Brenda Vance is a healer, health and holistic nutrition coach (whole food plant-based and raw food), reiki practitioner and CPT. She has had her virtual health coaching and CPT business online since 2012 and is the creator of B Crazy Fit and B Simply Raw. She has worked with hundreds of clients to help them reach their full potential through lifestyle and nutrition changes as well as good old-fashioned hard work to reset their spirits, minds and bodies. Brenda Vance is a full-time graduate student in clinical mental health counseling and will be licensed (LPC) in 2022. Her goals are to continue helping people change their lives, awaken and heal their spirits, bodies and minds. Brenda Vance would like to do so by reaching a larger scale through her writings, public speaking and opening mental health trauma centers in the future.
You will find Brenda Vance in nature as much as possible, her face in the books for school or research and hanging out with loved ones as much as possible. She trains like an athlete and tries to live each day as if it is her last. Her personal goal is to keep biohacking and optimizing her life while she continues on her path of self-realization. She is a lifelong learner who loves traveling, learning about new cultures and meeting new people. Her motto: Keep it simple and have fun! Visit her Facebook profile, Instagram profile and YouTube channel.
Brenda Vance’s Early Years Brought on Trauma, Fear and Depression
Brenda Vance has emerged as a strong, thriving raw vegan diet and exercise enthusiast after surviving an upbringing in a broken home, sexual and physical abuse, drinking and drug use, bulimia and anorexia, dropping out of high school, teen pregnancy and mental disorders.
Brenda Vance, 37, was born and raised in Northern Illinois and lives in Dekalb, Illinois. “I have definitely been through a period of hell in which I had to break free of multiple chains that were keeping my spirit smothered below black tar,” she said. “For a great period of my life, I was living in trauma, fear, anxiety, depression and a cloudy haze in which I could not see things clearly. There were many demons within that were controlling me and not allowing my light to shine through in any way.”
Brenda Vance said she felt like an actor, flashing fake smiles and pretending to be normal so she could fit in. She felt wildly out of place in what she calls the “human factory farm of schooling.”
“I was miserable inside,” she said. “Empty. Living in a fantasy land that some prince, on their white horse, was going to come and rescue me and save me from all the pain and misery.”
Her Parents’ Divorce Brought Negative Influences Into Brenda Vance’s Life
Brenda Vance’s parents divorced in 1987, when she was 4 years old. “I feel a child loses a piece of themselves in this scenario, especially when they cannot understand why daddy is leaving and never coming back home,” she said. “It is definitely traumatic. … It was as if someone died … .”
At this age, Brenda Vance recalls the first instance of being sexually abused and believes she may have been touched inappropriately even earlier. “My inner child was broken, crippled and ripped apart into shreds,” she said. “My brain learned to deal with this trauma by completely blocking experiences from the forefront. In reality, trauma at such a young age changes the structure and function of the brain. Chronic trauma creates dysfunction in the central nervous system and tends to create a chronic state of living in fight or flight. I would bury things deeply just so that I could continue living and breathing. I was always threatened in some way to keep it all within and to not tell a soul. I felt so alone. I was lost.”
After her parents’ divorce, a new person moved in with Brenda Vance’s family. This person thrust Brenda Vance into a dark world in which she learned about alcoholism and drug addiction firsthand. From age 6 to 14, she was taken to drug deals and had drug dealers visit her home, taken into bars for hours many days of the week, watched crack cocaine bake in her home’s oven, and watched this person “destroy” not only his life but the lives of others who lived with him.
At age 12, Brenda Vance was forced to make sexual videos and molested for two years, which, she said, “seemed like a lifetime.” Her and her brother’s life were threatened if she told anyone. Brenda Vance was also threatened with a gun held to her head multiple times and forced to snort cocaine several times.
“These are just snippets of the memories I do have—let alone the ones that were buried—and some that still remain that way,” she said. “These are just pieces of my childhood that I can vividly remember that led to me becoming an actress and having a plethora of mental health dis-eases.”
Brenda Vance Unites With “Lost Souls” and Engages in Self-Destructive Behavior
All this heavy influence impacted Brenda Vance, who, at 12, started spending time with equally “lost and buried” souls. She began smoking cigarettes and marijuana along with drinking. “I was doing everything that I could to run away and not have to feel,” she said. “I didn’t know how else to cope, and I was unsure who I could tell so that I would not end up killed. … I once again was pretending that it was all OK on the outside and was left screaming and begging for help on the inside.”
A few years later, at 15, one of Brenda Vance’s friends introduced her to bulimia and anorexia. She was affected by these emotional disorders, which involve the distortion of one’s body image and periods of overeating and vomiting along with fasting, predominantly for more than two years but sporadically until she was deep into her 20s. “Sadly, this made me feel in control of at least one thing,” she said.
Brenda Vance Drops out of School, Leaves Home and Becomes Pregnant
At 16, Brenda Vance dropped out of high school and, at 17, moved out of her family’s home. At 18, Brenda Vance became pregnant, shortly after earning her GED, or a high school equivalency diploma.
A few years later, in 2003, Brenda Vance suffered through a physically abusive relationship that sent her to multiple hospital visits. “I continued beating up my body and pushing it to the limits until the age of 27,” she said. “There were many ways: drinking, drugs, eating disorders, overexercise (no rest and lack of nutrients), lack of sleep and keeping my darkness bottled up inside me. I would look in the mirror and see an emptiness that made me cry.”
A Sick Brenda Vance Chooses Life at a Critical Moment
Come 2011, Brenda Vance hit what she calls her “deathbed.” She said she had to make a choice then and there whether she was going to live or die.
She choose life.
“The fight began,” she said. “The fight to break away all the chains that held my spirit down. The fight for my life. I had to take back my spiritual, physical and mental health so that I could become me. I went on this journey alone. At this point in my life, I was isolated, and it was burned in my brain that you do not tell others about what happened to you and do not seek out help from professionals.”
With many challenges facing her—from all the self-destructive behaviors to severe anxiety and panic attacks, deep depression, complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), organ shutdown, Raynaud’s syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), amenorrhea, pre-lupus and inability to gain weight—Brenda Vance recalls that overcoming the mental health aspect was the most challenging.
There were many moments that tested her. “The feeling of cold never went away, not even in 100 degrees,” she said. “The doctors wanted to put me on chemo and a host of other drugs. Something inside me—source or innate wisdom—told me that if I went that way I would be dead.”
Brenda Vance Discovers and Welcomes a High-Raw, Plant-Based and Whole-Food Diet Into Her Life
Brenda Vance launched intense health research in 2012 and embraced a high-raw, plant-based, whole-food diet. She was led to a man who had been leading a wholly raw food diet and told her that she would heal completely if she were to eat only tomatoes. Brenda Vance dismissed this information and continued to learn about a raw vegan diet, discovering Freelee and her work. Brenda Vance adopted Freelee’s Raw Til 4 Diet and began noticing how much better she felt. In 2015, she went all in and embraced a fruitarian diet.
“I am so glad that I listened to my innate wisdom,” she said. “From the start of the high-raw lifestyle and two years into the fully raw lifestyle—and being vegan since 2009—I healed my spirit, body and mind. I am me. My spirit is free. I no longer needed to fake my life. I remember the day vividly that I looked in the mirror and I was filled with life again. I cried for days with tears of joy. Essentially, at the age of 30, I was reborn and was learning how to live life for the first time.”
Brenda Vance Has Enjoyed a Triumphant Healing Journey While Leading a Raw Vegan Diet
On a raw vegan diet, Brenda Vance has triumphed over Raynaud’s syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), amenorrhea and pre-lupus. She has also freed herself of anxiety attacks and severe depression. She has been sober for nine years and free of eating disorders for 11 years. “My central nervous system has had a reboot,” she said. “I have learned to integrate my complex PTSD and am now a survivor and a warrior for others.”
Brenda Vance has overcome trauma, mental health dis-ease, physical dis-ease and lack of spirituality while leading a fruit-based diet. She has also benefited from improved energy, mental clarity and physical recovery.
Raw Food Diet Reveals a Subtle Simplicity to Brenda Vance
The simplicity of a raw food diet appeals to Brenda Vance, who calls her approach to a raw food diet as the B Simply Raw lifestyle. She is no longer shackled by food addiction and obsession. Simply put, eating the foods in a raw vegan diet gives her the sustenance she needs to feel wonderful as well as joy and satisfaction. “I love that I know I am giving my body the nutrients that it needs not only to survive, but to thrive,” she said. “I enjoy how connected I am with Mother Nature and the elation I have when buying my foods, preparing them and consuming them. I know that I am living in symbiosis as much as possible right now with Mother Nature and other beings.”
Brenda Vance has faced a winding road on her path to embracing a wholly raw food diet, sometimes eating cooked foods for dinner. But she insists that raw foods such as fruit make her feel her best and that she always returns to them despite having cooked foods at times.
She is also a true student of the fruitarian diet, researching and learning about how raw foods can help treat physical dis-ease and mental disorders as well as awakening the spirit.
Zooming in on Brenda Vance’s Approach to a Raw Food Diet
Brenda Vance’s diet is a low-fat raw food diet in which fat intake is limited to 10 to 15 percent of total calories. She eats one to two but usually one large fruit meal every day followed by 1 pound of greens at night with vegetables. With overt fats, Brenda Vance gravitates toward avocado or hemp seed or flaxseed, with chia seed making it on her menu on occasion. For her, a half of a small avocado or 2 tablespoons of seeds daily works well. She reports that she feels her best when her fats run at 10 percent—or even slightly more—of total calories.
Recently, Brenda Vance has been having two meals daily that comprise about 2,000 calories, focusing on having fruit for dinner with her greens. She prefers simple fruit meals, or monomeals (eating one kind of food at a time), and recipes she makes contain no more than four ingredients most of the time.
As for her favorite foods, Brenda Vance enjoys bananas, mangos, oranges, berries and apples, all of which she declares “staples.” She enjoys having exotic fruits such as durian, which she tried for the first time this year. “It is delicious,” she said. But she’s not a fan of papaya, which elicits a “yuck” response from her.
As for greens, Brenda Vance said she loves all dark leafy greens, varying them as much as possible. Arugula is her favorite.
Brenda Vance also practices intermittent fasting for 16 to 18 hours daily.
Brenda Vance’s Evolving Exercise Journey Leads Her to Functional Fitness
Exercise is another passion for Brenda Vance. Her exercise program has evolved throughout her life, morphing from body-building to triathlon training to obstacle course racing. When she adopted a raw food diet, her exercise routines segued to functional fitness training. These days, she immerses herself in calisthenics, yoga, gymnastics and stretching.
“I have learned to train smarter and I am more connected with my body today than ever before,” she said, adding that she moves her body every day, with activity ranging from HIIT (high-intensity interval training), running, biking, sprint training to stair training, hiking, yoga, dance, calisthenics, strength training, mobility exercises and more. “I train with purpose each session. The goals today are much different as well. Instead of training for vanity, I train to see how strong I can become and for longevity.”
Brenda Vance, who works out at her home gym or in nature, has enjoyed fast recovery rates throughout her life. Since going raw vegan, however, she has noticed that her recovery from physical activity is even greater. All this said, Brenda Vance has backed away from heavy weightlifting. “I have no desire to lift heavy ever again,” she said. “I have come to find that it only harmed my body. I feel that, every day I show up to train, I am meeting new PRs (personal records).
Whereas many mainstream exercise enthusiasts believe one must consume loads of protein—truly, fat as well—to be strong, Brenda Vance notes that, when she subsisted on a high-protein and high-fat diet, she felt unwell, with medical tests showing that her kidneys were damaged.
“My body feels lighter, more agile, and stronger in strength and endurance on my B Simply Raw lifestyle,” she said.
Brenda Vance’s Supplement Use and Stance on Blood Tests
Brenda Vance supplements with vitamin B12 and vitamin D in the autumn and winter, when she’s unable to be “naked in the sun,” during the cold months. She gets blood tests annually and calls herself a “huge advocate” for preventative medicine and knowing where one stands.
Human Beings Need to Get in Touch With Nature and Foods Natural to Them
Human beings are animals and, to achieve optimal health, need to be connected to nature and foods that come from nature, Brenda Vance said. People have been brainwashed to believe that manmade “foods” are not creating disease.
“We have become so disconnected from nature, stuck in boxes everywhere we go: home, work, cars, etc.,” she said. “Source gave me the message that if I wanted to heal, the answer was in nature and in simplicity. Today, meals are filled with fake foods, high in saturated fats, filled with poison and created in labs. Meals are bombarded with spices and herbs, complicated and denatured by cooking.
“If we look at it outside the view of being humans and above all other species and go back to our roots of being animals that are supposed to be in nature, we will find that we were blessed with the sight of color so we could find fruits and other colorful foods to help our bodies thrive,” Brenda Vance said. “We would not be going from tree to tree or plant to plant, gathering up 15 different ingredients to cook meals. Instead, we would sit in one area and eat until we were satisfied. Like under a mango tree, eating until we are satisfied and our bodies have told us that we are no longer hungry.”
Human beings have lost sight of our species-specific diet, with businesses creating recipes for profit. “In doing so, they have mustered together the right concoction of fats, sugars, and sodium to hit the pleasure centers of our brains, to create addictions. This way, we will be great consumers and continue filling their pockets with profits. The research today has shown how beneficial a plant-based diet is to optimal health, and yet the meat and dairy industry have brainwashed so many to believe otherwise.”
The key, Brenda Vance says, is simplicity. “Fruits and vegetables digest the fastest in the human body, and, therefore, it is less work for your digestive system,” she said. “In turn, you get to experience more energy. Eat like animals. If it comes from nature and is intended for your species-specific diet, consume it. If man makes it, run as fast as you can away from it.”
Brenda Vance’s Advice to Transitioning Raw Vegans
Brenda Vance strongly recommends folks wanting to embrace or already transitioning to a raw vegan diet research and research well. She suggests folks read The 80/10/10 Diet by Doug Graham and How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger.
“Know what it takes to be healthy on a plant-based, whole-food diet, let alone a raw diet,” she said.
Brenda Vance also recommends folks ensure they’re consuming the amount of calories their bodies need. With meals, she advises limiting the number of ingredients to five.
Moreover, she cautions those new to a cleansing diet to be prepared for physical and emotional detoxification. “Find a healthy support system that loves you unconditionally,” she said, adding that Facebook groups are a fantastic way to connect with others on the path. “If you need help, get it. Hire a coach or find a doctor that believes in the power of nutrition.”
Other tips Brenda Vance shares with transitioning raw vegans include resting enough, sleeping enough and ensuring diligence with oral hygiene.
“You are going to find that others will question you and try to bring you back to where you were before, so they do not have to feel uncomfortable,” she said. “Stay the course. I promise, it will be worth it. Healing the mind and body can take months or even years. Be patient.”
Finally, Brenda Vance encourages people not to get down when they stumble on their journeys, which, for many is full of ups and downs.
“Most importantly, have fun and do not be afraid to make mistakes or have setbacks,” she said “They are a part of every journey and are learning tools to become stronger.”
Brenda Vance Takes Charge of Her Life and Eliminates Baggage From Her Past
In reversing the course of her life, Brenda Vance discovered powers she never knew she had. “I became my own prince on the white horse,” she asserted. “I am grateful for my past as it has made me who I am today. I hope that some will take away from this message that, no matter how far in hell you may be, there is always a way out. And today, I know that there are spirit guides and source with you along the way. All you have to do is ask for help, and there will be, more than likely, many people that will be willing to give their all. You are not alone.”
Brenda Vance has shed knowledge that didn’t serve her on her way to learning how to be led by spirit. She has forgiven herself and let go of painful memories from her past, enabling her to step into the present moment, free, alive and empowered. She is at peace with her past and says she wouldn’t change anything about it despite the hardships she endured. She is enthused over the idea of growing stronger physically, mentally and spiritually. “I smile from a place of truth,” she said. “I smile from my spirit and am not afraid to let my light shine.”
Brenda Vance Has Enjoyed a Heightened Sense of Spirituality on a Raw Vegan Diet
On a raw food diet, Brenda Vance has gained a stronger feeling of spirituality. She believes that, when the body is cleansed, nourished and operating optimally, mental clarity improves and then a clarity of the interconnectedness of life.
“For me, raw food living has my spirit urging me to get in nature as much as possible and to be connected to other beings and to be one with all,” she said, adding that her level of compassion, empathy and love for all beings has increased tenfold. “This is hard to do when you are consuming the anguish and terror of other beings that have been slaughtered. I never once thought to hug a tree before being on the raw food lifestyle, but I can feel the ancient energy that ignites through the ground and trees.”
People Suffering From Eating Disorders May Benefit From Embracing a Raw Vegan Diet, As Brenda Vance Has
With a history of suffering from eating disorders, Brenda Vance is motivated to share about how a raw food diet may help others as it has helped her. She has observed, at some clinics for eating disorders, patients being forced to eat unhealthful foods such as cakes so that counselors can be sure these patients don’t purge.
“Innately, it makes sense to me to treat eating disorders by healing the body with as many nutrients as we can get into it, to fill nutrient deficiencies so the brain and the body can begin to function again,” she said. “… What nutrients are super rich and not denatured? Whole-food, plant-based nutrients eaten as close to their natural form. Why are we instead not educating people with eating disorders about how many vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, etc. that plant-based foods have in them? Why are we not retraining them how to eat for optimal health so they can feel their best physically, mentally and spiritually?”
People Suffering From Alcohol Use May Find Solace in a Fruit Diet
With regard to her history of alcohol use, Brenda Vance discovered that, once she fed her body the glucose it requires, her wanting to drink alcoholic drinks faded. She highlights that the foods served at treatment centers focus on sweets and other suboptimal fare.
“Now, when the body is filled with an abundance of nutrients from raw, living whole foods, you are getting the glucose that is needed among a plethora of micronutrients,” she said. “You give your body the nutrients from nature that it is intended to have, and—voilà—healing begins. Top this with education and major lifestyle changes, and relapse chances are diminished. To me, it is common sense to heal a nutrient deficient body with whole food nutrients and to supplement when needed in order to meet severe deficiencies.”
Brenda Vance Is Motivated to Help Others Break Through in Exercise, Diet and Health
Brenda Vance has earned a bachelor’s degree and entered a master’s degree program. She has owned a health coaching and training business since 2012 and has made it her purpose in life and mission to help others embrace a raw vegan lifestyle in emerging as the “strongest version of themselves” possible.
“I want people to realize that they are creators and to become empowered to create the life they are truly meant to live,” she said. “We, humans, are not on this planet to suffer. We are here to have fun and to experience all the beauty and miracles. … I am a warrior of light and hope to awaken the masses to how incredible raw foods are in helping to heal not only the body and mind but the spirit as well.”
Brenda Vance started out as a personal trainer, with a focus on bodybuilding. When she began leading a low-fat raw food diet, a desire to help people in bigger and better ways took hold.
“I loved helping others but knew that there was so much more than helping people transition their physical bodies for vanity,” she said. “This led to a burning desire to be able to help people heal and create balance in all areas of their lives. I received a certification in holistic nutrition coaching.”
Brenda Vance Experiences Profound Healing With Reiki, Which She Also Offers to Clients
Beyond diet and exercise coaching, Brenda Vance added reiki to her toolkit. “I learned that there is energy that affects us all and that we can learn to shift this energy to aid in healing,” she said. “This led me to becoming a reiki practitioner. Reiki involves channeling energy, universal energy, which, as a practitioner, you learn how to tune into and allow it to flow through you.
“It may sound unbelievable, and I can understand, as I did not believe it for the longest time,” she said. “I can tell you that, for myself and many others, this channeling of energy is a very real healing practice. It is something that can be physically felt and, for some people, can be perceived visually as well. I found this energy that tingles through my body when I was doing a spiritual healing with a practitioner. It was one of the most healing experiences I have ever experienced.”
Helping others heal is what drives Brenda Vance. It’s a deep calling that fills her up with a tremendous sense of joy and satisfaction. “If I am not on this path, I get spiritually depressed,” she said. “I am blessed to be a part of everyone’s journey that source leads me to. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else. My favorite part of helping people is being witness to their breakthroughs and seeing them heal ailments that others told them they would never heal.”
Brenda Vance Looks Into Her Future
A decade from now, Brenda Vance will have scaled her healing enterprise to reach many more people. “I hope to have 10 of my mental health trauma clinics open by then and expand to other countries,” she said, adding that she wants to help positively influence governmental dietary guidelines and close factory farms for good. “I would like to have the freedom to do research and to travel. Part of the year, I would like to spend living in Fruit Haven with my husband and running healing retreats there with him. I see my role in the raw food movement evolving by bringing it to the general public through my books, public speaking, retreats, research and more. There is no stopping me. 😀”