It was 2005, and Lynn Bednar was dealing with a series of health issues, including back issues.
Disillusioned with what the traditional medical system had to offer and unsatisfied with the temporary nature of prescription drugs, she began exploring other options. I started with a deep dive into alternative therapies like acupuncture, reiki, massage, hydrotherapy, and supplementation. This is where the journey to her store, Walsh Natural Health, begins.
“I was so fascinated by this whole other world that I had never recognized it in 40 years,” Bednar recalls. “In order to learn more about it, and possibly create a new career around it, I called the store to inquire about working there. Turns out it was for sale. Since I had a strong business background, I knew I could run a business. And so, I bought it!”
Walsh Natural Health, named after a previous owner, is now in its 17th year under Bednar ownership. At 2116½ Central Street, it’s Chicagoland’s top destination for health and wellness solutions.
“Our number one priority when it comes to our products is quality,” Bednar said. “We hold companies that exceed FDA requirements, that are cautious about sourcing ingredients that have science-backed products.
“While we try to tailor our recommendations to each individual’s needs, we have some products that are more commonly purchased than others. These include collagen peptides, turmeric, probiotics and multivitamins. And of course, throughout the pandemic, the demand for immune support supplements has been very high.”
The pursuit of passion
Bednar previously worked for a large accounting firm and managed commercial real estate portfolios. She moved away from her career to be at home with her children, and after her divorce she realized she needed to get back to work.
“After doing the rounds with some of my old teammates, I realized I wanted to do something different,” she said. “After the health issues I mentioned, I became really interested in natural health. I wanted something flexible so that I could be there for my kids and getting back into company life wasn’t the answer.”
Badnar said she has always loved science and once wanted to become a physical therapist. Unfortunately, she said, a full-time program doesn’t work with her schedule, so in 2015 she chose a Master of Science in Nutrition, which would allow her to earn a license in Illinois. Now, in addition to owning the store, she runs weight loss and detox groups and sees clients individually for nutrition consultations. She also works with clients on balancing hormones, losing weight, managing chronic diseases, and recovering from injuries.
Bednar’s current area of interest is nutritional genetics, which studies the relationship between the human genome and human nutrition and health.
“Basically, it takes your raw data file from 23&Me or Ancestry.com and turns it into a report that shows genetic differences that can be addressed with nutrition,” Bednar said. “What I really love is that it goes to the roots of why someone might experience certain symptoms. This is still a thriving field and new research is emerging around it constantly. I am happy to help clients get through this and potentially get solutions that will make a huge difference in their health.”
Health and Nutrition
Bednar said that supplements that help with mitochondrial and microvascular health may help with some symptoms of fatigue common after COVID and brain fog. “The key is to look at what the person is going through and go from there,” she said. “Just as with any disease, I believe supplementation can play an important role in recovery.”
Natural health begins with diet, Bednar said, and over the years consumers have been trained to eat packaged and processed foods, many of which are devoid of nutrients. Food companies have spent a lot of money getting the public to want these foods, even though they are not healthy. Lifestyle, especially stress management, is also critical. The time people spend outside, the amount they move around, and the connection they have with others can have a huge impact on health.
For those who eat a typical American diet, the first thing Bednar recommends is a high-quality multivitamin to fill in the gaps that may exist in the diet and provide an essential level of vitamins and minerals to boost one’s energy. From there, she believes supplement use should be tailored to each individual’s health history, health challenges and goals.
Walsh Natural Health is a one-stop pharmacy with some of the most popular natural skin care brands, natural home products, and emotional/active support products such as flower extracts. The store offers free same-day delivery for orders over $35 to Evanston and surrounding area zip codes.
“I love being in Evanston because it has so much to offer culturally, has a great dining scene, is very diverse and is committed to building community,” Bednar said. “We have been so grateful to our customers who have really supported us during the pandemic. We wouldn’t be here without them.”
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