On Discovering Your Calling (A Story and A Smoothie)

June 24, 2019

“Keep going.  Each step may get harder, but don’t stop.  The view is beautiful at the top”   ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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Today, a continuation of a short series, here at The Veggies.

About Hawthorn University, a school near and dear to my heart.  During my studies of holistic nutrition, there has been so much interest, that I thought it would be fun to feature it here.  The dent not only the university but its graduates are making in the world, is truly inspiring.

Paula Bartholomy is the university’s Director of Online Events, as well as the Registrar.  She’s the friendly voice you’ll hear listening to webinars.  If you’re a student, her words of wisdom have guided your studies.  But, as I soon came to discover, she’s so much more.  Her gentle vibe and wealth of knowledge, makes you want to sit a while, order something green, and ask her a million questions.

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In Part I – She chatted about Hawthorn’s humble beginnings.  How a hopeless creative became a pretty amazing educator.  Staying true to the mission, and the favorite part of her job.

Ahead, Paula talks about the Hawthorn of today.  The things that make it so very special, popular programs, international interest, recruiting the best professors, and stories from their first year (including a funny poster wall of stamps!)

What do you love most about Hawthorn University?

The things I love the most are the passion we have for healthy living.  For a healthy planet.  The dedication we have to high-quality education and the success of our students and graduates.

That we teach personalized functional nutrition.  In each of our courses, every student is paired with a devoted instructor.  They also have the opportunity to learn from a variety of seasoned faculty members throughout their program of choice.

We’re small.  We’re a tight team.  We really care about each other and the work we’re attempting to accomplish day in and day out.  It guides us daily.

(Ali – From a student’s point of view, their efforts are felt)

Are students based (mostly) in the U.S.?

They are, but we have a growing number of international students.  The word it out.  Especially throughout Europe.  Russia is emerging and surprisingly, so is China.  There’s a lot of interest there as well.

How are people discovering Hawthorn?

One way is by word of mouth.  Our students and graduates are talking.  When other people hear their expertise, how they speak and present themselves, they’re curious. “Where did you learn?  Where did you study?”

As you know, we’re an online school.  Thus all of our advertising, promotions, and marketing are also online.  We have a booth at the conferences we attend.  Then there are the different forums and platforms (like your blog) that are supporting us and spreading the word.

Photo Credit: hdw.eweb4.com

How many students are enrolled?

Just under 400 now and growing.  Growing is good

How does this number compare to Hawthorn’s first year?  

So, initially, we were State licensed by The California Bureau for Private Post Secondary Education (BPPE) who thoroughly reviewed and approved us to offer our educational programs and enroll students.  We have the website up for the first time and begin initiating our promotions.  I’m fielding the calls and talking to people about what their interests are and what Hawthorn has to offer.  I’m making sure they’re aligned with what we’re teaching and that it’s a good fit back and forth.

I remember we had these little stamps and I would put one up on my poster wall every time a student enrolled.  We started with one.  And then two.  And by the end of that first year, we had twelve students.  That was our first little milestone, making it to twelve.  From there, we blossomed.

Today, getting up into the hundreds is such a good feeling.  It’s truly a success marker for us because people are hearing about Hawthorn and what we have to offer.  And certainly, seeing what our graduates are doing is impressive.  So, we’re getting noticed.

Hawthorn University Aprons

Which program is Hawthorn’s most popular?

The Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition (MSHN).  It’s a sixty credit comprehensive clinical training program.  That being said, we always work carefully to make sure someone is in the program that’s best aligned with their needs and career goals.

Has this changed over the years?  

Certainly, because the Nutrition Consultant (NC) program was our flagship.  While it was the first, I’d say it’s our second most popular today.

(Thanks for bringing that up, btw)

While the Nutrition Consultant (NC) is a certificate program, it’s offered at the level of a masters degree, because of the high quality, clinical training it takes to do this work professionally.  Students are stepped through all aspects, including the business side and counseling pieces.  Not to mention thoroughly studying the science and all of the body systems.

There are lots of reasons someone would choose it over the MSHN.  Maybe they don’t have a bachelor’s degree, which is required for any masters program.  But with a high school diploma or an associate’s, they can enroll in the NC or any of our certificate programs.  At the same time, we’ve always had people who already have a masters and choose the NC program because they feel they don’t need another but still want the training.  Knowing the similarities between the two, they’re content to take it and do really well.

Photo Credit: From Paula – Thich Nhat Hanh On Keeping Going

I couldn’t have asked for a better major professor, so I was curious.  How does Hawthorn recruit and select their instructors? 

Carefully!  They need to be qualified, of course, and have the passion that we do.  Their mission and goals need to be aligned with ours.  They need to believe in and practice the principles of holism and functional nutrition.  They need to be inspired to teach and mentor students through to a professional level.

How many professors are there?

Fifteen.  All teaching in different programs from the Nutrition Consultant program up through the Doctorate.

Speaking of, I love the Doctorate program.  It’s really an advancement of the master’s programs, in that it bridges the content and takes it to the next level.  Think the national, international, and global levels.  Some of our doctorate grads are working clinically.  After advancing their skills and knowledge, they’re simply upscaling the work in their private clinics.  So that’s exciting.  Others are actively working in government and the legislature, making sure that we have bills that support the work we’re doing.

( .. to be continued .. )

On Discovering Your Calling (A Story and A Smoothie) - I've triple-downed on all things fruit - they all come together in a fantastic triple berry smoothie

A series just isn’t the same without a story, and no ordinary story would do.  Instead, the turning point in her life, when she realized she was destined to help people.

“When I was about 15, I started experimenting with my diet and eliminated dairy for a few months.  Wow – I noticed an increase in energy almost immediately.  But, I was also so pleased when I didn’t get a cold that year.  I don’t think I had a cold for, at least, the next ten years.  I began learning much more about diet and health.  But it wasn’t until my father was hospitalized with a bleeding ulcer, did I diligently committed myself to the pursuit of education in the healing arts.

While my dad was in the hospital, I telephoned him every day because I lived about three hours away at the time.  On the fifth day, while he was in the hospital, I called him and said ‘Dad, you know they are probably going to start feeding you soon.’

He said, ‘You won’t believe this, Paula, but they just brought in my lunch tray.’  I asked him what was on it and he said there was roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans with some kind of sauce on it, coffee, chocolate cake, and Reese’s peanut butter cups.  This is the food they are feeding a man with an ulcer!  So, I exclaimed, ‘Dad, do not eat that!’ He said, ‘But, why?  I am so hungry.’

I could sure appreciate that he hadn’t eaten in five days.  I said, ‘Dad, you will die if you eat that food!’  So I admit, I was a bit more melodramatic in my youth.  But by that time in my life, I was eating organic, whole vegetarian foods, and I was fasting routinely.  I was typically a day a week, two days a month, and a week out of every six months I fasted.  So, I knew what it was like to go without food, how critical it is to break a fast properly, and how dangerous it could be if you don’t.

So, I told him I would be there in a few hours.  I loaded up on all the fruits and vegetables I had, as well as the broths and teas.  I took my blender.  I walked right into the hospital, helped my father break his fast, and started attending to his healing.  I explained the reason for everything he was eating and what I was doing, such as how the specific foods would help him, how he got sick in the first place and how to avoid that in the future by making some dietary changes.

On Discovering Your Calling (A Story and A Smoothie) - I've triple-downed on all things fruit - they all come together in a fantastic triple berry smoothie

He was very open and agreeable, and extremely grateful for the support.  The nurses were also very curious, so I engaged with them quite a bit.  I went into the hospital kitchen, talked with the staff there and the registered dieticians that specifically formulated that lunch for my father, the ulcer patient.  But, it was the doctors that had the greatest difficulty with me and what I was feeding my dad.  They were furious that he was refusing the special hospital food.

We got into some very heated discussions, but I didn’t back down.  I realize now that the situation was the first time I worked as a client advocate in a medical setting.  It’s an extremely important role, and I’ve done it for my clients many times since.  While I was with my dad over the next couple of days until he was released, I also visited everybody else in the adjoining rooms.  I talked to them about what their health issues were, why they were there, what they typically ate, and how they attended to their health.  I observed what they were being fed while they were in the hospital to ostensibly support their healing.

I began to realize that my interest in health had a bigger purpose than just my personal interest.  I was meant to help people, and the need was huge.  Now, when I work with clients, I facilitate practical, fun, and effective wellness programs for people of all ages.  I consult with my clients in person, but also by telephone, Facetime, or Skype for long distance consultations, and I stay in touch by email.  I support my clients with compassion as they reveal their healing path because I believe that a personal wellness program deserves the attention of a skilled Nutrition Consultant.”     ~ Paula Bartholomy

On Discovering Your Calling (A Story and A Smoothie) - I've triple-downed on all things fruit - they all come together in a fantastic triple berry smoothie

I’m going to argue that you’ll need a couple of easy and great tasting smoothies as part of your healthy eating arsenal.  My default is some combination of almond milk, protein powder, frozen banana, cinnamon, cocoa, and nut butter but lately, I’ve been mixing it up with this one from Hawthorn grad, Rebecca Katz.

Her approach and ratios are spot on, leaving you with an invigorating, bottom’s up, kickstarter made from berries, yogurt, freshly-squeezed OJ, flaxseeds, and honey.

Depending on how hungry I am, I’ll also add some avocado or nut butter, along with the flax.  They help stave off my hunger much better than a smoothie without any fat.  If this is acting as a meal for you, a 1/4 cup old fashioned oats can help thicken it up.



ps:  You can read more about Hawthorn University and Paula Bartholomy in Part I  |  Part III  |  Part IV  |  Part V  |  Part VI  |  Part VII Part VIII  |  Part IX  of the series

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~ Adapted from The Cancer Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson

Triple Berry Smoothie


  • 1 cup plain yogurt (organic + low-sugar is best)
  • 1 cup nut milk (the original calls for water)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 ½ cups blueberries
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 1 tsp honey (or maple syrup)


  • Combine all the ingredients in an upright blender and process until
  • If the smoothie is too thick, incorporate more nut milk as needed, slowly through the feed hole on the lid with the motor running.
  • Pour into glasses and enjoy
Serves: 1
Nutrition + Show
Calories 448
Total Fat 8.5g
Saturated Fat 2.8g
Carbohydrates 82.7g
Fiber 14.4g
Sugars 60.6g
Protein 18g
Print This Recipe

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  • Reply Becky June 25, 2019 at 3:10 am

    Way to be brave, Paula! 💛 I love the stories of people doing what’s right for them and the people they love. So glad I stumbled upon this series.

  • Reply Maggie June 28, 2019 at 5:02 am

    Looks fantastic! I’m a huge fan of smoothies, AKA sneaking in as many greens, fruits, and veggies into my diet as possible. I’ll look forward to trying this one as a change-up! And I’ll think of Paula and her dad

  • Reply Steph June 29, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    She’s wonderful!

  • Reply Chloe June 30, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    Immediately bookmarked this in my “feel good” folder. Strong women who feel the fear and do it anyway are my kind of people!

  • Reply Vicki June 30, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    Lovely smoothie and even lovelier story! I bet those doctors and nurses never forgot her. I’d love to know more about the best way to break a fast and the philosophy behind it all.

  • Reply Jane July 21, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    That smoothie looks amazing. I’ve got to get back to making smoothies. I’m just too lazy to wash the blender. Haha, not even kidding. That’s the main reason why I haven’t been making smoothies lately.

    So nice to read about Hawthorn and I love Paula’s perspective and honesty. Especially in this glittery and glossy world of web! My mom was in the hospital not very long ago, and it can be intimidating going against the medical establishment.

  • Reply Faith August 13, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Hey – thanks so much for this recipe! I’m rushed off my feet with a long commute, three children and husband to cook and clean after! I desperately need an energy boost sometimes and the smoothie is AWESOME! I’ve made a few now and every time really does make me feel better. Another great recipe. THANK YOU

  • Reply Noelle August 27, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    I so appreciate this profile with Paula and I’m so excited about Hawthorn.
    My favorite part was talking about her dad’s lunch tray and being willing to do whatever it took to help make him well. Such truth!

  • Reply Caroline September 12, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    What a wonderful series! I love how you weave recipes into the story as well. xo

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