Karen Russell is a Dietetic Technician and Certified Health Coach who has been working in the nutrition field for almost 30 years. She began her quest for good health after being challenged by fibromyalgia, chronic insomnia and infections. Her father was a doctor who died at age 58 from cancer, igniting her passion to live well and create a healthy lifestyle that would lead her down a different path. She moved to Sedona three and a half years ago after a divorce, needing a change and access to sunshine and nature year round. She wanted to start over in a wonderful place and spirit led her to the sacred land of Sedona. Since arriving here, Karen has become a leader in providing locals with delicious gluten free baked goods.
What is gluten? Gluten is the name given to proteins found in wheat and other cereal grains (like rye, barley and triticale) that are responsible for the elastic texture in dough. Click here for a complete list of dietary gluten sources. Gluten can cause a host of health issues — like diarrhea, stomach upset, abdominal pain, bloating, joint inflammation — in people with celiac disease as well as those sensitive to gluten proteins.
GLUTEN FREE GODDESS
Having a gluten and dairy intolerance herself, Karen began creating gluten/dairy/refined sugar free goodies to satisfy her own need for sweets. She was able to formulate a cookie recipe that married texture, taste and nutrition into one delicious bite. After receiving fabulous feedback from friends, she started selling them locally with great success. As her reputation and accounts with local stores grew she started to expand her offerings. She now makes gluten free vegan cookies and cupcakes, paleo brownies and doughnuts, and sourdough bread. Her goods can be purchased on her website Recipe4Wellness.com and locally in Sedona at Rinzai’s Market, Indian Gardens, Trailhead Tea, Manzanita Market, Java Love, Natural Grocers (here and in Flagstaff, as well), Send Out Cards, Cafe Paleo Brio, A Taste of Marrakech and the Farmer’s Market, where she has been selling for the past 3 and a half years. Her products are also featured at two local restaurants, Cafe Paleo Brio and A Taste of Marrakech.
Delicious, nutritious, and leaving you feel GOOD, Karen’s baked goods appeal not only to the large gluten free crowd in Sedona, but to anyone with an interest in healthier eating. Her popular Red Rock Energy Bites contain wholesome organic ingredients like pecans, coconut, chia seeds, and beet powder. These little red nuggets will power you through a hike on the red rocks and are a great snack while traveling or at work. I myself am a huge fan of her Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies which are packed with nutrients from almond flour, walnuts, coconut and chia seeds, plus other healthy ingredients. Karen uses raw organic agave nectar, baking soda and Himalayan sea salt in her recipes and light oils like grapeseed when called for.
Her Sedona Sourdough Bread offers a lower glycemic, gluten free alternative to those who cannot give up their bread. The fermentation process during preparation breaks down all the gluten free grains to make them easier to digest. She makes two blends, one with brown and white rice flours and the other with millet and quinoa flours. Both versions also contain tapioca flour and chia seed flour. You can buy this bread frozen at Rinzai’s Market or at the Farmer’s Market. It is also featured on the menu at Cafe Paleo Brio.
CERTIFIED HOLISTIC HEALTH COACH
Karen is also a speaker, author, and certified Health Coach who works one-on-one with people through customized programs to help them lose weight and get rid of belly fat, balance blood sugar levels, address sugar addiction, manage food sensitivities, increase energy and prevent disease. Her approach is comprehensive and individualized. She uses the Body Balance Breakthrough Program which is a simple saliva test that helps identify hidden food sensitivities, infections like yeast, bacteria or parasites, high or low cortisol levels, digestive problems and hormonal fluctuations, among other issues. Clients also get a Cooking with Karen VIP Day where she offers hands on cooking instruction, intensive nutritional education, and guides you on how to stock your pantry. Her nutritional counseling programs are offered in various packages based on how much time and funds you want to invest.
A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Karen practices bio-individuality which says that one person’s food is another person’s poison. Each client is treated as a unique entity, with their own gut ecology, genetic blueprint, metabolic rate and dietary preferences. She will not put you on a fad diet or tell you all dairy is bad, or all fats are unhealthy. Instead, Karen looks at your body’s specific needs and will create a dietary plan based on what fuels your cells to function optimally.
PRIMARY VS. SECONDARY FOODS
Another key component of her approach is that Everything is Food — we are fed by so many other aspects of life beyond the plate. Our relationships with people, animals and earth, our passions, career path, daily movement practices, and the ways we express our spirituality are all essential forms of nourishment. When you are being fed by these “primary foods,” what you eat becomes secondary and you can focus on real nutrition rather than eating to meet emotional needs.
Karen shares about her health counseling in this video:
Karen consults with clients locally in Arizona and around the world via telephone or Skype. To schedule an initial consultation, you can call her at (928) 282-8918 or use the contact form on her website.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
Some of the challenges Karen has experienced as a small business owner in Sedona are being persistent with her vision, getting labeling right, and having people (the right people) try her offerings. Her hope is to see her line of products everywhere and to expand her health coaching programs to be more comprehensive, fun and effective. She is grateful for her health path that taught her how to eat right and live a healthy lifestyle.
In her spare time, Karen loves to walk in the canyon, visit Red Rock Crossing and take in all of the beauty here. She came to Sedona for the nature, energy, healers, blue skies and opportunities. With hard work and persistence, opportunity is now finding her.