Living In Los Altos

I’ve spent the past couple weeks settling into our temporary home in Los Altos, California. We are just a few miles from Stanford Medical Center where my daughter Sharlie will receive a new lease on life. I will continue blogging…but for this week I’m reposting my son’s latest musings. He captures the essence of this special place. Enjoy!


Reposted from Dirty Running. Read the original here.

My Week in Los Altos — Some great trails and my first mountain lion sighting

Tuesday’s run was at Palo Alto Foothills Park. The sign said it was for residents of Palo Alto only, and that you would have to prove residency to use the park. We’re not really residents here. My sister is temporarily living in Los Altos, a ten minute drive from Stanford, waiting on a healthy set of lungs and a heart. I came up for the week to help her get moved in. To be honest, I would have helped her move wherever she had to go, but when I pulled up the Google map to check out Los Altos, my eyes lit up, and it became a very easy decision to head up the coast and help.

Lots of open space

I wanted to see where my sister was going to live, and they are in a prime spot, right near the small downtown area of Los Altos in a quiet, peaceful cottage. There are trees everywhere, and it’s a short drive to some of the most beautiful trails I have ever run.

So, we decided not to heed the warning of “residents only” — those poor welfare kings and queens of Palo Alto have spent too long living off the government subsidized open space, and like the libertarian warrior that I am, I blazed through the park gates and hit the trails.

These were some lung-busting hills, ups and downs and perfect for the day’s prescribed hill fartlek workout. Lucho told me to push the hills to the top and recover on the flats and the downhills. I started on the Toyon trail and connected to the Los Trancos trail. It was a rolling, single-track trail with some of the hills lasting a mile or more, and the downhills were long and steep, leaf-covered trails shaded by tree canopies, beautiful twisting trails that my eyes took in ten feet at a time. I was pretty emotional on this run, thinking about Sharlie resting back at her temporary home, strapped to an oxygen machine and waiting for the call that would take her to the hospital and change her life forever. They told her it could come at anytime, but she may have to wait for months. I pictured her on the trails, walking slowly with her son to the lake, feeding the ducks and speaking in whispers as the fawn ate grass just below the trail. I also pictured her recovering here, with new lungs and a new heart, I pictured her running, and sharing the trail with me. I don’t do much praying, but if I could will that to happen through prayer, meditation, or focused thought, Tuesday’s run may have helped push that dream a little closer to reality.

If you can judge a place by its trails, Sharlie is in the right place. There is an energy out here, once out of the shiny, busy noise of the Silicone Valley bubble, a healing and quiet energy of open space.


Foothills Park

There is a wildness there, too. Wednesday we drove up further into the foothills to a new trail-head with a sign warning us of rattlers, ticks, and mountain lions. My brother in law and I ran together on the narrow trail, going from sunny and dry brush just over the fog layer to covered green and mossy forest. I saw the first deer a couple of minutes into the run, then Ryan saw 3 or 4 that crossed the trail in front of us and headed up the hill. We jogged easy and stopped often to point out deer, twisted trees, and deep gorges. Not too long after we saw the deer, I pointed down the trail to a large cat, jogging away, not much faster than us, but looking kind of pissed that it had waited all this time stalking the deer and we came on with heavy footfalls, ruining the hunt. It was about four feet long with a black-tipped tail, not a huge mountain lion, but not a small one, either. I was way more stoked than I should have been as we followed it, now out of site, down the trail. I’m sure I would have been much more cautious if I were solo, but I channeled the confidence of my inner drunken frat boy, and ran down the trail in search of the large cat. We didn’t see it again, but I’m pretty sure it was watching us. I hope I never see one alone or face to face, but if I do, I’ll remember the lessons of Ricky Bobby and face my fears head on.

Be large?




This hawk took off just as I was approaching and it let out this awesome squeal, just like in the movies.


Driving back down to Los Altos
I wrote this next part on the plane ride home. It’s a little personal, but you’ve read this far, and we’re all friends here.

It was hard to leave. Los Altos is nice, the trails are beautiful, and it was reassuring being close to Shar, walking over oxygen tubes, setting up computers, making salads for dinner, doing dishes, moving the treadmill with the Run Dirty sticker on it. I didn’t feel like I helped all that much, but it was good just being there, being around her and her strength. I don’t know of anyone who has accomplished more with less (well, maybe William Hung), and she is a constant reminder of how to live a full life.

It’s hard to put my feelings into words. The last couple of days have involved a lot of sitting around, some beautiful runs, and breathless laughter over dinner. When I was there, there was an illusion of control, but now, heading home, there is worry, excitement, anticipation and dread. Our family knows the risks, having lost a sister to a double lung transplant over 15 years ago, but I am hopeful that this procedure will buy Sharlie some desperately needed time.

We gathered together as a family before the trip to Stanford and we were all able to tell Sharlie how much we loved her, and there were some amazing words said by Ryan, Shar, Zak, Kelli, Ric, Mom, and Sanam. All I could manage was an “I love you, and you are going to do great.” Not very articulate, I know, but it is hard for me to put all these emotions into words.

Sharlie wanted us to know that she is aware of the risks, and while she believes and has tremendous faith that everything will go well, she wanted us to know that she has lived such a full life. She has. She has touched thousands with her kindness and she is the type of person that inspires everyone around her. She makes me want to be a better brother, a better husband, a better father, and a better person. She has lived a full life, but I think her best years are yet to come.

Thanks for reading.

Living Vicariously

Aaaahhh…the magic of technology. Convention 2011 is one I’ll never forget – and I wasn’t even there in person! Through facebook posts, blogs, tweets and especially through the efforts of USANA’s audio visual and social media teams I was able to vicariously feel the enthusiasm of everyone in attendance and share in the Spirit of USANA.

I have been the recipient of so much love and support. Thank you to each of you who have sent messages of hope and love and who are praying for my daughter Sharlie. We have relocated to the San Francisco Bay area to be near Stanford Medical Center where Sharlie is currently on the heart/lung transplant waiting list.

Once again, USANA has proved to be much, much more than a business for me. To feel this connectedness with all of you during this critical time has lifted and sustained me and my family. And each time I watch these convention videos I laugh, cry and envision Sharlie and me at Convention 2012.

Collette Larsen


A Wave A Day

We are helping our friend Sarah Hughen with her quest to surf every day in an effort to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Sarah is a friend of Dax and Sanam and when we heard about her “wave a day” challenge, we decided to support Sarah by providing her with USANA supplements that will help keep her healthy on her journey.

Sarah’s mission is best stated in her own words:

“Some people say surfing is the hardest sport on earth, that if you can surf, you can do anything. I also know that when things go right, it’s about the most fun you can possibly have. The spirit of surfing has inspired me. Having only come to the sport recently, and being a mother of two young boys with nonexistent free time – calling myself a surfer has seemed like a distant dream.

I have a simple mission. I plan on surfing every day – 365 days straight with no exceptions. My inspiration for the project is to use the challenge of surfing everyday as a vehicle to raise money and awareness for the fight against Breast Cancer. 1 in 8 woman will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer sometime during their life. This is unacceptable to me. My hope is that through research, awareness, and an active lifestyle we can help make this statistic history.

My challenge is simple, however, the reality of paddling out everyday – rain or shine, healthy or sick, flat or humungous – is a commitment I won’t abandon.

By surfing every day, I hope to honor all those who have been affected by Breast Cancer and that my determination will inspire people to become involved.”

You can read what Sarah has to say about USANA here.

We are proud to support Sarah, and we encourage you to check out her beautiful website and help her raise money for the Keep A Breast Foundation.


Sleep Well

Pure RestWith or without Pure Rest, just another reason to sleep well…

There was a message in my inbox this morning detailing proposed FDA regulations that would impact dietary supplements – which of course, would impact the health and livelihood of everyone I know. However, within minutes (before my worry meter even had a chance to register) the message below came through from USANA.

Once again, USANA is ahead of the curve. The fact that USANA regulates every aspect of the manufacturing process, voluntarily adhering to stringent GMP standards and the even more stringent “Dr. Wentz Standard of Perfection,” gives me the confidence to boldly share our global vision of health and wealth.

Read the following message…and sleep well tonight.

From PR NewsWire:

USANA Meets Compliance To New Drug Standards 

SALT LAKE CITY, July 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE: USNA) today announced it has obtained the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Drug Establishment Registration,” allowing the company to manufacture over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and holding it to a standard well above what is required of a dietary supplement manufacturer.  While nutritional companies in the United States are not expected to follow pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), USANA believed it was an important, logical step to acquire government registration proving their long-standing commitment to producing the highest quality products.

USANA manufactures over 90% of its products in-house, including all of its tableted nutritional supplements.  As an FDA-registered facility, USANA now has the ability to manufacture OTC drugs as well.  All products manufactured under this license will be subject to very rigorous FDA drug manufacturing GMP guidelines going well beyond those required to manufacture nutritional supplements.

“Few companies voluntarily submit themselves to increased scrutiny, but since we operate in 15 countries including Australia, where dietary supplements are highly regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), our base manufacturing standards are extremely high,” says USANA Chief Executive Officer, Dave Wentz. “So while obtaining FDA registration won’t affect our day-to-day operations, it will help further assure our users of the quality of our products.”

For many years USANA has voluntarily modeled our production on pharmaceutical GMPs and consistently obtained third-party certification as a way to ensure the safety and efficacy of its nutritional products.  “We encourage consumers to check their supplement company’s FDA registration status online and to make sure their supplements are NSF-certified and meet United States Pharmacopeia (USP) standards and specifications,” says USANA Vice President of International Operations, Jim Brown.

Independent testing is an important way for companies to demonstrate the legitimacy of their claims.  A recent study showed that 1 in 3 vitamins are improperly labeled — typically because the product did not contain the amount of nutrients claimed in the label.

“We regularly submit our products for independent testing and diligently maintain our third-party certifications,” says USANA Executive Director of Research and Development, Dr. John Cuomo. “It’s why we have so many loyal users, including several hundred Olympic and professional athletes. Nearly 20 years in business and we’ve never had to issue a recall.”

To learn more about the FDA’s “Drug Establishment Registration,” please visit:

For more information about USANA’s products and company, visit


USANA Earns Excellent Third-Party Validation From

From PR NewsWire:

USANA Health Sciences Consistently Demonstrates the Quality of its Products through Third-Party Testing


USANASALT LAKE CITY, June 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE: USNA) announced today that its popular multivitamin, The Essentials®, has been independently tested and approved by, LLC, a company that tests health products for strength, purity and disintegration to determine whether the product is what it claims to be. is among several independent testing companies that have given USANA the stamp of approval on its rigorously tested products.

“We are proud to say that this and several other USANA products have consistently passed’s tests with flying colors,” says Dan Macuga, USANA VP of Marketing and Public Relations. “When you work as hard as we do to source the purest possible ingredients and maintain strict quality control and production standards, it’s important to obtain third-party certification to help demonstrate your commitment to making effective, reliable products.” verified that both supplements in The Essentials®, a dual-bottle regimen composed of Chelated Mineral® and Mega Antioxidant®, met its testing criteria for ingredient quality and quantity, met US Pharmacopeia standards for disintegration, adhered to FDA labeling requirements and did not exceed California Prop 65 levels for lead contamination, a hot-button issue within the supplements industry.

“We’ve found that by separating the minerals from the vitamins, we can actually increase the amount of nutrients that are absorbed by our bodies,” says Dr. John Cuomo, USANA Executive Director of Product Development. “Separation of the vitamins and minerals allows for greater stability of the tablets, allowing USANA to deliver more potent combinations that will maintain label claim longer than many other products.”

Known for keeping health and nutritional companies honest about their product claims, has tested over 3,000 products since 1999.  Many products that selects for testing fail. In fact, a recent study showed 1 in 3 vitamins tested by was improperly labeled – typically because the product did not contain the amount of nutrients claimed in the label.

USANA is NSF-certified as following FDA Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), as well as certified by government agenciesaround the world.  USANA’s NSF “Certified for Sport” products are used by both professional and Olympic athletes, and theWomen’s Tennis Association (WTA) recently conducted their own testing of USANA products, which are now the only health supplements approved for WTA player use.

“Since we manufacture over 90% of our products in-house, we take third-party verification very seriously, as it’s a direct reflection of our extensive research and manufacturing processes,” says Jim Brown, USANA VP of International Operations, “USANA was recently the #1 Rated Overall Merchant Based on Customer Satisfaction in’s 2011 survey of its readers.  That we are getting praise from both independent testing companies and our customers really means a lot to us.”

For more information about USANA’s products and company, visit


Residual Income — It’s Not Supposed To Be Easy (Guest Post by Rosie Bank)

You, Inc.Rosie’s book is entitled, You, Inc., but it is about much more than being your own boss. Within these pages, my friend and USANA colleague, teaches truths about freedom, health, and joy and how network marketing can provide an ongoing means to those ends. I have read many excellent books on our industry but this one has moved to the top of my recommended reading list. Rosie shares with us the inside secrets that, when revealed, bring a refreshing feel to this work that will compel you to go the distance. Many lives have and will continue to be impacted by this book. I encourage yours to be one of them.


Residual Income — It’s Not Supposed to be Easy

by Rosie Bank

Talk to anyone who makes money in their sleep. The vast majority of these hard working individuals probably spent more time, effort, and sometimes tears on the front end than ten people combined who work for a salary or for linear income all their lives. People who created residual income will tell you that the process entailed plenty of hard work, the inevitable speed bumps, occasional disappointments, often the desire that things went better/faster/smoother, and eventually a tremendous sense of satisfaction for reaping the fruits of their labor. Creating residual income is not easy and it is not supposed to be.

In order to have residual income, you not only have to work differently, you also have to think differently. It is not only about working; it is about building. You can also describe this process as creating. The equation might go something like this: I am willing to do whatever it takes (presuming it is legal and ethical) on the front end in order to have the lifestyle of my choice on the back end. The work I do today is for the purpose of ensuring that my loved ones and I can enjoy the fruits of my labor for years to come at some point when what I am building and creating comes to fruition.

To read the rest of Rosie’s article, click here.

For more on Rosie’s book, click here.


Intention, Attention, No Tension

For this week’s blog, I am posting a section from our free E-book, Techniques of a Master Marketer. You can download the E-book by following this link (if you are already a USANA distributor, or if you would prefer not to be contacted by us, please do not click the check-boxes on the download form.


Intention, Attention, No Tension

Just before USANA’S International Convention in 2006, my daughter Sharlie informed me she and her husband Ryan were expecting a baby. It had been Sharlie’s intention to be a mother since she received her first Cabbage Patch doll when she was just a young girl. I’ve learned a lot about Cystic Fibrosis (the disease Sharlie was born with), and I knew it would be very difficult for Shar to become pregnant and almost impossible for her to carry and deliver a child. I’ve conducted many presentations about the impossible becoming the inevitable. However, in Sharlie’s case I wanted to play it safe. Having lost my youngest daughter to CF, I’m overly protective of Sharlie…but I just can’t help it. Over the years I tried my best to convince her that being an aunt to her darling little nieces and nephews was almost as good as being a mother but because of the way she and Ryan would look at each other during these discussions I was pretty sure their intention to be parents was as strong as ever.

Sharlie and I happened to be at Sanoviv together when she shared the news of the impending birth. If you’re going to receive news that rocks your world, it really ought to be at Sanoviv. Thank goodness they have daily meditation classes and a team of competent and caring psychologists! After lots of tears and hugs I agreed to do what Sharlie requested… replace my fear with faith.

Well-meaning physicians told Sharlie she did not have the lung capacity or physical strength to survive a pregnancy and she was encouraged to terminate the pregnancy to spare her own life. When it became clear to her medical providers that this baby was not an accident and she intended to give birth, she was advised the baby would need to be taken by C-section. Well, to almost everyone’s surprise – except Sharlie and Ryan’s, Sharlie gave birth naturally to little Harrison James Kaltenbach. Being by Sharlie’s side and watching Ryan as he lovingly coached my daughter through the birthing process was one of the most special, spiritual moments of my life and brought home in as poignant a way as possible – the miracle of intention.

Sharlie and Harrison

Sharlie and Harrison

It took over 50 years but I believe I finally understand the powerful concept of intention. Humans are a privileged species. If we understand the laws of nature and apply them, we can determine our destiny. Using focused intention and the power of attention, we choose our reality.

Let me ask you a question. Is it ever difficult for you to verbalize or even write down what you really want? It used to be when I’d do a dreams, desires or goal exercise, I felt justified in my intentions to help buy a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, for example, and more than a little guilty writing down some of the things I wanted for myself – like a closet full of beautiful clothes. Why? Maybe it stemmed from my mother telling me I had to eat all my broccoli because there were children in distant parts of the world that were starving. Does this happen for you, too? Perhaps on some level we’re not sure if there’s enough to go around…that if we live a life of abundance – getting all we really want, someone else will be subjected to a life of scarcity. Why, when my husband or children would ask what I wanted for my birthday or for Mother’s Day or Christmas or whatever, I’d say, “oh nothing, really…I don’t want a thing!”

A few years ago to poke fun at this inclination, my son gave me a birthday card depicting the Dalai Lama’s Birthday Party. The Dalai Lamai is holding a big, open, empty box…

“Wow, nothing! Just what I always wanted!”

I’ve seen pictures of the Dalai Lama and he always has a twinkle in his eye.  My guess is, he has a great sense of humor and would probably think the card was pretty funny!

Mark Twain hit the nail right on the head when he said, “I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.”

I believe most of us really do know what we want and it was shortly after receiving this card from my son that I realized how silly and untrue it was to keep insisting I didn’t want anything. I began boldly declaring my intentions.

I intended to remarry – to find someone who was trustworthy and who would love me unconditionally. It happened. Literally the day after I declared that intention Richard called, we reconnected and my life hasn’t been the same since.

Our Family

Our Family

I intended to get completely out of debt and to get my financial house in order. It happened. Within a few days of declaring that intention, one of USANA’s Executive Vice Presidents, Mark Wilson, called to see if I would be interested in meeting some competent financial planners. These two men – John Raybould and Justin Bitner – have changed my life and allowed me to sleep very soundly at night knowing I have a long-term financial plan.

I intended to establish a legacy – a way in which I could work with my sons and integrate them into my business. I began paying attention to that thought and shortly thereafter Larsen Global Alliance, Inc. was born and my sons became business partners.

I intended to speak on behalf of our industry and to become a worldwide ambassador for USANA and Sanoviv. I am now living that dream.

Boldly declare your intentions. Pay attention to the synchronicities that begin occurring all around you and finally, let go.  Don’t stress!  Turn your fear into faith and allow the desires of your heart to manifest.  I am living proof of the power in these principles.


USANA’s Management Team and The Spirit of Cooperation

NFL LockoutLike death and taxes – it seems to be inevitable. Management feuds. Owners vs. Players. Hostile negotiations. Heated behind-closed-doors bargaining sessions. Proposal rejections and potential lockouts. I don’t know enough about professional sports to take sides; I’m just saying I’m a fan and because I can’t imagine not being able to watch The Chargers in action…for heaven’s sake, would all of you PLEASE just get along?!

Last Saturday I was backstage at USANA’s Asia Pacific Convention in Hong Kong. I was the next presenter so I was dutifully practicing my Sanoviv breathing techniques…attempting to get the butterflies in my stomach to at least fly in formation. Two of USANA’s Senior Management Team – Mark Wilson and Fred Cooper walked up, gave hugs and wished me well. Then, out of nowhere, Mark asked, “Isn’t it Sharlie’s birthday today?” Indeed, it was my daughter’s 32nd birthday. How did Mark know that? Even Fred was speechless! I stammered “uh, yes, it is.” Then, not missing a beat, “and isn’t it Ryan’s birthday tomorrow?” I was dumbfounded. Mark Wilson knew the next day was my son-in-law’s birthday. Impressive!

I’ve been thinking about USANA’s Management…all of them. I was only in Hong Kong for two days and yet there were countless instances where someone from the team inquired about my health or my family or my body clock or asked if I’d like to join them for a meal or insisted on escorting me all the way back to my hotel and then put me on the elevator to make certain I got to my room safely. More times than I could track they thanked me, complimented me on my presentation and expressed their sincere appreciation for my efforts. I’d like to mention each one of them by name – not enough room in this blog…but they know who they are.

What a pleasure, a joy, a blessing it is to be playing on the same team as these wonderful individuals! As I look around me, watch the news, listen to my friends with jobs and cross my fingers hoping there will be another NFL season, I realize what a unique relationship we as distributors have with USANA’s Management Team. I am grateful to be able to work with this team in the spirit of cooperation, where efforts are rewarded (with the highest payout percentage of profitable, reporting companies in the industry), and success is a common goal.

Hmmm…owners, management and players in the field all supportive of each other, appreciating the talents and capabilities of one another, effectively sharing one vision. What a concept!

1 comment

How Healthy Is Your Home?

Healthy Home book coverThe Healthy Home will be released March 22nd, but I have been lucky enough to preview an advanced copy, and the simple tips contained in the book are changing the way I view my home. The book details many of the toxins found throughout our homes and gives simple solutions to help minimize the toxic impact without sacrificing the convenience and lifestyle that we are used to.

Recently, The Healthy Home was featured in USA Weekend Magazine. Here are some of the tips that were shared:

Park it. After a long drive, park the car outside the garage for an hour or two. Your engine will cool without polluting your garage and living areas.

Air it out. Unwrap and air out dry cleaning before bringing it into the house to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

Move it. Move electronics away from the bed when you’re going to sleep. Any flash of light can fool your body into thinking night is ending and it’s time to wake up.

Open it. Opening the windows for just five minutes a day to refresh the air in your home can get rid of chemicals and pollutants.

Easy, right?

I am looking forward to seeing Dave and Dr. Myron Wentz during their book tour on March 31st in San Diego. Here is a list of all the cities where they will be appearing. I strongly encourage you to try to make one of these events; it will be a great chance for you to have your book signed and talk with the authors in person.

If you haven’t already, you can pre-order your copy of The Healthy Home on Amazon.

Enjoy some more tips from the book.


PC…and I’m not Talking Politically Correct

Ric and I recently remodeled our swimming pool and I’m anxious to add solar panels so we can swim year-round without breaking the bank. Over the past few months I’ve talked to representatives from various solar companies – gathering information, visiting their display booths at fairs and trade shows. I’ve given them our information, clearly explaining our desire to add solar panels after the first of the year and I’ve asked them to contact us about their product. In marketing terms…I’d call myself a hot lead! Here’s the kicker…no one has bothered to get hold of me. What – are you kidding me? Aren’t we in a recession? Won’t someone take my money?

Addie in pool

Zak's daughter Addie in the freezing cold pool

So, last week as I was calling around, leaving messages and trying to get someone to take my check – I got thinking about USANA’s Preferred Customer program. PC means something different to USANA Associates than it does to the rest of the world. Preferred Customers – those wonderful souls who simply love the USANA products and place orders exactly where we need the volume and who require hardly any hand-holding, training, re-entering their downline, etc. etc. I wonder how many potential PC’s there are out there who need Booster C, Usanimals, a RESET kit, a case of Rev3 (does the “3” stand for three a day?) or whatever – who would gladly order if someone just picked up the phone or dropped them an e-mail.

As serendipity would have it, just as I was considering the frustration of finding someone to sell me what I want and need I received an e-mail from one of my favorite enthusiastic associates in USANA, Kate Northrup Moller. Kate (who considers herself a CEO – Creative Expansion Optimist) has teamed up with Gold Director Liza Pascal to start a movement within USANA. It is their intention to inspire the entire USANA family to build a sustainable and residual income by focusing on customers, products and health. What a concept!

I heartily endorse their efforts and suggest you check out their creative website: There you will find a free action guide and articles full of practical tools to help you retain customers, build a strong PC base, and consequently create a rock solid business.

Thank you Kate and Liza. I agree…PC’s rock!



P.S. I’m a natural networker so I can’t help myself. I’ve found a reputable company if you want solar panels to heat your pool. Dave Baca ( with Natural Energy is a nice guy, tells the truth and was happy to take my check. He has already provided great service; so much so I’m already considering solar power for our home! This is NOT a paid endorsement; just making a point. If we take care of our customers, they’ll take care of us.