A Holistic Approach to Feelin’ Good
Health Counselor Deborah Merwin blends spiritual and physical practices to help clients achieve wellness
Stress, tension, physical and mental disease. Nutritionist and Holistic Health Counselor Deborah Merwin helps clients overcome these health hazards to achieve wellness and an improved quality of life. Owner of Feelin’ Good Health Food Store, along with long-time business partner Ron Nix, the 58-year-old southern California native has been integral in improving lives of customers and clients since 1986 when they opened Destin’s first health food store.
Six years ago, Merwin expanded the shop to include a Wellness Center. Her treatments go well beyond motherly reminders to “eat your veggies” or “take time to smell the roses.” Employing techniques from ancient healing and modern technology, she guides clients to identify hidden stressors in their lives and recommends steps to relieve the pressure.
Merwin’s calm aura, glowing skin and unhurried focus are perhaps the best illustration of the healthy lifestyle she advocates. When we settled into the comfy chair in her office to learn more about her practice, the eye-catching gold necklace she wore offered yet another clue to her life’s work. The intricate piece was a likeness of Isis, Greek goddess of love, peace and hope — a model of the strong, empowered woman whom she seeks to help other women become.
EC: In 1986, Destin was better known for deep-fried seafood than healthy foods. Why did you decide to open a health food store?
DM: When we moved to Destin, we really missed having access to nutritional supplements and health foods. We opened the store for ourselves as well as for others. We felt the Destin area needed a place for other health-conscious people to find the nutritional items they wanted to maintain their health.
EC: It seems nutrition is plagued by food fads. One week, this study says one thing; next week, another study discovers something completely different. How do you find the right balance?
DM: We listen to feedback from our clients, not studies. It’s worked for us over the years. Oddly enough, it’s often considered radical thinking to avoid foods without chemicals. To advocate eating real, fresh and raw foods is sometimes seen as being a heretic of the technology age.
EC: What do you believe is the biggest threat to our health?
DM: Stress of all kinds. Hidden stressors in our lives sap our wellbeing. Through various techniques, I help people become aware of where the stress is in their lives. They must take this information and follow up with making changes to get rid of the stress.
EC: Can you share why you have chosen to focus much of your practice on women’s health?
DM: It’s something that’s obviously dear to my heart. There’s a huge gap in public awareness about how authoritative, empowered and strong women are. Over the last 100 years, we’ve been reclaiming what we have previously been. I work with women to balance issues such as hormones, PMS, menopause and sleep problems.
EC: How do you share your knowledge with others?
DM: I am also a Universal Life Minister and am always available to help people in times of change and stress. I teach classes for meditation groups and clubs, and I write articles for magazines. When people come in the store, I share information with them. Of course, I do my health counseling and am a spiritual health coach, as well as a certified biofeedback specialist.
EC: What do you do to relax and enjoy life?
DM: I have an organic garden; I don’t eat out. Music is a big part of my life. I’m a singer and songwriter, and I love to dance. I also enjoy reading.
EC: Can you offer our readers one piece of advice that can change their lives?
DM: Become aware of your health and become accountable for it. Take charge of your own health and welfare. Don’t hand it over to medical professionals. The quality of life is priceless.