Health & Wellness, Uncategorized

That #primaryfood Thing

I’ve talked a bit before about the reason why I chose to go to IIN for my nutrition education. The school taught two concepts that really resonated with me, and based the rest of their nutrition education program on these ideas. The first one is bioindividuality: the theory that there is no “one right” diet for every human on the planet and that we should work to find what foods nourish our individual body best so we can thrive.

The second concept is the subject of this post: Primary Food. This idea is that the nutrition you consume through food and drink is actually second to the Primary Food of life when it comes to your overall health. This Primary Food is divided into 4 main categories: Career/Meaningful Work, Relationships, Physical Health, and Spirituality. When one or more of these Primary Food areas are out of balance, you could be eating all the kale in the world, but you won’t be healthy or happy. You can’t thrive without Primary Food.

What. The. Heck? When I first learned about Primary Food, it sounded unscientific, wishy-washy, and a bit Woo to me. I’ll admit there was a strong internal eye-roll associated with it. But at the same time there was this tiny voice in my head that knew the idea of Primary Food was spot on. And the worst part about it was that all 4 areas for me were totally in the ditch.

Fast forward nearly 2 years and you get to me today. Someone who has been working on improving each of these areas and made huge gains. Someone who has now been to school and studied exactly how these Primary Food areas interact with your life and your relationship with nutritional food. It’s been an eye-opening journey, but it is completely worth the work it has taken.

I’m lucky to have found Meaningful Work through Nutrition Coaching. I continue to work in this area to help make The Nutrition Doula a thriving practice, so that I can do help as many people as possible to find the food that works for them and their families. My Physical Health recovered relatively quickly after I gave birth to our second daughter, but knowing how important it is for me to be able to stay this way, I make sure to carve out the time needed to maintain it. I still have plenty of work to do in these areas, as well as in the Relationships and Spirituality areas, but the improvement from where I was before learning about Primary Food is significant.

The thing about shifting your perspective to look at your life through a Primary Food lens is that it begins to help you prioritize in a different way. You may have heard the quote about nutritional food that says “Every bite you eat is either helping your health or feeding disease. Choose wisely.” Once you begin to look at life through a Primary Food lens, it becomes everything you do is either nurturing a Primary Food or starving it.

Thinking like this is what allows me to say yes to the right things and no to the things that don’t help me, without the typical guilt that is often associated with making these decisions. It’s what will allows me to sit down and play with the kids when they ask without cleaning the kitchen first (because I’m nurturing the Relationship area, the dirty dishes guilt melts away). It’s what lets me go run a race, then sit down with amazing friends for brunch and acknowledge and appreciate how much these activities recharge my soul. It’s what gives me the ability to get out of bed at 4:30am to go for a swim before work, or the drive to continue my work as a Nutrition Coach even on days when I’m already exhausted from the day-job.

Ultimately, when the Primary Food areas in your life are going well, then it becomes much easier to make good and healthy choices when it comes to nutritional foods. It becomes easier to thrive in this life. So it pays off to assess the Primary Food in your life and to work on improving it.

Take a minute to consider the four Primary Food areas: Career/Meaningful Work, Relationships, Physical Health, and Spirituality. Give yourself a rating number in each area between 1 and 10 (with 1 being there is nothing right at all about this and 10 being everything couldn’t be more perfect). Once you have your ratings, look for the lowest number. That is where making changes can help your overall health and happiness the most. If you’ve rated an area with a low number, don’t worry! Knowing the problem is there is the first step to fixing it.

So what do you think? Were you surprised by your Primary Food Exercise results? Did you discover something that needs work? Let me know in the comments or send me a message. I’d love to talk about it with you!

Goal Setting, Health & Wellness, Uncategorized

So What *IS* Nutrition Coaching Anyway?

I’ve been having a lot of conversations that go like this lately

Friend: So what’s new with you?
Me: I’ve been going to school for the past year and I’m graduating this month!
Friend: Oh, thats right! What are you studying again?
Me: Integrative Nutrition. When I graduate I’ll be an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach!
Friend: Oh… yeah… So what exactly is that?

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach is a bit of a mouthful to say, so I often shorten it to Nutrition Coach. But still, most people ask me about what Nutrition Coaching actually is about. “What is the point of that?” “Oh, so you make meal plans?” “Nutrition Coach… Like you cheer for someone eating broccoli?” While I would actually cheer for you eating broccoli if you wanted, that’s not all there is to it.

So what is Nutrition Coaching anyway?

A Nutrition or Health Coach is someone who is an expert in helping people make sustainable changes is their lives to improve their health, and as a result, their overall happiness.

We all have been given basic information about nutrition like “drink more water” or “eat vegetables.” We inherently know that an apple is healthier for us than a cookie. Yet still so many people struggle with choosing to eat the apple instead of the cookie. We know what we should do, but we don’t really know HOW to make it a sustainable habit.

As a Nutrition Coach, I help people actually want to choose the apple over the cookie. I help people learn exactly how much water is “more water” and how to ensure that you do drink the right amount for you. I also help people to cut through the layers and layers of conflicting information and click-bait headlines about nutrition and health, so that they can choose the right things for themselves and their family.

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Currently, I work with people in a one-on-one setting. This lets me really get to know my client and the exact struggles they face when it comes to eating a healthier diet. I’m able to taylor any recommendations to make sure they fit easily into their lifestyles. This one-on-one coaching goes over a 6 month period, so that we can make sure the regular challenges people face (like summer cookouts, holiday parties, stressful family visits, trips out of town, etc) come up during the coaching period. This is a key component in making lasting changes and is what sets Nutrition Coaching apart from a “diet” that only lasts for 21 days or whatever small period of time is specified.

I meet with clients for an hour every other week and provide support for the changes they are making during the off-weeks. The results that we have achieved with my first clients have been amazing so far! What I’m finding is that is addition to the health benefits from changing your nutrition habits, my clients are making huge positive changes in other areas of their lives as well. Things like “I never in a million years thought I could give up diet soda, but now I have!” translate into the confidence to go after another non-food goal they “never” thought they could do. I love seeing the positive changes in all areas of their lives as we work together. This has been the most rewarding work I have done!

So if Nutrition Coaching sounds like something that you would benefit from, let me know! I offer completely free, no obligation initial consultations. These are a 50 minute long call (I like to use FaceTime or Skype, so we can see each other) where we go over your health, wellness, and nutrition history and discuss potential goals. These are designed to be sort of like an “interview” to see if you like me and my style and to see if we would work well together.

If you love the initial consultation, and we work well together, you could decide to try one-on-one Nutrition Coaching and see how it transforms your life! I am opening up 7 additional spaces for new clients starting in July 2018. I can’t wait to help some courageous women improve their diets, their health, and their lives in general.

Health & Wellness, Time Management, Uncategorized

“Balance”

I’m still reflecting over the past whirl wind of a year and there is one lesson that keeps coming to mind. It’s about that balance thing that everyone talks about. A part of the reason why I began the journey that lead me to becoming a Nutrition Coach was because I was looking for more of that elusive “balance” in my life. I could no longer go every day to a job and field that not only took more than a third of my life every week to accomplish, but also wasn’t anything that I was excited about. I didn’t want to have my kids continue to grow up with a parent who was gone for 11 of their 14 awake hours every weekday and who was too exhausted and stressed out on the weekends to be of any use to them. If only I could find a better balance, then it would all be ok, right?

I’ve come to learn that this “balance” thing that is sold to us via social media, “me time” memes, and time management articles doesn’t exist. It’s a myth, a unicorn that some people like to pretend that they have. This whole illusion of the mom-who-has-it-all is so damaging; it sucks the joy right out of our lives. We are bombarded with this idea that we should and could be that pinterest crafting mom, who is also an E-Suite employee with a perfectly cleaned and organized house. Oh and you also run literal marathons on the weekend, while taking fun, yet educational trips with your kids and accomplishing every to-do task on the list, so that you have enough time for that luxurious massage and bubble bath on Sunday night. After all, you should recharge so that you can crush the upcoming week, right? If you were balanced, then this could be you!


The illusion of balance drives us to stress, to drink, to wonder “Why am I broken? Why am I the only one who can’t do this right?”

My study of nutrition over the past year has put a spot light on how ridiculous this premise is. This whole balance thing is also sold by the food and dieting industry, under the brand “All Things in Moderation.” But once you start to learn about how certain things that we disguise as food affect the human body, you realize that this moderation thing just isn’t true. All things in moderation is something that is said by people trying too sell you on the things that are NOT good for you. (I’m looking at you diet soda…)

On the flip side of All Things in Moderation, there is the “do-this-every-day-to-be-healthy” crowd, which also echoes the mom-who-has-it-all illusion. The laundry list of superfoods and spices that you need to have in your diet to be healthy is a mile long. Trying to follow this list religiously will eventually induce similar stresses as trying to be the perfect, “balanced,” parent described above.

So what is the actual solution to all of this? Well, when it comes to food and nutrition, I know that there isn’t balance day to day. There isn’t enough time to do every single healthy thing that you can possibly do in a day. The amount of time, resources, and energy to craft a perfectly balanced diet for 24 hours, and for every 24 hours for the rest of your life just doesn’t exist. You can get a lot closer to that balance over the course of a week. You get ever closer of you remain consistent over a month.

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Our diets are meant to ebb and flow, with foods rotating into and out of them as they came available in nature. This is why in the summer you prefer to eat lighter foods and in the winter we love a hearty stew. Great nutrition is something that you give your body over the course of a year, not necessarily in a day. Now that doesn’t mean that there wont be some days where you have an abundance of superfoods, but it won’t be every day and that’s ok. The balance occurs over the course of a year.

In addition to this, when it comes to nutrition it is important that we avoid the things that don’t help out health. It’s not all things in moderation, there are certainly foods that we eat that damage our health and that we should not eat at all. It can be terrifying to acknowledge that no, you really shouldn’t ever have a diet soda again. Realizing this can bring a sense of loss and a sense of identity crisis.

But ultimately, there is freedom in no longer being a slave to this or that food or addiction. Happiness means letting go of the things that do not serve you. And this remains true when it comes to foods that we should not eat or those lifestyle choices that are ultimately toxic to our health.

It’s time for me to let go of this idea that “if I only balanced things better, my life would be better.” What will make my life better is to let go of the activities that are equivalent to the diet sodas in my life, to start the activities that are equivalent to superfoods, and to know that these superfood activities do not all have to be accomplished in one day. If we are having a good amount of those superfood activities over a week or month, then we are on the right track.

It turns out that while I started last year trying to obtain the balance illusion, I found something much better. Instead of this balance, I’ve learned what “junk foods” I need to stop spending my time on. I realized that it wasn’t so much the time that I was putting into the old job that was the issue, it was that for me, the old job is like some form of nutritionally deficient microwave dinner. It keeps you alive but slowly destroys your body, your health, and your happiness. By taking the steps to become a Nutrition Coach, I’m switching out these microwave dinners for whole foods which restores the life destroyed by a poor diet.

And the added bonus is, it tastes delicious.