Karen Mitchell has empowered the Warriors & Quiet Waters (WQW) community with knowledge on wellness since 2021. Her journey to becoming a National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach and Certified Functional Nutrition Lifestyle Practitioner began when she sought better health for herself and her family. Through several personal experiences with nutrition and wellness, it became abundantly clear that these aspects of life were deeply impacting the lives of Karen and her family. She decided to dive further into the field and help others find healing.
Inspired to learn more Karen became certified as a health and wellness coach. From there, she became national board-certified as a health and wellness coach. As she sat for those boards, she also received a certificate as a functional nutrition counselor, and furthered that to become a functional nutrition lifestyle practitioner.
Karen attends WQW programs to advise Warriors and their loved ones on how they can use nutrition in their journey to thriving. We sat down with Karen to learn more about the importance of nutrition and how WQW has shaped her over the years.
Karen: When a program is at Quiet Waters Ranch, I meet with the Warriors for a conversation. I usually talk about food and the simple basics of what to eat based on nervous system regulation. Then I will talk about the nervous systems. There’s the sympathetic nervous system – which controls fight, flight, or freeze – and the parasympathetic nervous system – which controls rest, digestion, and healing. I frame those two things as a guide to get the body into a more healing, grounded state.
Because I'm a health and wellness coach, everything I do is guided by the Warrior. They get to decide which route they're going to go down. I'm just there to expand their awareness and provide that support.
Later in the week, I do fifteen-minute one-on-one sessions with the Warriors and ask, ‘What’s your number one health challenge?’ From there, we walk through what they might do to resolve the issue, and their first steps.
Karen: We just had a group of Warriors come through Built for More, and on one of our Zoom meetings, the Warriors were asked, ‘What one thing from the Built for More program so far that’s made the most difference in your life?’ I was blown away by their answers. The first three people mentioned that their physical health was transformed by changing their diets. They felt more energetic, were thinking more clearly, and sleeping better. It blows me away to hear that over and over again.
When I ask people, ‘Why do you want to make a change?’, 95 percent of the time they say, ‘Because I want to be a better father, a better mother, a better spouse, husband, wife, and a better parent.’ I do this work because I believe that when we feel better, we can show up for one another in a positive way.
Karen: I look at nutrition and food as medicine. When we eat things that help our body feel good and get our systems functioning well, everything else can get better. So, if we’re eating processed foods, sugars, or oils that our body can’t process well, that’s like feeding our car low-quality gas. I like to look at the body as a nice car, which means we want to give it good fuel. If I give it good fuel, it will give me good things back. That’s one of the most important things about nutrition – it's not just what we eat, but it's all the things that we surround ourselves in daily life to help support us so that we can thrive.
WQW: It’s wonderful to hear how we can set ourselves up for thriving through nutrition, Karen. Our last question for you is, what does thriving mean to you?
Karen: To me, thriving means being able to find joy in life. It’s about finding places that light you up and doing things that you love with the people you love. It also includes the idea of resilience. The more resilience we have, the more we're able to bend and flow with what life gives us. That brings us to the ability to find joy. Thriving means figuring ourselves out. To me, thriving is the ultimate wellness of figuring ourselves out and giving ourselves what we most need in this world to be and do our best and to show up for the people we love and the things that matter to us.