Last year, I started 2019 with a 3-day food fast.  On the second day of that fast, somehow I came across this 40 day sugar fast. I have no idea how, it must have shown up in my Facebook feed.  Anyway, although my regular eating habits include lots of good healthy food – my one weakness has always been sweets – yep – even those dye colored, sugar laden candies that contain all that stuff that I know doesn’t help my body one bit, but my taste buds love!

I had never heard of Wendy Speake, the mom of 3 boys, who facilitates the fast, however I really enjoyed her down-to-earth approach and love for the word of God.  She would do Facebook live videos in their camper, and sometimes in the middle of them her boys would be knocking on the door asking if they could watch a movie because the had finished their work.wink

I will tell you that it was during this fast that I spent a considerable amount of time in prayer for my family. And it was during this time that, as weird as it may sound to some, looking back, I really felt that God prepared me for the events that happened just a few weeks after the fast ended – specifically my son, Kyle’s, sudden death in a helicopter crash.  Now, I do not wish to scare you into NOT doing the fast for fear that something awful might happen. But rather, to show that God is intensely interested in drawing us very close to Himself and comforting us with his very intimate love for us. He knows everything about us, and His word shows us His profound love for us.

I am posting several resources here for you to check it out if you are interested in joining the fast.  This is Wendy’s 6th year doing the fast. She recently wrote the book “40 Day Sugar Fast” that she will be using as the basis for the  fast. As Wendy rightly points out, the emphasis is not on the fasting but on the feasting. “We are hungry people and we will always spend our lives “digesting something” to get us through.” Your comfort food may not be sugar, or even food, but whatever your “go to” vice is, I would encourage you to look to the ultimate comforter.

Here is the link to sign up for the fast and get more information:

Here is the link for the Facebook Group Page:

Here is the link for her new book:

Here is a link to one of my favorite podcasts – Java with Juli. I am currently working on another post about this podcast, but for now here is Juli’s interview with Wendy where they talk about the upcoming fast.

I will also be asking Donna to share some of her eating lifestyles resources that would be helpful in providing tips for controlling cravings.

For those women in the area that might consider doing the fast, perhaps when it is finished we could get together for a time of fellowship!

Trisch’s Transformation

Trisch’s Transformation

Have you ever heard the expression:

“A faith that has not been tested, cannot be trusted.”?

Have you ever been in the presence of a person whose faith has been so profoundly tested, that they seem to live in a state of continual trust of God’s mercy and faithfulness, at all times?

Forti-fy team member Trisch Richardson is just such a person! Trisch has known the heartbreaking sorrow of burying an infant son, came close to losing her husband in an accident that occurred just weeks before she gave birth to her 8th child,  and has walked through numerous health challenges, both with herself and her children. She is a woman immersed in the word of God, trusts in His faithfulness continually, and is simply a delight to be around, as she always has an encouraging word to share!

Today Trisch shares her health journey starting way back to when she was one of those girls we all envied in high school – you know—the one who could eat anything without gaining an ounce – – even when she was in France for her junior year abroad in college, eating generous amount of French pastries, her friends would joke that she could never join the “fat thighs” club. Then……fast forward 26 years and 9 kids later, she felt that she could be president of the club!

My struggle with being overweight and tired escalated after my husband’s serious accident right before our 8th child was born in October 2004…..Then my dad’s mental decline and concerns for my mom’s health……along with a c-section for our 9th in October 2006….. resulted in major hormonal imbalances that made it impossible to lose anything. I was a size 22W and lost hope that I would ever lose the weight.

At that point a friend shared with me an exercise program she was doing, In spite of not being really athletic or “loving” exercise, I started it and actually saw progress for the first time! After losing several sizes, I was ready to address my eating.

In our quest for better health, some of us address eating first while others come through the exercise door. I was the latter. With the brain fog and a big family, it was too overwhelming to overhaul our eating. As the fog cleared and I had more energy, I researched and tackled healing gut issues in our family with the GAPS diet (Gut And Psychology Syndrome-read here).

It is low-carb, taking out all grains and starchy veggies, and the Intro phase is brutal! But we powered through it, got over the “carb-detox” phase and after 6 weeks, we were all feeling better. I had two daughters specifically whose issues were the worst, and it was wonderful to see many of those clear up! We had set a goal to do the strict portion of the diet for 6 months and then transition off, depending how we were all doing.

During this time I was also training to be a T-Tapp trainer, and in hindsight my body was giving me clues that I was ignoring. I know “low-carb” is very prevalent today and many have found great help in doing the various low-carb eating plans out there. I did too, for a time. What I now know is that I needed more carbs, but I was feeling “so good” at that time I was actually afraid of losing my good health. And, unfortunately, since I ignored my body’s signs, I did just that!

During my trainer certifications I was soooo tanked—I chalked it up to the stress of certifying, traveling to get there, preparations, etc. Thankfully I didn’t go into a full-blown adrenal crash! I deal with hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue along with low ferritin, and have had times where I needed 3 naps a day just to function! I was grateful that at that time I didn’t go that far…but I still set myself back in the fatigue department. I had gotten down to a size 4 which was TOO small for me! In fact, I don’t like my “trainer picture” because of that, and I can tell by looking at my eyes that I was not well.

As we transitioned off of GAPS, I tried to keep important elements of it going—bone-based broth, good fats and fermented foods. I had figured out what had happened and tried to keep “good carbs” in my eating plan as well. I gained a few sizes back and felt better.

A few months later I developed a mysterious condition where I would be violently nauseous and sick every few months. During that time I realized that I was getting too focused on the fat-carb-protein ratio and needed to take a break totally from focusing on eating. My mother had an undiagnosed eating disorder—to the point that she only weighed 68 pounds when my dad died! While I love to eat 🙂 and didn’t think that would be a temptation, I realized the obsessive focus on “eating healthy” was just as serious.

I still made and drank bone broth and ate good fats, but I quit focusing on the ratios and just tried to make good choices without overthinking it. I definitely was an emotional eater (and sometimes still struggle). God was working on me at a much deeper level, and I needed to let that healing take place first.

In 2016 menopause was looming but I felt I was in a good place, starting to make good, healthy choices and being consistent with exercise, when my husband unexpectedly needed open heart surgery–on my birthday, no less! That pushed me over the edge and between the hormonal changes, stress, transitions with children leaving home, I ballooned up 3 sizes. I was still not a 22W—thankfully! But I struggled to get back on track with eating.

This spring I started working with a fellow T-Tapp Trainer who is also a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. I had mentored her for T-Tapp—now it was her turn to “mentor” me with the eating! 🙂 I told her I needed baby steps—no cold turkey like with GAPS. I couldn’t afford to crash my adrenals again! Her mom deals with thyroid issues, too, and has had great success, so I knew she would understand my needs as well. She doesn’t use a “one-size fits all” approach—which I appreciate!

For years my kids did the cooking, and to be honest, the thought of trying to figure out healthy meals that would work for a still-somewhat-big-family (7-9 people at home) overwhelmed me. Then my practitioner told me about a WONDERFUL resource in Cassy Joy Garcia’s website Fed and Fit.

I tried some of her free recipes on her website and was sold! I bought her cookbook “Cook Once, Eat All Week”and now I LOVE cooking! I love trying new vegetables and ways to cook them. The meals are flavorful, healthy and don’t use expensive, weird or hard-to-find ingredients, either. My kids love it when it’s “my turn” to cook—and I do too!

Cassy does have more Paleo recipes on her blog, but this cookbook is not 100% Paleo, although she shares tips to make it so if you wish. All recipes are gluten free. I don’t really follow one strict “eating plan”–just wholesome foods prepared well! I try to rough guess to make sure I’m getting enough good fats and carbs along with protein, but I don’t obsess about it anymore.

It’s a slow process—dealing with hormonal changes, stress and transitions in family sometimes send me to the chocolate aisle! But I pick myself up, get back into the Word and worship, get back on track and keep moving!

T-Tapp and Cassy Garcia’s cookbook have revolutionized my life! I never thought I would enjoy cooking healthy this much!

I realized just how much things were changing when I saw these pictures side-by-side! The one on the right was taken February 2019 and the one on the left was 6 months later in August 2019. No size loss, no pound loss, minimal inch loss—yet I look better because things reshaped and I can tell the inflammation is down in my face and body! A picture truly is worth 1000 words!

If I had to give a label to the way I eat, I would call it gentle changes or “Small Steps to Success”. As you make one good change and it becomes a habit, you can add another. I found this doable, and it sticks. It’s much easier to get back on track when life gets busy or throws you a curve ball. For those who find overhauling everything at once or planning meals daunting, check out Cook Once Eat All Week  by Cassy Joy Garcia. It might just revolutionize your eating, too—and make cooking healthy FUN!

Editor’s note: Make sure you check back next week when Trisch shares how her T-Tapp journey lead her to become a Master T-Tapp Trainer and landed her being featured in a major women’s magazine!

You can check out Trisch’s webiste here:


Donna’s Transformation

Donna’s Transformation

Whenever I think of Forti-fy team member Donna Reish, there is one thought that always comes into my mind: “The Energizer Bunny”… nothing outlasts the energizer…it keeps going and going and going. It is known as “The ultimate symbol of longevity, perseverance and determination.”

Yep, that’s definitely Donna!

Donna is one of the most prolific writers I know on the art of all things encouragement – diet, child rearing tips, tricks, organization, working-from-home, low carb cooking, efficiency, and motivation. She has a bit of experience on these things after being married for 38 years, having 7 kids, 6 grandkids and 2 more on the way!

And…She also is a curriculum writer and teacher!

Do you see the Energizer Bunny, now?!

Here she shares how she and her husband Ray have lost over 200 pounds!

The Fasting and Eating Protocols That Have Led to My Husband and I Losing Over 200 Pounds Together

My husband and I have finally (after 40+ years of “dieting”) found the combination of food and eating changes that works for us! Even though we are heading towards sixty years old!

I have created an outline and video for you to explain our journey. Click below to start the video!

A. How We Began Intermittent Fasting

1 .Donna
a. Two years ago this month; heard you could eat whatever you wanted and still lose weight
b. Had been doing plant-based supplements for two years and had turned around many health issues and went off several medications (med-free!)
c. Had been doing food changes and movement changes gradually over previous ten years and had lost 50 pounds with 65 pounds to go
d. Was tired of limiting carbs and trying to do keto with little success

2. Ray
a. Had been doing plant-based supplement for one year and had turned around many health issues and went off all medications and had lost 15 pounds with 120 to go
b. Two years ago December 5th
c. Couldn’t dance
d. Next day began fasting to dance with me!

B. First Year of IF

a. Enjoyed eating carbs again!
b. Began OMAD (one meal a day)
c. Two-three weeks in, could fast for 18 hours a day with little hunger
d. Discovered benefit of lowering insulin and making it easier to not eat as much junk food
e. Discovered that when insulin is lowered each day, your leptin (satiety hormone) goes up—and you can hear it better when you don’t eat six to twelve times a day
f. Discovered that when fasting, you can control the hormone grehlin and hear when you are full much sooner
g. The combination of lowering insulin, raising leptin, and lowering/hearing grehlin made many changes happen naturally

i. Less hunger
ii. Less willpower needed
iii. Fewer cravings
iv. Able to control total intake
v. Able to reduce processed foods (circular results—fasting made me eat fewer processed foods; eating fewer processed foods made me able to balance
my hormones and fast better and eat more healthfully)

C. Second Year of IF

1. Changed our eating dramatically

a. Naturally happened
b. Few processed foods in the house
c. Sugar dramatically decreased (no sugar protocol except for planned occasions)

i. Stopped focusing on this macro being bad or this one being good and instead focused on real foods with all macro combinations
ii. 4 to 10 fruits and vegetables a day—starchy, non-starchy, low cal, higher cal….just real

2. Was able to implement a “decide ahead of time” eating approach

a. Deciding the day before what I would eat tomorrow
b. Simple since I only eat twice a day
c. Takes 1-3 minutes
d. Not numbers—just foods I will eat and when

3. Discovered “Hungry Brain” by Dr. Stephan Guyenet

a. My Trifecta
b. His teaching on dopamine spikes
c. Tested the “stretching out of treats” and it worked!
d. Now I know that if I reduce my treats, I will want fewer treats

D. Future Plans and Protocols

1. Keep tweaking until we reach our weight goals

a. Goals—15 pounds for Ray; 17 pounds for me
b. What does fasting look like for someone who weighs what I weigh and has the set point/genetic factors that I have?
c. What does eating look like for someone who weights what I weigh and has the set point/genetic factors that I have?
d. How will I think? What thoughts lead to weight management success at our ages and our history

2. Keep moving!

a. Muscle the number one factor in senior health
b. Muscle allows you to eat more food—which is a big factor for people in their 50’s and 60’s—they simply can’t eat much to weight their ideal weight

3. Continue helping others

b. Two new books

i. Worth the Wait to Lose the Weight
ii. Weight Loss Lifestyle: How We Became the Minus 230 Pound Pair

c. Weight loss coaching

d. Free materials

i. IF start up charts
ii. Free sugar-free book, Sugar-Free Solutions
iii. Free webinar
iv. Free video training each week in FB group:
v. Email me at

If you are interested, I have a free webinar that starts tonight at 8:00 P.M.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019.

Click on photo to sign-up!


Heather’s Transformation

Heather’s Transformation

When I first moved here 14 years ago, Forti-fy team member Heather Kemerly lived right around the corner from me. I was like a stray puppy that ended up at her door several times a day via phone – constantly saying, “Can you help me?!”   I had just given birth to my 8th child and she had just given birth to her 9th (she added 4 more over the years). And even in all that busyness, this is a woman who taught me all about canning, sewing, cooking, the best places for just about anything, the best natural way to heal about anything, the cheapest place to buy anything and the hardiest camper I have ever met. Rain, shine, snow. We have always shared a passion for all things health and nutrition!

Here she shares how she has found a way to optimal health, starting with a recent post she made on Facebook:

My eating style currently is best described as clean keto with intermittent fasting. I have a carb up day once a week or so, depending on what is going on in my life at the time and how I am feeling. When I say carb up, I mean good higher starch carbs like sweet potatoes, potatoes, or even cauliflower pretzels (which have cassava flour in them). On these days I may eat 100-150 grams of carbs. I fast every day for anywhere from 13-16 hours and usually twice a month I do a 24 hour fast. I started eating according to the the Trim Healthy Mama plan in 2013 and lost 50 pounds. I had a few pregnancies/miscarriages in the years after that where I put up to 20 back on and then would take it back off. I still use many thm recipes (and principles) as they have become our favorites and I love many of their products.

.Keto Asian slaw with blackened chicken thighs and avacados

Roast beef, caulifflower mushroom riscotto,  roasted broccoli

I have battled migraines since I was 13. In January of 2019 I bought a program/book called Metabolic Factor by Jonny Bowden hoping to take off the final pounds I was stalled at. This involved me taking out grains and dairy except on carb up day. The weight did come off, but even better than that was that my migraines left! Praise the Lord, after 36 years I learned that gluten was the root of them. This caused me to continue to research further into many of the books Jonny Bowden had in his footnotes and beyond.

Seeing the way certain foods have affected my family members ability to learn, their behavior and general feelings of wellness has caused me to look at food differently. Food truly is our medicine OR it is a food-like-disease-causing-substance (thanks to Jimmy Moore for that processed food name). I now listen carefully to what my body is telling me after I eat, and adjust accordingly.

I eat dairy, but not a lot. I eat some grains, but mostly as a special occasion food. I try to avoid gluten except for an occasional European waffle when I run to United Coffee or a donut when I run to a donut shop.

I am not perfect, there are days I eat too much of even good food or have too many celebrations too close together (big family birthday struggles). I have learned though, to make my healthy keto/thm version of all the yummies for holidays and birthdays…and weddings, graduations and births of grandchildren!

In 2018, I had three daughters get married, one graduate, and another give birth!

I do have an Instagram account where I post my meals and most workouts if you would like to get some ideas for creating your own health-packed meals!


Keto Biscuits and Gravy.

Parmesean Flounder and Green Bean Fries

Double Chocolate Pumkin Spice Muffins

Keto German Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Keto Rootbeer Floats

BLTE Lettuce Boats

Who Gets Wine Headaches? Me!!!

Who Gets Wine Headaches? Me!!!

Or at least I used to.

In February I had given up on wine, tired of the headaches, congestion, stomach issues and more.  I knew a glass of wine just wasn’t worth it, and resolved myself to only have it a couple times a year on special occasions.  It probably shouldn’t have made me sad, but it did.

There was just something so charming and picturesque about sharing a bottle of wine with friends or my husband to celebrate, commune, or even just to unwind.  It was just one more thing I was having to give up due to intolerance ( I had long since given up on gluten, sugar and most dairy.) I was disappointed.

I stumbled across Scout & Cellar from a holistic group I belong to.  When I read the claims made about mass produced wines and their contents, I was shocked (and skeptical).

A quick search on the internet uncovers tons of articles containing the same information I was seeing there…..that most wines contain TONS of additives such as: gluten, sugar, fish bladders, egg whites, high amounts of sulfites, pesticides and on and on.  Even wines claiming to be organic aren’t always. There’s not a ton of regulation on wines here in the states, and so it was no surprise to me that all this was done without warning labels.  It’s no wonder so many people (especially women over 30) all of a sudden can no longer tolerate wine…our bodies are tired of the junk and looking for something healthier! When I tried their wines, I was still skeptical, but was quickly amazed….No Side Effects! Not after the first glass (or others) and nothing the next day!  You see, our wines come from many different, small, family owned wineries across the world that are committed to growing grapes and making wine organically and bio-dynamically.

I was hooked, but the kicker was when my husband turned to me and said, “Wouldn’t this be fun to do together?”  So that’s what we’ve been doing…we do wine tastings and other events together and have a great time. If you’d like to learn more about this tasty, organic, Keto friendly wine, I’m your girl!

Like to try before you buy? Call or message me to set up a tasting (free of charge to you) to try several different wines.

Aimee’ Penn

Associate Manager

Scout & Cellar Independent Wine Consultant

Phone: 260-312-4248 Email:

Hugh’s Bakery and Coffeehouse

Hugh’s Bakery and Coffeehouse

When I saw this picture today, I just wished I lived a wee bit closer to Bluffton.  For those of you who are closer to Bluffton, consider yourself blessed!

These are all the creations of Lydia Yaste, owner of Hugh’s Bakery and Coffeehouse. She is the daughter of a good friend of mine.  Lydia has grown up alongside my kids – making crafts together as youngsters, camping trips and playing on the Frisbee field.  Several years ago she added “Business Owner” to her repertoire of skills.

And here you can view her skills……



Although not pictured above, rest assured that Hugh’s offers a tasty variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and quiches!



And this is what Lydia’s Customers have to say….

 “I have tried almost all the featured lattes and love them all! The caramel pecan rolls are great and I finally tried the quiche today and it was amazing! So glad Bluffton has a great coffee place like this!”

“More than just coffee. Their lunch is phenomenal! Best chicken salad sandwich (croissant) I’ve had; hands down. The staff is super friendly also.”

“Hugh’s potato soup is over the top delicious, better than my fav in Ft Wayne.
And the baked oatmeal is also delicious breakfast item, filling me up for a reasonable cost.”

“Always greeted by a smiling face and a cheerful “Good morning”. Everything I have tried has been incredible! Highly recommend this place to everyone!”

“Got a cinnamon mocha frappe and it was incredible. Service was great and everyone was very kind. Most certainly going back.”

“Took 2 dozen frosted cinnamon rolls to a volunteer work project this morning and everyone was commenting on how great the rolls where, thank you Hugh’s!!!!!!”

“The cozy atmosphere of Hugh’s Bakery & Coffeehouse makes guests feel relaxed and have a good time. The pleasant staff at this place can show how much they value their clients.”

Lydia named her bakery after her grandfather whom she love dearly, and apparently taught her a great many good things!

If you would like to work among all this wonderfulness, check out Hugh’s employment opportunities here.

To keep up with all of Lydia’s goodies, check out the Hugh’s Bakery and Coffeehouse Facebook page here: