Blood Sugar Balance 2022

Blood sugar imbalance is an underlying cause in most chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and more.  

This 4 (+) week Blood Sugar Balance program provides everything you need to eat, move, and sleep to keep your blood sugar in the sweet spot- The spot where you have sustained energy, focus, and moods. 

We’ll take a deep dive into the sugar/insulin connection, the role of gut and mitochondrial health in weight gain (and loss), and practical ways to maximize the benefits of exercise and sleep to create your own metabolic sweet spot! 

In functional nutrition we look past the presenting symptoms to understand the underlying cause of your fatigue, weight gain, sleeplessness, and cravings. 

Until we address the “non-negotiables”  (blood sugar, inflammation, oxidative stress, hormone imbalance), no lasting intervention will help.

The BSB+ program can help you take a closer look at “what’s going on inside your body” to best support your health, overcome stubborn weight gain, and balance food, cravings, energy and mood.

When it comes to weight loss, it's important to trust your gut

Recent research suggests that the composition of the gut microbiome can predict an individual’s likelihood of obesity.

New studies report that differences in our gut microbiome are also associated with our body’s response to weight loss interventions.

When it comes to blood sugar and insulin balance it’s crucial to trust—and support—your gut bacteria.

How Your Gut Health Affects Your Weight

Experts suspect that gut bacteria— specifically, a lack of diversity in the microbiome—could drive junk-food cravings, insulin resistance and more.

Since your gut bacteria line your intestines, they come into contact with the food you eat. This may affect what nutrients you absorb and how energy is stored in your body.

One study examined the gut bacteria in 77 pairs of twins, one of whom was obese and one of whom was not.

The study found that those who were obese had different gut bacteria than their non-obese twins. In particular, obesity was associated with lower gut bacteria diversity, meaning there were fewer types of bacteria in the gut.


Other studies have shown that if the gut bacteria from obese people are put into mice, the mice gain weight, suggesting gut bacteria could affect weight.

Other studies show the number and variety of bacteria in your gut may affect your weight by influencing how different foods are digested in your body.

Dietary fiber is digested by certain species of gut bacteria, which may aid weight loss.

Other gut bacteria digest certain antioxidants found in plants known as flavonoids, which may help prevent weight gain.

Our gut bacteria can also influence how dietary fats are absorbed in the intestines, which may also affect how fat is stored in the body.


the proof is your biochemistry

Most of us care about weight loss, but we need to back it up to our biochemistry.

Not surprisingly, our nutritional choices show up in our blood and not just on our hips.

When researchers collected blood samples collected before and after the weight loss intervention, they found changes in the levels of metabolic markers in the weight loss and no-weight-loss groups.

The weight loss group showed an increase in adiponectin levels. Fat tissue secretes the hormone adiponectin, and an increase in the levels of this protein is associated with weight loss.

The weight loss group also exhibited a decrease in the level of six proteins, which scientists have previously shown to be associated with inflammation, obesity, and other metabolic disorders.

Biochemistry precedes weight loss.

And weight loss is associated with healthy gut bacteria, reduced inflammation, and an improvement in metabolic and immune function.  

how does this program work?

  • DATES: 
    • Saturday, January 15 Kick-off @ 12 pm 
    • January 15-22 Prep Week
    • 4 Weekly Program with weekly Coaching Calls on Tuesdays @ 7 pm
  • GOALS:  Balance blood sugar, improve gut health and insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, fatigue, and risk for metabolic disease.
      • Nutrition: (meal template, recipes, using our “macro mantra” at every meal: fat, fiber, and protein.
      • Gut Health Support: via targeted nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle interventions.
      • Movement for your Mitochondria: Learning the best and most efficient forms of exercise for metabolic health.
      • Education: Weekly small group coaching calls on a variety of topics to support your progress.
      • Motivation: Daily texts to inspire, educate, and motivate you to keep your focus on your program participation and personal transformation.
      • Tracking and Progress Updates: All participants will track daily food, mood, and movement. There’s an option for adding blood glucose monitoring with an at-home Contour One system or a Nutrisense CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor).
  • COMMUNITY: Prepare to be amazed by the power of this community to support, inform, and support you. We are ALWAYS better when we work together towards our goals.
  • Join our private FB group NOW

Sample Program Guide
and Week One Prep Booklet

Sample BSB Meal Plan
and Recipe Collection

two ways to play: enroll now!



This program includes:

  • Program materials and recipes
  • (5) Small group coaching calls
  • Daily texts and practical resources
  • Private Facebook group access.
  • 15% off optional Gut and Blood Sugar Support Supplements via FullScript
  • Optional: Help with blood sugar monitoring if student chooses to add their own blood glucose monitoring system.

This program includes:

  • Program materials and recipes
  • (5) Small group coaching calls
  • (4) (30) minute private coaching calls with Tina
  • Daily texts and practical resources
  • Private Facebook group access.
  • 15% off optional Gut and Blood Sugar Support Supplements via FullScript
  • Optional: Help with blood sugar monitoring if the student chooses to add their own blood glucose monitoring system.


If you’ve been told or suspect you have insulin resistance, unstable blood glucose, or can’t seem to budge the belly fat no matter what you’ve tried, you might want to add a glucose monitoring system to this program.

There are two ways to go and I can coach you through each process as I have used both.

The first is an at-home system employing a small lancet, testing strips, and glucose monitor.  I use the Contour One brand and it comes with a cylinder to load lancets in so you just click and stick which is not difficult or painful at all.  Together, we’ll decide when to measure your blood sugar, logging the results to see trends and the impact of your food and drink choices.   Cost: between $70 -$100 

The second option is investing in a month or two using a CGM (continuous glucose monitor).  I use Nutrisense which supplies you with two sensors monthly to apply to the back on one arm.  It’s not painful either, measuring the interstitial fluid, not blood in your body to sense blood sugar fluctuations in real time.  Cost: $250-$350 depending on program.

Please Note: There’s no requirement to get either one of these systems to participate in this program.  They are entirely optional. 

Questions about this program or other coaching help?

I’m all ears! 

Email me at or drop me a tet at 913 963 8546 today!

Fall Blood Sugar Reset

If you’re struggling with fatigue, mood swings, stubborn weight gain, belly fat, lackluster skin, and bothersome sugar cravings, it’s time to reset your metabolic engine!

Join me for my Fall 10-day Blood Sugar Reset,  October 17-27,  2021 with a kick-off workshop on Sunday, October 17th @ 12 pm

Show your body a little respect, and your body will reward you with greater focus, stability, and metabolic health. 

It’s not about willpower- it’s about biochemistry.


What do excess belly fat, blood sugar imbalance and serious diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes have in common? Poor regulation of insulin, a hormone secreted by your pancreas, is the critical connection.

Insulin gets secreted in response to the elevation of your blood sugar. Insulin is absolutely necessary to get the sugar out of your blood and into the cells where it can be converted to energy. Without insulin, your blood sugar would skyrocket and you’d become diabetic.

But insulin may also be released in response to stress.

The relationship between cortisol (a stress hormone secreted by your adrenal glands) and insulin is circular. Increased cortisol raises blood sugar which causes an increase in insulin which in turn causes cortisol to go up.

When we are chronically stressed, our cortisol levels remain high which keeps our insulin levels high.  This interrupts the normal function of insulin in response to the food we eat.


Under normal circumstances, after a meal, the increased glucose in your blood causes your pancreas to secrete insulin.

The more glucose in your food, the more insulin is produced.

Insulin binds to the cell membranes and triggers the cell membrane to open up and let the glucose in.

Insulin allows glucose, amino acids, fats, magnesium, and other nutrients into the cell where they can be used in the mitochondria to produce energy.  When this is in balance we feel centered energetic, focused, and lean.

It’s when our blood sugar, insulin, and cortisol are out of balance we experience issues.

When you eat foods high in carbohydrates or eat your meals too close together (ie. snacking) it stimulates a rapid rise in glucose and in response, insulin.

When insulin is chronically high,  you are in a constant state of inhibited fat-burning, low growth hormone, and lower metabolic rate. The end result is belly fat that is very hard to lose.

Excess insulin can also cause your blood sugar to get too low, leading to brain fog, irritability, and ravenous cravings due to blood sugar instability.

Chronically high blood sugar and insulin levels lead to insulin resistance. This is when the insulin receptors on your cells tire of the constant insulin stimulation and shut down. 

Less insulin in the cell and more insulin in the bloodstream is a recipe for weight gain, diabetes, and a host of other diseases.


when your cells become insulin resistant three things happen

  1. Insulin can’t keep up with the demand and your blood sugar starts to rise, leading to diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
  2. Insulin triggers fat storage around the middle so your belly grows steadily.
  3. Unbalanced blood sugar is stressful to your body causing increased levels of cortisol and insulin, sugar cravings, and unstable.

Does this sound familiar?
to examine your current
relationship with sugar.


so what can we do about it?

The first thing to address is your sugar consumption.  This may sound simple but it’s actually a little harder to kick the habit than you might imagine.

That’s because sugar is hidden in all kinds of foods marketed to you as “healthy.”  Processed foods, condiments, sauces, and fruit juices are often packed with excess sugar.

So the first step is educating yourself about what you’re eating and then taking the steps to eliminate them for a few days to help reset your blood sugar and metabolic hormones.

The good news is you can do this in a relatively short time.  You can impact your blood sugar and hormone balance in as little as five to ten days!


You have the power to decrease belly fat, fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, and memory loss.

In this program you’ll learn:
  • That hunger, cravings, constant snacking, emotional eating, and binge-eating are all connected to a metabolic imbalance that can be reversed… so you can experience emotional stability and freedom from food.
  • How to eat to melt away belly fat without feeling deprived or living on bacon grease.
  • How to lower your blood sugar even if you are a pre-diabetic or diabetic.
  • How to improve your blood chemistry and energy levels by balancing the queen of all hormones, insulin.
  • Learn what to eat to balance your blood sugar and reset your insulin receptors so you can improve your memory, energy, and focus.


There’s no reason to suffer any longer in your body. It is completely avoidable.

All you really need to know is how to reset your hormones to feel better fast.

Your excess weight and cravings aren’t something to be ashamed of, they’re biochemistry!

This 10-day Blood Sugar Reset is the first step in your healing journey. 

ree yourself by learning how to eat to support your own biochemistry to look and feel great!


sign up today

Your 10-Day Blood Sugar Reset Includes:

  • 70-page Blood Sugar Balance Handbook
  • 10-Day Blood Sugar Balancing Meal Plan
  • 40 Delicious Sugar Balancing Recipes
  • Step by Step Instructions to help you conquer your sugar addiction
  • Daily inspiration and resources via opt-in texts
  • Community support via Private FB group 
  • Virtual check-ins with Tina, your Certified Functional Nutrition Coach, and Program Leader
  • Discounts on optional Blood Sugar Balance Supplements via Fullscript.

Just $49


stop blaming yourself

As a Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor, I can help you understand that your biochemistry is not your destiny.

Let me teach you how to eat to be free of cravings, weight gain, and self-sabotaging guilt.

It’s not magic- it’s science, and you can leverage it to feel at home in your body.  This reset is a great way to begin.


Questions?  Email me! 


Before you head to the ranch

Greetings WILD IN MONTANA Retreat participants! You will be in Montana, hosted at the incomparable B Bar Ranch in just a few days. I thought it might be fun to learn more about the ranch, its mission, unique landscape, and beauty, as you travel this way.  Taking a moment to envision your retreat and what you’d like to get out of it is always good!

welcome to the b bar

The B Bar Ranch, established in 1906, preserves and protects the land, natural resources, and property values within the unique landscape in the Tom Miner Basin.
A place of spectacular beauty, the B Bar ranch is committed to protecting its unique and extraordinary environment in perpetuity.

The B Bar supports this deeply satisfying way of life and stewardship in the way they operate the ranch:

  • Raising Ancient White Park cattle (organic grass-fed grass-finished beef)

  • Embracing ecologically responsible practices

  • Maintaining organic certification of the land, cattle, and gardens

  • Practicing low-stress livestock management

  • Providing habitat and allowing free passage for the myriad of wildlife species that reside on or travel through the ranch

  • Sharing what they do with others who are interested in our activities and the values that underlie them
The Land and Natural Resources
The ranch is a part of a unique and fragile ecosystem and a place of exceptional beauty.

They respect and maintain its splendor by managing the natural resource base for sustainability and diversity, and strive to live in harmony and balance with its many native floral and faunal inhabitants.

They continuously evaluate how their management practices impact native species as to how they influence neighboring habitats, including U.S. Forest Service lands, other working ranches, and Yellowstone National Park.

The distinct assortment of vegetation and topography on the ranch provides important habitat for most forms of wildlife found in neighboring Yellowstone National Park.

Elk, white-tail and mule deer, moose, grizzly and black bear, wolves, coyotes, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, bobcat, mountain lions, and numerous small mammals roam the ranch’s 9,000 acres and freely traverse the six-mile boundary with Yellowstone Park.
Respecting the role of established predator/prey relationships and the importance of tempering activities with regard to native wildlife populations, they endeavor to live without conflict with their wildlife neighbors.

Traditional bird migration patterns include the flyways above the B Bar. More than 75 bird species either journey through or reside year-round on the ranch. We are fortunate to regularly observe sandhill cranes, great blue herons, great-horned owls, and bald and golden eagles.

We also see red-tail and rough-legged hawks, Clark’s nutcrackers, western meadowlarks, black-billed magpies, mountain bluebirds, ruffed and blue grouse, gray and Steller’s jays, western tanagers, mountain chickadees, pine grosbeaks, Canada geese, trumpeter swans, and various ducks and other waterfowl.

Tom Miner Creek provides precious habitat for its rare community of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout and a growing population of beavers.

The cattle on the b bar

Ancient White Park Cattle
Originally imported from England just before WWII, the B Bar Ranch purchased a bull and several female Ancient White Park cattle to begin their own herd in 1989.

Ancient White Parks have white coats with colored points (ears, feet and muzzles) that are usually black but occasionally red. Some of the cattle are mottled or solid black, expressing a recessive gene for color that runs through the population.

The cows frequently have upswept lyre-shaped horns that continue to twist as the animal’s age. The bulls typically have shorter horns that curve forward with age in a flat arc. 
The bulls reach mature weights of 1500 to 1800 pounds. They are extremely active and alert cattle with large flight zones that require careful handling. They are aggressive grazers and calve with exceptional ease.

The ranch has grown its own herd to a size that now allows for the establishment of new herds throughout North America.

Through the Ancient White Park Cattle Society of North America, they are maintaining the registration of offspring and producing herd books at regular intervals in addition to the registrations maintained with the White Park Cattle Society in Britain.


With an abundance of native, bio-diverse grasses and wildlife active,  the B Bar goes to great lengths to protect this ecosystem.

  • They manage cattle activity to imitate that of wildlife while limiting their competition for resources.

  • They assure that the land is certified organic each year.

  • They streamline energy and water use whenever possible with gravity-fed irrigation systems, decreased labor energy, and vigilant use of high-efficiency light bulbs, consolidates trips to down and carpooling.

  • They also use current green guest laundry service practices, utilize gentle cleaning products, recycle materials and equipment, and compost kitchen and garden waste.

  • Visitors are encouraged to participate in our recycling efforts by using the containers placed in common areas and cabins and rooms. 


The B Bar’s owners have welcomed non-profit organizations to make use of the ranch guest facilities since they bought it in 1978.

Known for their long-standing philanthropic activity, the owners have opened up their ranch home to select non-profit groups and guests whose goals synch with their agricultural, environmental, and social goals.

It’s especially rewarding how many people find themselves transformed by their experiences at the B Bar.

I’m  excited about our time together in this amazing landscape, so rich in history, and tradition.

Your time on the ranch will be a magical time of rest, renewal, fun, and adventure,  


b bar magic

By coming on this retreat, you have already set an intention to step outside your comfort zone and explore the great outdoors.

What other adventures, experiences, or ah-ha moments would you like to get out of your time on the ranch?

Challenging yourself through hiking, riding, rafting?  Wildlife viewing, sitting on your front porch, writing, reading, or simply resting?

All of these experiences are yours to explore, embrace and delight in.  What is your WILD in Montana adventure? 

With love and excitement, 


The view from the overlook trail on the B Bar Ranch.

Journaling for Peace and Clarity

Keeping a journal is not only for women or for those who want to fine-tune their writing skills. Journaling is for anyone wanting a safe place to record and express feelings, emotions, and secrets.

It’s a place to transcribe what goes through your mind during the course of the day, and how you feel about it.  A journal is the music and voice of your true emotion. For some, the journal is considered their best friend.

One good thing about keeping a journal is that the journal “listens,” doesn’t talk back, and makes no judgments.

Some people like journaling in notebooks and others prefer fancier journals, like the ones sold in book or stationery stores.

Personally, I use an encrypted app called PENZU so I can write anywhere (phone, iPad, laptop), despite being told I’d write better if I did it longhand.

But writing longhand has become so laborious, it robs me of spontaneity and flow, which I feel is equally important. Whatever method you choose, be sure it’s a way that resonates with you so that you are drawn to fill up its pages.

“All serious daring starts within.” ~Eudora Welty

Psychologist and author Diana Rabb lists nine great reasons to keep a journal.  I agree with them.

1)     Empowerment and Self-Reflection. Journaling brings life experiences into focus by putting a lens on your feelings and thoughts.

2)    Clearing the Mind. Your journal is a forum for freeing yourself from confusion and negative emotions.

As you write, you feel yourself grounding in calm and clarity- for better vision and action.

“Ajournalis your completely unaltered voice.” – Lucy Dacus

3)     Journaling builds Self-Confidence. Writing down your thoughts gives you a clearer picture of who you are, your strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments. (This can be helpful to those of us who have a habit of self-criticism.)

4)     A path to self-discovery.   Journaling helps guide you through challenging times, and glancing at older journals can help you identify certain life patterns that could lead to transformation.

5)    Journaling improves mental health. Expressing yourself improves your sense of well being. When used with talk therapy, it’s a powerful way to understand yourself, and make essential changes.

6)    Encourages self-reflection. Writing down your feelings helps you engage in conversation with yourself, leading to an inner examination and transformation.

7)     Creativity. Writing is a creative endeavor that may lead to further creative endeavors, which can be transformative.

8)     Memory triggers. Sometimes the nature of what is happening in your life can trigger thoughts about your past and offer solutions to current issues.

9)     Journaling is a self-inventory. If you are interested in writing a memoir, your jottings may become a source of invaluable information.

Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.” Natalie Goldberg

Play Video

One additional benefit I’d as is to use journaling as a meditation.  As someone who has a hard time sitting still, writing helps me focus, ground, and be present.

On mornings when I can’t seem to quiet my mind to meditate, I write.  The effect is very much the same.

I have been keeping a journal of some kind since I was in the fourth grade.  I even discovered some of my high school journals in the attic!  How painful and funny!

My point is, journaling has been my touchstone and salvation when I have felt loss, anger, and confusion. It’s how I righted myself when I was sure I could not.

It has connected me to unknown sources of courage and resilience.

That’s why I’m passionate about sharing journaling as a method of healing and transformation.

I’ve created a FREE Mindset Reset journal with simple prompts and resources to help get you started.  

Download your copy by clicking here.  

If you’re interested in going deeper. join me for my upcoming Women’s Journaling Retreat, Thursday April 21- Sunday, April 24, 2022, at the amazing Timber Creek Retreat House located an hour south of Kansas City in Drexel, Mo.

Register before January 25, 2022 and save $150!
Use code EARLYBIRD at checkout.

Questions?  Please call me at 913 963 8546 today!  Tina

Small-Group Training Series

Maybe you’ve gotten a great start with your Spring Cleanse but worry you’ll relapse without additional support.  Perhaps you’ve had trouble getting started all together and need someone to push you and hold you accountable. 

Both people can benefit from joining my Spring Cleanse Small Group Coaching series beginning Thursday, April 8th.

This session meets for 6 weeks each Thursday evening at 630 pm via Zoom.  

Beyond providing structure and accountability for your continued cleanse goals, these sessions provide a deeper dive into the intersection of food and physiology.

We’ll explore the relationship between weight loss resistance, sleep disturbance, gut health, and chronic stress.

Your Small Group Series includes:

  • Five weekly Zoom Sessions on Thursdays at 630pm
    1. Thursday, April 8 – Weight loss resistance
    2. Thursday, April 15 – Microbiome Matters
    3. Thursday, April 22 – Stress & the Gut-Brain Axis
    4. Thursday, April 29 –  Food Sensitivities
    5. Thursday,  May 6 – Timed Eating Protocols

  • Weekly Homework Assignments to complete

  • Weekly Accountability Updates from each participant

This series is an extension of my online Spring Cleanse course. I highly recommend you sign up for the Spring Cleanse course for the foundation and resources provided.  Luckily, I’ve included that option!

Small-Group Training with
Spring Cleanse Course

Small- Group Training Series for Spring Cleanse Alumni

Move from Confusion to Clarity with this 5-week Group Coaching Series

This group is limited to 15 participants.  A minimum of 5 is required.

Spring Cleanse

Over the winter months, some of us may have overindulged in food and drink. We may have let our exercise program slide, eaten too much while hibernating, or had one too many glasses of wine to keep the winter blues away. Whatever the reason, by early spring, few of us are feeling our absolute best. Undertaking a detox now can change all that, and help put you in perfect form for the year ahead.


On an energetic level, Spring is the ideal time for cleansing. In traditional Chinese medicine, spring is linked with the element of Wood, which encourages us to try new things, set a new course, and find new ways, to commit to action. It’s an open, energetic, enthusiastic feeling, so even if you’ve never detoxed before, this could be the perfect time and the perfect way to start feeling better fast.

Why Detox?

We’re regularly assaulted by pollution in the air, in our homes, in the foods we eat, and in the clothes we wear. Our livestock are treated with drugs; our crops are sprayed with powerful pesticides and fungicides, many of which have unpleasant side effects on our health.

The best way to deal with our toxic load is to build up our immune systems. Our bodies were designed to be “self-cleaning” but it needs our support to work optimally. Our circulatory system, metabolism, gut, brain, and powerful elimination system require our attention. 

Cleansing once or twice yearly gives your body the chance to rest, restore, and reset.


Benefits of a Cleanse

  • While this cleanse is not focused on weight loss, it may be a side-benefit. You may shrink as your body releases toxins and inflammation.
  • Cleansing helps alleviate bloating, nausea, and indigestion as it gives your gut and your liver a chance to rest and renew.
  • Constipation, gas, and cramping also subside as your gut flora is balanced and restored.
  • Frequent colds and flu, tiredness, cellulite, blemishes, and puffy eyes may all improve as your lymphatic system awakens with new vigor.
  • Clogged sinuses, congestion, and nasal drip may disappear when you stop eating the foods that cause them.
  • Urinary problems clear up as your kidneys take a break from overworking and under-functioning.
  • Better skin, sleep, brain function, and mood are improved when you get rid of toxins that may have been affecting your brain function and memory.

this Spring Cleanse includes:

  • Complete Step by Step Spring Detox Program
  • Addressing the Problem, Process, and Practices for healthy detoxification
  • Sample Meal Plan
  • 44 Delicious Detox recipes
  • Shopping List
  • Lifestyle Hacks and Real Life Resources

Just $25

This is simple biochemistry! Once you realize how much power you have over the way you look and feel, it’s so much easier making supportive choices! You can do it!

Just $25

Why Women Don’t Sleep

Sleep is a fundamental building block to health, yet 1 in 4 women suffer from insomnia. Most women will experience trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, and reaching deep levels of sleep during their lifetime. It is a chicken and egg situation. 

Are your hormones causing poor sleep, or is poor sleep-disrupting your hormones? 

Usually a little of both, as our bodies are cyclic. Our circadian rhythm is intimately connected with our hormonal cycle.

Stress and Your Adrenal Glands

Stress is a daily challenge for most of us. Work, relationships, family, and financial pressures add up and lead to elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol should be a short-term hormone but chronic stress keeps cortisol elevated, disrupting our circadian rhythm.

In a healthy person, cortisol levels spike early in the morning to allow us to wake up refreshed and energized.  

Levels drop slowly throughout the day as melatonin increases. This helps us feel sleepy and wind down for bed. 

Chronic stress flips this equation because cortisol remains elevated into the evening which disrupts melatonin release and quality sleep.

Cortisol levels finally drop through the night leaving us fatigued and foggy in the morning

Stress has a direct impact on our emotions via our nervous system. It triggers our sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight portion of our neural response), leaving us anxious, nervous, and hypervigilant. 

Stress disrupts our hormone balance, gut health, and metabolic function because we’re not able to access our (rest and digest) parasympathetic nervous system. Chronic stress wires our nervous systems to become sympathetic dominant. 

When the nervous system is operating predominantly in a sympathetic state, we feel anxious, reactive, and tired. Our sleep suffers.

And because sleep is the time when we rest, digest, and detox, our hormone, gut, and metabolic health also suffer. Without intervention, this becomes a truly vicious cycle.

hormones and sleep

There are several hormones involved in controlling your appetite and weight. The two big appetite controllers are leptin and ghrelin. 

As it turns out, these two hormones are directly affected by sleep (among other things)!

Dubbed the “hunger hormone”, ghrelin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. After eating a meal your stomach distends and the secretion of ghrelin decreases, signaling you that it’s time to stop eating.

Leptin, the “satiety hormone,” is produced in several tissues, but mostly in our fat cells. High levels of fat lead to higher levels of leptin. The brain reads leptin as a sign that you have plenty of nutrition, ie fat stores, so it “turns off” your hunger. More leptin means decreased appetite.

But wait, wouldn’t that mean those with excess body fat feel less hungry and eat less, thereby losing weight?

Like all good things, too much is bad. 

When you have persistently elevated levels of leptin, your brain becomes desensitized and stops “hearing” this hormone. This is called leptin resistance. Your brain acts like the level is low which leads to you having an increased appetite.

Ghrelin is a complex hormone with many roles but we can oversimplify it for this discussion. Ghrelin is produced in the GI system, mainly the stomach. Ghrelin levels go down when you eat and then start building up again 3 hours later. 

The level rises significantly right before you eat, especially if you have a predictable eating schedule. This hormone is what gives you those hunger pains right before lunch. The higher ghrelin you have, the brain reads this as starvation and tells you to eat.

When you’re sleep-deprived, ghrelin levels rise, and along with that, your feelings of hunger.

More ghrelin +  less leptin equals weight gain.

Other Hormones

Cortisol, glucose, insulin, and growth hormone also play a role in weight and appetite and are all affected by sleep!

It’s a complicated process but we’re focusing on leptin and ghrelin since they play such a big role in our appetite and satiety.

What is the sleep-weight connection?

Let’s start with leptin. Sleep increases the amount of leptin you have, telling your brain you do not need to eat. 

This not only decreases your appetite, but it also helps with not storing food as fat for future use.

Ghrelin does the exact opposite, levels go down with sleep so your brain is not triggered to feel hungry.

Those who sleep 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night have higher levels of leptin and lower levels of ghrelin which makes you feel less hungry throughout the day.

Other Factors

In addition to hormones, your brain is affected by sleep deprivation. 

First, your frontal lobe is less active. This is the center of impulse control and behavior modification. The less sleep you have, the less active your frontal lobe is which means you have less impulse control. 

You know when you see that donut in the bakery window and you just know how tasty it will be! But, you still manage to walk away because you know it isn’t healthy and you aren’t even hungry anyways.

That ability to walk away is blunted with decreased frontal lobe activity which leads to poor decisions, and not just with food control.

Sleep also undermines our brain function and ability to focus.

When we miss sleep, our brain feels foggy and sluggish, partly due to the role of glucose while we sleep. That lack of energy is sensed by your hypothalamus (the portion of the brain that largely controls hunger) and tells you to eat high-calorie junk food in order to pep up a bit! 

Increased cravings for junk food and decreased impulse control lead to a late-night run through a drive-thru or powering through a tub of ice cream by yourself!

How do I sleep to support my weight loss?

Our body’s control over our hunger is complicated and the sleep-weight connection is still not fully understood. We still have much to learn about the signals our brain processes that drive us to eat. But it is also becoming clear that sleep plays a crucial role in helping to regulate these hormones and our brain’s ability to control or stimulate our appetite.

It all comes back to nutrition and lifestyle

Once again, our gut-brain axis is at the center of our choices.  The good news is we have choices about what we eat, sleep and move. The symbiotic relationship between food and physiology is a powerful ally in our quest for optimal health.

In my next blog, we’ll look at the topic of meal timing to explore how the body is impacted not only by what we eat but when we eat it.

Don’t worry, peeps!  The news is good!

Food and Mood

The gut-brain connection

In this blog, I’ll unpack some of the exciting new research about the link between gut health, mood, and stress. We’ll explore the importance of your friendly resident gut microbes, probiotic foods, and supplements, to improve your mood and energy. 

And, just because I love you, I’ve included simple recipes to keep your gut and taste buds happy.



There are trillions of microbes that happily live in our gut. These friendly microbes do more than help us digest foods, make vitamins, and protect us from the not-so-friendly microbes – they have mood-boosting and stress-busting functions too!

Our microbiome is a hotbed of research right now and we’re finding out more about gut bacteria’s awesome health and mood/stress benefits every day. And, while the research is just beginning to decipher the many gut microbe-brain connections, it’s an important topic that I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

Did you know that there are more microbes inside our gut, than all of the human cells that make us? That’s right, we’re more than half microbe!   So, how could they NOT impact our health?”



The microbes that live in our guts are known as our “gut microbiota”.    The microbes that we can ingest are known as “probiotics”.

“Probiotics” are live organisms that you can eat, drink, or take as a supplement. They turn milk into yogurt, and cabbage into sauerkraut; and they are great for both your gut health and mental health. 

Special probiotics that have mental health benefits are called “psychobiotics,” (psycho = mental health, and biotics = live). They are live organisms that can benefit our psyche.


Probiotics can be found in yogurt, sauerkraut (and other fermented veggies), miso, tempeh, and kimchi. You can drink them in kefir or kombucha. 

Be sure to choose unpasteurized ones that will be refrigerated in your local grocer. Unpasteurized foods are not recommend if you are pregnant or have a compromised immune system, so please check with your healthcare provider.

Of course, there are a number of probiotic supplements available too. Check with your healthcare provider to identify which one is best for you.

Generally, we look for one that’s refrigerated and has at least 10 billion active cultures. I also suggest you look for one that has been “third party tested,” which means someone outside the company has tested it and says it’s a quality product.

Also, be sure to read the label before taking any supplements. The probiotics with the most research are of the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus types. There’s still not enough known about the psychobiotic effects to make specific mood-boosting recommendations yet.



Try some of these delicious gut healthy recipes.

Confetti Vegetable Salad with Miso Dressing

Cauliflower Olive Salad with Yogurt

Strawberry Almond Chia Pudding




It may not seem obvious or intuitive, but your body is interconnected in a myriad of surprising ways.  New research is focusing on the “microbiota-gut-brain axis.” It’s the very complex connection between your gut, its microbes, and your brain. This new field has been called a “paradigm shift in neuroscience” (Dinan, 2017).

There are a number of ways we’re beginning to understand how our gut microbes affect our brain. One is via the “vagus” nerve, which is the nerve that directly connects your gut to your brain. 

Other ways are through “biochemical messengers” that are made in your gut and travel throughout the body to communicate with other organs, including your brain.  

Examples of biochemicals include short chain fatty acids, cytokines, and even tryptophan (the amino acid that the neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin are made from). 

You may have heard about seratonin as it is the main target in antidepressant medications to improve mood.  But 90% of our seratonin is produced in the gut.  Recent studies indicate taking anti-depressants can hurt the gut microbiome which only further compromises mood.  The focus needs to be on keeping our gut healthy; not simply treating the symptoms as a cure.

There’s a lot of research surrounding the microbioate-gut-brain axis that may one day prove helpful for  conditions like autism and Parkinsons.


Several studies show that stressed rodents not only have increased stress hormones and stressed behaviors; but, they also have different gut microbes! This has also been studied, to a small extent, in people too.

One study showed that moms with high levels of stress hormones during pregnancy had infants with more of the “bad” gut microbes.

But, can it work the other way around? Can changing our gut microbes affect our moods and stress responses?

Studies of rodents that grow up without any gut microbes at all (in a “bacteria-free” environment) respond to stress more than mice with normal gut microbes. Then, when they’re given either a probiotic or gut microbes from non-stressed mice, their stress responses often go back to normal.

“Gut microbiota and probiotics alter behavior and brain neurochemistry.” That’s a pretty powerful statement. (Ait-Belgnaoui, et. al., 2012)

Many animal studies show positive effects on behavior when they get probiotic supplements. For example, after a probiotic, stressed rats had lower levels of both stress hormones and an inflammatory molecule associated with depression (“LPS” – lipopolysaccharide). Human studies show that after a few weeks of taking probiotic foods or supplements, healthy people have reduced stress hormones, feelings of stress, negative thoughts, and sad moods.

One fascinating study showed that when people took probiotics, brain MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) tests showed reduced brain activity for negative and aggressive thoughts!

There is some exciting research on the positive effect that probiotics can have on moods and stress. So, what can you do to nurture your own healthy gut microbes?.


We’ve already discussed the benefits of consuming probiotic-rich food.  Once the gut microbes take up residence in our guts, we need to feed them!

PREbiotics are food for gut microbes and, when fermented in the gut, produce specific changes in bacterial composition or activity. 

They’re your friendly gut microbes’ favorite delicacies so they’ll happily grow, and multiply.

Prebiotics are basically foods that contain fiber. Things like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Even dark chocolate (preferably with at least 70% cocoa).

Foods that are particularly high in prebiotics include jicama, asparagus, avocado, whole grains, and allium vegetables like onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots.

Giving animals prebiotics has shown to reduce stress hormones, and anxiety-related behaviors. In people, studies show that taking psychobiotics along with prebiotics can improve both the microbes in our gut, as well as our mood.

The new research clearly supports our interest and maintenance of a healthy gut.  Adding probiotic and prebiotic foods (or quality supplements) is a first step towards that goal.

Do remember, no two people have the same microbiome and your response is most important.  If you feel bloated, anxious or gassy after adding fiber, probiotics, and prebiotic foods to your diet, it may be a sign your gut health needs further attention.

If that’s the case, please contact your health coach or provider for more individualized guidance.  Our gut affects every aspect of our physical and emotional health.

What your hormones are trying to tell you?

Your hormone’s powerful impact

Despite what you may have been told, and the pervasive amount of food- and fat-shaming in our culture, the number on the scale isn’t always a simple reflection of the number of calories we consume vs. the number we burn. 

In fact, the added stress brought on by extreme diets and exercise can undermine them entirely—and actually cause weight gain. Often the real key to losing what may be unwanted belly fat, and gaining energy, clarity, and a better mood lies with your hormones.Weight loss resistance is nearly always hormonally based in women.

Most diets don’t work for women, because they fail to address the hormonal root causes that are the most common reasons for weight loss resistance, like excess cortisol, insulin and/or leptin blockage, estrogen dominance, a sluggish thyroid, low testosterone, and problems with the adrenal system.

Learning more about your hormones and how to eat and move to support balance will help you get off the diet roller coaster, reclaim your vitality, energy, and sex-drive, as well as stablize moods and reduce anxiety.


Do you suffer from any of the symptoms above?

You’re not alone if you do. Nearly 70% of us will experience symptoms of hormone imbalance in our lifetimes.  The main culprits of haywire hormones include:

Nutrient deficiencies. For instance, not enough vitamin C can lower your progesterone. Progesterone is nature’s Xanax, so a deficiency makes you feel overwhelmed and anxious. We’ll discuss simple ways to supplement in the Metabolic Reset program. 

Excess toxins. Bisphenol A is a good example: It can interfere with the estrogen, insulin, thyroid, and testosterone messages in your body. (Look for more about toxins in a future email.) 

Poor stress coping. I put myself in this category. Again, the root cause is that the alarm system in the body doesn’t turn off, so you make too much cortisol at the expense of other hormones. 

Age. Women’s hormone levels change throughout their reproductive years and through perimenopause, menopause, and beyond. Common life events, such as menstruation and pregnancy, can throw your hormones off balance, as can medications like birth control pills. 

Poor sleep. Only 3 percent of the population does well on less than 7 hours of sleep. Sleeping 7 to 8.5 hours every night keeps cortisol in check. Alcohol raises estrogen and cortisol levels, robs you of deep sleep, and lowers metabolism by more than 70 percent, as mentioned previously.  

Exercise. While exercise is an essential part of balancing your hormones, it can also throw them further out of whack if not managed properly. Overtraining can stress the body to create or undermine hormone imbalance. Running actually places so much stress on the body that cortisol shoots sky-high. Think of a Tibetan monk versus a marathon runner. Who ages more rapidly? The runner, due to a higher load of cortisol, a wear-and-tear hormone.  More on cortisol next. 

The fab four

Our hormones are complex and interconnected affecting literally every function in our bodies.

For the purpose of the Metabolic Reset, we’re focusing on four main hormones, (your Fab Four): Thyroid, Estrogen, Cortisol, and Insulin

Your thyroid acts as the gas pedal of your metabolism, managing how fast or slow you burn calories. The wrong food choices can prevent your thyroid from getting the nutrients it needs to work well – slowing down your metabolism and putting you into sluggish, fat-storing mode.

When the thyroid is sluggish, it can cause weight gain, fluid retention, hair loss or thinning, depression, and constipation, among other problems.Women are more likely to have an underactive thyroid. In fact, 1 in 8 women will develop hypothyroidism. The disease gets more common with age. People over 60 years old experience it more frequently.  

Cortisol is the main stress hormone secreted by our adrenal glands. An alpha hormone, cortisol helps regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, and immune function.When your stress is high, it makes your cortisol rise. When it is consistently high (due to daily challenges, poor diet, or lack of sleep), it affects other hormones like your thyroid and insulin leading to dysfunction and weight gain.

Too much cortisol can slow your thyroid down and overstimulate insulin production resulting in low energy, increased fat storage, brain fog. and low mood.Stress and cortisol are inextricably linked so a major part of hormone balance is finding ways to increase your stress resilience.

Estrogen is a group of hormones produced in the ovaries that makes you female. It’s what makes you menstruate, grow breasts and hips.Estrogen keeps you flush with serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter so your moods are better.  Estrogen also keeps your joints lubricated, your sleep and appetite balanced, your sex drive high, and your face relatively wrinkle-free.  

Estrogen dominance is when you have too much estrogen compared with its counter-hormone, progesterone. Having too much estrogen in the body causes a number of symptoms, including weight loss resistance, moodiness, PMS, and heavy periods. 

Insulin plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels and converting food energy into fat. It also helps break down fats and proteins.During digestion, insulin stimulates muscle, fat, and liver cells to absorb glucose. The cells either use this glucose for energy or convert it into fat for long-term storage.

Too much sugar can result in too much insulin which leads to insulin resistance.Insulin resistance or block means your cells can’t absorb the extra blood glucose your body generates from the food you eat—when that happens, your liver converts the glucose into fat. Insulin resistance usually causes weight gain and sugar addiction. If you are insulin resistant or have that tendency your cravings will be worse.

Lifestyle and hormones

Lifestyle influences your hormones. Diet, movement, environmental toxins and mindset all impact our hormone, immune, and metabolic function.

Once you understand these factors, you can start to see how your daily choices are affecting your hormones and metabolism, and what you can do about it.So the first of these influences is your DIET.

Food either feeds your hormones or disrupts them. Unfortunately, our standard western diets tend to be nutrient-poor, and our busy lifestyles tend to send us to convenience and processed foods.

When you start experiencing symptoms of hormone imbalance (fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, brain fog, etc), it also makes us crave a fast fix in the form of carbs, sugar, bad fats, which only end up making our symptoms worse.

The Metabolic Reset program is where you’ll learn how food meets physiology to heal your body. Say goodbye to mood swings, night sweats, sugar cravings, and premature wrinkles. Say hello to satisfying sleep, stress resilience, and lasting energy throughout the day.

Take the quiz

Take this hormone quiz to see which hormones might be out of whack in your body.

Questions? Email me at

Why nature is my physician

My love of nature started in childhood as my parents insisted their three children play outdoors as much as possible. While we weren’t allowed to run wild, (you never wanted to hear my Mom’s frenetic bell ring because you were somewhere you weren’t supposed to be), we were given the freedom to spend hours rolling around in the grass, climbing trees, dancing in the driveway, or playing a mean game of tug of war.

Perhaps it was because my parents just wanted us out of the house, or maybe they knew intuitively what scientific studies reinforce today: Nature is a powerful ally and healing force for our mind and body.

nature is good for us

We know that spending time in nature makes us feel good, but does it measurably affect our well-being? Study after study has shown the answer is yes.

Studies show that being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, stress, and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.

According to health researchers Stamatkis and Mitchell, nature not only improves the quality of our lives but the length of them as well. And a study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology in 2018 found that spending as little as five minutes outdoors was linked to a significant mood boost.

Research conducted in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety.

nature is our happy place

Our affinity toward nature is genetic and deep-rooted in evolution. For example, have you ever wondered why most people prefer to book accommodations that have a great view from the balcony or the terrace? Why patients who get a natural view from their hospital bed recover sooner than others? Or why we crave downtime in nature when stress takes it’s toll on our zen.

“Study Nature, love Nature, stay close to Nature.
It will never fail you.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

Nature’s Impact on our Health

Who would have thought that a little time with the flowers and trees can actually improve your memory? The University of Michigan conducted a study that revealed students who regularly went for a nature walk actually had a better time retaining information.

  1. Nature improves short term memory.
    Nature also helps us cope with pain. Because we are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other nature elements engrossing, nature can distract us from pain and discomfort.

  2. Nature reduces stress hormones.
    In a world flooded by screens, sometimes just taking the time to unplug and go outside can do wonders for reducing stress. Nature has a calming effect on our brains, even if it means going outside for just five minutes each day. As an added bonus, outdoor exercise, like going for a walk, hiking, and so forth, gets the blood flowing and heart pumping, another way to lower stress levels.

  3. Nature increases our levels of Vitamin D.
    Sure, too much sun can damage the skin and possibly lead to cancer. That being said, studies show that getting between 15 to 20 minutes a day of sunshine will allow your body to absorb vitamin D, which helps strengthen bones and reduce the risk of cancer, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.

  4. Nature improves our immune system.
    Research has shown that going outdoors and getting enough sunlight can help boost the immune system. Make sure to take a little stroll outside or enjoy a bit of fun outdoors to help fight disease and stay healthy.

  5. Nature reduces inflammation.
    Inflammation in the body can lead to all sorts of disorders, from depression and cancer to autoimmune diseases. A study demonstrated that participants who spent a bit of time each week walking in the woods experienced lower levels of inflammation in the body.  

  6. Nature inspires creativity.
    Nature comes in so many colors, from orange-sky sunsets to seafoam green waters and rose-colored gardens. Spending time outside gives a chance to get inspired by all the gorgeous sights, smells, and sounds of the outdoors. Science backs that up, too, showing that spending time outside actually helps get our creative juices flowing.

  7. Nature improves vision.
    We spend a lot of time looking at screens, which can damage eyesight. Going outside gives our eyes a break from staring at a computer, television, or smartphone. Australian scientists even found that children who spend time outdoors reduce the risk of developing myopia later in life.

  8. Nature improves our sleep.
    Spending time in natural light helps our bodies better regulate sleep patterns. When the sun goes down, our brains will release the right levels of melatonin to help get a good night’s sleep.

  9. Nature increases feelings of happiness.
    You can find all kinds of different activities outdoors for all fitness levels and preferences. Whether it means going for a swim in the sea, taking the dog for a walk in the park, or mountain biking, finding outdoor activities that we enjoy will boost your mood and help you to feel happier. Plus spending time in nature promotes mental well-being.

  10. Nature can open the door to a deeper sense of spirituality.
    A long walk in nature on your own gives a chance to clear the mind and can even count as a type of meditation. Spending time in nature helps us live in the moment as we breathe in the air, listen to the sound of the birds chirping, or feel the grass on our feet.

    Nature can even teach valuable lessons and reveal metaphors to help us connect with our spirituality. The changes of the season reflect the peaks and valleys we go through in life. Meanwhile, a coursing river reminds us of our need to “go with the flow” and navigate the waters of life, so to speak.

    Nature’s generous lessons are all around us when we slow down enough to take notice.

“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.”

Mary Davis

take a walk, skip the pill

A walk in the fresh air, the sun on our skin, bare feet in the sand: spending time outside can bring so many small pleasures, making us feel refreshed and revived. Whether it means sitting in your backyard garden sipping a cold iced tea or going for a thrilling white water rafting adventure, time in nature has the power to heal, inspire, and guide you daily.

The B Bar Ranch in Montana

Need some nature?

Join Tina Sprinkle and Lisa Looy for an amazing adventure on their WILD IN MONTANA Retreat. Daily meditation, guided hikes, horseback riding, and more. Space is limited so don’t delay! This retreat will sell out.