Is It Wrong to Want to Lose Weight?

Is It Wrong to Want to Lose Weight?

Is It wrong to want to lose weight? I find a lot of people asking this question after they learn about the non-diet approach. In an effort to eradicate the message that you HAVE to lose X lbs to be healthier or look a certain way to be accepted, the anti-diet messaging may make people feel guilty for wanting to lose weight.

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How to Use Nutrition Knowledge

How to Use Nutrition Knowledge

There is a lot of misconception out there about the health at every size, intuitive eating and non-diet approach. From a distance, people view intuitive eating as anti nutrition knowledge--but that's not the case. Actually, intuitive eating and the health at every size movement put more of an emphasis on healthy behaviors and intentions than weight loss diets, which tend to focus on deprivation, numbers and fear.

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Soul Health

Soul health

Over the past 3 decades or so, our scientific understanding of the mind and how it effects our physical health has grown exponentially. Research has started to reveal the truth that scripture has shown  all along. The health of our soul (mind) goes hand-in-hand with the health of our bodies. 

"Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul." {3 John 1:2}

It's why I emphasize soul nourishment so much with clients -- health and behavior change begin with our thoughts and beliefs.

That being said, I think a lot of people misinterpret what that means. For instance, I am not saying that your health depends on how good of a person you are. That's works mentality -- not the gospel. 

To understand the concept of soul nourishment, we have to clear some things up first.

The soul is a mysterious thing. We can't see it, touch it or taste it. But we know there's more to us than just our physical, tangible bodies. We have a soul. We also have a spirit. Taken together, we are body, soul and spirit. 

This is where it get's a bit tricky. Isn't the phrase mind, body and soul? Or is it mind, body and spirit? The words soul and spirit are often used interchangeably, and herin lies the confusion. Both are mysterious, seemingly intangible concepts that deal with the inner workings of a person, but they are not the same. 

The soul is our mind, will, intellect and emotions. The spirit, however is something else. In everyday speak, the spirit is the real meaning, the intentions, energy and character behind something or someone. We often use the word heart to mean spirit, as in, "they have a good heart" or "the heart of the matter is..."

It's hard to put into words, but when we understand the difference between body, soul and spirit it changes how we view ourselves, which has the potential to totally transform the way we live.

Even though human words may fail to explain the difference between soul and spirit, the word of God is capable of discerning between the two.

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." {Hebrews 4:12}

When we believe in Jesus and confess that He died and was raised from the dead to forgive us our sins and give us an abundant, eternal life, then we are given a new heart, a new spirit. This new heart is completely pure, and right in God's sight-- forever. It is this Spirit, the Holy Spirt, that enables us to carry out God's will. Not our own self -effort, but the power of God's Spirit within us. 

Soulhealth
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. {Ezekial 36:26-27}.

If we ask God for it, we have a new spirit, a spirit of love, power and sound mind. But sometimes it doesn't feel like we're all that new and different. Why?

This is where the soul comes in. Our soul, or our mind, will and emotions is still the same. Our bodies still appear the same. If you still think and believe in your mind that "unclean" foods will defile you, then they still might cause you distress, but if you renew your mind with the truth, a truth that you now have a deeper knowing of in your spirit, then you will be transformed, soul & body. 

Let's keep with this example. Say someone believes that eating sugar and bacon makes them a bad person. This person looks at God's word and sees that Jesus says:

"it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person -- Do you not yet realize that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then is eliminated? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. " {Matthew 15: 15 - 18}

After reading this the person decides to believe it. Whenever thoughts arise that eating bacon or sugar should make them feel guilty, they refute the thoughts with the above scripture. Eventually they no longer have those thoughts or feelings. In this area, their soul has been transformed to align with the truth, to align with their new heart, their right spirit. 

Now how does this effect their body? Do they just eat unlimited sugar and bacon all the time. Probably not. Actually, intuitive eating research shows that when people give themselves unconditional permission to eat all foods, they end up overeating far less often. Further, this type of eating and a lack of food guilt are associated with better self-esteem and improved health markers ( better blood sugar control, blood pressure, BMI and blood cholesterol levels).

That's just one example of the transformative effect of renewing our minds (souls) with the truth. There are countless other examples I could share. In fact, you probably have some of your own.

To me, soul health means dismantling harmful lies about ourselves and replacing them with the truth. It also means taking time to rest and do things that nourish our mind and spirit -- like cultivating your gifts, reading a new book, hanging out with family, and meditating. These are all just examples of ways we can nurture a healthy soul.

But in our effort to nourish our soul, let's not forget that we didn't earn the right to love, worth, acceptance, or health through our own "soul nourishing" activities. We are loved and accepted just as we are, because we are God's children and it's His will to love and bless us. His love and the knowledge of Him set us free to care for our souls in the best way possible and empower us to be transformed into His image.

So it's my prayer that you'll receive love, nourish your soul, and be transformed!

Until next time, happy fueling & stay nourished <3

Is Clean Eating Hurting Your Performance??

Eight years ago my college swim coach talked me into seeing a sports nutritionist, convinced that my inability to make it through a practice without "having a wheel fall off" (direct quote) had something to do with the way I was eating.  I agreed to go--anything to help me perform better. Plus, although at the time I was on my way to an accounting degree, I was fascinated with nutrition.

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Sadly, part of my interest in nutrition had to do with the diets I'd already dabbled with in high school, but the other part of me just wanted to "figure" out this healthy eating thing and how it could help me be a better athlete. At the time, I was doing my best to fuel with "clean foods", but thought maybe this nutritionist would have some info I didn't. 

I can remember being pretty drowsy from my mid-morning nap on my way to the appointment (I was constantly napping - another clue I was under-fueled). I walked into the nutritionist's office and we chatted briefly about my diet and practice schedule. She said she didn't think I was taking in enough energy or protein and sent me on my way with a detailed fueling schedule along with different meal & snack ideas -- some of those ideas contained foods that weren't on my "clean eating" list.

It wasn't what I was expecting, but hey, I was desperate for more energy and faster times, so I did what she said. I ate more and I stopped worrying so much about "clean" eating in favor of meeting my body's nutrient needs. Guess what- it worked! So much so that the next semester I switched my major to nutrition & dietetics and went on to graduate with a masters in nutrition for physical performance, determined to help other athletes "fuel to perform."

My story is not so different from lots of other athletes. Tons of people who compete in competitive and recreational sports are told that the quality of the "fuel" they put in their body determines their performance. This comes from the classic athlete, sports car metaphor -- can't tell you how many times I've heard it.

It goes like this: sports cars take quality fuel and so they perform well, like sports cars.  Athletes too, should eat quality or "clean" fuel so they can perform like sports cars.

That metaphor is great and all, but there's only one problem, we aren't cars. Also, isn't it better to put regular gas in the tank when you're running on empty than it is to keep driving in search of "cleaner" fuel? The latter usually ends with running out of gas along the side of the interstate.

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Clean eating is not a new phenomena. It's been all the rage for at least 8 years, if not more. The definition is tricky and means something different to everyone. In general though, clean eating is eating minimally or completely un-processed whole foods. A lot of athletes (and people in general) take clean eating even further, refusing to eat anything that isn't organic, GMO free, pasture-raised, etc. And some are under the impression that entire food groups are "unclean". Meat, dairy, grains, beans and soy come to mind (to name a few).

At some point clean eating turns into orthorexia nervosa, a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods in the belief that they are harmful. Although not formally recognized as an eating disorder, research on orthorexia nervosa is piling up.

What we know about this behavior is that it often starts as a genuine desire to eat healthy, but turns into an obsession with only eating "pure, clean" foods. If left untreated, the effects of orthorexia nervosa mimic those of anorexia and include osteoporosis, difficulty with cognition, lowered immune function, malnutrition, social isolation, emotional instability, infertility, kidney failure, low self-worth, anxiety and stress, and heart disease.

Not exactly the things athletes and health conscious folks are looking to add to their lives.

Even if your version of clean eating isn't quite so extreme, but you focus on eating a 100% whole foods diet, it could still be harming your athletic performance. Processed foods, simple carbohydrates and highly palatable energy dense foods would not be considered clean and yet, all of them have a place and a purpose in a an athlete's diet.  Here are a few reasons why:

Simple carbohydrates are digested and released into the blood quickly. This is perfect when you're in the middle of racing or competing and in need of quick energy. You can choose to consume a fibrous whole banana in the middle of a race, but the work of chewing and digesting it may divert more energy, take more time and deliver less fuel to your muscles than simple sugar from dried fruit, sport goos, energy blocks or a sport drink would. Aside from this, simple sugar consumption immediately following a workout helps create the necessary insulin response for muscle repletion and repair. This allows more fuel to reach your muscles in a timely manner, which if you have another workout within 4 hours, is paramount for recovery--bring on the chocolate milk please!

Eating only whole foods may fill you up before you're able to meet your energy and macronutrient needs for recovery. Whole foods, especially in the form of veggies, whole grains, lean protein and fruit contain a lot of fiber and water which are known to increase the sensation of fullness. The problem with this is that you may be unintentionally under-fueling, and thus inhibiting recovery, eating away at lean muscle mass and putting yourself at risk of fatigue, injury and illness.

Allowing yourself to have highly palatable, energy dense foods when you are hungry for them (i.e. cookies, brownies, ice cream, fattier meat) will help you meet the energy demands of your body. And in the long run, being chronically under-fueled is far more harmful than eating any one food, clean or not. In other words, your car could be up there with the rest of them or stranded on the side of the road - your choice. Besides, highly palatable foods usually contain much needed fat, an essential nutrient that when low is associated with greater risk of sport injury. 

Of course, as an athlete, knowing what type of food to eat and when throughout the day can be extremely helpful for recovery. If this is something you want to learn more about, I'd encourage you to download my free guide to fueling recovery

If you're serious about fueling your body for better performance, but you need help renewing the way you eat and think about food,  I'd love to work with you! 

The desire to eat nutrient rich whole foods is not a bad thing! But ask yourself, is "clean" eating really helping your performance, or is it holding you back from being the best that you can be?? 

 

Fueling Fertility

I'm officially at the age and stage of life where pretty much every single female friend/family member of mine is pregnant, trying to conceive, or just had a baby. 

Children are an amazing blessing, and for many women, a significant part of the life they envision for themselves. So when pregnancy doesn't happen right away, it can be devastating. For many, the drive to "fix" their fertility issues can become all-consuming.

Fueling Fertility

I understand. I know what it's like to have a really irregular and sometimes absent period and at the same time a big desire to have children. I also know how good it feels to get a normal period back after years of feeling like there was just something wrong with me. It may surprise you, but for a lot of women, healing your hormonal imbalance and being able to ovulate doesn't have to include crazy rigid plans and protocols.

Just like I want everyone to be free from obsession with food and exercise, I also want women to be free from all-consuming worry and helplessness over their fertility. Part of that freedom comes from stepping back and knowing that it's okay not to be perfect and that we cannot ( and should not attempt to) control everything, including the food we eat. In fact, when we let go of some of that control we usually find ourselves in a much healthier state -- but more on that later.

Of course, always consult your health care practitioner first to rule out underlying conditions. There are many root causes of infertility to consider and by no means is it always related to the female partner. However, the purpose of this post is to discuss general lifestyle behaviors that may promote fertility in females, and are beneficial for most women.

But First We Need a Normal Period.

So here we go, let's start from the beginning. In order to become pregnant, you need to be ovulating. Ovulation usually occurs in the middle of a woman's cycle. During this time she releases an egg from her ovaries into the fallopian tubes. Once there, if the egg becomes fertilized by a male sperm, it begins to divide and multiply as it makes its way to the uterus. When it reaches the uterus, the fertilized egg implants in the thick lining of the uterine wall and begins the long process of growing and maturing until  birth.  Of course, if the egg is not fertilized, the body signals to shed the uterine lining and start anew. This is the woman's monthly period.  Typically if a woman is ovulating monthly, she will also have a regular period. 

This process, which is necessary for reproduction, is quite impressive and reliant upon a cascade of hormonal signals. Conditions for this process need to be ideal. Skipping your period or experiencing completely absent menstruation is a sign that something is off kilter.  If too much stress induced by lifestyle factors or illness interferes with this cascade, reproduction is likely to be put on halt. The body is quite smart, it knows that times of stress are not ideal for pregnancy.

So what lifestyle factors interfere with and influence this delicate hormonal balance? Well, when I'm working with women with absent periods or hormonal imbalances we look at four areas: nutrition, exercise, sleep and psychological stress. Many times modifications in one or more of these four areas result in restored menstrual function. And if the goal is fertility, regular menstruation is key.

Much of the research on fertility supports the same lifestyle interventions that we use to restore a normal period. While nutrition research is often hard to quantify and specific nutrient interventions yield conflicting results based on the population, there are some well-supported recommendations that we will explore.

Energy Balance & adequate nutrition

One of the biggest ways to ensure a normal period and encourage fertility is to meet the body's basic energy needs. Even small unintentional energy deficits may elicit enough physiological stress to stop a woman's menstrual cycle, especially if she has physiological stress coming from one of the other four lifestyle contributors (i.e. intense exercise, poor sleep, or psychological stress). In athletes and active individuals especially, under-fueling is closely tied to amenhorrea (absence of the female period) and/or annovulation (absence of ovulation).

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One way to ensure energy balance is to stop restricting food based on calorie amount, or food group. Learning the principles of intuitive eating and practicing honoring your hunger and fullness without judgement are a great place to start. 

Beyond that, we need to make sure we are not restricting any macronutrient or food group, especially fat or carbohydrate intake. Both of these macronutrients are closely tied to hormonal production and health. Not eating enough fat or carbohydrates can throw your hormones off.

It's also important to note that many women ovulate at a preferred body fat percentage. This percentage varies from woman to woman, but in the research the lower end required for reproductive maintenance is about 22% body fat. So while a woman may have a "normal" BMI and weight, if her body fat percentage is too low, she might not ovulate. Again, this value and the body weight range at which a woman ovulates is very individual. Intuitive eating can be used to help you find your body's preferred healthy weight and body fat range. 

Regulating blood sugar

Some conditions which contribute to infertility like PCOS may be tied to insulin resistance and blood sugar irregularities. The best way to regulate blood sugar with diet while still meeting energy and macronutrient needs is to practice eating in balance every 3-4 hours throughout the day. This is our bodies' preferred rhythm for eating. And research shows that when we eat at the first signs of hunger and do not skip meals we have better blood sugar regulation. Often times, if we are skipping meals or going long periods without eating, it's because we are either ignoring or numb to our hunger cues. Chronic dieting inhibits our ability to recognize hunger signals, which is why it's sometimes  necessary to follow a flexible eating schedule until we're better able to recognize hunger signs. 

Besides fueling regularly at the first signs of hunger, we can help regulate blood sugar with balanced meals and snacks. A balanced meal contains carbohydrates, fat, protein and fiber. While snacks should contain at least two macronutrients (carbs, fat, & protein) to help stabilize blood sugar.

Foods To Include

Like I mentioned above, nutrition research can be hard to quantify and fertility is no exception. While no study is perfect, probably the best one that we have on nutrition and fertility is the Nurses Health Study II. This is a prospective cohort study of 17, 844 women ages 24- 42. Results detail commonalities in the diets of women who had the lowest rates of infertility. Other studies have looked specifically at ovulatory disorders of infertility, which account for at least 1/4 of cases of infertility and do not include structural causes of infertility. Obviously there is no PERFECT fertility diet, but the foods below have been associated with lower rates of infertility and merit inclusion in a balanced diet. 

Monounsaturated Fats

Swap out trans fats found in processed foods and shortening for monounsaturated fats which are associated with better rates of fertility. Foods high in monounsaturated fats include:

  1. Olive oil
  2. Nuts & Seeds (esp. macadamia nuts)
  3. Nut butters
  4. Avocado
  5. Sesame, Sunflower, & peanut oil
  6. Beef Marrow (which can be found in beef bone broth)

Try making your own salad dressings with olive oil or cooking with it on medium heat. Use sesame oil and peanut oil in stirfrys. Add nut butters or avocado to toast  or make a snack mix with nuts and fruit. Purchase or make your own beef bone broth and use it in soups and stews. These are just a few ideas to increase your monounsaturated fat intake. If these are foods you don't consume regularly pick one or two tips and incorporate them.

Plant Protein

A commonality among women with lower rates of infertility is that they consume higher amounts of vegetable protein. Notice, I did not say that they ate only vegetable protein, that they were vegetarian or vegan---simply that incorporating plant based protein sources has been shown to be beneficial. Try including some of the following foods in soups, stews, stir-frys, casseroles, atop oatmeal, or in smoothies. You may find that you aren't hungry for as much animal protein, which can be nice on your budget (especially when you have a hubby who eats meat like it's going out of style).

  1. Beans (black, chickpea, white, red, navy, you name it)
  2. Lentils 
  3. Green Peas (or pea protein powder)
  4. Pumpkin seeds
  5. Nutritional Yeast
  6. Tempeh/Tofu

Full Fat Dairy

This one might be my favorite, because I'm a firm supporter of whole milk (mainly because it tastes so good, but also because it's been wrongly accused of causing health problems for too long). Studies show that women who consume 5-6 servings of full-fat dairy per week had the lowest risk of infertility compared to those who consumed only 2-4 servings of full fat dairy. Beyond that, the more servings of low-fat dairy a woman consumed the greater the risk of infertility.

Moral of the story, choose whole milk and full fat yogurt and cheese over skim and 1%. Go ahead and enjoy the delicious satisfying flavor of full fat dairy and don't look back.

Obviously if you're allergic to dairy, you should not consume it. If you're lactose intolerant, you may try full fat yogurt and cheese as these are often tolerated with lactose intolerance.

Non-heme Iron

Non-heme iron is the iron found mainly in plant foods. Increase your intake of this nutrient by including some of the following foods:

  1. Beans & Legumes
  2. Nuts & Seeds
  3. Eggs (NEED THE YOLK)
  4. Dried fruit
  5. Whole grains
  6. Dark Leafy Greens

You can also find non-heme iron in supplement form. Most prenatal vitamins you take should include this type of iron. If you do take an iron supplement as a part of a prenatal vitamin make sure to take it with food to prevent stomach upset. You can also increase the absorption of this iron by consuming it with vitamin c rich foods like oranges, lemons, & strawberries.

High Fiber Carbohydrates

Studies show that women who include fiber rich carbohydrates in the form of whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables have decreased rates of infertility. Remember that eating enough carbohydrates in general is important for blood sugar regulation and hormonal health. Meet your carbohydrate needs and get the reap the benefit of high fiber carbs by filling 1/4 to half your plate with whole grains, beans or starchy vegetables at meal time.

Vitamins & mineral supplementation

I prefer to meet nutrient needs with food, but when used correctly vitamin and mineral supplementation may be helpful. Specifically, folate from supplementation and Vitamin D for those with low levels may be considered. Typically, I recommend finding a good prenatal vitamin and taking it before pregnancy. Ideally it would contain 800 mcg of folate, at least 18mg of iron and no more than 100% or the DRI for other vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D can be taken separately or consumed in Vitamin D rich foods such as milk, fatty fish and eggs. I can give more specific recommendations for individual clients, but am always cautious to do this over the blog. 

In Moderation

Alcohol

Research seems to suggest that decreased alcohol intake is related to increased rates of fertility, while intake of 6-10 drinks per week is associated with higher rates of infertility. My recommendation for women who are trying to get pregnant is to bring their alcohol intake down as much as they can. Obviously a glass of wine or two on the weekends is not going to derail your pregnancy efforts, however once you do become pregnant it'll be important to stop drinking alcohol anyways. It can't hurt to start now. 

Caffeine

When it comes to caffeine and coffee, moderate amounts, 1 to 3 8 oz. cups of joe a day, do not appear to affect fertility. Caffeine intake above 500 mg/day (~ 5 cups of coffee), however may increase the amount of time it takes to get pregnant. Moderation is key!

Exercise

Exercise is a stressor. While some stress followed by rest, recovery and adaptation is a good thing-- chronic stress from exercise without adequate recovery does more harm than good. The level of exercise that seems to correlate best with fertility is 16-60 minutes a day of moderate exercise. Exercising every single day and exercising to exhaustion are associated with higher rates of infertility. Moral of the story, if your goal is to get your period back and/or to get pregnant, ask yourself whether the amount and intensity of exercise you're doing  supports that goal. 

exercise and stress

Sleep

Sleep is an important component of regulating cortisol levels. Too little sleep increases cortisol and excess cortisol interferes with the reproductive hormonal cycle. If you regularly get less than 6 hours of sleep a night, ask yourself how you can shift your priorities, change your routine or improve your sleep environment to get your 7-8 hours of shut-eye a night. 

Some great first steps are:

  1. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day.
  2. Shutting down electronics an hour before bed.
  3. Incorporating a nighttime routine, like, bath, book, bed, etc.
  4. Dimming the lights in your house in the evenings and blacking out windows that let in light from the street.

These are just a few suggestions, pick what works for you!

Stress

Last but not least, reducing psychological stress may help decrease the overall physical stress load on your body, which could help encourage normal hormonal cycles. Exercises like deep breathing, journaling, walking and yoga may help decrease stress. Every person is unique and what relaxes me may make you annoyed, what is it that makes you relax? Make it a priority to do that thing regularly. 

If concerns over food, exercise and your body are constantly stressing you out, seek help from a counselor and/or a non-diet RD. Nourishing and caring for your body was not meant to cause you distress or inhibit you from living the life you're meant to live. Don't underestimate the power of your mindset to influence your behaviors and your physical health!

I hope this post has been helpful for you. Please remember that what I've written is not intended to diagnose, treat or replace advice from your doctor. If you need more specific recommendations please see your health care practitioner. If you want to work one on one to make targeted modifications unique to your needs and lifestyle, I'd love to work with you! Contact me and we can set up a free discovery call to see if we'd be a good fit.

SOURCES:

  1. https://fertilityresearchandpractice.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40738-015-0003-4
  2. https://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Abstract/2007/11000/Diet_and_Lifestyle_in_the_Prevention_of_Ovulatory.17.aspx

The dirty work of renewing your mind: truth mantras for health

true health mantras

A lot of what I currently do as a dietitian has far more to do with changing beliefs than food choices. If you'd asked me 6 or 7 years ago what I'd be doing in my private practice, I probably would have told you something like, "giving nutrition education, creating meal plans and keeping people accountable to their goals." And that's all great, but it's not the bulk of what I do, exactly.

Early on in my work, I found out that giving long winded explanations about human physiology and the functional components of food and then handing clients a perfectly tailored and calculated meal plan was effective about 0.1% of the time. 

What I figured out was that people often don't need to be told what foods to eat and what healthy behaviors to implement. They might need help making a few targeted adjustments and setting goals for themselves that are appropriate and manageable. But most of us are well aware of what things we "should" be doing for a healthy life: sleep, stress reduction, hydration, adequate nutrition, movement.  We've probably even read a couple books on the matter. There's a time and a place for nutrition education and therapeutic changes, but what most of us need is a mindset shift.

Focusing on healthy behavior doesn't necessarily change our unhealthy beliefs, but focusing on changing our beliefs most certainly impacts our behaviors. It follows then, that If we want new behaviors, we need to do the hard work of changing our beliefs. It's not easy, but if we're consistent and diligent, things will change. We can't always control what happens around us, but we CAN, however, control what we believe.

On any given day, at any given time our mind is constantly filled with thoughts. Sometimes, when life is chaotic there could be hundreds of thoughts streaming through our head, and at other times, when we're present in the moment and at peace, it's easy to recognize and organize each individual thought as it comes. We can't always control the thoughts that pop into our head, but we can decide whether we will blindly believe  and accept them or whether we will challenge and replace them. This is the dirty work of renewing our minds, challenging false beliefs, lies that if left unchecked, often result in more damaging beliefs and behaviors. These untruths limit us from tapping into all that we're meant to be, and if we aren't careful, can make us feel like victims, helpless to change our lives.

When it comes to beliefs about our worth, health, body, food & exercise choices, we tend to latch on to some sneaky, but insidious lies. Here are some common ones:

Lies about our worth & identity:

I am more valuable if I look a certain way

My identity is found in my pursuit of healthy eating & exercise

I am more valuable if more people accept, love and praise me

Lies about our health & body:

My health is determined by my weight and body size

If I don't focus and prioritize eating & exercise my health will deteriorate

I can't trust my body to stay healthy

My body's appearance is why people do/don't like me

Lies about food & exercise:

If I eat this food, I am being bad or good

I am a better or worse person for exercising or not exercising a certain way

This high calorie, less nutritious food will make me gain weight and develop ___ disease

I can't be trusted around ___ food

Just writing all those out is difficult. They seem ridiculous on paper, but yet they're so common! And it's okay if you have these thoughts, it doesn't make you less than. We all have thoughts like this. It's what we choose to do with them that shapes us. It's unrealistic to say, "just stop thinking bad thoughts". No, we have to challenge and replace those lies with TRUTH.

When we consistently challenge a lie and remind ourself of truth, eventually we hear the lie less and less often. The key here is diligence and consistency. We have to be able to practice being present and mindful of the thoughts that are passing through our heads, and we need to be armed with mantras of truth to negate harmful thoughts. Here are some of my favorite mantras to combat those common lies above. Some of them are scripture and some are not, hopefully you'll find one or two that resonate with you.

Truth Mantras about worth & identity

My worth is inherent, my value is not determined by people or performance

I am fearfully and wonderfully made

I was uniquely designed for a purpose that I can fulfill just as I am now

I am a daughter/son of God, my worth was established at the cross when Jesus died for me, imperfections and all.

Truth Mantras about health & body

My health is not determined by my weight or body size

Kind & gracious words are life to the body, I will be kind to myself.

One choice, one day or week does not define the course of my life.

My body can be trusted, it's job is to keep me healthy. 

I am much more than a body, and my body is the least interesting thing about me.

Health is so much more than food and exercise, it's caring for myself, mind, body, and spirit.

God is my ultimate healer, provider and comfort.

Truth Mantras about food & exercise

Food is food. It's meant to be enjoyed & to provide nourishment. It's not good or bad, it's simply meant to assist me in doing far more important things.

Enjoying food and sharing food with others is a fun and important part of life.

I move my body in ways that make me feel good, strong and energized.

My body was designed to be smarter than calories.

Rest allows my body to fight stress and inflammation, to recover and be able to continue to do the things that matter to me.

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Putting in the imperfect work

Choose a mantra that hits home with you. Write it somewhere where you will see it. When you can, practice saying it aloud. Speaking a thing aloud that is contrary to our current behavior and beliefs creates cognitive dissonance which often makes us change our thoughts and behaviors to align with the mantra! So cool! 

This work is not easy, in fact it's pretty hard, but it's important and it's effective. You won't be perfect at first, there will be times when thoughts slip through, but the more you practice taking every thought captive and aligning it to the truth, the easier it will become!

I hope this was helpful to you guys. If you have a mantra that you cling to, I'd love to hear it below! Until next time, happy fueling and stay nourished :) 

 

 

In Defense of Whole Grains

Search “whole grains and health” on google and you’re sure to find opposing views within the first two articles. One person swears “research” supports that whole grains are inflammatory and damaging and another claims that eating whole grains with every meal is the only way to be healthy. Neither extreme is accurate.

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Hopefully by now you know I don’t agree with labeling any food good or bad. Food is food. And it’s my job to teach people how to eat in a way that’s satisfying, enjoyable and nourishing. For this to happen, all food must have a time and a place. Sometimes “fun”, highly palatable foods help satisfy us and bring enjoyment to eating. And sometimes incorporating nutrient rich whole foods helps us feel our best as we power through our day. All of these foods play a role in our overall health and well-being.

As a dietitian, it's my ethical obligation to provide evidence-based nutrition recommendations; to look at the research and separate supported nutrition claims from anecdotal food rules. That’s not to discount the individual experience with eating. If a certain food is shown to have health promoting factors, but makes you feel poor or just isn’t appealing to you – you don’t have to eat it! But to be honest, there is a lot of food out there that we've convinced ourselves is“bad”. We eat that food in fear and stress, certain that the resulting stomach ache is from the food, when maybe it has more to do with the anxiety produced by eating it and the very real physiological stress and inflammation that the anxiety brings. There are of course other reasons why food might cause digestive distress and inflammation for certain people. And if this is something you struggle with, I would encourage you to seek care from a non-diet dietitian who specializes in digestive issues.

But first, let’s seek to remove fact from fiction, evidence from anecdote, truth from fear. Today, I’m putting on my dietitian hat to present the evidence for and against whole grains, to dispel the myth that whole grains are harmful for everyone and to provide recommendations for incorporating (or not) whole grains into your diet.

What is a Whole Grain?

A whole grain is the unrefined grain seed. It's made up of the endosperm, germ and bran, whereas refined grains simply contain the endosperm. The bran in whole grains is a good source of fiber, B vitamins and trace minerals iron, magnesium and zinc. The germ contains antioxidants, vitamin E and some B vitamins, while the endosperm provides energy from carbohydrates and protein. It's important to note that the processing of whole grains to make cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded or cooked grains does not remove the germ and bran and should result in the same nutrient profile. Whereas refining grains does remove germ and bran.

What does the research say about whole grains?

The vast majority of research studies provide evidence that whole grain consumption supports a healthy lifestyle. According to a recent review of whole grain consumption and disease risk published in the British Medical Journal, whole grain consumption is associated with decreased risk of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, respiratory illnesses, infectious diseases and type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as with decreased risk of all-cause mortality. Whole grains and the fiber they provide have also been found to decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. The authors of this review note that there is not enough evidence to support a specific dose recommendation of whole grains.

Proponents of avoiding whole grains, claim that they are inflammatory. Yet research shows the opposite-- whole grain consumption is inversely related with inflammatory markers. Again, whole grain opponents state that whole grains are not as nutrient dense as other sources of carbohydrates. While this may be true, I’d argue that just because a food contains a larger ratio of calories and carbohydrates to micronutrients, does not mean it shouldn’t be eaten.

For people who lead busy active lifestyles, or for those with increased energy and carbohydrate needs, like athletes, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people with diseases that increase their metabolic rate, it’s impractical and sometimes impossible to meet nutrient needs without foods that are dense in carbohydrates and calories. Consuming fruits, vegetables and beans may meet the carbohydrate needs of a person with low to moderate energy needs, but likely won’t be enough for the above people groups.

Overall, the research supports the consumption of whole grains as a part of healthy diet and negates the idea that whole grains are “bad” for your health and should be avoided.

On top of this, consider that  grains are a more economical option than many other carbohydrate sources. Dry grains keep for a long time ( 6 months to a year ) and are extremely affordable. For example, on average brown rice only costs  $0.50 to $1.00 a lb. And like I alluded to above, grains provide significantly more energy and carbohydrates per pound than vegetables, which means they go further in feeding a family. It would be a shame if a family with limited finances avoided this economical and nourishing food group just because somebody instilled in them a misplaced fear of whole grains.

My Recommendation

If you enjoy whole grains, and/or suffer from or have a family history of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer or respiratory disease, by all means, incorporate them into your diet! Whole grains fill the carbohydrate role on your plate. There is no specific quantity of whole grains that you have to eat. In fact, you are still free to not eat whole grains at all – this is your party after all. You may like whole grains with every meal. Or you might eat them occasionally and choose to have potatoes or fruit or beans in place of whole grains for your carbohydrate. The moral of the story is that there is no reason to fear whole grains and they could serve to make meals more satisfying, enjoyable and nourishing!

How To Eat Whole Grains

Americans eat most of their whole grains from whole wheat bread and whole grain cereal, but there are countless other varieties of whole grains to try. Brown and wild rice, whole oats, barley, millet, quinoa, rye, buckwheat, bulgur, couscous, and corn are all whole grains, and each has a unique nutrient profile, texture and flavor.  So like I mentioned above, if you’re someone who really doesn’t like whole wheat bread and pasta, you don’t have to have it! You can still incorporate whole grains by trying one of the many other variations.

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Most whole grains in their raw form require boiling and softening in water. For example, if you are cooking, quinoa, oats, couscous, or rice, You're typically going to boil the grain in water (or broth) with a 1:2 ratio of grain to water (look up individual grain cooking instructions for variations) until the grain has absorbed all the water and is tender and fluffy. A lot of people will have no issue eating grains prepared this way. For those who experience gas and bloating, you might consider soaking grains like you would beans before cooking. This process helps break down the antinutrients in grains which makes digestion a little easier for some people. I did this with the black rice above before cooking it in my pressure cooker the next morning. You can find more info about soaking here and pressure cooking instructions here

You can add cooked whole grains to almost any recipe. They absorb flavor well, giving you the option to make them savory, spicy or sweet, and serve them warm or cold. If you’re buying whole grain products like bread or cereal,  ensure you're getting the most whole grains for you buck by looking at the ingredient label. If the first ingredient is 100% whole grain ____, then you're getting a dense source of whole grains.

This doesn’t mean that grain products that aren’t 100% whole grain are bad or off limits. Actually, for some people, the extra fiber of whole grains may not be tolerated. For example, athletes eating right before a race may need energy that is quick and easy to digest, so a refined carb would be a better choice. Or someone who has just had bowel surgery might benefit from laying off the fiber until they  heal and so should stick to refined carbohydrates.

Again – All foods fit and have a role to play for someone at some point! Honoring your body with gentle nutrition that makes you feel and function your best is an important part of caring for your health, but we are ALL individuals and making sweeping nutrition recommendations for everyone based on what foods work for you is a dangerous business.

As a nutrition professional it’s my job to publicly present the recommendations that are WELL supported by the research and to privately work with people on an individual basis to find the specific pattern of eating that is most appropriate for them.

Hopefully this serves to clear the air a little bit for whole grains. If you enjoyed this, I would love to hear from you; what nutrition topic are you confused or curious about? I might just do a post about it. Until then, happy fueling, and stay nourished!

The Fruit of Self-Control & Eating

The other day a friend (and fellow dietitian) gave me the book, “The Weight of Grace” by Paula Neil Coleman. She told me that it was one of the only books she’s read that truly aligns with the principles of intuitive eating and God’s Word. After reading a few pages, I felt like I’d already pulled out a million nuggets of truth to share with you guys. But there was one thing the author said that really stuck out to me. She said that the discipline of dieting is not the same thing as self-control. Of course, I knew this in my heart, especially with all the intuitive eating work I do and research I’ve found to support it, but still, up until this time I was struggling to be able to explain the concept of self-control as it relates to our eating, in a grace fueled way. This post is my attempt to do just that, but likely not in the same way you've heard it before.

The Self-Control Conundrum

You see, for a lot of people, not being able to stick to a diet or clean eating regimen leaves us feeling like we have zero self-control. But if we truly believe God’s word, we know this can’t be the case. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God gave us a Spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”. And again, in Galatians 5:22-23 Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” The moment we believe in Jesus Christ for our righteousness, the bible says we are a new creation on the inside, filled with the Spirit of God, which among other things, gives us self-control.

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So why doesn’t this gift of self-control make us able to follow a diet plan?

Let’s look at the definition of the greek word “sōphronismou”, which is translated to self-control in 2 Timothey 1:7. According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon the word means an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control. Likewise further translations of the verse use sound mind and wise discretion in place of self-control.

Soundness of Mind & Intuitive Eating

Soundness of mind legally means to have the capacity to think, reason, and understand for oneself. Every person has inside of them a consciousness or intuition which allows them to do these things. Yet as Christians, we are told that we have a supernatural ability from the Holy Spirit to think, reason and understand for ourselves things that are not understood by the rest of the world, “for we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16”). So understand this: obsessing over a diet / rules for eating that come from outside ourselves and outside God’s word is not an expression of soundness of mind or wise discretion, it’s simply following the world’s rules in attempt to get something we already have through Christ, whether it’s health and healing, validation, worth or love.

On the contrary, when don't look to the world for answers but to the Holy Spirit within us who has the ability to overwhelmingly shape our intuition and who gives us “wise-discretion”, we are able to make nourishing decisions for food that will meet our own individual needs. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure,” (Philippians 2:13). Listening to him and to the physical cues he’s designed in our bodies when it comes to what and how much to eat will lead only to good.

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Our natural inclination is to nourish our bodies, not harm them through overeating or eating so called “bad for us” foods. Yet most people are convinced that if left to follow their own intuition they would continually cause harm to their health. The truth is you can trust your body and the spirit within to guide your eating. “For no one hates his own body, but feeds it and cares for it,” (Ephesians 5:29). Self-control then is just the power to choose what is best for us, to say no to sinful/harmful things. But my friend, feeding your body is NOT sinful, and breaking somebody else’s diet rules isn’t a lack of self-control. The word of God does not condemn you for eating any food and neither should you. The new testament makes clear that all things created by God are good and nothing is to be rejected if received with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:4).

Maybe it’s a harmful mindset on food, a lack of understanding of our true value and worth in Christ, or an incomplete knowledge of His love for us that drives us to diet or worry about eating a certain way. In any case dieting is not what we need, so why would we expect God’s spirit of self-control to help us with dieting, when it just might be a path to destruction?

While I agree that overeating any food can be harmful, I believe that if we will stop following food laws & worrying over what to eat and instead listen to our intuition, to the Spirit’s leading, we’ll leave space for knowing when to eat and when to stop. We’ll listen and understand when our hunger is physical or emotional and how best to satisfy it.

Transformation comes with new thoughts

It’s time to have a NEW THOUGHT about feeding and caring for our bodies. One that is rooted in truth and not the patterns of the world. New thoughts come through hearing the truth of the Word of God. Transformation comes from believing the truth and putting it into practice.

If you’ve felt out of control, guilty, or ashamed about your eating and your body and you’re ready to find a new way of eating, one that nourishes both soul and body, one that’s rooted in the truth of God’s word, please join us for the grace-fueled eating e-course launching this Friday! The introductory course will only be available for the first 50 people. To reserve your spot, visit the e-course page and enter your email.

As always if you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Until next time, happy fueling :) 

The Best Breastfeeding Diet

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As I draw closer and closer to the end of breastfeeding my first son, I remember the start of our time together, the start of motherhood.

In the beginning, when sleep was allusive and breastfeeding felt like it required a PhD to learn along with a mountain of willpower, when feeding myself became more complicated and my body was all new and foreign -- that's when I could have used this post.

At the time, my waking hours were often spent researching sleep training techniques and breastfeeding diets for colicky little ones--anything and everything to make this whole motherhood thing a little bit more "normal." Knowledge, information it's power, right? Well that's what I thought, so I consumed it with a deep hunger.

My major focus was on getting the baby to sleep, because I just knew it was imperative for our health (the irony is that once I finally accepted that I couldn't control my son's sleep, sleep got way less stressful).  I remember in the midst of all the sleep deprivation and continual breastfeeding, feeling a desire to "get my body back" and researching the efficacy of different "diets" while breastfeeding. As much as it makes me cringe to  admit it, I believe we are all susceptible to this, especially new moms, and especially in our culture. Anyways, thank goodness breastfeeding my son was more important to me than manipulating my body, I didn't try any of those "safe weight loss plans".  

My son is now almost 2 years old and while at times 6 months and 12 months felt like an eternity's time, I'm so happy I gave my body space to heal & change into that of a mother. I'm so happy I found the BEST breastfeeding diet out there. One that has allowed my milk supply to remain normal and helped me reach my goal of nursing him until he's 2. One that has given me the energy to chase a toddler, start a business and run a half marathon. 

You want to know what that diet is?? Here it is:

The Best Breastfeeding Diet

1. I eat when I'm hungry (which I won't lie, was sometimes every 1-2 hours in the beginning of breastfeeding). I know as a new mom it's actually possible to completely miss hunger signals with all the responsibilities of caring for a baby. This is a recipe for poor milk supply and one cranky & tired mama. My advice is to eat a little before your baby's normal breastfeeding time or immediately after each nursing session. If you aren't hungry for every feeding, that's okay. Just make sure to check in with your hunger every time you feed baby.

2. I eat the foods I enjoy & those that make me feel good, or I just eat what's easy and on hand. This looks like a lot of reheated leftovers, milk and cereal, oatmeal, eggs (thank God for eggs), energy bars, sandwiches, easy, easy, easy (especially in the beginning days). Obviously some simple meal planning, grocery shopping and prepping strategies help here too!

3. I don't count calories. Because I don't have the time and because they are NOT a good representative of true energy needs. We have a rough idea of how many extra calories a breastfeeding mom needs, but it's not exact. Each child is different and each woman is different in her activity level and energy needs. Calorie needs change daily. Instead I try to eat until I'm full. This doesn't always happen, because we moms are rushed for time. But my body finds a way to use the energy I give it without me micromanaging it.

4. I try to include nutrient rich fruits, veggies, fats, whole grains, protein & dairy when I get a chance. This became even more realistic and special when I was able to start feeding my son table foods. We were each nourishing ourselves with tasty whole foods. A Brussel sprout can feel decadent when you've been eating handheld foods for the better part of 7 months. 

5. Also I try to avoid some things like the plague. These include: diet talk, comparing my body to other moms at any stage, checking out my body in the mirror every time I shower, weighing myself, forcing myself into some of my pre-baby clothes  that I know I won't fit into  (BUY NEW ONES).

Our bodies change, constantly. Just because your body is one way while you're breastfeeding doesn't mean it will be that way the entire time you breastfeed or afterwards. What is true is that many breastfeeding issues I see are related to moms not eating enough, restricting too many food groups, or not allowing themselves to eat every time they're hungry. 

Even if you aren't trying to lose weight , but you're just attempting to give your baby the best nutrients through eating a whole foods rich diet, realize that early motherhood does not lean itself to cooking gourmet meals all the time. And that's okay. Your health will benefit more from you feeding yourself regularly than from you stressing out over perfectly balanced and whole food centric meals. 

A Word on Leaky Gut and Baby Food Intolerances

If you're stressed out and eating even "healthy" food, research shows stress might increase gut permeability. When this happens the gut wall becomes porous (this is what you hear called "leaky gut"). If your gut becomes porous, you may allow undigested food particles into your blood stream. The body doesn't like undigested food in the blood, it sees it as an invader, so it produces antibodies to combat it. If this happens enough, your body will respond with a full blown immune response to food, i.e. a food intolerance. By some mechanism we don't know, this may lead to a food intolerance in the baby. Either through development of the same antibodies from the mom or because the food particles that enter the bloodstream of the mom also enter the breastmilk.

The moral of the story is chronic stress, whether induced by under-fueling, over-exercising, strict food rules/fear, sickness, or mental/emotional stressors, can cause just as much or more harm than any food you eat. 

So go ahead and give yourself grace. Keep foods that are easy to prepare and nutrient rich on hand. Don't be rigid or stressed about your body. Your body will do what it needs to do if you take care of it as best you can. You don't have to be perfect. The more attempts you make to control your body, the less room it has for doing what it needs to do to feed you and your baby.

If you're struggling t0 figure out what, when and how to eat & take care of yourself with a baby,  let me just encourage you-- it is possible to develop a new, healthy normal. Whether you're exclusively breastfeeding, starting to feed your little solids or you've completely weaned your child, nourishing your body doesn't have to be crazy complicated and stressful. You can nourish yourself and your baby even on a meager amount of sleep. If this is something you need help with, let's work together! I work with women to help them find a way of eating for themselves & their families that's nourishing, satisfying & uncomplicated. 

What is Grace Fueled Eating

Not too long ago I changed my Instagram username from @fueltoperform to @gracefueled_rd (the grace fueled dietitian), and while it might not have been a huge deal to the outside world, it was a significant move for me. Even though it's just a social media username, it reflects something bigger, it reflects my philosophy as a practitioner. Hopefully, if you've been following along with me on social media and/or you know me in person, you're aware that my faith is very important to me and that it colors everything in my life, including my work. This doesn't mean that I don't respect people with different beliefs or that I don't work with people who aren't Christians, but I think in order to understand my approach to eating, it's helpful to know where it comes from.

You see, I encourage people to act and live from a place of grace and trust--for eating, living and moving, to give grace and have trust for their health and their happiness. It might sound woo-woo, but the principles of this grace fueled eating (as I call it) are backed by reliable research. Besides that, these principles set people free from food worries, guilt, yo-yo dieting, and poor body image. 

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So what is grace-fueled eating? It's a way of eating that recognizes that food is not the real answer to, nor the cause of our problems. Grace fueled eating is not the perfect way of eating, because there is NO perfect way of eating. Grace fueled eating is similar to attuned eating, normal eating and intuitive eating. Only, I emphasize grace to help us remember that by grace we have been set free from having to be perfect, free from striving for position and recognition. We are already worthy and free to live a life of love and purpose. By God's grace, at the cross, Jesus redeemed our lives and set us free to shift our focus from laws to His love. We aren't made worthy by any work of our own, but by the fact that He loves us. There is now no food that can make you unclean, "for everything God made is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving." (1 Timothy 4:4). 

In fact, it's God's will that we live an abundant life of freedom and purpose, but we can't do this if we are constantly condemning and judging ourselves for food, exercise and weight.

So like most intuitive eating dietitians, I totally agree that we have to stop attaching morality to food, condemning ourselves for eating one way or praising ourselves for eating another way -- it only leads to guilt and an unhealthy obsession with food and our body. But even though the food we eat has nothing to do with our morality that's not to say the way we eat isn't related to our soul. In fact our soul, which is the immortal part of us -- our mind, intellect, will and emotions--is certainly intertwined with our physical health and the way that we eat. 

Grace fueled eating recognizes that certain aspects of the soul--mindset, body-image, self-confidence, purpose, identity and emotions--play a huge role in how we fuel and care for our bodies. Whereas the exact foods that we eat play a much smaller role in our total health than we realize. Turmoil in these aspects of our soul may outwardly manifest in a disordered relationship with food. When this happens we only see the end result, the symptom of inward unrest (not the cause), and we tend to blame the food.

In reality, a disordered relationship with food and exercise might jus be a signal for us that some unhealthy and untrue beliefs are festering on the inside, and that maybe it's time to have a new thought. Notice I did NOT say that our relationship with food said anything about our soul's fate after we die, whether or not we are worthy, loved, etc, it doesn't--just that it may be a sign that we aren't living the abundant life we're meant for.

So the good and exciting news it that our wrong beliefs about food and about ourselves can be changed overtime with some knowledge, a little practice and a lot of grace, trust and compassion. 

With this truth as our foundation, grace fueled eating means:

1. Realizing that diets DO NOT WORK and actually only harm in the long run. Diets include anything that causes you to micromanage what kinds of foods you eat, how much you eat or how much you exercise in an attempt to "control your body" or "manipulate your body size". Literally when it comes to weight loss, research proves time and time again that diets don't work and may actually cause the opposite effect. Besides weight loss, there are sneaky food laws and eating rules that mascarade as the answer to perfect health.  These too, don't work for weight loss, often aren't research based for promoting health and may actually cause harm to our relationship with food and our self-worth.

2. Making peace with food and understanding that it is good, that EVERY food group was made to be enjoyed and used for our nourishment. And that no one food can make us lose our health or condemn us to a life of disease. 

3. Making peace with your body and caring for it -- not through starving it or restricting certain foods -- but through feeding it when hungry, listening to it, giving it gentle, enjoyable movement. This also means letting go of trying to control your body size and allowing it to come to its natural size (which typically occurs over time when we remove the wrong beliefs and start giving ourselves permission to eat what we need)

4. Learning and practicing helpful nutrition habits. Wanting to be healthy and feed your body with nutrient rich foods is not a bad thing. It just has to come from a place of peace and trust. Grace fueled eating means you can nourish your body well while still realizing that there is no perfect way of eating, and that God is our ultimate healer, comforter and provider. It allows room for flexibility making it more sustainable than all-or-nothing styles of eating (like with dieting, strict meal planning or food rules). 

This is where a lot of the knowledge and training I received as a Registered Dietitian comes into play. By teaching you how to incorporate helpful, evidence based nutrition habits, my aim is always to make nourishing your bodies less stressful, more enjoyable, simple and sustainable--in a world where a lot of the nutrition guidance we receive does the exact opposite of this.

Nutrition is not as complicated as we have made it out to be, and that's coming from someone who spent years and years studying it and thousands and thousands of dollars attaining degrees and certifications in it! The really hard work begins with changing our mindset about food and ourselves. In my practice, I help people both restore a normal positive relationship with eating and exercise and implement simple, beneficial nutrition habits that help them live their lives nourished and free to think, love and do what they were called to do. This is my passion, MY "called to do" thing. If this is something you are interested in, I'd love to work with you. One-on-one nutrition counseling is where we really get to break down strongholds and set you on a path towards nourishing your body well.

Since I know that not everyone can afford one-on-one nutrition counseling, I am designing an online course on grace fueled eating to help you cultivate a positive relationship with food and your body, as well as learn the research proven tactics for nourishing your body well. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, please leave me your email below and I will notify you when it's launched!