Taking Time To “Refuel”

Oh boy, summer has come and gone and fall is in the air.  The kids are back at school, holidays are over, activities have begun and for our beloved farmers, harvest is well underway.  This fall has been wonderful for bringing in the crops (the sunny, dry weather, light winds and minimal dew), but maybe not so great for your health!  Yes that’s right, your health could be at risk during this busy, busy time.  If you are a farmer, are married to or related to a farmer, you know exactly what I’m talking about!  We live in such a fast-paced world and although farm-life has always been viewed as the “easy, quiet, laid-back” life, I can tell you first hand, it’s anything but!  Waking up before dawn to fix machinery so that it’s ready to go, running to the nearest tractor dealership at all hours of the day for parts, eating supper at midnight and getting minimal sleep during peak times like spring and fall.  The early mornings, late nights, sitting sometimes for 12-16 hours or more (ok, if you are sitting for that long chances are you aren’t repairing anything so there’s a plus to this one), inhaling crop dust and possibly chemicals, and not taking the time to “refuel” can result in adrenal glands (stress glands) going full tilt.  For many farmers, they are on a “high” as the year comes to an end and they see all their hard work pile into the grain trucks.  But although there are smiles on their faces, their body could be displaying something completely different.

When our bodies are subjected to continual stress, whether it’s psychological, emotional, physical or physiological, our adrenal glands have to go into overdrive.  And although you may not feel stressed because everything seems to be running smoothly in the field, your body feels it.  Our adrenal glands are responsible for so many functions, including blood sugar stabilization, regulating blood pressure,  secreting cortisol (stress hormones), and making sex hormones.  When these glands aren’t nourished properly through diet and lifestyle choices, “burnout” can occur.  I also know first-hand what this feels like and I do not wish it upon ANYONE!  Feeling “wired but tired”, irritable, very low tolerance to stress, heart palpitations, skin discolouration, headaches, waking up at 3am and not being able to go back to sleep, digestive issues, cold sweats, neck tension and so on.  These are just a few of the symptoms that can occur when we aren’t taking care of ourselves.  Luckily there is a way to prevent this from happening.

Adrenal imbalance occurs not only when we are subjected to continual stress, but also when we don’t eat nourishing foods or eat regularly enough to maintain stable blood sugar.  As well, when we overconsume stimulants like coffee, sugar and nicotine, when we don’t breath deeply, and when we are sitting around too much (our bodies are meant to move!) our adrenal health begins to suffer.  The long days and nights in the grain truck or combine can sometimes make it difficult to stay balanced.  Unfortunately, many of the farmers I know are extremely stubborn and their answer to everything is “I’m ok.”  They are probably not OK!

Here are a few tips to help you or someone you love stay healthy this busy harvest season:

1-Eat regularly-By eating every 3-4 hours your blood sugar will remain more stable, allowing you to have more energy, clearer thoughts, better moods and the ability to handle stress more.  As well you will have less desires to reach for the cigarettes, coffee or snuff.  Have balanced meals and snacks consisting of protein, fats and carbs.  This will help you stay focused and energized.

2-Get out to stretch and breathe-Sitting in the machinery for long periods of time is hard on the body.  Back, neck and shoulder pain, headaches and leg cramps are all too common.  Every hour or two get out and walk around for 10 minutes.  Take this time to stretch as well, really reaching far and wide.  Breathe in that fresh air!  Breathing slowly is a sure way to clear the cobwebs, give you more mental clarity, energize you and calm you down if you are stressed.  Use the 4-7-8 rule!  Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds and release slowly through your mouth for 8 seconds.

3-Drink plenty of water-The grain dust, the exhaust fumes, the air conditioner, the coffee-these are all very dehydrating.  When we are dehydrated, headaches and brain fog are common, chapped lips and skin are likely and constipation and kidney stones can occur.  Drinking half your body weight in pounds, in ounces is a sure way you will stay well hydrated.

4-Take time with your family-After all, isn’t that what this lifestyle is all about?  It may seem crazy to incorporate a family night at the movies or a day at the lake during this busy time, but eating some meals together, going for short walks or quad rides, face-timing before bed or reading a story together can all have a positive impact on the stress levels of the family as a whole.

A healthy person has a thousand dreams but a sick person only has one-to be healthy.  By taking care of yourself, you are taking care of your family.


Welcome and thanks for taking the time to get to know me!  I’m Leslie Herman, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and I help people of all ages discover how to be the best version of themselves, by balancing their body systems and adopting life-long lifestyle habits to achieve optimal health.  I focus on educating and empowering people so that living a healthy lifestyle becomes “normal” and I believe in nourishing your body from the inside out so that you look and feel incredible every single day!  Restrictive diets, counting and weighing foods are a thing of the past.  I will teach you how to eat balanced so that cravings diminish, your skin glows and you have loads of energy, while enjoying all life has to offer!  We will get to the root of your health issues so that you feel amazing in a body you love and respect.  As a holistic nutritionist, I offer a natural and self-empowering approach to healthcare that combines traditional healing modalities with modern evidence-based science working with the body’s natural systems to promote optimal function and healing.

I have many backgrounds, and each has taught me something different about life, health and general well being.  After high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do (like many others), but loved science and the human body so I enrolled in the Bachelor of Science program at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, ON (my hometown).  I graduated in 2003 with a major in Biology and minors in Math and Chemistry.  From here, I still didn’t have a clue, so I took a year off and “discovered who I was”.  It didn’t take long until I needed more, so I took the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-A) program in St. Albert, AB.  Once graduated I worked as an EMT-A for about 6 years until my husband and I moved to his hometown in Saskatchewan and started a family.  With 2 young kids and a busy organic grain farm, 24 hour shifts on the ambulance were tough.  It was then I decided to start my own interior painting business as I loved painting and was good at it!  I did this for about 6 years, which is when I developed allergic reactions to paint and drywall dust and carpel tunnel syndrome in my left wrist.  I knew I had to quit or my health would continue to suffer.  It only took a few months off from work to discover that nutrition was my ultimate passion and that I wanted to pursue a career in it.  I enrolled in the Natural Nutrition Diploma program through the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.  I then wrote a nationally recognized exam to get my designation as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N).

How it all began

I haven’t always understood the power of food but when I reached my late-20’s, I realized HOW powerful it actually is!  As a kid, I was the pickiest kid around.  I hated most meat and cooked vegetables, only to survive on raw veggies and ranch, toast and Kraft peanut butter, chicken breasts and noodles!  I was sent to bed many nights hungry as my parent’s motto was “eat what you were given or starve”, in hopes that this would change my eating habits.  Unfortunately, it went from bad to worse and as a teen I tried to go vegetarian.  More than 20 years ago, the information about nutrition that’s available to us now, was not around.  So instead of eating beans with rice or lentils with corn to create full protein meals or incorporating healthy fats, I just ate rice or veggies, very little protein at all, maybe an egg or 2.  The word “fat” scared me and I would ask mom to buy everything “low-fat”, “non-fat” and “fat-free”.  I became anemic many times as a teen and young adult and lived off complex carbohydrates, fruit and veggies.  I was always active, ate very little junk food and was lean, but I was NOT healthy!  I was tired and pale most of the time and my menstrual cycle was completely messed up.  I had terrible acne and went on prescription meds (including Accutane and antibiotics) for this many times, only to end up right back where I began.

When I became pregnant with my first child I started to eat much better.  I was eating more protein then ever before, more healthy fats like nuts, seeds and avocados.  I cut down on the bread, noodles and refined cereals as I wanted to have a healthy baby.  Why I didn’t do this for myself years ago, was beyond me!  It felt great feeding myself a variety of foods that were nourishing and satisfying. For the first time in years, I felt great!  I continued this lifestyle after pregnancy and have since taught my 2 children (now 6 and 9) how to eat well-balanced, nutrient-dense meals so that they have unlimited energy, great health and balanced body systems.  For the past 10 years, my friends have called me a “health-nut” and rely on me for information about exercise routines and healthy recipes.  I love learning all there is to know about the human body and how food can positively or negatively affect it.

Oh no, not again!

About halfway through my nutrition program I started feeling terrible again.  No one really knew how terrible I felt because I refused to admit it and therefore told no one.  I have always had digestive issues, even as a kid.  And although this program has helped me fix most of my problems, what I began to experience was like nothing before.  I began losing chunks of hair, my eyebrows started to thin, I was freezing all the time, was exhausted but wired, falling asleep while reading to my kids at 7pm.  My patience was non-existent, I could barely wake up to an alarm clock (I normally pop wide awake at 5:45am EVERYDAY!), my period was out of whack and I developed food sensitivities.  I made up every excuse in the book to NOT admit what was happening to me.  My whole body was out of sorts and was crying for attention-namely my thyroid and adrenals.  I’m a health nut, this could not and should not be happening to me and I made up every excuse in the book!  The truth is, that if a client came to me with these symptoms, I would immediately know it was a thyroid and adrenal issue.  When it’s yourself, it’s much more difficult to see and admit to.  It took another couple months until I really acted on this!  I followed my protocol that I learned in school and have successfully re-balanced my body systems.  I have loads of energy, my brows are back, my periods are regular, I’m warm again and I wake up at 5:45am EVERYDAY whether I want to or not!  If I hadn’t started to take care of my thyroid and adrenal glands, I’m 100% sure I would have developed some sort of autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s, Crohn’s, fibromyalgia or one of the many others.  Autoimmune disease occurs when all 4 weaknesses (low stomach acid, leaky gut, food sensitivities and hypothyroidism) are present.  I HAD ALL 4!  Listening to your body is so important as it can only speak to you through signs and symptoms.

I hope that by reading my story, it encourages you to seek help if need be.  My passion is to encourage people to act on their health!  Long before any disease presents itself, there are symptoms, things may not be working as well as they should.  These are usually little discomforts or inconveniences-things that we take for granted, not realizing nutrition is involved.  Every person is different and reacts differently to imbalances in the body.  I love the diversity each client brings to my practice and would love to work with you!  Please, explore my page to find out more about health, nutrition, well-being and living the life of your dreams!