By Patricia F. Danflous
Dr. Z and Mama Z share the natural way for a healthier, happier and blessed life.
Cleaning windows is not a first date scenario. It’s not even close to anything resembling romance. Unless you are Eric (Dr. Z) and Sabrina (Mama Z) Zielinski. A little more than 13 years ago, they connected while doing windows following church services.
“I was sitting next to one of my mentors in church, when I saw him and asked ‘Who is that? He’s hot.’,” Mama Z recalled. “Later he walked out the door while I was washing the windows and he didn’t even say ‘hi.’ But at the next church meeting, I introduced myself and soon he was washing windows with me. We’ve been together ever since. “It was a whirlwind romance; we got married six months after we met and it has been just wonderful,” said Dr. Z.
The very happy couple and parents of four are sharing their personal story and professional expertise through an on-line ministry, their Natural Living pod-cast and research-rich publications.
Dr. Z., an aromatherapist, public health researcher and chiropractor, and Mama Z, a natural health guru, are nationally recognized for teaching more than six million followers how bioactive plant compounds found in essential oils and in foods such as chia seeds, almonds, avocados and matcha green tea, can support weight loss, increase energy and trigger the body’s natural immune defenses.
And while there is no statistical evidence yet, following a natural lifestyle may help you win beauty pageants, too. Mama Z took home the Mrs. Georgia America crown just a few days before talking to INSPIRE HEALTH about their pod-cast, the release of their book, “The Essential Oils Diet,” and their insight to living an abundant life.
Uniting as man and wife has led to a wonderful family and working together only adds to their joys and blessings. In an interview peppered with asides focusing on their children, the Z’s acknowledge that their professional life is all about collaboration. “We each have our strengths,” explained Mama Z. “Eric with the many things he does as a public health researcher; I have the practical applications, the recipes and the DIY aspects. It is a perfect blend to share our lifestyle, and to give so many people all the hacks that have taken us a few years to create. We want people to fast forward their health journey and not have to go through some of the same things we did.”
It wasn’t always easy for the essential oils experts. Dr. Z is frank about his early struggles with substance abuse and the recovery from several chronic diseases in his early 20s. Although he had regained control of his life and health through natural living, when they first met, Mama Z was going through an eating disorder. “I was on fire and all about natural health,” he recalled. “Everything I ate, Sabrina always jokes, was green or brown. I had a lot of rice cakes. I was totally eating to live, not living to eat.” As he helped her through the eating disorder, Mama Z made the decision that they should both enjoy food a little more.
“She’s been a mastermind in the kitchen, converting all of our favorite foods,” Dr. Z explained. “You can get any recipe and make it healthy. Sabrina figured out how to do all that. That’s been really our journey and essentially why we wrote ‘The Essential Oils Diet,’ to give people food freedom. Gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free cake is the healthy way, but it has to be tasty so you can have it and eat it too, so to speak.”
The recently released book is a road map to achieving and maintaining weight loss and abundant health. More than a diet book, it is an innovative way to use essential oils and bioactive foods as a way to transform your life with recipes, exercises and a wealth of tips to help you along the journey.
The couple recommends starting a transformation by substituting a few different ingredients – maple syrup or honey instead of sugar, for example. “It actually changes the food,” Dr. Z said. By making those small changes you end up making big changes because your taste buds start changing. You eliminate the sugar and detox from that in your lifestyle. Then, later on, when you’re cooking with Stevia, maple syrup or honey, you have these natural options that taste good with a healthy benefit.”
While the Zielinskis are adamant about natural living, they are extremely careful not to shame people who are not. But they are concerned.
“As a society, we’re barely just surviving,” Dr. Z explained. “People are just too busy. Yes, we’re one of the most affluent countries in the world but most people now have to have mom and dad, husband and wife, both working. When I was a kid, grandma was at home. It wasn’t even a question. Grandma never worked. Grandpa worked and grandma took care of everything. It wasn’t until the baby boom generation that more and more women decided to work. So, who’s going to stay home and cook, right?”
There are alternatives to the fast-food, drive-through pop-it in the microwave way of eating that can fit into a time-consumed lifestyle. “Frozen food can be good if you do it right. Some of these frozen pizzas that are gluten-free and dairy-free, in a pinch, those can be good for kids,” Dr Z continued. “But the reality is we all tend to put ourselves in a situation of having no time. So, you’ve got to recognize that and then adopt what Sabrina calls, the slow food movement and be intentional. Come up with good solutions and don’t become a victim of your schedule.”
“When you are intentional, you will find time in your schedule to do what you need to do,” Mama Z said. “Take the healthy recipes that you’re going to use, double or triple them – because it doesn’t take much more effort; only a few more ingredients – and then freeze the extras because we all know we’re going to have weeks where all you have time for is to heat something up. Be completely intentional about what you do and that allows you freedom to do what you need to do.”
“One of the biggest tips that I give to families is have a food schedule,” she said. “For us, Monday night is breakfast night. We have different recipes (a family favorite is almond flour pancakes ) but it’s always something breakfasty. It could be a quiche; it could be a crustless quiche. It changes every single time. On Tuesdays, it’s tuna or salmon. We have a schedule for everyday that is both structured and flexible because we have so many healthy options.”
“You do have control,” Dr. Z said. “And that’s what we’re really trying to help people with through our books, podcast and online presence. Hey, we get it, especially with Miss America here. We are two very busy people with four kids. If we can do it, so could you.”
For more information about Dr. Z and Mama Z and “The Essential Oils Diet” tune in to their Natural Living Family podcast on iTunes or visit www.naturallivingfamily.com.