Change the Channel, Change Your Life

Written By: Sarah Kolman RN, MA, CHPN, INHC

Has someone ever made a remark that hit you the wrong way, and you held onto it far longer than you should? I know it’s happened to me. For whatever reason, I’ve had folks who have made offhand comments to me through the years that have echoed in my head for weeks and months afterward — and the reason is that they resonate with the messages my inner critic is telling me.

All of us have an inner critic. It’s the voice that confirms all our limiting beliefs about ourselves and even seeks evidence to back them up — I’m not enough, I’m unlovable, I’m not attractive, I’m not smart, I’m untrustworthy and unreliable… I call this radio station in my own brain “K-BULL radio” (because everything on it is bull) and when I have the volume turned up, look out! I can’t find an optimistic thought about myself if you pay me! We’ve talked already about how mindset can impact our ability to heal from autoimmune disease. In this article I dig into the details of these beliefs that hold us back and keep us from living rich, full, healthy lives. Read more at Autoimmune Wellness.

3 Ways That Thinking Outside the Box Can Improve Your Family's Health

Written By: Sarah Kolman RN, MA, CHPN, INHC

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It’s not exactly news that the way in which we address health as a nation isn’t working. With cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, infections, and dementia on the rise, America is in an obvious health crisis. We are spending more money on healthcare than any other developed nation yet our health outcomes are among the worst.1 With a healthcare system that is designed to treat “illness,” rather than create “wellness” or “health,” we are clearly falling short.

People continue to feel sick because what they are doing isn’t working. To get different results we need to do something different. In my health coaching practice, I teach clients to “think outside the box” in order to ditch their chronic ailments, start feeling good, and finally live their best lives. 

Here are 3 ways in which I help people “think outside the box” when it comes to health.

  1. Consume foods that are outside of a box, bag, or package whenever possible. You’ll find that “outside-the-box” foods likely come directly from the earth rather than a manufacturing plant. Simply put, foods that consist of plants and quality animal products have the ability to nourish and heal our families. Eat foods similar to what we used to eat before we had factories and the ability to process and package our food. Many people experience that eating “real” food has the power to heal long-standing health problems and significantly improve quality of life.
  2. Don’t forget to look inward for dietary advice. What works for me might not work for you. One person’s medicine might be another’s poison when it comes to health. Understanding overarching principles of health is no doubt a critical first step (like, eat real foods that are minimally processed and increase vegetables), but self-awareness and self-trust will help us identify what specifically nourishes our individual bodies best. This is a paradigm shift in our culture because we tend to look externally for direction and answers. 

    In my family, we have a spectrum of egg tolerances. I used to be a total egg pusher for breakfast everyday. I figured that eggs were a perfect real food protein—so we dumped cereal and got on the egg bandwagon. After we invested in 6 hens to keep up with our supply we learned that all three of my children have egg sensitivities. Each of my kids is affected very differently by eggs—from emotional sensitivity to sleep disturbance to eczema. Meat consumption is another example of how we can be different. Some individuals thrive on meat for protein; others require very little to no meat to feel their best. It is crucial to look inward to assess a food’s impact on our personal health versus merely looking externally for hard and fast rules about what is “supposed to” fuel and nourish us. 
  3. Recognize that the true path to health is much deeper than diet alone. Eating healthy food isn’t enough, because a good diet is only part of the health picture. Although what we eat is important, we don’t always realize that there are widespread factors that impact our health equally as much as diet. In addition to nutrition, we must also look at our relationships, career satisfaction, sleep habits, movement, stress levels, and connection to our spirit. When anyone of these factors is neglected it is hard to be healthy. A toxic relationship or a high stress job can nullify the benefits of a pristine diet. It is critical to look at the big picture—and put together the whole health puzzle.

We had to think outside of the box when addressing my middle son’s health. For the first two years of his life he never had a solid stool. He had extreme emotional outbursts, passed out from screaming regularly, woke frequently at night, and was hypersensitive to light touch. When mainstream medicine couldn’t help us with answers we looked to naturopaths for help. We were able to identify the root problem that involved food sensitivities and an imbalance of bacteria and yeast in his gut. After a few months of dietary modifications we saw big results—his digestive issues were resolved and a completely different kid emerged—calm, content, emotionally regulated, and….a good sleeper. 

How we thought outside the box to heal our middle son:

  1. We found a Naturopath Doctor to guide us when mainstream medicine wasn’t giving us the answers and support we needed. The naturopath helped us balance his intestinal flora.
  2. We discovered that he had food sensitivities to dairy, glute, corn, eggs, and almonds and removed those foods from his diet. We learned what foods were medicine to him and what foods were poison.
  3. We began to refine his (and our whole family’s) diet to a cleaner, less processed diet—focusing on eating real foods that were largely outside of boxes, bags, and packages.
  4. Over the last year we have expanded our understanding of good health to go beyond the focus of food alone. We try to get our daily dose of oxytocin through connecting with each other and filling our plates with meaningful activities while limiting/avoiding the depleting ones. We strive to carve out time to slow down and not always be so rushed. We talk about how important it is to breathe and connect with our spirits. We even talk about stress and poor sleep and how they negatively impact the body. 

If we wouldn’t have done something different with our son’s health it is possible that he would be living with diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder and irritable bowel syndrome—and we would continue to be a stressed family. I am grateful that we were able to address the root cause of his health needs and help him to thrive. I encourage you to think outside the box as a way to improve your family’s health. Learn more about how to do so in my book Full Plate—get a free digital copy of the first three chapters here


1) Ashley Allen, “Countries Spending the Most on Healthcare,” USA Today, accessed 3 Sept 2015,

Life is Happening Now! (And Why It Matters in Autoimmune Disease)

Many of my autoimmune clients feel powerless, like they have no agency in how their body is behaving. They’re fatigued, itchy, in pain, unhappy, anxious, can’t think clearly or articulate their thoughts—you name it. They conclude that because they can’t control their symptoms, their body must be broken and they may never feel normal again. Sound familiar?

Read More

How to Make the Transition to Better Eating Habits

Written By: Sarah Kolman RN, MA, CHPN, INHC

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The transition to healthier eating can feel paralyzing, overwhelming, and even uninspiring. We know what we prefer, what comforts us, and what we crave. The mere thought that we may have to take such foods out of our lives seems plain awful.

Well, I have life-changing news for you! Eating healthy does not equal eating rabbit food and, thus, giving up all satisfaction in dining. In fact, the opposite is true. Healthy food can be so rich and flavorful—with the added bonus of leaving you feeling great after the meal. Many of my clients comment on how easy the transition to healthy eating is once they learn what foods to eat—which is often different than what they thought—and tips and tricks to stay on track. Here are some tips to make your transition to healthier eating easy as (healthy) pie.

·       Dump the Junk: Pantry Makeover. Get rid of unhealthy food in your pantry. Seriously, throw it (or give it) all away. I’m convinced that you need superpowers to resist sweet or salty comfort foods during times of boredom, stress, or extreme hunger. How hard is it not to grab the frozen pizza or processed chicken nuggets when you are scrambling for dinner last minute? You may still go for that snack under stress, or for the quick easy meal, but the choices available will be healthier. Dump the chips, crackers, cookies, pretzels, ice cream, and microwavable foods. Stock up on veggies, fruits, nuts, eggs, avocado, seeds, minimally processed meats and cheeses, and beans. If you want to learn more about real versus processed foods, message me for a copy of Chapter 8: Real vs. Processed Food in my book Full Plate: Nourishing Your Family’s Whole Health in a Busy World.

·       Don’t Do Without, Swap it Out! Remember there is a way to make almost every treat, snack, or meal into a healthy version—that tastes good too. This means that the goal isn’t to take your favorite comfort foods out of the mix; instead the goal is finding a healthier way to prepare the snacks and meals you love. What real food product can replace the highly refined or processed ingredients in your favorite recipes?

·       Meal Planning: A Game Changer. Being prepared for the week is really crucial. Without a plan when 6 pm rolls around, we reach for the frozen pizza. Online meal planning programs are a lifesaver if you struggle with meal planning—like I do. You get to choose your meal preferences, and voila, your meals and shopping lists are emailed to you weekly. Though I won’t recommend a meal planning program, here are a few: eMealsReal Plans, Platejoy, and Eat This Much.

·       Stabilize Blood Sugars. When our blood sugar drops we naturally crave starchy, sugary foods. However, when we eat starches and sugars our blood sugars go up quickly and crash just as hard and fast—sending us on a wild ride of blood sugar instability and more sugar cravings. Break the cycle by eating healthy fats, proteins, and vegetables. These foods naturally don’t cause ups and downs in blood sugar levels and will help get us from meal to meal without feeling hungry. When you snack, grab foods that are high in fat and protein (nuts, seeds, avocado, hummus, cheese, meat) and avoid starchy snacks like chips, popcorn, crackers, and candy.

·       Shop With a Full Belly. This isn’t news, right? When we go to the grocery store hungry our cravings are at their strongest and our instinct is to keep our blood sugars from crashing. This instinct can convince us to make poor food choices. With a full belly you will likely make decisions that are inspired from rational thought and your grocery list alone.  

·       Find a Partner in Crime. Whether it is a spouse, friend, or health coach, find a person with whom you can talk about your successes and struggles. The transition can be a lot more fun and rewarding with a buddy, and we tend to follow through with intentions more when we know someone has their eyes on us. My husband is my greatest accountability partner—he is incredibly supportive and also keeps me on track when I lose sight of my goals and values.

People often change their diets because they are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. But you don’t have to wait until you are in dire need—be proactive with your health before a crisis hits. Food is medicine! Making dietary changes is so doable and I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Sarah Kolman RN, MA, CHPN, INHC is the mom of three boys, a Registered Nurse, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and has a master's degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy. Her private practice as a health coach blends her experience and career as a nurse with her passion for nutrition and holistic wellness. She is the author of Full Plate: Nourishing Your Family's Whole Health in a Busy World. Learn more at

From Victim to Empowered: Create Your Life, Even with Autoimmune Disease

Sarah Kolman RN, MA, CHPN, INHC

In 2017, we dove into some of the nuts and bolts of the connection between cortisol (the stress hormone) and our body’s ability to heal. We learned that we prevent our body from healing itself when we don’t support a parasympathetic response of the autonomic nervous system. Over the next three months, we’re going to explore more of its complex role with autoimmune disease and its key place in the autoimmune puzzle. From my experience, you can’t heal effectively if you skip over the nervous system. Read more about how a victim mindset could be sabotaging your efforts to heal.