Host: Welcome to the Lifelong Wellness podcast, where we talk to wellness professionals from around the world to gain their insights into healthier living. I’m your host, Wes Malik. In this day and age, it is everyone's goal to live healthier, and we’re constantly trying to find new ways to better our lives. Today we’re speaking with Toye Penny, a holistic health strategist and creator of a new methodology called The Love You More Method. To learn more, let's delve into today's talk. Toye Penny, welcome to the Lifelong Wellness podcast. How are you doing today?
Toye: I’m awesome. Thank you for having me.
Host: It's a joy to have you. We'd like to learn all about what you do and how you help people live very healthy lives. And as I understand it, of course, you practice what you preach as well. To start off with the first question, our icebreaker. What does living healthy mean to you?
Toye: Wow. So, living healthy to me is not just eating healthy, it’s not just working out. It’s actually the whole approach to health. And to me, it is making yourself a priority and completely living a healthy lifestyle. So, it’s diving in, it’s doing the work that needs to be done and that is what living a healthy lifestyle to me is.
Host: Is it difficult to live a healthy lifestyle? Being so committed to it?
Toye: I wouldn’t say that it’s difficult. I would say that it is certainly a commitment. It is certainly a commitment and you have to make a committed decision that you’re going to live a healthy lifestyle.
Host: I always have an issue with, you know, committing to something. I have always wanted, everyone wants to live healthily. Nobody wants to be, you know, just sitting around and becoming a slob forever, right?
Host: But it’s the commitment that gets you, right?
Host: I’ll head out. I’ll go to A&W to get a root beer and a burger. (laughing) It’s that commitment which I kind of have an issue with. What are your tips and tricks to stay committed to living a healthy life?
Toye: Well, I think the first thing is making the committed decision. So we have excuses and then we have a decision. So when you make that committed decision and you say, “Listen, I am going to live a healthy lifestyle, no matter what”. I think that’s what sets us apart from others when you make that committed decision.
Host: Have you always been living a healthy lifestyle or did you have to change at one point in life?
Toye: No. I had to shift and pivot, you know, I had to change. And living a healthy lifestyle is not perfect. I want to say this. It’s not living a perfect life, but it’s living healthy according to you and your body and what it’s like in your life, in your walk in life. So, yes. I definitely had to shift. And I continuously have to shift and pivot, you know? But I’m committed. I’m committed.
Host: Did that pivot or did that start because of a certain event or did you have like an “Aha!” moment like, “Oh! I need to change”. Is that when it all began?
Toye: Well, it’s a combination for me. It’s a combination of events, and then it’s a combination of “Aha!” moments. I’ll definitely tell you a story. (laughing)
Host: Okay. You’re a holistic health strategist. How did you get into this line of work?
Toye: So back in, let me see. I think it’s like 1991, I lost my mom to lupus. I was 9 years old, and my mom passed away from lupus. I didn’t know my dad until I was about 19 years old. I got sexually abused at the age of 13. I became a teen mom at the age of 16. I was pregnant at 16, had it at 17. And so I am… All of these childhood traumas that were going on in my life, you know, they were really traumatizing and I have never really quite dealt with those traumas that happened. And so shortly after I had my daughter, my oldest daughter, I graduated from high school. I went off to massage therapy school and became a massage therapist, got hired at this Luxury Day Spa. I was making wonderful money, I mean, it was just amazing. My daughter, I got a brand new ride and I got our first apartment at 19 and just all this, so I’m living it up. So I’m working there, 2 years, and the lady asked me if I wanted to buy the place, the owner. So I’m like, “Okay”. So I knew that I want to be an entrepreneur but I didn’t know that it was going to be, you know, that it’s going to come that soon. So, here I am 22 years old. I had a couple of clients that were attorneys and we bartered services. And what they did is they typed out the paperwork, they represented me in the sale. Next thing I know, I’m 23 years old, I am a business owner, I have 15 employees, I’m a single mom, and I’m trying to run this whole company all by myself. No business training, no nothing. Honestly, she just let me go and I’m just like, “Okay”. So I did the dang thing and, I mean, it was absolutely amazing. I built my first home from the ground up at the age of 24, bought another new ride, my daughter and I traveled. I mean, it was just amazing. We had those amazing times. But here’s where my downfall happened for myself. I was overwhelmed and I began to eat out every single day. Why? Because I thought that I had no time to eat or had no time to cook, and my focus was really on this business. It was really, you know, the staff and all these things and I began to lose the relationship with my daughter. So, I’m trying to run this business, eating out every single day, and we come home from work. It is, you know, Hamburger Helper or something that I will make or we would go to the drive-thru. And then, one day I came home from work, I had four slices of cold pizza and I fixed her a chili cheese dog with all of the fixings and onions and all that with some Doritos and Ì had a light bulb go off. It’s like, “Toye, something is got to give. So, you really can’t continue to go on like this”. So what happened was I went in and I looked online, found some schools, immediately enrolled in a school. And when I enrolled in a school, the school told me that my lifestyle and my food was directly tied together. So I started putting two and two together and all of those voids that I had and my childhood trauma, I had never dealt with. And they were manifesting through my fast food. I had no idea. I had no idea. So long story short, I met this dude from the US Virgin Islands because I knew that I was to get married, I knew I wanted to set my life up, to have more kids. I met this dude from the US Virgin Islands of Saint Thomas and he took me there for my birthday, we had a wonderful time, plane ride back, God whispered in my ear and said, “Sell your business”. So, I’m like, “What? Sell my business? Listen, I’ve had it for 7 years, what are you talking about?”. He’s like, “Sell your business”. So, I’m like, “Okay”. So everybody thought I was crazy. I went and hired a broker, the broker came back, found this lovely couple, husband and wife who wanted to buy a business. They bought the Luxury Day Spa, we closed on the business, next thing you know toyepenny.com has been born, was created. So, I got married to the guy from the US Virgin Islands right after the sale of the business. We had another daughter and then we had another daughter. So, I have three daughters. My oldest daughter is 21, my last daughter is 2 years old, and my second daughter is 5 years old. So I’m trying to put all of this together, I’m trying to run toyepenny.com, I’m trying to be a wife, I’m trying to be all these things and I sat down and I was like, “God! How can I do this and still be myself?” And I kid you not, He came to me and said, “When you’re whole and complete within yourself, everything else falls into place”. So I’m like, “Oh, my gosh”. So I started putting together this method and it’s called The Love You More Method. And this is how I walk, privately guide my clients through this method which is called The Love You More Method. So, that’s basically my story, how I became a holistic strategist and of course, we’ll get into the method in a minute. (laughing)
Host: So, do you miss running your business?
Toye: You know what? I actually don’t. This is the best life ever. Like I don’t. I don’t.
Host: Was it very stressful for you?
Toye: It was very stressful, but I don’t miss it right now. But you know what, it was a stepping stone to get to where I am today.
Host: Do you believe that our careers really play a large part in our health, mentally and physically?
Toye: Most definitely. Actually, that is one of my elements in The Love You More Method, a thriving career.
Host: Why don’t we get into it and start talking about The Love You More Method? The first question I have for you is, again, was it a ‘eureka' moment? Did you come out? Did you gather this from thin air like, “Hey!” How did the idea strike you to create this method?
Toye: Yes. So that’s where the idea came from when God said you are whole and complete. “When you are whole and complete within yourself, everything falls into place”. And I was like, “Oh, my gosh!” So I started putting together all of this stuff that I was going through and then I started weaving together, of course, the food and all of that and this is where The Love You More Method came about. So, basically here’s my approach, here’s The Love You More Method. We have the first 7 elements and then you have the last element. So, the first 7 elements are mental and emotional peace, meaningful relationships, a meaningful spiritual practice, relationships that nurture your soul, never-ending self-care, quality sleep, a thriving career, empowering physical activities. All of those are your primary food. Your secondary foods are the foods that you actually eat and are putting in your mouth. So, if you’re overeating on your primary foods then you tend to under-eat on your secondary foods and vice versa.
Host: Can you define a little bit of what the primary foods and secondary foods are?
Toye: Exactly. So those are your primary foods, those that I just mentioned, the first 7. So we have your mental and emotional peace, if you are… Even though I target high-performance CEO moms, The Love You More Method works for anybody. So if you are a leader, if you are a business owner, if you are a mom, if you’re a dad, if your mental and emotional peace is not together, you cannot be healthy.
Host: I see.
Toye: So we have people jumping off bridges, we have people, you know, committing suicide. Now we’re in the COVID thing right now and they can eat healthy all they want to. But if your mental and emotional peace is not together, if you’re at war with yourself, if you’re at war with who you are, if you’re at war with your thoughts, then you’re not completely a healthy person.
Host: Makes sense.
Toye: Yes. Yes. So we need all of those…We need all elements. We need all elements. So we need all of that. They all come together and they all make up a completely healthy person. So the secondary foods, foods that align with you and your body. I believe that the foods that you eat should align with you and your body because what works for you might not work for me. You may eat dairy and I cannot. So that may be for, dairy maybe, you know, something that makes you feel good, gives you energy, makes your brain thrive. For me, that doesn’t work for me. So if we are eating according to our bodies then we will have the ultimate energy and, you know, happiness that we need.
Host: How do we find the food that aligns with our body?
Toye: Exactly. I’m glad you asked. So, in The Love You More Method, I provide four lab tests for you.
Host: Oh, really?
Toye: Yes, I provide four lab tests. It comes complete with a lab test, four lab tests, and a ninja foodie multi-cooker, like an all-purpose cooker. So the lab tests are a food sensitivity test, a gut health test, a sleep test, and a blood type test. So the gut health test helps us to find out what is lying dormant in your gut. Why you cannot lose weight, why you cannot sleep, why your energy is low, all of those things. We will know when you take the gut health test. The food sensitivity test is to find out what foods you’re sensitive to that you’re eating every single day. For me, mine was chicken. I’m eating chicken every single day and I had no idea it did not align with my body. So, you know, it keeps me bloated. It keeps my energy drained, you know, gives me headaches, all of those things. The blood type test is to help us figure out what blood type you are and to align the workouts specifically for your body. And of course, the sleep test is to figure out if you’re getting sleep at night. Do you have sleep apnea, what stages of sleep are you in? So those are all the lab tests that come with The Love You More Method.
Host: Very scientific, and from that you build a plan customized to an individual. I see.
Toye: Exactly. Exactly.
Host: Are all these tests available? Do I go to the doctor to get these tests or a lab or…?
Toye: So I am a lab practitioner, I’m a lab practitioner as well as a holistic health strategist. So we are diving through these elements, you and I will work together. We are strategizing each element. As soon as you sign up with The Love You More Method, these lab tests are shipped out to you. You take these lab tests at your home, you ship them back off to the lab, the results come back to me, you and I hop on the phone, and you and I go over the results and then from there you and I are tailoring these now specifically for you.
Host: Right. And amongst the people you’ve helped, what are the differences that they’ve noticed? I mean, what do you basically work on in terms of health?
Toye: Right. So we are diving into the whole 8 elements but we have, I have CEO’s who can’t sleep and maybe their gut levels are low, their serotonin levels are low, their melatonin levels are low, all of these we find out through the lab tests. And from there, once you take the lab tests, now we give you supplements that are specifically created for your body. And so we’re hearing everything that’s going on, then we’re aligning all of the primary foods and we’re also aligning your secondary foods. So say if you’re sensitive to chicken or, you know, you’re not supposed to be eating green beans or something like that, then we will create foods or recipes or whatever meal plans or whatever specifically designed for you that does not include green beans or chicken that you’re sensitive to. Yes.
Host: So, when you say sensitive, it's not… How do you know that a certain type of food is not aligned to my body? What determines that?
Toye: So, I always say to pay attention to your body. Your body speaks to you, it talks to you. So maybe you’re eating a food and I know like a specific person who eats, you know, shrimp. Eats shrimp all the time but shrimp does not agree with her body. She starts breathing on highs, you know, she eats it all the time, you know, her stomach is bloated, all of those things. So those are the things that we want to pay attention to. We want to pay attention to bloating, we want to pay attention to gas, we want to pay attention to brain fog, we want to pay attention to headaches, maybe your vision might be blurred.
Toye: A lot of those things, memory loss. All of those things that you need to pay attention to. So, we eliminate the things that you’re eating. I start my clients off on an elimination diet.
Toye: And we start eliminating these things specifically that are on your lab tests, that you’re eating, that make you feel, you know, blah. And so then we take these out and we start eating other foods specifically greens. I love my clients to, you know, dive into dark leafy greens because in America is number one missing ingredient. So we start putting together greens and different recipes and just all these things. And then you start to see the difference. You start to see a change in your body, you start to see, you know, your gut shifting, you know, all of these things. You start losing weight. All of those things. Why? Because we got to the root of the issue, the root cause of the issue. Yes.
Host: Is the payoff worth all this after going through all these steps and, you know, changing lifestyles and in the way we eat and exercise? Does it all pay off at the end?
Toye: Oh, most definitely. I believe, like I said, when you are whole and complete within yourself, everything else falls into place. If you have children and, you know, I specifically target high-performance CEO moms, but I’m just saying if you have children in general, we are the examples that they need to be. And so if your children are not eating healthy, you have to take a look at yourself. If your children are not living a healthy lifestyle, you have to take a look at yourself. You are the example. You are the example. So most definitely. And even if you don’t have children and you’re a leader, maybe you’re a CEO, maybe you’re a, you know, granddad or whatever, you need to make sure that you are whole and complete because there’s people coming after you, that are paying attention to you. So, most definitely.
Host: And of course they’re relying on you as well. Now once you start taking care of yourself, how do you suggest to the CEO moms and the, you know, the career-oriented people that you work with, how do you suggest to them to change their family’s diets or well-being?
Toye: So it all starts with you. That’s what is. It starts with you. So when you’re setting an example, of course they will follow. I noticed here now during COVID, you know, my husband is corp in America and I am, you know, I’ve worked from home and stuff, but I get up, I start my day, you know, I started working out and all this stuff. Now, I noticed him, he won’t say it, but I noticed him getting up, working out, you know, starting his day.
Toye: You know? So even the kids, you know, they follow along. So that’s why I said the example starts with you first. If you’re the one who is strong in that area, then you’re going to be the leader, you know, for the rest of the household. When it comes to, you know, the eating and just all of these things when you noticed that your kids or your husband or your wife, you know, is complaining of headaches and all this stuff, because I have educated you, now you can educate them. So it all starts with you.
Host: Tell us about some tips and tricks for kids to eat healthy. Now I know you've gone through, you know, all ranges and ages of children and you still have a couple young ones, you know, but it is really hard to have them eat healthy as it’s French fries or pancakes or, you know, just pizza and stuff. (laughing) For example, it's impossible for me to get my son to eat any vegetables. It's impossible. How do you manage?
Toye: Wow. So my first daughter, my oldest daughter is almost 21 and because of the example that I set for her before, she eats out every single day.
Toye: So it’s not working on her.
Toye: The younger two, so many people are like, “Oh, my God. How do you get your kids to like…?” Yes, it’s amazing. We are actually, you know, I am aware of how to prepare meals and they’re healthy but then they taste good. But then we also put them in things like chocolate zucchini cake. So we make chocolate zucchini cake and the kids absolutely love, love, love. You know, so we make the chocolate cake.
Host: I’ve never heard of a chocolate zucchini cake. Well, it sounds terrible. (laughing) What is chocolate zucchini cake? How do you make these?
Toye: (laughing) Yes. So, you’re putting all of your flours together, your almond flour, coconut, all these things. Then you’re putting your chocolate chips, your chocolate chips in there, your cacao powder, all of these things, and all of these are vegan, you know, non-dairy, and then you take your zucchini. You puree your zucchini, you squeeze out the water and you put it in there. I’m telling you it’s the most amazing treat, dessert, whatever it is in the whole world. And then you bake it for 30 minutes. The kids absolutely love it. So, my little ones here, we don’t do candy over here, they drink like green tea, you know, they’re drinking pea milk, you know, chocolate chips. So, people like, “Oh, my God”. And they’re more comfortable with foods cooked from home. So you start with…You start them early, for one, you start them early. But if you didn’t start them early and, you know, just say your kid is 8 or 9 or whatever, but you want to gradually start preparing the foods, healthier items for them, and maybe start sneaking them in first like the chocolate zucchini cake. Start sneaking them in first and then once after you sneak them in, now they’re aware of the vegetables and just all these things, now you start putting them on their plate but the key is to make it start tasting good. That’s the key. You got to make it taste good. Like who likes a green beans slapped on a plate and say, “Oh, eat your green beans”, you know? Who likes that?
Host: Make it a little appetizing so that they’re practically food.
Host: Do you have any “No-No’s” in the house like, “Oh, you have to stay away from this”. You stay away from specific foods or items?
Toye: Oh, no. No. I think the key is you’re eating what you love, but we’re just eating healthier alternatives. So, for example, I made a salmon enchilada the other day. Salmon enchiladas, so good, absolutely good but I use healthier alternatives. For me I can’t do dairy. So, you know, I used the vegan cheese, non-dairy cheese. I use the almond flour tortillas, I still use salsa, guacamole and onions, and bell peppers, I threw some red chard in there, some leafy greens in there. It was so amazing. So you can still eat the things that you love but just have it be the healthier alternatives.
Host: Now, how about the, you mentioned there’s the primary food source, mental, emotional relationships. Okay, you mentioned quality sleep and there’s secondary food source, the foods that should align with your body and then you recommend specific types of exercises based on the four tests, I believe that you ship out to your clients and your customers. Now, how do you work on the mental and emotional? And how do you work on relationships with your clients?
Toye: So, it all depends on what they’re going through. So, right now I have a client who mental and emotional peace, like with her, you know, she had a traumatizing event in her childhood. So, therefore, it’s showing up in her adulthood and it’s showing up in her career. It’s showing up in her relationship with her husband. It’s showing up with her kids, you know, all of these things. So, we’re actually strategizing with each other. Well, I’m strategizing with her but I’m working with her because it’s her situation so that she can overcome, you know, that area of her life that she’s having trouble with. So everybody is different. Some people may be working hard and they may be stressed out. You know, maybe you’re working hard at work and then, you know, you get home and then you get in a fight with your husband or you get in a fight with your wife. Do you know what I’m saying? And maybe it’s a bad fight. You know, maybe you don’t think that you’re all coming back from it. Of course, it’s going to affect, you know, your performance at work, affects your performance with your kids and most definitely it’s going to affect your performance in your relationship, you know? So, it’s just diving deep and figuring out how is it that I can heal? What part that I’ve played in it and how can I heal from it? How can I make myself a priority and how can I heal from it so that you are able to heal others, basically?
Host: How about relationships? You know, the people you work with must have many different types of relationships, single, married, you know, divorced. How do you work on those and what do you suggest in terms of relationships for your clients?
Toye: So, relationships should nurture your soul. And if they are not, then of course now your mental and emotional peace is off. Now your sleep is off. Now your eating, your everything is off when you are in relationships that don’t nurture your soul. So, I strategize with my clients to help them figure out ways that they can set boundaries with these difficult relationships. You know, maybe they need to, you know, completely get away from the relationship. Or maybe they need to put them far away and deal with them at a certain level and not so up close. So relationships definitely play a part in a healthy person because if you are in tumultuous relationships you can’t thrive. You can’t be healthy at all if you are dragged down. And I personally know people who are, who have been dragged down from relationships and now they’re going through so much sickness, you know, whether it’s cancer, whether it’s lupus, whatever. So all of that plays a part if you’re in relationships that are draining your energy. You know, so many people don’t figure out like, “Why do I not have so much have energy?” And so look at your relationships. You know, look at your relationships to see and then assess and see if they are the ones that are draining your energy, you know?
Host: So your relationships can have a very adverse effect on, you know, your physical well-being? That's what you see through working with your clients.
Host: Okay. That is fantastic. Now, a lot of news and… The world has changed since February and March. Where you are right now, you are facing the brunt of the pandemic and I'm sure there's, there must be some stay-at-home orders that have been just, you know, in your county or your state that have just come across. Also, I want to talk about how it's hard to handle change. It’s hard to handle, you know, quarantine and a different type of world. What advice do you give to your clients when they're going through this?
Toye: So I always say, of course I’m going to throw The Love You More Method out there, make yourself a priority. You have to make yourself a priority and I don’t care if you are feeling, you know, stressed out, if you are feeling overwhelmed, if you’re feeling angry, then you need to reckon with yourself. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way? “ And then come up with a solution to help you, you know, feel better in that situation. I know a lot of parents are, you know, working at home with their kids. And I don’t know if you heard it over there in your end, but child abuse is going up right now, you know, divorce is going up right now, you know, suicides are going up right now. And so that’s why it’s super important that we are checking in. We are checking in with ourselves and we’re making sure that we’re good. And if you’re not good, then you need to seek help. You need to seek out help immediately and so that you can start to be good for everybody, for yourself first, and then everybody else.
Host: Is it simple to check in with yourself? How do you check in with yourself?
Toye: I talk to myself. People might think I’m crazy. (laughing) I would look in the mirror and I would be like, “Toye, you know, look. You got to get it together”. Or when I feel that I am grouching with my kids, you know, the inner me, “Toye, okay, what’s going on with you? Is it your mental and emotional peace? You know, let’s deal with that”, you know? So, like I said, I’m talking to myself. (laughing)
Host: A lot of people don’t have the ability to have a conversation with themselves. Maybe you talk to some people. What do you advise them?
Toye: Yes. So, if you’re not able to have a conversation with yourself, maybe strike up a conversation with somebody else, maybe seek a therapist. Maybe, you know, talk to your husband, talk to your wife, talk to your grandmother, your mom, whoever that is. And maybe if they’re asking you some questions, then you’re able to speak out loud and you’re able to hear yourself. And when you hear yourself, a lot of times the light bulb goes off. Because a lot of times, you know, we’re talking, we’re answering our own questions, you know? You know, we’re blabbing and we’re like, “Oh, my gosh. That really happened. I really did that. I’m really acting like that”. And then that is the light bulb moment for you. So, if you don’t want to talk to yourself because you don’t want people to think you're crazy, you know? I’m sorry but…(laughing) figure out somebody else so that they can ask you the questions.
Host: That is alright to talk to your self and I think it’s very healthy. If you can start up a conversation with yourself, you could probably get to the bottom of a lot of things and solve a lot of problems that you may have, or work, or at least diagnose, or come to terms with, “Okay, you know what? I need to work on this and this and this”. At least start beginning to live a healthier life.
Toye: Exactly, and a lot of us are afraid of getting to know ourselves. We’re afraid of getting to know our bad things about ourselves and, you know, just all of these things. I don’t know if I advise always depending on somebody else to get to the core root of your issue because your issue is your issue. It’s not someone else’s responsibility for us to have, you know, high self-esteem. It’s not my husband’s responsibility to help me feel better about myself. It’s my responsibility. So, you know, you could back on yourself and don’t always depend on other people. So, get to talking to yourself, really. (laughing)
Host: And if that doesn’t work, I found asking your kids about, you know, what they think of you. You can get very honest responses no matter how old they are. It doesn’t matter how old your children are. You know, 2 years old, 20 years old, even 40 years old. They would surprise you with some insights into yourself.
Toye: Exactly. They will exactly tell you the truth.
Host: Yes. This whole year of 2020 has been about, you know, health in terms of people are trying to save their lives, going through a pandemic, trying not to get other people sick. We've learned many things, we've unlearned many things, we've gone through a lot of web MD and Wikipedia and looking at statistics and talking to doctors and we've become very, very aware. One thing that I feel that we should be focusing on is building our immunity and our, through our health, through foods, and through exercise. How would you do that?
Toye: So I would definitely, of course, eat the foods that align with you and your body. Find out, if you don’t know. Start paying attention to your body first. If you are not paying attention to your body or you find a hard time doing that, then get a lab test and, you know, try to figure it out. I would definitely, you know, start with eating greens every day. Start eating some type of dark leafy greens every single day. And I would start pouring into myself, you know, no matter what. Like no matter what. I don’t care what you have going on, maybe take some time for self-care. You know, take 10, 20 minutes for yourself throughout the day. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, check-in with yourself, take some time to breathe. But I think getting to the core root of the issue is super important, especially during this pandemic. You know, they’re saying wash your hands, wear masks, all this stuff, but let’s get to the core root of the issue. You know, let’s deal with it. Are you living a healthy lifestyle? Are you proving yourself to live a healthy lifestyle and for others, you know? So, the masks and everything plays a part, washing your hands and all this stuff but we have to take care of the issue and the issue is taking care of yourself. That’s the issue.
Host: And I love your program, The Love You More Method. Toye, thank you so much for being on our podcast today. It was a pleasure talking to you and we learned so much. Thank you so much.
Toye: Thank you, Wes, for having me. (laughing)
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