The Complexities of Food and NutritionMar 01, 2021 09:45AM ● By Julie Peterson
Nutrition Experts Dish Out Health Tips
Short-term energy, long-term health, managing weight and simple satisfaction are some of the reasons people choose the food they eat. But there is no way around the fact that food is the body’s fuel, and the quality of the fuel has a lot to do with how well the machine operates. Unfortunately, it’s simpler to put high-quality fuel in the vehicle that transports you to the grocery store than it is to consistently select high-quality fuel for the vehicle that houses your person.
We are bombarded with fast food, processed food and other unhealthy choices. Avoiding these and making better selections in each moment will eventually equate to long-term success with dietary changes.
“I educate and empower my clients to be aware of what is going into their mouth; we are what we eat,” says Christi Buck, RDN, LD, owner of Vitality Wellness and Nutrition Center in Vero Beach. “My philosophy is that all disease begins in the gut. Food is medicine.”
Lee Cotton, RDN, LDN in Stuart agrees that nutrition is a fundamental part of health. “It is not only specifically based on what we eat but also the relationship with food that impacts health,” she says, adding that she helps her clients learn “to stay connected to the body and eat with awareness.”
Sometimes, keeping a food journal for a time helps people recognize eating habits that may not have been apparent otherwise. It’s not necessarily about counting anything, rather looking at food choices through a wider lens.
Down with Diets
‘Diet’ is simply the food that is eaten, but the word has taken on a whole new meaning with fads and programs that claim to help with everything from aging to weight. For those who have health issues, however, specific eating plans may be needed.
“In order for patients to cultivate long-term healthy dietary habits for diabetes, it is important that they do not diet and instead learn how to make healthy choices and learn how foods affect their blood sugar levels,” says Diane Kingsley, RD, LDN, at Whole Body Wellness in Vero Beach. Diane adds that the proper amount of protein and fiber-rich complex carbohydrates can help to naturally lower blood sugar levels.
People with heart or vascular disease, autoimmune disorders, digestive woes and more can benefit from working with a nutritionist or dietitian to help make meaningful and lasting changes in lifestyle and eating habits.
“I practice by helping find the root cause of their health challenge and then design a personalized program for each client,” says Buck. While each person is unique, she points out that “proper foods can help heal the gut.” She recommends her clients start by eliminating sugar since there are 143 reasons sugar ruins your health.
While eating healthful foods is paramount, including selecting organic whenever possible, our choices and patterns may run deep. It’s good to be flexible and gracious with oneself along the way.
“I believe in taking a mindful, realistic approach to nutrition and creating a safe space for clients to discuss current nutrition struggles,” says Cotton, who teaches clients “to trust internal cues and focus on cultivating a healthy body image.”
Food is Good
Food is essential to survival and yet there is sometimes guilt or shame intertwined with the act of eating.
“There are many ‘food rules’ that we have been programmed to believe. Reframing these beliefs about food and weight and embracing individuality is key,” says Cotton. “It is important to change the negative thinking regarding food.”
Finding balance in the diet and the process of selecting and consuming might take time, but the payoff is worth it, especially when disease may be the other option.
“When blood sugars can be reduced to prediabetic levels or even normal levels, a patient can feel more energetic, immune system function improves and the patient may experience a reduced risk of comorbidities that can be common with diabetes such as hypertension, peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy and decreased kidney function,” says Kingsley.
Buck agrees that food can heal the body, “but once symptoms are present and the body is not naturally healing, the body is then asking for help,” she says.
Another reason that working with a professional is a good idea, is that there are many facets to a nutrition plan for each unique situation and body.
“There is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to nutrition and wellbeing,” says Kingsley. “It is just as important to work with a patient on behaviors, habits, sleep patterns and stress levels as it is to work on their nutrition and exercise goals.”
To connect with the nutritionists in this article, please click on their business link.
Christi Buck, RDN, LD of Vitality Wellness and Nutrition Center, shares how what we eat can impact the health of our digestive system. Christi discusses how we are all different when it c... Read More »
Diane Kingsley, RD, LDN, at Whole Body Wellness, shares how what you eat can impact your blood sugar. She discusses what indicators to look for that signify you may need to make some nutr... Read More »