Month: August 2018

Ep 6: Trauma’s Effect on the Body with Maggie Gehlsen

Kari sits down with Maggie Gehlsen, native of DeWitt, Iowa currently serving as Miss Muscatine. In June 2017, Maggie started her own nonprofit called “Trauma Queens,” which is dedicated to helping survivors of sexual trauma heal their bodies and minds utilizing holistic methods like movement and mindfulness.

Maggie is a 2013 graduate of De Witt Central High School and a 2017 graduate of the University of Alabama, where she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise and Sport Science.

Maggie has been a longtime participant within the Miss America Organization, which is dedicated to helping young women promote their own personal platforms through community service. In June 2017, Maggie started the nonprofit “Trauma Queens,”  and recently, Maggie represented Muscatine at the Miss Iowa Scholarship Pageant in Davenport, Iowa, where she received the lifestyle & fitness in swimsuit award, overall interview winner, and was named 1st Runner Up to Miss Iowa 2018.

Maggie has worked closely with several nonprofits to promote awareness for sexual assault education and prevention. Currently, she works with RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) as a part of their Speakers Bureau, Family Resources, and EROC (End Rape On Campus). In her free time, Maggie enjoys hot yoga, writing, reading, and cooking.

Maggie currently lives in eastern Iowa and works as a personal trainer and health coach.

Ep 5: Krista DeGeest – Professional Volleyball Player by Know Better Live Best

Kari Ginger discusses nutrition, athletics and life lessons with Professional Volleyball Player, Krista DeGeest

Krista DeGeest is an All-American volleyball player from the University of Northern Iowa who has gone on to play professionally since graduating in 2013 with a marketing and management degree. She has competed in the Swedish, Romanian, and German leagues over her past 5 years as a professional athlete and will return to Germany at the end of August for her 6th season. During her summer months in the USA, Krista runs her own multi-aged volleyball camps for various high schools in the Midwest and conducts private lessons for local players. It is her mission to share her passion for the sport through her enthusiasm and drive, both on and off the court. She loves to travel and explore and strives to live each day to its fullest, with a smile on her face.

Food Transparency – Why settle for less?

Understanding where your food originates from may not be something that many think of but when you grow up on a farm, it is literally right in front of you. Whether it be from raising your own beef to knowing where each of the cucumbers which are being made into pickles originated, it is a clear and often short pathway.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture however, less than two percent of Americans now actually live on farms. This leaves 98% of our population consuming food without the knowledge of where their food originated, how it was processed and at times even when it was harvested. If this sounds like a concern to you, you are not wrong because it clearly is a problem.


For me, life has been different than those who live in cities. I grew up on a farm in French Lick, Indiana where we raised cattle, horses, chickens, ducks, corn, soybeans and wheat. My parents were both incredibly hard workers and my dad was a business entrepreneur. In addition to the farm, my parents owned a grocery store and a restaurant. Both businesses were heavily family operated and I can actually remember carrying out groceries at the age of five – probably even before that actually. My memories are that I was very helpful to my family. The truth, however, is not easily seen when you are that young.

My parents didn’t just have a garden, they had two of them and they were not your ‘normal’ sized gardens. Each garden was a few acres in size and they were worked daily. Mom was an incredible cook who fed five kids, four of them growing boys, without ever seemingly breaking a sweat. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all came mainly from the farm. Canning, freezing and butchering were all just part of life and in my thoughts anyway, normal. Although the meats stocked at Roach’s Market were purchased, they were from local butchers who harvested, processed and sold their meats fresh. Dad would purchase everything from fresh Italian sausage to ribeyes to turkeys from wholesalers within about an hour radius of their store. Oh, and all of the ground beef was processed right there in the store. That is the way it was, it seemed normal but actually wasn’t.

Knowing where our food has originated and the path it has taken to the tables of our families may seem like a formidable task and the truth is that it is not an easy treck to follow. The good news however is that it is possible and with that possibility is an opportunity for each individual and their families. We all want to provide the absolute best for our families and we may actually think this is being done but prepackaged meats in large box stores may not be of the quality that is expected. This is not a slam on large box stores, this is a look at the reality that may very well exist.

Is it possible to bring transparency back to the food families are consuming? The answer is yes which then raises another question… if transparency is possible then why would anyone settle for less? The answer is simple, we as consumers cannot settle for less. It is time that everyone expects and demands more. Why? For ourselves, for our families, for a healthier lifestyle.

Ep 4: Cultivating Food Literacy in Children with Raintree School by Know Better Live Best

Kari sits down with chefs Katie Brown and Andrea Hediger at Raintree School.

Katie Brown was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. She cooked in a variety of restaurants and food-focused non-profit organizations for 8 years and studied Nutrition and Dietetics at St. Louis University before becoming head chef at Raintree School. She has been at Raintree for five years. While feeding students scratchmade lunches, she hopes to also foster in them a passion for food, where it comes from, and ways to enjoy it. When not in the kitchen she loves yoga, painting, gardening, and traveling.

Andrea Hediger’s love for cooking orignated from spending time in her grandmother’s kitchen at a young age. It was there where she learned the basics of cooking. To further her knowledge, she moved from her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri to Seattle, Washington and studied Nutrition and Culinary Arts at Bastyr University. While in the Pacific Northwest, she gained experiences in various kitchen settings and organic gardens. One year ago she became sous chef at Raintree where she gets to practice her passion by feeding young eaters. Her favorite thing about her job is witnessing the excitement that the children have about food.

Ep 3: Chase’n the Dream at QCAA with Chase Hollmer

Kari sits down with Chase Hollmer from the Quad City Athlete Acadamy.

Chase is originally from Iowa where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Movement and Exercise Science from the University of Northern Iowa. He later moved to Tampa, Florida where he completed his Master’s Degree in Exercise and Nutritional Science from the University of Tampa. While pursuing his graduate degree , Chase also worked in UT’s Human Performance Lab, one of the top human performance labs in the country. Since his time in Tampa he has worked with multiple professional teams and athletes including those in the NHL, NFL, MLB, and UFC. Chase’s experience also extends working with numerous fitness professionals and bodybuilders on their individual training, nutrition, and supplementation needs.
Chase is currently the owner and head coach of the Quad City Athlete Academy. Athletes that have worked under Coach Hollmer have received Div. 1 scholarships to every Power 5 conference.

Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN)
Certified USA Weight Lifting Sports Performance Coach

According to WebMD… I Have What?!

Think of a time you haven’t felt well. Let’s say you have a sore throat, dizziness, swollen glands, and feel achy all over. You are miserable and you just want to start feeling better. Unsure of what may be going on, you go to your phone and you type in your symptoms, yielding 66 results that say you have anything from the common cold, to strep, to cancer.

How do you use all the information that is provided? How do you narrow it down?

It isn’t easy. Navigating the world of health and wellness can be very challenging because it is chock-full of information. We are very fortunate to live in a time when information is more easily available than it used to be and advancements in medicine have given us a better understanding health and wellness – but with a tradeoff. Often it feels like it’s left up to us to make sense of it all.

Our ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions is known as health literacy. 1 However, with all of this information readily available, only 12 percent of adults have proficient health literacy, meaning the majority of people may lack the skills needed to manage their health and prevent disease.2

Why does this matter?

Health Literacy is critical to managing your health and living your best life! Our proficiency and understanding of it can:

  • Influence the way we work through the healthcare system and the services we seek out
  • Help us understand our own bodies, self-care, and preventative behaviors/choices
  • Improve our communication with health care professionals and providers
  • Assist with decision making and understanding of information
  • Help us seek out care in more timely and efficient manners

When you have a foundation of health literacy, it becomes much easier to understand what questions to ask about your health, who to talk to, and when to seek help. Having health literacy can literally save your life. But the road to understanding health is full of many twists, turns, and trap doors.

How can we improve our health literacy?

Determine what is important to you. Reflecting on what our priorities are can help direct how we seek out information and care. The following questions can be used as a guide:

  • What are the areas of health and wellness you feel are critical?
  • What are the important things you want to discuss or learn about?
  • What areas do you feel less confident in or want more information on?
  • What are your biggest concerns?
  • What are the barriers you are experiencing in your health wellness?

Answering questions like these can help you form a better understanding of your current knowledge base, encourage you to be a self-advocate for your health, and reveal gaps to fill in your health literacy.

Form a team. Find health and wellness providers who make you feel comfortable, communicate well, and provide you with the information you have reflected on above. There are a wide variety of experts in the various avenues of health and wellness – choose a team that supports your different areas of health. Some things to look for in a good health and wellness provider are:

  • Active listening
  • Asking follow-up questions to what you say
  • Providing perspectives in regards to their expertise
  • Guiding you to resources
  • Being an advocate for you and your health

Sometimes you may not find your team on the first try, and that’s fine! Finding a provider you trust and can understand will improve your health. One bad experience with a type of professional does not mean that should be a reflection on the whole field. Take the extra effort to find who you work well with and don’t be afraid to ask others to help you find your team – you are worth it!

Stand Up For Yourself! Health care should be treated as a partnership – the health care professional is the consultant, but you carry out the plan. You have to communicate to direct the health professional’s understanding and awareness to your needs and life. Make your care an active discussion, express fears and concerns, and always know you can speak up. Good health care professionals (the kind you want on your team) will respect you and listen. Take advantage of your time with them. In addition, if an interpreter is needed, please request one. Tell the medical provider prior to your first visit that an interpreter is needed and one will be provided. At the end of the day, you are the number one advocate for your health.

Repeat information back and ask questions. The information you get at your appointment is going to help you make informed decisions about what is best for you at the time. Having someone with you to take notes (or taking notes/recording the conversation yourself) can help you collect and recall information. If something is unclear, repeat back to the provider what your interpretation of their words are. This will help you both get on the same page. Prior to an appointment or between appointments, write your questions down. This can help you to recall important points you want more information on and can help make the visit more efficient. Sharing your questions with loved ones and other health professionals can help direct the visit, especially when decisions are complex. If there are lingering questions after, don’t be afraid to call your provider’s office. It is okay to ask for answers.

Develop a network of resources. A lot of good information is out there, but sometimes we need direction in knowing what we can trust. Ask your trusted professionals about resources they use. Every health professional has their own network, sites, journals, and fellow professionals they know and trust. Let professionals help you build your own network. Additionally health professionals often have colleagues nation- and world-wide – you never know who they can get you in touch with.

To get started on developing your network, here is a list  of health resources and professionals in performance, nutrition, mental health, and wellness.

Assess Your Information Sources

Remember, online information is meant to complement your knowledge – itt should not be the sole resource in your health decision making. But when you do seek knowledge online, keep in mind some of these considerations to help you to assess the accuracy of material you are reading:

  • Who wrote or created the site? What is their background? Are they credible?
  • What is the site promoting? Does it make sense? Does it seem possible?
  • How up to date is the research and resources? Are there citations?
  • Where is the information they are promoting coming from?
  • Is there a financial gain that can be made from the site? Are they trying to promote their product?
  • Can you communicate with the site? Are other professionals interacting with the site?

Inaccurate, conflicting, and confusing information can be a big barrier in health literacy. There is a lot of wonderful information available, but it is also important to know when more information may be needed.  Here is a resource that can help you better assess what you are reading and whether it is missing any essential information.

At Know Better, Live Best we want to help you live your best life. Navigating health literacy can be challenging, which is why we want to be part of the solution. We are dedicated to being a resource for you.If there a topic or question you want more information on, please reach out to us. We will do our best to find an answer or direct you to someone who can help. Together we can start creating a culture that is proficient in health literacy. Let’s make a culture of wellness the norm.


Food Transparency – A Call to Action and What It Means to You

The good news – Americans are becoming more interested and aware of the food we consume and why informed nutrition is important.

The bad news – The road to informed nutrition and food literacy is confusing and intricate. 
There is a lot of information on the type of foods we should eat, the quantities we should consume, the next big trending diet, eating to manage illnesses, and how to eat well to live a long and disease-free life. These topics are important, complex, and often heavily debated. However, this article isn’t about that.

Today, we are going to focus on the basics: food and where it comes from. At Know Better Live Best, we could spend hours talking about just this (and often do!) and we will dive deeper into some of these issues in the future. But for now, let’s keep it at the basics.

What is food transparency?

Access to knowledge about where food comes from – this includes origins of the seeds, the farm the food came from and its procedures,, environmental conditions, worker conditions, sustainability practices, packaging, production, and sale. Like every system, each step along the way is important and influences the next. Food often is not simply brought from the farm to the store where you purchase it. Our food system is incredibly intricate and complex, and much can get lost along the way – making true food transparency an extraordinarily difficult feat.

According to the 2016 Label Insight Food Revolution Study, the majority of people want transparency in the food system. There is a growing demand to improve our system and better the health of our society. Of the 1,500 consumers surveyed in the study mentioned above, 94% of respondents reported it is important to them that the brands and manufacturers they buy from are transparent about what is in their food and how it is made. The good news is, consumer demand for transparency is sparking a change in the food industry. And with new technology, a transparent food supply chain is within our reach.

Which brings us to our excitement about our partnership Bytable Foods.

Bytable Foods uses blockchain and IoT technologies to trace where food is coming from. They’re tracking how food was grown, processed, distributed, and how it ended up at your local store. And they’re making this information available to consumers like you – by scanning a QR code on the food package, you can see the entire journey of your food from the farm to your table, certification information, packaging dates, and the practices of the producer.

We believe that food transparency built on trustworthy information is the key to transforming our food system into one that works better for everyone in it. And we are so excited to see Bytable Foods making it happen.

Food transparency data can be used for many other things that benefit our society overall. By building traceability and transparency into our food system food outbreaks can be contained sooner,eating to prevent and manage illness can become easier, choosing what we use to fuel performance can improve,labels will be easier to read, and nutrition quality will be held to a higher standard.

Because when consumers are given the information and power to choose where their money goes, they can give back to their local communities, support companies that align with their values, and vote with their dollars and voices for a better and more sustainable food system.

“Food transparency,” is a buzzword these days – but we hope this article has helped you understand the hype. When our food system supports transparency, you can have a say in the food you consume and the companies you support. Bytable Foods and Know Better, Live Best are here to help you live your best life. We will continue to dive into the world of nutrition and food industry as we go, but we first wanted to introduce you to our passion.

What is your passion? How can living well help you achieve it? And how can we help?



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