Hello, and welome.
My name is Nell Stephenson.
I’m a happily married mom with an infant son and two Weimaraners.
I’ve also been a nutritionist for the past 20 years, with a mission is to teach how to create optimal health and a high performance lifestyle through my four pillar system comprised of food, movement, rest and work.
And it all starts with what we’re eating.
I know how it feels to not be able to figure out mysterious gut issues, to be sick all the time with every GI symptom in the book, to count calories and exercise like crazy and still not have the lean body you want and to feel at your wit’s end when none of the doctors and specialists you’re going to are asking the right question: what are you eating?
In my journey, learning about and implementing a Paleo approach to eating back in 2004 was the single most important thing I’ve done that’s changed my life.
After a lifetime of being plagued with mysterious GI issues, endless visits to doctors and hospitals, enduring every test in the book, I learned how to heal myself simply by omitting certain foods which were causing inflammation and focusing on the natural balance of eating real, clean food: local, seasonal vegetables, wild proteins and natural fats.
For me, the last straw occurred when I was in my early twenties.
I had gone to the nth gastroenterologist, who tested me for Celiac disease, after I’d already been ‘diagnosed’ with colitis, IBS, and a ‘a sensitive stomach’. When the results came back negative, he told me not to omit gluten as it would create an inability to eat enough fiber, as, in his words, “gluten-containing foods are the best source of fiber and B vitamins” and then handed me a prescription for Prozac.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and began researching online.
I wasn’t about to settle for a lifetime of illness. It was compromising my training for sport, my racing and day to day living.
I was convinced that there must be something I was eating that was making me sick, or at least contributing to it.
It was then that I stumbled across a book called The Paleo Diet, by Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD, read it, and began following it straight away. It was late 2003, at least five years before Paleo even began being something people would speak about in conversation.
I read it, began implementing it and felt better in three days.
I began sharing some of the basics with certain clients and noticed that they, too, were experiencing extremely positive results from weight loss to better digestion to improved energy to a clearer complexion.
I felt compelled to write to Dr. Cordain, simply thank him for his work and tell him what a gift it had been to me to discover it, and to share with my clients.
To my pleasant surprise, he wrote back and invited me to contribute to his newsletter.
We developed an implementation program the following year and in 2010, we co-wrote The Paleo Diet Cookbook, along with his lovely wife, Lorrie.
Professionally, I began adding bits and pieces of my nutritional regime to my all private training clients’ routines. By then, I had all the proof I needed that eating an authentic human diet, which is what an authentic Paleo approach truly is, was beneficial, then, for all humans.
Regardless of what their health concerns were, everyone began to get healthier, leaner and feel better overall.
At the same time, my own training and recovery time improved and I was able to transition from being a very average participant in triathlon to being quite competitive and have earned a slot to World Championships in Kona eight times.
I started my blog in 2007 and began the gradual segue from a small business consisting of local private training clientele to one which enabled me to begin to reach people in greater numbers.
Providing the education on food first and being able to be a part of the empowerment that clients feel when we figure out which foods work and which do not is a magical one; witnessing the moment when that seemingly endless puzzle of subclinical illness and mysterious health concerns finally begins to have a light at the end of the tunnel is where it really gets exciting and is one which I’m honored to be a part of.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The more I worked with clients, the more I was able to observe similarities as well as trends.
For one thing, even though someone might reach out initially for a nutrition related goal such as weight loss or a better fueling plan for sport, the conversation never ended at what they were eating.
In addition, nearly every health concern clients reported all had ties back to inflammatory reactions in the gut and their various manifestations throughout the body’s many systems.
This is what led to the decision to develop my own line of bone broths; I found myself recommending this panacea to all of my clients!
Also, there were three other major things in addition to what they ate contributing to how quickly each person would achieve their goals and the quality of life they experienced on a daily basis:
- How they moved (exercised)
- How they performed, not just in sport or at work but in all aspects of their life
- How well (and even if) they rested, recovered and incorporated mediation in any way
And while the initial consultation with each and every client began with what they were eating, why they’d reached out and what they hoped to achieve, every subsequent call led to the peeling away of one layer after another of the proverbial onion as we took a deep dive into what was beneath why the body had reached the state of health, or lack thereof, that it had.
Simply put, it’s never just about learning about which foods to choose and when; it’s a comprehensive approach to determine what’s not working, why it isn’t working, what hurdles have stood in the way in the past and what strategies are going to be the reason why now is the time to create the path toward sustainable, optimal health.
Because of this, I developed my four pillar system, Eat / Move / Rest / Work as the foundation for the work I do with clients and I now work with clients globally to help them implement this approach in order to achieve their unique and specific goals.
If high performance is what you’re in search of, and you’re unwilling to settle for ‘just good enough to get by”, you’ve come to the right place.
We are all unique, we come from different backgrounds and we each have a different set of goals and objectives.
I invite you to reach out if you’d like to work together on your personal journey.
After all, we should thrive; not just survive!
All my best,
Exercise Physiologist, USC
ACSM Health/Fitness Instructor
High Performance Lifestyle Coach
Ironman Athlete (8x Kona; 10:17 PR) + Marathon Runner (3:01 PR)
Wife + Mom to Yves (our son), Preston + Pele (our Weimaraners)