Monthly Archives: December 2012

Eating: Jessica Shultzaberger


I am just an ordinary girl who began an extraordinary journey into my complete health, heart, body and mind a little over two years ago. I was laid off from my employer about 2 years ago and it was the swift kick in the butt I needed to realize I was just going through the motions of life and not really living it. Part of living life for me was and is to still learn how to lead a healthy life.

I decided to return to school full-time and complete my undergrad while unemployed. I began to blog about my battle of bulge in a series called, “Fighting Fat.” I also started with a great therapist, surrounded myself with a good support system and took an amazing journey of self-enlightenment under the direction of one of my professor’s, Julie Miller at Baldwin-Wallace College. Julie pushed me to discover my strengths and I began to focus on building my life around my strengths instead of my weaknesses. Along the same time, I discovered Coca Crossfit and I also began to build physical strength as well as mental strength.

I have returned to work in the health insurance industry and have been with my new company approximately 6 weeks. One of the most important benefits to me when accepting this job was to understand how important my employer felt work life balance and employee wellness would be. And I am happy to report one of the main reasons I took this job is because of their focus on wellness and health.

For me health and wellness need to be at the forefront of every experience in my life and connect in all areas, my heart, body and soul. I am not only aiming for heart health, I am aiming for total health!

Approximately 4 years ago, my mother passed away from a heart attack related to her morbid obesity. She spent the last few years of her life bedridden because of her weight. She died on her 53rd birthday and was probably close to 400-450lbs. When she died, they had to take the railings down to get her down the stairs and throw away her bed after her death because her hygiene was so poor. I decided I didn’t want to follow in her footsteps so I elected to have the gastric lap band surgery at my highest weight of 345lbs six months after she died. I lost approximately 55 pounds with the surgery but I plateaued and struggled after that.

Then I was laid off from work and started to worry. Would a future employer hire the “fat girl”? Would my potential employer worry I would cost them high claims on their medical insurance bills? Would a potential employer think I was lazy because of my weight?

With these thoughts in mind, it seemed like all the forces in my life came together over the last couple of years. I found the right support system and exercise routine for me to lead a healthier life.

Zero2Hero: Charles Van Kessler


Kamala Appel: Hello everyone. This is Kamala Appel and I’m here today with an incredible survivor who also has a huge inspirational story to share with us, Mar. Charles Van Kessler.
Charles please tells us a little bit about your background.

Charles Van Kessler: Okay. I’m a Dutchman. I’m American now but I was born in Amsterdam, Holland in 1941 during World War II. Because my family on my father side was Jewish most of the family was taken away by the Germans and transported in to concentration camps.
I ended up in a state run orphanage for 8 years. Eight years of brutally living a nightmare and lots of abuse, no food especially during the war years. We ate flower bulbs to survive.
So when I was 9 years old I ran away. At that young age I just drifted all over Holland and try to talk to anyone who’d want to listen to my story and tried to find a place to sleep and get some food to eat and trying to start a different kind of life. That went on for quite a while till, thank God, I ended up in the United States at the age of 23.

Kamala: And what happen to you when came to United States? Did you experience any kind of aha moment or pivotal point in your life that made you realize that you had to be a little bit healthier and make a commitment to living a healthier life?

Charles: Yeah, you know, my body was a disaster. My mind was a disaster. I had nightmares and headaches and emotionally, I was a nightmare. So after talking to some people when I arrived in the United States, I started to take a handful of vitamin pills trying to make a difference in my life and obviously starting to live healthier as well. But I came very quickly to find out that vitamin pills don’t do too much for you because of the absorption process.

You know 80% of most heart pills end up in the bathroom when people go to the toilet and many sewage plants throughout America can vouch for that. There are thousands of pounds of undigested pills fetched up out of the filters of the sewage plants nationwide. This is all documented.

So I started studying at an early age in between working two jobs to make ends meet. I started studying nutrition and supplements in the human body for several decades actually. I also was trying to find a liquid multi vitamin product that would probably be a lot better for me but I could never find them.

So the “Aha!” moment came when I decided after some time of studying nutrition to look into the possibility of creating a liquid multi vitamin product and mineral product that would be second to none, really to change my life. With all the knowledge I had gathered, with all the meetings with bio chemist and bio engineers and PhDs and researches. I thought in one moment that I could do that and that’s exactly what happened. I created a product for me and I decided that if it would work for me I would share it with the world. That’s exactly what happened.

Zero2Hero: Jim Dailakis


Kamala Appel: Hello everyone this is Kamala Appel, and I’m here with Jim Dailakis, and we’re going to be talking about how to live a healthy lifestyle, and learning from his journey. Jim please tell everyone a little bit about your background.

Jim Dailakis: Well let’s see; I’m a first generation Australian, born to Greek parents and I grew up in Australia for most of my life, but then moved to New York City in my 20s a few times. And I was supposed to be here for a three month stand-up comedy tour but that three months came up to…I think we’re coming up to 16 years.

Kamala Appel: Wow.

Jim Dailakis: Yeah, and that’s 43 states and 6 countries later. So I never in my wildest dreams thought this would happen; where I’d just travel around the world performing and just working on a film, on a one man show, and it’s just all been great. I’m living proof that you can have what you want. Just apply yourself and don’t be lazy, because I do that sometimes.

Kamala Appel: Well that’s interesting. So when you say Australian of Greek heritage it’s funny because it makes me think of Anthony LaPaglia when he was talking about being the Italian in Australia, because Aussies are known for being blonde hair, blue eyes.

Jim Dailakis: Oh yeah that’s all gone. Yeah we’re all…it’s more of a melting point per capita than New York City. Believe it or not there’s a lot of Asians, there’s more Greeks outside of Athens in Melbourne than anywhere else in the world; and a lot of Italians. I go back every year and every year it’s like I see a different culture has just entered into the country; so it’s just…now there’s a lot of Somalians, there’s…the idea and the stereotypical blonde, bronzed, blue-eyed Aussie hero on a horse with a big coat is really fading out.

Kamala Appel: That’s kind of cool. So, tell me a little bit about…I’m curious, this is just an additional question; do you see any differences in health and wellness in people’s mindsets in Australia versus in the U.S.?

Jim Dailakis: Definitely. When I first got here I was just blown away by how many pharmaceutical commercials…

Kamala Appel: When did you get here?

Jim Dailakis: Let’s see ’96. Actually I was…in the ‘80s I was here, but I was…more like for a couple of years and then go back and then another year and then go back. But, I guess ‘95/96 I came for the three month tour and I’ve been here ever since. But, what I notice more than anything is Australians are really into just relaxing. Being more into I guess sports; I think they tried cable back then and it didn’t take off that well, because no one…and I guess because of the climate too, no one really wants to sit and watch television; so that was something I noticed.

I also noticed that there was a lot more stress over here, and I noticed that there was the pharmaceutical commercials; I thought, “Wow, if I didn’t have something wrong with me I think these commercials are convincing me that maybe I’m losing my hair, I’m too fat, I have restless leg and I’m depressed.” So I just…because I don’t think and I think it’s still like that now in Australia, I think you can only advertise headache tablets. But Viagra ,and what not, you can’t advertise those- no.

Kamala Appel: Well yeah and I think also you moved here when something switched in with the generics in the ‘80s where…then all of the sudden the pharmaceutical companies were competing for generics, and they had to figure out a way to compete; so that’s one way…when I was talking to people in that industry they said the one way they could compete is to outspend the generic with advertising dollars.

So that advertising really didn’t start appearing even in the states until the ‘90s. That was when you moved.

Balance: Ron Johnson


Kamala Appel: Hello everyone, this is Kamala Appel, and I’m here today with Bodhi Ron Johnson. We’re going to be talking about ways to achieve health, and things that Bodhi Ron has done to achieve them in his own life. Bodhi Ron, please introduce yourself and share a little bit about your background with the listeners.

Ron Johnson: Well thanks Kamala. I’m currently a yoga teacher, and yoga and eastern philosophy are my areas of expertise. I first started to study yoga when I was going to college at UC Santa Cruz, and eventually got a degree in psychology and religious studies from Santa Cruz, and then later I attended the University of Oregon and got a Master’s in writing there. And I’ve also written meditative poetry and music, and I’m working on a book. I’m editing a book that I’ve finished, but I’m rewriting it right now on eastern philosophy and yoga.

Kamala Appel: Okay cool; that’s cool. Tell me a little bit about your journey towards where you are now in terms of health; what happened in your life, if there was an aha moment, please share that or if it’s just a longer process, please feel free to share that with us. But, what made you make the commitment to living a healthier life?

Ron Johnson: Well, there were two moments, two times really; I got back from a spiritual retreat back in 2000. I had attended this spiritual retreat with a teacher, a spiritual teacher, Katherine Ingram, and we did some yoga on that, and I’d been having normal amounts of troubles with child custody and that type of thing when I went to the retreat.

And when I came back, a couple of weeks after I got back, I had this moment where I was having trouble sleeping because of all these things that were running through my mind. And I just got up and went out and laid down on the couch, and suddenly this feeling just washed over me where all that just dissolved, and I was just lying there perfectly at peace, and calm; it was strange.

But, I realized how much of that was just the thought process; it wasn’t anything really bad that was happening at that moment while I was lying there. It was mostly just dwelling on the thoughts about those things that was the problem. That was more of the mental, spiritual side of it.

Kamala Appel: I was going to say what was the second?

Ron Johnson: And then a little later…well I had…and I was working as a juvenile counselor and gradually began putting on quite a bit of extra weight mainly from being a good guy and taking kids out to fast food, and eating my own share of fast food myself. So I got overweight and a certain amount of hypertension, and went to see a doctor who told me that he felt that with his help I could live to be 80.

And that didn’t seem too good; so that was a few years after the retreat. So then I decided to join a gym in the neighborhood where I live in Portland and started working out at the gym. But that was the second aha, big thing when I got to that moment to where the doctor had that prognosis.

Kamala Appel: That you would need his help to live to old age?

Ron Johnson: That what I was doing…yeah exactly. That it was having an effect on life expectancy. But, that was good; it was enough of a shock to get me into a gym.

Kamala Appel: To get motivated. Yeah.

Ron Johnson: Exactly. Very motivating.

Kamala Appel: Who wants to go to the doctor for the next 50 years or something like that?

Ron Johnson: Exactly, but that’s a good point; so then I got on a regular schedule with this gym. And I had studied yoga quite a bit previously; so eventually a job opened up teaching yoga at that gym, which I applied for, and they did… amazingly hired me.

Kamala Appel: That’s great.

Ron Johnson: Yeah.