In this episode I’m chatting with Toni Crabtree of Crabtree Healthy Living. She’s a certified Holistic Health Coach and she’ll be talking all about having an advocate for wellness.
This will be awesome!
Join me as I ask her about – What a health coach does/brings to the table? Why she chose to become a health coach? How a holistic health coach might differ from a health coach in a doctor’s office, gym or at an insurance company. Why people seek out a health coach? What challenges people come to her with? Examples of the results her clients have gotten. Making the health coach relationship work when other alternatives haven’t
There will be so much covered you’ll want to have a pen and paper handy. For more info on Toni visit her website at http://crabtreehealthyliving.com
Michelle: Hello! Hello! Good afternoon! Welcome my soulful entrepreneurs, friends and everyone else who finds us today. It’s a very exciting episode this afternoon. And in just a moment, I’m going to be bringing on a special guest. Today, we have Toni Crabtree, who’s going to join us in just a moment and talk to us about being a holistic coach and an advocate for wellness.
But before I bring her on, I want to do a little introduction and I have a load of questions. So, let me just go ahead and get right into it. After years in corporate America, Toni reinvented herself and taught children in an inner city school for nine years. The stress of the demanding job and caring for her mother for long stretches of time combined and caused Toni’s health to deteriorate.
At one time, she was on about nine medications a day and at 49, she thought her future was looking very glum. In the last six years, Toni has completely turned her health around and hasn’t taken any medication in years.
Now, she looks to the future and sees herself healthy and active for a very long time. Toni is a certified holistic health coach and her strength is being a dedicated listener which enables her to create highly customized personal coaching programs for her clients. Of course, she also does offer some online clean eating and detox programs and presents workshops.
And here’s the part of my introduction of her that I just really love. She believes that true health is much more than the absence of a disease, but it must also include the physical, mental and social well-being.
Toni, welcome! Thanks so much for joining me this afternoon.
Toni: Thank so much for having me Michelle. I’m thrilled to be here.
Michelle: Absolutely thank you. I also love that your vision is to have people fully engaged in life and free from stress and pain of chronic disease and this is a fun part too, confident in their healthy futures.
Michelle: Yeah, what I’d love for you to do, before we dive into all things health and how that’s definitely important to us especially the entrepreneurs, we have to be very mindful of our health and our energies, but tell me a little bit more about how you started down that path. I mean you went from corporate America to teaching children in an inner city school – bless your heart – to moving on to this soulful entrepreneur path. Tell us a little bit about that, if you will.
Toni: Well, actually it’s quite a journey . Corporate America was a great place for me when I was right out of school, right out of college and needed a steady job and steady income and that was exciting and all that.
And then, some things happened in my personal life that had me realize that it’s not just about the income. It’s not just about the status of the job that it’s really for me much more about how meaningful my work is. And that’s what actually lead me to teach. I chose to leave corporate America, I chose to take the pay cut that went with that and did that freely and willingly and enthusiastically. I was delighted to do that because I really wanted to work with children and touch the future and specifically children in that environment where the needs are really great. And it was a wonderful experience for me.
Michelle: And then, you started getting some health problems which then lead you to where you are today, the soulful entrepreneur who is helping other people live their healthiest life. Tell us about how you started on that. I know you’ve got a lot of extensive training that you’ve done.
And I’d love it if you would just share a little bit more about that, that journey which leads us to where we are today and some of that training. And then, you started getting some health problems which then lead you to where you are today, the soulful entrepreneur who is helping other people live their healthiest life. Tell us about how you started on that. I know you’ve got a lot of extensive training that you’ve done.
And if you would just share a little bit more about that, that journey which leads us to where we are today and some of that training that you’ve taken to get you here.
Toni: Okay, well, like many people of my generation, I was then pretty good shape until something happened again in my personal life, and for me it was that I got married and divorced and I gained a lot of weight. This is all still in Corporate America. I lost that weight. And then, when I shifted over to teaching, it happened gradually, but ultimately the thirty five pounds that I had lost have turned into a seventy pound weight gain.
So, I had put that 75 pounds back on within about ten years. And my father had died very young at 65 from heart disease. And I take after him physically in terms of my work habits too and I really sort of expected that because he’s had a heart disease, because he’s been this workaholic person that I was going to end up like him. And it was kind of a scary thing. I worked really hard for it not to happen, but it was happening. I was in treatment for lots of different things including cholesterol and blood pressure and much of other things.
But what happened was when I was I guess forty nine, I got super lucky and a friend of mine talked me into upgrading my nutrition and it actually honestly started with supplementational foods, that’s where it started.
I didn’t change anything else about my lifestyle, I just put those things in. And within a year, not only was I off all my medications, but I also had stopped having the chronic sinus infections and bronchitis and just a myriad of other things that were going well for me when I was forty nine. So everything was completely different by the time I was 50.
Michelle: I have goose bumps. I mean we see that, we read that, and I know that we’ve met in person and I have to tell everybody listening. If that was 6 years ago, you were forty nine, I wouldn’t have guessed by looking at you, so I would’ve put you there maybe today, not six years ago. I’ll do the math. You know what I’m saying.
But at the very same time, what a beautiful testimony to the fact that something that’s just so rarely available to each and every one of us with the right guidance can totally get us off so many of those medications. And I bet a lot of people will think much like you did once we get to a certain age, this is kind of what comes next. Do you find that sometimes, is that maybe some of the common things that your clients have or maybe their concerns?
Toni: Absolutely. Most people who come to me, do want to stay off meds or they want to reduce them. They’ve already seen what happens to an older relative, for example when they start the medications and it’s one and then it’s another one, and there are side effects and there’s another one and they really want to stay off that merry- go-round or out of that whirlpool or how you want to picture that. It’s a big motivator for a lot of people. And yet, there is a sense that we can’t, somehow.
And my experience really showed me how simple it is and that it is possible for all of us if we’re willing to and we have the guidance you mentioned that before. If we have the guidance that we need to support us pretty much anything is possible. We can absolutely improve our health no matter how old we are. I’m totally convinced of that now.
Michelle: So, you told me in your website which I looked at which was awesome. And I loved that you liked Dr.Weil and Deepak Chopra, two of my favorites. And I have to say, when I see both of them, I always see them as these radiant beings, but they’re always smiling, they always seem so full of life and so joyful. And I thought that was just – it was really touching to me that those two people resonated with you as well when I was looking at your website.
But what I really want to ask you is health coach, holistic health coach, tell me about the differences between the two and maybe some of the training that would put you into one of those categories?
Toni: Okay, perfect. There’s a lot of health coaches out there now. It’s a term that we’re hearing more and more. It’s still a relatively new term and so there are health coaches who work for insurance companies, for example, and they make phone calls with people to make sure that they’re being compliant with their medications.
There are health coaches who are also personal trainers for example and they’ve added on a certification through their organization to do that. There are people who market products and their role in their company is health coach.
And so, there’s lot of difference path in health coaching. The particular path that I chose very intentionally was holistic health coaching. And I’m an independent health coach. What I did is I chose to attend the Institute for Integrated Nutrition and why I did is I realized my recovery, if you want to call it that, kind of kicked off this exploration and study and it did lead me to do a lot of additional training. I was trained on an online weight management program. I was trained as a health coach through a private company. I went to some of the medical institute in Bahia, California and did some nutrition adviser training there.
But what I so clearly realized is that what works for me, does not necessarily work for someone else. And I really feel strongly about honoring and respecting the individual and what works for you. So, that’s what this different graded nutrition does, they teach a cornerstone is bio-individuality. So, there’s no dogma. There’s no – this is the way that everyone should eat to be healthy because there is no one way.
And for example, a client may thrive on veganism, I personally don’t. So, there’s a respect in allowing for all of those differences and honoring that.
Michelle: I really like that. I must say that and I have a bookshelf full of books that are on health and wellness and different things that I’ve read over the years. And most people, and other obviously independent authors sharing their opinion. But I like it when people work with you, were able to come in and say, “I’m not ready to give up bread entirely, Toni. Tell me how I can create a healthy life and still allow some bread from time to time.” Different things like that. So, awesome.
Holistic then, you mentioned or I mentioned earlier, it’s not just what we’re eating, it’s the physical, the mental and the social. Tell me – that might – that obviously creates something unique in the clients that you’re working with, but it might also kind of be a big challenge for some of the people that you’re working with as well. And a challenge in them obtaining the kind of health that they are looking for today. Can you touch on that for me?
Toni: Yes, so we look at – those of us who have been trained through IIN, we do look at our plate as secondary food. It does nourish us as human beings, but the primary food, the food that nourishes us as human beings, spiritual beings having a human experience, those things are relationships, careers spirituality, exercise. When those things are all unbalanced, we tend not to have a problem with the food on our plate, provided that we know how to choose healthy food on the plate. It is when they’re out of balance that we do have problems.
So, for the most part, my clients are more comfortable starting out talking about food and we can achieve a lot and then depending how long I coach them, they tend to open up more and more and more, and we actually touch on the balance in those other areas. If they have a spiritual practice for example, we might talk about how to enhance that or if they don’t have one, how can they begin to incorporate that in a way that fits and feels comfortable and not strange and weird for them, but to begin to find some balance.
Michelle: I like that. And kind of touching on that, it’s really funny. I have this calendar on my desk. And today, it says, I make healthy choices as I only have respect for myself. And I would imagine something like that being introduced to somebody who’s not been exposed to that before can’t make a big difference in their life. So, you’re not just talking about kicking the food that’s not good for you. It’s bringing in and kind of replacing those things that we used to use the food to sooth or help, I guess might be the right word.
You’re bringing in other things to make sure that we have the tools needed so that we don’t have that cycle that you had where you lost the weight and then gained even more than you had lost before.
Toni: Yes, that’s absolutely correct. It’s all about empowering the individual and meeting them where they are wherever that is that they’re having McDonald’s and Arby’s every day. We can take a few steps to improve the quality of their life. And that’s really what it’s about. We talk about health, but it’s about the quality of someone’s life and the quality of their experience.
And when we do clean up our diet, when we do begin to move towards balance, when we improve those things, we get happier and we have a better experience and it ripples out into every aspect of our lives and that honestly is the most satisfying part of it to me is that we may start with one little issue that someone has and they just really want to tackle that, and that’s great, but it grows and it ends up being much more than they could have imagined.
Michelle: Wow! I can hear in your voice that you really love what you do. And so, of course, it’s a real treat for me to always talk with people like you are following their passion and doing their part to make a difference in the world especially sharing the information that you’ve acquired, shortening the learning curve. I mean, of course I could read those 85 books. I could go and do all of those things, or I could just come to somebody like you and get something customized, just specific to me and also get the guidance and support which is why people like you are just so special in this world.
So, this kind of leads me to my next question, and that is what do you see people struggle with the most. I mean, like I said, I had those books, but I don’t know how to follow them, so I’m sure I’m not alone. So, what is the struggle that you’re seeing in people and what can we do about that?
Toni: Great question. So, it’s actually two parts, and I’ll make the first part really short. First part is that there is so much information out there that it can be overwhelming. The second part though is that most people have a real strong sense that they know what they should be doing, but it’s really hard to implement it. There’s an aspect of planning that’s really necessary in today’s world for us to be as successful as we want to be or as we can be in terms of managing and supporting our health.
Our environment really isn’t set up to support our health very well. If you think about travelling or if you think about eating out or whatever, there’s a lot of environmental influences on our food that aren’t health supporting. There’s a lot in our media that’s not positive, so it’s planning to avoid the negative, planning to put in the positive, planning to incorporate foods that are life giving as opposed to those that contribute to illness and we got a lot of those out there right now, so.
Michelle: Right. Wow! I like that. That’s the end, so you’re going kind of back to what you said a little while ago, you’re meeting people right where they are and in this non-judgmental way, guiding them through this myriad of information and refining it to something that they can work with right where they are and later take additional steps to improve that and go from there on helping them get to their goals.
So, this kind of leads me to questions that I hear about in the industry and I try to do this myself as often as possible and that’s organics. I mean, WholeFood, I love them to death, but it can become kind of pricey to go there and make sure that we shop and buy just organic foods or even the organic markets in town. Tell me, do we really need to shop for organics? Do I need to make sure everything that my family eats is organic?
Toni: Okay, that’s an excellent question. One of the things that I also like to do is be very practical with my clients and anyone that I’m working with. If we make things too difficult, the movement is not going to occur. So, yes, I do believe there’s plenty of evidence out there that organic food is healthier for us because it has more nutrients and what it doesn’t have which is the pesticide residues and things like that.
With that said, not all food that’s produced has that level of pesticides, so what I generally recommend is that anyone who’s interested, download the free app from the environmental working group, and you can do this right now, go on your phone and download, EWG Dirty Dozen. That will help you to prioritize your purchases so that the foods that you do choose to buy organic are those that tend to have higher concentrations of those pesticides.
For example, it doesn’t make sense to buy an organic avocado because avocados don’t tend to have a lot of those pesticides in the first place or an onion, but if you’re talking apples or berries, that’s where you want you want your organic buying power to go.
Michelle: Right. Alright, well good, that’s excellent advise. And I will make sure after our episode to post a link to that as well. What a great resource and we all have our phone with us every day. We don’t have to memorize that. Now, we know we can just tap our smart phones and get that information right away available.
Before we wrap up today, I would love it if you would share with us, clean eating and detoxing and what that looks like and I know that you have a program and we’ve got a little bit of time left, I’d love it if you just tell me a little bit about that, so that we might be able to participate in that.
Toni: Okay, well, clean eating basically means eating things that as nature provides them to us as much as possible. It’s typically not possible to do that all the time, but if you can eat whole foods in their natural state, that’s clean eating and less of the pesticide laden foods and things like that. More of, the important ones to buy organic, get those organic. So, that’s basically what clean eating is.
Detoxing is something that’s been around for probably as long as humans have been around. You find it in fasting, in religious traditions. Anyway, there’s lots of different ways to approach it. You can approach it with supplements that force release toxins from yourself. You can approach it through fasting. You can approach it through specific juicing or something like that.
What I like to use is a whole food detox which is basically designed to rest the digestive system. It’s gentle, it’s an elimination diet of sorts which probably most of your listers have heard of. You eliminate certain things from your diet for a short period of time and then reintroduce them to see if you have a reaction to them, extremely powerful and empowering process to go through.
Some people learn an awful lot about themselves and they learn that they really enjoy good wholesome food which is huge just right there.
Michelle: Yeah, teaching us to kind of listen to our bodies. It sounds like as well without elimination we’re seeing what we react or don’t react to in a favorable, I should say, in a favorable or non favorable way.
Toni: Yes, exactly, extremely empowering.
Michelle: Alright, Toni, I have just one more question and that was the food that you – let me back that up. There are so many different series on the kind of food we should eat and the kind of foods that we shouldn’t eat. I did peek at your website. I did see meat, I saw tofu. I saw quiona which I absolutely love quiona. And I’m anxious to try that quiona summer salad although today is more of a lentil stew day. I saw that right on there as well. Is there a kind of a word of wisdom that you could share with us with respect to foods before we go. I mean, obviously eating the whole food, the unprocessed food, you mentioned that, the certain foods and the organics as we can find it, but is there anything else, food wise, that you could give us to help us with our energy levels, especially those of us that are busy with businesses and families and so forth, we need that energy to be able to do all the things that we do for all the people that we do those for?
Toni: That’s a wonderful question. So, basically, anything that is highly processed is going to cost you energy as opposed to provide it, even though they seem like it does in the short run, like highly processed sugars and things like that seem as though they give you a boost, but there’s a cost to eating that food, and that’s what your body has to do to recover from eating that food.
So there’s that, but the one single food group that would be the most beneficial for us that most of us are not eating enough of is green vegetables, vegetables that come from the earth and reach for the sky have wonderful energy for us and they tend not to be consumed often enough.
So, that doesn’t mean they have to be raw in a smoothie or a juice, you can have them cooked and cooked is better for some people anyway.
Toni: So, add some green leafy veggies, like constantly, intentionally add them.
Michelle: I have to say, today for lunch, because I knew I was talking to you, I think that I like had this almost like – I’m talking to the health coach, I need to eat healthier today because I’m going to be talking to the health coach. I had me a nice green spinach salad with a little bit of zucchini and tomatoes cut up on it and a little bit of smoked almonds cut up on them too, so that I would have a little protein and I was feeling so good I felt, “Toni would be so proud of me if she saw my plate today.”
Toni: And how do you feel now?
Michelle: I feel good. I feel good, yeah of course. Yeah, I mean I have to do that like a lot, so thank you.
Michelle: Hey, we’re running out of time here today, and before we go, I want to make sure that you tell everyone how they can find you and how they might be able to work with you on improving their health, much like you’ve done for yourself.
Toni: Well, the best thing to do probably is to go to my website which is www.CrabtreeHealthyLiving.com and take a peek around like you did. There is – on the landing page there, there is a link to my clean eating 101 guide. That’s a really nice introduction. It’s got recipes in it. It has kind of an overview of a philosophy. And that’s available, and that will also connect you to my newsletter list which goes out once or twice a month.
We also have our Facebook page, Crabtree Healthy Living on Facebook, so you can access that eBook there too, the Clean Eating 101 eBook. And the seasonal detox programs that we do are at refreshrenewrecharge.com. and it’s updated every season.
I do want to mention that I really appreciate people listening in and so if as you do go to the website or the Facebook page and you sign up for that for eBook, if you enter in that you’ve heard about Crabtree Healthy Living from Illuminate Together, I will also send to you a recording that is a guided visualization on how to eat out healthy, that’s another thing value.
Michelle: That is so wonderful. Thank you Toni for sharing that and I’ll make sure that listeners have that and will make sure that they know where to find you as well. I want to just thank you again for being on here. You are a beautiful example of a soulful entrepreneur who has gone from unhealthy lifestyle, into business that has allowed you to bloom and to really be your authentic self.
So, thank you for joining me this afternoon. Thank you for sharing your story and I really appreciate you being on here.
Toni: Thank you so much Michelle, it has been a true pleasure and an honor. I really appreciate it.
Michelle: Well this is Michelle Spalding signing off for today and I look forward to hearing from all of you online and joining us next week as well. Make it a great day, tah tah for now.