Why I’m Vegetarian


People have asked me why I choose to be vegetarian.  Let me say, first of all, it’s my choice.  What you choose is up to you and I won’t judge you for your choice.

I didn’t grow up vegetarian. I grew up on a farm, we grew animals for food, and we only killed them for food.  I never liked eating something I had seen walking around – I found myself avoiding meat. These animals were my friends, they were living, breathing creatures, and I didn’t like eating them.

Let me, also, clarify one of the jokes about vegetarians – that we’re just poor shots. … Well, I grew up on a farm out in the country and knowing how to use a gun was essential as a tool for survival. We had wild boar, rattlesnakes,  and sometimes people who came around reminding one of a cross between the two.  My Dad taught me how to shoot safely, and I took handgun and rifle as Physical Education courses in college – I made an A. So, I choose not to shoot living creatures.

My parents told the story of killing their pet chicken to eat on the train to New York when they were leaving for their honeymoon. Then they sat on the backporch steps and cried. I remember thinking they could have eaten peanut butter.  There are choices for protein intake.

If you read John Robbins book “Diet for a New America”, he talks about the times in history when meat was less abundant and statistics showed lower rates of certain diseases. Also, from my Holographic Health training, the importance of eating an alkalizing diet is paramount for health.  Thus, as Dr. Theodore Baroody suggests in “Alkalize or Die”, we should eat a diet that is 80% alkaline to 20% acidic. Fruits and vegetables, love and kindness are on the alkaline side of the scale; meat, sugar and stress are on the acidic side of the scale. Especially after my brush with cancer, I do everything I can to stay on the alkaline side of the scale.

Read these books, do your own research, and decide for yourself on the meat issue; however, whatever you do, eat a diet focused on fresh fruits and vegetables for your optimal health.

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My Recovery from a Cancer Imbalance


Ann Marie Byars, 2014

There was a time after I had surgery in August, 2011, that I thought I would never go without a turtleneck again.  I had a radical neck dissection to remove a cancerous growth – to be safe, they removed 19 lymph nodes, part of the muscle going to my left arm, my left salivary gland, and the internal jugular.


Ann Marie Byars, 8/16/2011 – the day stitches were removed from surgery 8/5.

Then, I had radiation later that year and I was sure I would never show anyone my neck again. I refused chemotherapy – I talked with my doctors, researched the pros and cons, and made the decision.


Ann Marie Byars, 10/2011, After Radiation Treatments

Because of my excellent nutrition program and, thus, general health status, I would go in for checkups and the receptionists would ask me if I was a patient! That really made me feel good. I was often told, “You don’t look sick!”

My daughter is a Speech Pathologist and gave me exercises to strengthen my swallowing reflex.  I still have to be a bit careful when I eat and I lost my voice for a while – but, it returned and sounds normal. I was in the doctor’s office for a checkup and a fellow came in speaking through a stoma, an electronic device implanted in the throat.  I wanted to cry – I was so grateful because that could have been me.  The stoma creates a voice that is like a robot with no inflection, no feeling.

My supplement regimen:

I used Market America Isotonix (TM) supplements exclusively during radiation because I could not swallow pills or anything grainy. Isotonix supplements are powders mixed with liquid to form a solution that is the right pH and pressure that does not require breaking down by the body. This means that the body receives close to 95% of what is in the bottle. I used Isotonix Beauty Blend/nutraMetrix Skin Health Formula  (2 caps 3 times per day), which is a potent antioxidant combination of pycnogenol, calcium, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid which are all good for the skin and tissues. I took Isotonix Multivitamin and Multimineral, CoQ10 (2 caps), lots of extra C (1-3 grams daily – 2-6 caps), Vitamin D with K2 (15,000 units – 3 caps), Activated B-Complex (1-2 caps), Calcium Complete (2 Caps), Ultimate ORAC (1 cap), Resveratrol (1 cap) and Acai (1 cap) for energy. I sipped Ultimate Aloe all day mixed about half with water – it comes in natural as well as nice flavors that are quite pleasant. My favorite flavor is strawberry-kiwi. It coated my throat so that it wasn’t as dry and sore, and boosted my immune system. I still had to use the “magic mouthwash” that the doctor prescribed to coat my throat, however, because of my body’s internal reaction to radiation. Now, because my mouth is dryer due to the loss of one salivary gland, I drink more water, run a humidifier at night (the Crane Drop Shape Cool Mist Humidifier is very quiet and works well), and I still use aloe daily to coat my throat. I have learned that it helps to use more aloe the day before I will be talking more than usual, as well. Aloe comes in dry packets that I keep in my purse, too, so that I can put it in water when we go out to eat or in a bottle of water when I will be talking.  My latest finding is that misting the throat with aloe from a small spray bottle will keep the throat moist when singing, speaking, etc. and is easy to carry in the pocket or purse.

My skincare regimen:

I used and still use Pentaxyl on my face and neck twice daily. Pentaxyl contains botanical ingredients to help to calm the skin and to soften scar tissue. While I was going through radiation, I used a Cellular Laboratories mask every evening on the radiation area. This helped to calm and hydrate the skin, and removed burning. I followed the mask with aloe and then Pentaxyl. I only had one small spot in the very center of my neck that peeled, much like a bad sunburn.  My skin also recovered very quickly and today, I wear whatever I like and sometimes even wear my hair up!

Pentaxyl is also great support for people suffering with rosacea and psoriasis! My clients with rosacea say that Pentaxyl works better than prescription medications and is cheaper.

Everyone is different and may have different nutritional and skincare needs. I provide complimentary consultations to folks with cancer or other life-threatening conditions. I know how hard it can be to find the right products that are gentle on the skin and body and so I work with individuals to find what works for each of them.

I work for myself and am so fortunate that my office is in my home so that I don’t have a job that I have to go to every day. My friends who have recovered from cancer and other life threatening conditions have had a very hard time trying to keep up with the stress from jobs, careers, and families.  During my recovery, and even today, I can plan and take days off when I need rest. 

The important things start going through your mind when you get a life-threatening diagnosis. Will I be here to spend Christmas with my family? Will I be able to watch my children have children of their own? Will I be there for my children when only a mother’s love and help are enough? Will I be there to take care of my husband the next time he is sick as he is taking care of me now? Will we ever be able to go on that vacation we have had to put off because of my illness? We all know that we are going to die one day. But, when you face cancer or some other life-threatening illness, you come face to face with your mortality today.

At first, you’re just numb. It’s like living in a dream where things just happen and nothing seems real . . . Then, you find out your diagnosis, decide what you are going to do, and you start working with it. Make sure that YOU make the decision on your path forward – this is YOUR life.  This is the point where you really start living day to day.

Every day becomes the most important day of your life, every moment the most important moment. The things that you really want to say to your family and friends, you say them today. The things that you really want to do and accomplish in your life change. You assess and reassess your goals and really think of what you most want to accomplish while you are here. You start living in the present and living each day to the fullest because tomorrow really is a dream out there in the future that may never become a reality.

Do what you love, be who you are, and really LIVE each and every day.

Web: http://www.BalancedLivesRs.com  Shopping: http://www.AnnByars.com


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The Importance of Vitamins D and K

When I was diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago, I decided that I must be missing something.  As I worked through my nutrition, one thing that really jumped out were my Vitamin D levels – they had consistently been too low.  You really don’t want something such as cancer to come along and hit you over the head with a scary diagnosis to think about supplementing with Vitamin D.  Recent research has shown that most people are deficient in Vitamin D.

As I began to research Vitamin D and my family history, some things became more clear  to me: Vitamin D is linked with the immune system, bone health and heart health – my family has a history of osteoporosis and heart disease and, lo and behold, cancer.  So, the genetic predisposition to these diseases was there as was the deficiency. Because of the predisposition to cancer – especially skin cancer, I have a light complexion, and so being in the sun is not a viable method of obtaining Vitamin D for me.  I had also struggled with calcium absorption for most of my life until Isotonix Calcium returned my bone mass to normal – and, I realized that I also was getting Isotonix D, which was enough to rebuild my bones but I needed more for my immune system.

Vitamin D3 is the metabolically active form of Vitamin D, is water soluble, and, therefore, does not have the toxicity issues that one has with other forms of D.  Then there is  Vitamin K, specifically K2, that supports vascular health (elasticity of blood vessels) and calcium utilization.  K2 is also the form of K that does not interfere with anticoagulant medications.  So, the forms of Vitamin D and K are very important in the supplements you take!  You can take calcium all day, even a good form, but it won’t work if you don’t have the Vitamins D and K to go with it.

I use isotonic supplements whenever I can (Isotonix from Market America) because of the bioavailability: this means that they come as a powder and when mixed with the right amount of water make a solution that is equivalent to one’s body fluids.  They go right through the stomach with no digestion needed, are absorbed in the small intestine almost immediately, and with very little loss.  So, what is in the bottle is very close to what I get in my body.  Tablets contain binders, fillers, and unless it is a professional supplement line like Market America’s, potency is not guaranteed.  I also hate most Vitamin D supplements because they taste fishy – I’m a vegetarian and so that is not something I enjoy.

The great news is that when I began supplementing with Isotonix D3 with K2, my blood levels became good for the first time in my life.  I started with 15,000 units and have since dropped to 5,000 units.  This is just a 2 ounce serving for me and actually tastes good.  My doctor is happy and tells me to keep doing whatever it is that I am doing.

I feel great, have lots of energy and, most importantly, cancer is something in the past that I plan to do everything in my power to keep in the past.  We have lots of carcinogenic elements in our lives today: stress, toxins in our food/air/water, food that is deficient in nutrients compared to what we had 50 years ago.  It is hard to eat right all the time with our busy lifestyles and, even when we do, most of us just cannot get everything we need from our food.  Our health is something that we carry with us every moment of every day and we don’t realize what we have until we lose it.  Fortunately, I have had the chance to regain my health – and not just for my sake, but for my family, as well.   If you have questions or if I can help you to stay healthy, please contact me.

http://www.BalancedLivesRs.com    http://www.AnnByars.com

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Sometimes, Life is Hard

Sometimes, life is hard.  We have to do something we thought we would never have to do, wish we never had to do.  Sometimes, it’s in our business; sometimes, it’s with our children; sometimes, it’s an elderly parent; sometimes, it’s telling a friend something hard.  To be responsible, to handle a difficult situation, we may have to do something we are afraid will hurt someone’s feelings – but, it has to be done for the greater good.  Jagat Singh, an Indian mystic, said, “Never hurt the heart of any man.  God lives there.”  Even though we try to live our lives this way, it seems that sometimes, we can’t prevent it.

My dad loved to shoot.  He would “target practice” almost daily.  He was left-handed and could throw a walnut up and hit it with a handgun.  He was a very good shot.  We lived on a farm out in the country and so having a gun was necessary for protection and he kept one beside his bed.  Other than potential intruders, we had wild boar, rats, etc., that occasionally had to be dealt with.  Dad made sure that everyone in the family knew how to safely handle a gun – something very important if anyone is going to have a gun around.  He was adamant about gun safety, taught me how to shoot and handle a gun.

When my dad was elderly, however, his hands were shaky and he couldn’t hold a gun the way he used to.  His eyesight was to the point where he couldn’t read the big E at  the eye doctor’s office with his glasses on.  At 88 years, glaucoma and diabetes and just advancing years took their toll.  Dad thought he saw an intruder and shot over my mother’s head.  That’s when I knew that it was time that  I had to do something very hard – I had to put away my dad’s guns. 

There was no way other than to tell him the truth – that he taught me everything I knew about gun safety, and that it wasn’t safe for him to handle guns anymore.  That had to be one of the hardest things I ever had to do. This was a clear-cut issue – for safety of everyone in the household and for his own safety, we had to put the guns away.   There have been other tough things with my kids, in business, in my personal life – but, taking away something from a parent that they love was the hardest. 

 When we have to do something hard, we can still do it with love and kindness.   We feel the pain, we know it’s hard for the person receiving it, and we hurt along with them – but, do everything with love.  That’s what makes us human.


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Dry Mouth – Wintertime Curse, Air Conditioning Curse, and How to Survive!

I have become somewhat of an unwilling expert on dry mouth these last few years since a major surgery required removal of my left salivary gland.  There are still minor glands on that side that have come back somewhat; however, wintertime and air conditioning – especially at night sleeping or traveling in a car – have me feeling as though I’m traversing the Sahara Desert at midday with rolls of cotton in my mouth.

One of the best things I have found is a quiet humidifier for use day and night.  (Did I also mention that I HATE noise, such as fans blowing, especially at night???)  We have a large Holmes humidifier with dual tanks for dumping water into the air during the daytime and a Crane for use at night.  The Crane can be purchased in many colors, even in the shape of animals for children, and is the quietest on the market.  It will also last all night.

The second thing that I use is aloe.  My favorite is Market America’s Ultimate Aloe in Strawberry Kiwi.  I get the liquid to sip on during the day, sometimes mixing it with sparkling water or regular water.  I keep the dry packets in my purse to mix with water when eating out or to put in a bottle of water if I am out and my mouth is dry – almost always!  When I am in a meeting or working with a client, I couldn’t talk for more than a few minutes without coating my throat with aloe.  You can read about Ultimate Aloe and Ultimate Aloe Powder here: www.AnnByars.com

The other thing that I have found very helpful is mouth rinse and mouth/vocal spray – and let me tell you, I think I have tried them all!  I am somewhat of a challenge because I am a vegetarian and don’t want any animal or egg products in what I use.  One of the leading brands, Biotene, contains eggs.  My favorite mouth rinse is Orazyme both for flavor and consistency.  Some of them leave an icky feeling in your mouth; but, Orazyme has a nice flavor and feel.

I finally hit upon vocal sprays for singers.  I have always loved singing – but didn’t think about looking for sprays to help my dry throat in that section.  I have tried Thayers, Stoppers, Vocal Eze, Entertainer’s Secret – and my favorite by far is Clear Voice.  Clear Voice comes in various flavors so that I can choose my favorite or get a variety and the bottle is small and light enough to fit in my purse or in a pocket.  I think my second choice is Entertainer’s Secret; but, the cap is a bit cumbersome to get on and off in the middle of the night.

For the car, Slique gum made by Young Living is my favorite.  It is a Frankincense resin that I can chew on for hours to stimulate saliva, and it is not sweet or sticky.

I don’t wish this condition on anyone and hope that these suggestions help.

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My Grandmother's Bowl

My Grandmother’s Bowl


Halloween comes
on little ghost feet.

It meanders
place to place, ‘Trick or Treat’ing
for candy kisses
and childlike fun.
                                – Ann Marie Byars, 10/27/2015

My grandmother loved Halloween.  She loved all holidays, I think mainly because she loved to entertain, make people feel welcome and loved, and just make people feel good in general – especially children.  My life is richer for having known her and the things she taught me.

I learned at an early age from my parents and grandparents that people don’t always have the same beliefs, even people in the same family; however, one can still honor and respect those individuals and their beliefs – even if one does not agree with them.

My grandfather was a Primitive Baptist and my grandmother was a Methodist.  Primitive Baptists, at least in his church, did not believe in Sunday school.  My grandmother taught Sunday school and she was really good at it.  I loved her class because she made the Bible stories come alive.  She would build models, tell the stories with games and plays, and they were anything but dry and boring!  I never wanted to go to Sunday school before or after her class.

Since the Methodist church was only a half-block from where my grandparents lived, they mostly went to the Methodist church; but, they would occasionally go to my grandfather’s church – especially when there was “dinner on the ground” or some special event.  It was told that on this particular Sunday, the Primitive Baptist preacher was criticizing Sunday school and my grandmother took this rather personally.  So, after the service, my grandmother handed my grandfather the fried chicken and said, “Stay as long as you want.  I’ll be right here in the car when you get through.”  It was told that she never went back.

My father also did not believe in Halloween.  We lived out in the country where there was no “Trick or Treating”.   My grandparents lived in town and my grandmother always had some sort of party or festivities going on for Halloween.  So, my mother took me over there to spend the evening or the night.  My grandfather always carved the pumpkin, my grandmother made pumpkin pies, and she bought me some kind of costume.  When I was still quite young, she gave me an Indian brave costume and I frankly told her that I would rather be a princess (she remembered because the next year, she got me a princess costume).  One year, my grandmother had a party complete with a small monkey in a little red hat and coat that a friend of hers owned.   Then, there were the neighborhood kids in their costumes that she made over.  She always gave 2 pieces of candy per person and there was the running count of how many came to the door.  I have her Halloween bowl.  Just like my grandmother, it is a classy, fluted glass bowl (see picture). . . .

She taught me to pick up my heels when walking – no shuffling – and I remember to do this every time I walk somewhere to this day.   One is always supposed to be respectful of others, send “Thank you” notes, and always – always – make people feel welcome and cared for.   I think of her often because of what she taught me – especially on Halloween because of the joy that it brought to her and the joy she shared with others.

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My Walmart Shopping Experience

I just had a great Walmart shopping experience – online!  They now have free shipping if you buy $45 or more.  Some things are delivery only, some are in-store only, some are either.  Those products that are either, you can click buttons at checkout to choose to pickup any of those that you want – right from your shopping cart. 

Walmart is only about 3 miles from my house – but, I hate GOing to Walmart.  Their parking is horrendous . . . I don’t understand why because it is very similar to the malls or other department stores.  Maybe it’s just fighting the traffic and the mobs of people. 

This time, I shopped in my living room.  I got things we needed and was not tempted to purchase things I didn’t need.  And, I got cash back.  And, I didn’t have to GO to Walmart.

Come shop with me: www.AnnByars.com

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