Eating Well, Living Well

Monday April 7th, 2014.  Today I started the Whole30 food nutrition plan  I will share below what I am eating every day to assist you in knowing you can do this too!  I also want to give you ideas when you start the plan.   I know that the way we eat can change our lives.

Eating Well, Living WellFor me I realized three years ago in the midst of health issues that food affected not only my body, but my mind in a huge way.

As a female entering “those years” when our hormones begin to change, I realized that I could no longer eat what I wanted and still feel good.  Sugar and carbohydrates (the most offensive being wheat) can send me into a place where I am not the best person to be around.  I learned this very quickly with feedback from my husband!  I also felt more mentally balanced when I cut out wheat from my diet.  I cut it out for physical health reasons but realized it really helped me mentally as well.   My physical health reasons were truly scary for me.  I had arthritis like symptoms, memory issues and chronic fatigue symptoms.  After cutting out wheat, most dairy (including milk) and taking a probiotic every single day, I felt amazingly better.  You can read my whole food journey here,  My husband literally thought I was nuts when I told him I was sensitive to wheat but he started to do his research and he is now a believer.  Now he actually watches food more than me!

I am completely grateful that my body told me what it needed three years ago.  Doctors could not figure it out and even told me “we may never find out what is wrong”, and I had a low-grade continuous fever!  I found out I was truly poisoning my body with the food I was eating and now I have a passion to assist others in this journey.

I have been traveling for work and have “fallen off the wagon” in some respects so I want to completely reset my body and see how my mind responds once again.  I have been a sugar addict most of my life (until recently) and it is time to fully make that change.  I am also focused on my fertility and I know that having a healthy body could increase my chances in that area as well.   Intention: healthy, happy child 🙂

For me, communicating with you, my readers, truly assists me in toeing the line.  Thank you!  I am going to share this journey with you in the hopes that you may be inspired to do the Whole30 or really decide to eliminate foods we know are not good for us.  It just makes so much sense to me to NOT eat processed foods.  Our bodies  (especially or intestines where all the issues truly start) break down from these foods over time.   If I can’t pronounce it on a label, I will not purchase that product.  I see it as poison for my body.  I look for “clean” ingredients.

If you want my support in your journey, please reach out.  As a professional life coach for the past 12 years, I have assisted so many in achieving health through self-love and self care.  Eating well is a significant part of truly loving ourselves.

Join my husband, Jonas and me in this journey if you like!  I know switching to this type of nutrition plan can be SO daunting, it truly has taken me three years to figure out what I can eat that works for me.  I want to share this journey with you and let you know what is possible when we feed our bodies right!

Just a note:  we buy only organic and grassfed products.  I know there is the concern of cost.   For me, there is truly no price I can put on my health.  My husband’s motto is “eat less and eat healthy”.   I also really don’t eat out much at all on a plan like this which truly saves money. I would bet anyone that they truly do not spend that much more.  And it is also helpful if you have a reasonably priced health food store option available like we do (  But again when I think of the cost of health care and what I will have to pay ($4,000 deductible) if I get sick, over time a bit of extra cost is worth it every time I think of it.  I encourage you to think about what you can give up in your budget to eat healthy.   Again, there is just no price I can truly put on my health.

Day 1:


Green Breakfast Smoothie:

  • Cucumber (1/2)
  • Celery (3 stalks)
  • Parsley –handful
  • Kale – lacinato
  • Spinach – handful
  • Olive Oil – 1-2 tablespoons
  • Apple Cider Vinegar 1-2 tablesppons
  • Dash of lemon (or lemon squeezed)
  • Garlic – clove or two 

This is a variation of another green smoothie I sometimes do (with what I had in the refrig today).


  • 1 egg – fried
  • bunch of kale with some great spices and salt, sesame seeds and coconut oil (fried in the same pan).
  • Spices are Bragg Organic Sprinkle.  I buy a lot of this brand:


  • BunnyLov Carrots
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Cashews


  • Chicken and Spaghetti Squash (with olive oil).


  • 3-4 Strawberries and 2 tablespoons Almond Butter

Day 2:


  • 2nd half of smoothie from yesterday.  Saved in a ball jar.


  • Stir fry with cauliflower, kale, asparagus and mushrooms,  with grassfed organic butter – kalona super natural.
  • Spices: Salt, White Pepper, Garlic Salt
  • Mulays Natural Mild Italian Sausage


  • One hardboiled egg with salt
  • 3 strawberries with a tablespoon of almond butter
  • Sunflower seeds and cashews.


  • Beef Burgers with avocado and onions (in the burgers).
  • Spaghetti squash and Spinach (cooked with salt and white pepper, garlic salt).

Shannon R. Rios Paulsen MS LMFT ( has spent the last 12 years learning, writing, and coaching about self-love. She is a professional life coach and a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is the author of two best-selling guided meditations: The Healing Journey Within: Meditations for Abundance and Love, Volume I (Deserving) and Volume II (Manifesting) ( She also wrote the best-selling book, The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict (  Shannon lives in Denver, CO with her Swedish husband whom she met on one of her solo self-love journeys in Thailand.

Food and Health Issue 5: What Can You Do To Get Started?

healthy womanWhat can you do to get started?

  1.  Commit to your health, physically and mentally.  Make a verbal and or written commitment to eating better.
  2. Decide on a period of time 5-21 days where you will either eliminate sugar or wheat from your diet.  My sister used the strategy where she did not eat any white bread or sugar, she changed her eating and exercising habits and lost a lot of weight and felt much better mentally as well.
  3. Know that you have a choice.
  4. Remember this is NOT a diet, it is a way of life.  You are NOT limiting yourself.  Actually eating higher fat allows me foods I have not eating a lot of in the past!
  5. If I have to have chocolate I eat 80% or higher dark chocolate – my favorite is Panama Extra Dark Organic 80%.
  6. Commit to small changes each week.
  7. Get support from an online community, a coach or a natural health practitioner.

Ideas (some things I have done to change my life):

  1. Begin cooking and using coconut oil and coconut milk (the real stuff in the can).
  2. Drink a green smoothie each day (recipe  here).
  3. Limit your sugar.
  4. Read EVERY label before buying anything!  If it has words you can not read or pronounce then your body CAN NOT process them either, put it down and move on to something with less ingredients.
  5. Do not eat anything with added sugars
  6. Do not eat anything with more than 5% sugar per serving.
  7. Take at least the top of your bun off every sandwich and cut your hamburger or meat, and just allow yourself a taste of the wheat if you really need that.

Food and Health Issue 4: Eating and Health Go Hand in Hand

Read First Issue Here:

Read Second Issue Here:

Read Third Issue Here:

This was a huge journey of loving myself.

happy dressWow life has changed, eating has changed and they go hand in hand.   Sometimes I fall off the wagon but each time I get back on the wagon and commit to my health, it gets easier and easier.  Eating healthier is a way of life now.  Do I emotionally eat once in a while, of course but it is nothing like it used to be.

I do not do low-fat, I have learned that the right fats are actually so healthy for our bodies.  High fat (good fat as in greek yogurt, grass-fed beef, avocado) is good for us.  This also is a new fact that we have not previously had the correct knowledge about.  It is all about eliminating the things that are not good for our bodies – sugar, wheat, processed foods and chemicals, and bad trans fats (think deep frying).    I also have started a green smoothie in the morning, while it may not taste amazing, I know my body loves it.  I find I crave sugars even less eating this healthy smoothie each day.  It also keeps me full for hours!  It has the nutrients my body really needs.

As we journey together I will share my thoughts, ideas, recipes and remedies.  Food is crucial to our health and our overall life experience.  In all my life coaching and executive coaching, food and nutrition is a large aspect.  Follow my “Love Yourself with Food” blog here:


Stay tuned for Issue 5: What Can You Do To Get Started? – Next Week!

Food and Health Issue 3: Completing the Journey

Read First Issue Here:

Read Second Issue Here:

However, my journey was not complete there.  A couple years later, in my early 40s I started having terrible hormonal imbalance.  I had symptoms of memory issues, heart palpitations, night sweats and terrible mood issues (especially if I relapsed and ate wheat).  They were bad enough that I went to a doctor that specialized in bio-identical hormones.  He said my estrogen levels “were alarmingly low”.  So I went on estrogen replacement therapy. Take a pill, right?

In my mind, I knew this was not the right solution.  I knew that once again there was still an underlying cause.  When I sometimes forgot to take my replacement, my symptoms were worse!  That scared me.  I began to research again. Carlos PortoThen one day a friend recommended I go to the Green Herb in Wheat Ridge CO (  They did a blood test and discussed Candida overgrowth with me.  It made so much sense.  At that point my body was so sensitive I could hardly drink a glass a wine before going into a bad mood and feel completely unbalanced.  And I can assure you this reaction to alcohol had changed as I had gotten older.  I also knew I was truly addicted to sugar, I loved to eat sugary foods.   Candida overgrowth also leads to hormonal imbalance.  I had all the symptoms.   I also was tested by another Chinese medicine doctor who did a stool and saliva sample.  He also confirmed the high level of candida in my body, along with inflamed intestines.

I then started my 30 day candida cleanse and this changed my life once again.  My mood was so much more regulated (this eliminated wheat and sugar completely).  I did not even eat fruit for those 30 days.   It is amazing how we have become so desensitized to the true taste of off with all the fake sugars we have and the sugars like high fructose corn syrup in so many of our foods now.  I think of sugar as poison, as it is poison to my body.  And WHO wants to eat poison???  Has it been challenging? You bet! I was a sugar addict.  Has it been worth it? 100%.  Because I am worth it!  I stopped taking my hormone pills and my night sweats reduced greatly (except once I started to eat sugar again).  I would notice they would return….hmmm….hormones and sugar…..connection!

Stay tuned for Issue 4: Eating and Health Go Hand in Hand – Next week!

Food and Health Issue 2: The Change in Course

Read the first issue here:

change in courseAt this point three four things happened that changed the course of my life:

  1.  I decided that even though (due to working on my own and the high cost of health insurance) even though I did not have the insurance to pay for it, I would go to an infectious disease specialist.  Everyone recommended that I do this.  At this point I was continuously running a low grade fever and had to take ibuprofen to get through life.  This doctor did his tests, looked at me and said “sometimes we just never find the cause of the issue”.  I honestly could not even believe what I had just heard out of a DRs mouth.  FU was literally my response as I walked out of his office that day.  I left his office enraged, with a new purpose “I was once very healthy, I WILL FIND THE CAUSE OF THIS”.  I wanted my life back.  If medical doctors could not find the cure, I would!  This experience was the driving force to me finding health again.  I set an intention that day and things began to shift.  Tell ME sometime can’t be done and watch me prove you wrong!  I forgive that doctor for his ignorance about food and health, he did not even question me about what I was eating.  Do you know most medical programs do have nutrition on their list of areas they train doctors in?  To me that is like not training them how drano affects us if we drink it.  Food can have the same effect.   I also must truly wonder why we do not as a society demand that this is part of our Doctors training program?
  2. The next event was that I decided to take wheat out of my diet for three weeks.  The “gluten fad” as it was called (3 years ago now) was just starting to really gain momentum.  I figured trying it could not hurt.  This alone did not fully cure my physical health issues.  However after two weeks of no gluten, I noticed that my mood was markedly improved.  As I was nearing my 40s my PMS and perimenopausal symptoms had become worse and worse.  The fact that I mentally felt better caused me to be curious.  I remember googling “mood and wheat”.  Wow, I found so much!  This was a random discovery but assisted my mood immensely.  At that point it was sadness that really improved and I felt more balanced.  Later I have noticed a marked increase in my frustration and anger when I eat wheat now.  Amazing.  We know wheat is related to inflammation in the body and if your body does not feel good, your mind does not feel good.  This journey of eliminating wheat has been a challenge, I was addicted.  I first did gluten free but after I realized all the sugar and other products in some of that food, I have pretty much eliminated all those products as well.
  3. The third thing that happened is I traveled to Thailand and went to the Doctor in Thailand.  I had heard there were good doctors in Thailand and since I had no health insurance I thought I may as well go there and pay less for my services while in Thailand. Truly at this time, I was not feeling that well at all but I knew I had no infectious diseases, had been on antibiotics and was still feeling terrible.  However I had planned this trip to Thailand and felt such a pull to go there.  Working with coach he ordered me to book the ticket (we both knew I needed to go).  I was not feeling well and dwelling on it just made things worse. I loved to travel more than anything so I knew that even if I was alone in a foreign country it would still be better then being alone in the US.  And a heck of a lot more interestingmedical stethoscope isolated on white close up.  I had found Yoga Nidra (a meditative yoga) that I could still do.  I downloaded all the meditations I could find, and literally did Yoga Nidra and took my ibuprofen to survive that 20 hour trip.
    The doctors in Thailand gave me prednisone because at that point I was even broken out in hives all over my body.  The prednisone worked wonders (shutting down my own immune system) and I was able to feel better and even do yoga again.  When in Thailand “by chance” I met Eddie Bower at a yoga class in Chaing Mai.  Eddie had written the book “Life After Bread” and is a holistic health practitioner.  She looked at me and said “I can tell you are gluten intolerant”.  I was still struggling at this point with eating gluten as I was so addicted to it, I was still eating it in some cases, especially now that I was feeling better with the prednisone.  But of course once the prednisone wore off, my symptoms returned.
  4.  The fourth piece and crucial piece.  Once I returned to the US, I started to think “they shut off my immune system and I felt good”.  I started to do more research and was pretty sure that this issue I was having was due to something with my immune system.  I also started to link this to my intestines as they are such a large part of our body.  And as I found out, 80% of our immune system lives here!  At that point a final important piece of the puzzle showed up.  I (who professes to not watch hardly any TV), was looking at the TV guide on cable (due to living with a  roommate in the mountains of CO that needed cable).  I saw the words “health and arthritis” and it was a PBS special.  It was then I was introduced to Brenda Watson and her renew life products. She was the one that taught me that our intestines comprise 80% of our immune system.  WHAT?  Why had the doctors never told me that?  She talked about her timed release probiotics that brought back our good bacteria after we hurt our intestines with years of processed and unhealthy foods.  I ordered the probiotics that night.   It was then, along with reducing my wheat intake into my body, that I slowly started to regain my health.   I also eliminated dairy which many natural health practitioners recommended.  I am so grateful for all the clues I was provided and the people out there who truly care about our health.   And truly we have to love ourselves enough to stay on this path of finding what is right for our bodies and provides optimal health for us.  Doing these things helped me immensely and I was able to live my life fully again.

Stay tunes for Issue 3: Completing the Journey – Next Week!

Halloween and Family Traditions

Happy Halloween!

Here is an excerpt from my Amazon best-seller, The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict (available at amazon here: or on my website here:

Effective-Parenting Strategy #2: Develop New Traditions

shannon jessieChildren love traditions, big and small. Nineteen years after leaving my family’s home, I still love to get fish fry on Friday nights because that is something that my family did many Friday nights as I was growing up. It was a happy time because the workweek was done and Mom did not have to cook! Halloween is one of my favorite times because every year I would get dressed up and we would go to my Grandma and Grandpa’s; it was so fun! Halloween is still my favorite holiday. It is time to think about what you want your new family to look like. In this new family, you can create new traditions with your children. Ask your children what traditions they enjoy from your past family that they want to continue. Make sure that between the two co-parents, you carry on these traditions when possible. Please, avoid fighting about who gets what holiday or event. Just know that as long as your child is able to participate in the traditions, they will be happy. Take this opportunity to develop traditions you may not have been able to engage in when you were married. After my parents divorced, my dad and sisters always went and cut their own Christmas tree for dad’s house. My mom has asthma so we could never have a real tree in our home when my parents were together. Together, my dad and sisters created a new tradition for their new family.

Think about the things you would like to do and then create traditions for you and your kids around them. One colleague of mine said his kids always bring up the times that they went camping. He said he really did not have much money but it was a tradition so they did it every year without fail. His children, who are now older, bring it up as one of their most fun memories. Of course, children have the best memories if they have fun while doing the activities. Other cost-effective ideas are game night, pizza night, movie night, etc.

DSCN1950A Healthy Alternative!

I recently attended a wonderful seminar by JJ Virgin she taught a lot of great health ideas.  With Halloween just around the corner, one idea she had was to pay your kids for at least some of their candy.  Of course, this is to limit their sugar intake which we know is so harmful to us and our kids.   She also suggested handing out eye patches or other non candy items.  Have a wonderful Halloween with your children!!