Join Donna at the Health and Wellness Expo on Saturday, March 28!

Sugar? Stevia? Truvia?

Sugar? Stevia? Truvia?

What’s the Healthiest Way to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth?

It seems like not a day goes by that someone in my travels or during a consultation doesn’t ask me “What is the healthiest sweetener to use?”

My #1 choice for iced tea, hot tea, coffee, protein shakes, water w/essential oils and salad dressings is the herb stevia. Unfortunately – not everyone is a fan of stevia and some say it’s bitter or has a weird aftertaste. To those people – I recommend two high quality brands – “Stevia in the Raw” or  “Sweet Leaf Stevia Clear”   – and I remind them that since stevia is 300x sweeter than regular sugar that a little bit goes a long, long way and if you use too much you can end up with a strong aftertaste similar to artificial sweeteners. Unfortunately – baking with stevia takes a lot of practice, trial and error. And it is not a one-for-one replacement for regular sugar. If you are interested in learning how to bake with Stevia – I recommend that you go online to a website like for recipes that are specially formulated to use stevia.  Also stevia comes in powders as well as liquid – so if you’ve tried one and didn’t like it – don’t give up – perhaps the other form will work better for you.


Bottom Line: I don’t recommend it. If you turn the box over and check out the nutritional content – you’ll see that the first ingredient is erythritol – a sugar alcohol – followed by rebiana (stevia) and “natural flavors” – whatever that is! If it’s so natural – why don’t you just tell us what it is? The real bugaboo about Truvia, however, is the sugar alcohol which is neither natural nor readily absorbed into the body and can cause abdominal gas and diarrhea – fun, fun, right? I’ve actually had a number of clients use Truvia and say that they didn’t feel good when they ate it or worse yet bloated and had gas.


There is a Stevia Product you CAN bake with…

Not too long ago, I came across a product called SLIMTEVIA that I am completely in love with. Besides being great in liquids – hot or cold – I can also bake with it! SLIMTEVIA is a proprietary blend of all-natural ingredients that tastes very much like sugar but is way less in calories. ½ tsp of SLIMSTEVIA has 1.6 calories = 1 tsp of sugar which contains 16 calories.

So what’s in SLIMTEVIA? It is a mix of Crystalline Fructose which is a natural sugar extracted from fruit (often crystalline fructose comes from corn but in this product – it comes from fruit), Stevia, Inulin fiber from Jerusalem Artichokes which is great for digestive health and feeds healthy intestinal flora (unlike Splenda which destroys it!), and Magnesium Carbonate to help keep the powder free flowing. Just like you only need HALF as much SLIMTEVIA in drinks – you use HALF as much when baking as well. If you have a recipe that calls for 1 cup of sugar – you would use ½ cup of SLIMTEVIA or even less. My rule of thumb when it comes to sweeteners is that you can reduce ANY SWEETENER IN ANY RECIPE by 1/3 and not miss it.  To my knowledge, SLIMTEVIA is only available online at


You will also find the following products in my pantry that I use singularly or sometimes in combination in moderation: locally grown honey, organic maple syrup and organic raw sugar.







Sign up today for my next Freezer Meal Workshop!


#10794 Steak Sauce #9

#10226 Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil

#10793 Java Rub

#10764 Sweet & Savory Pineapple  Sauce

#18001 Moroccan Grilling Sauce

#10454 Hot Chili Pepper & Garlic

#10735 Rodeo Rub

#10416 Rancher’s Rub

You’ll be making 10 Freezer Meals

each serving a family of 4

Think “Dream Dinners” concept, but healthier & at half the price. Based on the cost of the Wildtree products and your groceries you will be spending a reasonable $16-18/per meal or $4 – 4.50 per person for a healthy, balanced &  preservative free meal !!

Here’s what you’ll be making:  

Grilled Fiesta Chicken

Citrus Java Pork Chops/Tenderloin

Moroccan Shrimp with Pomegranate Sauce

Yeehaw! Saucy Steak Tips

Grilled New York Strip Steak with Beer & Molasses Sauce

Sassy BBQ Chicken

Sweet & Spicy Java Chicken

Grilled Salmon with Java & Pineapple Sauce

Dijon Java White Fish

Moroccan Chicken with Apricots & Olives

Please RSVP to with your:
Best Telephone Contact


Busy Time of Year!

Hello all –

Busy, Busy time of the year. I’ve got several workshops in the planning that I think will be of interest to you. I’m going to give you the dates now so that you can mark your calendars.

#1 “Aging Beautifully…Inside & Out” – May 16th  9:30 a.m. –1:30 p.m. – Featuring Ren Fields with Acu-Facelift & De-stress Yoga; Keeley Bruce who is a Holistic Master Aesthetician who will discuss advanced body and face skin care techniques using only organic ingredients and I will discuss an Anti-Aging diet and feed you a wonderful rejuvenating & youth giving lunch! Fee: $35.00

#2 “Increasing Health & Vitality with Feng Shui” – June 7th  11:00 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Featuring Cheryl Shotwell.  As many of you know I recently had Cheryl work with me to do a complete Feng Shui assessment of my home. IT WAS AWESOME!! This is not the first time I’ve had a Feng Shui practitioner come into my home BUT working with Cheryl has definitely been a better experience. I can’t wait to share her with all of you! Check her out:

Fee: $15.00

And lastly – I will be participating as a speaker & an exhibitor at the Holistic Health & Beauty Conference  held here in June. All details are contained in the following brochure.




Getting the Skinny on Fat in the Blood

I find that one of the widest known yet least understood blood chemistry marker is cholesterol. I’ve had clients, clearly overweight and not making good lifestyle choices,  proudly announce “My doctor said my cholesterol is fine” as an affirmation of their good health.  Or others who are on medications say, “I just had my physical and my cholesterol is down to 155 – Wow isn’t that great?!” I always hate to be Debbie Downer but “NO! Not really!” In fact – if your cholesterol is below 200 your cancer risk increases and if it is down around 155 you are at a VERY HIGH risk for cancer, stroke or suicide!!

The more important thing to ask regarding your cholesterol is:

*What is your HDL – the protective cholesterol?

*What is your LDL ? And if it’s elevated –  what is the size of the particulates?

*What are your triglyercides? Is that an indication of your diet/lifestyle or toxic exposure?

*What is your fasting glucose level?

So…as you can see – it’s not so cut and dry! If you would like to get the “skinny” on what your cholesterol markers mean and what you can do to change/enhance them – Bring your latest blood work and join me at Harvest Market in Spotsylvania County  on April 16th at 7 p.m. for a 1 hour informative discussion about what your blood chemistry is telling you and what lifestyle, dietary & supplementation options you have.



Get the Skinny on Fat in the Blood!

April 16th at 7 p.m.


Harvest Market

Heths Salient Street Suite 112

Spotsylvania, Va 22553

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail….

Once again I find myself  “borrowing” from my daughter Johnna’s blog for my own!  As a nutritionist one of the techniques for healthy eating and healthy living that I preach is planning ahead. I would say that the majority of dietary indiscretions that I hear about from my clients result from times when they are overstressed…found themselves in situations when they didn’t have any healthy options or they simply didn’t take time to think ahead.

When my children were small – menu planning was a “must do” in my home – it was the only “stress free” way for me to fit mealtime in with my work schedule and the kids’ after school activities. Now that we are almost empty nesters, menu planning for me is more a matter of convenience so that I can spend my days  doing what I want to do and not having to take time out each afternoon figuring out what I’m going to have for dinner.

Recently I’ve begun hosting Freezer Meal Workshops for my Wildtree customers and the popularity of these workshops has been way amazing. My oldest daughter Johnna happened to be home last weekend and I twisted her arm to participate. She then posted her experience at the workshop on her Artketing Blog. She does a great job of explaining and showing how it all works.

Freezer Meal Workshops

This past weekend, my mom talked me into participating in her Freezer Meal Workshop while I was at home visiting the family. I agreed to do it because my mom asked, but I was a little hesitant, mostly because I hate participating in things that are group related, but I’m SO glad I went.

Basically, the Freezer Meal Workshop is putting together 1o pre-packaged meals yourself with Wildtree products and a few other miscellaneous items. So, I went shopping the day before and bought a TON of meat and then got all the spices together. The night before, I precut all my veggies and meat and placed them in freezer bags so the prep work was done for the workshop. You can order the spices needed through my mom’s website.
Check out my work space!

Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty! I made quite a mess adding spices and shaking bags, but it was a lot of fun. You can check out my mama below on the left chatting it up with some of the other ladies there.

THE FINISHED PRODUCT! I brought home 10 meals and put them in my freezer. So no more going out to eat because I don’t have any food ready. I have no excuses. All in all, it took about 3 hours to do it all: 1 hour to shop, 30 minutes to chop, and 1.5 hours to put it all together at the workshop.

QUICK DISCLAIMER- The recipes are actually enough to feed 4, but since I’m a single gal, I cut the recipes in half and that is what is shown below. I made it for 2 so I could also take leftovers for lunch the next day. Some ladies there doubled all the recipes to feed their families of 6 or more too.

I attended the ‘Comfort Foods’ Workshop which included: Spanish Style Garlic Shrimp, Italian Marinated Flank Steak, the Best Burgers EVER!, Smoked Mozzerella and Tomato Meatloaf, Chipotle Lime Fajitas, Italian ‘Medallions,’ Honey Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks, Crockpot Chipotle Lime Chicken, Adobo Chicken, and Mozzarella and Tomato Chicken Pasta.

Now, I bet you’re thinking, ‘Well, I could do this on my own.’ or ‘Maybe I can just get the recipes and do it myself.’ Here’s my suggestion: my mom is a PHENOMENAL cook. She knows her way around the kitchen and these recipes are HER recipes, and come with the workshop. Not only that, but I know that had I done this on my own, I probably would have messed it up. It was definitely worth taking the time to do it right and have her show me how to do.

Interested in attending the next one? It’s coming up on March 18th at 2PM. You MUST RSVP by March 4, so act fast. Here’s the Registration info (and my mom’s info).


My Italian ‘Medallions’ didn’t even make it to the freezer on Sunday. They were dinner and they were delicious. Tonight, I have pulled out the Honey Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks. Can’t wait to eat it!



ON ANOTHER NOTE: Just wanted to remind everyone that you can order grass fed
beef, pork and lamb from Mount Vernon Farms monthly. It is delivered to
Fredericksburg where pick up is in the parking lot of Dr. Wayne Whitley’s
office. THE NEXT DELIVERY IS MARCH 7TH BETWEEN 5:45 AND 6:15. To place your
order – go to and Click on the blue tab in the upper
right hand corner that says “Order Here.”



I’m going to be straight up about something. I hate New Years Resolutions! I’ve never made them myself and year after year I watch others go through the “perfunctory” process of making them and breaking them. I actually find the whole idea that something major has changed from Dec. 31st to Jan. 1st a bit amusing when I look at it objectively and yet – I have to admit -that I DO like the break in the cycle that going from one year to another affords us.  It’s like we wake up Jan 1st with a  free pass to do things differently… with the O.K to stop in the middle of life as it’s happening and go in a different direction. THAT’S what I love about the start of a new year… simply by changing your mind – you can change your body!

So – with that in mind – looking back over my 30+ years as a nutritionist and personal trainer – I offer to you in my humble opinion the TOP THREE WAYS you can start the new year out healthier.


Every day I sit across from individuals who are experiencing the physical and mental side effects (remember what is going on in your body is also going on in your mind!) of an over-burdened body…. Too much sugar…too much caffeine…too many additives & preservatives…too much rancid and poor quality fats…too much stress..not enough pure water….not enough nutrients that actually make their way into the cells, not enough high quality protein, not enough sleep, not enough exercise…You get the picture! Rather than profess to do something radical like eliminate all sugar from your diet – how about increasing your consumption of whole foods…real foods…foods that bring goodness into your body and not toxins? CHOOSE TO MAKE BETTER CHOICES!


We’ve all known someone in our life who smoked, drank and only ate out of boxes and cans but lived to the ripe old age of 85. What was their secret? My guess is a mix of being dealt a hand of good genes but more importantly the ability to manage the stressors in their life. I didn’t say they led a life without stress because I truly don’t believe there’s a person out there who doesn’t have stress. BUT they didn’t sweat the small stuff…they were happy…perhaps they “let go…let God.”  Years ago I read a book “The Road Less Travelled” and I learned for the first time that life is not meant to be easy and the sooner you realize that, the better you will be at dealing with the hand you are dealt.  Whatever way makes your burden less heavy – reading, journaling, praying, meditating, exercising, gardening, walking with your dog – WHATEVER IT IS – CHOOSE TO DO MORE OF IT.


Park your car further out in the grocery store parking lot.  Time yourself the next time you go to the mailbox. Can you do it 5 seconds faster the next time? Jog from the kitchen to the laundry room when the dryer beeps that your laundry is dry. If you must sit for long periods of time, set a timer to remind yourself to get up every hour and walk up a flight of stairs or see how many times you can stand up and sit down in a sturdy high backed chair for  1 minute. Routinely  walk with your mate/family member or neighbors. The next time a friend calls to see if you want to have lunch – suggest a walk date instead. Anytime there is an option – take the stairs as opposed to an elevator or escalator. Folks – our ancestors did not go to the gym or spend hours exercising every day – they simply EXERTED & MOVED.  Men hunted, gardened, tended to the stock. Women prepared food from scratch, gardened, hand washed clothing – everything they did expended energy and used calories. Thirty minutes on the treadmill WILL NOT offset 8 hours at a desk or in a car or on the couch. CHOOSE TO MOVE MORE.

Those who spend time around me know that I’m a huge fan of Talk Radio especially Syrius radio. Recently I heard one of the commentators say, “It’s a brand new year but it’s same old @##$%” – Yes it is, if you CHOOSE to see things the way you’ve always seen them. What will your story be this year? Same old, same old? Or something new?  YOU CHOOSE!

Mason Jar Meals

So they say the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.  With that said,  I’m proud to share with all of you today a blog entry that my oldest daughter Johnna posted this week. It’s such a clever idea! FYI: You can find mason jars at Bloom and WalMart.


Mason Jar Meals by Johnna

If you’re like me, you don’t always have the time to prepare/cook healthy and delicious meals, particularly during the weeknights. When I saw this blog on Pinterest, I thought it was the greatest idea and decided to try it out. With a little pre-planning and about 2 hours of time on Sunday, I had created 6 dinners (and 6 lunches)  for the upcoming week. The best part is when I leave work in the evenings, I don’t have to think about it. I can just go home and grab a jar!

I found the idea at this blog and tailored it to my diet (gluten-free,’cave-man’ diet or just meats and veggies). I bought all of my favorite fresh veggies, cut them up appropriately, and placed them in separate bowls.

I picked out 6 different marinades/spices including: Wildtree‘s Curried Garlic, Garlic Galore, Basil Pesto, and Lemon Rosemary, and then a gluten-free Asian stir-fry with Tamari and Oyster Sauce. You could also do things like Barbecue, Jamaican, Hawaiian, Cilantro Lime, etc. I have endless spices to use.

I bought 2 packages of chicken and a bag of shrimp to mix it up and put those in the accompanying sauce. I wrapped my meats in plastic wrap separately so as to not contaminate the veggies. I picked the veggies according to what I liked with each dressing (and I tried to make each one colorful!) and placed them in different Mason Jars.

And Voila! Now when I get home in the evenings, all I have to do it throw these in a skillet and I’m good to go. Don’t worry: I’ll let you know how each one turned out and how it worked!

Click here to check out more of the blog!

Reading and Understanding Labels

If you’ve sat through my 2+hour lecture on how to read labels (how crazy is that by the way??? Two hours of what to look out for in our food supply…need I say more??) – you’ve come to the same conclusion I have and that is you are better off to purchase food that doesn’t come with labels…period. BUT most of us live a lifestyle where that simply isn’t doable or realistic. So the only way to maintain and sustain your health when eating packaged foods is to make the best and “cleanest” selections possible. You can’t do this without reading labels and being aware of the sneaky ways the food industry uses to make you “think” you are eating healthier than you are.


A classic example of this was when Dean Foods acquired the White Wave/Silk brand and quietly stopped using organic soy milk products BUT DID NOT TELL THEIR CUSTOMERS!  They kept the same barcodes and the same packaging  and thus customers continued to purchase their product under the assumption that it was organic for months after the change was made.


Recently I read about a company called Senomyx which is high tech research company that is “dedicated to finding new flavors to reduce sugars & salt.” On the surface it sounds like a good deal doesn’t it? Don’t we all want to reduce the amount of sugar and salt in the food we eat?


These new flavor enhancers that are ALREADY ON THE MARKET are unlike the artificial flavors we have become accustomed to look out for such as MSG.  They are unique because they are not actually flavors at all –- instead what they do is activate or block taste receptors in your mouth. By doing this they mimic or enhance the taste of sugar, salt or MSG without actually adding any of those substances or flavor agents to your food. Since these flavor-altering compounds are used in such minute amounts, they are not required by the Food and Drug Administration for approval. In addition, they do not have to be listed separately on ingredient labels and can simply be lumped into the broad category of “artificial flavors” which is found on most packaged food labels. So, the bottom line is – you won’t even know these flavor enhancers are in the food you are eating!


The following companies have partnered with Senomyx:



*Kraft Foods

*Firmerich (A Swills perfume & flavoring company)

*Ajinomoto Group (makers of meat glue and aspartame)


The top three companies pretty much include every packaged snack food on the market don’t they? As I tell clients all the time – you want junk food? Make it yourself! You will NEVER include the amount of sugar, salt, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, genetically modified ingredients, hydrogenated oils, nitrates, etc. that are typically found in already packaged snacks.


For additional reading, I’ve attached an article from that lists 21  of the most toxic and disease-promoting ingredients you should avoid.


Until next time…

Keep reading those labels!


When all is working as it should – a woman maintains appropriate ratios of estrogens, progesterone and testosterone. There is an ongoing communication within the body to determine just how much or how little we need of each of these hormones at any given time. This dynamic and ever-flucuating state can sometimes get out of balance and this is when we are likely to experience symptoms.


Join me, Dr. Clif Sheets, Dan Singh, Pharmacist and Kendra Sheets on Sept. 30 for an easy to understand, open and frank discussion about hormonal changes during peri-menopause and menopause.


Organic Honey? Raw Honey? Local Honey? Which is Best?

When transitioning to a whole foods diet, one of the first things people seem to do is use more honey in their diets as opposed to white sugar. On the surface this gets a double thumbs up. BUT…what if the honey you are substituting for refined white sugar contains carcinogens…antibiotics or heavy metals? What if the honey you are buying  from your local grocer – which is labeled & packaged in the U.S — is actually imported from China?

What if the honey you purchased wasn’t actually honey at all but a synthetic mix of corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors??

And did you know that the term “organic” has absolutely NO APPLICATION to honey produced in the United States? I’ll be upfront and honest – before researching for this blog article – I did not know that. In order for a company to place “organic” on their label they have to be able to prove that the nectar used to make their honey was obtained from pristine flowers/vegetation within a four mile radius.  So bottom line: If you purchase honey in the United States that says “organic” (which I have!) it is actually from another country…most likely Brazil or Canada. I’ve posted a source for organic, raw honey from Canada below – Tropical Traditions.

Finally – what actually is Raw honey and where does it fit into all this? Raw honey is unheated, unpasteurized honey that is sold still in the comb or has been drained from the honey comb. It is the closest to the “real deal” there is. Oftentimes when you buy raw honey that is truly raw – it will have flakes of wax from the honey comb still in it.

I’m posting several documenting articles for you to come to your own conclusions but as for me the only honey that will be served in my home will be LOCAL HONEY or RAW HONEY. Here in Fredericksburg we are fortunate to have local sources available at Healthway, Harvest Market in Spotsy County, Bloom (Stoneleigh Farms Wild Wonderful Honey – blended local honey from Md, VA and the Carolinas – raw, all-natural, never heated, produced without medications) or if you get Eggs & Produce from our Master Gardner Extraordinaire Cindy Hall. I haven’t checked out what’s offered at Wegman’s but you can use the information contained in this article to determine whether or not what they have is reliable. Never, ever purchase a container of honey that states “packaged in the United States” – this only means that the honey product could have come from ANYWHERE.  Thank you FDA for once again looking out for the welfare of the American people…NOT!