Healthy Gift Ideas From a Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Holistic Health Counselor and a Strength and Conditioning Coach


I thought I’d change up my annual gift list a bit this year and invite my partners from Healthy Green Athlete over to help me create a truly one of a kind top-ten gift list for you. By the way, if you haven’t checked out HGA, you’re missing out on a game-changer. Our approach will shift the way athletes and beginners alike train, eat and think.



We know it can be extremely tough to buy gifts for family and friends who are into fitness, nutrition and wellness. So many brands, so many styles, so many dietary theories, so many options! It can be downright annoying. We created a list of things that WE LOVE and that WE ACTUALLY USE ourselves. The following list is made up of products that we would (and often do) suggest to our own clients. We’ve got you covered with phenomenal gift ideas your loved ones will actually want to open on Christmas morning.


Karen “Flamingo” Baird

Certified Holistic Health Counselor and Nutrition Coach


The Tiger Tail or what I refer to as the “magic stick” in our house. This tool works great for myofascial release of soft tissue, which means it shortens recovery time, increases muscular mobility and reduces soreness and tension after a rigorous gym sesh



Rbx Leggings not only make a girls’ butt look just as fantastic as a $100 pair of yoga pants but they are much less expensive, extremely comfy and don’t sag in the butt (or anywhere else) after an intense squatting session. Plus, they come in crazy patterns and fun colors which is so in these days


Bose SoundSport In-Ear Headphones. As soon as I started using these babies I started killing it in my workouts. There’s something to be said about a good set of headphones pumping the Top 40 of the 2000s in my ears while canceling out any other noise.  Plus, they stay in my ears no matter what type of exercise I happen to be doing


Michael “Hoover” Anderson

Experienced Strength and Conditioning Coach


Rogue Tri-Blend shirts are so soft that they feel as if they are woven with hairs from a unicorn’s mane, and they nestle gently on muscles acquired from lots of time spent with a barbell


Chucks not only look super badass but they are completely neutral shoes and allow your feet to work properly when doing lifts like squats and deadlifts. Most gyms don’t let you go barefoot so these are a great / cheap alternative


Nike Pro Compression Shorts are by far the best training underwear in existence for men! They will gently and appropriately support you in the places you need gentle and appropriate support while allowing for a full range of motion in your hips and glutes. Compression shorts from other brands often bunch up and make certain movements feel funky.
While I can’t personally vouch for their comfort, Nike Pro compression training shorts are perennial favorites of female track, volleyball and CrossFit athletes


Christopher Hostetler

INHC, Pn1, founder Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching


Greens Plus is my go-to for clients who aren’t eating 5-10 servings of vegetables a day. I always have Greens Plus on hand for those days when I can’t get enough veggies in my diet. I also regularly add it to my little one’s oatmeal to start her day off on the right foot (and to ensure that she’s getting the antioxidants, enzymes, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that her body needs). The kicker? All the flavors taste great by themselves or added to a protein shake or smoothie.


Onyx Airtight Glass-Stainless Steel Containers are a stronger, safer way to keep your meals and leftovers stored. Other than plastic being TERRIBLE for our planet, plastic is hazardous to your health (sorry, even the BPA-free kind). Another finding that many people are unaware of is that endocrine disruptors found in plastics can even make you fat.


A coaching program will quite literally change someone’s life. Conquering goals is never accomplished without a proper support system. Ask any successful athlete, entrepreneur or someone who has sustainably kept weight off if they got to the top of the mountain alone. You will find that every single one of them had a knowledgable and supportive team that propelled them to greatness. The Healthy Green Athlete and Do Not Die Young have programs and options available to take you from average to elite. Giving a friend or loved one the gift of a happier, healthier life will never be forgotten.





Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

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Judas Feast: Tips to Prevent a Not-So-Happy Thanksgiving (and a Poll)

I sat down to write about making the “right” choices on Thanksgiving day. Maybe I’d mention that the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories on the holiday? Or maybe I’d talk about how important it is to get some exercise before (and after) gorging on all that crazy-rich food to put at least a little of it to work for you? Or how eating a low/no carb breakfast before filling your gullet with turkey, pumpkin pie, stuffing, rolls, stuffing, apple pie, cranberry sauce, pecan pie, more stuffing, etc. is a great idea. I could always talk about eating intuitively; eating to nourish your body and not getting caught in a binge? But I’m not going to. Not this time. There are hundreds of articles (trust me, I just read half of them) out there that offer similar advice that you can Google in seconds.


This is for those who might overindulge. This is the other side of that mountain of mashed potatoes and gravy with extra butter. This is to help you out during and after the meal when you’re miserable, regretful and hating yourself for eating so much. I’m not advocating that everyone loses their damn mind Thursday, quite the contrary. But guess what? Many of us will. It happens. This is for you.

The practical, proven advice below is the same I give my clients who are dealing with digestive stress. While these tips will also help those who suffer from digestive issues that are acute and ongoing, I created the easy-to-follow list below as a way to help prevent or minimize the most common (gas & bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea) sufferings that often parallel Turkey Day.

Keep those antacids on the shelf.




What it feels like:

Uncomfortable fullness after eating a meal

Abdominal pain and/or distention

Excessive farting


Actions to take:

Chew your food well (15 + per bite)

Colon massage (following the line of your colon)

Foods to eat:

More fiber

Less (or no) dairy

Ginger, anise, fennel

Avoid sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol


Digestive enzymes


Activated charcoal






Eating too fast (see chewing above)

Too much caffeine

Too much sugar or refined carbohydrates

Low stomach acid

Actions to take:

Don’t over consume liquids with your meal

Eat slowly (yes, chewing again)

Foods to eat:

Increase vegetables

Avoid overindulging caffeine and sugar

Avoid ice-cold drinks



Apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp in water)

Fennel tea


An 8 month old baby boy crying really big tears.


Actions to take:

Get some exercise

Gentle yogic twists

Child’s pose

Foods to eat:

More fiber

Ample water for hydration

No dairy

Probiotic foods like sauerkraut or kimchi

Flax and chia seeds



No processed foods



Digestive enzymes


Vitamin C

Marshmallow root





Food allergies or sensitivities

Lactose or sugar intolerance

Impaired digestion


Lack of good bacteria in the gut

Actions to take:

Drink a lot of fluids and stay  hydrated; green juices, tea

No sugar, fat, dairy, excess meat

Place something warm on the abdomen while reclining

Foods to eat:

Simple green juices

Mild fruit smoothies


Black currant or blueberry juice

Slippery elm tea

BRAT diet: bananas, rice, apples, toast





Aloe vera juice (2-4 oz)

Ground flax


Be grateful everyday



Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

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You Are Here for a Reason 

wish that I could travel back in time to that day the bullet lodged in my spine. Travel back in time, and when that 5 year old, innocent child lay in a pool of blood, grasping for air, I’d whisper in his ear. I’d tell him that everything was NOT going to be okay. I’d tell him that even though he would survive being shot that the future was going to be paved with physical and psychological land mines. I’d tell him to choose the word survivor and erase the word victim from his vocabulary, because the acceptance of being the victim was like choosing eternal night over sunny days for the next thirty years of his life. 

I’d tell him to not be afraid. 

 The last few years have been a time of great introspection for me. I have finally and sincerely decided to use my life story to help others. Sharing what I’ve been through and what it’s like now has been another step in my healing process, but there has also been an intransigent part of my soul that wants to walk away and push it down, burying my story in the same cold, shallow grave where it stayed for such a long time. The dirt used to fill that tomb is made up of fear, self loathing, solitude… drugs and alcohol.

What I’m doing is right. Right for me and right for the world, right now. I’ve had the chance to share my story on incredible podcasts, which is very humbling because of the inspirational guests that have told their stories before me. Being part of such a special movement is something I have always dreamed of. What didn’t kill me now allows me to make others stronger. Just writing that last line gives me the (good) chills! The thing is? I AM up for the task. I feel that I’ve been blessed with a gift and that the curse was of my own creation. My gratitude is ocean sized. I know that the 5 year old little boy, so wrapped in fear and confusion would get something out of my story.

My hopes are that anyone, at any age, can take something positive away from my life journey. 

 After the accident, a nun who was a friend of my grandparents would spend time with me. I can clearly remember her soft, paper-like, wrinkled hands holding mine as she would encourage me that everything was going to be okay. That bad things happen to good people, even little children. There is one thing she said that has been rattling around in my brain for thirty years. Something that at the time was far too profound to grasp for a 5 year old. For a long time I cynically transformed these words as simple coddling by an adult used as a tool to help a poor little kid to strive, to get through tough times. Eventually, I began to believe what she said. I began to study my life closely, to see if by chance I was fulfilling her prophecy. She said “You are here for a reason”. Those 5 words have filled my dreams for an eternity. I’ve searched for the reason my whole life. Every day another existential easter egg hunt. 

I’ve come to realize that the reason is not close to any of the grandiose ideas that I would create; being a famous musician, a poet laureate, the President of the United States or a famous sports star (a boy can dream). The reason is much simpler than that: to help others. Included in that is to be a great father, partner, son, brother, grandson, friend. To live a life worth living and to never forget that it can all be gone in a millisecond. To always remember that the slightest of winds can snuff out a flame. 

Remember that we are all filled with greatness. Remember that we can all get/be better. Remember that we all hold the tools to save a life, the key is to start with ourselves.   


“I don’t confuse greatness with perfection. To be great anyhow is…the higher achievement.”

– Lois McMaster Bujold




Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

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The Last Time

I used to sell home alarm systems in the early 2000’s when I called Columbus, Ohio my home. It involved an ungodly amount of travel throughout the state, traveling up to 200 miles per day. My boss was overly caffeinated and always bright red in the face A portly fellow who had just moved to Ohio from Missouri. He always seemed mere minutes away from a heart attack. His pep talks were meant to inspire, but usually just revolved around how we could all be like him if we just tried to sell, sell, sell! He drove a rusted, beat up late 80s Chevy Caprice and treated his wife like a servant. No one wanted to be like him.

From time to time, I would get lucky and have an appointment in Mansfield or Marion where my family lived. This would allow me to have some downtime, grab a bite or just relax in between appointments. This is probably the only reason that I stayed with the job as long as I did as I barely broke even each month. It also allowed me the freedom to be by myself all day, stopping in for drinks across the state of Ohio. I would find the dirtiest, dive-iest looking bar in whatever tiny town I was in and order a beer and a shot. Not the best idea while driving, I’m well aware.

Perhaps my biggest regret in life happened during this time period: I had an appointment in Marion, Ohio, where I was born and where my grandparents still lived. It was early evening and I wanted to get back to Columbus to meet some friends at the local bar. No special occasion whatsoever, just drinking. I never needed a special occasion to drink, anyway. I had a tug at my heart to stop by and see my grandparents, especially my grandpa who was seriously ill and had been in and out of the hospital. I decided to call instead. I proceeded to lie and tell them that I had another appointment in Columbus, that I was in a big rush to get back. I told my grandpa that I would stop by next time. The next time never came. My grandfather passed away the next morning in my grandmother’s arms. I’ve shed an ocean’s worth of regretful tears over that single decision.

I never want to shed those kind of tears again.

We never know when it’s the last time until it never happens again. 

– when it’s the last time you have the chance to see someone before they pass

– When it’s the last time you’ll have the chance to go on that trip you’ve been dreaming of

– When it’s the last time you’ll have to stop drinking

– When it’s the last time your mom or dad will call you to check in

– When it’s the last time your pet wants to cuddle

– When it’s the last time your best friend will be there to give you a pep talk

– When it’s the last time your entire family is together for the holidays

– when it’s the last time your child will want you to read them a bedtime story

Isn’t it true that in the end, those seemingly meaningless moments are the ones most sacred? What seem like everyday annoyances, like your child screaming or yet another phone call from that friend who just needs to talk. These moments make up the blood in our veins and the blue sky above when we are stuck in the scorching, dry desert of our uncompromising subconscious. To appreciate these things is to love ourselves. To be grateful for all these things brings us closer to being part of the whole. To be awake and aware that these moments mean everything is, in my opinion, to live life to the fullest.

A life with no time for regret.


Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

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Youth Is Wasted on the Young (10 Ways to Live a Longer, Healthier Life – Starting Today)

Such a simple saying that holds so much meaning. Since I turned the big 40 in March this saying has been floating around my head and making appearances on a daily basis. I realize that in the scheme of things 40 is not *that* old and that I have many years ahead of me. I realize that those older than me might think that I’m still young and, just maybe, that youth is still being wasted on me. It’s all about perception, though, isn’t it? It’s all about when we start to figure things out. It’s all about when we realize that health matters, not only for our longevity, but for our family, friends and community as a whole. 

Ask anyone about the keys to living a longer, healthier life and you’ll usually get these 3 answers: diet, exercise and good genes. While this is absolutely true, we can’t forget lifestyle, attitude and spiritual disposition. This is probably why some of my clients are surprised when I delve into more of the lifestyle coaching part of their program. As I tell those I work with “it’s all part of the big picture, part of the process” to which they go along with it and often see unexpected (yet very appreciated) results. Think of your body as a car, would you get a new engine and forget about the flat tires and broken windshield? Without everything running properly and in good order, the car will meet its demise much earlier than if it had been through routine maintenance. A spot of rust that in no way impairs the vehicle’s ability to get from point a to point b can eventually take over the whole body. It’s the little things that can end up costing us everything.

I now want to beat all life expectancy predictions and live to be 200. Yes, I know that’s an impossible feat. I’m dreaming on that one, right? At the very least I want the years leading up to my passing to be healthy, happy, vibrant and strong. I definitely don’t want to be taken out of the game due to bad lifestyle choices or a preventable disease. Why would anyone? Below are 10 simple strategies that I practice for a longer, healthier, happier life.


10 ways to live a longer, healthier life – starting today

1. Get and stay fit


Regular exercise keeps your body strong and will help prevent injury and disease. Search for something that you enjoy, which will keep you going back for more. Once you’ve established a routine, replace the words exercise or working out with the word fun. Starting small is perfectly fine, just start. 

“We found that adding low amounts of physical activity to one’s daily routine, such as just 75 minutes of brisk walking per week, was associated with increased longevity: a gain of 1.8 years of life expectancy after age 40, compared with doing no such activity”  – Harvard Medical School Professor of Medicine I-Min Lee

2. Lower your stress level


Play music, meditate, walk, take a nap, talk to a friend. Stress management is one of the keys to disease prevention and a longer life. 

3. Have more sex


An active sex life is connected with a longer life. Having sex two or three times a week can lower your risk of heart disease by up to 45%. And guess what? It’s a form of exercise. Two birds, one stone. 

4. Faith


No matter how you feel about religion, find something to believe in. Your higher power doesn’t have to be Jesus, Allah or Buddha. It could be Love, Kindness, the Universe, etc. Studies show that people who have faith live longer, happier and healthier lives. 

5. Check that ‘tude


One quality that most centenarians (a person who is 100 years old or older) share is optimism. Want to live a long life? Your attitude counts. Be grateful for the good things in your life and stop bitching and moaning about the little things that will mean nothing in the end.

6. Brain games


Learn a new language, attend lectures, read more books, finally figure out that damn Rubiks’ Cube. Keep your mind engaged and sharp.

7. Stay lean


Extra weight can put you at risk for diabetes, heart attacks, cancer and many other diseases that can rip away precious years from your life.

8. Don’t smoke 


This one is a no-brainer. Seriously, don’t. If you do, stop. Get help and keep trying.

9. Help others


Volunteering will make you happier, healthier and live longer. And it just feels good to help others! There are strong links between volunteering and longevity.

10. Eat well 


Realize that food is for fuel and nourishment. Also realize that there is not a one size fits all diet. Better food availability, variety, balance and more appropriate nutrition are critical for overall health and longevity. Make it a point to reach out to someone who can support you in finding what’s right for you as an individual while cutting through all the gimmicks and misinformation out there.

In what ways are you ensuring a longer, happier life?

Be well.


Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach, proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for the newsletter for more evidence-based tips on lifestyle, nutrition, health, fitness and wellness.

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When It Comes to Health, Live and Let Live

It might come as a surprise to those who already live a healthy life full of exercise, unprocessed foods, smoothies, fitness trackers, meditation, yoga mats, gym memberships, etc. that many people are not the least bit interested in getting healthy, nor are they interested in seeing your workout selfie or inspirational quote placed overtop a sunset, abdominal muscles or fierce lion. In fact, there are many who get downright annoyed with comments and social media posts that highlight your love of everything healthy. I’m here to tell you that you, yes you, have some haters out there. That’s okay, we’ll discuss why later on.

Last week I got involved with a Facebook thread that a good friend was already commenting on. You know, those threads that you follow and follow while telling yourself not to comment. The thread eventually becomes the equivalent of a plate of fresh, homemade, chocolate chip cookies that you’re walking past over and over. Eventually, willpower loses out and you scarf down a few cookies like a toddler eating birthday cake. In other words, I just had to comment. I had to get my 2 cents in. I mean, it pertained to exactly what I do for a living, my passion.

My opinion is valuable, right? No, not always.

The original status update was something like “I’d be healthy too if salads weren’t $7 and I had time to exercise!”. To this I tried to explain why that salad is so expensive in comparison to a hamburger. For example, I mentioned government food subsidies and how grains like corn and soy that feed cattle were given so much more than vegetables and so on. I posted a link to further explain what I was talking about. Yeah, I was educating people about an important issue that I was passionate about. Go me! Guess what? No one cared and not one person commented on the link I shared.

I won’t lie, this bothered me. I mean, how could they not care about why food prices are so unfair. Why, it seems, that our great nation cares more about money than the health of her people. Why it’s so important to support local farmers and economy. Why it pays to pay a little extra for quality food, even if the system is rigged. Why the food pyramid was based on the strength of industry opinion (and money) and not on the interest of preventative health care. Why, unless you have the money, following a healthy, nutrient dense diet is next to impossible. Why advertisers and celebrity doctors use manipulation and body shaming as a way to sell bullsh*t supplements to those looking for a quick fix. Why, it seems, that you simply can’t get or stay in shape unless you join a gym (You can). Why, it seems, that having a “normal” body and a “normal” diet is not good enough (it is), be it in television commercials, film or print ads.

Why why why why?

After marinating on all of this for a few days, I came to some profound personal realizations:

1. People have enough to worry about in life without having to research, study and fight the power that is a rigged system. 

2. People are so inundated with differing opinions on health, nutrition and fitness that it becomes a cluster of information, which makes it virtually impossible to know what is right and who to trust. 

3. My job as a coach and educator is not to stir the pot or attempt to spark a revolution towards everything wrong. It’s my duty to give answers, support, to inspire change through self care, little by little. 

4. People (including myself for many years) see those workout selfies and inspirational quotes as self serving humble brags that in no way inspires them to eat healthy or get in shape. Don’t get me wrong, many find a lot of inspiration in seeing the personal transformation of a peer. If posting such things holds you accountable, gives you fuel for the fire or gives you a sense of community, keep posting them as people always have the option to scroll past and move on.

5. There are those who, even with the proper knowledge, will never care to change their lifestyle in a way that could add years to their life, and guess what? THAT’S OKAY. 

Be well.


Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach, proud father, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for the newsletter for more evidence-based tips on lifestyle, nutrition, health, fitness and wellness.

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The 6 Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies of Plant-Based and Vegan Diets

I don’t promote or condemn any particular dietary theory. My job and passion is to support others in making their diet, whatever they choose, to be as healthy as possible. To help them nourish their bodies to live a happier, healthier life with more energy and less stress. So you will not find any lifestyle bashing in the words I write or say. With that being said, most of the time when someone chooses a restrictive diet they inevitably end up with common nutrient deficiencies that need to be made up with supplements or strategic planning.

The decision to eat a plant-based, vegan or vegetarian diet can be based on such things as environmental, religious, ethical or health concerns. About 2% of the population follows a plant-based diet while 1% follow a vegan lifestyle. Plant-based and vegan lifestyles are gaining a lot momentum these days and unfortunately there is A LOT of bad (and even dangerous) advice out there that is based on anecdotal evidence and bad science. This goes with every popular dietary theory whether it’s Veganism, Paleo, Macrobiotic, etc.

Below are the 6 most common nutrient deficiencies to watch out for if you or someone you care about follows a strictly plant-based or vegan diet:

Vitamin B12


B12 is only found in reliable levels in animal foods. This makes supplementation with this vitamin absolutely essential for those who avoid animal products. You can get vitamin B12 from fortified products like grains and non-dairy milks. Also in nutritional yeasts.



Some plant-based omega-3 rich fats (which are high in ALA) are flax, hemp, seaweed, walnuts, salba, etc. ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) is converted inefficiently to DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) in the body, therefore it’s ideal for strict plant-based eaters to add a DHA/EPA supplement to their diet. Algae oil is a good option.

 Vitamin D


Vitamin D is found in very few foods. ONLY foods fortified with vitamin D will provide any vitamin D if you’re eating a strictly plant-based diet. Also, be aware that there are different forms of vitamin D: D2 is animal free and D3 is animal derived. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D. If you’re not getting enough sunlight, especially during winter months, supplementation is imperative.



Calcium is found in green leafy vegetables, fortified non-dairy beverages, calcium set tofu, nuts and legumes. If consumption of high calcium foods is sporadic, a supplement can be beneficial.



Many plant-based diets rely heavily upon soy foods for protein. It’s very important to know that eating a lot of soy-based foods can compromise thyroid function when iodine intake is lacking. Kelp and other sea veggies, green leafy vegetables, asparagus and sea-based salts are all good sources of iodine. If you’re not eating these foods, supplementation could be critical.



Zinc helps with many important functions like protein synthesis, immunity and blood formation. Zinc absorption from plant foods are lower than animal foods. Strict plant-based diets may need up to 50% higher than that of someone who eats animal products. Coffee, tea and calcium supplements between meals can maximize the zinc absorption from food sources.

Plant foods rich in zinc include quinoa, almonds, chickpeas, lentils, hemp seeds, cacao nibs, goji berries, aduki beans, pumpkin seeds and peanuts.

My general advice, no matter how you choose to eat, is to be cautious of cutting out entire food groups and to imagine your food as your life force, because it is. We have a habit of treating food like a one night stand; not caring where our food came from, and not wanting to think about it after we are done with it. As a society, if we learned more about where and how our food was produced, we would be healthier, happier, live longer AND our environment would be much better off. Treat your food choices like you would a loved one, with care and respect.

Be well.


Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach, proud father, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for the newsletter for more evidence-based tips on lifestyle, nutrition, health, fitness and wellness.

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How You Can Find Health, Happiness and Freedom (from Someone Who Never Thought It Was Possible)

Sorry about that title above. I realize that it sounds tired and regurgitated like so many health and wellness articles. You know, the ones that certain friends endlessly share on Facebook and Twitter? You might be sick of hearing about a magical detox, meditation and finding yourself, and that’s okay. It’s safe to say that I read around 100 of those types of articles a week for research, and I’m here to tell you that I understand your contempt. But please don’t take this as a bashing or mockery of certain practices (some that I firmly believe in and use myself) that can be profoundly helpful to others, even if some of the benefits are short lived and permeate the scent of snake oil.

I didn’t get to where I am today by following any one particular dietary theory, new exercise routine or breathing technique, etc. But I did find optimal health, happiness and a new sense of freedom, so the title stays. True health and sustainable change involves experimentation, failures and many moving parts. It’s NOT EASY and there is no magical solution out there… unless you consider hard work and dedication a magical solution – if you do, I applaud you. Everyone has a different version of what health, happiness and freedom mean to them as an individual. Let’s take a look at the proper definition of each, shall we?

Health: The state of being free from illness or injury.

Happiness: A state of well-being and contentment. A pleasurable or satisfying experience

Freedom: The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.


Take a moment to reflect on and answer these questions:

How do you strive to be free from illness or injury?

Are you in a state of well-being and contentment and living a pleasurable or satisfying experience?

Do you feel imprisoned or enslaved?


Below are 5 suggestions from me; a gunshot survivor, someone who struggled with cravings and addictions and someone who never thought that finding health, happiness and freedom was ever possible:


1. Don’t Allow Cravings to Ruin Your Life

I’m comfortable supporting clients with cravings (some people crave food like addicts crave drugs) and addictions because I’ve been there and understand how easily they can take the wheel and steer our lives down roads we would not go down otherwise. Cravings and addictions are deeply seeded and often never dealt with, leading to a truly unhealthy life (mentally, physically and spiritually) and often an early death.  

If you feel as if you can’t control your cravings or you find yourself managing your vices, know that this is not normal. Please talk to someone and look for support before it’s too late.

2. Stop Dieting

Diets are a $66 billion dollar industry in the US alone and they don’t work. Okay, they work for a short period and then *BOOM* the weight returns when the dieting stops. There are MANY reasons that diets just don’t work. From what your mother ate in the womb to the transfer of genetic material to our body clocks to environment to our gut bacterial population. Most often a diet seems to work because the chosen diet puts the body in a calorie deficit, which forces the body to use fat stores for energy causing weight loss. This is the way to lose weight quickly and has made many people incredibly rich off of some simple calorie calculating. 

Beware that this type of dieting often causes eating disorders, guilt about eating, decline in physiological processes, concentration, comprehension and overall judgment. If your idea of good health only equals losing some weight you might want to reevaluate what being heathy really means to you, especially in the long term.

3. Believe in Something Bigger than Yourself

Whether it’s the universe, Buddha or the love you feel for your child, the belief in something bigger than ourselves helps to curb ego and give life more meaning.  

Happiness is an elusive concept, find it where you can.

4. Newtrition

Forget what your friends, family or coworkers have to say about what you should be eating because 99.9% of the time they’re wrong. The nutritional and chemical make-up of each individual is different and therefore dietary needs vary from person to person. Finding what’s best for YOU as an individual is key.

A great place to start down this path is to try an elimination diet to acquaint yourself with any food sensitivities that could be causing problems without you even knowing it.

5. Habits Become Lifestyle

Find your reason to add new and healthy habits slowly into your life as they will eventually become part of your lifestyle. This is the root of sustainable health. Some of the benefits of tearing down the house and rebuilding piece by piece are clarity, strength, weight loss, less pain, less depression, a more positive outlook, joy, happiness, freedom, younger looking skin, more stamina, a leaner body, better sex, less cravings, less fear and better sleep.

Simply put, it feels good to feel good. Not to mention that you’re adding healthy and vibrant years to your life!


Be well.




Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach, proud father, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

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Get Fit, Healthy and Still Eat Pizza and Pancakes

It’s Friday night, you’ve been SO “good” with your diet of late. You have plans to get dinner with friends you haven’t seen in a while, you get a text that they’re picking your favorite pizza place on earth. You smile and begin to salivate thinking about that ooey gooey cheese and those bread sticks… THOSE BREAD STICKS! And then you think about the progress you’ve been making with your health, you think about those vision goals and all the hard work you’ve been putting in, you think about how that pizza and those evil breadsticks will ruin everything. You then get depressed and make an excuse not to join your friends for dinner and end up having a green smoothie instead. Cue the sad trombone.

Bummer. Maybe this eating healthy thing isn’t for you? Maybe this crazy way of living will take all the “fun” out of life?

I’m here to tell you to go ahead and eat the pizza. Seriously, eat the damn pizza. I always get the “ummm, but you shouldn’t let me eat things like that, right?” look whenever I tell a friend or client to just eat the food. How could a Nutrition Coach promote eating badly, you might be asking yourself? Well, I’m not. A healthy lifestyle is all about PATTERNS and not about one meal or one day out of the calendar. Plus, it’s imperative to an enjoyable life to have close friendships, to let go a little and most importantly, to realize that food is not the enemy. What is the enemy? Repeated bad choices that we never learn from. These ongoing decision are what lead us to be overweight, unhealthy, depressed, lethargic and often lead to disease.

Whether you’re trying to lose 20 pounds, trying to get shredded OR you’re a high level athlete in training, the occasional fun meal is important for your overall wellbeing. Good food can be one of the great joys of life. The following tips will help you kickstart your way to a life of joyful, sustainable, optimal health.



Eat any food you want in up to 10% of your meals; in the other 90% eat foods that will fuel your mind and body to success. I strongly suggest removing fast food and highly processed foods from your diet completely. In my opinion, these are simply not food at all. But if you’re used to having fast food multiple times a week try cutting back a meal each week until you’re down to zero. The less rigid you are, the better chance you have in making these lifestyle changes sustainable.
NOTE: Make sure you do the math (I know, I know – everyone hates math) when attempting this style of eating. For example, if you’re eating 4 meals/snacks per day through the week – that equals 28 meals. 10% of 28 meals is about 3 meals. So, you’re allowed to “break the rules” 3 meals each week.



I loathe this popular term in the health and fitness world. The thing is when you “cheat” it implies that you’re doing something terribly wrong. Those who always talk about (or hashtag) cheat meals are usually the ones who eat way more unhealthy food than they think. Do you take cheat naps? How about cheat vacations? Catch my drift?



Binge eating can downright DESTROY any progress that you have going for you and make you feel terrible. Binge eating all day does not equal a cheat meal contrary to what some in the fitness world preach.

The 10% can have some foods that might not fit into your plan like a couple of slices of pizza, a beer or glass of wine after dinner a couple of nights a week, a slice of pie once a week, some sourdough waffles for brunch, etc.

The best way to stay on course is to schedule your 10% meals ahead of time. Pick a day and your meal just like you would a certain time to exercise or meditate. This will keep you committed and give you a little something to look forward to.

*As mentioned above, I highly recommend ridding your diet of fast food and heavily processed foods. Try not to consume these in your 10% meals. I thought I’d mention that again for good measure.



With a little practice, you can turn your 10% meals into healthy options that fit into your 90%.

From pizza to pancakes, you can hack those usually unhealthy meals and turn them into delicious, healthy, nutrient dense meals that stay within the lines of good nutrition.

Many of my clients are amazed when they learn how simple it is to shift unhealthy meals to healthy meals. It’s also pretty fun to experiment! Eventually you will decrease that 10% without even noticing (or missing) those not-so-healthy choices.



Do you get angry or frustrated as you are trying to get healthy, transform your body or change your overall lifestyle? Well, good. Yes, good. Use that frustration as fuel to step it up even more. Don’t direct that anger at your coach or trainer. You are being coached based on knowledge and experience. Keep in mind that most any coach or trainer you will hire has dealt with very similar experiences in their past. In other words, they know your pain and are there to help you succeed, that’s why they chose their profession: they want to change lives.

You might be thinking that a plan/program just isn’t working. The thing is, the plan/program, if created by a caring and knowledgable coach or trainer will usually work. Maybe it’s YOU that is not working the program to your best ability? Of course, this is not always the case as there are rotten apples out there.

Take responsibility, trust your coach or trainer, dive in head first and trust the process.



When making positive changes, tell your friends and family. Form a tribe of like-minded individuals by making some new friends at the gym, yoga, martial arts class, etc. Join new Facebook pages based on your health mission, search out local workshops that coincide with your health, nutrition and fitness interests, post progress pictures on line or share with a close friend(s) who support you.

Tell your friends, family, coach or trainer to hold you to it. Let them know that it’s okay to push you if you start to sway or doubt yourself.

NOTE: Beware those who use “tough love” as it usually ends up to being belittling or condescending. If it feels like someone is crossing the line from motivating talk to mean talk – run or the hills.



If you’re making lifestyle changes just to get rock hard abs or a better butt, you are missing the most important elements of self evolution. While aesthetics are important and can be rewarding, eventually they will lose that new car smell. Strive to shift your entire life perspective.

Search out ways to improve yourself holistically, remember that it is all intimately interconnected and losing a few pounds is only part of the whole.

Go with an integrative approach to self care by searching out someone who can not only give you advice on personalized nutrition but someone who can help heal your gut (where health starts), teach you meditation techniques, help you find exercise that is right for you as an individual. Someone who will support you in finding balance between Primary Foods (spirituality, jobs, relationships, recreational and physical activities) and Secondary Foods (what’s on your plate). This is where real and sustainable change will truly take place for you.



Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach, proud father, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

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Age Is Just a Number and I Hate Math

I woke up with a head full of a million thoughts streaming like shooting stars across my brain. So, I quickly brushed my teeth, got dressed and made my way to a coffee shop where I now sit attempting to form some sort of meaningful constellation pattern. My head and heart have been in overdrive lately. I attribute it to my birthday, which is under a week away: the big 4-0.

Yes, the dreaded 40. For months now I’ve been joking about how it’s going to feel to turn 25 or 30. Always chuckling but secretly wishing those numbers were still there to be achieved. I’ve come to realize, this morning, that journeying into this new decade has spun me like a top. Introspection, doubt, fear, you name it – they’ve all been simmering in my life stew… and it’s time to ring the bell.

Soup is on.

Knowing that the three big C’s (Compare, Contrast, Control) are incredibly detrimental to my life, I’m usually hyper-aware when any of the three start creeping into my subconscious and quickly squash them before they see the light of day… not lately, unfortunately. I’ve been comparing myself with other fathers, business owners, successful friends, you name it. I’m wondering how I can control aging and the inevitable death of friends and family. I’m regretting choices I’ve made in the past and have a truck load of resentments toward myself. I’m wondering how 40 came so damn fast. All of this is toxic and poisons us both physically and spiritually.


Upon further reflection, these are my truths:

-I’ve dedicated my life to self evolution through nutrition, education, fitness and a spiritual path.

-I support others in the same way using evidence-based methods and my life experiences.

-The change that I’ve gone through (and continue to go through) in recent years is nothing short of miraculous. With that being said, I put in more work than some will ever know. For many years I doubted that I would even make it to my 4th decade on this planet and this week I will reach that milestone!

-I’ve never felt healthier, stronger or more focused in my life.

-My confidence in helping others is tremendous and my dedication to being the best father, partner, son, friend and coach is unbreakable.

-I can hold my head high, look others in the eyes and know that I am trying my best in everything I do. These things are what make a man.

Unfortunately, there is no solution for getting older but there are solutions to remedy these feelings that may surround big life events. Ways to get us back to our happy place. I hope my thoughts can help those out there that might be turning 40, 80 or just having a big life moment. Be sure to give yourself some credit for where you are because where you are now is right where you’re supposed to be.



Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health Coach, proud father, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for the newsletter for more evidence-based tips on lifestyle, nutrition, health, fitness and wellness.

Don’t forget to connect! Support/Website – Like – Facebook Follow – Twitter Pin – Pinterest Look – Instagram