Subscribe now for as low as $4

Couple helps coach healthy lifestyle changes

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — A Corrales couple helps people build a foundation for health, like putting down mulch to grow vibrant plants.

Barbara and Norm Dawson are personal health coaches who live in Corrales. They call their company Purple Mulch. Photo by Jason Collin.

From that concept comes the name of Barbara and Norm Dawson’s business, Purple Mulch. They offer health advice and education, dietary supplements and one-on-one health coaching.

“Our goal, our reason for being in business, is really to make a difference in the health of people,” Barbara said.

The Dawsons have been helping people improve their health for 22 years.

“Basically, we believe people have the power to live a vital, healthy life,” Barbara said.

For example, with help from Purple Mulch, she said, one client went from spending $600 a month on asthma medication to needing a rescue inhaler only.

The Dawsons work with whatever health issues their clients bring them.

“We don’t diagnose,” Norm said.

They look at a client’s condition, consider the holistic cause and suggest a system to address the issue. They often help people lose or gain weight, increase energy levels and handle asthma, allergies and auto-immune diseases.

Norm said they spend a lot of time educating people.

With his chiropractic training, he can interpret lab results, and Barbara can look over people’s pantries to see what they’re eating and make sure they know how to read labels. They may also suggest supplements or meal replacements, and teach listening and communication.

To address the spiritual component, Barbara said, they encourage a grateful attitude, mindfulness, social connections, spending time in nature and celebration of small milestones.

She and Norm function as coaches or accountability partners for people who need support to stick with their program, suggesting baby steps and helping them celebrate improvements.

“Coaching doesn’t mean we tell them what to do,” Norm said.

Their clients typically know what they need to do, so the Dawsons help them learn how to do it and stick to the plan. They don’t push people into programs they don’t want.

“You’re the expert,” Barbara said. “I’m not your mother, and I’m not your boss. We really honor the individual we’re working with.”

Rooted in their history

The couple met about 40 years ago at the University of New Mexico, where Norm had gone back to school with hearing loss and Barbara was working as a sign-language interpreter.

About 25 years later, Norm received cochlear implants. He said he appreciates the current medical model because it gave him back his hearing, but the Dawsons also see problems with it.

“We’ve always been interested in health and wellness,” Barbara said.

After Barbara experienced low energy while pregnant with one of their daughters and the girl was born with a soft-cleft palate defect, Barbara concluded that despite her vitamin use, she wasn’t healthy.

A friend introduced her to a line of vitamins made with extra attention to purity and precision, and Barbara found her health improved.

Norm started including the vitamins in his chiropractic practice and saw betters results, Barbara said.

When the two started their business, Norm was still a chiropractor and Barbara was homeschooling their four children. They wanted balance in their lives, and the company focused on helping others with the same goal.

Since then, they’ve expanded their focus and rebranded.

Members of a networking group Barbara attends suggested a new name related to gardening, which she loves. She said a reference to mulch made sense because it protects the soil, which must be healthy for plants to be healthy.

“It was a good foundation, but the word itself didn’t fire me up,” Norm said.

The idea to add “purple” came from a commercial for Purple Mattress. Norm said purple signifies a regal status, and Barbara said two chakras, centers of energy in Eastern spiritual thinking, are purple and indigo. Plus, she said, around that time, she had a dream about Jimi Hendrix, who sang “Purple Haze.”

“It’s really helping people create a foundation of health and honor the innate intelligence of every cell in the body, which connects to purple,” Barbara said.

For more information, visit, or call Barbara at 259-6400 or Norm at 252-7773.