ADDRESS: 215 SW 4th St, Corvallis (at Darkside Cinema entrance)
OWNER: Nadine Grzeskowiak, RN, CEN
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 5½
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 2
WHAT THEY SELL: Classes/consultations for dietary and health concerns, particularly celiac disease; weight loss and mental health support
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Learn about and derive the benefits of a gluten-free diet: increased vitality and quality of life. According to the sign on her door, “Your guts will thank you!”
Veteran emergency/trauma nurse Nadine Grzeskowiak’s mission is to save lives. Since 2007 she has taken a different path in her career, after saving the most important patient of all – herself. After a misdiagnosed case of pneumonia turned life-threatening, she learned she had celiac disease, an inflammatory autoimmune response to the presence of grain-based gluten in the gastro-intestinal tract. More than 300 health concerns have been identified with gluten intolerance, says Grzeskowiak, who is used to having people struggle with the pronunciation of her Polish surname (“just drop the z,” she advises with a smile). At GlutenFree RN, you will benefit from her experience in seminars and one-on-one counseling designed to help others learn how they too can reverse their symptoms and radically increase feelings of health and well-being. “Food is medicine!” Grzeskowiak stresses.
How did you get started? I went to nursing school here at Linn-Benton Community College and worked as an ER/trauma RN in Salem and all over the state. I was super healthy and never missed a day of work, until I came down with this mysterious condition… and I literally almost died. Here I was, working with all of these doctors every day, and none of them could really help me. I was sick for three years before I learned what was really going on with me. After I got better, I knew I wanted to help other people who have not been properly diagnosed. At first I worked out of my home with a website as the RN On Call [her original business name], and I did some public speaking engagements and support groups. I have been in business officially as GlutenFree RN since March of 2007.
What are your specialties? I have 18 years of experience as an emergency room/trauma nurse, in facilities all over the state, and I’m still certified. I’m also a geriatric nurse, providing health care management and patient advocacy. With the GlutenFree RN, I do personal consultations, classes and seminars, and I do public speaking all over the country. I’m a member of the National Speakers’ Association. We’re going international next year.
What do you do better than anyone else? As an emergency nurse, I was responsible for triaging patients. It’s not hard to see even subtle changes and signs that most people would never notice in relation to the damage that gluten can do to a body. I see sick people everywhere. Once a person is 100% on a gluten free diet, I stand back and watch them get healthier. It isn’t hard to find people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, once you know what to look for and hear a person’s story. I save people time, energy, and money by getting them correct information sooner, rather than later.
How do local independents impact our community? By offering unique, supportive and accessible products and services for our local community.
What inspires you about your work? I’m a nurse and I like it when people get better – when they’re pain free and symptom free. It’s also very satisfying to help people identify the underlying issues that have caused them so much suffering…namely, the quality and types of food that we eat.
What has your business done to model sustainability? First of all, we promote sustainability of the body – helping people achieve sustainable health and wellbeing to last a lifetime! We also promote local food and businesses, especially pasture raised beef, minimally processed food products, grow-your-own gardening and the farmers’ market. Next door we have a great gluten free bakery, the Blue Monkey, and we also promote a wonderful new restaurant here in town, the Eats and Treats Café, which is designated gluten free.
Are there other ways you contribute to the community? I am on the board of CIBA, a member of the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Corvallis Association. I am active in health care policy reform, the single payer movement, as an executive committee member for Health Care for All Oregon. And I like to think I contribute as the mom of a 16-year-old member of the community.
(Interview and article by Karen Kos – September 16, 2012)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).