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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Healthy and Wealthy

Rhya Pachin

Staying Well On A Budget-Naturally

by Michelle Bense

With the new year comes plenty of old advice. Everywhere we look, there are reminders to join the gym, stop eating junk food, get a juicer, take new supplements, only eat organic—i.e. more expensive—and devote time and energy to consciously making a whole set of different choices.

But how can we get and stay healthy naturally, without breaking the bank? Charlotte area practitioners shared their simple, effective advice for being healthy every day, thereby tackling health issues before they require medication and more costly measures.

Rhya Pachin, a Functional Dietitian Nutritionist at Integra Wellness, knows that eating well is the first and most important step to staying healthy and avoiding reliance on expensive medications. “Eating healthy can appear expensive, but if you commit to cooking and preparing most of your own food at home, most budgets can accommodate a wholesome menu,” says Pachin, who uses a whole-foods diet, genetic testing, food/chemical sensitivity testing and micronutrient evaluation to create a personalized nutrition plan for clients.

A whole-food diet centered around healthy fats and high-antioxidant plant foods is the best prevention

against disease, according to Pachin. While many worry that it’s too expensive to eat well every day, she recommends starting from the garden and working up. For those working at staying healthy on a lower income, Pachin suggests simply: “Plant a garden, cook at home, reduce/eliminate packaged foods, walk and be in nature daily.”


Those who have a bit more income to devote to getting and staying healthy should also consider inquiring about insurance coverage for nutrition services, Pachin says. “Take advantage of visits with a functional dietitian or nutrition-knowledgeable physician, which are often covered by insurance for reliable, evidence-based nutrition advice.”

Having trained with Andrew Weil, M.D., at the University of Arizona,

Dr. Sheila Kilbane, an integrative pediatrician, works with families to find the root cause of illness. The owner and founder of Infinite Health, PLLC, Kilbane uses natural and nutritional therapies whenever possible in treating things such as: colic, reflux, eczema, recurrent ear infections, recurrent sinus infections, asthma, allergies, stomach and GI issues and more.

Dr Sheila Kilbane

No surprise here: Kilbane says that the bottom line is “we need to eat real food.” Specifically, increase vegetables—especially green leafy veggies like spinach, kale and microgreens—and increase good healthy fats, which can be found in chia, hemp and flax seed, almonds, blueberries, wild-caught sockeye salmon and other cold water fish.

“If I could pick two things for people to do that would have a significant impact on their health, it would be to drink a green smoothie every morning and to stop eating or significantly reduce dairy,” enthuses Kilbane. We can pack two or three servings of fruits and vegetables into a smoothie, she says. When it comes to many illnesses like constipation, reflux, eczema, recurrent ear infections and asthma, removing dairy from the diet for three weeks can show great improvement.

“In the end,” says Kilbane, “it is far less expensive to invest in good, healthy foods than it is to eat processed and packaged foods and to spend our precious time at the doctor’s office or with a specialist.”

Dr. Jennifer Dillon, of Dillon Natural Health, is a Doctor of Chiropractic and nutritionist with expertise in inflammation, hormone and endocrine issues, digestion, skin issues, sinus and lymph congestion and more. She’s also a big proponent of thermography. “Thermography shows overall body inflammation. This gives me an indication of the state of their health. I can see when people feed themselves well and when they don’t,” she says.

Dr Jennifer Dillon

Nutrition, however, is her first line of defense. “Getting plenty of low carbohydrate vegetables daily and consuming good fats is extremely important,” says Dillon. “Most people are severely deficient in good fat. These include grass-fed butter, which is rich in vitamin K2, coconut oil, avocado oil, marrows and unheated olive oil. Eating fat creates much better energy patterns and prevents insulin resistance.”


She also recommends getting off of grains and processed foods. “These cause more inflammation and digestive issues, creating more hormone imbalances and immune issues than most people can imagine,” Dillon says.

Dillon does not file insurance, so all of her services are reasonably priced for any client looking to stay healthy. “Insurance covers disease control and does not pay for our health,” she states. For those with a bit more disposable income for health care, a 10- or 21-day purification should be considered once a year. This removes environmental toxins and toxins from many “foods” we eat, which cause considerable harm to our bodies and interrupt the body’s ability to digest properly.


Naturopathic Doctor Dave Hamilton, from Of the Earth Wellness, says that the most important part of any patient’s visit with him is education. “‘Docere’, or doctor, means to teach. My goal is that my patients learn something new at each visit and learn to plant their own seeds of health and grow balance naturally,” he enthuses.

Hamilton uses herbal medicine and amino acid therapies in addressing autoimmune disease, thyroid disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, anxiety/depression and cardiovascular disease, among others. He recommends herbal medicine, physical medicine and nutrition as the key to staying naturally healthy.

Hamilton also started the farm Wish We Had Acres, with the goal of providing nutritious vegetables to the local Charlotte community. “Nutrition is the most basic function of health and part of the reason we started the farm—to connect with our food source, know where our food comes from and to respect the process,” he says.

To help with patients who are concerned about cost, Hamilton offers a sliding scale, payment plans and other discounts. “We also have a piggy bank of sorts for those who want to donate as little as a nickel to as much as covering the full cost of a patient’s visit,” he says. “We use these funds to assist those in need or who come into financial strife.”

Overall, Hamilton says, “Drink water, get good sleep, move your body, enjoy your community of friends and family and eat the best quality food you can afford.”

Integra Wellness: 1040 Edgewater Corporate Pkwy., Indian Land, SC. Connect at 704-360-8889 or

Infinite Health, PLLC: 2201 Park Rd., Ste. B, Charlotte. Connect at 704-626-6771 or

Dillon Natural Health: 447 S. Sharon Amity Rd., Ste. 110, Charlotte. Connect at 704-333-9991, [email protected] or

Of the Earth Wellness: 10715 Shopton Rd. W., Charlotte. Connect at 980-272-1897, [email protected] or

Michelle Bense is a freelance editor and writer based in Charlotte. Connect at [email protected].

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