Monday, December 11, 2017

Privileged Eating

I want to share this article with you guys because I think it’s an important reminder that we should not label foods as “good” or “bad”. While there are MANY reasons not to do so, this article brings up one that I don’t often think about, and often take for granted: Privilege. This article explains it well: (

When we want to start a new “diet” or way of eating, I don’t think too many of us really think about how much it’s going to cost to eat that way. {The woman in this article mentions spending $175 per week – but honestly, that’s really low if you ask me}. Anyway, here’s the problem when we start labeling food:

In waving around the importance of “clean” eating, we must not ignore what we’re really saying: that those who do not eat foods listed on those websites are eating “dirty” foods, which only adds to the piles of stigmas people in poverty must eat around when they sit at their dinner tables.

First of all, I will say that you can eat well and NOT spend a lot of money on food – but it’s definitely trickier. I would also like to say that not spending (or being able to spend) a lot of money on food shouldn’t imply that you are eating “dirty”.

The Whole30 isn’t the enemy here though – it’s the concept of assigning labels to what we eat; to ourselves; and to our bodies. I just finished a box of those “good thins” potato and wheat crackers with about 30 ingredients and it was definitely not a “clean” (or "good" as the name implies) choice. However, I won’t label this indulgence as “bad” because it’s not. They’re just crackers for God’s sake. And I don’t eat them every day. My diet is healthy and includes all sorts of foods. I am not a better human being when I eat 100% “clean” organic food, just as I am not a terrible human being when I indulge or when I eat foods that are not "clean", "acceptable", or "permitted".

While I understand the need for diet plans to outline which foods to avoid and which to incorporate (as I do myself when I give my clients a diet outline to follow) I think that at some point it can become way too restrictive and may take away from the goal of moving towards improved health. For example, in the Whole30 there are very strict criteria to follow. There's no added sugar of any kind. That means even if there's one gram of sugar (in the form of maple syrup) in your free range, organic bacon - it's out! This way of thinking isn't terribly helpful for the most part. 

Guys, you don’t need to follow a plan like Whole 30 to be healthy. You don’t have to only eat organic food. You don’t have to swear off dairy, gluten, and all the things you love (unless you can't tolerate them). And - you don’t have to be rich. It’s a process and the process is very individual. This is why it’s difficult when you’re following a plan that’s created for the masses or the general public. It usually completely lacks flexibility and doesn’t take into consideration that you are a person who has individualistic wants and needs. 

If you’re considering starting a “new plan” in the New Year, think about reaching out to someone certified in holistic nutrition who can probably help you far more than any best-selling book can. There are many professionals who offer a free 15-20 minute consultations before you commit to anything, and I would encourage you to take advantage of that so you can find someone who is the right fit for you. 

Making changes to live a healthier lifestyle is hard enough as it is. Feeling shame about “not-so-perfect” food choices isn’t helpful. We all deserve our best health and our resources of money and time are very individual. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

What is a C.H.N.™ anyway???

You might well wonder what the benefits are of working with someone Certified in Holistic Nutrition™. You may also wonder what the benefits are of working with ME specifically. Well, I won’t keep you guessing… ;)

First of all, I think it would help by explaining what someone Certified in Holistic Nutrition™ actually does. In a nutshell, we work with people who are struggling with health symptoms they want changed. We identify areas in the body that indicate health imbalances as well as make connections between the body, mind and spirit – all with the goal of promoting vitality and wellness. We then provide individualized health plans after conducting a thorough evaluation of nutritional needs. Food is our main “tool” but we may also recommend natural source supplements, healthy lifestyle practices, and more. The benefits:
  • You are going to feel better!
  • You are going to receive an individualized plan created JUST FOR YOU, based upon your answers to questions relating to YOUR BODY. This will not be a one size fits all book/plan that’s marketed for millions of people. You are you, and your plan will only be FOR YOU!
  • You’re not going to have to do this alone. I will be your accountability partner, providing you support. This will help keep you motivated to achieve your health goals and moving along at a speed that works for you – especially if other family members aren’t necessarily ‘on board’.
  • We’re going to get you results! It’s no secret that you’re going to have to do the hard work but together you are going to get the health results you are seeking.
  • I am passionate about food and nutrition and I can help you decode the plethora of information that’s available. There’s a lot of misinformation and twisted facts out there and I can help you sort through it all.
  • Bonus benefit: Your group insurance plan may cover my services! 
Despite the fact that a lot of what we talk about during our sessions may be serious, personal or “deep”, we’re also going to laugh and have fun. I truly enjoy helping people and I really look forward to helping you too!

CSNN graduates are held to a strict Code of Ethics, which includes fundamentals such as non-judgment, confidentiality and respect, which I personally take very seriously. I invite you to read more about our Code of Ethics ( as well as our Scope of Practice (

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"It Was Me All Along"

I recently read a book entitled “It Was Me All Along”, written by Andie Mitchell. It was recommended to me by one of my best friends and is a memoir about one girl's struggles with binging and restricting; difficult relationships with others and with herself; about how food had so often been used for comfort in her life; and coming to a point of ease within her body after years of struggle.

While I personally have not had as tumultuous of an experience of binging and restricting as Andie has, I have definitely done my fair share of both. It seems that so many of us women struggle with weight, our body image, and this cycle of dieting and overindulgence. Food addiction is especially complicated quite simply because we NEED to eat. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Food is all around us. And if the relationship we have with food is unhealthy, there is just so much opportunity for it to be abused. If you're a smoker or addicted to drugs, pills, sex, or whatever the hell's just not as obvious as a food/weight issue and that makes things even MORE complicated. The 'icing on the cake' as it were, is our culture. The expectations to be a certain way, look a certain way, act a certain way. Gawd - I am exhausted just thinking about it all.

I admire Andie's courage in writing such a personal story, and there were two quotes from the book that stood out to me and that I would like to share with you here:

“Maybe the difference between a standard meal and a great meal has as much to do with its taste as it does my perception, my energy in devouring it. The food had not changed. My perception of it had." (pg. 142/143)

I believe this wholeheartedly. Too often we eat while doing something else (watching TV or on the computer, standing or in our cars) or we eat out of habit without any real thought as to the taste, texture, and aroma. OR, maybe you have always thought about food less as nutrition for your body, and more as comfort or something to tame your boredom. Either way, in Andie's case she as the "eater" had changed. The food had not. Who are you as an eater?

“What I’d learned is that enjoyment and satisfaction can’t always be quantified as energy input and output. Treating myself to foods and meals that might have put me in a caloric surplus did not make me fat, as I’d once feared they would. Intellectually, I always knew that all food was fine in moderation, but now the practical reality finally clicked”. (pg. 216)

YESSS. HELL YESSSSSSSSSS! Guys, I will never ever recommend that someone completely cut out all foods that they find enjoyable in the name of healthy eating. Life is too short! Stop calling treats “bad” and stop calling them "cheats". It’s about moderation. If you're eating an overall well balanced diet and taking care of your body, occasional treats are not cheats - they are gustatory enjoyment which is a part of living a great life! I know it's complicated because some people struggle with an "off" button to certain foods, but I simply mean that we cannot always eat "perfectly" or "clean" or "without surplus". There is a balance - only we can find it.

The takeaway of the book for me was that we really all struggle around these issues of food and body image. Some of us struggle more so than others, but we all do to some extent. It's literally a lifelong journey of finding what works for us, and living in that balance. The faster one can figure this out, the easier their life will be.

I enjoyed the book -- it's an easy read and I believe that you will be able to relate to Andie in some capacity. Please let me know what you think of it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

WTF "What the Health"?

While at the dentist today, I came across an article in the New York Times that I thought was excellent, and I would like to share it with you. Ever since I watched the ‘documentary’ (and I use this term loosely) called “What the Health”, I have wanted to write a blog post about why I found the documentary to be poorly done. But I never was able to piece my thoughts together as well as Jane Brody has in her article:  

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I absolutely support animal rights and believe that if you choose to eat animal products, that you have a moral obligation to ask where your food comes from. But for many reasons, I choose not to eat vegan – and it makes me so mad when ‘documentaries’ like these that are lacking in accurate information are released to the general public who may take it at it’s word. This article by Brody outlines some of these inaccuracies. 

I appreciate anytime people move to  a healthier lifestyle and those who choose not to eat meat for ethical reasons. For many people however, this way of eating is not always a good one to adopt. I will also take this opportunity to point out that there would be an amazing impact made by meat-eaters if they chose not to eat meat for a day or two a week, and/or didn’t eat animal products every meal. 

Anyway, here is the article – I encourage you to read it especially if you have watched “What the Health” and were thinking "What the Fuck" like I was. 

Excerpt: "Such is the case with a recently released Netflix documentary called “What the Health” that several well-meaning, health-conscious young friends have urged me to watch. And I did try, until I became so infuriated by misstatements – like eating an egg a day is as bad as smoking five cigarettes, or that a daily serving of processed meat raises the risk of diabetes 51 percent — that I had to quit for the sake of my health. While the film may have laudable goals, getting the science wrong simply confuses the issues and infuriates those who might otherwise be supportive."

Also, if you wish to 'deep dive', a bit - here's a well written article by Robb Wolf that reviews the movie in more detail than I would ever care to... 

But before I sign off here, I'd like to say that I think it's great if people are vegan or who want to become vegan (and it's done right). I completely respect people's food choices. It's super frustrating that there is so much conflicting data out there when it comes to food research -- but that's just the way it is -- and the fact is that one has to do a lot of experimenting with their own bodies to find what works for THEM. My issues are with the twisting of data, crappy science and people using titles or fame to misconstrue facts - vegan or carnivorous alike. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Oversight of Elimination Diets

Guys, I just listened to an absolutely fantastic podcast episode that I would like to share with you today. It was about elimination diets and also how ‘clean eating’ can be disguised as just another way of dieting (and obsessively controlling food). While there are certainly appropriate times to eliminate foods from one’s diet, this episode offered a really interesting alternative point of view – one which I believe holds a lot of validity.

Paige Smathers (RDN, CD) and Marci Evans (MS, CEDRD-S. LDN, cPT) discuss the fact that while “dieting” isn’t necessarily socially acceptable, “clean eating” and eliminating food groups in pursuit of curing sometimes nebulous symptoms is viewed as not only ok, but sometimes virtuous. Yet elimination diets for people with a history of disordered eating, long-term dieting, or a chaotic relationship with food can be really harmful. Not to mention, this can be another way to “control” eating.  

Elimination diets and “clean eating” are often entered into to improve one’s health, or undesirable symptoms such as “brain fog” or “stomach discomfort”. While this can be a good idea or tool to help solve such issues, it doesn’t take into account other very real factors that affect our health - and specifically our digestion. Paige and Marci talk about how we tend to place the blame on the literal pipeline going from our mouth to our stomach (and intestines). But how often do we give any consideration to the fact that our entire digestive system is innervated by our nervous system? This system feeds right into our gut! Literally, what happens to us mentally and emotionally is getting transferred to your stomach and your intestines and impacting your physical health. Yet how many of us spend much time considering this aspect? Some other factors that may have an effect on health and digestion (besides actual food itself) include frequency of eating; raw vs. cooked foods; balanced plates/meals; regulation of body movement; and stress management. Guess what else? Maybe if you’re experiencing a lot of GI issues, you’re simply eating too many vegetables or maybe you’re simply under-eating! The point is that before we jump to the conclusion that we need to do a massive elimination protocol…we need to also hold space for the reality that there are other factors involved in trying to sort out digestive and health issues.

Another thing I really appreciated hearing in this conversation was the fact that SOME gas, bloating and belching is normal. I mentioned before that during the course of my holistic nutrition education that I was pretty anxious – and it was largely due to worrying about things just like this. Every time I would burp after a meal I would conclude it was a much bigger issue than what it was. Every time my daughter farted, I was sure her gut flora was totally out of whack and I would start researching alternative brands of probiotics. As with anything, clean eating can be taken to extremes.

The last idea I will share here (you need to hear the whole episode yourself) is the idea that some people have a more delicate or sensitive digestive system than others. I must say that I think this is very true. “A stressed out person often has a stressed out gut”! Yes OMG Yes! And while (ironically) the “holistic” education I received stressed me out because of my own anxiety, the whole education was premised on the fact that nutrition includes body, mind and spirit. Quite often the medical community doesn’t acknowledge the fact that emotional and mental health play a large part in our physical health.

Privileged Eating

I want to share this article with you guys because I think it’s an important reminder that we should not label foods as “good” or “bad”. Wh...