Not only do I think the definition of the word “fortitude” is amazing, it has a personal message and story behind it that goes much deeper for me…

It has to do with my dear close friend, Joni Soule. We met at Natural Grocers, where we were both employed as Nutritionists, and quickly became the best of friends. We had a lot in common and the passion for spreading the word about the power of nutrition and a quest to learn more about it. We were both single, lived alone, loved to dance, and enjoyed the outdoors, especially hiking. Joni’s laugh was contagious and she had a great sense of humor!

Joni quit working as a Nutritionist at Natural Grocers about a year before I did. She always loved to cook and bake and her dream was to open a Paleo restaurant. In the meantime, she made up multiple delicious Paleo bread recipes and created a company called “Fortitude Foods”. Her passion, determination and courage paid off. The giant national supermarket, Kroger’s, was very interested. Joni was in strong negotiations with them for two of her Paleo bread recipes. Even though Joni’s company, Fortitude Foods, was having some strong interest, she was struggling to make it profitable. I think it wore on her more than anyone realized.

Joni and I believed that the root cause of her cancer were her lifelong struggles with digestive issues. Yet, in Joni’s genuine character of toughness and spirit, she never led on to anyone about how badly she was hurting, feeling or fighting with her renal cancer that rapidly spread to other parts of her body. Just like as in her company’s name Fortitude, Joni endured her pain with strength, tenacity and courage. Never once did her fortitude waver her battle with cancer. It happened too fast and she was too young.

I miss Joni’s friendship, rapport, spunk and laughter tremendously!  With my heartfelt gratitude of being Joni Soule’s close friend, along with my admiration, appreciation, respect, and a tribute to her, I named my nutrition practice Fortitude Functional Nutrition.

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