Jo Dee is a native of Montana who moved to Atlanta when she married in 1979. After thirteen years of marriage, Jo Dee’s marriage ended, and she was left a single mother with two sons – Carl and Evan. On her own Jo Dee picked up the pieces, and with her two degrees in ‘voice’ from St. Olaf College, in Minnesota worked in the evenings as a classical singer and during the day as a ‘Mary – Kay’ cosmetics Director. Six ‘Pink Cadillac’s’, and two masters degrees later, Jo Dee launched herself in the business world, specializing in ‘commercial real estate’, ’business brokerage’, ‘mergers and acquisitions’ and eventually as a consultant in ‘Green Energy.’ Jo Dee’s success as a mother has been evidenced by her sons, Carl and Evan Nylander, both successful Vice Presidents in their respective companies and ‘All American’ swimmers: Carl at Georgia Tech and Evan at the University of Tennessee. Jo Dee says, ‘Five A.M. swim practice, the afternoon swim practice, study hours, and her own need to make a living was a ‘grind’, but worth every second’, she says with a smile!
Wellness came later to Jo Dee; although a Title 9 track star (5,000 meter run) at St. Olaf, Jo Dee did not fully embrace wellness until the 1990s when two bouts with melanoma and a near-death auto accident gave her the ‘wake-up call’ she needed. For the past ten years Jo Dee has fought her way back as a ‘peak performer’ in athletics and continued her success in the business world—specializing empowering people to find “Optimal Health”. She believes that her family, her strong work ethic, and her Christian values have made all the difference in her life, and put her on her own personal road to wellness.
Jo Dee’s athletic performance is impressive; 14 (26 Mile) marathons, 3, Triathlons (swimming, running, cycling), 792 races of all kinds and qualifying for prestigious road races, The Peach Tree Road Race (Atlanta) and the Boston Marathon. ‘What it’s really all about’ say’s Jo Dee, ‘is consistency and a plan – you have to eat right and exercise’!
Jo Dee’s wellness plan goes well beyond the ordinary, everyday she does some sort of aerobic exercise – running, swimming, cycling, and three to five days a week, Ashtanga Yoga, a tough discipline that Jo Dee calls ‘Samurai Yoga’ that complements her outdoor exercise and diet. Even when she’s on the road Jo Dee uses the hotel gym and swimming pool.
Eating right has become a passion for Jo Dee; a ‘green drink’ of raw vegetables mixed in a blender, the right gluten free complex carbohydrates, no sugar; no red meat, are the essentials of her diet. Jo Dee says that eating right doesn’t have to be boring, ‘I often eat out and there is literally no restaurant where I can’t find something healthy and fun’! Jo Dee augments her diet with daily vitamins and supplements.
Jo Dee believes that there are two levels of ‘Wellness’ followed by a more pervasive unhealthy lifestyle, where poor nutrition and over eating lead to obesity and unhappiness. ‘We sabotage ourselves’ Jo Dee says, ‘we make poor choices in the food we eat, we don’t exercise, and pretty soon we come to believe that we can’t reverse the changes that this lifestyle makes on our body’.
Jo Dee’s Basic Model – Eating For Wellness
Level 1 – is not for everyone, the vegetarian (organic, raw in a blender) select whole foods (fish, shellfish, chicken) along with vitamins and other supplements, Gluten free bread, natural additive free spices, Himalayan sea-salt, and fresh fruit for dessert. Steer clear of red meat, pork, processed meats, sugar, and dairy products.
Level 2 –Jo Dee believes is obtainable for everyone. Raw vegetables in the blender are optional, but fresh organic vegetables from a ‘Fresh Food Market’ or organic vegetables from your neighborhood market – steamed vegetables are best, as are baked or boiled potatoes. Small portions of lean meat are OK, but fish and shellfish broiled or steamed are better. Use natural spices, pepper, Himalayan sea-salt, lemon and lime to season. Cravings for dessert can be satisfied with fresh fruit, bananas, pineapple, melon, blueberries, strawberries, etc. Remember the simple rule: shop around the periphery of the supermarket; stay away from the canned and processed foods in the middle isles. Note – ‘the bad foods are in the middle isles’, Jo Dee says – ‘Go there for mops and paper towels – not for food’.
Level 3 – Jo Dee says, This is the unplanned – ‘Let’s go to the supermarket, lets run out and get a bite, lets order fast food, lets open a couple cans and boil up some pasta diet’. With the right ‘genes’ and metabolism, if you smoke and don’t eat much you might not become obese, but you won’t be healthy. This diet is the cousin to the ‘inner city’ diet, where there are no supermarkets, only the fast-food take out place on the corner. Jo Dee says, ‘This is the fast track to morbid obesity (excess estrogen), heart disease, diabetes and early death!
Looking at all three levels of wellness, Jo Dee believes that Level 1 and 2 can be a challenge for the uncommitted person, but ‘what’s the alternative’ she says! Jo Dee believes that the key to a healthy life is to make a commitment to wellness – either Level 1 or 2 will work, Level 1 is for the athlete; and Level 2 is for the individual who just wants to be fit and healthy. A plan is essential; Levels 1 and 2 can both be sabotaged by family and friends, but Jo Dee says, ‘Let me help you make that plan and stick with it’. Jo Dee has had the honor of assisting her ‘weight management’ clients in collectively losing 1172 pounds in 2014 alone!!
People often ask Jo Dee where she shops for her food, vitamin, supplements, and household products. ‘A healthy life is a holistic life’, says Jo Dee! ‘I’m promoting organic because supermarkets, like ‘Greenways’, ‘Fresher’s’ and ‘Whole Food’s’ have brought together the healthiest foods in one convenient shopping environment. I buy my vitamins and supplements there too, or at vitamin specialty stores, I try to stay away from the big vitamin chains where ‘shelf life’ is long and the products are full of preservatives. I’m not pushing ‘Greenways’ but you have to make a choice – this is equally true about where I get healthy household products – I’ve used ‘Melaleuca’ for a number of years; their household cleaning products are organic, and not full of ammonia and other toxic chemicals, and they clean better. For personal wellness, I recommend pharma- Nutrition for supplementation, because of their four Clinical Studies and high ORAC value. These high absorbable liquid supplements are ‘top notch’ vitamins that rival the products that I purchase from specialty stores.