Three Pillars of Healing With Danette May

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Katie: Hello, and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com. That’s wellness with an E on the end which is my new line of personal care products, including hair care, toothpaste, and now hand sanitizer that are designed to work as well as any conventional alternative without the junk.

In this episode, I talk to Danette May who is one of America’s leading healthy lifestyle experts. But she has an incredible story of moving from a terrible loss of a child into helping people, and into a complete mindset and lifestyle shift. She’s the best selling author of a book called “The Rise” and of seven health and fitness books and programs, as well as co-founder of Mindful Health and dedicated founder of The Rise Movement.

In this episode, we go deep on mindset. And I share some of the vulnerable parts of my own mental shifts over the last couple of years, as well as her simple, and effective, and not complicated at all approach to fitness and to nutrition. She’s also the creator of something called Cacao Bliss which is linked in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm which is delicious and which I really enjoy as well. But I think you’ll really resonate with the mindset part of this specifically, and how she moved from really deep depression to creating the life she wanted and helping other people through her pain. So without further ado, let’s join Danette.

Danette, welcome to the podcast.

Danette: I’m excited to be here. Thank you.

Katie: I am so excited to chat with you today. I’ve been a big fan of your work for a long time and got to meet you, I believe it was last year, in person, and knew I wanted to get to share you with my podcast community. So to start, probably a lot of people are already familiar with you, but for anyone who’s not, can you just, kind of, give us a little bit of your story and how you got to be who you are today?

Danette: Wow. Okay, how far back do you want me to go? You know, for the past six, seven years, I’ve been in this wellness, fitness, nutrition industry, and, really, what I believe, living into my purpose, and into the truth of who I am, and what I’m meant to do. And so, definitely have online programs, and do high-level coaching, and created a superfood company, and really living into the truth, like I said, of who I am. But I have to say that a big part of me was a lot of my mess.

Previous to that time period, my mess became my message. You know, I was a trainer, so I’ve always been into the body, I’ve always been into nutrition, but I was not necessarily teaching the principles that I teach today. I had some ideas around nutrition and fitness that I don’t think were actually very sound. And it took the passing of my son, and me going through a really deep depression, and experiencing brain fog, and complete lack of motivation, and being in a dark place to really understand on a really cellular level, the power of movement and the power of foods to really wake us up, and to get us into that feeling-good feeling that we long for, and that clarity.

And that’s when, really, I believe, my spark came about, was seeing myself shift, and then, helping, like, clients that I had at that time shift, and then, I really had this burning desire to bring it to the world. And that’s where it truly was the catapult for me, was that I was like, “I can’t not have this information that I’ve gained so much from and not share it with the world.”

Katie: Got it. And, probably, there are people listening who can really resonate with parts of that story. And first also I’d like to say, I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the loss of a child. I think that’s probably one of the most difficult things anyone can ever face, and I’m sure that was very much a journey to come through. I had trauma in my past and I’ve realized just more and more, how much it is a journey and it’s continual. I’m curious, when you were in that darkest part of the depression, walk us through some of those steps that you took. You said movement was a big part of that, but I feel like people who are in there, it can seem, sometimes, like, almost like you can never find a way out. So what were the ways that you started to come out of that?

Danette: Yeah. So I was new to depression so I was in unknown territory, and so, the feeling for me, and I imagine it shows up in a different way, but the feeling for me was I didn’t even want to go outside. I couldn’t even go buy a loaf of bread. I had a little girl at home, and so, I needed to show up for her, but I was literally laying in bed and she’d be like, “I’m hungry,” as all little kids do. And I’d be like, “Can you move the chair over to the…” I’d, like, navigate her on how to serve herself from my bed, and then, I would explain to her what the curb was to explain to her, if she went outside, not to go beyond the curb of the sidewalk. That’s how bad it was.

And, for me, being a trainer, I’d always heard about movement helps with depression, right? Like, that’s not a new concept. I knew, I was like, “I got to get out and just walk.” Because, of course, you know, my body was not in shape. I’d had a baby and so it was, you know, the signs of having a new baby. You’re just like, already super slow, you’re beat up. And so, I was like, “I got to walk. I just need to go walk.” And I couldn’t quite get even myself to go and put on my shoes to walk. And I remember, specifically, the day that I had laced up those shoes because it was the longest lacing of my life, and I got outside and I started to walk. Literally, my goal was to walk around the block.

And just so you guys know, I was a previous runner. I was, like, all into sports. So this was a really weird world I was in. And I just remember going on that walk and hearing birds. And then, honestly, I literally felt like my chest was ripping open. It was like each step was this moment of me reclaiming myself and actually feeling for the first time every breath in, every step. And I was like, “Wow, this is going to be the very thing that helps me,” because it was allowing me to feel. Of course, I was crying and I was feeling everything, but it was better than being numb. And so, that was a really profound day for me, and so, I made a commitment that I would start with around the block and then I would make it two… But I think it’s like, if you can’t find it for yourself, like, borrow mine or someone else’s faith to say, “If you move, you will feel again, and if you move, you will clear out the cobwebs of your soul. You will be able to heal parts of you that no one else can touch.”

So, you know, movement was a big thing, and then, obviously, you have brain fog. And so, after I started moving, you know, I’m starting to lift a little bit, and I was like, “I’ve got to show up for my daughter.” And so, I started playing around with superfoods, and there’s a power in superfoods to really help with depression. And that’s when I fell deeply in love with studying superfoods around the world and how they could really affect your mood, your immunity, and, like, just be like a power punch to your system. So that’s, really, like, my best advice. And then, from there, you know, you have to take little steps, but then from there, I started working on my mindset, and rewriting my story, and looking at my limiting beliefs, and looking at my guilt, and my shame, and rewriting the truth of what those stories were. And they were different, and I really did the deep, deep work around sitting down and writing, and crying it out, and processing it.

Katie: Yeah, I can resonate with so much of that as well. And I’ve heard it said that, you know, when it comes to trauma or like a really intense pain like that, often you need more than just talking it out. You have to connect with the central nervous system and with the body in a way to be able to process that. And I think that’s where movement, like you said, is so key. And I found this in my own journey over the last couple of years, and I’ve talked about this a little bit on the podcast before. But I had sexual trauma in high school and then largely shut down emotionally in a lot of ways, but thought that I had processed it, and I had figured out ways to feel safe in everyday life, and I was extremely high-functioning and could do all these things, but then there was this unresolved trauma. And it wasn’t until I had daughters who were about to be teenagers, and I realized I had so many unresolved body image issues. And I wasn’t comfortable in my own body, I wasn’t accepting of myself, and I didn’t want to pass that on to them. I didn’t want to give them that prison of the mind that I had been in for so long, basically, my entire adult life. And so, it wasn’t until then for me, and it sounds like for you, for the sake of your daughter as well, that I was willing to face that pain and willing to change, because it was such a traumatic thing to have to face and to go through.

Danette: Wow, that’s so powerful.

Katie: Well, and my story involves movement too. Actually, I read the book, “The Body Keeps the Score,” which, I think, has some really profound points. And it talks about how, like, trauma, in a sense, can store in the body, and that’s why movement can be so helpful, and different types of body work can be so helpful. And I did bodywork with, actually, my friend Aaron Alexander, and he, basically, did a mixture of Rolfing and acroyoga, and held me upside down. So that triggered all my control issues, of course and doing body work…

Danette: I love those.

Katie: And it was like reliving the trauma in, like, rewind and fast forward, and then, processing all the emotion of it. And, like, I felt like an animal after being attacked. Like, I shook from all the adrenaline coming out. And it was like that day was a starting point and a huge pivot point for working through my own trauma. And then, it really also, really, drove home that point that you made that you have to connect with the body and movement can, sometimes, be one of the most powerful tools when we’re mentally stuck. And we don’t always make that connection. Like, we think, like, “Oh, I need to talk through it. I need to journal through it. I need to work through it.” Or we get critical like, “Why can’t I work through this, and why am I stuck?” when, really, sometimes that movement breaks the pattern, it seems like.

Danette: Yeah. That’s so powerful, I love hearing about that, yeah. So when you said Rolfing, it’s kind of like deep, deep tissue massage? I love that.

Katie: Yes. That combined with the, I think, control aspect of being… Because, I was like, “Oh, yeah. No, no, I don’t go upside down. People don’t pick me up.” And he’s like, “Yeah, well, that’s because you have trust issues.” And I’m like, “What?” And I had to, kind of, face all of that at once, and I never would have expected that the bodywork, you know, of all things, would have released that much trauma that quickly. It seemed like, you know, when the student’s ready, the teacher will appear. And so, I think that’s why I love your idea of the pillars because I think you give people tangible ways to work in all of these modalities, and that, like, for each person, it may be different, which is the first thing that starts that snowball rolling, or that starts that affect. But you give people…or you encourage people to, kind of, approach them all. So talk about your pillars because I’ve read about this in your work and heard you before, but explain what your pillars are.

Danette: Yeah. We, kind of, hit on them, and I think that you, even, hit on them in your lifestyle and programs but it’s… I think of three pillars like a coffee table, and if you would just have two legs, it’ll tip over, so you’ve got to have three pillars to keep steady, right? And for me, I’m just not about having the perfect body or… I feel like we have these vessels, they’re vessels, to live out a really happy, abundant life. And so, for me, having these three pillars are key for this ultimate journey that I’m on, and I believe every human’s on. And so, the first one is obviously movement. And not movement because you’re like, “Oh, I want to fit into these jeans,” or “I want to look a certain way,” but moving because movement does clear out the cobwebs. Movement is your gateway to releasing trauma. It is this gateway to happiness, and endorphins, and feeling alive, and feeling really empowered.

And then, there’s food. And food is, you know, we’ve heard these things like, “Food is medicine,” and it’s true. There’s so much power in food and how it affects our moods, anxiety, depression, how it affects energy levels, joy in ourselves, obviously, immunity. So food is a big one. And not eating, once again, for the sole idea of either guilt, or… And, actually, there’s so much mind stuff around that which is so fascinating to me.

And then, the third pillar is mindset, because I believe that if you have your nutrition dialed in and your movement dialed in, but you’re living in a state of a mindset of, maybe it’s sadness, or maybe it’s anger, or maybe it’s repressed emotions, then you’re not truly living into your fullest happiness. And I do know this power of the mind, also, can shift your body even quicker than the foods you put in or the movement that you do. It can drive your success when it comes to living in a healthy body or vice versa, so the mindset piece. So those are the three pillars.

Katie: I love that. And I think, especially for women and moms, especially, maybe, like, that mindset piece can get difficult at times. And so, I’m curious, like, how you navigate that. Like, how do you navigate this as a mom, and that balance of time, and prioritizing self-care where… Like, this comes up a lot with my listeners. You know, how do you make time for self-care when you’re a mom? Because, obviously, your kids are a priority, and how do you balance that with family life? Because I know so much of a big part of your mission that I’ve heard you talk about is helping women rise up to become their best selves. And I’ve always said, I think moms are truly the most powerful force on the planet for good. And that if we could all even just unite on a few things rather than focusing on the things we don’t agree on, it would be absolutely astounding how much we could accomplish. Because, not only are we raising the next generation, we control so much of the purchasing power, but I think mom’s just having an incredible amount of influence as well. But moms are also, probably, the busiest, most overwhelmed, often stressed out, people on the planet because we do so much. So how do you handle that?

Danette: Oh my gosh. Okay. I love this quote. It says, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” And, you know, with that being said, though, I have to say, because now I’ve ran two successful businesses, I’ve gone through some crazy stuff in my life, and I have to tell you, I think being a mother is the most hardest job… Like, put me in a room running business numbers or creating a business, yeah, that’s difficult, but nothing compared to the emotion and this whole journey of motherhood, and I think every mother can understand that. So, one is just recognizing that and giving yourself grace to know that oh, you’re showing up and this is the toughest job. It just messes with your emotions, and you’re stressed, and it’s always like you’re as happy as your saddest child, and it just brings in a whole gamut of triggers because they’re the perfect little mirror to you, to all the different things that you need to heal within yourself. It’s beautiful. I’m being a little sarcastic.

But here’s what I do because I do know that children can bring in a lot of triggers, and also, you want, as a mother, for them to be super-happy, and doing well. And like I said, oftentimes, we’re as happy as our saddest child, so it’s like, how do we keep everybody moving and progressing as well as ourselves? And some work that I’ve studied, and if anyone wants to look into this is “The Conscious Parent.” It’s a book called “The Conscious Parent.” And I feel like that book really hit the nail on the head of the underbelly of what’s going on in parenting. And, really, it’s just us getting really awake to the truth of who we are, and when we do that, the children shift. Our external world with our children shift when we get really real with ourselves. So for me, the work that I do in my mental health and as well as just the physical relationship with my children is really around the work I do for myself, and how do I show up for myself, how do I love myself, because they’re just a reflection of that love that you have for yourself.

So for me, personally, you guys, I’m a big tauter of this, I just believe in it so much, and you could do it once they go to bed if you’re totally awake and in a good space. But for me, getting up before everybody else in the morning, it’s not like it’s a new method but it works. And for me, I get up before everyone else and I give that time for me. And this is a time for me to journal, gratitude. This is a time for me to actually enjoy lemon water, maybe it’s a tea, or maybe it’s like hot chocolate or like a really delicious coffee. Like, making sure I take that time for my pleasure, taking that time for gratitude. I journal, I write out the things that I see in myself, I get to know myself during that time.

Some people work out. Now, if I had little kids at home, my kids are getting a little bit older, they’re more in, like, preteen, teen. But if I had little kids, I know for me, if I move my body before I interact with them, I do better, I’m more calm, I’m more steady. And so, if that’s you, then just schedule that in, like, “I’m going to work out before they, like, all emerge.” And, for some of you moms, that’s, like, 4:30. I remember when my youngest was little and I was starting this business, and she was, like, one of those energy seekers. Like, if I woke up at 5:00, she could feel it, and she would come out and want to crawl in my arms. And you have to give grace to that, but can you, like, find some things where you’re like, “Hey,” you’d be surprised what three and four-year-olds can understand. Be like, “Mom’s having soul time.”

How amazing to teach your kids to prioritize soul time? And I would tell her that. And I’d be like, “And here is your space and you can color, or you could…” You know, some people might even say, “You know what, I’m not even going to deal with that. I’m going to let them watch something,” if that gives you your time for soul time if they decide to wake up at 5:00, 5:30 when you did. But, like, letting them know, “This is my time, and I love you, and I’m going to give you a quick hug, but I need you to work on either this coloring,” and have it set up for them. Be ready for it. And if they don’t wake up, great, but if they do, it’s like you have something set up so you’re not, like, all flustered and frustrated that they came into your space. So that, to me, was what I have done and I still continue to do because I know that I’m way less reactive, and I’m way more steady as a mother.

Katie: I agree, I think morning routine is key all of the time, but especially with kids, and also, a great gift to give them, like you said, that example of having a morning routine and having time for yourself. I know, when it comes to shifting mindset, I’ve also heard you talk about things like affirmations. So can you explain how you use those yourself and talk about them for others as well?

Danette: Yeah. So this has my lifeline. So during the time I lost my son, I also, as we all know, when the floor falls out from underneath us, more floors fall, I actually went through a really hard divorce. And I was left with two girls at the time, completely young as a single mom with no financial help and all the money got drained from the accounts and I just was wondering what my life was going to turn out to, and so I sold all the furniture, and we literally slept on the floor, had to, you know, tinfoil, like I said, on the antenna. And I was listening to a lot of speakers and like, people that I looked up to talk about the power of affirmation. And I was like, “You know what, I can barely feed my kids, what do you mean affirmations?” But I did the work. And what I did is I literally wrote out all the opposite of how I felt. For example, “I’m a terrible mother, I’m an amazing mother. I’m a financial ruin, I’m abundant.” And I wrote it out as I am, and then the word. And there’s been research on the power of the word “I am,” and then the words following it, to have a frequency and an energy drive inside your cells. And so, I wrote out a page of “I am” statements around all the things I thought were lies at the time. And I had a commitment that, whenever I got into a funk, we’ve all been there, like, or down on myself, or feeling unmotivated, or feeling unworthy, I would pull out that list and read it out loud, and, literally, there were days I’d pull it out every 15 minutes. And I read, and read, and read those, and I believe it was the lifeline to where I am today. I still do affirmations to this day. I believe in anointing ourselves and claiming the power that lives within us. And, you know, I can talk business, and funnels, and strategies all day long, but these are the under-fibers that I believe never change that can truly change your whole life.

Katie: I love that. And I think you’re right. I think when it comes to mindset, often, we have to say the things, and out loud is a great example, before we believe them. Because, for me, like with weight loss, so I’ve lost, actually, now close to 100 pounds over the last year now.

Danette: Whoa.

Katie: Yeah, so it’s been a dramatic shift. And the funny part was I had this script before that, pretty much my whole adult life, that, “If only I was X, Y, Z, if only I was this size, if only I looked like this, then I would be happy, and then I would accept myself,” in the last year. And when it became more important for me to figure that out for the sake of my daughters, I realized I can choose and need to choose happiness, and self-acceptance, and love right now, and let my body be a way that that manifests, versus expecting my body to be the thing that’s going to make me happy, or forcing my body through deprivation and through punishment to look a certain way and then thinking that’s going to make me happy. And one of the things I used in that journey was tapping. And the person I worked with would have me say things out loud like, “Even though,” whatever the thing was I was struggling with that day, “I love and accept myself.” And, “I love and accept myself when I now choose,” and then, whatever the new thing was. And the first few times that I had to say that, like, I literally almost could not make myself say the words, “I love and accept myself,” you know? And it was, like, dramatic to realize, like, like you, I can talk business, I can achieve in all of these areas, but I have trouble literally saying the words out loud that I love and accept myself. And I realized that like, I’ve got to face this and I have got to be able to be an example of vulnerability, and at working through things with my kids, because where else do they see that if not through us? But I think the speaking out loud is really dramatic, and, often, maybe gets discounted because it doesn’t seem like, oh, just saying that is going to make a big difference. But, I mean, for me, at least, it was dramatic, and it sounds like for you too.

Danette: Yeah. I think a lot of times we’re wired in our minds that we need to pay for something for it to work, or it has to be really complicated or hard for it to actually work. And so, if someone tells us, “Yeah, you basically look yourself in the eye or say it out loud, “I am,” whatever, like, “I am loving and I accept myself,” or “I am enough,” or whatever those words are out loud,” people are like, “It can’t be that simple,” but it is. Like, I love how you said that, Katie, when you barely could mutter the words because most people will feel that. They’ll feel like they’re saying a lie and they’re like, “Why is it so hard for me to say these out loud?” And it’s because, like, the body goes where the mind tells it, so it’s, like, doesn’t even know how to say it because the body isn’t lined up. So the more you say it to your mind, it actually affects the nervous system, and your body and your whole direction in life goes where you’re constantly speaking. So anoint yourself. Speak the truth of who you are.

Katie: I love that. How do you do that? Do you have examples of how you do that with your kids? You said you have preteens plus teenage. How do you help them have the tools to do that from a young age?

Danette: Yeah. I wish I would’ve started… Obviously, my oldest, when I was going through all my hard stuff and I learned about this, she was about eight or nine, and then my youngest was, you know, really young, so I started with them at that time. And I’ve found that the younger one is more willing to do it, like, so I taught them. I was, like, every night, because you can when they’re little. You can be, like, “Okay, say three affirmations.” So I would make him say it at night. And instead of me saying it, I would tell them what I saw in them. And that as a mom, I have to tell you, has been one of the biggest things that I could have offered my kids at night especially if they had a bad day. It was really effective. I would be like, “Can I tell you what I see in you?” And they would be like, “Sure.”

You know, at first, they were like, “What?” and then I would tell them all the things that I saw in them that were beautiful, and powerful, and loving, and they ended up getting to a point where they were like, “Tell me more.” But then, I taught them, I said, “I’m going to tell you what I see in you but I need you to tell me through I ams, and tell yourself what you see in yourself.” And that’s been the most powerful thing for them. And so, they learned it quite young. And so, I tell them, “Do your affirmations.” You know, how we go, “Do your prayers.” Like, we do family prayer, but then, when they go off to bed, I’m like, “Don’t forget your affirmations.” And I hope and pray that they do them on their own now that they’re older maybe because I can’t force that, but that’s where I started when they were young.

Katie: I love that, and we do that with gratitude as well. We’ll ask our kids, either at dinnertime or bedtime, “What are you grateful for today?” And encourage them to be specific because it’s easy to just be like, “Oh, I’m grateful that I have my siblings, or that, you know, we have family time,” whatever. But to have them, actually, be very specific about it just with the idea of training them to look for the good. Because when you know it’s something that’s going to be asked at the end of the day, you look for those good things throughout the day, and same with affirmations. When you are you able to say those things about yourself, you’ll also look for the good in yourself. And I think that’s, like, kind of, the idea of establishing our filters. Like, if we look for the bad and the pain, we’ll find it always, but if we focus on the good, and I’ve heard you say that, “We experience life from a perspective of pain,” I think is the quote. Am I remembering that right?

Danette: Yeah, maybe.

Katie: But, I think, also, it is a follow-up to that. I think it’s a great call as well. You’re such a big voice for women rising into their power and supporting each other in that, which I think is beautiful, and, maybe, that’s another way we can do that as women, is to be that voice of, “This is the good I see in you,” and calling that out, versus, you know, the mom wars that ensue on social media. Maybe that could become the movement.

Danette: I love that.

Katie: And I wanted to start with mindset because I really do think it’s the most important piece. And certainly, for me, the last two years have really driven that home more and more, that I did everything else “right” for so long. I ate a clean diet. I exercised all the time. And it wasn’t until I dealt with mindset and emotions that any of it shifted, so I wanted to start there. But you, also, are very much an expert in the physical side, and the fitness, and the food, and so, I want to make sure we cover this a little bit more in detail as well. And I love that you have, probably, like a very… Not controversial, but you have your own unique approach to this and you’re not preaching the whole, “We need to just work out more and harder, and we need to eat less.” Like, you take such a cool approach to this. So can you go a little deeper on the physical side, the food, and the movement side?

Danette: Yeah. And let me ask, like, what do you think people want to hear when it comes to the food and the movement? I have really simple guidelines because there’s so much out there, right, no wonder people are confused. I’m in the space and I’m like, “Well, the nutrition industry is shifting all the time.” What was once healthy that we learned is healthy, that we finally discover is not like a year or two later, it’s constantly shifting. And what’s projected on media is, most of the time, most of the time, completely false of what is actually true when it comes to nutrition. And so, it is a big mission of mine because I’m like, “I see it.” I see how there are so many different, you know, “Do I need to be paleo? Do I need to be vegan? Do I need to be raw vegan? Do I need to be…? You know, what do I need to be to be healthy?” And there’s so much discussion around it.

So let me share something that I learned from another researcher just recently. So there’s a woman, I’m a Hay House author, and she was writing specifically around cancer. And she had made it her mission, and like over years, to research cancer patients on what they did to survive. Like, she was researching people that had the type of cancer that most people died from, and she was really diving into this concept with them. And I asked her something. I said, “Because everyone thinks they know what’s the perfect nutrition for everyone,” and I said, “Was there a common denominator when it came to food, that these people took on that healed?” And she was like, “You know what’s interesting,” she’s like, “That was the one area where there was not.”

She was like, “Some people juiced. Some people became vegan. Some people ate meat.” She’s like, “The thing was, it’s whatever they believed is what came out.” So if they believed that eating meat was going to help them, it did. They believed they needed to be vegan and they had to juice, then it did. And my point with this is, there are some basic guidelines, and she said that. She was like, “They all followed the basic guidelines.” Like, they didn’t have toxic oils, or they didn’t eat white or wheat, like, flours, and like white sugars. But outside of that, it didn’t really matter when it came to someone who was dealing with health with their life.” And that’s what I want to share with you all is that it doesn’t need to be super complicated, that there are some parameters to follow. Sometimes I’m vegan. Sometimes I’m vegetarian. Sometimes I eat more paleo, like, but I don’t put myself in a label or a box that I’m one or the other. And the reason is because I don’t actually believe one is right for everyone all the time.

The parameters that I would just make it really, really simple is really be looking for…if you want to go as far as I go, look for superfoods. And those superfoods in my mind are really good, coconut oil, avocados, actually, I think are an amazing superfood and not a lot of people are talking about that. Cacao, raw cacao. So raw cacao is different than cocoa powder so make sure you’re consuming raw cacao. Turmeric, ginger, so trying to get ginger in. I think garlic and onions are a great one when you’re adding to your savory dishes as a superfood kick for all of your different immunities. And then, obviously, dark type of greens, so really looking for that leafy…think of it like being like a sponge. If you were going to clean something, you need a little bit of bristle to get it clean. It’s like that inside your system. So when I speak on those, I would try to get those in my diet once a day, sometimes some of them more than once, you know, in there together, but I’m always trying to find one of them a day, always, if not more than one a day.

The things that I avoid are really simple, and they’re meant to be simple because for me, life’s about living. I’m not going to eat a certain amount and I’m not… You know, I’m just going to, like, enjoy my life. I love food and I think that food made with love and the way I think about that food is going to process in my body in a certain way. And we know this scientifically. The way you think about the food in your body is going to affect how it’s digested in your body and how it’s going to show up, and I’ll get to that in a minute. But the food that I would avoid and that I do avoid, if I ever have them, it’s maybe once or twice a year because I’m in another country and I just want to try X, Y, Z or whatever is their famous thing of that place, but it’s white sugar. I absolutely do not have white sugar in my home. I don’t miss it at all. We use coconut sugar. We use 100% maple syrup. You can use raw honey. I have a lot of sweets in my life but I stay away from white sugar.

Vegetable canola oils, super toxic for your system, so I do not have that in my home nor will I buy products with it, I don’t even buy chips that contain that. We have chips on the regular because our whole family loves nacho night. We just buy the kind that are made with other oils. And you can find those. It’s not hard. And then, white and wheat flour, we do not have in our home either. So we just use almond flour or these different types of combinations that make up a gluten-free flour, because it’s super toxic in systems, and, actually, it can… I’m not a celiac or anything and neither are my children, but there has been correlation with anxiety and white and wheat four. So try taking those things away. And that’s, literally, how we are. And so, obviously, we don’t have soda pop in our home because soda pop contains white sugar. So there’s a lot of foods that have those ingredients that we remove and we don’t consume, but we’ve tried to find alternatives, and there are so many when you look for it, you can find them. So, yeah, that’s my basics.

Katie: I love that. I love the simplicity of your approach. And like I found in my own journey, like, the lack of restrictions and dogma, I agree. I think health is so personalized but there are these general rules that are almost universally applicable. And, like, even like superfoods, for instance, unless you have an allergy to them, they’re almost universally applicable, or avoiding the bad things, like you said. I’m 100% right there with you. We have no biological need for white sugar. There are alternatives that work just as well in anything so it’s an easy swap to make. Same with, rather than vegetable oils which are horrible for you, you can actually get nutrients from olive oil, or avocado, or so many other options. And so I love the simplicity of that. I think in a world of overwhelm, it brings such clarity. And you do this with movement as well. Like, I’m a big fan of when you post on Instagram, the simplicity of your workouts. And so, can you, kind of, give us the overarching approach that you take to that as well?

Danette: Yeah. So my overall approach is, “Do what you like.” So once again, there’s no right or wrong way to move your body. There’s Zumba, there’s HIIT, there’s CrossFit, there’s yoga, there’s Pilates, I mean, there’s all sorts of, kind of, movement. And I always say do what floats your boat and do what really lights you up, because that’s what you’re going to end up doing. If you’re moving and you hate it, once again, your mindset truly affects how food is digested as well as how the movement is actually affecting your body. So if you’re moving your body and you hate it, it most likely is translating that way. And I’m going to speak on running, for example.

I know so many people that call themselves runners but they say they hate running, but they run to be lean, that are not lean. And let me just say, have we ever seen a distance runner that we’ve seen on TV that likes it ever not feeling…? No. And I just want to bring to the point that the mind is so powerful. If you’re running and you hate it, like, you’re like, “I hate this,” I guarantee that it’s going to have, like, a backlash. Either you’re going to get injured, or, two, you, actually, aren’t going to see the results that you were going for.

So find the thing that you love because when you are in pleasure is when the body responds. Now, let me say that again because so many women are so afraid of their pleasure. We’re so good at turning off our pleasure, and I’m talking about all forms of pleasure because movement is actually a form of pleasure. Everyone who gets done, usually with a workout, feels a sense of pleasure. It is a rush of endorphins. There’s this euphoria that comes over your system. It’s not fun before, but after, we get that rush, and so, that pleasure center is huge, so find the thing that you really love.

And for me, I like simple, I like quick, I love running, though, too, so I don’t make that quick. For me, running is like moving therapy. So I go out and run, but I can also hike and get the same benefit, or go for a bike ride and get the same benefit. So I need some long steady cardio. For me, I don’t do long steady cardio for fat loss or to fit in my jeans. It’s, actually, kind of, counterintuitive. I do long steady cardio for my mental capacity. I feel that it is a moving meditation. I feel like it’s therapy that’s absolutely free. I work through so much stuff and that steady-state movement is conducive to, really, healing your system when it comes in your mind. And then, I also just like, really, like, harder, I like some intensity for me, but I also need yoga and Pilates. Even though it’s not my favorite form of moving, I always know it’s very needed at times because I’m pretty fiery. So, you know, just change it up, do what lights you up, try lots of different things, and keep it simple.

Katie: I agree. I think I got stuck in that mindset early on too, of, like, trying to find… Like, everybody had their approach and their exact method you were supposed to follow and it wasn’t… Like, with movement, it wasn’t until I actually started doing it just for fun that I ever wanted to stick with it. And so, now, like my movement is I’ll lift weights because I love it and I feel great after, but not for extended amounts of time. I love sprinting so I’ll race my kids and do a bunch of sprints, and that’s fun, or climb a tree, or hang upside down, like, all these things that I feel like I forgot for so long and that my kids have been great teachers in reminding me.

But I think you’re so right. It has to come back to fun. And same with healthy food, like, the mindset shift, the reason I think that has to come first is you have to want to do these things out of love and nourishment for your body. You have to want to move because it’s fun and because you feel great when you do it. You can’t ever punish yourself into that. And it makes me sad to see so much of the diet and fitness industries that focus more on that, like, extreme, punish, deprivation angle. And why I like your message so much is because you keep it in the positive and you focus on the good. And I think that, especially for women, but for everyone is just so important.

Danette: Thank you.

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Katie: So as we get toward the end, a couple of other questions I love to ask, the first being if there’s a book or any number of books that have had a really dramatic impact on your life, and if so, what they are and why?

Danette: The one that came to mind first when you just asked that was “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks. Have you read that, Katie?

Katie: I haven’t.

Danette: Oh, it’s so good. And the reason it’s so good is because it lays out why we upper-limit or why we self-sabotage, and how you navigate that. And it really boils down to, like, really fundamental things like, one, the spotlight. You’re afraid of the spotlight. There’s also ones of, like, failure. Like, and it lays it out, and you can totally learn through the examples he lays out. “Oh, my gosh. That’s me and I didn’t even know that.” And that book really helped me to ensure I didn’t self-sabotage in our business when we first started off. It’s helped me not self-sabotage in my relationship because I got into a new relationship and I had all this old story around trust and things from my previous. It has been game-changing for me, so I’d highly recommend that book.

I’m trying to think. That one is the biggest ones that came up. I’m a ferocious reader so I can tell you so many books. I’m going to speak on an author that I really love. There’s two of them. Napoleon Hill, I think most of us know, “Think and Grow Rich.” But try some of his other books out there. He has so many books that are so really built around the mindset, whether it comes to success in your life or finances that crossover into every area of your life, so Napoleon Hill. And then, I love Paulo Coelho. He wrote “The Alchemist,” which he’s best known for but he has so many other books.

Katie: I love that. And your book “The Rise” is also wonderful. I’ll make sure that’s linked in the show notes as well at wellnessmama.fm if you guys are listening. Also, I think we’d be remiss too in the podcast without talking about your products because you mentioned superfoods, and you have, at least one that I’ve tried, Cacao Bliss, that is amazing. So talk about your products too.

Danette: Oh, thanks. I’m so passionate about it. Obviously, superfoods have been this big power of healing for me. And, you know, what was interesting when I was going through, like, my transition of coming out of depression and really claiming who Danette was is, there was this desire within me to travel to indigenous places. And I don’t know if everyone has that desire but for whatever reason, I would dream about being invited where no blonde hair, blue-eyed girl would be invited. And, literally, because of that intention and holding that vision, I started getting invited.

And I found myself in a particular circle with these indigenous tribe, and most of them were men but there was a few, what they would call the grandmas. And we were sitting in a circle, and in the jungle, and they passed out these little, like, cups with dark liquid in them. And at the time, I didn’t know what it was. And they were like, “We’re doing a ceremony and it’s a cacao ceremony. We do this every full moon. We do it on new moons. But it’s a time for us to set intention, and time for us to connect back to our hearts.” And it was this really profound moment for me when I drank the raw cacao, which they infused with some raw honey from their bees, locally. They actually had sprinkled some turmeric in there, and a little bit of cayenne pepper. I thought it was super delicious but after I drank it, I was, like, feeling this almost euphoria high. I was like, “Whoa, what was in that?” Like, I was happy. And then, honestly, that intention that I set manifested, and they’d said it would. And I was like, “Whoa, what was that?”

And so, I started to talk to the tribe leaders and then I also did research on my own, and what they were serving was raw cacao, and, obviously, it was infused with one superfood which was turmeric. But I started learning about the other superfoods that they, sometimes, add to it. So they were adding, in different tribes, like, mesquite and lucuma, which are, like, different types of superfoods growing in the Southern regions. And they would help build up immunity, would help build up stamina for… If they weren’t able to eat, they could drink cacao. And I also found that cacao was built in for the ages. It was so highly revered in the Mayan culture that they literally buried it, and they revered it more than currency. It was so potent for people’s healing and for cognition, like, people would drink it, and it literally contains theobromine to like…

I get so excited, Katie, by this because they’ve been studies on curing all Alzheimer’s. If you want to, like, open your mind and have blood flow in your mind, and have better brain cognition, and remember things, and get into flow state, drink cacao. And there were so many stories of some of the greats of the greats doing this, and so, I was, like, committed to bringing raw cacao, the way it was cultivated, to our modern world. And so, I looked into trying to find a farmer that actually did it the indigenous way, which called ceremonial grade, where they lay it out in the sun and literally let the sun kiss it, and then, they grind it into a powder. And we infused it with lucuma, mesquite, turmeric, MCT oil, which none of them were doing, but they did, sometimes, add a different kind of fat depending on the region. But I just knew that that was going to be, like, a massive carrier of all the superfoods through the cells.

And I was doing that for like two years on my own, making this, and knowing that I was supposed to bring it to the mainstream, but not knowing how I was going to do it. We’d never sold product before. But I was drinking it and I was telling my whole community about it, and I told them how to mix it, like what was the exact percentages of each ingredient. And people were writing into me going, “I’m not depressed. What’s in this? And I feel good.” Because, we also know that raw cacao contains anandamide, which is only two foods in the world do, which literally acts as like a heart opener. So when you’re feeling love or you’re just done making love, that anandamide is released in your body. And raw cacao, not cocoa but raw cacao contains anandamide.

And so, we created Cacao Bliss because, one, I wanted everyone to, one, feel themselves more, like, tap into their heart, but also have every superfood that they could get to really increase their immunity. That, instead of taking greens, if you didn’t want to do greens, you could do Cacao Bliss and have a lot of the potent superfoods right in your fingertips, but then, you also have pleasure because it’s super delicious. So that’s one of our products.

Katie: Yeah, that’s the one I’ve tried. I’ll make sure there’s a link in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm, and I’ll also post it on social the day this airs. It’s delicious. I love it. It’s like an afternoon pick-me-up for me most days, and it’s incredibly just… It’s delicious. So I love that you have created that. Where can people follow you online to learn more and stay in touch?

Danette: Yeah. The easiest way is just my website at danettemay.com. On social, it’s just TheDanetteMay.com, so whether it’s IG or Facebook. But, yeah, we’re constantly putting out content, like, I think it’s three times a week that’s free content, recipes, mindset tools, workouts on the blog as well as on social.

Katie: I love it. And you guys, those links will be in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. So if you are driving or exercising, you can find all of them there. But, Danette, I’m so glad we finally got to connect and do this, and I just really love you and love your work.

Danette: No, thank you, it’s was so great to connect.

Katie: And thanks, as always, to all of you for listening and for sharing your time with us. We’re both so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.