2020 Wellness Weekend Retreat

Making Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Simple

Abundant Health Wellness Center offers monthly hands-on cooking classes that are whole-food, plant-based.

Each Class is $49.95 per person

Class Dates: Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 3:30 pm

 Here are some of the tasty whole foods based recipes you will learn to prepare:

Tomato Bisque

Marinated Cabbage

Something Savory:

Meatless Swedish Meatballs over Noodles with Onion Gravy

Cherry Pineapple Cobbler

Coconut Whipped Topping


Want to start with a brand new you? Work with Dana today!

Dana’s Diabetic Friendly Holiday Recipes

Free Diabetic Friendly Holiday Recipes!

You can make it through this holiday season without feeling deprived with these tasty Dana West RD dietitian designed and approved holiday recipes!

Get 10 of Dana’s favorite holiday dishes plus her bonus secret cranberry sauce recipe – all for free!

Simply sign up below and she will email you the recipe booklet.

Just in time for the holidays!



Exercise is Nature’s Prozac

Monday was a very hectic and stressful day. By the time I left work I was worn out and brain fried. When I arrived home, what do you think I did? Laid down on the couch and turned on the TV to loose myself in the life of someone else? Would that have helped me?

Instead, I changed my clothes, went to the barn, got my clippers and branch cutters, and started trimming our overgrown bushes. Did I feel like doing this when I was so tired? No. But I understood the power of motion, it empowers the body and brain!

So the more important question to ask is, how did I feel when I finished? I felt GREAT! Full of energy, the stress was gone and I was ready to once again to tackle the world… or at least the pile of laundry!

That is the magic in motion! It is one of the keys to health and happiness; living life to its fullest. You can walk your way to health and into happiness and abundant life by getting up and tapping into the magic of motion! A balanced and well-planned activity program is one of the wisest investments you can make. It pays dividends: better quality, longer life! Staying physically active may just keep you healthier and stronger 8-10+ years longer than a sedentary person.


We are a couch-potato, TV/computer driven, air-conditioned, sedentary society. And quite frankly, it is killing us. Inactivity is a curse by which disease is given entrance. “If we can’t find time for exercise we will have to find time to be sick” (“The inner and outer joys of exercise.” Your Life and Health.)

If those who are sick would exercise their muscles daily, in outdoor work, engaging the brain, the bones and muscles, weakness and languor would disappear. Health would take the place of disease (the state of no longer be at ease), and strength the place of feebleness.

Sixty to seventy-five minutes of activity offsets the risks of 8 hours of sitting, according to the prestigious health journal, (The Lancet, July 27, 2016, online). According to HealthDay News, online, May 17, 2016, “A higher level of heart-lung fitness may reduce your risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. One hour of exercise lowers cancer risk according to the National Cancer Institute. And also published July 27, 2016, poor fitness level is second only to smoking as a risk factor for premature death according to the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Exercise is “Nature’s Prozac”! Exercise produces beta-endorphins, elevating the mood so you feel better, have less pain and less fatigue. We need to move to think!


Make Exercise FUN!

Exercise should not feel like a duty. Exercise should add to your life; do it because you love life! Sedentariness is a learned habit. We were made to MOVE! Just watch a baby. The frontal lobe of their brain does not tell them when it is or is not socially appropriate to move. We would all look pretty silly sitting in our board meetings wiggly like a baby. So God developed our frontal lobes to tell us when it is appropriate to move, and He expect us to use that ability! Just as the centurion, Hulda Crook, when asked if there were time she didn’t feel like exercising, said, “If the brain is on top, it should be in charge and tell the rest of the body what to do. And so that’s what I do, I exercise anyway” (Crooks H. conquering Life’s Mountains: A collection of writings. Redlands, CA: Quiet Hour). Ms. Crooks spent the first 60 years of her life in poor health. In her 60s she started exercising to treat her depression. Her story is amazing! The more she walked the better she felt. At 70 she stated, “I began exercising in earnest”. She climbed Mount Whitney in California 23 times, and set world athletic records for women over the age of 80. At 91 she climbed Mount Fuji in Japan and also the entire 212-mile John Muir Trial in the High Sierras. She died at 101.

What I find most impressive about Ms. Crooks is she turned her health around completely at the age of 60. And you can too! It is never to late to take charge of your health. Just like Ms. Crooks, you can climb more than mountains, you can climb your way out of poor health into the magic of motion, and a life of abundant health!

What is keeping you from starting a new you? Don’t let the Lazy Boy Couch rob you of your health and happiness.

Is Sleep Important To Our Health?

Before the 1900s Americans averaged nearly 9 hours/night and were mostly involved in daily physically labor. With the invention of the electric light, the industrial revolution and resulting urbanization, Americans became less active and averaged 8 hours of sleep/night. Today, Americans average less than 7 hours of sleep/night and get very little activity.

Sometime ago, for about a week my sleep was very restless and I had a hard time falling asleep. I had a lot on my mind and just couldn’t quit thinking to fall asleep. It started on a Thursday. That night I probably slept a total of 4 hours. Friday thru Sunday I did better averaging probably about 6 hours and then Monday night, I got home from work at 10:30 PM and went straight to bed, but I did not fall asleep until after four in the morning, when my husband crawled into bed.

He had not had much sleep since Saturday night. Sunday night he and his friend had driven all night to participant in a tractor pull. They attended the pull and finished their last pull around 11 PM Monday night, loaded up and headed home. I did not like him on the road without sufficient sleep. So between the things on my mind and my sleepy husband on the road, sleep evaded me.

Tuesday morning I forced myself out of bed after approximately 2-3 hours of fitful sleep and got ready for my first appointment at 8 AM.

How well do you think I functioned that day?

Do you have sleepless or restless nights?

How does sleep affected our health? Diabetes? Weight Control? Chronic disease?

Come Join us to learn the rest of the story and how we can improve our sleep and our health!


Do You Have “Happy” Cholesterol?

September is cholesterol awareness month. Do you know what your cholesterol level is?


What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance found in all cells of the human body. Cholesterol is made by the liver and is important in making hormones and vitamin D. It also aids in digestion, and protects the nerves and performs many other important functions in our body.

We all need cholesterol, but did you know the liver makes all the cholesterol the body needs? That’s right! WE do not need to eat cholesterol because we already have all the cholesterol we need. So what’s the big deal about cholesterol? First need to understand there are different kinds of cholesterol. We will discuss two kinds.

High-Density Lipoproteins

We will call High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL), “Happy” cholesterol. This kind of cholesterol keeps our organs and body happy by carrying the cholesterol from various parts of the body to the liver. The liver regulates what happens to cholesterol; It can be stored it for later use, remove or eliminate it from the body or it can be recycled and sent to areas in the body where it is needed. “Happy” cholesterol circulates in the blood and acts like a garbage truck would in a city. It goes around picking up all the trash and disposing of it in the proper place (in this case, the liver).

What should my lab value be for “Happy” cholesterol (HDL)?

We want lots of “Happy” cholesterol! Research is showing that the best levels of HDL, is greater than 50 mg/dl for women and greater than 40 mg/dl for men.

How can I raise my “Happy” cholesterol?

Increasing your activity levels and eating high fiber, whole foods such as Legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), fruits, vegetables, freshly ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds) will help improve your “Happy” cholesterol levels. Also staying hydrated, getting direct sunlight every day, and sleeping well, having pleasant thoughts and healthy relationships, all impact our cholesterol levels as well as our total wellbeing.

Low-Density Lipoproteins

We will call Low-Density Lipoproteins, “Lousy Cholesterol”. This type is lousy because it hangs around like bad company. When we eat cholesterol-rich foods, the excess cholesterol (in the form of plaque) builds up on the walls of our blood vessels (called atherosclerosis) and causes damage and possible blockage of blood flow, which can lead to a stroke or a heart attack, some pretty lousy stuff, wouldn’t you agree?

What should my lab value be for “Lousy” Cholesterol (LDL)?

Your LDL level should be less than 100 mg/dl.

Research from the Framingham Heart Study has shown that cardiac events (heart attack, atherosclerosis, etc,) have dropped to nearly zero when the total cholesterol level (combination of all types of cholesterol) is less than 150 mg/dl. But in order to get our cholesterol within that range, we must first understand what foods contain cholesterol.

Where is cholesterol found?

Cholesterol is found in anything that has a liver or comes from something that had a liver. Therefore all animal products contain cholesterol, including all meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and cheese products. Cholesterol is not found in any plant foods.

How can I reduce my “Lousy” cholesterol and increase my “Happy” cholesterol?

If our bodies make all the cholesterol we need and if cholesterol is found only in animal products, and if we want to lower your cholesterol, then it would be logical we would need to stop eating cholesterol, i.e. animal products and start eating more whole plant foods.

If we continue to eat the very thing that is causing the problem, how can the body heal? How can we expect to get better? But if we eliminate the cause, in this case, dietary cholesterol, we can reduce the cholesterol level naturally.

What would a meal of whole plants foods look like?

Here is a Southern Meal Favorite:

  • Vegetable Salad
  • Whole Grain Cornbread (made with oil instead of lard)
  • Beans (made without the ham hock)
  • Greens (made without the bacon)

Here’s a nice plant-based breakfast:

  • Oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon, and vanilla almond milk
  • Walnuts and freshly ground flaxseed
  • Blackberries
  • Apple

It may take some adjustment, but many have gone before you and have had great success at changing their eating habits and lowering their cholesterol and you can be too!


Exercise – Trip To Chicago

Have you been Chicago?


Have you ever considered walking from NW Arkansas to Chicago! That would be quite an adventure, don’t you think?

During our Start A New YOU! Program, we will be tracking our exercise as a group, each week tallying the total and plotting it on our map. We will plot from Eureka Spring, Arkansas to Chicago, Illinois, USA (591 miles)!

Chicago is a great place but we don’t want to get stuck in Chicago…we need to get back to Eureka Springs (another 591 miles)! Can we do it? YES WE CAN, ALL TOGETHER!!!

We will also tally each individual and will have a weekly award for each individual that meets the goal of the week every day of the previous week!

The first week’s reward will be a button or certificate (online) with one star. Please wear this button at each group session.

Each following week that you meet the goal, you will receive another star.

At our 8th session together, you will receive another star. If you have met every goal, you will receive a certificate of outstanding accomplishment!

We will also give a grand prize to each participant if EVERYONE in the group meets all the exercise goals for the entire program.

The grand prize is The Optimal Diet Cookbook, by Darlene Blaney and Has Diehl, M.D.


We will count 20 minutes of any exercise = 1 mile. So find your sneakers and Let’s Start Moving!

  • Week 1: 1 mile (20 minutes) every day
  • Week 2: 1.5 miles (30 minutes) every day
  • Week 3: 2 miles (40 minutes) every day
  • Week 4: 2.5 miles (50 minutes) every day
  • Weeks 5-8: 3 miles (60 minutes) every day

Why 60 minutes?

Several Research articles, the most recent from the prestigious journal, The Lancet (July 27, 2016), are showing the enormous benefits of an accumulative total of 60 minutes of moderate activity a day for health and weight loss. Too much sitting is bad for our health. The greatest risk of premature death is for people who sit for long periods of time and do not exercise. Sitting for long periods of time is now called “the new smoking”. Let’s step out of a sedentary lifestyle into a life of useful activity and abundant health! Are you ready?

Need some ideas of what to do for 60 minutes?

Get in 10 minutes of brisk walking before breakfast

  • Try a 3 minute break every ½ hour during the day to walk around
  • Try a 5 minute brisk walk every hour
  • March in place while watching TV or reading
  • Put on your favorite music and dance or “direct” the band
  • Walk and talk while on the phone
  • Set a timer for every 30-60 minutes to get a drink of water and take some quick steps
  • Do a set of 10 coconut stretches as was demonstrated in class
  • Go for a walk before /and or after each meal
  • 10 minutes of stair climbing
  • 15 minutes vacuuming
  • 20 minutes gardening
  • 25 minutes walking
  • 25 minutes cycling
  • 30 minutes aerobic routine on a DVD or TV


Following is a Little History of Chicago, our Trip Destination, for your enjoyment to plan some sightseeing or other (physical) activities! Happy trails!

Chicago IL. Known for the invention and advancement of several performing arts, including improvisational comedy, house music, blues, gospel, jazz, and soul, and for its Chicago School and Prairie School architecture. It continues to cultivate a strong tradition of classical music, popular music, dance, and performing arts, rooted in Western civilization, as well as other traditions carried forward by its African-American, Asian-American, European American, Hispanic American, and Native American citizens.

Home to Chicago is one of 13 metropolitan areas that have major league baseball, football, basketball, and hockey teams. All four sports play their games within the city limits. Chicago has two baseball teams. Only Chicago has had the same two teams since the American League was established in 1901.

The Chicago White Sox of the American League, who won the World Series in 2005, play at U.S. Cellular Field, located on the city’s South Side in the Armour Square neighborhood.

Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs of the National League play at Wrigley Field, which is located in the North Side neighborhood of Lakeview. The area of Lakeview near the stadium is commonly referred to as “Wrigleyville.”

Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears of the National Football League play at Soldier Field. Chicago is the largest city to have an NFL stadium. The Bears have won nine American Football championships (eight NFL Championships and Super Bowl XX) trailing only the Green Bay Packers, who have thirteen.

The Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association are one of the world’s most recognized basketball teams, thanks to their enormous success during the Michael Jordan era, when they won six NBA titles in the 1990s. The Bulls play at the United Center on Chicago’s Near West side.

The Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League also play at the United Center. The Hawks are an Original Six franchise, founded in 1926, and have won six Stanley Cups, including 2010, 2013, and 2015.

The Chicago Fire, members of Major League Soccer, won one league and four US Open Cups since 1997. After eight years at Soldier Field, they moved to the new Toyota Park in nearby Bridgeview at 71st and Harlem Avenue during the summer of 2006.

The central part of Chicago was largely destroyed by the Chicago Fire in 1871. Almost all the buildings currently standing in the city’s downtown area were built after that, one exception being the Chicago Water Tower.

The Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower

Around the turn of the twentieth century, Chicago was a key location in the development of the skyscraper. This movement was spearheaded by architects promoting the Chicago School design philosophy, including Louis Sullivan and others. Notable tall buildings and skyscrapers built before the mid-1930s include the Rookery Building, the Auditorium Building, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Monadnock Building, the Reliance Building, the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building, the Marquette Building, the Chicago Building, the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, the London Guarantee Building, 333 North Michigan, the Carbide & Carbon Building, and the Chicago Board of Trade Building.

In the 1940s, a modernist Second Chicago School of architecture emerged from the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Buildings that he designed include 860–880 Lake Shore Drive,Crown Hall, 330 North Wabash, and the Kluczynski Federal Building.

The tallest buildings in Chicago are Willis Tower, Trump Tower, the Aon Center, the John Hancock Center, and the Franklin Center. Willis Tower was originally named Sears Tower, and was the tallest building in the world from 1973 to 1998. It is now the second-tallest building in the United States, after One World Trade Center, though the height to the roof of Willis Tower is greater than that of One World Trade Center.

The Pullman Historic District was the first planned industrial community in the United States.

Some neighborhoods in the city have many Chicago bungalow houses. Built mostly between 1910 and 1940, these single-family homes are narrow, one-and-a-half story brick structures, with gables parallel to the street.

(Copied from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Chicago)