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This month we are discovering nutrition from the holistic point of view. In this discovery, I’ve undertaken the services of holistic nutrition consultant Danielle Levy. To say that I loved my experience is an understatement!
After booking my initial consultation, Danielle promptly sent me a health history form and gave me the homework of writing a diet diary. At our hour-long consultation the following week, we went over some areas of concern with my diet and lifestyle, addressed how to achieve my diet and lifestyle goals (e.g. The dry spots on my face? Make my own concoction of face cream. It’s a fraction of the price, works really well, and I know all of its ingredients), and she even taught me why and how some food choices are better than others. Right now I am in the follow-up phase where Danielle checks in with me via email or phone and an additional consultation. This patient, hand-holding encouragement is service like no other, and I am sure her approach yields great results amongst her clients. It certainly has with me.
To better describe holistic nutrition and the service of a consultant in this field, I’ve asked Danielle to answer a few questions. See her answers below.
What is the difference between a dietician and a holistic nutrition consultant?
The two practices are based in different paradigms. The approach of a dietician tends to be more linear, while a holistic nutrition consultant examines an individual?s nutritional intake while a holistic nutrition consultant examines an individual as a WHOLE, considering all aspects of their health and lives..
My holistic approach takes the following aspects of a person’s diet and lifestyle into consideration:
- The quality of the food: Organic or conventional? Local or imported? Fresh/frozen/canned?
- The environment/context in which the food was eaten
- Your relationship with food and eating — emotionally or psychologically, and habitually: Do you tend to eat more or less when stressed? What did you eat growing up? How has your relationship with food changed over time?
- Your relationship to cooking
- Stress Level, current and recent past
- How food, before and after eating, makes you feel (physiologically, psychologically, emotionally, and energetically)
In what ways do you support your clients?
I carefully assess their current diet and lifestyle with a 5-page health history form and 1-hour consultation where we talk about their habits and goals. From the information I collect, I create specific Diet and Lifestyle recommendations to help them achieve their health goals. I also offer nutritional, health and cooking education. Explainingwhy a food is better than another gives people more incentive to choose healthier foods, helping them be more self-reliant in the future.
I do all of this while being compassionate. By taking the time and care to help and support somebody in making diet and lifestyle changes, they feel more positive and motivated to take action.
What range of ailments do people come to see you about?
A wide variety of presenting symptoms, ailments and other reasons including:
- Digestive issues
- Food sensitivities and allergies
- Wanting to lose or gain weight
- Sports Nutrition: Interest in improving athletic performance & endurance through a plant-based diet
- An interest in transitioning towards a plant-based diet
- Improve skin health
- Stress management through diet and lifestyle changes
- Counter low energy and fatigue
Other than food, what are your other recommendations?
Get organized: Aside from discussing food itself, I also help people focus on their organizational skills. Adopting and maintaining a healthy, balanced, diet and life has a lot to do with organization. I work with the client to set up a realistic health plan that works for their lifestyle to create long-term positive change.
Increase movement and reduce stress: Exercise and stress management are perfectly interconnected. Exercise helps reduce and prevent stress, allows for healthy digestive function, strong metabolism, immune system and for overall health.
If someone was feeling lethargic, but is generally a healthy person, what would you suggest for them?
Lethargy is connected to a number of things — diet, exercise, and stress-level are relevant. Some general recommendations would be:
Drink more water: People are often dehydrated, which can cause a variety of issues (headaches, low energy, constipation, skin issues) and so drinking at least 2L of water a day is key. In the winter, we are in just as much of a need for water as in the summer due to the indoor heating that dries us out from the inside out!
Get outside and exercise: The winter is cold and dark which is not always pleasant for outdoor activity. However, if we are always indoors and are not breathing fresh air, we can experience lethargy. Getting outside for a 30-60 minute walk each day is helpful in conquering and preventing lethargy.
Give your gut a break: Heavy eating may cause your digestive system to be exhausted, too! To give your body a break I recommend having more homemade hearty soups, broths (miso), and even smoothies. Being in liquid form, they are much easier to digest and require less energy for the body to break down. This frees up more energy for you to do other things than just digest food! It also frees up energy for the immune system to strengthen, thus protecting you against the common cold or flu.