Feature: Be Kind to Yourself

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By Jason Boyett
 |  Amarillo Globe-News

In this issue, we’ve been focused on kindness to others, kindness to our environment and more. But what about self-kindness? What does being kind to your body look like?

“It means having health practices that give us a sense of well-being,” says Judie Boothe, a certified clinical nutritionist (C.C.N.) and owner of Fountain of Health, a legendary retailer in Amarillo’s health community. Boothe says a proper balance of nutrition, supplements and beneficial health practices can improve almost every aspect of a person’s life.

She should know. Five decades ago, before opening her shop, Boothe endured 4 ½  years of illness. It started with a staph infection after the birth of her daughter, followed by bouts with rheumatic fever, hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, low blood sugar, lupus and early kidney failure. “I spent two years in bed and had no hope of getting well,” she says. 

That was 54 years ago. Today, Boothe is a healthy and vibrant 79 and still maintains a constant presence at her store on Western in the Shops at 34th. “God had plans for me, so here I am today and I can outwork people half my age,” she says. In fact, she’s just a few months away from turning 80. “People are shocked when I tell them that.”

Judie is even a little shocked herself. But her good health is a testament to taking care of her body. During her health crisis, improving her diet and experimenting with supplements restored her to better health, and led to Judie and her husband, Ron, becoming owners of Fountain of Health 45 years ago. Since then, she has studied with master herbalists and naturopathic doctors, gained her nutritionist certification, and maintained ongoing education efforts to stay current with new research and products. 

Naturally, we wanted to hear from Boothe regarding her advice about living the healthiest life possible. She provided a succinct overview: “It includes healthy eating and drinking plenty of pure water, getting quality dietary supplements, getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep a night, and getting appropriate exercise. It’s also paying attention to our spiritual health and having a positive mental outlook, giving thanks each day for blessings, even small ones.”

Boothe then broke things down a little further.

Healthy Eating

Her advice is to eat nutritious food that is as close to that food’s natural state as possible. In other words, avoid fast food, convenience foods, and heavily processed foods. Instead, pursue a balanced diet of leafy greens, colorful vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and quality protein. But try to become as educated as possible about those foods, she says. 

“People think if they eat a salad or a meat every day they are healthy,” says Boothe. But that doesn’t mean a standard side salad is particularly nutritious. Boothe warns that traditional iceberg lettuce doesn’t provide much nutritional punch. Instead, she recommends other greens, like broccoli, asparagus, kale, spinach, and celery. “It’s a high-antioxidant food,” she says of the always underrated celery. “We look at it and think it’s not that great, but it’s a very good food.”

She also loves cabbage, green and yellow squashes, and purple onions. “People will always say, ‘If I shouldn’t eat this [sugary or processed] food, what am I going to eat?’ They just have not looked at all these wonderful, beautiful, colorful foods!”

Boothe always recommends organic or frozen organic foods when possible.

Vitamins and Supplements

Fountain of Health sells a vast variety of nutrition products and supplements. “With the world we live in today, we really need quality dietary supplements,” explains Boothe. The only exception is for those who maintain a diet extremely well-balanced with natural, organic foods. Even then, she believes that may not be enough. “I don’t think we can get the nutrition we need out of our foods.”

For everyone, male and female, Boothe recommends a basic daily multivitamin, as long as it’s a high-quality supplement. Most multivitamins, however, don’t contain enough vitamin E or vitamin C, so she recommends additional supplements of those nutrients, along with extra minerals and a good probiotic.

Boothe and her staff are always willing to help customers choose the best-quality vitamins and supplements from the shelves at her store. “We work with individuals to assess their particular nutritional needs,” she says. Boothe is board certified in clinical nutrition and accustomed to reading medical lab tests and health histories to help determine other supplements to add to a customer’s diet – even going so far as to analyze a person’s nutrition intake and sleep patterns.

“There are quite a few questions we’ll ask. Our health [condition] can show up in [the appearance of] our fingernails, hair and skin,” she says. “So there are a lot of things we look at to help guide a person so that they feel a sense of well-being and feel healthier and enjoy life.”

Since Boothe’s expertise is based only in nutrition, she does advise customers to speak with their doctors about finding the right balance between supplements and medication to achieve positive health results. 

Lifestyle

Boothe also recommends that people stay hydrated throughout the day, drinking at least a half-ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. 

The right amount of exercise is also critical. Most people tend to assume they aren’t exercising enough, but Boothe has also encountered some individuals who exercise too much. In pursuit of good health, they put too much stress on their bodies and end up causing injury or decreasing their overall wellness. “You need to try to hit a happy medium,” she says.

Sleep is also vital to well-being, and Boothe regularly finds herself advising customers who are desperate for healthy, natural sleep aids. “Sometimes they just need to develop better habits for good, quality sleep or [they need] a supplement that will help them relax.” Relaxation before sleep is important, because our overly stimulated minds are often the culprits when sleep is poor. “Sometimes our minds are just going, going, going.” 

More than anything else, Boothe advises customers to prioritize their health – a concept that’s been at the forefront of our minds during the pandemic. She points out that it’s a challenge to enjoy anything else about life when you don’t feel good. “To me, a strong, healthy, vibrant body is essential,” says Boothe. “It’s the most important thing. It’s more important than having money. If you don’t have good health, you don’t even enjoy having wealth.”

Judie Boothe made that discovery when she first got sick more than half a century ago. The fact that she’s still around to teach customers gives credence to her advice. She’s not just advocating for good health. She’s proof that it matters.

Judie Boothe

Judie can be reached at the Fountain of Health, 4151 SW 34th Ave., 355.5162, fountainofhealthmarket.com

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