User blogs


As you might know I’m always looking for new and better ways to improve health for myself personally and for my patients.  For the past 6 months or so I have been looking for a way, other than using HCG and restrictive calorie diet to help my patients lose weight.  I’ll explain why in a moment. Read more:


Running is one of Americans’ favorite forms of exercise. The reasons for its popularity are simple — it can be done almost anywhere, takes no special equipment, and burns lots of calories. Running also offers a great many health benefits such as weight control, decreased blood pressure and cholesterol, and relief from stress. Read more:


Free yourself from harsh chemicals parabens, emulsifiers, and more with our top ten skin-protecting products. Read more:


In today’s fast-paced society, we’re bombarded with various forms of stress that can wreck havoc on our immune systems. Chiropractors are particularly interested in helping their chiropractic patients overcome these stressors in order to maintain a healthy and balanced life. Outside of the chiropractic adjustment, let’s take a look at three nutritional tips that will help chiropractic patients boost their immune system. Read more:


If you are among the 45 million Americans who suffer headaches regularly, you are undoubtedly familiar with the traditional methods that people use to treat them, including taking some type of over the counter medication that is supposed to eliminate the pain and reduce any associated swelling. There are many other types of treatment that you may have attempted as well, including taking pharmaceutical concoctions designed to treat pain. However, none of these solutions provide permanent relief that addresses the problem at the core. Read more: 


Even though chiropractic excels in wellness care, it is becoming more common for people to visit chiropractors to treat a variety of different kinds of pain. Because of this, chiropractic adjustments provide many benefits to people and patients who suffer from a wide variety of conditions like arthritis. In today’s article, we’ll explore how chiropractic can help patients who suffer from arthritis and give you additional suggestions on how to alleviate the pain that’s associated with it.  Read More:


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Warning: A high protein/low carbohydrate diet with essential vitamins is so effective in lowering blood pressure that if you are on blood pressure medications, you must be careful. You may become dizzy and faint within just a few days and you will need to be taken off your medication quickly.”


Isn’t that the kind of warning you’d like to see if you have high blood pressure, or a heart condition? If you are one of more than half of Americans consuming the standard American diet, with high blood pressure you may want to kick the carbohydrate habit, and follow a more Mediterranean or Paleo diet. This along with exercise, adequate water intake and a few nutritional supplements can do amazing things for your body including: lower blood pressure, weight loss, lower triglycerides, lower LDL, raise HDL, increase energy, stamina and strength, and prolong a healthy life.


I know, you are reading this and saying out loud,“ I have a pretty good diet. I exercise. Why do I still have these problems? Why am I still on these medications? Well, keep reading and ask yourself that again at the end of the article.


Did you know that Dehydration causes the majority of cases of Essential Hypertension? Essential Hypertension is a condition in which dehydration from lack of water (or a constant American diet loaded with sodas and coffee) causes a loss in blood volume (because these drinks increase urination). The body senses the level of dehydration and in response tightens blood vessels so that adequate blood and oxygen is supplied to the cells. When lifelong drugs are used to loosen tight vessels, while the dehydration is ignored, your cells are starved for blood and oxygen. Keep in mind, that one of the body’s normal responses to dehydration is to try to retain water in the tissues, and may result in mild edema/swelling in the feet and legs or entire body. The pharmaceutical answer to this is to take a water pill, which furthers the dehydration and electrolyte loss. The real solution: drink pure water in an amount that is one-half your body weight, in ounces.


Did you know that High carbohydrate/high sugar from the standard American cause damage to your arteries? This damage signals your body to produce triglycerides and cholesterol in order to tuck point the weakened areas of your blood vessels. (Without this tuck pointing action of cholesterol, aneurysms would surely occur more often than they do. This elevated cholesterol thickens the blood and cause a condition known as sludged blood. Moving this blood through the vessels is more difficult, so the heart must beat harder, with an increase in blood pressure. Lifelong heart, blood pressure, and cholesterol lowering drugs (while ignoring the diet) causes the heart to actually weaken, producing lowered blood pressure numbers, but a weaker heart muscle.  While statin drugs are touted as the answer to high cholesterol “if diet and exercise aren’t helping”, how much is it really helping when you now have to consider liver damage and all the other side effects associated with these drugs? Does it make any sense to add a dangerous drug in the hopes of lowering cholesterol when the cause is dietary? And, by the way, there is no research to prove that these medications actually lower your cholesterol in a healthy way and almost 900 studies that discuss the harmful side effects.


Side note: And what diet are they talking about? What kind of sound dietary advice have you ever gotten from your MD? And what kind of exercise?


Did you know that Vitamin C is the only vitamin humans (and guinea pigs) can’t produce? You MUST get our vitamin C from our diet…but are you eating enough fruits and vegetables to get the vitamin C your body needs to function optimally? Natural vitamin C complex is needed to carry oxygen in the blood through the blood vessels to the cells. If we eat the good old American diet, we are surely, at least sub clinically deficient in vitamin C. The result is decreased oxygen to the cells. The body’s response to this is to speed up the heart rate in order to pump more blood to the cells. (more blood=more oxygen). Heart and blood pressure drugs to lower heart rate and blood pressure (while ignoring the vitamin c deficiency) take away the heart’s compensatory action of trying to get more oxygen to the cells. The result…exhaustion and fatigue. High insulin levels, high blood sugar and viral and bacterial infections damage blood vessel linings. Vitamin c is essential in maintaining the strength and flexibility of the blood vessel walls. Lack of vitamin c over time cause blood vessel walls to weaken (like an old tire). The body’s way of patching this weak area in the absence of collagen building vitamin c, is to use cholesterol which plaques the arteries. The long term affect of this is clogged arteries or arteriole sclerosis which leads to heart attack, stroke and aneurysm.


Did you know that the body’s normal response to stress is to raise blood pressure, stress hormones, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels? Because the human brain is still primitive, it can not distinguish between emotional stresses or survival stress like the kind of stress cave people had to endure (such as when running from a saber toothed tiger). If you needed to outrun a tiger, you would need more blood to be pumped to your legs for strength and speed (increased blood pressure), you would need more oxygen exchange in the tissues to fend off fatigue (increased heart rate), you would need a fuel source so stored fats and sugars would be released into the blood (increased blood sugar levels, increased cholesterol and triglycerides), and you would need to be very alert without the bother of feeling pain if an injury occurred (increased adrenaline and cortisol levels). Ah….but you aren’t running from a tiger are you? But the body doesn’t know the difference, and this physiological change is going to happen whether you want it to or not. The solution in this scenario is stress management and exercise. Exercise will allow you to ‘burn off’ the adrenaline, sugars and fats and give the heart a reason to pump so hard. Other hormones after exercise are released that reduce muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure and return your body back to normal. Stress management can be handled in many ways. Why not talk to someone, even a professional someone about what’s bothering you, or try meditation or yoga. All work great!


Now, you likely need some supplementation too. After years of not getting enough nutrition form your food, you are going to need to supplement in order to jump start the changes you need to happen. Did you know that chronic stress depletes B vitamin, Vitamin C and other essential minerals?


I don’t care who you are, there are some essential nutrients everyone needs to supplement with – including ME! I a whole food multivitamin to all of my patients. I am choosy about my multi because I don’t want mega doses of anything but it needs to cover a wide range of nutrients. I always have multivitamins for men and women available, and the ones for men are not the exact formulation as the ones for women. Men and women have slightly different needs. For extremely high blood pressures and to aid someone who wished to get off medications I might utilize a product containing hawthorn berry which works like an ace-inhibitor, and garlic to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Garlic also has an anti-cohesive property (as does Ginkgo) and can be substituted for aspirin. Omega 3 fatty acids are another essential, but will also lower cholesterol naturally. IF you have a weak heart muscle and have been on heart medications a long time, I recommend calcium lactate to strengthen the heart muscle and fend off osteoporosis can be added to the mix. Other changes can be made if you are also trying to correct diabetes and normalize blood insulin and sugar levels or to balance female hormones.


To get well you can not treat symptoms while ignoring the underlying causes of disease, much of which is a direct result of the standard American diet and this idea that a medication will protect you while you continue to harm your body. It just won’t work. The question your doctor may not want you to ask is “what happens when I stop the drugs?” This causes a lot of trepidation because the answer is “you will be right back to square one, no better, and perhaps a little worse.” Although given the side effects of cholesterol lowering medications and their lack of effectiveness, you’ll actually be better off without those.


So, you’ve read nearly to the end. What do you think? Are you really doing everything you can to improve your health? Do you need some help? If you want to change your health – really change your health and add years to a healthy life you have to take charge and responsibility and stop relying on drugs to fix problems that aren’t drug related.


Functional medicine, which is what I practice, asks “why are you in this state of health?” The answer is almost always lifestyle choices lifestyle is what needs to change in order to regain your health. I have never had a patient who did everything I told them to do, and didn’t end up having amazing results in their health, including reduced cholesterol and blood pressure. These results often leaves their family doctor wondering just what I ‘gave’ them to achieve such a change. What I gave them was sound dietary and lifestyle advice, better nutrition, guidance and accountability.


I’m here to help. Just call (239) 243-8735




What would be the most significant thing you could do to improve your health? This is one of the last questions on my new patient intake forms, and do you know what the number one answer to this question has been for over the past 23 years? The answer is likely no surprise, its lose weight.

If this is how you would answer that question, then I have one more question for you: What are you waiting for??

I’m a Physician and this is my 50 pound weight loss story

I had been struggling with a slow and steady weight gain for about 15 years. The harder I tried to shed the pounds, the more weight I gained. How could that be? If you know me personally or professionally, then you know that I have always eaten a healthy diet, low in complex carbohydrates, free of junk foods (mostly), and that I exercised regularly. I have helped hundreds of people lose weight over the years in my practice teaching them these principles, and I did all the right things and still I could not lose the weight. I knew that altered physiology and an inability to lose weight is the very nature of Metabolic Syndrome, but despite everything I already knew, I just couldn’t get my weight loss jumpstarted.

I had just about given up when I saw my friend Dr. Mayer Eisenstein. He had lost over 100 pounds on a metabolic weight loss program using HCG. He counseled me discreetly. I almost passed on his advice to do this program, but I figured , “what did I have to lose, except the weight?” As I listened to his explanation of how HCG incorporated into this somewhat strict diet plan was going to work…I was secretly wondering if I could handle yet another failure if I didn’t succeed. In the end, the science of it all made sense, and the dietary guidelines, water intake, sleep and supplementation are completely congruent with what I teach my patients every day, so I took the plunge, and began the metabolic weight loss program using HCG.

We’ve taken the WAIT out of Weight loss

I lost 50 pounds over the course of about 3 months and went from a size 14 to a size 6. At age 40, I found myself back to the size I was in high school and I did it without any blood, sweat or tears!!! I felt like I had been let out of prison. Finally the image in the mirror matched the image of myself in my head and I finally could stop the obsessing over how my clothes fit.

My patients were so excited to do what I did, that I brought the program to my practice. With the assistance of my nurse practitioner, 6 years later, I am still helping patients lose ½ – 1 pound per day on a slightly altered version of Dr. Simeon’s HCG diet.

Over 60 years later, the HCG Diet is still the most effective weight loss plan out there

In the 1950s, British endocrinologist Albert T.W. Simeons created the hCG diet. The protocol was based on 40 years of obesity research, wherein Simeons posited that injections of the hCG—human chorionic gonadotropin— hormone lessened and often eliminated the uncomfortable byproducts of an extreme low-calorie diet—among them headaches, constant gnawing, fatigue and sarcopenia (muscle diminishment).

More than 60 years later, his 1954 book, “Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity,” is still riding the weight loss wonder wave. Though the exact protocol has been challenged for years, its controversy compounded by the fact that as of December 6, 2011, the FDA prohibited the sale of homeopathic and imitation over-the-counter hCG products marketed for weight loss use, the hCG diet (using compounded hormone HCG) continues to rack up evidence as an “off label” treatment—often where last-chance dieters are concerned. Utilizing hCG in tandem with a restrictive 500-calorie a day diet, proponents report experiencing minimal or no hunger pangs in the first week, and generally a feeling of complete satiation in ensuing weeks.

The pros of the protocol include the opportunity to consume very few calories comfortably and without hunger because the body is supported by the hCG hormone in the bloodstream which takes away appetite. HCG also acts as a catalyst and helps the body to make more hormones. Since hormone deficiency or imbalance is often a reason for weight gain, whether it’s thyroid, or menopause (or andropause—low testosterone), hCG provides help. For me, as a functional medicine practitioner, this has been an extremely helpful tool in assisting my patients who have autoimmune disorders, diabetes and food allergies to alter their diets without experiencing withdrawal, cravings and hunger.

Since the weight loss happens fast (typical is ½-1 pound per day), patients stay motivated to stick to the diet plan.

You’ll Maintain Muscle Mass

Also, HCG keeps you from losing muscle while you diet. By elevating hormone levels in the body, the hCG hormone creates an anabolic state (muscle-building) which counteracts the catabolic state (muscle-breakdown) of most very low calorie diets. There are hormone receptors on muscle fibers that respond to the increased hormone levels in patients taking the hCG hormone. Because of hCG, fat is mobilized and burned for energy, rather than stored, and the metabolism does not slow down as it would with most restricted calorie diets. Additionally, I run body composition tests on all my patients every 2 weeks to ensure that the weight being lost is strictly fat loss. To date, I have only had 3 instances where a patient lost some muscle mass. In two of those instances the patients were exercising vigorously and in the other, the patient was under eating. Those patients were advised and their body composition corrected as a result.

Most patients are excited to share their experiences and the benefits of my metabolic weight loss protocol using HCG which include: fast weight loss, no muscle loss, lowered blood pressure, less diabetics achieve reduce dependence on insulin, excellent sleep, relief from hunger and cravings, and a metabolism that afterwards is reset so that there is no yo-yoing of weight.

My hCG diet’s 2 phase approach which includes a transitional and maintenance process, and instructions which help my patients maintain their weight loss with reasonable and manageable steps for the long haul. I lost 50 pounds on this diet more than 6 years ago and have maintained with ease.

Cons of the hCG diet, if strictly followed, include Dr. Simeons’ admonition about exercise. He wasn’t in favor of it, probably because of the diminished stored energy due to the calorie restriction. Simply put, you won’t have energy enough to exercise vigorously. During the first phase of the diet, I advise my patients to stay off the treadmill and out of the gym. But, this restriction is only for 30 days, and since you will have anabolic help (muscle building) from the HCG, you have no threat of muscle atrophy during those 30 days.

There is only one more con, in my opinion: if you are a drinker or even just enjoy a weekend glass or two of wine or beer, you’ll have to forego the alcohol during the first phase of the diet. Since a serving of wine or beer is about 100-300 calories, adding it to the diet means sacrificing much-needed foods from the restricted 500-800 daily calories. The good news is research from participants says that they are not compelled to drink while on the hCG diet because hCG works with the hypothalamus gland which controls the emotional eating/drinking part of the brain, along with other aspects. Though, perhaps this would be a con of any diet…have you ever heard of a diet that allows alcohol? Again, this restriction is only strictly encouraged during the first phase and 30 days of the diet. If you think you are unable to go 30 days without a drink, you have bigger problems, and perhaps those should be addressed with professional help.

Correct Metabolic Syndrome and Much More

Not only will we be helping you with weight loss, we will also be looking at metabolic syndrome markers: blood pressure, vitamin D level, blood sugar, blood lipids, and comprehensive metabolic values. Metabolic syndrome has been linked to an increased risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes and of course weight gain.

Central body fat (the fat around your organs) is dangerous to your health. It puts pressure on your heart, it stores hormones (and toxins) that influence glandular and hormone function and can negatively influence your metabolism. This is the fat that the HCG diet is superior in removing.

Additionally, with the help of this diet, you can:
•lower blood pressure without blood pressure meds
•lower cholesterol and get of cholesterol meds
•stabilize their blood sugar and reduce their dependence on insulin
•reverse diabetes
•resolve metabolic syndrome
•balance hormones
•manage autoimmune disorders purely with diet and supplements instead of dangerous drugs

What Are You Waiting For?

Call (239) 243-8735 to schedule your appointment.



Save the Dates

Save the Date – Come celebrate and enjoy with us!

Happehatchee Programs Estero FLWe are very excited about our upcoming fall and winter programming! Here is a peek of what we are planning. Some of our Happehatchee Advisors have come together to offer four specialLabyrinth Walks a year on the equinoxes and solstices in coordination with the World Labyrinth Society. They are also offering a series of Art and Soul Classes.

We have great and exciting events planned for the next year and beyond so please mark your calendars and save the Happe dates below! Please scroll down for event details and descriptions.

Art and Soul Dates:

  • Sunday, September 25th 1-4 pm
  • Sunday, October 30th, 1-4 pm
  • Sunday, November 20th, 1-4 pm

Labyrinth Ceremonies

  • Thursday, September 22th, 6 pm
  • Tuesday, December 20th, 6 pm
  • Saturday, March 19th, 6 pm
  • Wednesday, June 21st, 6 pm
  • Saturday, May 6th, 1 pm *World Labyrinth Day*

Open House

  • Saturday, October 15th 2016 9-4 pm
  • Saturday February 11th 2017 9-4 pm

Members Day in the Park:

  • November 6th, 2016

Journey to Empower Your Life with Power Animal Meditations

  • January 12, 19, 26, 2017 – Thursdays: 7 pm – 9 pm
  • February 2, 9, 16, 23, 2017 – Thursdays: 7 pm – 9 pm

Open House 2016

Open House
Saturday, October 15 9 am-4 pm

A couple of times a year we open up the Happehatchee Eco Spiritual Center to the public with an Open House to introduce new people to all the exciting, fun and wonderful things we offer. Don’t miss our next upcoming Open House Dayon Saturday, October 15 from 9 am to 4 pm.

Our yoga teachers, healers, naturalists, drummers, environmental educators,  gardeners and Advisory Committee members will all be offering a taste of what we offer at Happehatchee.  It will be a fun filled day with awesome people, food and music.

Click here to read more about Open House Days.

We are a community! This is a fabulous and Free event open to the public – come join us!

Members Day in the Park 2016

Members’ Day in the Park
Sunday, November 6, 2016

We love and appreciate our Happe member that we created a special day just for them! Our nextMembers’ Day in the Park is November 6, 2016.

Happehatchee will be open to members and people who wish to join us that day. There will be many fun activities, food and music will be offered. Both sides of the park will be open and folks will be able to cross the bridge, walk both labyrinths and relax in the Bamboo studio.

Click here to read more about Members Day. Your memberships help sustain Happehatchee Center.

Labyrinth Walk 2016

Labyrinth Walk
Thursday, September 22, 6 pm

Come Walk with Us! Celebrate the Autumn Equinox on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at the Happehatchee Center with a beautifulLabyrinth Walk.

Welcome Fall and Harvest Energies and bring the season into being while enjoying the slowing of the Earth and the cycle of enjoying the fruits of our labor both materially and spiritually. The Evening will close with conversation, herbal tea and refreshments.

Click here to read more about our Labyrinth Walk Days at Happehatchee.



Music of the Spirit Weekend
Music of the Spirit
Friday – Sunday, December 2nd thru 4th

This year in December, we will be celebrating the10th anniversary of the founding of Happehatchee Center and our founder, Ellen Peterson’s Birthday. This will be a fundraiser and consciousness raising event with our dear friends Kat Epple and Nathan Dyke. They will be holding a world music workshop, The “Music of the Spirit Weekend”, on December 2 and 3 and will then perform a concert with participants for the weekend on December 4.  Kat and Nathan played music at Ellen’s last birthday parties when she was alive, as well at our birthday celebrations the last few years since Ellen died.  This is already a tradition!  Click here to read more about that event and sign up now.

 Art and Soul at Happehatchee

Art and Soul Sunday, September 251-4 pm

Happehatchee is inspiring you to develop and enjoy your creative side with our fabulous new Art and Soul Days. Explore different mediums for use in the Art Journaling Phenomenon. An Art Journal can use papers, paint, clippings etc. Samples provided. An Art Journal can allow as much writing or drawing as its creator desires.

Light refreshments will be served, and a centering meditation before we begin.

Click here to read more about Art and Soul Days at Happehatchee!

Power Animal Meditations

Journey to Empower Your Life with Power Animal Meditations
January 12, 19, 26. February 2, 9, 16 and 23, 2017. Thursdays: 7 pm – 9 pm

Come join shamanic healer, Denise Exler as she shares Journey to Empower Your Life with Power Animal Meditations starting in January, every Thursday Night at 7:00 pm. At each circle, a different power animal will come forward with sacred life teachings. Power animals are spirit guides that appear in animal form and assist us in life in many ways.

The suggested $15 donation will be donated to the Happehatchee Center.  Denise can be reached





Ellen's last birthday party

This photo of Kat and Nathan was taken on Ellen’s last birthday party December 2010

Happehatchee Estero River

Kat Nathan Concert Blog 6

Kat Nathan Concert Blog 5

Peace Pavilion 1                             

Park in the Heart of the Village SWFL
About Happehatchee Eco Spiritual Center

Happehatchee Center is a sanctuary for peace and healing. A Park in the Heart of Estero Village. Our mission is to sustain the Happehatchee Eco-spiritual Center as it provides environmental and healing arts education. We preserve and honor Happehatchee’s vibrant land as a way to make sacred connections with our selves, each other, and Nature. The Happehatchee Center is a Founding Member of the Estero Historic Preservation Citizens Committee. Happehatchee Center would greatly appreciate your support in order to continue to provide and offer everything we do as we continue to grow and offer our community even more!


Happe Logo 100

8791 Corkscrew Rd., Estero, Florida 33928
(239) 992-5455


Become a Happehatchee Member and Support our Mission



Office and Volunteer Hours every Friday and Saturday 10am – 4pm
Healing in Nature Several Days a Week
All additional hours by appointment or rental only

Happehatchee Eco-Spiritual Center Sep 23 '16 · Rate: 5 · Comments: 1
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