Official Media Bio
McKenna Gordon is an author, speaker and wholistic wellness expert. She assists her clients in overcoming wellness challenges and finding purpose and joy through her speaking engagements, group mentoring, and online programs.
McKenna brings her experience as a holistic nutritionist, certified integrative aromatherapist, birth doula and energy practitioner to her work, as well as her personal health experiences which give her deep compassion and empathy for her clients.
McKenna has been educating on wholistic health since 2007. She is the creator of the One-Minute Meal Plan and The H.O.P.E. Course. She lives just outside of Salt Lake City with her husband of 15 years and three amazing(ly messy) children.
The Longer, Less Boring and Fancy Version…
I was raised much like most Americans, on a standard diet of processed foods including mac and cheese, Hamburger Helper, bologne sandwiches and Betty Crocker brownies for dessert. I grew up seemingly healthy, if you define “healthy” as a lack of disease and generally happy and normal. Sure, as a teenager, I developed hypoglycemia and irregularly painful and heavy menstrual cycles, but these ailments are so common that we (my doctor and my parents and by default, myself) just chalked it up to being part of life, along with getting strep throat 7 times in my junior year of high school. (Seven times! How is this normal!?) Overall, I was happy and healthy, despite taking my high school lunch break at the local taco place most days of the week.
But over time, the Standard American Diet took a toll on my body
just like it does everyone else (eventually). It’s possible my body is more sensitive to the chemicals, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and hormone disruptors that are in processed foods, but you’ll have to tell me after reading this… I get the feeling I’m not the only one.
In my early 20s, things took a turn for the worse. Just months after getting married, I began to gain weight rapidly. Although my diet was made up of almost entirely processed foods, I hadn’t changed my eating or exercise habits at all, so the weight gain was confusing to me. I mysteriously gained over a pound a day for a couple of months, going from 135 lbs and a size 10 to 220 lbs. and a size 18. During that same time, my periods stopped entirely. Naively thinking I must surely be pregnant (hilarious, right? I was 20, k?), I went to my family doctor. Over the next several weeks, we discovered that I had a tumor growing on my pituitary gland, likely caused by my birth control pill, which was the “most gentle one on the market,” but whose fine print clearly stated (if you use a magnifying glass) that it can cause pituitary prolactinomas, the exact type of tumor I was diagnosed with.
The pituitary is a big part of the control center for your hormones and endor, and mine were now completely out of whack. This great hormonal imbalance left a dreadful wake in its path, creating diseases throughout my body: poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, type 2 diabetes, severe anxiety and depression, and infertility.
I was a wreck, physically and emotionally.
And it didn’t help that I had ballooned several sizes, and continued to gain weight (albeit more slowly than the first few months of weight gain) until I reached 265 pounds–just 18 months after getting married in a little white dress.
I visited doctor after doctor. They each ran through their personal slew of tests and treatments, each of which either caused an allergic reaction, or were ineffective. Finally each doctor would throw their arms up. “I don’t know why you can’t lose weight. I’m going to diagnose you with ‘Syndrome X’.” I asked what that meant, “It just means that, for whatever reason, you can’t lose weight. I can’t fix you.”
So I began working on coming to terms with my body. I was going to be sick and fat forever. Have pain every day, forever. Be infertile forever. Have panic attacks every few days… forever. But I couldn’t come to terms with it. I couldn’t just lay down and let myself die (physically or spiritually). So I began taking matters into my own hands. If the doctors couldn’t help me, then anything else I tried couldn’t hurt, right?
I started educating myself on natural medicine and holistic nutrition, and very slowly made small changes that made a huge difference in the way I felt. Weight loss didn’t come easy, but other areas of my health improved. I ditched the processed food. I re-learned how to cook food. It was a huge learning curve, and I screwed it up more often than I got it right. It didn’t help that I hated the taste of all vegetables except potatoes and carrots. I can’t even tell you how many bags of rotten produce I threw away, week after week. Every Saturday I would “start over.” I’d shop for healthy produce, bring it home and wash and prep it for convenience throughout the week, and then it would sit in my fridge and go bad because I couldn’t bring myself to eat green things.
Every road block you could possibly dream up for someone making the change to healthy eating? I stumbled on it. My road to whole-foods eating was long and grueling, even though I got enormous benefit out of eating healthfully. You would think that the benefits I received would be motivating enough to change my habits overnight. But they’re not. Not when processed foods are designed to be addictive. Not when consuming processed sugar has the same neurotransmitter effect that occurs in the brain directly after using heroin or cocaine. Food addictions are just as powerful as drug addictions–except with food, you have friends, family, co-workers, and everyone else around you constantly offering you unhealthy foods, and it’s more socially acceptable to eat junk than health food.
This will probably be the only “before and after” picture you’ll see me post… why? Because I kind of hate before/after shots. When I look at earlier photos of me, I see a girl who is doing her very best. She’s fighting. She’s figuring it out. She’s using the resources she has, even if they are few. I don’t see someone who is inferior to the pictures on the bottom. I just don’t. And I hope you don’t, either, when you look at pictures of your beautiful self along your journey. <3
I mean seriously. Every social gathering, you’ve got someone practically begging you to try their trans-fat ridden potluck dish. You go to a restaurant with your girlfriends and your server’s all like, “Have some free chips and nacho sauce. Eat as much as you like. It’s free!” Thirty years ago, we might have been faced with something like this every month or so. But now, we’re faced with it every day, every where we go. “There are 14 dozen donuts in the break room for Bob’s birthday. Eat all you like!” … “I heard you had a bad day yesterday so I brought you some cookies!”
We are facing the biggest famine in history, but not because there’s not food. There’s food everywhere! Calories are a huge commodity. We don’t need calories, you can practically absorb 1,000 calories simply by sitting in the parking lot of McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr. What we’re experiencing is a NUTRIENT famine. The average American is over-fed calories and starving anyway. We’re starving for nutrients and every cell in our body is weakening over time because of it. That’s where I was, too.
But despite all these things (and so much more) working against me, despite MYSELF working against me, I prevailed. And no matter how dark and dreary things are looking for you right now, I’m here to tell you that YOU can too.
Do you ever feel like you’re in a dark hole? Going through the motions of life… existing… but not LIVING? I know what that feels like and I wish I could physically reach through your screen and hug you right now. This is possible. You can do this. Everything is going to get better when you make this change. Everything.
Looking back, I now realize that my number one road block was a lack of education. I ate so many meals that I genuinely thought were healthy, but now I wouldn’t go near some of those foods, because of how harmful they are to my health. Overwhelmingly, I have found others to be the same as me. They want to eat right. They want to heal their bodies and they know that food plays a huge role. But they don’t know how.
That’s why I do what I do. It’s why I was inspired to go into holistic nutrition. In every publication and program I create, my deepest hope is that it will help you achieve optimum health without having to stumble all along the way like I did. My heart reaches out to every single person who suffers from poor health as a result of the Standard American Diet, who finds the thought of giving up their comfort foods dauntingly impossible. I am reaching out, sharing with you the culminated knowledge of hundreds of hours spent in my kitchen, learning the hard way what does and doesn’t work in the world of healthful cooking.
This is not a place of perfection and judgment. It’s a place of continual improvement, whether you are 99% there, or taking your very first step. I’ve BEEN an incredibly unhealthy person with incredibly unhealthy habits: eating habits, activity habits, and emotional habits…
Wherever you are on this journey, know that you are closer than you think.
Remind yourself how far you’ve come, and don’t compare yourself to others; instead only to the person you were yesterday. Here I am “yesterday” on the left and today on the right. If you’re feeling discouraged, look back and remember how far you’ve come. Every step is an accomplishment.
I’m still on my journey. It always takes a while for your body to catch up with your mindset and your HABITS. I remind myself of this daily.
My hope is that you’ll find love an acceptance here. You’ll find simple solutions and support when you stumble. You’ll find that it’s not difficult to replace most of today’s comfort foods with nutrient-dense, life-giving foods. You’ll find that there’s more to life than celebrating and self-medicating with food. You’ll learn how to LIVE and not just exist.