by staff writers Joe Dunne, Kathy Tarbell and Melanie Rankin
Sometimes we meet people whose accomplishments are so vast and eclectic that it’s hard to comprehend their total scope without referencing something visual, such as climbing a mountain or navigating stepping stones. Clinical Nutritionist Dian Freeman is one such person. From Texas to New Jersey, from small town to the big city, Freeman never saw a mountain she couldn’t climb. She never turned away from stepping stones that appeared before her, even when she couldn’t see where the path would end. In fact, traversing those stones taught her that often it’s the unexpected side step that takes us where we need to go in our journey.
Freeman’s early journey, while accomplished, seemed about as far away from nutrition as she could get. She worked as a designer of corporate parks and homes, which led to specializing in the art of putting the “final jewelry” on houses by stylizing walls, shelves and such. She was also an artist on canvas, painting in five different styles under five different names as she provided art to decorators and art galleries that ultimately wound up in corporate offices and collections. She also painted commissions, with some of her oversized canvases hanging high in the vaulted ceilings of homes in the Hamptons and New York.
During this time, however, Freeman was not well, physically. She went to traditional medical doctors and received what turned out to be a misdiagnosis, and her health didn’t improve. She had questions about her health issues, and in pursuing answers, she ventured onto unfamiliar stepping stones, beginning a new path in her life—one that would become her life’s work.
Through research and education, Freeman pursued knowledge of the human body—blood, cellular system, skeletal make up—and, most importantly, the interactions of good nutrition and its effects on various diseases. She explored how nutrition, when properly applied, works to prevent disease, improve health, strengthen the immune system and support the human body and mind. Most significantly, she discovered that her understanding was not in harmony with mainstream health care professionals.
As Freeman gained and applied knowledge, not only did her health improve, but she also found herself increasingly helping others that were in positions similar to hers—they were ill, and they weren’t getting better. She became so busy helping others manage their health that she found herself without the time to do much else.
In the 1980s, Freeman decided the best way to share her knowledge was through an educational business. “This was way before the internet,” recalls Freeman. “I was seeking events to speak at and places where I could lecture. I spoke at spas, gyms, local PTA meetings—if someone would listen, I was talking nutrition.”
Freeman also began teaching classes on nutrition, which organically led to creation of her own company, Wellness Simplified, and her Nutrition Certification Program, providing graduates with certification as a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. Freeman has graduated over 800 students, recently moving to a larger facility to accommodate demand. The courses invite those from all walks of life—mothers that want advanced knowledge to protect the health of their families, individuals seeking information for personal health conditions or desiring a new career path, doctors, chiropractors, dentists, physical therapists and many others interested in holistic health.
Each year, Freeman conducts two, six-month courses on nutrition. The next training course begins in October, and it will not be surprising if all 60 available seats are filled. More than a course in nutrition, her program teaches a way of life, a behavior change, a new sense of self and new awareness.
Even as she teaches others, Freeman continues down that stone path she discovered so many years ago, pursuing a doctorate in medical humanities at Drew University. She also plans to teach art in Wellness Simplified’s expanded classroom space as a form of stress relief and artful meditation.
“Take care of yourself, understand the system of your body and plug into the principles of good health,” advises Freeman. “The more I learned, the more I believed that nutrition is just pure common sense.”