more energy, I felt lighter and brighter.


If you don’t have a good understanding of the concepts of raw nutrition — the thing that comes to mind is raw meat.  Ick.


It was touch and go at first because my body was not used to that much fiber.  After a while and with the help of enzymes, my body adjusted.  – Watching me learn all these things was pretty funny- I didn’t know what enzymes were when I started out – I’ve come a long way.


Eating raw is not a diet.  On the contrary, eating raw leaves you totally satisfied and free from overeating and food cravings.  Everything in your body and mind work together and tell you when you have had enough.  You don’t need to measure, count or suffer.


What is raw food?

Raw food is any food that has not been cooked over 118 degrees F.  When the food is cooked past being raw, it loses enzymes.


Why would you want to eat raw food?

When we are born, we have a certain number of enzymes.  These enzymes do a lot of different things in our body, one of the most important being digestion.  We use our allotment of enzymes up faster than other generations because the standard American diet consists of very little raw food.  The less energy our body uses to digest our food, the more energy our body has to work and play.  Eating raw is especially helpful for athletes because it naturally energizes.  If you want to learn more about raw nutrition and sports, Brendan Brazier is an excellent source of information.  He lives the raw food lifestyle, teaches it and explains it in a very straight forward manner.  He has several books out on raw nutrition and fitness.


Do you lose weight on raw food?

You don’t always lose weight on raw food.  It is like anything else, if you eat too much of certain foods you will put on weight.  If you are trying to lose weight you need to curtail some of (but not all)  the nuts and oils and too many fruits and eat more greens.


How much raw food do I need to eat to get the benefits?

If you are eating no raw foods…any amount of raw foods will benefit you.  If you just add a raw salad to your day, you will be way ahead of where you were yesterday.  You don’t have to eat 100% raw.  You don’t even have to eat 80% raw, if you increase your food to 50% raw, you will be doing really well.  We all should listen to our bodies.  I listened to mine and the more raw I ate, the better I felt.


Where do you get your protein?

Nuts, legumes,  spinach and other vegetables have protein.  Animal products, contrary to what many believe, is not the only source of protein.


I heard eating a raw lifestyle is dangerous.  Is this true?

It is important to have a good understanding of raw.  It is not good to live on cucumbers alone.  It is also not good to just eat fruit, especially for those who suffer from candida.  When eating raw, you need to eat a balanced diet, just like everyone else.  Carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats all make up a balanced diet and you can get it 100% raw, 80% raw or 50% raw.


Do you have to take a lot of vitamin supplements?

No, not necessarily.  I take multi vitamins, probiotics, Vitamin D3, enzymes and I get B12 shots.  B12 is really the only thing you can not get on a vegan/raw diet.  B12 is only available from animal products, with the exception of nutritional yeast, and there are a lot of people who can not tolerate nutritional yeast.  Most B12 supplements are ineffective and a waste of money.


What can you eat if you eat only raw?

Here was a typical day for me…

Raw protein shake w/ healthy fat, leafy vegetables, berries, 1/4 banana, chia seeds.

Raw protein bar w/ healthy fat, hemp protein and raw cacao

Raw protein shake (2nd half of breakfast)

Giant salad w/ apples, mixed greens, walnuts, avocado

Little salad w/ cucumber, avocado and hemp seeds

Sometimes, I skip the salad and just have a big green juice
…sometimes I get a treat with a raw cacao, mushroom, berry, chia pudding


That’s a lot of food!  Plus it is really delicious.


What about in the winter, don’t you want something warm?

I would allow myself to have warm any time I felt like it.  Soups, teas….warm won’t hurt you.  However, having said that, you can still eat foods that are warming without cooking it.  Nuts, roots and winter foods are warming and very satisfying in the cold winter months.


Don’t you miss desserts?

Heavens no!  Some of my favorite desserts now are raw.  Raw cacao is the best and when you mix it with other things…it is heaven.  Two of my favorite desserts came from Brendan Brazier/Vega/Thrive.  He released a raw carrot cake a couple years ago for Easter and it is delicious, it is made with pecans, dates…etc and the frosting is from agave, cashews and coconut oil.  It is devine.  For mother’s day the same year, he released a yummy cacao, coconut and maca bar.  I have changed both recipes a little, but they leave me with no shortage of goodies and the great thing is, when I have a 2 inch piece…that is all I want.  I don’t feel the need to eat and eat and eat until it is all gone.


After 1 1/2 years, I got tested and no longer had food allergies.  The funny thing is – and this makes sense – those food allergies just didn’t show up because I wasn’t eating any of the culprits.  I went back to eating meat and a few processed foods – I’ve never given up stevia.  I’m eating cooked food again – but nothing with oil….the oil in cooking makes me feel really bad.  I created The Health Coach Group and sit at my desk all day instead of carrying samples and moving things around (including my body)….so the last 2 years have been a challenge to stay balanced.  My Fitbit goes off every hour to remind me to get up.  Next week I go to Europe – the food there is clean and I am okay – when I return, I’ll be returning to 80% raw.  I still don’t like meat – I may include eggs and cooked vegetables.


The funny thing is – we feel like we need to fit into a dietary theory – we’re not vegan if we eat eggs – but why do we have to be categorized.  Really, we should all eat to suit our own bodies.  When we had a dietitian on staff, she kept saying that she wouldn’t ever remove any major food group – but really, meat is not a food group, it is part of a food group – and the same with wheat – there are tons of other grains besides wheat.


Five major food groups – according to FDA-

  • Vegetables and legumes/beans.
  • Fruit.
  • Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties.
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans.
  • Milk, yoghurt cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat.

They stepped forward with my plate:

Fruits, grains, vegetables, proteins, dairy.

I do well with this – except dairy – but there are nice substitutes.

Eating raw, I tested high in good cholesterol – from coconut, olive oil, nuts and avocados.  That’s okay.

I just finished reading Dr. Mark Hyman’s bood – Eat Fat Be Thin.  It was good.  He combined Vegan with Paleo to make the ultimate dietary theory – Pegan.  He said there are bad vegan diets and bad Paleo diets and someplace in the middle with good healthy choices was a good place to be – but not for everyone.


Thought I would share my little story with you – I ended up at IIN not to become a nutritionist or a health coach, I only wanted to learn more about food and health.  When I saw all the health coaches who weren’t working and didn’t know how to run a business – that’s where I felt I was called to help.  Like many health coaches – I’d sure like to save people the trouble of going through the years of misery that I went through – but I can help a lot more people to do that – by helping health coaches learn how to be business people – so here I am.


Are you a little curious?  Do you have any questions for me?  Please ask away…I would love to answer them!  April 16th is my d-day – back to the way I ate for 1 1/2 years – permanently.  It took a lot of time – A LOT OF TIME – to keep up with this lifestyle.  All the changes and utensils are in place this time.  It’s just the shopping and food preparation and appliance cleaning that will be time consuming.  I’m in a position now that I can get help – WELLLLL, my husband’s retired and he helps me too.  Anyway, if you want to join me on the 16th, let me know below.  I’ll help you.  Everything’s documented and it won’t take much time.  We can support each other.




  1. Cristina Brennan

    I had the same 8 years ago, and toke all processed food and dairy from my diet. Today I feel totally different and have no plans to eat as I did before.

    • Cathy

      That’s great Cristina!

  2. Shellie Bolyard

    I’m guessing as Health Coaches, we all have similar stories. I’ve learned a lot on my journey and want to help others to prevent modern diseases. I am grateful for you and The Health Coach Group because I’m a trained health care provider, not a strong business builder. Interesting, the more time I spend building my business, the less time I spend in the kitchen cooking healthy meals for my family. I’m still learning to find balance too! But I know my struggles with finding balance will resonate with other busy Mom’s trying to find balance as they build healthier families.

    • Cathy

      You can be sure of that Shellie, and has hard as some things are – they all get you to where you’re meant to be.

  3. Lynne Wadsworth

    That’s great Cathy. Changing our way of eating can make such a remarkable change in our lives and with our health.

  4. Marian

    I love hearing others journey’s. I too went raw for awhile only it made me feel absolutely awful. But that is how I found IIN. I found it fascinating that others felt amazing eating a certain way that made me feel and look awful. I felt that individuality was huge when it comes to health and read Joshua’s book. From there I knew becoming a health coach was my future. I’m so grateful for him, the school, and this community!


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