» September 2017

Month: September 2017

Staying Healthy – Advice From A Healthcare Renegade

nature medicine, healthy eating for beginners, food as medicine, clean eating, How To Stay Healthy, Advice From a Healthcare RenegadeToday, I’m honored to introduce M. Leigh Johnson, also known as the Healthcare Maquis who talks about staying – or getting – healthy in a system that is stacked against you.

I’ve been looking for everyday people who see the Western healthcare system for what it is – a system of creating customers, not cures – to educate us on alternative and complementary therapies.

Leigh and I met through a private Facebook group that helps its’ members become better writers and bloggers to make our personal message relevant and interesting.

Leigh has had her share of ups and downs with the medical community and – like me – wants you to know that there is a better way to help yourself get and stay healthy.

The healthcare debacle is not over yet – not by a long shot. The latest is yet another round of politicians convincing Americans that massive cuts to healthcare are good for us and it’s on life-support, but not dead.

I am frustrated and angry that we have to fight this hard for a basic human right. Until access to healthcare becomes a basic human right, I choose to turn my anger into something positive so that we can all benefit.

You may (or may not) know that I’m a certified aromatherapist and holistic life coach. There are many concerns that I can help you address through the use of essential oils and coaching. If you would like to read the original Uninsured series, HERE is Part One.

Let’s dive in with Leigh today:

What is the meaning behind Healthcare Maquis?

Briefly, I wanted a name that alluded to a revolution and being a renegade. The Maquis were part of the French resistance against the Nazis during World War II. It’s an interesting story and it really is worth your time to learn more about them.

Here is something that I want you to think about. The Maquis were a small group of fighters that resisted the Nazis while so many other people all across Europe just allowed what happened without a fight. Think where the world would be if a small group of fierce people did not fight the system – what if they didn’t fight against the status quo?

I have a full explanation of where I got the name Healthcare Maquis on my blog in this article, and in this video on YouTube.

What prompted you to create the Healthcare Maquis?

I have several reasons why I started my business. Health and wellness is my life. Even outside of my educational and professional experience, it is my passion. To give you a comparison, in other cultures I would be considered a medicine woman. I am the person that people in my life look to for medical advice. I want to share my knowledge with the world, and also to have a repository of information for anyone to access.

My authority comes not from the alphabet soup behind my name, but the years of real trial and error. Experience is a better teacher than any professor.

What I talk about on my site and in my videos comes from my real life experiences. I don’t tell you to use Apple Cider Vinegar if I don’t do it myself. I would never suggest Lavender for sleep if I had never used it before.

How has this experience impacted your own health?

I have been on my health journey for a quite awhile. So, often I speak in retrospect on my blog about past experiences. However, health is a journey, not a destination. I am still working toward my goals and sharing what I am doing online helps me be accountable.

Also, I hope in the process, I inspire people to get healthy – if I AM doing it, they can too. For example, I was inspired to do a 28 day challenge where my family and I did not eat out for the month. The challenge was born out of two issues:

  • First, even with my commitment to clean eating and wholesome living, we do eat out. The irony is that the better the choices you make with your food at restaurants the more it’s going to cost you. So avoiding fake burgers and phony potato products was costing me a pretty penny.
  • Second, there were two people in my life who had a terrible eat-out habits. They were going to restaurants daily…drive thru, carryout, gas stations…you name it, they were eating it. You cannot be in control of your health when you are not in control of what you eat.

I created the challenge to inspire them and others that it is possible to eat delicious food at home each and every day with no excuses. I have a family of seven with five of us in the house on a full-time basis. We have different food restrictions, preferences, etc…so there are two different schedules running in my house.

I work from home and homeschool my kids. All while my husband attends college and works 50-60 hours a week. I am absolutely the definition of “busy”. Our life is full, but I manage to keep it together to ensure we live a healthy lifestyle.

If you would like to see what I ate during the month, you can go to my Facebook page where I posted my pictures daily.

I also have compiled an eBook chronicling what I did on the challenge and how you can reduce the amount of restaurant food in your life. The book – entitled 28 Day No Eat Out Challenge –  will be released in October, 2017. I am offering it for free for those who sign up for my email list. You can get on the waiting list for the book here.

Beside diet and exercise, what is your advice to someone who is looking to stay – or get – healthy?

I ran across this quote from a 100 year old woman that made me laugh, but sums up my sentiment. “Stay away from doctors.”

What that means for me is a mindset switch. Doctors and the Western “healthcare” system are not about making or keeping people well. You are a slave to the little pills they give you. You are a slave to the high cost of their ineffective procedures.

Be the boss of your own life.

When you adopt what is called an internal locus of control…meaning you believe that you are in control of what happens to you…you will experience a radical shift in your life.

I have not been to the doctor in over a year. I would tell you how long it has been for other members of my family, but I literally fear the consequences of my truthfulness. nature medicine

At this point, I have no plans on going back. I do see a dentist because he performs an actual function. I see the optometrist because he helps me perform a life function called vision. Outside of that, I have no intention of ever engaging the system again…(p.s. I do pay for that mandatory health insurance EVERY month…I never use it.)

So my advice is start learning about your own body and its needs. Take charge of your own health. Seek out real help when you need it. People like myself and Melissa want to help empower and educate you!

What direction are you taking the Healthcare Maquis in the future?

I will continue to offer the highest quality information on health and wellness that I possibly can. As I develop relationships with other health warriors like Melissa, I would like to partner with people who can offer their expertise/experience to my audience.

The Maquis was not a person, it was a movement. The Nazi philosophy was larger than Hitler. The Nazi ideologies still exist to this day. Imagine if we could create the same kind of positive, lasting legacy for health, wellness and freedom?

To learn how I can help you own your wellness journey, visit me at The Healthcare Maquis website or find me on social media on Twitter @maquishealth and Facebook @TheHealthcareMaquis.

Thank you so much for taking time to learn about me and what I do. nature medicine clean eating recipes

Be free and be well.

Wow! Thank you Leigh for sharing your wisdom and for being so fierce about healthcare! Being healthy doesn’t have to mean continuous doctor visits and taking yet another little pill. Simply starting with good clean food from your local farmer’s market will go a long way toward feeling your best. The way I see it, medicine is sickcare – good food is healthcare!

I’m so grateful you stopped by today. What can I help you with? What questions do you have? Please fill out this short contact form and let’s talk today!





On Letting Go of Dreams

Letting Go, let go, grief, forgiving myself, emotions of grief, moving forward after loss, My heart is hurting – and shattered – over letting go of a long-held dream. It’s a brutal, soul-sucking time and there are days when I feel so incredibly overwhelmed that all I can do is breathe.

It’s the times when life just relentlessly pounds you into the ground that you learn your own strength. After nearly a decade of pursuing a very personal dream, I received a flash of insight that I was simply beating a dead horse. Nothing will make that dream happen no matter how hard I work; no matter how many positive affirmations I say; no matter how much gratitude I offer for the tiniest shred of life.

The deafening silence is that of doors and windows slamming shut so hard that my brain is rattling.

As a child, whenever I felt the sting of loss, my mother would tell me to quit whining and say that “someone always has it worse”. True. Very. True.

What this shiny pearl of wisdom ignores is that we all have big, deep feelings and hopes and dreams and wants and needs and when they crash to the ground, you’re allowed to mourn.

Despite what you hear, life is not a competition. I’m not going to feel bad about feeling bad simply because your heartbreak is bigger or more life-altering than mine.

Letting Go of the Emotions

It’s okay – even good – to sit with your broken heart and all the swirling emotions. I DIDN’T SAY WALLOW, I SAID SIT. 

There’s a whole lot of people walking around with bad backs, lung and liver problems, impaired kidneys, chronic pain – any number of physical issues – because they didn’t deal with various emotions when they happened. They just stuffed them away because it was too painful to deal with at the moment.

Stuffing your emotions down the rabbit hole because you’re intent on proving just how tough you are isn’t being strong. It’s setting yourself up for major physical and emotional issues down the road. Again, I’m not talking about wallowing, I’m simply talking about facing the emotions that you’re dealing with before life gets out of hand.

In sitting with your emotions, what I’m asking you to do is to recognize them for what they are.

Sometimes, simply writing down on paper all the emotions that are swirling around inside of you can take away some of their power. Then write down WHY you feel these raw emotions so deeply. Again, seeing what you’re dealing with in black and white (or whatever color of pen you use) gives you a different perspective about what’s happening.

In this manner, you can let go of some of the rawness.

I’m not going to lie. It takes courage to face something that has altered your life – it does. And that’s where holistic life coaching comes in. I needed some help dealing with all the shit that went down.

Yes – life coaches help each other and have each other’s back and I’m so very grateful to be a part of this beautiful and amazing profession.

Along with coaching, I began using a blend that I created to help women deal with emotional aspects of menopause called – oddly enough – MenoPause Aromatherapy Roller Ball. If it helps to balance your emotions when your hormones are on a roller coaster, why not use this during times of extreme emotional distress?

I’m grateful to tell you that it has helped me tremendously to deal with the emotional roller coaster I’m riding at the moment.

The Emotions of Grief

For me, tough times require that I go “underground” and by that I mean isolating myself. I need time to process, work out what I did wrong, what I could have done differently – anything to find some semblance of closure.

Isolation may not work for you. You may have a hectic schedule, children that need you at 100% or you may simply dislike being alone. (If that’s the case, we definitely need to talk.) It’s all good. Even a thirty-minute soak in a tub full of Epsom Salts and Lavender will help you process.

What I don’t think is good is rushing headlong into situations that you may find emotionally challenging and threaten your already compromised sense of peace. Create your own sanctuary of peace – whatever that may be.

Can you walk around the block? Can you pull weeds in the back yard? Can you paint something? Can you write it all down and then burn it? Listening to your favorite music is a wonderful way to soothe you – just don’t listen to songs that will rip your heart to shreds.

Put a name on your shattered dream. Understanding the why of it all – the vision of your dream and what it meant for you – it takes some serious self-compassion, but will help to provide closure.

What’s really important is to find the perspective in the whole mess and this may simply take a bit of time. Don’t discount or disrespect yourself or anyone else because they mourn a dream. That dream is real and it’s wired into your brain. That’s where a trusted friend or holistic life coach can help you. 

Try to find the courage to form a new dream. I found a wonderful article by Rokelle Lerner about the loss of your dreams. In it, she talks about moving forward after sustaining this kind of loss.

For those who have experienced the death of a dream, it takes courage to dream again. Anyone who has experienced this kind of loss understands the expression, “dare to dream”. It’s definitely daring to get our hearts and minds wrapped around another vision for us. But if we’re willing to take the chance, it provides a powerful affirmation of life that feeds our spirit.

Your Spirituality in the Face of Dashed Dreams

I just gotta tell you – I’m not much of a spiritual person and religion simply isn’t my cup of tea. I can only imagine how much I’m going to upset and offend a whole lot of people with that statement.

The whole point of that little tidbit of sharing is to let you know that it’s perfectly fine to step away temporarily (or forever, for that matter) from whatever supreme-being-of-your-choice you know.

I’ve had to completely step away from all of it, especially the bullshit of “everything happens for a reason” or THE absolute worst: “it just wasn’t meant to be”. That makes me absolutely crazy when people say that to someone who has experienced loss of any kind be it person, pet, job or dream.

It’s okay to step away. It’s okay to be really pissed off at the supreme-being-of-your-choice. You know what? In the long run, YOU have your own back. YOU know what’s best for you. You know how hard you worked to make your dream a reality. Only YOU know how much it hurts. Period.

I will say again, this isn’t the time to wallow. I’m not wallowing; I simply had to take a hard look at my dependence upon some invisible dictator (the actual term for “dictator” will remain private) that holds my dreams hostage. All I’m saying is don’t add insult to injury by feeling guilty about grieving or stepping away from some dogma that already creates stress in your life.

On the flip side of that burger, if you depend upon the supreme-being-of-your-choice for your cup of daily strength and well being, by all means, please do. If depending on your higher power gets you through each day upright and sober, hang on for dear life.

No matter what, don’t apologize for feeling the way you do. Your feelings are REAL.

Moving Forward

What now? Well, right now, I’m putting on my happy face when I’m out in public. In private, that’s totally my business and when you’re grieving, it’s your own personal business, too. If you don’t want to share your private grief with anyone, please don’t.

But, if you don’t have anyone in your life that you feel you can share your grief without judgment (I don’t), by all means, get yourself a life coach. We’re trained to help you move through the stuck places and truthfully, I can pull it all together and help you a lot easier than I can help myself. That’s why life coaches have life coaches. 

The biggest thing is to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for the real (or imagined) failures and the coulda/shoulda/wouldas of life that get in the way of healing after a major loss. If it’s possible, visualize yourself stuffing all the dashed dreams and heartache into a big suitcase, taking it to the bus station or airport, set the suitcase down – and walk away. This gives you a visual way of moving forward after loss.

If you’re not sure how to forgive, this is what works for me. When you’ve been wronged and you need to forgive, try sending love and light to the person who wronged you including yourself. Even when the apology never comes – or you need to forgive yourself – sending love and light is a compassionate way to begin the process.

Here are some other ideas that may be helpful for you:

  • Look for your favorite color every time you go out. This opens your heart and eyes to opportunities.
  • Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. Your body does better when it has enough hydration.
  • Rest just a bit more than you normally would. Listen to your body – it’s telling you important information.

These wonderful words of wisdom from Danielle LaPorte (one of my favorite authors) may also help you in your process:If you let go of a dream, a bigger reality may appear. We’ll just have to see about that.

Understand that grief is different for everyone in different situations. There’s no time limit. There’s also no shame when the grief washes over you in waves at the most unexpected times. Be kind to yourself!

In the meantime, I want you to know that I’ve had my share of bumps, bruises and heartbreaks and when you need someone who has a listening ear, an understanding heart and no judgment, I’m here to be your life coach and aromatherapist.

I’m at your service. Capiche?

I’m so blessed and grateful that you stopped by today. Fill out this short contact form and let’s get started moving forward today. 



Better Health With A Certified Health Coach

certified health coach, alternative medicine, what does a health coach do
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During the summer of 2017, health insurance was in the news – a LOT. The insurance landscape is changing and the fight isn’t over yet. Many of us may yet find ourselves without insurance or be unable to afford regular traditional doctor visits.

So what are the alternatives to traditional medicine? I wrote the Uninsured series of posts where I talked about alternative and complementary modalities to help you stay healthy without insurance. (This is Part 1 of the series.)

Of course, I tackled many of the issues that I can help you address as a certified aromatherapist and holistic life coach. But I wanted to educate you about other wellness practitioners who also excel at helping you stay – or get – healthy. Over the next few months, I’m inviting practitioners from all areas to write about what they do and how they can help you get and stay healthy.

Today, meet Stefanie Draper, a Certified Health Coach in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina. Stefanie explains how she can help you navigate all the options when it comes to your health.

How Can A Health Coach Help Me?

A healthy lifestyle in this day and time has lots of options in the way of health food stores, holistic helpers and healers, supplements, gyms and yoga studios, organic food options, and on and on. So why is it such a challenge to be healthy?! If we have all these support networks we should have healthy bodies and healthy lives, right?

The majority of us know what we should be doing, yet most of us don’t implement what is necessary to be truly healthy. Pile on top of that the issues our health care system presents, and we can find ourselves in a real pickle! If we are depending on the government, our primary care physician, or our prescriptions to keep us healthy, we really do have another think coming. Melissa has brought to us a wonderful discussion, because clearly it is time for us to begin seeing our health resources differently.

I am a Certified Health Coach. I received a B.A. degree in Exercise & Sport Sciences from UNC Chapel Hill and proceeded to become a Personal Trainer for many years after graduation. My heart always focused on the whole person though, their mind, body, and spirit. I realized that without addressing the entirety of a person’s life and mindset, change was difficult and short-lived. I became a Certified Health Coach (CHC) with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition so I could help people find the long-lasting solutions unique to their lives and personal situation.

My wellness journey began in high school when I was placed on a special diet via a homeopath to remedy systemic candida (yeast) overgrowth which could not be overcome by traditional medical remedies. It opened my eyes to another way of viewing health and wellness. Where traditional medicine could not help me, holistic “medicine” did. It was a little longer of a process, and I had to learn a lot, but my life has never been the same. I am not dependent on our traditional medical system, I don’t need or use pharmaceuticals, and I feel great!

What Does a Health Coach Do?

Certified Health Coaches are a fantastic alternative support system for people seeking a more energetic, vibrant, and stable way of life. Doctors of all kinds are necessary in society for acute issues and basic yearly check-ups. When we are in an auto accident, break an arm, or have a heart attack, we are grateful we have them! Yet I want to suggest that as you take responsibility over your daily routine and integrate healthy lifestyle practices, our bodies can heal, strengthen, renew, and sustain themselves to bring balance and wellness to us! It’s amazing what our bodies can do on their own; they want to be well!

As a CHC, my aim is to listen to your goals and desires and help you form a plan perfectly tailored to your lifestyle and needs. The key is fun, simple, and sustainable goal setting on bi-monthly basis to move at a pace which allows change to truly take root. This way you find yourself suddenly doing healthy practices naturally, without stress or frustration! Implementing a new lifestyle takes time and a little discipline, but the results are nothing short of inspiring and you have someone to help you every step of the way.

Alternative Medicine

So if you find yourself uninsured (I have been so myself more often than not these last few years) don’t feel stranded! Properly trained massage therapists, reiki practitioners, chiropractors, health coaches, personal trainers, Chinese herbalists, aromatherapists, and many other holistic wellness providers offer a wealth of information and knowledge to help you take care of the necessary components of your mind, body, and spirit. It may take some time, but once that wheel of wellness is set in motion, you can’t help but feel better and better until the thought of being uninsured is in the background.

So, barring catastrophic insurance, I see a world where preventative care providers are our ‘insurance’ and traditional medical practitioners become secondary. Sound like a crazy statement? Think of the issues that would be remedied if this were the case!

To learn even more about what I do, please visit my website ( My blog has some wonderful tips and information you may find helpful as well as my Pinterest page ( ) which has recipes, exercises, and other wellness links to whet your mental appetite.

Also, I offer free consultations for anyone interested in taking the first step towards increasing wellness in their life. You may email me ( or send me a note through my website.

I look forward to meeting you and supporting your wellness journey. I never get tired of seeing a life transformed and am honored at the opportunity to do that with you!

Thank you Stefanie for your amazing approach to staying healthy. I hope Stefanie has opened your eyes to alternative approaches if you find yourself uninsured!