In our Behind the Green Bottle series we highlight members of the Swanson community—customers, readers, employees—and what health means to them. In this issue we talk to Michigan natives, Kathy and Larry Toth, about what being healthier together means to them after 40 years of marriage.
Discovering Healthier Together
For Kathy and Larry (65 and 70), growing up in small, Michigan towns grounded them—in good values, in a love for the outdoors, and eventually, a love for one other. The pair met in business school, when their finance teacher told the class there was only one way to solve a particular math problem. Larry disagreed, which Kathy initially took as stubbornness, but he proved there was another way, ultimately winning both at math and love.
Now, after 40 years of marriage, they’ve experienced first-hand the importance of good health. Raising two children, overcoming breast cancer, beating heart disease—all while running a $48 million real estate business. Through it all, health and wellness has been a priority part of life together, and they’ve made sure to pass that passion for health on to their children.
Their daughter Lindsey studied nutrition and became a dietitian, and their son Kevin’s upbringing in the Midwest deepened his love for the great outdoors, where he spends most of his time being active through hiking and fishing.
Running a business means juggling a hectic calendar. From the minute Kathy wakes up, to the moment she hits her pillow, she’s go-go-go. “She’s constantly thinking, buzzing, moving,” laughs Larry. “It would take a force of nature to get her to sit still!” Kathy spends most of her day running to meetings in the car, which she lovingly refers to as her ‘office.’ “I have to be really purposeful about making room for exercise and self-care in my day,” she says.
To create that space, Kathy wakes up each morning at 4:00 a.m. and dedicates those few hours before the sun rises to growth. “When a tree stops growing, it’s dead, so why should people be any different? Learning is key to staying young.” She spends that early-morning time learning through inspirational videos, taking time for self-reflection and exercising, alternating between using equipment at home, like a pullup bar in the hallway, and scheduling regular time with a personal trainer to build muscle mass and strength.
Kathy also makes a protein shake with fruits and veggies every morning to enjoy alongside her coffee, to set her up for nutritional success before the day gets busy. By the time 7:30 a.m. hits, she’s ready to start her day. These morning rituals help her kick-start every day in a positive way.
Finding Their Healthier
To balance all that life throws their way, Kathy and Larry spend time together on walks in the woods surrounding their home. “We take four-mile walks, three times a week. It’s peaceful, quiet and keeps us grounded in what matters most—family and each other.”
Kathy is also an avid skier and makes it a priority to keep that as an integral part of staying healthier together. “I joined ski patrol when I was 13—I had to use a men’s jacket because they didn’t even make women’s ski jackets then. When we got married, my first Christmas present to Larry was skis—time to learn!” Now, each year they take a ski trip for their anniversary. “40 years of skiing means our joints don’t work as well as they used to,” says Larry. “We try to be proactive about nutrition for our joints so we can keep skiing as long as possible.”
Balancing Mind, Body & Home
With triple-bypass heart surgery under his belt, Larry takes balance seriously. “I love my sweets, but I’m very focused now on protecting my heart.” As someone on statins for cholesterol, he swears by combo formulas focused on CoQ10 and omega-3s. “I love combo formulas—the fewer the pills, the better!”
Kathy finds balance through using her personal experience as a breast cancer survivor to inspire others to get serious about prevention. She regularly speaks at the University of Michigan about the importance of self-care and regular mammograms. “I’m very aware of the chance of recurrence. It’s a big driver for me in balancing healthful eating with the occasional indulgence.”
Still, Kathy advocates for not getting too hung up on health perfection and letting yourself enjoy good food with friends and family. “Balance isn’t about perfection. It’s about finding a happy medium, emphasis on ‘happy’,” says Kathy. “It’s about enjoying life and listening to that little voice at the end of the day that says, ‘I will get up and try again tomorrow’.”
Kathy and Larry have conquered many of life’s challenges together, and they know from experience that making the health of their minds, bodies and home a priority is an absolute necessity. Taking time for self-care, starting each day with intention, and being realistic about putting that “er” in healthier is so important because small intentions add up in a really big way.
Check out some of Kathy and Larry’s wellness heroes below, and if you’d like to share your own journey with us, we’d love to hear from you—email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathy & Larry’s Wellness Heroes
- Mellow Mag
“This great-tasting magnesium helps me relax after, or during, a stressful day. The stick packs are great for the car & the container, for at-home” –Kathy
- CoQ10 + Vitamin K2 & Omega-3 Fish Oil with Vitamin D – Lemon Flavored
“I want to protect my heart, but I don’t want to take a million pills. These help me get the heart-protective nutrition I need, but in a convenient way.” –Larry
- Garden of Life Dr. Formulated – Peppermint & Swanson Ultra Pure Joint
“Between walking and skiing, staying active together is important to us. CBD oil from whole hemp extract and science-backed, herbal Pure Joint for joint mobility help us keep moving.” –Kathy & Larry
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