My journey to health began three years ago as I began researching the harmful affects of certain food additives. Through this process my eyes were opened to a whole new world of holistic wellness and nutrition. I discovered my true passion! There was so much more to health than just “eating less and moving more.” I quickly realized I had a lot to learn – a sobering experience to say the least! Here I was a wife/mother-of-three/fitness professional who was failing at leading my family, friends and clients down the path to optimal health and wellness. I was a cardio-pushing, Food Guide Pyramid-following, calorie counting, fat free fanatic. My clients depended on me for good advice, and I was far from delivering.
I decided to start with the person in the mirror – the over-trained, sleep-deprived, cardio fanatic who was nowhere near ideal body composition, with appetite disregulation, mood swings, and a horrifying addiction to sugar that I was trying to overcome with willpower alone. I wasn’t living… I was surviving.
I began burying myself in as much research as I could get my hands on. I focused primarily on those who preached eating real food, exercising smarter (not longer), digestive health, emphasized hormone regulation, reducing toxic load, regulating sleep, and stress reduction. I was also very interested in disease prevention, as I am completely and utterly committed to giving my three kids the best start to life possible in terms of their health. The answers to my questions led my family and I straight to the PaleoPrimal/Real Food lifestyle. Not only does it make perfect sense to me from a science perspective, but this stuff really works! My family has enjoyed improved health, blood-sugar regulation, decreased cravings for sweet/processed foods, increased energy levels, and fewer illnesses.
I started my Paleo/Primal journey back in September 2011. I have been blessed with the gift of being able to be a stay-at-home mom for 11 years. Just like most families, we have had our share of struggles over the years. As a mother, one of my deepest desires is to provide the best start for my family, particularly in the area of offering solid nourishment and a great start to lifelong health. I am embarrassed to say that was failing miserably! Trying to keep up with the latest in family nutrition and wellness is enough to drive any mother crazy.
I started training with Karina on a regular basis in January of 2011. During that time, we decided to accept the challenge of competing in the Men’s Health Urbanathalon. Our training began at the end of the summer and I made the commitment that once the kids were back in school, I would follow Karina’s nutrition advice. Within a couple of weeks, I felt amazing! Not only did I feel better physically, but I was functioning at a whole different level from a mental standpoint. My mood swings were diminishing, and the need to nap every day was no longer a necessity for everyday function. I asked her if this program had a name, and she said it was a very simple concept: Eat real food. The light bulb went off and the simplicity of it all made perfect sense. I began transitioning my family to this new lifestyle and I have never looked back.
The Birth of Eat Play Live:
Upon getting both of our families on the right track, we came to the realization that our client-personal trainer relationship was evolving. We were mutually encouraging one another on this journey to improved family health, and the support was invaluable. Our passions were lining up! We wanted to share what we were experiencing with others, and offer this same support to individuals and families seeking true health and wellness.
In January 2012 we moderated a 21-Day Sugar Detox created by Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites. We had a tremendous response and dozens of positive feedback from the program. The demand for ongoing support, solid nutrition information, and how to take the next step toward even greater improved health is what gave birth to Eat Play Live.
In a nutshell, this is what has taken the Sturm and Stuke Families’ health to the next level:
• We eat REAL food such as high-quality protein (grass fed meat, wild caught fish, free range poultry), seasonal fruits and vegetables, and lots of healthy fats (full fat raw dairy, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, and olive oil). We’ve eliminated grains, conventional dairy, and legumes. The Goldfish and pretzels have left the building, but not without dramatic protest from our children.
• We cook dinner EVERY night of the week from scratch. As you can imagine, this takes some planning with three kids and two working parents. We are here to tell you it CAN be done!
• We waved good-bye to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid and started consuming a diet higher in (healthy) fat, where calorie counting and portion control is not encouraged.
• Play! We have incorporated much more fun into our day, and most of it involves physical activity. We believe that making time for play is a key piece to the health/wellness puzzle.
• We have increased our sleep hours. We do our best to wind down when it’s dark and get up with the sun.
Here at Eat Play Live we keep things fairly simple. This is not rocket science! We are far from perfect, but we look forward to each day where we can take one more step towards optimal health. We look forward to supporting you in your own personal journey.
I am the devoted wife to an ultra-supportive husband, and we have three amazing children (ages 8, 6, and 3). I was a Division I soccer player, have run three marathons, enjoy participating in 100-mile bike rides, have completed two Men’s Health Urbanathlons (and plan to do many more!). Besides being a wife and mother, I double as a Personal Trainer and Holistic Health Coach. I cook whole foods meals for my family on a daily basis, and spend the rest of my time in spirited games of kickball, basketball, soccer, tag at the playground, or running while my kids ride their bikes alongside.
B.S. Health and Human Performance (Auburn University)
M. Ed. Health Promotion (Auburn University)
Board Certified Holistic Health Counselor (Institute for Integrative Nutrition) by the
American Association of Drugless Practitioners
Practical Paleo Seminar taught by Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites (March 2011)
PaleoFX Ancestral Momentum – Theory to Practice Symposium (March 2012)
I am a full-time mother of three great kids (ages 10, 8, and 5) and I am married to the funniest, most supportive husband for almost 12 years. I have run one half marathon, multiple 5k’s, a relay portion of the Men’s Health Urbanathalon, and a complete Men’s Health Urbanathalon. I have been a stay home Mom for 11 years but have now added the role of student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach. I love to cook for my family. If I am not in the kitchen, I am usually volunteering at my children’s school or in my car! I love to find creative ways to spend time with the kids where our favorite activities are playing kickball or freeze tag. We also enjoy family game night.
B.A. Business (Mount Mary College)
Holisitc Health Coach, Currently Enrolled (Institute for Integrative Nutrition)
PaleoFX Ancestral Momentum – Theory to Practice symposium (March 2012)