The Medicinal Qualities of Dill

Who would have thought this tangy herb would have so many health benefits! Dill also has quite the history. Dill was used by Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, for cleaning the mouth. Charlemagne made it available on his banquet tables, so his guests who indulged too much could benefit from its carminative properties (in the event you don’t know, a carminative is a drug that relieves flatulence).

Benefits of Dill Include:

  • Promotes Digestion – its oils also stimulate peristaltic motion of the intestine, easing the passage of bowel movements and relieving constipation.
  • The flavonoids and vitamin-B complex present in its essential oils, activate the secretion of certain enzymes and hormones which have calming and hypnotic effects, thereby helping people get a good night’s sleep.
  • The calcium content of dill means that it is an important element in protecting you from bone loss and the loss of bone mineral density.
  • The essential oils of dill are anti-congestive and antihistaminic in nature. They help clear congestion in the respiratory system due to histamines, allergies, or coughs.

With picnic season right around the corner, see a healthy potato salad recipe using dill from Fork’s Over Knives in our recipe section!


Chocolate is the only ingredient that is its very own food group…well not really—but it seems as if it should be. Powerfully comforting, creamy, delicious—many people eat chocolate at least several times a week.

And you ask. . . Is Chocolate Good for You?

The answer is both yes and no.

Chocolate has been used for centuries to treat bronchitis, fatigue, hangovers, anemia, depression, memory loss, high blood pressure, poor eyesight, and more. It also helps release that feel-good neurotransmitter—serotonin—in the brain.

But eat the wrong kind, as in milk chocolate, and you’ll get loads of sugar, calories, and junky ingredients.

How to Eat it Responsibly

Chocolate begins life as raw cacao (pronounced kah-kow) beans. Loaded with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and plant phenols – cacao is a powerful superfood. The more processed cacao becomes, however—think commercially produced candy bars—the fewer healthy components remain.  Adults and kids alike are crazy about chocolate, and for good reason! It’s a delicious treat and seems to make the day a little better. In fact, if eating chocolate seems to put you in a better mood, you aren’t imagining it—chocolate really can improve feelings of well-being and your overall mood!

So how to get the most out of your chocolate fix?

  • Don’t be afraid of the dark. The darker the chocolate, the more beneficial cacao it contains.
  • Know your percentages: the number on dark chocolate packaging refers to the percentage of cacao bean in chocolate. For maximum health benefit, look for dark chocolate that has 75% to 85% cacao.
  • Go raw—or as unprocessed as possible.

So, don’t live in deprivation. You can eat your chocolate and still be healthy. Check out this website for a list of healthy dark chocolate.

In Good Health,


Apr2018 Maryanne Riege, Certified Holistic Health Coach, works with adults and children age 16 and over assisting, supporting, directing people on their journey toward a healthy lifestyle and diet.  Schedule an appointment by calling 262.695.5311.


Three Ways to Wellness

Everyone wants to have good health. However, it can be overwhelming as to where to start your journey. Being part of a community of like-minded people and knowing you are not alone in your journey will help you develop the confidence and motivation to address your challenges and succeed.

Starting this September at The Ommani Center you can find a balanced approach to health through three new groups. Join Maryanne Riege, Nutritional Health Coach, as she hosts these three groups.

Here’s a Description of the Meet-up Groups:


Movie and a Snack

Be a part of a monthly series of health and wellness documentaries that get you excited about life! Each month there will be a new and different feature documentary movie on a health and wellness subject. The movies are family friendly for children ages 14 through adult.

Two showings will occur each month with healthy snacks included.

There is a $10 fee per person collected at the door to cover the cost of the snacks.

Mark these dates on your calendar and join in on an abundance of wellness inspiration!

  • Wednesday 9/6 10am – 12 noon
  • Friday 9/15 7 – 9pm
  • Wednesday 10/4 10am – 12 noon
  • Friday 10/13 7 – 9pm
  • Wednesday 11/1 10am – 12 noon
  • Friday 11/10 7 – 9pm
  • Wednesday 12/6 10am – 12 noon
  • Friday 12/15 7 – 9pm

Note: September’s feature movie is “e – motion”. It’s a factual documentary that explores how human emotions affect the physiology of the human body and how once negative emotions are replaced with positive emotions bona fide physical changes occur. A team of emotion experts from around the world share their wisdom and negative emotion clearing methods to show humanity the path to health and enlightenment.

To see the full monthly movie schedule, go to Maryanne’s website>


Whole Food Plant Based Eating Experience

What is a whole food plant based diet? It’s a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruits, but with few or no animal products. Plant based diets help prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and improved skin and gut health. Do you want to experience and learn more about how to thrive on a plant-strong diet? – Then this is the Meet-up group for you. You will be served a delicious and nutritious plant based meal that will leave you with a feeling of happiness and satiety.

There will be a $15 fee per person collected at the door to cover the cost of the lunch.

To view the weekly, plant-based menu offerings, logon to Maryanne’s website>

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Join us on Wednesdays from 11:30-12:30 for this wonderful culinary experience.

  • September 13, 20 & 27
  • October 11, 18 & 25
  • November 8, 15 & 29
  • December 13, 20 & 27


Group Detox Workshops

What better time than now to reboot your body with a whole food detox! Eliminate symptoms such as fatigue, bloating, headaches, brain fog, weight gain, joint pain, and more. You will discover how to safely rid your body of toxins, boost your immune system, and increase your energy just to name of few of the benefits. The detox workshop’s engaging format encourages interactive participation and a question-and-answer segment following the presentation. As an added bonus, each participant will receive a step-by-step action plan for Detoxing your life!

There will be a $30 fee for this program that includes the action plan and food samples.  Each participant must register and pay the fee at the Ommani front desk in advance.  Call to schedule at 262.695.5311.

(If you suffer from a chronic or special health situation, please check with your physician before enrolling in this class.)


All Group Detox Workshops will take place on Thursdays from 5:30 – 7pm on the following dates:

  • September 28
  • October 26
  • November 30
  • January 4, 2018

If you are interested in any of the Three Ways to Wellness groups, call the Ommani Center front desk at 262-695-5311. Bring your family and friends; you do not need to be an Ommani patient to participate. Each program limits seating to 10 people and it is recommended to call and secure your seat ahead of time (see special note regarding specific registration requirements for the Group Detox Workshop). All three of the programs are child-friendly for children age 14 – 17, accompanied by a parent or guardian. There is no discounted price for minors.

For questions or to seek additional information about these group programs, email Maryanne at:

Join us, be inspired, and gather valuable information to help start your journey towards optimal health!

August 2017 Maryanne Riege, Certified Holistic Health Coach, works with adults and children age 16 and over assisting, supporting, directing people on their journey toward a healthy lifestyle and diet.  She offers a number of different approaches to meet your needs. Schedule a private appointment by calling 262.695.5311.  


Primary Food

Nutrition (whether plant or animal sourced) is a secondary source of energy; i.e., the food you eat every day is really “secondary food.” Primary food (nonfood sources of nourishment) is what really fuels us.

As children, we all lived on primary food. Lovers thrive on the pure bliss and peace they are experiencing, while passionate entrepreneurs are fueled by their work. The excitement and rapture of daily life are our primary food and can feed us more completely than any food we consume.

Imagine children playing outside with friends. At dinnertime, their mother calls to them, “Time to come in and eat!” “No mommy, I’m not hungry yet,” they respond.

At the table, the mother dutifully ensures that the children leave no morsel behind. The children reluctantly force down the minimum requirement, eager to get back outside and play.

At the end of the day they return, exhausted and satisfied. They quickly fall asleep without thinking about food at all.

Can you remember being deeply in love? Everything is light and warm, colors are vivid, and life is full of joy. You’re high off your lover’s presence, sustained and exhilarated by the blissful connection. You float on air, and food becomes secondary.

Think back to a time when you were involved in an exciting work project. You believed in what you were doing whole-heartedly and felt confident and stimulated. Time stopped, and the outside world was muted – food was an afterthought.

Now recall a time you were depressed or experiencing low self-esteem – you were starving for primary food. No matter how much secondary food you ate, you never felt satisfied. The need for love, power, or mere acknowledgment drove the desire for excess food.

Primary food goes beyond the plate, nurturing us on a deeper level. The four main primary foods are:

  • Career
  • Relationships
  • Physical Activity
  • Spirituality

The more primary food we give ourselves, the less we depend on secondary food. On the contrary, the more we fill ourselves with secondary food, the less space we leave for primary food – our true source of nourishment. Many religions and cultures practice fasting to reduce secondary food, opening channels to receive a greater amount of primary food.

Take some quality time to explore your personal balance between primary food and secondary food – which area could use some attention?

Included is a self-assessment activity to help you find the areas of your life the need a little extra nourishment.

June 2017 Maryanne Riege, Certified Holistic Health Coach, works with adults and children age 16 and over assisting, supporting, directing people on their journey toward a healthy lifestyle and diet.  Schedule an appointment by calling 262.695.5311.  


Make Healthy Eating Work!

“I’ll start tomorrow” or “I love the taste of French fries” or “I’m a picky eater”.  Those excuses sound familiar?  You’re not alone.  As someone who used to be in denial about eating healthfully, I can tell you first hand that eating healthy is not always easy. 

What makes good eating so difficult?  Scientific studies have shown that the result of eating too many processed foods has altered our taste buds to crave unhealthy foods.  Processed food, fast food, and sugar are truly addicting.  A 2010 study published in Nature Neuroscience found that when rats were regularly fed fast food, their brain chemistry changed—and not for the better.  The rats became obese and lost the ability to determine when they were hungry (they would eat fatty foods even when administered electric shocks). They actually refused to eat when put on a healthy diet.

Just as your brain chemistry is changed by ingesting unhealthy foods, you are equally able to make changes and learn to like the “healthy food”.  The more you are disciplined and eat healthfully, the more you really learn to like eating those foods.  Even if vegetables taste terrible to you now, the more you eat them regularly, the more you’ll start to enjoy them.

Making changes to your diet can take time. Choosing to make these changes gradually and taking small steps will make you most likely to be successful.  Start with swapping out your afternoon candy bar with healthier options like a piece of fruit or granola bar.  Once you have conquered that obstacle, then move on and tackle another piece you would like to change, such as swapping out sodas for sugar-free, flavored water.

Don’t try to change everything at once! By reframing your thought process in favor of small, realistic, step-by-step changes, you’re more likely to eat more healthfully overall.  It’s perfectly fine to enjoy a little pizza or chocolate now and then, but you may find that eating healthy most of the time is not only possible, it’s enjoyable!

Ask me to be your health coach and together we’ll see how easy and fun making this change can be. Remember, you’re not alone; the research supports your effort to change.


Maryanne Riege, Certified Holistic Health Coach, works with adults and children age 16 and over assisting, supporting, directing people on their journey toward a healthy lifestyle and diet.  Schedule an appointment by calling 262.695.5311. 

Eat Your Vegetables for Breakfast Everyday

Recently, I had the privilege of traveling to Israel.  It was a wonderful trip.  Of course, one of the first things I noticed is that the food is so fresh and healthy.  There was always an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fresh breads offered at every meal.  The breakfast buffets were filled with beautiful looking and tasting salads.  I actually felt more energy and had no gut issues what-so-ever by eating salads and veggies for my breakfast while on the trip.

Even though, the virtues of vegetables are well known, they’re rarely featured in a regular Western breakfast menu. People worry about the protein, fat, and carbohydrate content of their 1st meal of the day, but rarely bother to include the fiber rich and trace elements loaded veggies in their breakfast.

 Here are 5 Reasons you should eat vegetables for breakfast:

 1. Promote weight loss and maintenance: 

 Veggies are in general low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. As a result, they provide high satiety value (i.e., you feel fuller for a long time), this prevents unhealthy mid-morning snacking and sugar cravings for lunch. Moreover, salad greens prevent water retention and promote hormone balance in the body. This helps fight the stubborn menopausal fat and the weight gain due to thyroid hormone imbalance. 

2. Improve gut health:

 They are a rich source of insoluble fibers, which add roughage to the large intestine and enable smooth bowel movements. Certain vegetables like the leeks, onions, artichokes, and asparagus are known prebiotic in nature, i.e., they nourish the probiotic bacteria in the gut. This, in turn, helps improve intestinal health, immunity, and nutrient absorption.

3. Enhance mental capacity and concentration:

 Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and beetroots provide direct sugar – the main source of energy to the brain. At the same time, the dietary fibers prevent a blood sugar peak from occurring. This helps prevent hyperactivity (caused due to a sugar high) but promotes smooth brain activity. Moreover, vegetables are a chock-a-block of vitamins and minerals essential for brain activity and concentration. Research has shown a single serving of vegetables in the morning doubled the concentration and academic performance of elementary school children.

 4. Helps prevent chronic diseases:

 Countless studies have shown the benefits of regular consumption of vegetables in preventing chronic diseases lifestyle induced diseases like Cardio vascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, GI cancers, and inflammatory diseases. Certain vegetables like white potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and beetroots are said to help heal an inflamed liver.

 5. Rich in potent detoxifying agents:

 According to traditional Chinese medicine, cruciferous vegetables are natural toxin neutralizers. Modern medicines and research too,  has suggested that these vegetables help detoxify the system and endow the body with disease-fighting benefits. For instance, onions and garlic are antimicrobial agents, cabbage is known to heal gastric problems, potatoes are anti-inflammatory, and carrots are potent antioxidants.  

Many cultures eat vegetables for breakfast, and there’s no reason we can’t either. By eating them for breakfast, you’re fitting in those important servings and getting more fiber and more nutrients to boost your day.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Let’s start it off by eating vegetables!  

Who’s up for a 30 day Eat Your Vegetables for Breakfast Challenge?  

 During the month of March, challenge yourself and others to eat vegetables for breakfast.  Each week, beginning in March you will find new breakfast recipes and ideas incorporating vegetables on my website,, look for the Eat Breakfast Vegetables tab.

Information on 5 reasons veggies make sense for breakfast from .


Maryanne Riege, Certified Holistic Health Coach, joined the Ommani Center complementary practitioner team in 2016. She works with adults and children age 16 and over assisting, supporting, directing people on their journey toward a healthy lifestyle and diet.  Schedule an appointment by calling 262.695.5311. 

Mindful Holiday Eating Strategies

For many of us, trying to be mindful and eat healthfully throughout the holiday season is a challenge.  With cookies, candies and rich foods in abundance, the temptation exists to overindulge.  Read on for strategies on how to enjoy parties and holidays dinners and avoid overeating.  It is possible to enjoy yourself and make good choices!

  1. Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to overindulge.
  1. Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorite. Include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
  1. Be careful with beverages. Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.
  1. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy the event as well as the food.
  1. Stand more than an arm’s length away from munchies, like a bowl of nuts or chips, while you chat so you’re not tempted to raise your hand to your mouth every few seconds.
  1. Concentrate on your meal while you’re eating it. Focus on chewing your food well and enjoying the smell, taste, and texture of each item. Research shows that mealtime multitasking (whether at home or at a party) can make you pop mindless calories into your mouth. Of course, dinner-party-conversation is only natural, but try to set your plate down until you’re finished chatting so you are more aware of what you’re taking in.
  1. Manage portion size by taking sensible portions so you don’t end up eating too much. Try using smaller plates and serving utensils. Try a salad or dessert plate for the main course and a teaspoon to serve yourself. What looks like a normal portion on a 12-inch plate or a trough-like bowl can, in fact, be sinfully huge. In one study conducted at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, even nutrition experts served themselves 31 percent more ice cream when using oversize bowls compared with smaller bowls. The size of the serving utensil mattered, too: Subjects served themselves 57 percent more when they used a three-ounce scoop versus a smaller scoop. Pour drinks into tall, skinny glasses, not the fat, wide kind. Other studies at Cornell have shown that people are more likely to pour 30 percent more liquid into squatty, fat glasses.
  1. Control Your Environment and eat with a small group when you can. One study found that dining with six or more people can cause you to eat 76 percent more, most likely because the meal can last so long. (After an hour of staring at the stuffing, you’re more likely to have seconds.) At a big sit-down supper, be the last one to start and the second one to stop eating. Or, sit next to a fellow healthy eater (there’s strength in numbers).
  1. Wait for all the food to be on the table before making your selections. People who make their choices all at once eat about 14 percent less than do those who keep refilling when each plate is passed.
  1. Plan time for exercise.  Exercise helps prevent stress and weight gain.  Try a 10-15 minute brisk walk daily.
  1. Keep track of what you eat by writing in a food journal.  It will help you stay committed to your goals during this risky eating period.

Maryanne Riege, Certified Holistic Health Coach, joined the Ommani Center complementary practitioner team in 2016. She works with adults and children age 16 and over assisting, supporting, directing people on their journey toward a healthy lifestyle and diet.  Schedule an appointment by calling 262.695.5311.  

The First Thanksgiving Menu

Have you ever wondered what the Pilgrims and Indians really ate for their first Thanksgiving feast?  Well, we know it probably wasn’t a turkey stuffed with bread, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, or pumpkin pie!  But what was really on the menu at the famous banquet, and which of today’s favorites didn’t earn a place at the table until later in the holiday’s 400-year history?

After doing some research, I found that there really isn’t an exact account of what was eaten.  The only surviving documents that reference the meal was taken into account by Edward Winslow, a Pilgrim who attended the first feast and wrote home to a friend saying. . . 

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others.”

Turkey or no turkey, the first Thanksgiving’s attendees almost certainly got their fill of many types of meat.  Other proclaimed sources of animal protein would have consisted of seafood, which is often absent from today’s menus. Mussels in particular were abundant in New England and could be easily harvested because they clung to rocks along the shoreline. The colonists occasionally served mussels with curds, a dairy product with a similar consistency to cottage cheese. Lobster, bass, clams, and oysters might also have been part of the feast.

Ok, so we know they probably ate lean, organic animal protein. But, what else did they eat?  

Well, they would have eaten vegetables such as onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, squashes such as pumpkins, and perhaps peas. Corn might also have been served, but not in the way most people enjoy it now. In those days, the corn would have been removed from the cob and turned into cornmeal, which was then boiled and pounded into a thick corn mush or porridge that was occasionally sweetened with molasses. What about potatoes, both white and sweet?  The white potato, native of South America, and sweet potato from the Caribbean hadn’t arrived in the colonies yet.

Fruits eaten would have been blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries, and cranberries all of which are indigenous to New England.  I’m guessing the Pilgrims wouldn’t have made sauces and relishes because sugar was pretty much non-existent in the colonies. 

For dessert?  Pumpkin pie as we know it today obviously was non-existent during the feast because they didn’t have butter, wheat flour, or sugar to make the pastry.  Most importantly, there weren’t ovens in which to bake the pie.  However, according to some accounts, they could have improvised by hollowing out pumpkins, filling the shells with milk, honey and spices to make a custard, then roasting the gourds whole in hot ashes.

It’s clear the menu initially served had a completely different nutritional footprint than our modern foods.  But, whether we’re considering the original Thanksgiving fare or today’s traditions, keep in mind it’s very easy to serve delicious, satisfying foods without sacrificing our commitment to healthy eating. Here’s a link from the Food Network which includes 38 recipes that spin on traditional Thanksgiving foods and even includes vegetarian and vegan dishes. 

Although there are many differences between the first Thanksgiving in 1621 and the holiday we celebrate today, the one tradition that remains constant is the celebration of being thankful.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

Maryanne Riege, Certified Holistic Health Coach, is the newest member of the Ommani complementary practitioner team. She works with adults and children age 16 and over assisting, supporting, directing people on their journey toward a healthy lifestyle and diet.  Schedule an appointment by calling 262.695.5311. 


Digestion and the Skin

With summer upon us, we undeniably see more skin. What better subject to talk about than your skin!  The condition of your skin is an expression of your internal health, so when skin conditions deteriorate, this may indicate that bodily systems are not functioning optimally and that inflammation may be present. The excretory system (skin, liver, lungs, kidneys, and large intestine) works as a team to absorb and sweep toxins from the body.  When these organs are not able to process the toxic load, waste is pushed outward to the skin for elimination. External skin symptoms that indicate inflammation may be present are: acne, rosacea, eczema, skin sensitivity, and rashes.

The gut needs to maintain a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in order to keep inflammation at bay. This can become imbalanced due to a diet of processed foods that contain dyes, additives, preservatives, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), as well as environmental toxins, heavy use of antibiotics, and undiagnosed food sensitivities. When these particles and toxins enter the bloodstream through the inflamed intestinal walls, otherwise known as ‘leaky gut’ syndrome, the body’s immune response to these invaders can cause a cascade of internal symptoms in addition to flare ups on the skin.

Your gut may be out of balance if…

  • You eat a diet high in processed, refined carbohydrates or sugars, which may cause damage to the microbiome, or ecosystem, in your intestinal tract. High sugar diets also feed the overgrowth of Candida yeast in the body.
  • You have taken multiple courses of prescribed antibiotics and/or steroids, which can disrupt the balance of good vs. bad bacteria.
  • You may have undiagnosed food sensitivities or allergies from common allergens like soy, gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, nuts, shellfish, or nightshade vegetables. Repeated exposure to unknown allergens can cause leaky gut syndrome and lead to symptoms like bloating, gas, constipation, swollen joints, pain, eczema, psoriasis, or even asthma, and migraines.

Try the following to rebalance your gut:

  • Do a dietary detox.
  • Eliminate all refined sugar from the diet and incorporate a diet rich in leafy greens, flax, and omega-3 fats.
  • To support proper gut function, consider adding a high-quality probiotic, digestive enzymes, and omega-3 supplements to help rebuild good bacteria and lower inflammation.
  • Follow a food elimination diet for two weeks to determine if popular allergens are the cause of your symptoms. Consider further testing and treatment by an integrative licensed healthcare provider.

Changing your diet will reflect on your skin and within!

Maryanne Riege, Certified Holistic Health Coach, is the newest member of the Ommani complementary practitioner team. She works with adults and children age 16 and over.  Schedule an appointment by calling 262.695.5311. 

Welcome Maryanne Riege, Certified Holistic Health Coach

We are pleased to announce that Maryanne Riege, Certified Holistic Health Coach, is now offering services at Ommani. Visit her practitioner page for more information.  Call our office at 262-695-5311 to schedule an appointment.