Nancy Miggins: Food and Health Mentor

Updated: Mar 6, 2019

Deeply passionate about health and wellness, Nancy Miggins helps others realize their healthiest, most active selves.


From the age of 14, Nancy Miggins knew she wanted to be a chiropractor. Born and raised in International Falls, MN, Nancy had taken a bad tumble playing volleyball during freshman year of high school, colliding with the bleachers and suffering a debilitating back injury. Despite a series of x-rays, none of her doctors were able to diagnose or treat the injury. An orthopedist told her to “try muscle relaxants.” Meanwhile, Nancy was strapping bags of ice to her back so that she could sleep at night.


Typically an excellent student, Nancy’s history teacher noticed Nancy had changed. The teacher called Nancy’s mother and said, “Something’s going on with Nancy. I’m concerned.” At that point, Nancy’s mother found a chiropractor—who rapidly diagnosed Nancy and administered effective treatment. Nancy couldn’t believe how quickly she’d been healed. “I knew then that I wanted to be the kind of doctor who addresses quality of life and finds the root causes of pain.”


Resuming her previous level of academic accomplishment, Nancy was admitted to a gifted student program, through which—after not taking no for an answer—she was allowed to study anatomy at the local college. “I figured an anatomy class would tell me if chiropractic was really something I liked,” Nancy recalls. She loved it. She also worked in the office of the chiropractor who had treated her, learning practice management and the art of compassionate patient care.


REAL LIFE, REAL FOOD

Rounding out her appreciation for wellness, Nancy’s childhood and youth instilled in her the importance of “real” food. Nancy grew up on home-grown produce, wild game, fresh eggs, and raw dairy. Despite living in the Midwest, Nancy’s family did not rely on processed or prepackaged foods. “My mom made everything from scratch, including bread, butter, ice cream, and sauerkraut,” Nancy remembers. “She also canned and preserved the garden’s bounty for sustaining us through the long frigid winters.”


Turning to the land for sustenance, Nancy and her family hunted, fished, foraged, and picked berries. “I learned how to butcher a deer, filet fish, and trap minnows. (Yes, that’s really a thing! You need them for fishing bait.)” She also recognized early on that food is a means of connecting people.


For Nancy, working passionately for good health—her own as well as others’—would become a lifelong framework. “Optimizing health and wellness is not a passive affair. It takes personal responsibility, accountability, and commitment to make and sustain lasting change. Just because you have a genetic predisposition to a particular disease or condition doesn’t mean you have to have genetic realization of that risk. Your genes are being turned on and off constantly. They are influenced by the environment and your diet and lifestyle. We have more control over our health than we think.”


ADVANCING BY DEGREE

Nancy continued to commit herself to her education as she completed her undergraduate requirements and the chiropractic doctorate program at an accelerated pace. “I was a doctor at 23,” Nancy says, shaking her head. “How crazy is that? I had all of it in my head, but none of the life experience. I was really still a child.”


Nancy completed an internship and opened her first practice in Hawaii, which she quickly discovered was heaven for clean eating. “One of the things I loved about Maui was the vitality in the food and fish. There’s nothing like picking a papaya, mango, or avocado right off the tree and slicing it open to eat while it’s still warm from the sun. And the wide variety of fresh fish was exceptional. Catching an ahi and enjoying fresh sashimi right on the boat was life-changing. Clean eating was easy!”


FROM SURF TO SEATTLE

More than two decades ago, Nancy relocated to Bainbridge Island. While moving was an adjustment, it was easy to appreciate the island’s proximity to Seattle and all that the city has to offer, while sustaining a small-town community feel. Given Nancy’s passion for cooking, good food, and healthy living, she quickly fell in love with the area’s abundant opportunity for physical activity and a year-round bounty of incredible, healthy produce. “I’ve followed in my mother’s footsteps and make every effort to cook from scratch. While I don’t churn butter, I do bake some pretty enviable pies and bread.”


Interacting with fellow islanders as a chiropractor, or simply as a neighbor and friend, solidified Nancy’s commitment to health and wellness, and to serving others through wellness facilitation. “Over time, seeing someone evolve, whether it’s directly within the walls of your practice or within the broader community—that’s an incredible experience.”


MOVING AHEAD

In addition to her extensive patient care and clinic management experience, Nancy continues to expand her knowledge and expertise. She is in the final stages of completing a functional medicine diplomate program. This specialty certification focuses on systematic approaches to proactively discover the underlying causes of pain, fatigue, and other diseases, instead of just treating symptoms.


Thus far, the certification has been affirming. “The program has validated what I’ve believed all along,” Nancy observes. “Now, finally, medical professionals are helping patients on a much deeper level. It’s a focus on patient experience and quality of life. We’re all going to age; how do we age well? How do we minimize the impact of our life experiences and choices so that we live well until we expire? There aren’t any one-size-fits-all answers to these questions, which is why truly patient-focused care is essential. Every individual holds their own unique health challenges and solutions. I seek to find answers to questions and guide patients on their quest for better health.”


Bainbridge Island is Nancy’s community of choice. Friendships run deep here. She admits: “I love to nurture loved ones through food, and I love hosting intimate, nourishing dinner parties. Happily, this island is rooted in relationships. And even for an introvert like me—maybe especially for an introvert like me—that’s important.”

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