SQUARE #2 : You Are What You Eat.


There is nothing I love more than being with my people.

So, when two of my girlfriends invited me last week to join them in downtown Salem to check out a new eatery and get caught up on the important things in life, it didn’t take much to convince me. Over cocktails and noshes, we share an evening filled with laughter, and even a few tears as we listen to each other’s stories and encourage each other on. It really was a magical night.

Afterward, I head home filled with so much love. Love for my city, love for my friends and… love for that gallon of organic vanilla bean ice-cream waiting for me in my freezer. Fast forward 15 minutes later, I am plopped on the couch eating out of the container watching my favorite show, Project Runway.  Fast forward twenty minutes more, half the carton is gone and I am in a sugar stupor.

too much sugar.jpg

So off to bed I go. Do you think I slept well? Nope, not at all! As the sugar from the wine and the ice cream courses through my blood, the night sweats and self-recrimination ensues. “Kelli, you know better.” I tell myself. “Why did I eat all of that? Where is my self- control?” I’m telling you, dear reader, the negative head-trash was going full force.


 The reason I tell this story is because I’m about to lay some facts on you. You might remember back in March I started talking about the Self Care Square ™ I’ve developed for my workshops. (If you missed that one you can read it RIGHT HERE ).

Then in April we focused on Square #1 – Physical Wellness where we talk about burnout and the benefits we all get when we are more physically active.

Well it’s time to talk about Square #2. NUTRITION.

Self Care - Nutrition.jpg

Nutrition, as defined by our good online resource, Wikipedia, is the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism. It includes food intake, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism, and excretion.

 So basically – garbage in, garbage out. Right?

Even though I know a whole lot about nutrition, this is the square that is easily the one that challenges me most.  Occasionally, like the night I just told you about, I find myself fighting the desire for sugar, and it feels almost impossible to deny myself. I know I’m not alone. Research shows that sugar affects the brain in the same ways as cocaine and heroin. Scans show identical areas of the brain light up when exposed to these drugs…and sugar. Dr. Rick Lehman, an orthopedic surgeon and Director with the US Center for Sports Medicine agrees with me. “Sugar addiction is really no different than opioid addiction.” He says.  


Besides making me feel like a drug addict, nutritionally, sugar causes inflammation in the body. You’ve probably heard me harp a lot about inflammation because it is at the heart (no pun intended) of nearly all disease states, including heart disease, diabetes, and many cancers. I don’t want to encourage any of those things in my body…so…I try to control the sugars in my diet.

So, what’s a sweet-lovin’ person to do?

Well, knowledge is power. So as usual, I advocate for education. Spend some time looking for simple ways to make changes in your nutritional life. For instance, here’s something that may surprise you. Did you know that if you exchange one white flour item for one non-white flour item you have taken sugar out of your diet? In fact, the main hidden places we find sugars are in our white foods - white flour, white bread, white flour tortillas, white pastas. These delicious culprits all turn directly to sugar as your body digests them.  

Any dietary change is a process, so an effective strategy I coach folks to try is to head straight to the kitchen and look around. Make a commitment to make small changes.


Here’s my challenge for you: The next time you’re at the grocery store:

  • Instead of white bread, buy the whole grain with nuts and seeds bread. (See below for my fave!)

  • Instead of traditional white pasta-try a rice or quinoa pasta (See below for my fave!)

  • Instead of white flour tortillas, try whole grain or corn tortillas

Small simple steps will lead you to nutritional victory!

Will you commit to buying something new and different, and possibly something that could make you feel better and live better?

I would love to know you did it – take a sec to testify! Snap a photo of your new food and post it on my facebook page –research shows that sharing life changes with others helps solidify commitment. Plus it would make me smile to see you holding your box of organic spaghetti - watching you make life changing choices for the better is what I LIVE for!

I’ll say it again: Nutrition is how food effects the health of the body. What you put into that beautiful machine is essential to your good health. I support you LIVING YOUR BEST SELF.

So let’s hear it for Self Care Square #2. You are what you eat, friends. So eat well.

Self- Care Share

Kelli shares her favorite things with you.

Here are two non- white foods I have in my kitchen at all times.

  1. Dave’s Killer Bread


2. Andean Dream Quinoa spaghetti - seriously - it’s DELICIOUS!
From their website: An eight-ounce box of gluten and corn-free Andean Dream organic quinoa pasta contains 20 grams of protein and 21 amino acids, and cooks up to a beautiful al dente texture — never mushy. Toss with spaghetti sauce for a hot meal in minutes, or recreate your favorite macaroni and cheese, pasta salad or other comfort food using fresh ingredients. Enjoy gluten-free cooking at home!


Both deliver high fiber and low sugar- and taste great! 

Where in the World is Kelli?

I’m spending the week in Louisville, Kentucky (June 21 – 25) participating in the ADHA meetings. ADHA is my professional home and I am honored to give back to the association- plus to the reconnection with so many of my dental friends is such a blessing!

Kelli in Kentucky.jpg
Thanks to Lancette VanGuilder for this great picture from the conference!

Thanks to Lancette VanGuilder for this great picture from the conference!

Thanks to Lancette VanGuilder for this great picture from the conference!

Thanks to Lancette VanGuilder for this great picture from the conference!

What a blast it was to be the Dental Hygiene “The View” moderator on the ADHA big stage today! Powerhouse hygienists!


I loved talking to Michelle Strange and Lacy Walker as a guest on their podcast- A Tale of Two Hygienists. Stay tuned for the recording!

looking ahead.jpg

Looking ahead to July, I’ll be spending some down time at the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland Oregon, and enjoying my hometown of Salem, OR. The end of the month will find me in Denver for the National Speaker’s Association Influence Conference- another professional home for me!

I hope the rest of your June brings good things.


Liz Bacon