You may recognize Tenley Molzahn from reality “The Bachelor” or “Bachelor Pad.” Or, you might have caught her in one of her gigs as a professional dancer at Disney in California. But, the Oregon native has now taken her career in a different direction: As a health coach and founder of the DIYcleanse.com, the thoughtful wellness maven is helping others find balance, something she has found so essential in handling her own gluten sensitivities and eating habits. Want to find out how to walk that essential line yourself? Read on.
SBS: What was your path to becoming a health and nutrition coach?
Tenley Molzahn: I was active growing up and was a professional dancer. But, my interest in health and nutrition really started because I was quite sick growing up. I was tested for everything. I would visit the ER often bent over in pain from stomach pain, and I had no immune system. That also led to a lot of unhealthy practices in the eating department, but I couldn’t find a doctor who could help. When I didn’t understand, I tried to control whatever I could. I went through a couple years battling an eating disorder mindset and unhealthy practices. I didn’t have very much wisdom or knowledge. I was so uncomfortable from the days where I’d have to run offstage or out of class because my stomach was upset. I didn’t know what to do. I would alternate between chips and candy to not really eating much.
In 2009, I took matters into my own hands. I was still dancing for Disney, but I wanted to transition to more consistent work. Even though, I had tested negative for Celiac, my mom said I should read this book about going gluten free. I could connect with every symptom, and I realized that’s what I had. I removed gluten from my life, and my life flipped right side back up. I felt healthy finally, which I had never felt. I started wanting to know more about holistic nutrition, taking care of yourself and knowing how to help. I did the program that Institute for Integrative Nutrition offered online, and my eyes were opened to a whole new world. I also realized: All of my struggles and my journey will be helpful for others through my work. It wasn’t in vain.
SBS: How did you start up your coaching business?
TM: IIN gives you a step-by-step business program, as well. When you’re midway through the program, you can start seeing clients. A year later, in May 2014, I officially launched my services as a health coach. Once I opened the doors, it was amazing to see how many people were ready to jump in and explore with me.
SBS: What’s your approach to health and nutrition?
TM: My strength is in helping clients prioritize themselves, especially in getting creative with busy schedules. I help them discover their ‘soul food’ first. That’s key to then feeding yourself the right food. Somebody who is so stressed out about work won’t have healthy habits when they are tired. So I try to help their lifestyle, and then I upgrade that to where there is room for better habits. It’s all about balance.
SBS: What are the first few things you might do with a client to help them understand what works best for their body?
TM: I might try to do an elimination diet, looking at their symptoms and taking foods out to notice the effects. Then, I help them find the whole, good foods to include in their diets. A lot of people are intimidated with cooking or when looking for food and produce, so we break that down. Finally, I ask them what their ideal day looks like, and we start to work toward that.
SBS: What are some nutritional myths that are harmful?
TM: The thought that carbs that are bad is one of the first things I get into with my clients. Most of them are cutting carbs, but they have cravings. So I help them find good complex carbs, and that changes everything.
Next, people are also scared of fat, but there are important healthy fats that we need for our guts and minds. I love avocados, nuts, seeds and coconut oil.
Finally, I love eggs. I am a very big believer of pastured eggs, and I make sure everyone eats that upgraded option.
SBS: Do you only prescribe gluten free diets to others, similar to your own diet? Or do you figure that out through an elimination diet?
TM: When working with my clients, we do the elimination diet process working through some of the most common foods that cause inflammation and intolerance. Gluten is usually quick to go because it causes inflammation for all people, not just those that are sensitive to it. When people eliminate it, they feel less bloated, have more energy, and enjoy faster metabolism. I also do try to work on eliminating gluten if anyone has a known autoimmune disease or thyroid situation.
SBS: What are your tips for new business owners?
TM: Remember that businesses are different for everyone. I had a good way in through IIN, and that’s helpful.
I also learned you need to value yourself. Don’t price yourself low with your new clients. At first, you don’t realize how to factor in all the time you put in per client. Sitting with them for an hour every other week, that’s not all the work. There are hours of research, the follow-ups, the handouts, the recommendations, and that all has to be factored in.
SBS: What do you love to do personally for fitness?
TM: Being active is a huge part of my life. I don’t survive without it. My brain, soul, heart and body need it. I love running, hot yoga, barre classes and Pilates.
When I work with my clients, I want them to start to move if they aren’t. But I also want to meet them in a balanced place where it’s about their life. Every person is in a different stage.
SBS: You also have a second business: DIYcleanse.com. Tell us about that.
TM: This is the cleanse for people who hate cleansing. It’s more of a lifestyle. When someone downloads it, they’re getting a whole new approach, including a workbook that helps them understand what it’s like to sit down with my business partner, who is a clinical nutritionist, and I. They get a seven day cleanse nutrition plan, a broken down grocery list and an example meal plan to keep them going post-cleanse.
This is a different cleanse because you’re getting all food, and it’s more of a cleanse by removing gluten, soy, corn and eggs as if we were doing a basic elimination diet in a sense. It does have juices, because I believe juicing is fine as long as it’s not overdone. Our guts work so hard to break down fibers all the time, so it’s good to give your body a break.
Tenley’s Favorite, Fast Recipes:
Try Tenley’s Lazy Pasta…
…and Brown Rice Tortilla Pizza:
For dessert, cut a peach in half, take out the pit, add coconut sugar on both sides in place of the pit and put your peach on the grill for a few minutes. Then, serve with coconut milk ice cream!
Tenley’s SBS Mantra: Be You, Be Strong and Be Bright all resonate for me.
For Be You, I believe it is so important to make sure you're feeding your soul with things that make you thrive, and that is usually the most authentic you.
Be Strong makes me smile and keep going. It reminds me how strong I am, and what a gift that is.
Be Bright is special to me as I have a daily alarm that says, "Be the Light,” as well as a bracelet. This speaks to me in that same way.