Eating The Rainbow & Going Plant-Based
Why did you decide to pursue a career in nutrition?
I became interested in natural medicine from a very early age. While growing up in Europe, herbal medicine and traditional techniques like cupping were the mainstay of primary healthcare. My exposure to these therapies sparked a lifelong interest in holistic health.
What kind of training did you undergo/certification you received?
I decided to follow my passion and went on to attain a bachelor’s degree in Biology from York University. I then pursued my studies in the field of Naturopathic medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. I also completed a twelve-month long internship at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, the largest facility of its kind in Ontario.
I also hold a special Naturopathic certification to practice Intravenous (IV) Therapy. In my practice I utilize a combination of techniques including acupuncture, botanical medicine, intravenous vitamin therapies, other injection therapies, supplements, as well as diet and lifestyle counseling for the most effective and individualized care. I am a general family practitioner with a special interest in integrative oncology, anti-aging medicine and hormonal health.
What do people look for in a health coach, nutritionist or dietician?
A health coach, nutritionist and dietician each have their own training and legalities that need to be followed. Once you know what each field can provide you, you’ll know what options suit your needs best. After selecting the type of practitioner, it is then helpful to read more about each individual practitioner's particular approach and areas of focus.
If you could persuade people to change three things about their diet, what would they be?
- Ditch the white stuff: avoid white pasta, white sugar, white bread, white rice, white flour products. These are typically highly processed, devoid of nutrients and detrimental to balanced blood sugar levels.
- Make half your plate veggies: a simple hack for healthy eating (and portion control) is to make sure at least half of your plate is veggies at each meal.
- Animals concentrate pesticides and pollutants in their bodies. Whenever possible choose organic meats, fish for your protein sources.
On the topic of diets, any weight-loss tips for our readers?
Limiting the amount of simple carbohydrates consumed is an effective weight loss strategy for many people. I often advise patients looking to lose weight to consume 2 meals per day consisting of vegetables and protein and at 1 meal per day to consume carbohydrates, vegetables and protein. This combined with avoidance of snacking between meals often leads to successful and sustainable weight loss.
How important is it to properly hydrating throughout the day?
There’s a lot more to hydration than just water. The advice to drink 8 glasses of water a day is oversimplified; what’s really important is how much of that water actually reaches your cells, and how your body uses it. Cellular hydration can impact how you feel in so many different ways! Cellular hydration can help you feel:
-More calm and focused
-Have clear, glowing skin
-Boost athletic performance
How much water should someone drink in a day?
While drinking “8 glasses a day” is the traditional answer, there are many factors to consider. Levels of physical activity, heat and humidity in the environment ,as well as the intake of any diuretic medications or foods all affects how much water our bodies need.
Plant based living is becoming more and more popular. When eating a mostly plant based / vegetarian diet, are there certain foods to focus on to make sure we’re getting enough nutrients and protein?
One of the most well researched diets for overall health and wellbeing is the Mediterranean Diet. While not exclusively vegetarian, the traditional "Mediterranean diet" is characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and mainly unrefined, minimally processed grains; an abundant fat intake from virgin olive oil, a moderate consumption of fish and shellfish, a low consumption of meat and meat products; and, the consumption of wine during meals. Fermented dairy products (cheese and yogurt) can also be consumed in moderate amounts. While this type of eating pattern is not purely vegetarian, it is primarily, but not exclusively, a plant-based diet that allows for a low consumption of meat and meat products, fermented dairy, and a moderate consumption of fish.
It is a combination of these dietary factors, rather than the consumption of specific foods, which seems to provide many of the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Substantial evidence has verified the Mediterranean diet's nutritional adequacy, long-term sustainability, effectiveness for preventing heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, maintaining healthy weight as well as increasing longevity.
Speaking of plant based, what are some of the benefits of drinking chlorophyll water / benefits of liquid chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is the compound that makes plants green. It is responsible for helping plants absorb energy from sunlight during the process of photosynthesis. Consuming chlorophyll may have additional health benefits for humans such as improving liver detoxification, reducing inflammation and fighting anemia.
Best ways to boost your immune system?
Simple lifestyle optimization strategies are a great way to boost the immune system. For example engaging in at least 30 to 40 minutes of exercise every day helps strengthen your immune system by up-regulating virus-destroying T-cell and antibody response.
For people looking to add to their supplement regimen, Vitamins C, D and Zinc have all been scientifically shown to have a positive impact on the immune system.
What’s your favorite source of antioxidants that you recommend?
The best way to obtain antioxidant is through “eating the rainbow”. In fruits and vegetables, colour equals antioxidants, which help quench disease-causing free radicals. Aim for six to eight servings daily, plus a cup of cruciferous green veggies (such as broccoli, brussel sprouts and rapini) at least three times a week.
What’s one of your favorite organic/natural supplements or vitamins you recommended?
Many brands of supplements contain artificial colours, flavours and other various unhealthy ingredients such as polyethylene glycol and hydrogenated oils. Always make sure to choose professional brands that have undergone third party laboratory testing. The supplement label should clearly state that the product does not contain preservatives, artificial flavour or colour, yeast, soy, gluten or sugar as these can trigger sensitivity reactions in many people. As per our regulatory college Naturopathic Doctors are not permitted to provide specific supplement recommendations/endorsements outside of a doctor patient relationship.
Any favorite health / nutrition podcasts or books you recommend to our readers?
Where can our readers find you? (Instagram, Facebook, etc)