Ahern: Beverly woman stresses diet as key to good health
BY Patti Ahern Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org July 25, 2013 2:46PM
Updated: August 29, 2013 7:27PM
Rosie Kenny challenges SouthtownStar readers to eat five to nine fruits and vegetables every day for one week because she wants people to experience the results of eating such a healthy diet.
“People who do this will see their energy level skyrocket, their digestion will be smoother, and they will find out their body is all for this,” Kenny said.
She offers other suggestions, too.
“Parsley is a great summertime herb packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals,” Kenny said. “Parsley encourages kidney flushing, which ensures they are clean during these hot summer months when perspiration increases. Be sure to add mint leaves to fruit salads, drinks, peas and even new potatoes. By including this cooling herb, you are introducing a delicious antiseptic and anti-spasmodic ingredient.”
Kenny, who lives in the Beverly community of Chicago, not only adheres to the fruit-and-veggie plan but promotes it in her role as a health coach, where she encourages others to also choose a healthy lifestyle.
“I started being interested in healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle before high school, when a neighbor gave me a little dandelion leaf to eat,” she said. “That piqued my interest, and in high school I started realizing that food choices were very important. I found that ‘you are what you eat’ is very true.”
In finding her calling as a health coach, Kenny took a path that was always focused on helping others. Following graduation from Chicago’s St. Ignatius College Prep High School, she attended Michigan State University but felt a calling to give back to society.
She left Michigan State and joined City Year, an organization based in Massachusetts that strives to create social change via tutoring, mentorship and role modeling that its members do in schools throughout the United States.
Kenny stayed with City Year for four years, working in Chicago and in New Hampshire, and during that time read a lot to learn more about food and health. Her quest for knowledge was helpful because as she began to understand the mind-body connection, she also found a way to stop what she refers to as her “mystery illnesses.”
One of her mystery maladies was an ongoing “face headache” that she suffered from for several years despite seeking help from doctors. Many treatments were offered to help her with the pain, but nothing cured her. Another illness was tied to hormonal fluctuations. In both cases, when traditional medicine did not help, Kenny decided to listen to her body, to discover what might make her feel better.
“My body did not want me to be in pain, so I listened to my body, which is kind of like prayer, or is similar to meditating,” she said. “When I listen to my body, I just calm my mind and wait for an answer.”
Kenny determined that she was ingesting too much sugar and salt. When she stopped her sugar intake, she found that her headaches were gone in a matter of days, and using herbs instead of salt made her feel “amazing.” After this outcome, she became even more interested in improving her diet.
“I started to study botany and food — anything to do with food — at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.,” Kenny said. “I met a lot of people who were into the same thing, food. I met people who were into herbs, nature and natural and healthy living.”
Kenny and her friends began to cook together, experiment with foods and use homegrown herbs, which is a passion for her. Eventually, she found her way to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a health training program that focuses on dietary theories and a holistic approach to health.
Through the institute, Kenny became a certified health coach with the Association of Drug-less Practitioners, and now works at helping people achieve weight-loss goals or healthier lifestyles by making better choices about food.
“Basically, I’m here to help people take into consideration what their bodies are saying,” she said. “I am not a nutritionist or a therapist, but I am a health coach, and I like to help people use whole foods for a full life.”
Beverly resident Connie Burnet wrote in an email that she started working with Kenny this year when she decided it was a good time to address some food and health issues.
“I am very aware of the changes for the worse that are occurring in our food supply — genetically modified organism foods, specifically,” Burnet wrote.
She said the negative effect of those things on our health is evident and should be everyone’s major concern.
“I’m seeing more wellness in my life, and I’ve simply been replacing less optimal foods with better choices,” Burnet said. “As I do this, I find that processed and convenience foods are losing their appeal and certainly their taste.”
Debra Mazer, a fellow health coach in California, is coached by Kenny via phone.
“I’ve known Rosie about a year,” Mazer wrote in an email. “She is my accountability partner and business coach. She supports me to live in my truth, achieve my goals and be the best version of me.”
Kenny loves her job and sharing her knowledge of foods and health.
“I love helping people find a healing relationship with their body and with food,” she said. “It may seem challenging for people to eat five to nine fruits and veggies a day, but once people are past the first step it is so much easier because our bodies want to be healthy.”
For more information about Kenny, visit www.rosiekenny.com.