Health event not just ‘pushing organic’

Waco Health Nutrition Initiative offers free assessments

By Molly Dunn

The nation has been exposed to numerous methods to lose weight and educated on the importance of healthy lifestyles and diets, but with this overload of information, many people don’t fully understand what to do. On Saturday the Smithson Chiropractic and Nutritional Healing Center team will host a free natural health improvement event to address this problem.

The Waco Nutrition Health Initiative will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Waco Hilton Hotel on University Parks Drive.

Two Baylor 2010 alumnae, Jena Willard and Michelle Messenger, work on the healing center team with Dr. Patrick Smithson, a leader in chiropractic, nutrition and alternative healthcare. They have been planning this event since September.

“The goal for this weekend started off with the hopes of doing a seminar,” Willard said. “But then it just progressed to more than just a seminar on educating the public on different topics that we are covering.”

The Smithson Chiropractic and Nutritional Healing Center website explains that this event will discuss information on the reasons and natural solutions for heart disease, digestive disorders, weight loss and stress and fatigue in four seminars lasting one hour each.

“It’s really a holistic mindset of knowing that it doesn’t just end with our nutrition; it is a whole big picture,” Willard said.

The event will include at least a dozen different venders from the Waco area, specializing in whole foods, vitamin supplements, vegetarian food, Tai Chi exercise and even spinal decompression.

“We have over a dozen vendors that are going to be there that have the same vision and hearts as we do and think the same way,” Willard said. “We are just teaming up with them as well as promoting them and just educating our Waco community.”

Willard and Messenger said attendees should expect to gain an ample amount of information from this event and leave knowing more about their body and its needs than before.

“People can walk away with their initial nutrition program,” Messenger said.

Unlike other health seminars, this event will offer free nutrition response testing for each individual who attends.

“Anyone who wants to be tested can just fill out an information sheet and they can go up there and Dr. Smithson will test them and let them know what their body is saying,” Messenger said.

Smithson’s website says each person will gain the knowledge to start an improvement in their lives in regards to health.

“If we start making these lifestyle changes in college, that’s going to change our kids,” Messenger said. “The way we raise them, that’s going to change our future generations.”

Willard said the team is not hosting this event to promote itself, but rather to give back to Waco and create a movement to educate, teach and inform the community correctly.

“We really want people to understand that it is more than just a one-day kind of event,” Willard said. “We are expecting people to see a change because they are going to get a chance to get tested and it is going to leave them asking and wanting more.”

Willard and Messenger share a passion for bringing the community together by informing and inspiring healthy lifestyles.

“I think the heart behind our event is different. Our heart is not to make money,” Messenger said. “This is how God created it. This is the most raw way to do it and on this side of heaven we are not trying to be purists, we know that, but we do think that an organic carrot with prayer can do a lot of healing.”

Smithson said he and his team base the event heavily on the power of God and what he has done for them.

“This is just one of our dreams being fulfilled and seeing how it’s not just that we both love whole foods supplements, but God has been so good to open doors,” Messenger said. “Waco has really been home, and the Baylor family, we are still part of it.”

Both Willard and Messenger came back to Waco after graduating to pursue their dream of educating and bringing the community together with this initiative event.

“It is really us trying to get back into Waco and more than just pushing organic. It’s just coming underneath the city and hopefully serving them,” Willard said.

Students are encouraged to come to at least one seminar throughout the day. For more information on the event, visit, or pick up a fliers or postcard on campus.