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“I’m 27 years old and I have ALWAYS struggled with my weight. I regularly work out and didn’t think my diet was THAT bad but no matter what I did I always carried extra weight. I’ve been on pretty much every diet you can think of where I’ll lose the weight but the second after I stop “dieting” mode the weight comes back on. After years and years of this see saw affect with my weight I decided to get some professional help to not only tackle the weight once and for all but to also adopt a healthy lifestyle. I reached out to Donna for this.

During our first couple meetings she had me write down what I ate for every meal and how I felt.  we would review these food diaries at our monthly meetings. After I believe the second meeting she put together a diet plan for me. It was basically a list that laid out how many servings of what I should be eating in a day (veggies, starches, dairy, etc) and she provided a list of all of the different types of food and the calories count in a serving. She also provided a ton of recipes.  I then tracked my daily meals but on a different sheet where you count the number of servings you have of a particular item type and your sum for the day has to equal the ideal number of servings Donna lays out for you. For example, my servings are: 3 – grain, 2 – dairy, 3 – fruit, 8 – veggies, 7 – meat. Everything I eat in a day should sum up to these servings.

I met with Donna once a month for an hour. We’d review my food diaries for the month and go over a lesson plan. The lesson plans will consist of how your body processes different types of food or how to shop at the grocery store. How to deal with the mental thoughts associated with food, etc.

I went into this process not intending to view it as a new “diet” I was on but a lifestyle change. It took me quite a while to reach that goal but with Donna’s guidance I’m finally getting there. I’ve learned a great deal about how to have a healthy lifestyle without completely depriving myself. I also found that a lot of my issues were mental. Donna helped me to recognize these feels and helped me deal with them.

After work with Donna this last year I finally feel healthy both physically and mentally. I’ve lost about 20 pounds and don’t feel any desire to deviate from my healthy lifestyle. It’s amazing how much better your body feels when you put the correct ingredients into it.

I cannot recommend Donna enough. She’s great!”

Laura W. – San Diego, CA | October 2, 2017

Top 5 Running Spots in San Diego

With great year-round weather, San Diego is a runner’s paradise. We put together some of the best places for an outdoor run (or walk or bike) that has great scenery so you can enjoy a workout while taking in our city’s beautiful sights. We hope list this will inspire you to get out there and explore this runner’s playground!


Balboa Park

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Balboa Park is first on our list for a reason; it has so many running paths to offer with varying levels of difficulty and great views and scenery. With such a versatile layout, you can make your run at Balboa Park as short or as long as you would like. There are signs around the park with maps to a plethora of trails and paths and they even offer digital maps online. Once you experience a great Balboa Park run, there’s no question why it’s a favorite among San Diego locals.

More info.


Mission Bay

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Mission Bay is another beautiful spot on our list all about the scenery. It’s also another great “create-your-own run” location. There are many parking lots to start from around the bay that offer paths at varying lengths. Marathon trainers love this running spot because, at its longest, Mission Bay provides a loop that’s just over 12 miles. Insider tip: plan your run around sundown for a stunning sunset view during your run.

More info.


Torrey Pines

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Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve provides miles of coastal trails ideal for trail running. Enjoy a nice workout with a cool ocean breeze. You can plan your run on their website that provides an up to date map, current trail closures, and even current weather conditions.

More info.


Lake Murray

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Lake Murray reservoir is one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in San Diego. Located within Mission Trails Regional Park, Lake Murray Path is about a 7 mile round trip route that can be accessed from multiple points. The entire path is paved with enough room for two-way traffic.

More info.


Silver Strand

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The Silver Strand State Beach falls along San Diego’s 24-mile Bayshore Bikeway recommended route from Downtown San Diego. Run down 5 miles of car-free, paved paths along the beautiful Silver Strand shoreline. This relatively flat route makes for a great weekend long run in the sun!

More info.


Tip: Be sure to stay hydrated throughout your day and especially before exercise. And if running during the day in the sun be sure to apply low-toxin sunscreen to exposed skin. Visit for great sunscreen reviews.

“I’ve been working with Donna for several months now.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to 10 sessions and pay upfront but it was for the best.  Because I prepaid, I’ve kept every appointment and each time, I learn more about how to handle my health issues.  Donna knows her stuff and I appreciate that she adds value to our every session not just through coaching but by providing  written materials from other sources.”

Michele L. – Escondido, CA | October 16, 2017

Top 10 Tips For Making Healthier Choices When Eating Out

Top 10 Tips For Making Healthier Choices When Eating Out


Look for lower-calorie offerings.

Some restaurants offer a “lighter” section of their menu. This can be helpful to choose smaller portion entrées. Just be careful and read nutritional facts when possible. Just because the meal is in that section doesn’t mean it’s balanced.


Have a plan. 

Look online at menus before you go to the restaurant. Make a plan for what you will order by looking at all the options and nutritional information. Get ready for what you will ask for from your waiter. If you know what you are going to order ahead of time, especially if you have menu substitutions, it will take a lot of stress out of the ordering process.


Don’t be afraid of asking for substitutions. 

If you see an item you want to order but it has a side or sauce you know you don’t want then ask for a substitution. Ask for steamed vegetables as a side instead of the starch option, ask for avocado instead of mayonnaise, or ask for oil and vinegar instead of dressing. Substituting can turn a plate you want to avoid into a nutritious and balanced meal.


When going out with friends ask if you can pick the restaurant. 

Some restaurants have more healthy options. If you can pick the restaurant then you can have more control over what choices you have.


Eat a light snack and drink plenty of water before you go. 

Eat a snack of nuts or cheese and drink extra water before you go. This will ensure you are not starving when you arrive at the restaurant and help to prevent overeating.


Always ask for dressing and sauces on the side. 

Sauces and dressings at restaurants can be sugar laden and calorie rich. Choosing to opt for a side can help you control how much you use.


Ask for a to-go box when you get your food–or share an entree. 

Portions at restaurants can be large enough for two or more meals. If you know you will not be able to stop halfway through, ask your serve for a to-go box when you receive your meal. Transfer half of your food and save it for lunch the next day. This is also a great way to stretch your budget and get 2 meals for the price of one.


Don’t drink your calories. 

Ask about herbal teas or mineral water even if they’re not on the menu. They can be a great substitution for other drinks on the menu that can be high in sugar and calories. When in doubt stick to what is natural in our bodies; water.


Get more information from your server

Don’t be afraid to ask your server about how a particular meal is prepared or what ingredients they contain. Often times there’s more that goes into a meal than what is written on the menu.


Although very tempting, try to eat out only occasionally. 

Even though eating out is very tempting, it is best if it is seen as a treat, not a routine. It can be a part of a healthy lifestyle if it is seldom and it isn’t seen as an opportunity to abandon all your healthy eating rules.




  4. Eating on the Go PDF, ©PLNW Inc. 2013 & Beyond

“In March 2017, I was stuck in my weight loss efforts despite limiting my calories and exercise efforts. Shedding 30+ pounds had been a struggle for years – my weight would yo-yo; sometimes being able to lose a few pounds with deprivation, but the pounds always returned once I started eating again. I was also experiencing fairly severe health annoyances like constant watery eyes and significant swelling in my knees – but my focus was really not on those things; it was on wanting to lose weight.

Convinced that my metabolism was permanently stifled due to my age and years of yo-yo dieting (I am 55 years old), I was ready to give up and accept the way I looked and felt as my unfortunate reality. My husband thankfully encouraged me to see a Dietician/Nutritionist, and I found Donna online.

My first appointment with Donna was in late March. We decided that I would do a 2 week cleanse (Detox) to rid my body of toxins – it was excruciating (but worth it!), proof that my body was full of bad things. I then went through testing for the LEAP program. The results were very interesting – things I had been eating for years in my efforts to lose weight – like certain fruits, garbanzo beans, cabbage, corn, chicken, and beef – and things like basil, garlic, and peanuts – were identified as intolerances for me. Donna explained that these foods led to inflammation and worked against my weight loss efforts. As well, consumption of these foods was causing/aggravating the other health symptoms I was experiencing.

Fast forward to six months later, and while I have not been perfect, I am over halfway to my weight loss goal! Thanks to Donna and the LEAP protocol, I have lost about 20 pounds, the swelling in my knees is noticeably reduced, and my eyes are only occasionally mildly watery. My physical and mental health has improved, and I am aware of how I feel when eating certain foods to the point that I embarked on a 10-week program to give up sugar on August 1st. One of the best things about the LEAP program is that it is not a Diet – this is a Lifestyle Change which I will be able to maintain.I highly recommend Donna and the programs she uses to others struggling with health issues, including the inability to lose weight. It is amazing how much what we ingest affects our health, and it’s not just avoiding those foods we know we shouldn’t eat! I was eating hummus and grapefruit regularly in my prior weight loss efforts, and it turns out those so-called health foods were working against me.  This program has been life changing for me, and I am so appreciative for Donna and her true concern about my health.”

Michele L. – Escondido, CA | October 16, 2017

Tips to Stay Hydrated

With summer in full swing, it’s important to remember to stay hydrated! But with so much advice being handed out left and right about hydration, it’s hard to know how much— or what— to drink. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you keep cool this summer:


1. Water is Key

Water takes up 60% of our body weight, and it is an essential nutrient to keep our body functioning. Water is lost everyday through normal activities, so it is important to fully replenish it. So how much? The Institute of Medicine recommends about 13 cups a day for men and about 9 cups a day for women, but the general advice of “eight cups a day,” is close enough to be safe for most people.


2. Physical Activity Means More Fluids

Everyone knows that as you exercise, you perspire. But did you know that intense  prolonged exercise, especially in the heat, can lead to up to 2.5. liters (about 11 cups) of fluid being lost through perspiration? Factors such as humidity, temperature, and clothing or protective gear can increase this rate as well. This means it is even more important for people engaging in physical activity to stay hydrated! Everyone has different needs, but a general rule of thumb for how much and when to drink for athletes is as follows:

  • 5-7 milliliters fluid per kilogram body weight 4 hours before exercise
  • 3-5 milliliters fluid per kilogram body weight 2 hours prior to exercise
  • 150-350 milliliters fluid every 15-20 minutes throughout exercise
  • 1.5 liters fluid per kilogram of body weight lost (of water weight) after exercise


3. There’s More Than Water

Water is ultimately the most recommended fluid to stay hydrated, but it is by no means the only option. If you find yourself struggling to drink enough water, try some healthy alternatives such as coconut or sparkling water. You can even add some fruit juice or fresh lemon or lime to sparkling water for a flavorful treat. Athletes may find consuming sports drinks to replenish electrolyte and carbohydrate levels to be beneficial if they exercise intensely for over an hour, but make sure to be aware of the sugar content. You can also gain fluids through the food you eat— mainly fruits and vegetables. Try some watermelon, grapefruit, cucumbers or even avocado to increase your fluid intake, and enjoy a delicious, healthy snack! Broth or chilled soups can also be counted towards your total fluid intake, and you could try some iced ginger, fruit or other flavored tea as refreshing, summery drink.

Hope those tips help you stay hydrated this summer. Check out the recipes below for some more hydration inspiration! 


Banana-Pineapple Smoothie



  • 8 oz. plain yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1 (6 oz) can Pine-Orange-Banana juice



  • Freeze carton of yogurt and allow thawing slightly prior to blending smoothie.
  • Put all ingredients into blender.
  • Blend until smoothie consistency is reached! If drink is too thick, add orange juice.

Yield: 2 serving


Peach Smoothie


  • 2 medium peeled pitted and sliced fresh peaches or frozen equivalentpeaches.jpeg
  • 1 cup milk or yogurt (plain)
  • ¼ cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 4 drops Stevia sweetener
  • 1 tsp  vanilla
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup ice cubes (1½ w/ yogurt)



  • In blender container combine remaining peaches, milk, juice concentrate, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Cover and blend until smooth.
  • Gradually add ice cubes through hole in blender lid, blending until smooth after each addition.  

Yield: 2 servings


Strawberry Cucumber Water


  • cucumber water8 ounces stemmed and thinly sliced strawberries
  • ½ cup thinly sliced cucumber



  • Place the ingredients in a pitcher and add 2 quarts of water
  • Refrigerate for 2-4 hours to allow time to infuse
  • Before serving, stir well and discard the solids




[Photograph]. Retrieved from

[Photograph]. Retrieved from

Dunford, M., & Doyle, J. A. (2015). Nutrition for sport and exercise. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Food Network Kitchens. (n.d.). Strawberry-Cucumber Water Recipe. Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic. (2014, September 5). Water: How much should you drink every day? Retrieved from


Post by Janelle Tarmas, Healthy Directions For You Intern

Testimonial – Deborah Kimsey

I highly recommend Donna Wolf. She is a lifesaver!!

I had a intestinal virus that the doctor said would only last 10 days. After the virus was gone my gastrointestinal track was completly inflamed. I was losing weight and could eat almost nothing. I was in pain all the time and could not keep anything in my stomach. I would recover a little and then get sick again. I went to doctors and they kept running tests but no solutions. This went on for 1year. I then was referred to a gastroenterologist who ran a battery of tests and determined I had developed food sensitivities. He sent me on my way with a list of foods that could be causing the problem but I had to figure it out on my own.

I continued to try to figure it out for a year with very little success. After a year of this the doctor sent me to work with Donna. That recommendation saved my life. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to get better. Donna immediately put me on the Leap MRT diet. The tests showed what foods were causing my inflammation. She had me on an elimination diet and my symptoms started to get better. It took some time but eventually my symptoms left and my whole system was healed.

I am so grateful for Donna’s expertise and gift of healing. She was with me every step of the way and was always available to answer any questions or concerns. Donna always follows up and quickly returns calls. Working with Donna has given me my life back!

Deborah Kimsey – February 10, 2017

I was overweight, tired and my joints hurt constantly. I thought I was eating healthy. After many months of trying to lose the weight on my own, nothing happened. I was frustrated and needed answers. I found Donna Wolf and found my answers.

With the MRT testing, it showed that all the foods I was consuming I was sensitive to. After eliminating the foods and completely changing my diet I started seeing better results. The LEAP Program has taught me all new concepts about what we eat, when and why we should eat the way we need to for our own individual bodies.

I doesn’t happen over night and if it wasn’t for Donna Wolf encouraging me throughout the process I wouldn’t have kept going and wouldn’t have understood that the foods we eat can change the way we feel. I now feel healthier, happier and I have so much more energy with my new found lifestyle.

Candice Lai – San Diego, CA January 5, 2017

Leaky Gut, What It Is & Why It’s Significant

Leaky Gut What It Is and Why It's SignificantSo many symptoms we experience on a daily basis are directly related to our nutritional fitness. The human body is a wonderfully made synergistic organism that continually seeks homeostasis, or balance, or as we understand it: good health. This is an ongoing daily process involving millions of cellular reactions, dependent upon adequate nutrients, and optimal organ function (stomach & intestines, brain, kidneys, liver, adrenals, thyroid, heart). When our bodies don’t get the proper amounts and combinations of nutrients, or are overwhelmed by ALL the toxins in our foods (sugar being a big one), medications, cleaning chemicals, pesticides, BPA from plastics and mercury, the body becomes out of balance, or “sick”. When we combine that scenario on a regular basis with lack of adequate sleep, and daily stress excesses, our bodies are well on the way down the road to chronic disease.

Health is a continuum. It goes from optimal health & wellness to chronic disease. One does NOT go to bed well and all of a sudden, wake up with diabetes, or heart disease, or cancer. These diseases are continually progressing from birth. We have cancerous cells circulating in our bodies all the time, and the job of an optimally functioning immune system is to find those cells and take them out!

We can determine how far down that chronic disease road we are, by the symptoms we experience. Symptoms are the body’s natural warning system that something is wrong, or out of balance. Symptoms do not occur because we are deficient in drug therapy! Symptoms occur because we are nutrient deficient and toxin overloaded. Putting more chemicals/medications into the body to alleviate these warning signals only makes your health problems worse. Focusing on WHY you are having symptoms and WHAT are the cause, is the key to regaining optimal health, AND the essence of “Functional Medicine & Nutrition practice.

In this post we are discussing the health of The Gut: the stomach and intestines. Most health problems start here. Hippocrates, the famous father of modern medicine called it years ago when he announced “All Disease Begins In The Gut“. He was one smart intuitive doctor.
Eighty percent of your immune system is in the gut, as is most of our microbiome. Our microbiome is the vast colony of microorganisms that live off of us. It includes symbiotic, commensal and pathogenic bacteria along with fungi and viruses. That microbiome is as numerous as our body cells and contains equivalent amounts of DNA. What goes on between the gut microorganisms, and our immune system pretty much determines our overall health status. All these cells speak to each other, and control all those cellular reactions I spoke of earlier. (If you really want to delve into this topic check out this website:


When we abuse our body, the Standard American Way, with toxin overload, too much chronic stress, infections, lack of sleep, BAD DIET- (including too much sugar & gluten), and then fail to nourish it properly with all the nutrients the body craves, from organic, non-GMO food, the gut eventually breaks down and becomes out of balance, or SICK. It breaks down to the point of becoming “”LEAKY” or “Permeable”. That means toxins and proteins (including allergens) are not being processed or eliminated properly and leaking into the bloodstream, through the damaged junctions between the cells lining the gut. This in turn causes a massive immune reaction. This happens because the immune cells recognize these toxins and proteins as foreign invaders, so a major attack is launched to destroy them. Leaky gut is extremely prevalent in America today. I see it in my practice on a daily basis.


Signs and symptoms of LEAKY Gut are easily recognized. Here are the major ones:

Food and Chemical Sensitivities- to more than just dairy, wheat/gluten, corn. You can become sensitive to the very super-foods you love and eat daily, which may never have bothered you before.

  • Allergies and Asthma
  • Fatigue, Fibromyalgia
  • Mood Issues: Brain Fog, Depression, Anxiety, & Mood Swings
  • Malabsorption: Diarrhea, Gas, Bloating, Abdominal Pain, Cramping, Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease
  • Inflammatory Skin Conditions: Eczema, Psoriasis, Dermatitis, Acne
  • Autoimmune Disease: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, Celiac Disease, Diabetes
  • Hormone Imbalances


FIRST issue is to clean up your diet: remove the toxic load,, and have less exposure to all the toxins in the environment, including pesticides, herbicides, BPA—in plastics, mercury and other heavy metals. Cut out the processed, prepared and take-out foods. Eliminate “diet” foods and artificial sweeteners.

Cut back on all added sugar and gluten containing foods. Healing the gut also involves identifying triggers to inflammation, also known as food & chemical sensitivities. By identifying those, and systematically eliminating them from the diet, until they are no longer triggers, is a path to extensive gut healing. Replace those unhealthy foods by nourishing yourself with clean, organic “real” food, prepared at home, using simple ingredients that you recognize. For mild cases of Leaky Gut, this may be enough, especially if you are just beginning to notice symptoms and do not already have the chronic diseases mentioned.

NEXT STEP is lifestyle change.

Start getting daily restful sleep, of 7-9 hrs. AND manage stress effectively. This is easier said and done, but remember STRESS KILLS and so does sleep deprivation. The CDC has identified that 30 % of American adults (40.6 million) are sleep deprived (get less than 6 hr. restful sleep on a daily basis). It is a major cause of accidents, errors and lost productivity. Start by making small changes to your schedule to accommodate longer, restful sleep (sleep hygiene), and simple techniques to help relieve stress (meditation, yoga, music, reading, prayer, exercise, breathing exercises, positive mindset, gratitude journaling, etc.)

The next step is the repairing of that leaky gut.. Supporting the gut with nutrients known to heal is also important. Probiotics-(especially B. Clausii), prebiotics, L-glutamine and healthy fats support healing and feed that precious microbiome that needs to flourish with good bacteria.

If you still have symptoms after following the above recommendations, I would recommend you contact me for an appointment to analyze your case and do appropriate MRT and/or stool testing. MRT is the MEDIATOR RELEASE TEST, which is essential in identifying Food & Chemical Sensitivities. Combined with the LEAP dietary protocol, this medical nutrition therapy is the best for healing inflammatory gut issues. Using a dietary approach to handle a dietary health issue, is the only way to get true healing and resolution of problems. I am a CLT, Certified LEAP Therapist, trained in administering the MRT


Here is a great detoxing broth recipe to begin your journey back to health. It was developed by a CLT LEAP Practitioner.

Detox Broth: Makes 6 cups
10 cups filtered water (at least by Brita or better water filter, now’s your excuse to buy one!)
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 turnip, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, chopped
1-2 celery stalks, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
2 leeks, rinsed well, chopped*
2 cups cabbage or kale, rinsed well, chopped, packed
Chopped parsley
Fresh ginger
Dried sweet basil
Dried oregano
Spritz of lemon1.
Fill a large stockpot with the filtered water. Add chopped veggies and herbs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours.2. Strain and drink warm 2 to 3 cups a day as a nutritional and filling snack. Add a squeeze of lemon if you like.3. Store in a tightly sealed glass container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days

Testimonial – Michelle B.

I found Donna earlier this year after I began seriously questioning my lifestyle habits and overall health. I was a 28 year old woman eating fast food and pizza everyday, tired, irritated, battling daily headaches and migraines. I had been caring for my ill father and then said goodbye and was watching myself follow in his unhealthy footsteps and wondering seriously if cardiovascular disease and diabetes were in my future (I’m sure they were). I knew I needed help to change so I searched “dietitian” on Yelp and Donna’s profile stood out to me so I called and made an appointment!

When I first met with Donna she had me fill out detailed questionnaires to get to know me and my habits and genes. I didn’t really know what to expect or if she would just put me on a diet to follow but after meeting with her and going over all of my symptoms (aches, pains, fatigue, anxiety, migraines and headaches) she suggested I sign up for a LEAP MRT testing and protocol to follow. I can’t explain this protocol as well as she does (call her!) but basically I took a blood test to see what foods I’m sensitive to and then started followed a strict guideline of foods that I tested ok for and then each week reintroduced more foods to see if I’m sensitive or not to them.

Long story short, after a few weeks into the protocol I started feeling better and better!! (I’m not gonna lie, the first few day were rough and I felt as if I was detoxing.) The best part of following this protocol is that it really makes you change your habits. Eating healthy, shopping and preparing foods, and exercising daily are new habits for me and I enjoy them all! I was a huge skeptic that by simply changing your diet you could really feel better and have more energy but I was so wrong. If you’re ready to start eating better, feeling better and preventing serious diseases and illness, call Donna!

Michelle B. -Valley Center, CA December 12, 2016