Stop Self-Sabotaging and Instead Make It Fun with Josh Mathe on The Healers Café with Manon Bolliger

In this episode of The Healers Café, Manon Bolliger, FCAH, RBHT (facilitator and retired naturopath with 30+ years of practice) speaks with Josh Mathe on how you can be motivated to get healthy and fit by making the work fun!

Highlights from today’s episode include:

Josh Mathe 

You know, bicep curls are awesome. And eating broccoli is awesome. But I really try to also help people connect with what is the, you know, state of family and friends and connections in your life? What are you doing with your brain every day? How was your spiritual health?


Josh Mathe 

So you know, it’s a lot of psychology, a lot of mental and spiritual and emotional work to make change, it’s definitely not just about knowing the amount of carbs, protein and fat you should eat or how many bicep curls you should be doing. It’s, about fundamentally changing who you are and how you move through the world.


– – – – –

Josh Mathe 

But for simplistic reasons. I think there is a voice that is kind of sabotaging ourselves. And that’s the voice that is speaking that is driving the bus. I think when we are negotiating with ourselves like that might sound like I had a really hard day you, I’ve been working really hard, I deserve to sit on the couch and watch the show and not go for a walk, I can go for a walk tomorrow.


Coach, award winning author, fitness expert, nutritionist, ultra endurance athlete, and life adventurer – Josh Mathe is passionate about squeezing every last drop from life, and helping others do the same.  Josh co-owns One10 Performance and is also the Director of Performance Nutrition for Colorado Mesa University. When Josh isn’t working with clients he is usually running through the wilderness or lifting heavy things…and sometimes both at the same time!

Core purpose/passion: As I said above, my passion is helping people find and step into the strongest, truest versions of who they are.


Website | Facebook |



As a recently De-Registered board-certified naturopathic physician & in practice since 1992, I’ve seen an average of 150 patients per week and have helped people ranging from rural farmers in Nova Scotia to stressed out CEOs in Toronto to tri-athletes here in Vancouver.

My resolve to educate, empower and engage people to take charge of their own health is evident in my best-selling books:  ‘What Patients Don’t Say if Doctors Don’t Ask: The Mindful Patient-Doctor Relationship’ and ‘A Healer in Every Household: Simple Solutions for Stress’.  I also teach BowenFirst™ Therapy through Bowen College and hold transformational workshops to achieve these goals.

So, when I share with you that LISTENING to Your body is a game changer in the healing process, I am speaking from expertise and direct experience”.

Mission: A Healer in Every Household!

For more great information to go to her weekly blog:

For tips on health & healing go to:



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* De-Registered, revoked & retired naturopathic physician after 30 years of practice in healthcare. Now resourceful & resolved to share with you all the tools to take care of your health & vitality!


Introduction  00:00

Welcome to the Healers Café. The number one show for medical practitioners and holistic healers, to have heart to heart conversations about their day to day lives, while sharing their expertise for improving your health and wellness.

Manon Bolliger  00:23

So, welcome to the Healers Café. Today I have with me, Josh, Mathe. And he is the coach. He’s an award winning author, fitness expert, and nutritionist, an ultra endurance athlete, and then basically a life adventure. And I love your statement squeezing every drop from life. So, welcome to our podcast. And I guess my first question to you is what started you down? I guess the fitness nutrition journey?


Josh Mathe  01:04

Well, first of all, thank you for having me, I love this stuff. I’m really passionate about helping people and and people stepping into the strongest versions of who they are. That’s kind of what I do with all those hats that I wear. And how I became passionate about that is the answer to your question. It’s because I grew up a overweight kid not really paying attention to my food, or my fitness, which would kill my mom to hear me say that, because she’s always been really into this stuff. And I just wasn’t when I was a kid. Because for whatever reason, because kids often aren’t. So, you know, I was…I was not really healthy. But I was a baseball player. And that was my, the place that I felt safe and okay, and good. Because we grew up in Los Angeles, which just felt really big and overwhelming and scary to me, I had a lot of anxiety, which I did not label as anxiety back then it took me until fairly recently, actually to realize, oh, wow, I was a really anxious kid. So baseball was my sanctuary. And unhealthy food was my sanctuary. And we moved to Northern California for my high school, which felt much…it felt like a much safer place. It felt like my kind of place. And during high school baseball, I got made fun of for being overweight. And it was the first time I realized, oh, maybe I’m not okay, which is really sad. But it was the first time I really started looking at, ah, I don’t look the way everybody else does necessarily, people are paying attention to what my body looks like, I’m not sure how I feel about this. So it was the first time that conversation started. And luckily, I went in a pretty healthy path. I mean, it took some right turns that weren’t great. But I got really passionate about running. And I got passionate about eating well. And I really felt strongly the link between when you take care of yourself, good things can happen. Because I started feeling stronger, I started looking better, I started having more energy, I started playing better baseball, girls started noticing me. So that kind …


of started the Oh, wow, that maybe there’s something here. And you know, then it it’s gone in many different directions since then. I have a master’s degree in nutrition. And I started doing endurance sport, not baseball. And we can talk about as much of that stuff as you want. But that’s really where it started was from unhealthy to Oh, wow. Maybe there’s something here. I would love to help other people kind of connect with what I connected with.


Manon Bolliger  03:57

Mmmhmm. Well, it’s interesting. It’s like it’s a disconnection, really, you’re disconnected that what you eat might actually impact your body. Right?


Josh Mathe  04:07



Manon Bolliger  04:07

I mean, it’s funny when once you’re on the other side it’s like what was like thinking, you know, but it’s actually very common.


Josh Mathe  04:17

Very common.


Manon Bolliger  04:18

You know, it’s generally disconnected. We’re not really putting two and two together easily.


Josh Mathe  04:26

I think I work with a lot of college athletes. And we were…I was actually just talking with a group of entrepreneurs, students who are trying to bring healthier food to campus. It was a great conversation. But we were talking about how the social consciousness at least at that age has shifted. You know, most 20 year olds are pretty darn aware that what they eat affects their bodies. that exercise is important. It’s pretty connected for that generation, which gives me hope, because it definitely wasn’t connected. For my generation, it really wasn’t connected for my parents generation. So you know whether that knowledge and connection actually leads to behavior change is another conversation. But I think…I think people are, are understanding more clearly and in broader numbers that this stuff really matters.


Manon Bolliger  05:21

You would think that they would start teaching it to regular doctors, but they still don’t.


Josh Mathe  05:27

Yeah, you would think that pretty amazing.


Manon Bolliger  05:32

But anyways, no but it but no, I think it is, there is a change for sure. And I think, you know, I’ve heard, you know, younger people say too I need to get my outdoors fix, because otherwise I get stressed. And it’s like, wow, okay, you know, again, putting another two or two together, you know, so. So what’s ya what…cause your coaching people to get through this, so what are the obstacles that most people have? implementing it? Let’s go to they’re aware, but not yet there. So what do you do to help?


Josh Mathe  06:14

That is a loaded question. And that’s what I spend most of my days doing. And I think I’m pretty good at it. If I was perfect at it, I would be a trillionaire. Because that’s, that’s like, the golden question, right? Like, how do you help people? Or how do I, as a human who’s trying to change actually implement that stuff that I know I’m supposed to do? So kind of the broad answer to a question is I really try to meet people where they’re at, I try to take a very holistic approach, you know, people usually come to see me through the lens of, I want to get fitter, you know, I want to be doing strength training, or I want to be eating better. That’s usually how people find their way to me. Sometimes they find their way to me, because I’ve done mindset coaching with somebody, and they got referred to me, but usually it’s fitness and nutrition. But however they come to me, I really try to start a conversation about their holistic happiness, you know, their whole life. You know, bicep curls are awesome. And eating broccoli is awesome. But I really try to also help people connect with what is the, you know, state of family and friends and connections in your life? What are you doing with your brain every day? How was your spiritual health? You know, I really, this is what my third book was about forging discipline. It’s about, we have all of these parts of self and all of these parts of our lives that are really important to fully express to achieve happiness and fulfillment. So no matter how somebody finds me, I’m always trying to start a conversation about kind of their life as a whole, which is by design, because I think they support each other, you know, when I eat better food and exercise, it helps give me energy and purpose, to connect with my family and friends more, and to meditate or pray and connects with something bigger than myself more, it gives me more energy to focus on my career and my financial health, you know, they all kind of buoy each other. So I really try to meet people where they’re at and give them an action plan, or we come up with an action plan together, working on all these parts of life or parts of self. And then, you know, I just, I’m really an accountability coach. I think that’s really important, just helping keep this top of mind. And mindful, helping the conversation going, we find a lot of grace. You know, it’s often easy for people to have grace with other people, but very hard for people to have grace with themselves. So, you know, I start that conversation right at the beginning, you’re not going to be perfect, that’s okay, perfect, doesn’t exist. Perfect is not a necessary goal. Or even a realistic goal. As long as we’re moving toward who we want to be more often than not, and, you know, seven out of 10 times doing things that are taking us in the direction we want to go, we’re gonna be okay. So I really tried to also find other parts of you know, other voices in their head beside the critic voice which is very strong in Western society that’s driving us forward with judgment and criticism and sometimes a lot of anger. I try to help people connect with their nurturing voice and their free child voice and their adaptive child’s voice that just wants to be safe and okay. And then their adult voice that listens to all these other voices and helps them move forward with purpose. So you know, it’s a lot of psychology, a lot of mental and spiritual and emotional work to make change, it’s definitely not just about knowing the amount of carbs, protein and fat you should eat or how many bicep curls you should be doing. It’s, about fundamentally changing who you are and how you move through the world. So that is why it’s fun, but it’s also why it’s really challenging. Hmm,


Manon Bolliger  10:23

Yeah, no, it’s, it’s interesting, because I mean, just as a parallel in my practice. I was a naturopathic doctor, but I predominantly do Bowen therapy, which is a sports technique. But it’s like, you know, fix my elbow, fix my shoulder, fix my sciatic. Okay, whatever. Sure. But when you ask the question deeper, why do you want to get better? Right? It’s like, they look at you, like, you’ve come up from out of space, but it’s like, you know. But if they actually answer it, those that have gone that route, it changes everything. It’s like, it leads to that whole thing of like, Yeah, well, you know, because then I’ll be more agile, and if I’m more agile, then and then it’s like, their whole dream life becomes possible. It’s not just this 3d, eat your broccoli, eat this vitamin, and fix that limb. You know, it’s like there’s so much more I really agree with your bigger view of health. Hmm. Interesting.


Josh Mathe  10:24

And that makes it fun. And that makes it sticky that makes it so that the change actually is sustainable. You know, it’s really easy to change things short term, it’s very hard to change things in a way that brain wiring actually shifts. And we are fundamentally somebody else, doing different things. That takes some doing. And, and like you said, the Y is a really fundamental piece of that, like, who am I? Who do I want to be? How do I want to move to the world, what’s important to me? And how do all of these things play into that. That creates full engagement, which creates real fundamental change?


Manon Bolliger  12:18

So I’m curious, your third book, it’s called Forging Habit.


Josh Mathe  12:25

Forging Discipline.


Manon Bolliger  12:26

Oh, discipline, okay.


Josh Mathe  12:29

Well, 12 months 12 challenges one badass you. So I put, I created 12 chapters with 12 different challenges, all these challenges looking at these different parts of life, and I created different challenges, one month at a time that build upon each other, to help you really dive in to this stuff and work on for an entire year, who you want to be, and practicing these skills. So it’s called Forging Discipline, which sounds very, like rigid, and maybe not fun, but the whole thing is about change should be fun. Discipline should be fun, like, fully expressing all of yourself should be fun, life is too short not to have a good time with this stuff. So it’s just really about exploring all these things. And I, I wrote it because I thought I had something to say about it. And because I thought it would help people and the response has been great people, people are really enjoying it. And I gave different levels for each challenge. You know, if you’re a financial wizard, maybe you start at the, the advanced on the financial chapter, but if you’ve never worked out before in your life, maybe you start at the beginner and the physical chapter. So really, you could go through this thing for two or three years at a time just leveling up your game every time and people have been doing that. And it’s really fun to watch.


Manon Bolliger  14:01

What caught me is the word forging. And, you know, kind of the double on top meaning, you know, there’s the forging, which is the, you know, forcing in a sense, you know, creating the path, but, it’s also a word in forgery. Right. And, you know, there is an understanding in mindset, in a sense that you have to live into the you want to be.


Josh Mathe  14:32

Well said, yeah.


Manon Bolliger  14:33

Right, which is a type of forgery, because you’re not there yet.


Josh Mathe  14:37

Yeah, it’s a creation.


Manon Bolliger  14:40

It’s a creation, yeah.


Josh Mathe  14:41

And it is leaning into that story and that energy and that mindset. And I absolutely agree that that is a really important piece of how we create change is believing that that’s possible and walking toward it as if it’s already who you are..


Manon Bolliger  14:56

Yeah, yeah. I’m sure you know, but Chris Duncan We’re not broken. I think that’s  his book but um…


Josh Mathe  15:03

Yeah, yeah. I have heard of that. I haven’t read it.


Manon Bolliger  15:05

Yeah, many, many different people come to that. He just happens to be a good teacher of it. Yeah, yeah, no, it’s interesting. I thought it was a brilliant name, you know, especially with the word discipline afterwards because people have so many preconceptions of what it means.


Josh Mathe  15:24

Yeah. Yeah. And I thought about calling it something that sounded more fun. But I called it that, because that’s really the title that resonated with me as I was writing it.


Manon Bolliger  15:36

So what do you believe about discipline? What, like, you know, let’s say, like, I had a conversation with my sister. And this is nowadays not when I was in my 20s 30s 40s or even 50s. Okay. So, later, but, you know, she’s doing Zumba classes, and she’s off at five o’clock, you know, jogging, and then she’s doing this and she’s doing that and, and I’m like, wow, you know, how do you do that? I have zero desire to do that. I’ll sit and, you know, look at the world through the window and meditate, no problem. I’ll go for walks. But it’s like, ah, you know, good music, I’ll dance. But it’s like, you know, to put my alarm on and do that. It’s just like, I keep saying, it’s not me. It’s just not me. It’s not who I am. It’s, you know, and I mean, when I was at a different time, it was who I was. I loved it. I went, you know, did Pilates five times a week. You know, it’s not that I haven’t been there. Right. But what do you How much do you know that you’re self sabotaging? You know, and making like good sounding stories that you believe. Or, you know, that you’re listening to yourself that you’re really actually going you know what, maybe right now this is not what you need? So what do you tell people like if I were your client?


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Josh Mathe  18:24

That is an excellent question. Because I think the answer is it’s usually some of both, which makes it very hard and very nuanced. There is definitely a piece of all of us that are trying to let ourselves off the hook that don’t want to work hard, that are betting on our future selves, right? We all want to be healthy and fit but we don’t want to run today. We’re going to count on Friday’s self to get out and finally run. Our future self is going to feel like doing it but my Tuesday Self does not feel like doing it my Tuesday self wants to sit on the couch and watch Game of Thrones and eat ice cream. But when we get to Friday, that is now our for itself but also still doesn’t feel like running. So there’s there’s a lot of that that we do. In this kind of area I like to tell people when you notice yourself bargaining when you notice yourself negotiating with yourself. That is a good red flag that there’s some disconnect. There’s some incongruence there. There’s some voice. I don’t like necessarily the term self sabotaging I’m not sure that’s exactly what we’re doing. But for simplistic reasons. I think there is a voice that is kind of sabotaging ourselves. And that’s the voice that is speaking that is driving the bus. I think when we are negotiating with ourselves like that might sound like I had a really hard day you, I’ve been working really hard, I deserve to sit on the couch and watch the show and not go for a walk, I can go for a walk tomorrow. You know, I have three meetings today. We’re laying the case to ourselves, right? We’re lawyers, we’re lowering ourselves. And we all do that every day in different ways. So I like to have people just become aware and mindful of this conversation, like, Oh, I’m negotiating with myself, right now, there’s something here, let me just step back and take a look at this conversation. Just doing that can often be enough for people to more often than not go, oh, you know, what, I realized that I’m negotiating with myself right now, I’m just gonna get out and walk. The other thing, so there’s a lot of things to do here it is, because it is possible to change what you like, right? There’s people who love what you hate. This is one of the six sources of influence. I don’t know if you’ve ever read the book Change Anything. Great book by a group of Stanford psychologists about how we can literally change anything. And one of their sources of influences is this kind of personal motivation piece. There are people who love to run for hundreds of miles, there are people who love broccoli, there are people who love everything that you hate. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to love those things. But you can learn to like those things more than you do now, or to tell yourself a different story about those things, or to create a different relationship with those things. So there is…it is possible to go, you know, I know strength training is really important for me, as I get older, I need to have a different relationship with this, because I just need to start doing it three days a week, regardless of how I feel about it. So you can gamify that to make it more fun, you know, you can track progress, you can get an accountability partner, where you guys hold each other accountable, accountable once a week. And maybe you put something on the table to make that more fun. So there are ways to make it more fun. And to make it more sticky. And to make yourself do it. And once you start doing it, that changes the brain wiring, and it makes it easier to do it. It changes your identity a little bit and every time you do it. And every time you make yourself do it, when you don’t want to do it that changes brain wiring. So it is possible. And I agree with you, there’s an element of sometimes maybe this just isn’t me, you know, if you set a goal to run a marathon, and you’ve been trying to make yourself trained for that for two years, and you just won’t do it. Maybe that’s not the right goal for you. Maybe an honest assessment of what you’re willing to do and not willing to do is warranted. And maybe you find something else that would still fulfill the reasons you would do that, that feels more like you and is more fun. I am definitely a fan of as I said earlier, life is too short to not do things that are fun, or to do things that aren’t fun, life is too short. So if we can’t make it fun, I would say figure out a way to make it fun or change your goal. Or, or just really, really connects with why it matters. If you hate weight training, but you want to be strong and healthy, and be able to lift your grandkids and not get osteoporosis. Maybe you just struggle through it three days a week for 20 minutes at a time focusing on why you’re doing it.


Manon Bolliger  23:37

Oh, yeah. Or the why, the why?


Josh Mathe  23:41

The why. Yeah.


Manon Bolliger  23:42



Josh Mathe  23:43

Put pictures of your grandkids up all over your your gym. And just look at that while you’re lifting weights. But that’s kind of last resort. I would say try to make it as fun as you can train for something. Do something with a friend. Yeah, give yourself little rewards. There’s there’s tons of ways to make it fun. But that’s that’s a really important piece when we’re trying to do something that’s hard or different.


Manon Bolliger  24:11

Yeah, yeah, it’s not my instinctive way of thinking to make it fun. That’s definitely it’s like, I feel like I’m playing games then you know. Yeah, but it’s funny. I took a cryptocurrency course, and the guy was really tough on discipline. He said, discipline is the only thing and if anyone doesn’t show up, I don’t care who’s died or who’s whatever. You’re out of the course. And you’ve got to do your homework, right? And I was like, oh my god, like every flag of mine went up. It’s like this is the antithesis of everything I believe in, you know. But the experiment was worth it. I felt like oh, this guy is so solidly in his truth about this, that I need to check out discipline, you know, and it wa sinteresting.


Josh Mathe  25:10

Sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt. I was just I was gonna add, I think I think he’s right. Discipline is how everything happens. If you want, if you want to save for retirement, you have to save every month. If you want to train for a marathon, you have to run five times a week, you know, nothing happens without doing the work. And it’s, you know, we look, we tend to look at the results, the wow, I cross the finish line, or wow, I have a million dollars in the bank. But it’s the slow daily unsexy progress. The just, I did this today. And then I did this same thing tomorrow. And then I did the same thing the next day. That is not sexy, our brains aren’t wired to like that stuff. But that is how progress happens. And so I would agree with him. However, I would, I would also add, you don’t need to be telling yourself a scary or a non fun story about it. Like you can do all those things, and still be congruent with yourself and still make it enjoyable. I think I think that’s the piece that I like to bring to people because discipline tends to be very scary for people, especially people who did not grow up exercising that muscle. And my message is, you can do it and make it you and make it enjoyable.


Manon Bolliger  26:33

Yeah, his tune to that was he did not talk about joy I promise you. He says you don’t negotiate it once you commit your in. And then all that kind of chatter. You just you don’t have time for it. Because your job is to get it done. You know, and it was it was interesting. I actually did it. I did it that way. That’s my first time. Total discipline thing I’ve ever done.


Josh Mathe  27:06

Nice. I totally agree with him. And it’s not usually that simple. It’s great that he was able to present it to you in a way that caused you to go all in, but it is usually…you will often in my experience, you will often turn people off if you…


Manon Bolliger  27:27

There’s no choice in it.


Josh Mathe  27:29

And you can’t reach everybody all the time. But I usually try to bring a little more grace to the situation so that I can reach more people. You know, like, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of David Goggins. Have you ever heard of David Goggins? So he’s a Navy SEAL. He wrote a book called can’t hurt me.


Manon Bolliger  27:48

Okay. Yeah.


Josh Mathe  27:48

So he’s, he is this amazing guy, he has done just amazing things. And he’s like, your instructor times 1000. You know, he’s like, don’t waste my time with your bullshit. either do it or don’t do it. And I have zero energy for you. If you even think about it for a second, like step up for yourself or don’t get and you’re you are not worth my oxygen if you want step up for yourself. And that creates, you know, a certain person is really motivated by that. And, and I think the black white element of that is very intoxicating for all of us like, Yes, I’m just going to draw a line in the sand. And that’s it. And in my experience as a change worker, it is not usually that easy. Ot that simple.


Manon Bolliger  28:39

Yeah, yeah, no, I definitely couldn’t do that, you know, what I do, I use logic, you know, or a type of logic, I’ll say, you know, here’s the thing, we can fix the shoulder. But if you’re going to go to the same practice the same way right away before it’s healed, you’re gonna cause the same problem. So we need to, you know, do some neuro work and change a few things first, so you’ve got to at least three times, you know, do this and that and whatever, you know, and then the brain will understand and adapt, you know, and so, it’s more gentle. And I think it’s more aligned with you have to align like, you can’t force treatment or and personally I don’t think so. You know, I mean, it was just fun, because I took it this actually, I didn’t say fun, right. But, but I think, you know, you have to find your own way, with all this, you know, and…


Josh Mathe  28:42

Yeah, I think I think the word you used right there was perfect aligned, because there’s some people that are really motivated by David Goggins and make great changes, and that’s awesome. And he’s not for everybody. And I’m not for everybody. Like, there’s a lot of ways to get get where you want to go. So yeah, find, I think find a place that feels aligned to you. Yeah.


Manon Bolliger  30:11

Yeah. And I do think that fear is not I mean, it’s, it’s the most popular approach. Still mass media approach, its marketing approach. It’s all this. But I don’t think there are true motivators, you know, and I think when it comes to health, creating fear is never the right way. Personally, you know what I mean?


Josh Mathe  30:37

I would agree with that, it’s certainly not my preferred way, it doesn’t feel sustainable to me, or particularly healthy. Like, we can do things that externally seem healthy or seem good. But in my, in my mind, if the energy we’re bringing to it is not from a healthy place, then we are perhaps doing ourselves a disservice. You know, like, if I’m, if I’m training for 100 mile race, because my demons are driving me. And I feel like I have to do 100 miles, or I’m not okay, and not lovable. I’m not sure that’s great. If I’m doing 100 miles, because it’s fun for me, and I can connect with friends while I’m doing it, or whatever, you know, like, same result, but bringing a different energy and intention, I think, I think that really matters.


Manon Bolliger  31:31

And I think the more it’s part of your self care and self love, you know, that can’t be fear based. Feeling good can’t be fear based. So you know, I think…


Josh Mathe  31:42

Well said, I agree with you.


Manon Bolliger  31:46

So like, we have like, one minute left. Any last thoughts on this subject or anything that we haven’t covered that you care to share?


Josh Mathe  32:00

I just really love this stuff, I would say there is value in kind of what we were just talking about, I think there’s value in exploring who you are and what you’re capable of doing. Not because…not capable of doing like getting a PhD necessarily just what you’re capable of, you know, taking your spirit and your body and your soul out for a test drive. Like I kind of think that’s why we’re here. And the story I would bring to that, and the intention I would bring to that is not I need to do this stuff because I’m not okay, because I have to prove something to the world or myself. Like, do it because you can, because life is a buffet, and just enjoy the heck out of it and figure out what’s important to you, and what you like to do and what you’re great at and what you’re terrible at, you know, like just, I would I would encourage you to experience more. And try not to let fear guide you try to explore the boundaries of what you’re capable of. Because you can.


Manon Bolliger  33:11

Well, thank you very much, Josh Mathe and it was great.


Josh Mathe  33:15

Sure, thank you. This was fun.


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* De-Registered, revoked & retired naturopathic physician, after 30 years of practice in healthcare. Now resourceful & resolved to share with you all the tools to take care of your health & vitality!