A bit about my own wellness journey...

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A bit about my own wellness journey...

From a high-tech graphic designer in Seattle to a Functional Wellness coach sailing Mexico...

If you’ve been dealing with hormone imbalances, PCOS, fibroids, gas, bloating, and other digestive issues, food allergies or intolerances, chronic colds or bronchitis, eczema, hives, Celiac, nutrient deficiencies, thinning hair, or insomnia… I totally understand, cuz I’ve been on my own wellness journey and dealt with all of that myself. 

So what's my story? How did I ditch the rat race to live a healthier life? Read on to learn more about my  wellness journey, and how I can help you to feel fantastic again too!

I was lucky to have a healthy start to life… My dad was a seasonal park ranger who had me hiking among the Rocky Mountain wildflowers by age three, and whitewater rafting the Salmon River by age eight. 

My Mom introduced me to nutrition, holistic health, and alternative medicine as I was growing up. Mom raised us on a healthy diet: green salads every night, lots of fruits and veggies from her vegetable garden, homemade whole wheat bread, and whole wheat spaghetti (my girlfriends hated eating "brown spaghetti" when they slept over, LOL!) And we also lived in cattle-ranching Wyoming and ate beef almost every night of the week (thankfully it was grass-fed.) 

Heidi and her Dad Verne Huser, Rocky Mountain Natioinal Park, Colorado, a healthy start to my wellness journey
Heidi carving pumpkins at a young age, a healthy start to my wellness journey

No Twinkies or Ho-Hos in our house…

As a kid, I felt SO deprived of the sugar and junk food that all the other kids were eating. You can bet NO ONE would trade for my lunch of meatloaf sandwich on homemade whole wheat bread, hard-boiled egg, an apple, and if we were lucky, a fig newton. Sadly, once I was in college, my healthy eating came to an end—even though I took Nutrition 101—I ate whatever junk food I could get my hands on.

Like many "college kids on a budget," my diet consisted almost entirely of Captain Crunch Berries for breakfast (with juice on it because I didn’t like milk), ramen noodles for lunch, and neon-orange mac-n-cheese from a box for dinner! I had become a vegetarian after seeing the Diet for a Small Planet documentary—and my diet was vegetarian, right?! Yikes, it makes me cringe just to think about it now.

With a diet like that, it’s no surprise my health started going sideways as a young adult… Little did I know back then, I was actually allergic to dairy and eggs, and couldn’t digest gluten. And my hormones were so out of balance from birth control pills, I popped Advil like candy each month. No wonder I got an ulcer, and years later was diagnosed with Celiac disease.

Note: oral contraceptives and Ibuprofen are NOT benign, they can wreak havoc on your gut microbiome (similar to what antibiotics do) and liver that can last for years—as I have experienced firsthand.  

My wellness journey continues—becoming a health detective...

It took quite a few years and effort to get to the root of my own health issues and turn them around (and I'm still digging on some!) So if you’ve been to doctor after doctor, or been told it’s all in your head, you’ve come to the right place. It’s why I became a Functional Wellness Coach and Reiki Master, so I could help others rebalance their lives too. 

As you can imagine, being a web designer / graphic designer in the high-tech world was NOT stress-free. And as my own health spiraled downward, I searched for answers that I wasn’t getting from my allopathic healthcare providers. That led me to more holistic wellness providers, and eventually back to school and a mid-life career change. I studied nutrition and became a health coach. And I’ve been health coaching clients to live happier, healthier lives since then.

Do you know where toxins lurk in your life?

One of the most shocking things I learned in nutrition school, and which has been reinforced in my functional medicine studies, is just how many thousands (somewhere between 80,000 and 800,000!!!) of environmental toxins we are all exposed to EVERY DAY.

These can come in the form of phthalates (synthetic estrogens) in our health & beauty, personal care, and laundry products (look for the word "fragrance"), mercury in high fructose corn syrup (now renamed "corn sugar" to deceive us!), triclosan in our soap and toothpaste (linked to hormone disruption including thyroid issues), and pesticides and herbicides—like glyphosate (which you can't just wash off, because they've been absorbed INTO your produce). And that's just the tip of a very BIG and dangerous, iceberg.

One of my biggest passions is helping my clients understand how common toxins are in their lives, how to recognize them, and how to find much healthier alternatives, to minimize their exposure.

Why I created a book just for you!

A few years ago, one of my clients was a book publisher. And when I sent her a PDF of my Food, Mood, & Gratitude Journal workbook I'd created—to help my clients track how the food they ate affected them on a physical, mental, and emotional level—she asked me, “Why isn’t this a book?!”

I’m grateful that she got the ball rolling and helped me publish my book, which is available worldwide at your favorite online booksellers. I plan to publish an updated version as well as a Spanish edition soon too.

I returned to school again a few years ago (because scientists keep learning more about how diet and lifestyle affect our health, I need to keep learning too!) And I'm now studying functional medicine at the School of Applied Functional Medicine, where I'm also honored to be on staff. So I’m super excited to share functional wellness concepts with my health coach clients.

The omnivore's dilemma

Even after studying nutrition and functional medicine, I continue to learn new things about my own body and my wellness journey continues. I love being a health detective, and really listening to the clues and cues my body is giving me. Your body is talking… are you listening? 

My husband Kirk and I were vegetarian/vegan for more than 30 years. But a few years ago we discovered we were both nutrient deficient. We were particularly low in protein, iron, B vitamins, and some other key nutrients and trace minerals.

These deficiencies actually landed Kirk in the hospital for a bit, so we knew we had to make some dietary changes. Ironically my naturopath and acupuncturist had been trying to get me to add some animal protein to my diet for YEARS, but at the time, I didn’t want to.

We've since added wild-caught fish and organic, free-range poultry back into our diet, worked to rebuild our gut microbiome, and added some supplements to help increase our nutrient values.

We aim to get most of our nutrients from our diet but we do take some supplements, like liver capsules. From my wellness education, I understand the vital importance of nutrients from organ meats like liver and ox bile. But you can't pay me to eat those as foods, so I take them in supplement form.

Every body is different at different times of your life

While I still believe in eating a predominantly plant-based diet, bio-individuality prevails. And I believe some people can get away with being vegetarian or vegan more easily when they are younger. However, as you age, it becomes harder to absorb all the nutrients you need.

And it’s super important for vegetarians and vegans to get regular blood tests and check their protein, vitamin, and mineral levels. So if you aren’t getting the micronutrients you need from diet alone (whether or not you are vegetarian/vegan), you may need to supplement

As we added animal protein back into our diet, my once-thinning hair started growing thicker again. That speaks volumes to me. And after 30+ years as a vegetarian/vegan, we both feel physically healthier and have more energy eating some animal protein now.

That being said, we strive to eat as ethically, sustainably, and humanely as possible. And we always give gratitude to the plants and animals that help sustain us.

Are you starting to get the picture that a wellness journey is a life-long journey, that will change along the way, as you do?

Life aboard a sailboat in Mexico...

So how'd we end up sailing in Mexico? My husband Kirk and I met sailboat racing on OPBs (other people's boats!) 30+ years ago and have lived aboard our 40' sailboat for over twenty years, most of that time in Seattle.

From day one we had the dream to sail the seven seas, and in 1996 we raced our own boat to Hawaii—which was super FUN! I love being out on the ocean with the wind and the waves and marine life. Back in Seattle, it took us a minute to reach escape velocity, but we finally untied our lines for good!

In 2015 we set sail (along with our two kitties Tosh & Tikka) for warmer climates where we now enjoy sailing the waters of Mexico, from the Sea of Cortez south to the Pacific Coastalegre Coast of Mexico.

We have a daily yoga and meditation practice (I'm a 200YT certified yoga teacher and Kirk is a Chopra-certified meditation teacher). And we love getting out in nature, sunshine, swimming, snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, and playing with Tosh & Tikka.

In my spare time, I love creating art, dancing, climbing trees, hula-hooping, and anything that makes me laugh. And I'm grateful for the Internet, which enables me to work with clients like you, around the globe!

Heidi Hackler, CHHC, aboard her sailboat

Life aboard the high seas...cruising British Columbia, Canada before we sailed to Mexico.

Tosh & Tikka, gatos del mar

Tosh & Tikka... Gatos del Mar love life aboard (they don't know any different!)

Heidi and Kirk Hackler Living the Happy Well Life

Celebrating the Happy Well Life... and continuing our wellness journey, everything in moderation!

Heart Art ©2023HeidiHackler

Making time for creativity when ever possible...

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