My Experience at the Take Back Your Health Conference

by Robin on May 2, 2013

written by Jennifer O’Neill


This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Take Back Your Health Conference, an amazing event organized by the International Health Coach Association LLC. 

The conference was inspiring and uplifting, especially because I was in an environment with like minded people, and I learned about so many new things!

My friend Cindie was at the conference with me and we definitely took full advantage of everything that it had to offer.  It started off on Friday night with a talk by Cory Gallant fromZesty Blog Consulting on how to leverage the internet to build your business – I definitely learned some new things that will help me out so that I’m able to reach out to more people!


He was followed by Kate Northrup, daughter of Dr. Christiane Northrup, who spoke to us about achieving financial freedom.  I love it when a speaker incorporates spiritual principles into what he or she is teaching and Kate definitely spoke to that, emphasizing how important it is to value yourself above everything else.  By valuing yourself, you allow the flow of abundance to come to you!

The conference continued on both Saturday and Sunday with more amazing speakers and fantastic food!

Pad Thai Salad, Sergei’s Wild Green Smoothie, Superfood Granola, and Fajitas, all provided by New Family Naturals!  If you’re in the DC area, Reston specifically, be sure to check them out.


Pictured from left to right: Robin ShirleySergei Boutenko, and Christine Krieger.

Robin spoke of her own healing journey and taught us about how to naturally boost our immune systems with lots of fantastic tips (including dry skin brushing, extra sleep, meditating a few minutes a day – it’s that simple!), Sergei taught us about wild edibles and all the amazing varieties of greens that are available to us right in nature (and inspired me to go out and buy dandelion for my smoothies.  Considering I’m a health coach, I haven’t been very adventurous with my greens!), and Christine taught us about the importance of our breath, Ayurveda, and letting go of the emotional bonds that tie us down in shackles and how they don’t serve our highest good.


There were some fantastic exhibitors at the conference too!  For some reason, I neglected to take a picture of the exhibit hall, but here’s one of the booths I came across.  Zenberry is an awesome protein powder co-created by another fellow Institute for Integrative Nutrition graduate, Emma Galland.

There are two different mixes available: Zenberry Blue and Zenberry Green.  Both are full of amazing superfoods, including cacao, maca, lucuma, and mesquite, but Zenberry Blue includes fruit in its formulation and Zenberry Green includes more greens in its formulation.

I don’t often use protein powders because most of them are full of fake ingredients, but this one definitely caught my attention and I’m definitely going to order some to try out!  If you’ve ever tried Sunwarrior and loved it, then you’ll definitely love Zenberry because Sunwarrior is a part of the amazing base!

Integrative Medicine

We learned more in depth about Integrative Medicine from Dr. Mark McClure and I wish there were more doctors out there like him, who look at the whole picture of what’s going on with a person, rather than just treating the physical symptoms and sending people on their way without much hope for a solution.  See the jar in his right hand?  That’s a lot of sugar that the average person consumes, going directly into their bodies and not enhancing health at all!


We also listened to George Lamoureux, founder of Jing Herbs, who told us his story of suffering with adrenal fatigue and how herbs helped him get back on track.  It really caught my attention because adrenal fatigue is one of the issues that I’m on track towards healing and it was inspiring to see someone who was able to reverse it successfully!  One of the herbs he took to help him was Reishi, which naturally supports the immune system.  I first learned about Reishi mushrooms thanks to David Wolfe and those pictures on the bottom are of a real Reishi mushroom that got passed around the room.  I had no idea they were so big!


That’s a piece of Astragalus on the right, which also helps boost the immune system, is a tonifier for the lungs and spleen, and supports digestion.  I love learning about amazing cures for ailments that are found right in nature.  No need for dozens of medications!


At the end of the day on Saturday, Sergei did a green smoothie demo, and the smoothie was delicious!  The one he made had dandelion, celery, peaches, pineapple, banana, and water. When Sergei was diagnosed with diabetes as a child, his mother, Victoria Boutenko, refused what the doctor recommended and instead chose to treat him naturally with healthy foods, which completely reversed his diabetes.

There is definitely power in greens and unfortunately most people don’t get nearly enough into their daily diets.  I don’t drink nearly enough green smoothies and I’m going to start incorporating them more into my diet, especially as the weather gets warmer!  I’m also going to dive into the materials that I bought from Sergei the last time that I was at the TBYH Conference.  They somehow got lost amongst all my other resources!


I also forgot to mention that there were awesome raffles going on throughout the conference and I won a bag of dulse at one point.  Seriously, I got so excited because I love to sprinkle dulse on my kale with a little nutritional yeast, it’s delicious!

The picture on the right is of a water bottle from Elaine at Renewed Living.  It helps to alkalize whatever water you put into it, which in turn helps your body to be in a more alkaline state!  Unfortunately many of us are walking around with acidic bodies, and having a good balance of acid/alkaline helps our bodies to naturally maintain homeostasis.


On Sunday I started my day with a lovely reflexology foot massage by Brigitte Wiss fromReflexology and Beyond.  I loved looking at the chart that explained how different acupressure points on the feet correspond to different organs within the body and my feet definitely felt nice and relaxed afterwards!

The first speaker we heard on Sunday was Dr. Norman Shealy.  He spoke about the power of acupuncture points and how to balance the body by massaging on and tapping certain points. One of the exercises we tried out left me feeling so calm and blissed out, that I didn’t want to open my eyes!  He also talked about kundalini energy and how we can harness it for our greatest good.

After that, Dr. Joseph Annibali talked about Lyme Disease and the various ways it can take over someone’s body once someone’s been bitten by a tick.  He further explained how brain scans can help a doctor determine how Lyme is affecting the body and different ways of treating it once someone has been infected by it.


The next thing we learned about was really fascinating to me.  Anthony Anderson talked to us about permaculture and growing our own paradise through cultivating living landscapes that include fresh fruits and vegetables in abundance for people to share with one another. The pictures below show his sketches of things that can be planted and then harvested for our consumption, emphasizing the philosophy of local, organic, and homegrown food.


Honestly, I don’t know why more people aren’t doing this more!  We live in a world that’s so contaminated by pesticides, herbicides, fake “food” products, pollution, and the list could go on.  Why are we not taking care of our planet and harvesting what we can to live in abundance with nature?  His lecture definitely made me think a lot about how we can source our own food and how amazing it would be to have beautiful community gardens spread in cities all across the world.


We also learned about the power of fermented foods from Kimberly Hartke and how beneficial they are to our digestive tracts, which reminded me that I’ve been wanting to make Kimberly Snyder‘s Probiotic & Enzyme Salad for a while now to help me heal my digestion.  I also bought some chicken bone broth from Dawn at Sunrise Nutritional Therapy(who also supplied the lovely mason jar of Kombucha pictures on the right hand side below!)

Of course I left the conference with not one, but 2 different forms of kombucha, which is one of my favorite beverages!  The kvass was pretty awesome too!


Now that the conference is over, I’m feeling more inspired than ever to get out and teach people about living a healthy lifestyle, beginning with our food!  At the close of the conference, Robin talked about how she’d started the conference to bring awareness about health and wellness to the DC area, and I fully agree that we need it.  Robin explained that the name itself, Take Back Your Health, came as a result of the need for people to begin re-claiming their health.  No matter what you’re going through, health conditions can always be reversed and restored, bringing the body back to its full, natural state of health.

The date of the next conference hasn’t been announced yet, but whenever it is, be sure that you go!  You’ll learn so much and leave feeling with a renewed sense of awareness about our food and the world around us.  There is so much for people to learn and I feel so blessed and honored to be a part of it!

Jennifer O’Neill is a Certified Holistic Health Coach. You can learn more about her on her website:

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