My journey to health – Guest Post

I’d like to welcome Dave Anderson for a guest post today. Dave and I were in University together and I wanted to share his story of how he healed his body with what he puts in his mouth. He’s a Wellness Coach and the co-founder of Team Ignite; a growing community of young professionals focused on helping people expand their impact, explore their creativity and enjoy more connection in their lives. He’s a youth motivational speaker and tours the country with what I think is an amazing program that he co-created called ‘The Acoustic Opera: Canada’s Most Positive Bullying Prevention Program’. He loves music, and is the proud director of the Oakville Children’s Choir’s newest ensemble ‘A Few Good Men’. Dave lives in Oakville, Ontario with his incredible partner, Jenny.

My journey towards optimal health began at the age of 17 when I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. As a competitive baseball player and singer it was awful. I had to bow out of auditions for my high school’s production of Sound of Music. I’d be running to the ‘jonny-on-the-spot’ or the nearest Tim Horton’s multiple times before each baseball game. Wherever I went, the first thing I did was locate the closest washroom. I lost a whole bunch of weight really quickly, and everything I ate seemed to go right through me.

Doctors had me on multiple medications to manage the symptoms; everything from mild anti-inflammatories to steroids. I was in serious need of relief and was ready to swallow anything they suggested in hopes that it would help ‘to calm things down’.

I had an appointment scheduled with my GI Doctor right before I was to leave for university. Of course, I was incredibly nervous to go through my first year of university with the health challenges I’d been facing in grade 12. After sharing these concerns with my doctor, he looked me in the eye and offered a suggestion that instantly changed everything for me. His suggestion was that I undergo surgery to remove a significant portion of my large intestine.

Although I didn’t know much about the process he was suggesting, I knew that at the age of 18, I wanted to hold on to all of my internal organs if at all possible.

I knew there had to be more out there than the information being offered by my doctors.

I got to university and promptly found a Naturopathic Doctor off campus to consult with. Dr. Michael Eisenstein was of tremendous assistance. He asked me A LOT of questions. He learned about my lifestyle, my stress levels, my eating habits, and sleep patters. He had me tested for sensitivities to over 600 foods and substances, and gave me focused nutritional guidance based on mybody’s specific needs.

Most importantly, he opened up my mind to another way – a natural way. A way that allowed me to feel empowered and in control of my health, regardless of where my condition seemed to be at.

In the summer of 2006, after experiencing noticeable relief incorporating the suggestions of Dr. Eisenstein, I was introduced to a concept I’d never heard of before through a family friend. It was a form of‘nutritional cleansing’that was created by a nutritional formulator named John Anderson, through his company Isagenix. Of course, the concept of cleansing wasn’t entirely new to me. I’d certainly heard of different cleansing or detox programs and had done enough research to know that most of them were simply too harsh for my body.

For whatever reason, this nutritional cleansing concept caught my attention, and I began to dig for more information. As I sifted through online articles, videos and reviews, and looked up individual ingredients one by one, there were a few things about thissystem that caught my attention:

1)  There was a high quality meal-replacement shake. I knew that my body wasn’t properly absorbing the nutrients from ‘fork and knife food’. I’d learned that consuming a nutritionally complete, whole food shake would provide my body with the nutrition it was lacking without the ‘roughage’. I learned that this shake had trace minerals, live enzymes to help with absorption, an incredible protein source, and nothing artificial.

2)  The ‘cleanse drink’ was full of nutrition. In the different cleansing or detox programs I’d previously looked at, it seemed as though a lot of them were strictly focused on ‘flushing’ the body of toxins. I read through the ingredients in this drink, looked each one up individually and was excited by what I read. Aloe vera leaf gel was one of the primary ingredients and I’d already learned about some of the health benefits of aloe vera such as naturally lubricating the digestive track & easing inflammation in the body.

3)  There were products to support each system in my body. I’d already come across different products online that seemed to have some great ingredients, and focus on specific health benefits. This was the first system I’d found, that seemed to include products to cleanse and strengthen the major systems in the body: blood; liver; lymphatic; colon & kidneys.

4)  There was a ‘rest from food’ component. One of the things that excited me most about the way this was set up, was that the recommend use of the system included ‘cleanse days’ (one per week), during which I was to simply drink the nutritional cleanse drink, and lots of water. Eating had become a tiring activity and intuitively I knew that allowing my digestive system to rest for 24 hours could be a great thing.

I had learned enough to give it a go, so I jumped in and diligently went through the ’30 Day System. A few days in, I noticed that my body was handling food A LOT better. I was making way fewer trips to the bathroom, and I finally started to gain weight. This was a GREAT thing for me. On the flip side, I had twisted my dad’s arm into trying this program with me. While I was hoping to gain some weight back, he was looking to release body fat. I was struck by the fact that we were each able to use the same system to achieve opposite goals. My dad released 15 lbs in his first 30 days, while I added 7 lbs of healthy weight due to improved digestion and absorption. We both decided to continue using the products and have maintained terrific health for just over six years.

At the end of the day, I believe it’s important to find a sustainable nutritional program that works for you. It should be centered around live, whole foods the body can easily understand and absorb and in my opinion regular cleansing or detoxification needs to be a component.

I’m certainly not as resourceful with recipes as your phenomenal blog host, although I do have a favourite shake recipe that I use frequently for breakfast.


Place all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth. Nutritionally complete, and delicious!

The statements (appearing on this Web site) have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Isagenix products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The weight loss testimonials presented apply only to the individuals depicted, cannot be guaranteed, and should not be considered typical. A 2008 university study showed a statistically significant weight loss of 7 lbs during the first 9 days of the Cleansing and Fat Burning System. As with any health or fitness program, a sensible eating plan and regular exercise are required in order to achieve long-term weight loss. Note: If you are pregnant, nursing, diabetic, on medication, have a medical condition, or are beginning a weight control program, consult your physician before using Isagenix products or making any other dietary changes. Discontinue use if adverse events occur.

How very unpatriotic of us. Sorry, Canada.

Confession time. As you were all celebrating Canada Day with your backyard barbecues (enjoying this as your sauce), drinking cold bevies, awkwardly laughing at some joke about Newfies and Torontonians – which of course you quickly stopped laughing at when you realized the person sitting next to you was from Newfoundland or Toronto,  sucking on a red and white popsicle for dessert as the fireworks went off at your neighborhood park, I was doing no such thing. Oh no my dear friends, I was in fact across the boarder in the U.S of A. shopping at the outlet malls for a little retail therapy.

That’s right, you heard it correctly. I was cross boarder shopping on Canada Day. DUH, DUH, DUHN!!! Something that my husband and I find hugely enjoyable, is shopping for great deals. No matter what city we live in, we always travel to the U.S. for a couple of days and do some shopping, about 3 times a year. My current work situation somewhat limits my holidays, so the only real time we could go without me taking an extra day off work was the long weekend. Sorry, Canada (how very patriotic of me to apologize to my country for my behavior), but there was no other time to get this in. Plus I needed new shoes ;)

Eating well while traveling always presents a problem for us. I never used to think it was a big deal to eat whatever I wanted while away from home. But the constipation that I get from eating that way is really not worth it. Oops, sorry, did I just make this awkward between us? Please excuse me, as I am honest about these things. I learned the hard way, pooh is important.

Usually we plan ahead, bringing snacks and finding a grocery store to purchase fresh berries and yogurt for breakfast. However, this was a spontaneous trip and we booked a hotel where a breakfast was included. Perhaps our logical thinking was distorted by the numerous shopping bags and single digit sales tags, but when we woke up in the morning and trotted down to breakfast we were greeted by a sea of BEIGE food. We were able to make do with instant oatmeal, hard boiled eggs and a banana as these were the only options that did not contain high fructose corn syrup or a load of sodium. When we returned home from our weekend adventure, it was time to get back on track.

This is my morning Kale Smoothie that I drink to help curve my sugar cravings through the day and keep me regular. It’s a great way to get the dark greens into your diet and make use of those chia seeds (they help remove toxins from your body). Get the kids involved and have them make the smoothie with you. That way they will be more likely to drink it. Of course I would suggest that you don’t leave your blender plugged in with the lid off and your smart toddler near the buttons of the blender or your kitchen will end up covered in dark red smoothie…how was I suppose to know he knew what the power button looked like!?!?

Kale Smoothie
  • 1 cup kale, no stem, torn into pieces
  • 1 whole ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 - 1½ cups very cold water
  2. Place all ingredients in high powered blender. Blend until smooth. Makes about 16oz. Drink immediately or place in travel cup and take for your morning commute. It's that easy to get your veggies in. Enjoy!