Confessions of A Dietitian

“Only the healed mind can experience revelation with lasting effects.”

A Course in Miracles

You’ve likely heard, you become what you think, and you are what you eat, but did you know, you become how eat and how you breathe too? Like a domino effect, thoughts, activate our breathing which ignites a cascade of hormones that produce our feelings. Our feelings then influence our actions and then our results; positive or negative.

In my book The Domino Diet, How to Heal You from the Inside Out, the Domino Diet Formula takes you beyond the symptom level to the root level where it all starts, your thoughts.

The Domino Diet Formula


Your thoughts noticed or otherwise generate your results. Thoughts of guilt and resentment produce different results than that of gratitude, peace, and joy. From Dis-ease to ease, the power to heal, release weight and flourish, starts from the inside out at the level of thoughts.


I was only 6 yet felt quite grown-up shopping with mom wearing my pink poncho and my purse across my shoulder underneath. Suddenly, my eyes widened and mouth watered staring at a stack of candied lipsticks. I desperately wanted my own lipstick just like mom. Sadly, my request was denied “forcing my hand” to whisk one into my conveniently concealed purse.

Arriving home, I ran to my room and quickly grabbed the shiny red tube. Twisting the bottom revealed a delicious pink candy to lather my lips. As the sugary-strawberry taste lingered, I thought, What if mom finds it? Will God be mad? Sadly, my lips began to taste bittersweet.

Desperately, I tossed the tube on the neighbor’s lawn and attempting an Oscar winning performance, I shouted, Look what I found!! But instead of an Oscar, I was marched back to the store to confess my sins to the cashier and then to the angry man in the sky, I called God.

This is my first memory confessing my sins to God with guilt associated to foods and the start of “forbidden” food relationships--with an unskilled mind.


It was Thanksgiving. I was 8 and feeling extra thankful; I was allowed to sit at the adult table! Proudly propped with my hands in prayer position and feet dangling, I readied myself for the traditional gratitude’s: I’m grateful for this food, the hands that made it and being able to sit at the adult table.

The family gathered amongst smells of turkey and stuffing. My legs began to swing back-and-forth anticipating my turn, but the only close to Thanksgiving I heard was the “gobble gobble” of food and a lot of 4-letter-words. “Can’t, Have, Food, Diet”

Mémère (grandma) placed her delicious donuts on the table while sheepishly grabbing one and vowing, “My diet starts Monday”. I thought, What the heck is a diet? I hesitated to continue eating and felt so perplexed. Dad talked about years of rationing food but now there was fear to enjoy eating!? I began to envy the kid’s table where they at least enjoyed the food and make-believe wine. This is my first memory around “fear of foods” influenced by role models.


Fast-forward, while playing with my Barbie Motorhome, I felt hungry enough to pull myself away from my imaginary world to walk towards the kitchen. On the way I heard, “Karie, you gained weight”?! I didn’t even notice my body let alone a flawed one. I barely noticed my messy hair, never mind weight gain. Getting new pants was a joy, until that day.

This is my first memory of my “flawed” body and guilt around hunger. It is also my first memory contemplating going on a diet like Mémère—I was only 10 years old.


The true meaning of the word “diet”, from the Greek word Diata, means “a way of life”. My witness to diets, hardly seemed a desirable way of life. However, it sent me searching to understand them as I vacillated between my own vitality and vanity.

At 13, I read the Nutrition Almanac like it was Vogue magazine. My parents were distributors for supplements, so I was surrounded by shelves of vitamins. My study of nutrients like vitamin E, beta-carotene etc., eventually led me to a career in alternative medicine.

I later cultivated a deep curiosity in non-alternative medicine developing a 30-year career as a registered dietitian. For me, the word heal inside the word health stood out like bold print. Hearing the word health was like slipping on a pair of fuzzy, warm slippers I could walk in all day. I wanted nothing more than to be a role model for health, and to do so, I went so far as running marathons.

The duet of peak health and teaching was perfect until it all fell, taking my health with it. I went from a walking billboard for dietitians to a poster child for a dietitian’s mess.


“Man cannot hope to be well by thinking health if he eats, drinks, breathes, and sleeps like a sick man.”

--Wallace Wattles

According to science, everything is energy and all energy can be measured, including e-motions (energy in motion). Some studies suggest shame and guilt measure lowest on the emotional spectrum at 20 and 30Hz respectively. Whereas love and peace are measured at 500 and 600Hz.

My “mess” was the shame and guilt associated to my difficult divorce. My chronic thinking in dis-ease morphed into a disease of my pituitary and thyroid glands. A “tug-of-war” in my mind reciprocated in my body with another “tug-of-war” between symptoms of menopause and pregnancy. It was a Helter-Skelter of low sugars, hot flashes, and weight gain!


“All the water in the world cannot drown you unless it gets inside of you”

--Elanor Roosevelt

All the knowledge in the world to continue my health duet, couldn’t compete with me drowning in negative thinking, exhaustion, and “brain fog”. I felt lost like a child between divorced parents of Alternative/Non-Alternative medicine who don’t get along while pointing out each other’s flaws. Worse, I felt like a fraud. All I could see were missing pieces in my 40-year career while I watched the marathoner ran away taking the dietitian with her. Everything fell apart.

Standing in the shower with the water beating down, I collapsed into an awkward, fetal position. I purged a flood of tears, contemplating suicide but the love for my daughter stopped me. I had no choice but to find new ways to rise again.

Then I heard a whisper saying, “you were made fore more, go bridge the gap.” To me this had double meaning; to turn “Adversity into University” and to follow a second calling as a Life coach. I knew the answers were not in diet and emotional eating guilt cycles.


I certified as a Life Coach with Mary Morrissey, owner of the Brave Thinking Institute. As this energetic, petite woman walked across the stage in our training, she talked about her struggles--finally I had someone to relate to. Mary spoke of being in the hospital suffering with a kidney disease and given only a few months left to live. A nurse then came to her bedside to pray with her, but in an unfamiliar way.

The nurse didn’t discuss Mary’s lab work or diet. Instead, she discussed the power thoughts that heal. I knew about the power of the mind, but it seemed downplayed in the medical field. Yet medications can only be approved for prescription after studies with strict procedures that indirectly confirm the idea of the mind’s power in healing. Medications are approved only after being found more effective than a placebo (usually a sugar pill) whereby two or more groups unknowingly receive the test medication or placebo.

Mary went on to describe how thoughts activate a sequence of events creating our results. I sat at the edge of my seat, captivated, discovering the missing pieces to build my bridge.

My passion returned; a messenger of health rose in me again. I learned to look at thoughts leading to results as a domino effect. A treasure trove filled my toolbox as a dietitian and the interconnection in all areas of life: Health, Career, Wealth, and Love—for the whole of you! I now understood the root of emotional eating beyond suggesting carrots.


A Course in Miracles says there are only two primary emotions, Fear and Love. I believe at the root of food relationships, our body, mind and spirit, there is fear or love too.

For generations our day-to-day was getting through the day to eat and not be eaten using a default response called the “Fight Flight” system. However, stress hormones like cortisol are elevated causing a racing heart, slower digestion etc. Back then, fleeing from the animal helped release many stress effects. However, yesterday’s mammoth is the “Fight Flight” with your spouse/teen today without the flee. A recipe for hormone imbalance, digestive disorders, weight gain and diseases like heart disease.

Thankfully, there’s another system that switches in accordance to your breathing. Shallow anxious breathing watching the news for example (whether you’re under attack or not), switches on the Fight Flight hormones. However, calm breathing suggesting safety, switches to the Rest, Digest and Create system instead. It’s right in the wording, better digestion, and therefore better absorption of nutrients and it helps you feel fuller. Some call this Intuitive Eating; conqueror of all food battles.


Beyond that Thanksgiving Day, I observed more perplexities on food relationships. Since the 80s, I witnessed the battle between Macronutrients (Macros: Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats). At that time, Carbohydrates (Carbs) held the spotlight with “Carb-Up powders and potions. Protein powders were chalky tasting, hard to mix and hardly noticed in their plain packages.

In the glory of Carbs, the Fructose (fruit sugar) craze began with beverages and baked goods containing fructose their manufactures bragged about.

In the 90s, “Fat Fads” were with cold pressed oils, and butter vs. margarine debates and the Light, Low-Fat, and Diet food era. As well, marketing tactics changed layouts of stores to entice more convenience foods and salty sugary snacks.

In the meantime, diseases increased with over-nourishment of sugar, fat, salt and undernourishment of fruits and vegetables. Yet, in a collective amnesia the 2000s came with the high protein/low carb diets. “Eat bacon but don’t have fruit due to the sugar!??” What? These hypes negated the fiber and nutrients in healthy carbs.

Ironically, as I write, plant-based eating is encouraged to help lower diseases. However, this isn’t new, technically it’s a vegan diet in disguise and primarily carbs (grains, fruits, and veggies).


With the battle of Macros, few discuss their hidden army of micronutrients (Micros: vitamins, minerals, fiber, omegas, probiotics etc.) in protein, fats, and carbs. Studies suggest some cravings are related to these nutrient deficiencies prompted by our well-designed internal systems to keep us alive.

No matter the trend, self-sabotage and cravings continue with counterintuitive food sacrifices and guilt cycles. For instance, many are afraid to eat fruit/vegetable fearing sugar. Yet, eating an orange isn’t the problem but overindulging in juice may be or overall “Portion Distortion.”

Why are we overeating? Fears, mixed messages, unhealed wounds, pressure? Cracking the Craving Code will end the sacrifices and unmask what we truly crave.

“Addictions occur when you seek to fill an emptiness inside you with something outside of you.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


The word sin, from a Greek archery term means “miss the mark.” In my childhood lipstick “sin”, I missed the mark creating guilt but nowhere near the guilt of my divorce. In a stacking of intertwined past and present pressures, emotional eating can symptomize. Whereas forgiveness can provide an inner healing.

My epiphany came with raising my daughter. I noticed, if she “sinned”, I easily forgave her. I realized the angry man in the sky probably forgave me too. I felt a flood of relief creating calm breathing washed that cultivated self-love compared to constrictive feelings of guilt and fear.

I deeply desired more understanding of the connection between thoughts, breath, and well-being. Interestingly, in a study on cats x-rayed while eating, the researchers noticed when a dog entered the room, the cat’s hearts raced, organs constricted and diaphragms tightened to the point of most vomiting. What about when we stress eat? It isn’t just what we are or not eating but also how we’re eating.

The word spirit derives from the Latin word spiritus, meaning breath. I believe we’ve just “missed the mark” with speed breathing while eating as a default of survival mode. However, many live in abundance and with gratitude we can breathe calmly and switch from survive to thrive.

Rather than the 4-Letter words from my family on that Thanksgiving Day that produced….

Fear-Thoughts->Short-Breath->Cortisol->Cravings->Emotional Eating->Dis-ease

We can think gratitude, and kick “fear to the rear with love” at meals, just as I craved that Thanksgiving Day for positive results.

Positive-Thoughts->Calm-Breath->Serotonin->Better Digestion->Energy->Walks->Healed

Though I still vacillate between vanity and vitality, vitality is leading the way. Putting vitality will help cultivate self-love and radiance with your intuitive eater and inner healer.

I believe The Domino Diet Formula can bridge the gap and release, renew, and restore you from the inside out and restore our diet as a way of life with the macros and micros all sharing a plate!

I am a “Dietitian on a Mission” bringing back the true meaning of the word diet as a way of life and putting the Heal back in Health.

“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit.”

B.K.S. Iyengar

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