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Barbara Ann Grova, CHHC: Nutritional Healing in Suffolk

When Huntington native, Barbara Ann Grova was a child, she was fortunate enough to live in a home with a backyard big enough to board a horse. A gift from her father, Grova took ownership seriously. Feeding, grooming and exercising Cindy kept her too busy for after-school sports, so at age 13 she began giving riding lessons to the kids on the block. Caring for her horse and teaching were just two of her childhood passions. Grova spent so much of her time outdoors, she became a keen observer of her natural surroundings, and at a young age came to believe that we should all be eating food from the ground—not from a can.

  Grova became engrossed with reading about proper nutrition and tried to persuade her mother to enrich the family diet. “My mom always cooked and baked,” says Grova, “but with our English, Irish, Scottish background, her idea of a healthy meal was meat, potatoes and a vegetable on your plate—even if the vegetable came from a can!” So, when she was old enough, Grova drove to the supermarket herself and perused the produce aisle, coming home with bags full of fresh vegetables for the family.

  It seems a natural progression then, that today Grova of Ronkonkoma, has established herself as a certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor. Through her home-based practice, Nutritional Healing (, Grova sets children and adults on the path to wellness by enhancing their food choices as well as lifestyle habits.

The Path to Wellness

   After high school, despite her growing interest in health and nutrition, Grova majored in Veterinary Science in college. She attended classes nightly, and early mornings worked as a groomer at Roosevelt Raceway. “It was challenging. I worked from 5 am, taking care of two racehorses. It was a lot of physical labor and after a year it wore me out.”

  At her father’s suggestion, Grova searched for “a real job.” She landed at Arrow Electronics and steadily rose through the ranks, becoming a Finance/Operations Manager, as well as a “healthy living” role model for staffers. They watched as she changed her diet to counter infertility issues, eliminating processed foods and incorporating more fresh greens. Soon, she had followers who regularly solicited Grova for health and diet advice.
Daughter Spurs Career Change

   Eventually Grova gave birth to daughter, Heather. By age 6 though, Heather’s body had begun developing prematurely. “She had breast buds and excessive hair growth,” Grova explains. An endocrinologist diagnosed her with “precocious puberty” and prescribed hormone treatments to slow her sexual development. Grova adamantly opposed drug intervention and began researching alternate solutions. Up first—the family diet. “We became vegetarians and switched to organic foods. We eliminated all household cleansers and detergents that contained chemicals and switched to all natural cleaning products,” Grova explains.

   Going green was challenging, Grova admits, but the rewards were well worth it. Within four to five months Grova saw remarkable changes in her daughter’s development. “The whole process … breast buds, hair growth, it just stopped. Yes, she did get her period at 9, but at least it wasn’t at 7!” Grova adds, “My daughter is a testament to how nutrition and environment play a role in the health and wellness of our children.”

   Living a holistic lifestyle not only improved the health of her daughter—husband Steve’s allergies subsided, and Grova herself lost more than 40 pounds. The results signaled yet another career change. While still working at Arrow, Grova enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in Manhattan. She attended classes on the weekends and by June 2005 earned certification as a Holistic Health Counselor. In December of 2005, she left the job she had held for 25 years and officially opened her practice. Today Grova counsels about 100 clients. She credits her child for all her success. “My daughter gave me a gift. Her health predicament showed me what my true passion in life was—to help others heal through nutrition.”

Biz Tips

   • Network: Grova’s first clients were family and friends. Those friends referred other friends. She also made a name for herself by lecturing and attending trade shows and health fairs.

  • Join Professional Organizations. Grova is a member of such organizations as, the Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce, Long Island Center for Business & Professional Women and LeTip International, a professional business leads organization.

   • Support Community: “My mission is to help heal hunger on Long Island,” says Grova. She collects food donations at every lecture engagement and donates it to Long Island Cares, Inc. The Harry Chapin Food Bank.

   • Preserve Family Time. Grova schedules consultations after daughter Heather leaves for school. Weekends are reserved for family activities and household upkeep is a task she and husband Steve share. “I food shop and my husband cooks.”

Barbara’s After-School Banilla Berry Smoothie (Dairy)

1 cup strawberries, stemmed
½ c vanilla yogurt
2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1” pcs
½ c orange juice
½ c spring water
1-2 cups of ice cubes
2 tsp agave nectar

Combine all ingredients in blender and puree till smooth.
Makes 4 servings. About 175 calories.

You can use fresh (preferably organic) or frozen fruits.  For additional protein, add any protein you like, I prefer Whey, Hemp or Rice protein or almond butter.  Add Flax seed oil or Fish Oils for Omega 3 and 6’s.  Freeze them for healthy summer ice pops. ENJOY!!!

Barbara’s After-School Banilla Berry Smoothie (Dairy-free)

1 cup vanilla rice milk
½ cup apple juice
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 ripe banana
1 cup crushed ice 

Combine all ingredients in blender and puree till smooth. Serve garnished with berries or slices of banana. Makes 2 servings. About 150 calories.

You can use fresh (preferably organic) or frozen fruits.  For additional protein, add any protein you like, I prefer Whey, Hemp or Rice protein or almond butter.  Add Flax seed oil or Fish Oils for Omega 3 and 6’s.  Freeze them for healthy summer ice pops. ENJOY!!!

Nutritional Benefits:

Strawberries:  Strawberries contain a range of nutrients, with vitamin C being the most powerful. They also contain significant levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants, which fight free radicals. These antioxidant properties are believed to be linked to what makes the strawberry bright red. So what are these weird free radicals? Free radicals are elements from the environment and toxic foods that can damage cells, and they are thought to contribute to the formation of many kinds of cancer. Strawberries also provide an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, as well as folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Bananas:  Bananas are good for your heart and nervous system. They contain a high dose of potassium - an essential ingredient to keep your heart and nervous system in good shape. They are good for your kidneys and bones due to their high potassium content. They act as mood enhancers or mild sedatives because they contain tryptophan (although it’s not one of the major sources, a medium still contains about 10.6 mg of tryptophan). Tryptophan is one of the 20 amino acids which are building blocks of proteins. Tryptophan helps the body to produce serotonin - which has a calming effect on the brain (creates a stable mood) and acts as a mild sedative. Bananas are good for your blood, they are one of the highest sources of naturally available vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 plays an important role in converting tryptophan to serotonin. Vitamin B6 is also essential for antibody production and to maintain a healthy immune response. Bananas are also a good source of dietary fiber.

Apple Juice:  Apple juice has a significant concentration of phenolics thought to help protect from many diseases associated with aging, including heart disease and cancer. Aside from other obvious fruit vitamins like vitamin C, apple juice also contains the mineral nutrient boron, which is thought to promote healthy bones.  Make sure to read the label and get the unsweetened version.

Rice Milk:  Rice milk is a great dairy alternative, whether you're allergic to milk, vegetarian, lactose intolerant or simply not crazy about the taste of cow's milk, one thing's for sure: there are now a lot of other options for you. It's packed with vitamin A, D and calcium. Rice milk is usually made from filtered water, brown rice syrup and brown rice starch. Since it has no animal content, it is a popular alternative for vegans as well as those who are lactose intolerant. It is slightly sweeter in taste, but low in fat so it can be used to replace cow's milk in cooking. If replacing cow's milk with rice milk in your diet, check that it has been fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin A. 

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