Wholehearted Healthcare, P.C., Newsletter
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Picture of Blue Vervain on the Nebraska Prairie
Blue Vervain on the Nebraska Prairie by Molly Brass

March 2016

"The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage." ---Thucydides
Introducing Wholehearted Healthcare's Receptionist, Leah Dank
By Staff Writer
Leah Picture of Leah Dank, Wholehearted Healthercare Receptionistis the “receptionist extraordinaire” at Wholehearted Healthcare. She loves getting to know Gena’s patients and assisting them with their questions and needs. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is currently applying to nursing programs in Lincoln. She is fluent in French and has taken courses in Arabic and Spanish. As a future nurse, her interest lies in a women’s health specialty. She hopes to work towards advocating for women’s right to proper prenatal and postpartum care as well as assisting women who have suffered sexual trauma. Leah’s other passions include working with essential oils, working as a birth doula, hosting dinner parties, and being at home with her wonderful husband and six-year-old son. 

Leah recommends and is currently reading Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life. In the book, Hays talks about how negative thought patterns create "dis-ease" in our bodies and empowers her readers to change and release negative beliefs to create health and positivity. You Can Heal Your Life has inspired Leah to post positive affirmations everywhere: in her car, in her bathroom, on her mirror, on her desk at work. "Positivity is a practice," says Leah, "and releasing fears is difficult, but when you're ready, there's no looking back!"
High-Quality Dietary Fats Are Essential for Wellness
By Staff Writer

The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) explains, "Mitochondria are structures in the cell that make energy by using oxygen and nutrients from food. The brain, heart, nerves, muscles, and organs all have higher concentrations of mitochondria. . . . Healthy mitochondria are pitoval for cellular survival, overall vitality, and graceful aging." They also help detoxify our cells of poisons such as pesticides, air pollution, and food toxins. The Mito Food Plan is IFM's suggested pathway to enhancing mitochondrial function and preventing, as much as possible, chronic illnesses (such as heart disease, cancer, etc.), low energy, and loss of vitality. This "anti-inflammatory, low-glycemic, gluten-free, low-grain, high-quality-fats approach to eating," affirms IFM, can help all of us live healthy, more fulfilling lives.

One of the key components of the Mito Food Plan is high-quality dietary fats. Our bodies, and particularly our brains, thrive on them. The best fats for brain function contain DHA (omega-3 fatty acids) found in seaweed, egg yolks, and cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, cod, and sardines. Other healthy fats include nuts, seeds, and plant-based oils. These dietary fats help us maintain overall wellness and can even assist us in healing—physically and emotionally. Here's a list of IFM's and Gena's favorite therapeutic fats and simple ways to add them into your meal plan:
  1. Wild-caught salmon. IFM recommends wild-caught fish "as farmed salmon may contain hormones and toxic chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)." Salmon also serves as a healthy source of protein. Feature broiled or baked salmon as part of an evening meal.
  2. Almonds and walnuts, preferably raw and unsalted. Use a palm-full serving size for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack or part of any main meal on salads or tossed with grains such as quinoa. Also, nut butters are easy to spread on apples or celery. Almond meal or flour can be a good gluten-free substitute in baked goods. 
  3. Flax, hemp, chia, pumpkin, and sesame seeds. All of these seeds can be added to smoothies, sprinkled on salads and oatmeal, or added to baked goods. Tahini (sesame seed butter) is a main ingredient in hummus or can be used like nut butters to spread on fruit or vegetables. For vegans, hemp can be a major source of protein as well.
  4. Olives and olive oil. Choose minimally-refined, organic, cold-pressed, non-GMO olive oil and use for homemade salads dressings, drizzle over steamed or oven-grilled vegetables, and use in soups. Keep all oils away from light and heat to preserve their quality. Never use rancid oils. Also, it is advisable to avoid using olive oil for high-heat cooking as it oxidizes at high temperatures.
  5. Coconut. Fresh coconut, unsweetened coconut flakes, organic and virgin coconut milk and oil are all excellent sources of high-quality fat. Use coconut milk in smoothies, soups, casseroles. Use coconut oil in baked goods, curries, and vegetable dishes. Mix unsweetened flakes with nuts and berries for breakfast or a snack in between main meals.
  6. Ghee and butter from grass-fed cows. Ghee, or clarified butter, is used heavily in Indian cooking and is also a safe fat to use for high-heat cooking as it is less likely to oxidize than other oils. If butter from grass-fed cows is not easily available, it may be best to avoid butter altogether.
  7. Avocados. Superfood for the brain, avocados are not only a high-quality fat, but also a source of potassium as well as glutathione and Vitamin E, both of which are powerful antioxidants. As a monounsaturated fat, avocados help us absorb the phytonutrients in other fruits and vegetables. In other words, eating avocados with fruits and veggies boosts the work that these foods do to protect us against free radicals. Add avocados to salads or smoothies, make guacamole, or simply eat with a spoon right out of the nature-made bowl of their skin.
Making an effort to include these high-quality dietary fats in your diet can improve your health, your energy, and your enjoyment of the world around you. Happy eating!

Gena is currently working toward her certification in Functional Medicine through IFM. Why functional medicine? Read more on Wholehearted Healthcare's website. Have more questions about the Mito Food Plan and how it might enhance your wellness journey? Gena welcomes meeting with you to discuss the plan further. Contact or (402) 730-9819 to schedule an appointment.
Self-Compassion Is the Key to Caring for Yourself
By Staff Writer

Image that reads: Be kind to yourself.Wholehearted wellness grows out of self-compassion, or treating ourselves the same way we treat those we love—a child, an intimate partner, a friend. Self-compassion is not self-pity, self-indulgence, or self-esteem. Instead, it is seeing ourselves through compassionate eyes, understanding that all humans experience joy and pain, and practicing mindful awareness of our internal and external worlds. To live wholeheartedly, we must love and care for ourselves. As Gena likes to say, "Speak with loving-kindness—first to yourself, then to others."

If you are self-critical by nature, nurture, or both, the practice of self-compassion might be difficult at first. Thankfully, there are many helpful resources to encourage you along the way to healing. Here are a few resources that Gena recommends to get you started:
  • "The Power of Vulnerability" by Brené Brown. In this 20-minute video, Brown talks about her research on shame and how being vulnerable and accepting ourselves for who we are can radically alter our lives for the better.
  • The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown. In her book, Brown explains what it means to live wholeheartedly and gives practical advice on how to do so.
  • by Kristin Neff. Neff's website is a great introduction to the concept of and research on self-compassion. The site explains what self-compassion is and isn't, offers a test to gauge your current level of self-compassion, and even provides self-guided meditations to deepen loving-kindness.
  • Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff.  In her book, Neff details the three-aspect definition of self-compassion (self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness) and explains how to embody it in everyday life.
It is in being kind to ourselves that we can then best be kind to others.

Beginning in April, Gena will facilitate a Self-Compassion Workshop using Kristin Neff's book. See more details in the Events section below.
How Is Your Heart?: Exploring the Core Question Related to Our Spiritual Lives
By Staff Writer

Picture of Votive CandlesPart of what makes us human is our spirits. The word comes to us from the Old French espirit, a term that itself descends from the Latin spiritus, meaning soul, breath, or vigor. We might even think of our spirits as our hearts. Professor Omid Safi, Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center, remarks that in most Muslim cultures when one person asks another "How are you?" (in Arabic, "Kayf haal-ik?"), she is really asking,"'How is your haal?' . . . 'How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?'" Safi explains further:

"When I ask, 'How are you?' that is really what I want to know. . . . I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul. . . . Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart." (Read Safi's whole article "The Disease of Being Busy.")

In our busy lives, it's often difficult to remember to take care of our souls, our breath, and our vigor. In fact, our busyness might be the direct result of caring for others—family, friends, and even strangers. So we forget to slow down and check on our own hearts. That's what spirituality is all about: tending to our hearts. What do you do to feed your spirit? How do you nurture your soul? Right now, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, take a moment or two to focus on your spiritual being, to ask yourself, "How is my heart?" And listen closely to the answer.
All events take place at Wholehearted Healthcare's healing space, 4701 Bancroft Ave., Lincoln, 68506.
Singing Bowls Meditation
Wednesday, March 16, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

A spiritual immersion into the healing vibrations of the singing bowls led by VJ Herbert. 

This past event was full and had a waiting list. As a result, future events are being scheduled. In the meantime, those interested in a personal session may contact VJ directly via email: He will discuss further details with you, including time and location. Suggested donation for a private, hour-long session is $35.

VJ is a musician, composer, conductor, and spiritual teacher. He has 16 years of professional experience in choral composition and has directed six choirs from in New York, Chicago, and Lincoln during that time. He has studied vocal music, theory, and choral composition at Garden State Academy in Tranquility, NJ, and Doane College in Crete, NE. In 2012, VJ began his work with music and sound as an instrument for healing through meditation, using crystal bowls, tuning forks, and solfeggio frequencies as methods for self-mastery. Crystal singing bowls produce a crystal pure tone and vibration that are not only heard by ear, but are also felt within the body. This allows energy centers (chakras) to be cleansed, balanced, and energized. Just like any instrument, the body needs to be tuned to the solfeggio scale, for everything in the Universe is vibration and harmonics. VJ currently lives in Lincoln where he continues his work and education in sound healing and directs his new and upcoming vocal music group Xion.
True Nourishment, Part II
Wednesday, March 30, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Nutrition is often more about emotional wellness than it is about food. A continuation of last month's first True Nourishment event, Amy Hill Harshman will share how to recognize self-sabotaging behaviors and instead make choices that nourish our bodies as well as our hearts and minds.

Space is limited. RSVP to or (402) 730-9819. Cost per person: $10.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Amy has resided in Lincoln since 2010, and with her husband parents two children, ages 7 and 10. Over the 16 years she has been a Registered Dietitian, Amy has coached hundreds of people through the process of cleansing their bodies of toxicity. In February 2016, she completed her education as a Certified Coach in Eating Psychology to enhance her passion for and expertise in preventive and holistic healthcare. Amy loves inspiring others to take the transformational journey of mind-body wellbeing.
Mothers' Connection
Thursday, March 31, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

A group to support women on the journey of being a mom. Led by Gena and Annie Nienhueser, this first connection of 2016 will be a time to meet, mingle, and identify our interests and needs to collectively shape future gatherings. Nursing infants are welcome. No RSVP needed.

Originally from Sioux City, IA, Annie has been a Lincolnite for eight years now. She and her husband Jeff have three girls—one foster and two biological. Among other interests, Annie is passionate about her family and holistic health. As a Certified Health Coach and mother, she gets especially excited when she can support other moms and families on the path of healthy living.
Self-Compassion Workshop
Tuesdays, April 12-May 10, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Dynamics of the Workshop

Join Gena on an intimate journey of exploring what self-compassion can do for your emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness.

Each person who attends will bring different gifts to this private group; thoughts, feelings, emotions expressed and shared by group members will be kept between those present. Members will create a safe space for everyone to share and support each other as they delve into the powerful, healing concept of self-compassion.

What to Expect

The group will read Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, Ph.D., a research psychologist who uses empirical data, personal stories, practical experiences, and humor to explain how to heal destructive emotional patterns so that we can be healthier, happier, and more effective—our higher selves.
There are activities and personal growth exercises throughout the book that each member will complete before each session, writing them down in a journal. Then time will be allotted for personal sharing of responses—as members feel comfortable.
Gena will also incorporate findings on self-compassion, mindfulness, and self-care from other sources.

The group will follow this reading and discussion schedule of Neff’s book:
  • April 12—Part One, Chapters 1 & 2
  • April 19—Part Two, Chapters 3, 4, & 5
  • April 26—Part Three, Chapters 6, 7, & 8
  • May 3—Part Four, Chapters 9, 10, & 11
  • May 10—Part Five, Chapters 12 & 13
Flow of the Workshop
  • Presence and intention for healing to take place
  • Five-minute guided meditation for gathering of self
  • Gena will share a few opening thoughts followed by open discussion from group members
  • Five minutes of journaling recognition of personal suffering followed by five minutes of journaling self-affirmation
  • Open discussion from group members
  • Sharing of the exercises completed from the reading—as members feel comfortable
  • Gena will share closing thoughts
What to Bring to the Workshop
  • Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, Ph.D.
  • Journal with completed exercises
  • Pen or pencil
  • An open heart
  • $100, check or cash (can be paid in full or $20 on the day of each session)
Space is limited. RSVP to or (402) 730-9819.
Special thanks to Nurse Practitioner Ladonna Hart for taking good care of Gena's patients while Gena and her family conducted medical clinics in Honduras at the beginning of March.
Love, light, and peace to your soul,

Gena Foster
Copyright © 2016 Wholehearted Healthcare, P.C., All rights reserved.

Our mailing address and phone number are:
4701 Bancroft Ave., Lincoln, NE  68056
(402) 730-9819

Disclaimer. The information in this newsletter is provided as a resource only and should not replace professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

Advice from Gena. Personalized medicine is always the best type of medicine.
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