Hello and welcome to this very special blog post where I will introduce you to my unique approach to working with clients.
There isn’t ONE way of eating healthy, which is why the health and wellness world can feel so overwhelming and confusing...
“Opt for fat-free!”
“Fats are good for you!”
“Artificial sweeteners are a healthy alternative to sugar!”
“Artificial sweeteners wreak havoc on your gut”
“Eggs are bad for your cholesterol.”
“Eggs are a superfood!”
“Keto helped me lose 45 pounds!”
“Keto made me feel bloated and tired.”
When it comes to dieting and ‘healthy eating’, yes, there have been a LOT of mixed signals over the years, which has left our society feeling confused, frustrated, and fed up... Myself included!
As an Integrative Nutritionist and Personal Trainer, I’ve spoken with hundreds of people who have been following the guidelines of “healthy eating” without getting the results they want— they’re not losing weight, they’re not feeling more energized, their mood isn’t improving — and they feel like it’s their fault!
In reality, the majority of us just haven’t been given the tools to understand what our
body is trying to tell us, and we’re feeding ourselves based on headlines and articles
without taking our own biological needs into account.
The optimal diet changes we can be making throughout our life is based on factors such as age, constitution, gender, size, lifestyle, and ancestry. Throughout different life stages, we develop different nutritional requirements, and food sensitivities. For
example, the diet of a 14-year-old who has soccer practice three times a week likely
won’t work for a 30-something-year-old at a desk job. (And the best diet and lifestyle for an active student-athlete looks a lot different for the retired student athlete!)
Throughout this post, we will be exploring how you can create a foundation for healthy eating based on gaining a better understanding of how to be in tune with your body. Right off the bat, can you think of any foods that your body “disagrees” with? Feel free to send me an email with your thoughts (Carly@getcrazyfit.org)
How to determine what works for you:
Creating a bio-individualized diet requires some detective work, specifically when it comes to the way you react to specific foods. I always recommend that you keep a log or journal of what you eat and how those foods made you feel! After doing this for a period of time (which I can help you determine if you’d like), you’ll be able to see patterns in the foods that fuel you versus foods that don’t serve you.
For example, you might notice that you feel best after eating a warm meal filled with
cooked vegetables. Or, you might feel great after a completely raw salad. Perhaps you’ll notice that apples make you feel bloated, or salty foods make your head hurt.
Sometimes we don’t realize how crummy we’re feeling until we actually take the time to think about it. Make it a habit to check in with yourself throughout the day and perform a quick self-analysis. Ask yourself:
Does my stomach feel settled?
Do I feel bloated or gassy?
Have my bowels been moving regularly? Am I constipated? Have I had diarrhea today?
How are my energy levels? Have they been consistent throughout the day?
How is my mood? Do I feel anxious, emotional, or depressed?
Sometimes it can be difficult to wrap our minds around the fact that the food we eat has such an immense effect on our overall life, but this exercise of self-analysis can really help bring that understanding to fruition.
In addition to keeping a food journal, I will suggest bloodwork for you to get done as we dig deeper into your symptoms.
Focus on Veggies:
Okay, so, it is possible that you are intolerant or allergic to some veggies.
BUT regardless of what your bio-individuality tells you about your optimal diet, one rule of thumb we can all benefit from is to eat more vegetables! We just have to find out which ones are best for you and your health!
Dark leafy greens are pretty universally digestible (especially when cooked), generally
affordable, and can be easily incorporated into many meals. If you have trouble with
certain vegetables, experiment with cooking or preparing them in a new way.
For example, some people can only digest the crown of broccoli, not the stems. Raw
kale may make you feel gassy, but a quick saute in garlic and oil might be just fine. If
raw veggies in a salad make you feel crummy, try roasting root vegetables like carrots
and fennel and dress and toss them as you would a salad.
Another tip: whenever you make yourself a plate of food, aim to fill half of it with
vegetables. While this may sound daunting to those of you who grew up eating meat
and potatoes for dinner, I promise that with a little experimentation and perhaps some new spices in your cabinet, creating plant-based dishes can be a breeze.
Here’s a cooking tip I like to share with clients: the trifecta of a good dish includes fat, salt, and acid. Not a fan of Brussels sprouts? Try sauteeing them with ghee (aka
clarified butter - it’s lactose-free for those of you who can’t tolerate dairy!), a pinch of salt, and some lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar) and you’ll be singing a different tune!
Once you figure out what veggies make you feel good AND taste good, filling up half
your plate won’t feel like such a challenging task, I promise!
Understand what sugar does to your body.
Our bodies are built to crave sugar. It’s found throughout nature, from berries and
watermelon to squash and honey. Sugar gives us energy. However, the processed and refined sugars result in additional fat storage and contributes to issues like diabetes and obesity when eaten in excess.
As a bio-individual, it’s your job to understand how your body is affected by sugar, both natural and artificial. Some people have no health consequences from drinking diet soda every now and then, while others have to run to the bathroom after one too many sips of aspartame.
A diabetic person might rejoice at the opportunity to eat a birthday cake created with an erythritol-based sugar replacement, but a party-goer could suffer severe cramps from partaking in the smallest slice.
Even foods that we think of as generally healthy may not serve you! The fructans (that’s a type of sugar) in an apple might make you feel bloated. Eating too much avocado might make your stomach hurt. Part of the journey in understanding your bioindividuality is letting go of the idea that all foods that are ‘healthy’ are healthy for YOU.
No matter what, try your best to limit refined sugars as often as possible. Opt for whole fruits, honey, maple syrup, or other naturally occurring sugars for flavor. Also, keep an eye out for hidden sugars by reading nutrition labels—sugar pops up in unlikely places, like salad dressing, yogurt, juice, and condiments. ESPECIALLY with "healthy brands".
If you’re interested, you might try an elimination diet, start reintroducing foods back in, and decide how you want to proceed. If an elimination diet is something you’re
interested in learning more about, let’s chat!
Finding protein in every diet - without protein powder.
Protein is a major nutrient that we all need. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need meat to get enough protein but some need it to get the RIGHT protein. There is good news for both people who choose not to eat animal products and or who may feel better on a plant-based diet, and people who feel better with animal products!
Let’s dive in!
If a vegan diet serves you, nuts, seeds, and legumes are all excellent sources of protein. Quinoa, lentils, nuts, and chia seeds are some great choices. You should work with a professional to make sure you are getting the proper vitamins and nutrients. Especially if you have a regular menstrual cycle.
Incorporate the same foods as a vegan would, but add in yogurt, eggs, and if you’re
This diet is a bit trickier, but still doable! Raw nuts, seeds, and nut butter will be
important staples in your diet. Try whipping up a smoothie with greens, nut butter, chia seeds, and frozen fruit for a protein-rich treat to keep you feeling full and fueled.
Do you have any questions about protein? Do you ever worry whether you’re getting
enough of it? Remember, the answer is different for everyone!
Eating to keep your gut happy.
Did you know that Acid Reflux is actually a sign that your body is out of balance... Yet people live their entire life just trying to "bandaid the burn" and not get down to the root cause.
A majority of Americans live with digestive issues. This is bad news because the gut is
connected to nearly every system and organ in our body, which means that the way we
treat our gut has a significant impact on, well, everything!
An imbalanced gut has been linked to chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, Crohn's disease, and thyroid disordered... The Signs of an imbalanced gut include:
Depression and/or anxiety
Digestive issues, like gas or bloating
Suppressed immunity or autoimmune disorders
Skin problems, like eczema
Food allergies or sensitivities
A healthy gut responds differently to foods than an imbalanced gut, which means that your bio-individualized diet has to cater to what your gut needs from you.
Unfortunately, there’s no pill out there that will ‘heal’ your gut.
However, I can work with you to help you minimize symptoms, recognize patterns, and change behaviors so that you can support your gut health and create a sustainable treatment plan to get your health back on track.
There are over 100 dietary theories, which one is right for you?
I understand the importance of going beyond the USDA government guidelines and
providing you with the knowledge and techniques to find a diet plan that fits YOUR
If you are feeling (or have ever felt) overwhelmed, frustrated, or confused about how to piece together a diet that works for you, I want to help you. Investigating one’s bio-individuality is a process that takes time, but with the right tools and guidance, it’s a process that can literally change your life.
I want to tell you right now that even if you think you’ve tried EVERY diet out there, you haven’t. There’s a lot of fine-tuning that’s involved in catering to your bio-individuality, and a lot of theories that haven’t yet reached the mainstream of the Western world but have been serving people for years.
I would love to help you tap into that world of knowledge that you might not even know exists yet.