The #1 Thing To Improve Your Health

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Yes, I know it’s been a long time, but I’m back:)

After focusing on other aspects of my business for a while, I really came to miss my monthly emails to you guys!  It helps me learn by doing this, and I always learn from our community as well…its awesome! (thumbs up emoji here).

Just last week I presented at the Cafe of Life Chiropractic and Massage office here in Longmont, Colorado.  If you haven’t been there, you’re missing out.  Dr. Jessica Thompson has created a beautiful healing environment filled with fantastic people who love what they do.

So what is the #1 thing you can do for your health?  That was the topic of what I shared last week, and it turns out it’s making sure your gut is in tip-top shape.  According to what the latest science is teaching us, our guts control just about everything when it comes to being healthy…and therefore…happy.


“All disease begins in the gut. One man’s food is another man’s poison. Let food be thy medicine, let thy medicine be thy food.”


Ya Hippocrates had it right over 2000 years ago.  Disease begins in the gut, and what’s on the end of our forks decides who we are. Many consider the next frontier in conventional and holistic medicine to be the gut as millions of dollars of research is being poured into this fascinating area of research.

So what health problems are connected to poor gut health?  Pretty much everything you can think of including allergies, skin issues, gastrointestinal conditions, obesity, arthritis, fatigue, depression, anxiety, autism, alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, etc., etc.  You get the point.

The gut is the main focus of my practice because every single thing we do every moment of every day either promotes or degrades our “gut garden”.  This includes food especially as this is what “feeds” the millions of microbes in us.  If they do not get what they need, then they do not have the tools in their toolbox to create health for us.


We can program ourselves to create health, or sickness. Epigenetics is the study of how we have control over this “expression” of our genes towards disease or not.
Other lifestyle choices form the foundation for robust gut function including enough deep sleep, movement, and stress management/elimination.  In fact, stress is connected to most doctors office visits.  All these things and more affect the ratio of “good vs bad bugs”.

Lastly, our guts are intimately connected to brain health and therefore things like depression and autism.  Did you know that 95% of the serotonin we need to help regulate our mood is manufactured in our guts, not our brains?

If you live with sub-par health (and most people do) and are ready to do something about it please fill out your health history here.  We will sit down and discuss your health challenges and goals in a free 45-minute health consultation over Skype or at the Cafe of Life.  To learn more about me and what I do visit

One of my favorite quotes reads, “The Groundwork of all Happiness is Health”.  No one has a monopoly on our health, it’s up to each one of us (not our doctor) to own it.  Like I tell my students all the time, it’s hard to be happy if you aren’t healthy because it affects everything you do in life.


Bart Thurman

Copyright © 2019 Bart Thurman (Break-Free Wellness), All rights reserved.

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Environmental Toxins: Are They Real?


I grew up in a small town in Idaho, surrounded by farms and wide open spaces.  When I got older I worked in the fields moving pipe, driving truck, and managing other equipment.  The crop dusting planes used to fly right over my house, spraying the fields just behind our neighborhood.  Don’t tell anyone, but one bored summer day I shot a bottle rocket at one, and it actually hit the cockpit then exploded!

Over the years two of my cousins, my brother, and others developed strange cancers.  Who knows for sure, but more and more we seem to read and hear about the links between toxins in our environment, and disease and poor health.  There is no question that in an agricultural area like that, and drinking well water to boot, that there was definitely exposure to chemicals that the body does not know what to do with.


The thing is, toxic chemicals are much more prevalent now (no matter where you live) than 30 years ago.  Did you know that the very outdated safe water drinking act from 1974, only regulates 91 out of 80,000 registered chemicals?  This kind of thing happens all the time, as the FDA is totally underfunded and understaffed. The nations water treatment infrastructure dates from the 60’s and 70’s, and was never designed to remove pharmaceuticals, narcotics, synthetic estrogens, pesticides and other chemicals.

I am in the middle of an in depth environmental toxins course right now, with a focus on education and empowerment.  People seem to fall into one of three camps when it comes to toxins:

1) Screw it!  Everything gives me cancer and makes me feel like crap so why even try?  I’m not going to do anything about it…

Ecological threat. The little boy in a respirator.

2)  OMG I need to wear a surgeons mask, shower 5x a day, not go outside because the sun will kill me, eat nothing but the plants grown in my sterile bubble in the basement harvested under a full moon by virgins…

3) I actually have A LOT of control over what I expose myself to, therefore will empower myself to do so, and stack the cards in my favor big time.  As it says on my website, “Good health is a choice”.

My coursework, taught by toxins expert Lara Adler gets right to “the meat” when it comes to protecting ourselves.  Much of the professional development I’m required to attend as a teacher on the other hand is overwhelming to the point its difficult to extrapolate anything useful from it.  Or its totally irrelevant to what I do. That’s why I’m a fan of “the meat”.  Just give me something I can do right now!


One of the main things I focus on with my clients is to help them understand that health is a process.  You cant do everything the first day.  One by one I coach them to implement small changes into their lives.  After a few months, they realize they are doing all kinds of things that have allowed them to feel much better, and get closer to optimum health.  This is easy when you add something new, only after you’ve mastered the previous change.


If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about breaking free and owning your health, then please sign up for my monthly newsletter here. If you are ready to chat about your health goals and challenges, then you can fill out your individual health history here.  I will be in touch promptly to set up your free, 50 minute wellness session to see if my program is a good fit for you. You can also visit to learn more about me, and my passion of helping others to not accept sub-par health.

Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC

Break-Free, Own Your Health






Kale and blueberries won’t fix your life


One of the most important things I have learned in my functional and holistic training is the idea of primary food.  This is food that does not go in your mouth.  I share with my clients that you can eat all the kale and blueberries you want, but if you hate your job for example, food will not “fix” the problem.  In fact you can have the perfect diet for you, but if you are dissatisfied and unfulfilled at work, in your relationships, have no spiritual practice, and don’t move your body, you will be unhealthy and unhappy too much of the time.

Most of us could use some serious work in one or more of these areas, and don’t realize just how much power they have over our ability to truly thrive.  Maybe you have the movement part down. You feel fit, have great energy, are confident in your body, etc., but are not happy with your relationships (partner, or anyone else you spend time around). Or you have a great career, and enjoy a deeply loving connection with your partner, but do not move your body in the right ways, and have no consistent spiritual practice.

Primary Food 3

These voids severely limit what I like to refer to as “background peace”.   How much noise is in the background of your life?  Do you feel heavy? Stressed out? Have existential angst? Always think about the past and future?  Worry too much?  You get my drift.  The list goes on and on and on.

In the past I used to think diet and exercise were all that mattered…now I know better. Over the last couple years I have focused intently on these four areas in my own life with wonderful results.  I have changed teaching positions at the school where I work, I have began to learn to move my body in different ways, and I have developed a consistent meditation practice.  I’m also working on the relationships in my life.  I cant begin to describe how much this has helped to increase my background peace, and reduce the “noise” in my head.



Its a constant work in progress, but a priority of mine and something I help my clients to focus on in their own lives.  Its also a balancing act, but balance is required.  It may never be perfect but there cannot be any gaping holes in your primary food or your happiness will suffer, a lot.  An unfulfilling career is one of the biggest contributors to unhappiness.  This is also the area most people ignore the longest, many their entire lives.  All the money in the world wont help much if you hate your boss, and/or what you do is meaningless for example.


 According to a non-profit New York based research group, 52.3% of people in the United States are unhappy at work. This number indicates that millions of people everyday drag themselves into work.  What kind of toll is this taking on their health?  Stress like this is constantly being linked to all kinds of diseases.  That’s right, you can literally make yourself sick, even die, because you opted to not make a change, or actively manage your stress.  Is it worth it in the end to spend everyday doing something you don’t want to just to pay the bills?

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about breaking free and owning your health, then please sign up for my monthly newsletter here. If you are ready to chat about your health goals and challenges, then you can fill out your individual health history here.  I will be in touch promptly to set up your free, 50 minute wellness session to see if my program is a good fit for you. You can also visit to learn more about me, and my passion of helping others to not accept sub-par health.

Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC

Break-Free, Own Your Health



How Walking Barefoot Can Help You Fight Disease


I remember as a kid running around barefoot a lot.  It seemed like the thing to do at the time, it felt good…it felt natural.  Well it turns out nothing has changed!  Even as an adult walking barefoot (which I didn’t do much) felt really amazing, and now there is research that suggests why.

You may have heard of “grounding” or “earthing”, which are words that are becoming more widely known all the time.  Basically, it is the idea of connecting with the earth, because there is evidence pointing to the fact this practice may lower free radical damage (oxidative stress), inflammation, pain and stress.  This is very important because all of those things lead to disease in one form or another, if not managed properly.

Connecting to the earth’s powerful, all natural energy is healing for everyone. If you don’t believe me go try it:)  It’s about syncing our own innate healing abilities, with those of the earth, and the best part is that its super easy. Pretty much anytime, anyplace, you can find a patch of grass or soil to walk around in for a few minutes.

From The Journal of Environmental and Public Health:

It is an established, though not widely appreciated fact, that the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons. The Earth’s negative charges can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems which may be important for setting the biological clock, regulating circadian rhythms, and balancing cortisol levels.

So our bodies run through a type of electrical current, and are able to absorb these charges from direct contact with the earth.  Our skin is the “conductor”. The balls of the feet are believed to be especially well placed at receiving the earths electricity.  By allowing our skin to come in contact with the earth, it can help fight free radical activity and lower body inflammation, thereby stacking some cards in our favor when it comes to poor health.

The problem is our modern environment.  We always wear shoes, and live and work above ground a lot, so our lifestyle isn’t conducive to grounding. We are rarely in touch with the earth like our ancestors were. Our brain, heartbeat, and neurotransmitter activity all depend upon electrical inputs.  If the electricity is off…it’s possible for our health to suffer as a result. However, by aligning our bodies electricity with that of the earth, it becomes more stable, more consistent.  Think about how great it feels to be in nature under the sun.  Walking barefoot helps produce a similar result, thanks to the surge of healthy compounds that may flood your system as a result.

Early human walking

In 2012 the Journal of Environmental and Public Health also stated:

Throughout history, humans mostly walked barefoot or with footwear made of animal skins. They slept on the ground or on skins. Through direct contact or through perspiration-moistened animal skins used as footwear or sleeping mats, the ground’s abundant free electrons were able to enter the body, which is electrically conductive. Through this mechanism, every part of the body could equilibrate with the electrical potential of the Earth, thereby stabilizing the electrical environment of all organs, tissues, and cells.

Awesome.  So to sum up earthing can:

  1. Help reduce stress hormones
  2. Help you sleep better (a study published in 2006 in the Journal of European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics showed sleeping patterns improved)
  3. Increase your energy levels
  4. Lower pain (inflammation) like arthritis for example

How to start earthing then?  If you are at the beach, just lay on the sand instead of sitting in a chair or towel.  You can also garden, mow the lawn, get the mail, barbecue, and play at the park, all in your bare feet. You can even buy special “grounding” products like earthing mats and earthing bands.  I think these may have merit, but so far I prefer to walk around outside 20-30 minutes a day at the park, or in my yard (as my neighbors wonder what the heck I’m doing:)

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about breaking free and owning your health, then please sign up for my monthly newsletter here. If you are ready to chat about your health goals and challenges, then you can fill out your individual health history here.  I will be in touch promptly to set up your free, 50 minute wellness session to see if my program is a good fit for you. You can also visit to learn more about me, and my passion of helping others to not accept sub-par health.

Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC

Break-Free, Own Your Health

How Red Robin’s Turkey Burger Made me a Health Coach

This is a guest post by Kati Kenfield, a colleague and friend of mine.  This is a great article full of humor and excellent nutrition advice:)

One clarification.  I am a big believer of eating healthy fats including clean, grassfed animal fats. For those that have not had the time to look at the science like Kati and I, understand she is referring to “bad fats” when talking about Red Robins hamburgers and turkey burgers.  The fact that they use industrial raised meat, which has a totally different nutritional profile then organic, grass-fed beef.  The fat is actually really good for you in a grass-fed burger from a healthy, happy cow living on pasture its entire life.

Okay, get your learn on with Kati!


I’ve always been a bit of a health nut. The crazy, greasy, cheesy, deep fried foods at restaurants honestly never really appeal to me – mostly because of the way they make me feel like I might die! When I decide to be “naughty,” it better be worth it. I always say – life is too short for crappy coffee, bad chocolate, mediocre burgers and bland cookies. If I’m going to have any of these things (plus others) it’s going to be high quality, real and delicious, and I am going to savor it!

So, one evening a few years ago, when dining out at the fine establishment called Red Robin as requested by our friends, I knew that having one of their mass produced, half plastic, processed hamburgers was definitely not worth it for me. Chain restaurants are never my 1st choice. In fact, I hate them, so as I reluctantly went along to Red Robin that evening, I knew I needed to be smart. The menu overflowed with burger choices, chicken fingers, and sugary ice-burg lettuce salads. Thus, I made the confident, sound decision to go with the healthier option of a Turkey Burger. And it was on a whole-wheat bun!?!!? YES! Success! No mediocre hamburger for me. Rather, I’ll go with the mediocre Turkey Burger – totally more worth it because turkey is better for me than beef – obvi!


Then, to make myself even more confident in my option-weighing abilities, I decided to go with a side salad instead of the fries. I’ve had Red Robin’s fries in the past and was never a huge fan. Again, if I’m going to have fries they better be damn delicious! Salad it is.

I felt good about this. No looking back, no second-guessing my order. I am a know-what-I-want, mind-body kinda’ gal. Boom! High-five me!

Well, not so boom. The only boom I experienced after eating this healthy-er option of a Turkey Burger was the boom I felt in the pit of my stomach an hour after the meal. Discouraged and curious, I went to Red Robin’s website to see if they had any of their nutrition content up online. Not only did they, but it actually is a pretty sweet system! You can manipulate each item on their menu by adding/subtracting toppings and sides to create the exact meal you want with the exact type of nutrition content you are going (or not going) for. Cool! Good for you Red Robin! I respect that. Keepin’ your consumers responsible and informed. Love it.


I scrolled through the options and found my mediocre Turkey Burger. Up popped the nutrition info I was so curious about. I paused. I paused again. I read and re-read again. No. No way. I must have clicked on the wrong item. Nope… item is correct! I was dumbfounded – my innocent little turkey burger on a whole-wheat bun had 36 grams of fat!?!?! Whaaaaaat? How in the world do you cram that much fat into a turkey burger? What is really in that thing? AHHH!

I felt gross. I felt dumb. I felt tricked! I went on a rampage through the nutrition content of other items on their menu. How about their standard hamburger? Wait…for real? The hamburger on a white bun is BETTER FOR YOU than the turkey burger on a whole wheat bun!?!?! I sat back in awe. Five grams less fat and far less sodium. My frustration turned to anger as I realized what this meant not only for me, but also for consumers. What if someone was trying to lose weight and went with the more “responsible” option of a Turkey Burger at Red Robin as opposed to the hamburger that they so desired? Who wouldn’t assume that turkey is better for them than beef?!?! Turkey = lean, beef = fat! Duh! As if these individuals don’t have enough other hard choices to make during the day, how would they feel if they realized that the responsible decision they just made wasn’t so responsible after all? I. Was. Pissed. This was, and is, pure evil in my mind.


The next few days my mind raced as I thought about all the implications that this meant. I really have no idea what restaurants are putting in my food do I? And not like it really matters to me. I have no health issues; I’m not trying to lose weight. What about for the people whose health depends on it? My whole outlook on dining out, and food in general, changed that day. I used to LOVE to eat out! I thought it was fun, the food was delicious, and I (thought) I did a good job of eating decently healthy. Not any more. Now I found contempt instead of fun in the act of eating out, the food suddenly seemed bland and fake compared to the home-cooked meals I was starting to make more often. Over the next few years of making my own food 90% of the time, I noticed a huge change in my body and in my respect for food and its affect on my health. Never had I ever thought I could feel better than my Red Robin Turkey Burger consuming days, but I did! I had so much more energy and my body slowly shed a few pounds that I didn’t even know I could shed. Sold. I was sold. And I am more and more sold every day.

Now, when I do dine out (which is once a week on average – max!) I do my best to support local, sustainable and high quality food restaurants. Not only is the food 10x more delicious and clean (no more tummy booms!) but also I’m actually saving money this way even though the meals might be more expensive than Red Robin-esque restaurants. Quality over quantity is my mantra.

Still to this day my blood boils thinking about the trickery that is involved in the food manufacturing business. Eating food should not be a mystery to solve. Food should nourish us, give us energy and not be full of secret fat and sugar daemons. It should be real, whole and nourishing. Unfortunately, however, this is not easy to come by in our mass-manufactured, money driven food production world.

That is why I am here! I’m here to shine the light on how delicious, enlightening and fulfilling real food can be. So, go give that lonely apple sitting on your counter a hug (with your arms, or with your mouth!)… it deserves more credit than a deceiving turkey burger ever would. Its real. And I like real.


My challenge to you? If you’re going to eat out, Eat Local!

Don’t know where to start? Here’s a site that can help (and is awesome! Bookmark this shiz!)


P.S. I would love to meet you on Twitter: Here or Facebook: Here or Pinterest: Here … or why not all three? :)

And if you think any friends or family would find this blog interesting, please consider sharing it on Facebook or Twitter!

Kati Kenfield – Health and Nutrition Coach
Denver, CO

I received my training at Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I’ve completed the Core Curriculum for Life Coaching from the Coaches Training Institute in California. I’m an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, and I also received my bachelor’s in communication from Colorado State University.

I specialize in corporate wellness programs that result in healthier employees and lower healthcare costs. I’ve developed many customized workshops on nutrition and wellness, and I also offer individual health and nutrition coaching for men and women.

I look forward to helping you reach your health goals!

Kati Kenfield
Health and Nutrition Coach

The Secret to Great Looking Skin


Do you guys ever wonder why we always have to make things so complicated?  

Most good things in life don’t have to require drama or endless scientific study and analysis. When we look to our past, its obvious our ancestors had little to no time for this.  They just paid attention. They had too, they spent most of their time working so that they could stay alive.

What in the world does this have to do with great looking skin you ask?  A few months ago, a very pretty, young colleague of mine told me I had very few wrinkles for someone on the cusp:) That would be a guy in his mid forties according to her, lol. Thanks Q if you’re reading this! My secret? Read on.

One of the things that people did intuitively back in the day was cook their meat on the bone. You know like for Thanksgiving? Only they ate it like that most of the time, and for good reason.

In her book, “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food” Dr. Catherine Shanahan reveals what all past, healthy cultures had in common that allowed them to thrive, while their neighbors did not.  She identified four pillars of health, only one of which I am going to briefly discuss today.  All of the robust, super healthy cultures in history practiced these four pillars. 

Turkey Pick Ya that’s right, one of them was cooking meat on the bone.  The more the entire animal stays together: bone, fat, skin, marrow and other connective tissue, the better.  Not only does it taste WAY better, it’s also much more nutritious and delicious.  As long as you don’t overcook it, all the nutrients and flavor compounds survive, and are gently released into the meats juices.

The connective tissue in skin, ligaments, cartilage, and bone are released including glycosaminoglycans. They include glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid…all found in nutritional supplements for joints.  However, there are many, many more members of this family of molecules. So much so, that joint supplements do not hold a candle to the real thing.  Just yet another reason to JERF.

Everyone has heard of collagen right?  Well eating meat this way is not only fantastic for supporting our joints, but for all of our connective tissue, including skin.  That’s because we get a large dose of collagen every time we eat that bird on turkey day. Problem is once a year is not enough.

Collagen works wonders when it comes to skin health.  It helps keep skin tight and elastic regardless of age.  That means a lot less wrinkles. Collagen nourishes and supports, allowing skin to be soft and have that healthy glow.  It’s one reason I always have a pot of bone broth in the fridge.  I also use a grass-fed collagen protein powder in my smoothies and other drinks.

Collagen is also found in your bone, arteries, hair and many other places. Believe it or not eating meat on the bone and preparing bone broth on a regular basis is about the closest thing to the fountain of youth you will ever find.  Bag the expensive, and chemically ridden creams and lotions, and instead apply the ancient wisdom of our fore bearers.

It will keep your skin looking awesome regardless of age, and you out of the doctors office for unnecessary prescriptions and surgeries.

Older healthy skin

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about taking charge of your own health, please visit my website,  If you are ready to get started today, please fill out your individual health history and I will be in touch soon!

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Health

Pinto or Porsche? Optimize Your Engine


I should know as I’ve driven both cars…and felt like both cars.

The above picture was taken in Las Vegas last year just before doing a few laps in a Porsche 911 GT3.  Several years before I was super stressed out with school, a bad relationship, eating too much crap, depressed, not exercising enough and I was carrying around nearly 20 extra pounds. I even developed a weird medical condition my doctor could do nothing for. You get the picture, I ran like a Ford Pinto….lame.

Many people stay on the path I was on for their entire lives until they reach the breaking point. Then they go to their doctor and are given a pill, cream or liquid drug to manage their symptoms.  Things naturally get worse not better over time so a more powerful pill, cream or liquid is prescribed.  Again because this is not addressing the root cause the downhill slide continues and chronic disease of one form or another develops.  They feel and look like the random, lonely, unhappy Pinto below.  The worst part is they ACCEPT this and see it as normal.


Part of the reason I ran terrible was because my body wasn’t detoxifying optimally.  Not only was I treating myself poorly but I was also being exposed to the many chemicals, toxins and other pollutants in our environment.  Talk about a double whammy.  Everyday this happens through the air we breath, water we drink, food we eat and the environment we live and work in. It’s just a part of our modern world.  In the past 20 years alone we have been exposed to hundreds of new, loosely regulated chemicals that are being linked to numerous health issues.

The Porsche I drove was fast, high performing, cornered on a dime and basically ran flawlessly. She was obviously well taken care of (oil changed, fed high-octane fuel, tuned for ultimate performance and shown a lot of love). Just like her we need our oil changed, we need the right fuel and we need to show ourselves enough love.  One way to do this is making sure we have more toxins and other junk coming out of our bodies then going in.  Optimizing and tuning up our detoxification pathways is vitally important in order to feel, look and run like a Porsche 911 GT3.

Here are some quick tips on how to do just that:

  • Get between 7-8 hours sleep MOST of the time, this has to be a priority
  • Invest in a high quality air filter for your bedroom and water filter for your home (stay hydrated)
  • Clean up your personal care products and avoid phthalates, parabens, fragrances, and sulfates.  I just wrote a newsletter on this topic, sign up here for more info.
  • Avoid the dirty dozen and eat a nutrient dense, real food diet
  • Move towards glass and steel kitchen ware instead of plastic and teflon
  • Sweat heavily 2-3 times a week through exercise and sauna use (sweating helps to excrete toxins)

These are just a few things you can start doing to perform better, live stronger and tune up your Porsche.

Starting in mid-June I will be offering a beginner detox 8 week group workshop.  We will personally be meeting as a group (for those who are local) multiple times and/or over a conference call format on the phone for those out of the immediate area.  We will be learning among other things how to stimulate and support our bodies natural detoxification systems, the best foods for detox, how to make it sustainable (as in for life), the role career, relationships and spiritual practice plays in this process and many other important ‘non-food’ ways to detox. You can expect to lose weight, gain more energy, improve your brain function and sleep better for starters. I am just starting to put the program together so more info to follow soon!

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about how to live strong and own your health then please sign up for my monthly newsletter here.  As a thank you I will send you a free e-book on the 5 critical pillars of health.

Ready for a free health consultation now?  Click here and fill out your health history and I will be in touch promptly!

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Healh