Kirsten is married to her wonderful husband, Phares, and they have four children together. Since 2014, they have been living their dream as they build The Honest Bite Ranch together, including the daily adventures of responsibly raising animals and there are many. Things you could never imagine until it happens, like herding chickens. Yes, chickens, not cattle. In case you’re wondering, cattle are much, much easier to herd than chickens. Since their first bite of fresh, grass-fed beef, pasture raised chicken, and farm fresh eggs they have never looked back. Kirsten’s favorite of all the animals are the donkeys – Tuck is sweet and mellow as can be, Nip, on the other hand was named for such a reason. One day they soon hope to open up a part of their menagerie to work with children on the autism spectrum and those with other social and mental disabilities. Kirsten believes that animals, like food, can be very healing.
Her love of all things nutrition started as a teen struggling with weight issues since she was 7 years old, and later very painful cystic acne. At 15 years old, she experienced horrible stomach pains that ultimately led her to the care of a naturopathic doctor who without running any tests instructed her to eliminate all gluten and dairy products from her diet for 30 days. No teenager wants to hear this but she was willing to try anything to feel better and changing her diet was far less invasive than being poked and prodded for testing. Within a week her stomach pains were gone, within two weeks her cystic acne began to clear up and at the end of that 30 day period she felt and looked like a new person. For years, dermatologists insisted that food played no role and had no effect in how her skin behaved. After multiple creams and pills, including birth control to regulate her hormones, she found the only thing to make a dent was changing her diet. Likewise, physicians had told her there was no reason for her random and painful stomach pains so there was really nothing they could do. Her weight issues also resolved themselves as she began to eat more real, whole foods and she passed on the traditional packaged low fat, low calorie foods that are often touted as being “the way” to lasting weight loss. Solving the mystery of her stomach pains, healing her acne and losing weight were just the start of her journey. As she got older and saw the declining health of her grandparents and knowing that she has a family history of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s, she found a new determination to continue learning how food affects the body and our health.
Her frustration with traditional medicine hit hard when one of her children was struggling with mood swings and anxiety, and beginning to show signs of self-harm and bipolar tendencies. She made an appointment for what she thought was a simple consultation with a psychiatrist only to learn upon confirmation 48 hours prior to the appointment that he would be admitted to a psychiatric inpatient hospital for no less than 7 days for monitoring. That was not what was discussed when making the appointment and that was not what was going to happen with her 8 year old. Kirsten just happened to have an appointment with her longtime naturopath who noticed she was unusually stressed. Long story short, he ran some tests and started him on a dietary and supplemental protocol for 30 days. Less than a week in he could tell he was feeling calmer and able to focus better, and by the end of that 30 days it was like having a new child. She was beyond relieved to see the beauty of healing with food once again come to fruition because she dreaded the thought of her 8 year old starting on medications that often lead to a lifetime of dependency. Food can truly hurt or heal.
Kirsten originally thought her education would take her down the path to become a dietician but never quite felt the standard dietary recommendations were right for everyone, especially after seeing herself and other family members recover vibrant health when they worked with foods when traditional medicine told them either nothing could be done or that food would have no impact on their health. Instead, because fitness has always played a role in Kirsten’s life, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Fitness and Human Performance and later, to complete her love of nutrition education, she completed her certification through the Nutritional Therapy Association to start her practice as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP). What she loves most about taking this path is that she gets to help others learn that there is really no one size fits all plan. Sometimes traditional medicine works and sometimes you may just have to think outside the box when it comes to health and wellness.