Owner Tonya O’Brien of Apple Nutrition strives to
listen to what customers are telling her, before
directing them to the appropriate book or passage in
a book that pertains to the issue. She also makes
sure each supplement she recommends has research
that accompanies it.
Josh Perttunen/Enterprise Staff
OCONOMOWOC - Human history is full of civilizations that
have devoted hundreds of years to refining their
knowledge of herbs, vitamins, plants and dietary
supplements, honing in on their medicinal properties.
of Apple Nutrition at 1400 Summit Ave. in Oconomowoc is a
proponent of keeping that knowledge in the public consciousness
as well as continuing to monitor the knowledge that comes out of
countries that aren’t so reliant upon pharmaceuticals to address
She said she
never wants a customer to believe the hospital and
pharmaceutical are the only options out there, a situation she
found herself in for eight years, as someone who was frequently
in the hospital. She didn’t realize other options existed until
she began to dive deeper into all of the other knowledge that’s
of thyroid cancer, O’Brien credits her regimen of natural
supplements for helping restore her health while dealing with
the effects of chemotherapy.
years, she has operated the health food store on Summit Avenue
and has striven to match customers to the products that can help
them, while attaching research from doctors to back it up.
She sat down
with the Enterprise on Tuesday to discuss her business.
ENTERPRISE: What is one of the reasons that
people come in?
O’BRIEN: A lot
of it is people being sick and tired of being sick and tired.
They just want to feel better. Some of them are looking for a
way to address concerns with their health or immune systems.
We exist in a
stressful environment and people are tired. They just come in
looking for a change.
ENTERPRISE: What do you tell them?
are a teaching store; I want to help people feel better. People
in this day and age are responsible for taking their health into
their own hands. I tell them that I’m not a doctor or a
pharmacist. I can’t diagnose them, but I can listen to what they
tell me and direct them to a book or a passage in a book that
may pertain to what they are talking about.
There is a lot
of information out there. People can get confused about who to
believe and I understand that. I also don’t advise them not to
use pharmaceuticals. But I believe it is possible to be healthy
to the point that they won’t need to.
I never make
any promises, but there are some things that are so important
for brain and heart health that I feel I have to mention them
right away. If you can get those going and healthy, there are
some things that take care of themselves.
ENTERPRISE: As you delved deeper into this
subject, what were your findings and what surprised you?
O’BRIEN: A lot
of this information goes back thousands and thousands of years,
and spans across cultures. There is knowledge derived from
Asian, Native American and Ayurvedic medicine. Valerian root was
used as a sleep aid by the Romans and mentioned in Anne Frank’s
You also think
about the things Americans used to do. My grandmother gave my
mother castor oil in the 1930s, which is a great source of
vitamins D and A. In the 1940s and ‘50s, iodine was administered
to students in schools, which helped with thyroid issues. We
don’t do that anymore and we see that thyroid problems are
prevalent. We got away from all of that. Why?
ENTERPRISE: That’s a good question. Why do you
think that is?
really on a different playing field than the rest of the world.
We use the most pharmaceuticals in the world and we have a
fast-food attitude with our diet. We want it quick and we want
it now. A lot of the stuff we should be getting is just missing
from the American diet.
ENTERPRISE: What’s an example of something that
people are beginning to be aware of?
Conjugated linoleic acids is a fat that was in all kinds of
foods during our grandparents’ generation. It is a fat that
helps break down other fats and develop muscle tone.
ENTERPRISE: How receptive has the Oconomowoc
community been to what you do?
a very great community, very family-oriented. Work feels like
I’m visiting with friends all day.