From Jenny Craig commercials to reminders about eating a certain amount from each of the food groups every day, there are several diets, weight loss techniques and nutrition options out there to choose from. However, health has more to do with what you eat and holistic nutritionists take into account just that. This according to Registered Holistic Nutritionist from Nutralicious Consulting, Laura Hillier.
“We believe that there is no one diet or lifestyle that is right for everyone all of the time; there are no miracle foods or herbs that will cure all illnesses,” said Hillier. “Because everyone is different, every effort is made to understand each person’s individual needs, likes and dislikes in order to formulate the best diet, supplement, and lifestyle approach for that person.”
Hillier wants to get the word out about healthy eating and about the dangers associated with eating disorders. “Eating disorders are becoming very common, and with juicing and cleanses becoming mainstream, people are becoming focused on eating only healthy food,” Hillier describes.
This week is actually National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and focuses on shedding light on the stories of men and women who struggle with their body types, translating to food consumption issues. Hillier’s job is to raise awareness about all that surrounds health and nutrition year-round.
“It can affect anyone, at any age, and it seems that girls as young as 8 are starting to display signs of disordered eating and have body dysmorphia,” explains Hillier, adding the risk is higher for students because of financial and time barriers. Hillier says battling eating disorders is more common than some may think, adding it’s important to know you’re not alone and to talk to your doctor, naturopath, nutritionist or counsellor about your struggles and they’ll make sure to help you find the help you need.
In the meantime, here are 10 tips from Hillier to keep you on track for a healthy lifestyle:
1) Always eat breakfast. Breakfast provides the fuel for your day and without it, your brain goes into a bit of starvation mode making it harder for you to concentrate.
2) Never skip a meal. Skipping meals makes your metabolism slow down and makes you reach for the chips and chocolate bars because you’re so hungry.
3) Eat protein for breakfast. Protein is brain food and a bowl of cereal will not help you stay focused in class. Starting the day with eggs or steel cut oats with nut butter is a great way to start your day.
4) Eat more fat. Fat helps your cells transmit messages better therefore helping you do better in school and stay focused. Eating more cod liver oil, butter, avocado, coconut oil and olive oil are great ways to incorporate it.
5) White bread is not a food. Try substituting regular sandwich bread for sprouted grain bread.
6) If you buy your lunch in the cafeteria, try to avoid getting greasy, heavy foods because they will slow you down and you’ll feel like sleeping. If you want a burger and fries, opt for a bun-less burger instead, and have water instead of a pop. This way, your blood sugar levels will stay stable and you won’t have the sugar crash in an hour.
7) Eat your vegetables. Your mom was right when she said they make you big and strong because there are a lot of traces of minerals in them that helps your body and brain function. These minerals are primary fuel when in school, so eating an abundance of them will help.
8) Eat every 3-4 hours to keep your energy levels up. Small meals throughout the day will help you focus, stay awake and stay energized.
9) Cut back on the coffee. A cup a day is ok, but more than that and your body will start to go through some serious chemical changes. Too much coffee actually puts your body into a constant state of stress and you will crash harder and faster. If you’re still craving the caffeine, try drinking green tea instead. It will give you some caffeine but without dehydration and the crash afterwards. Alternatively, try flavoring your water with lemon or berries; it’s a great natural way to drink extra water without added sugar or chemicals.
10) Make sure you eat enough at each meal. Students’ brains require more energy and calories to study and sit through lectures, and to retain information. Consuming enough calories will not only allow you to get better grades, but you won’t feel as exhausted at the end of the day
For more great tips on staying healthy and eating right, visit www.nutraliciousconsulting.com
Neetu was born and raised in the Okanagan Valley (minus the few toddler years she spent living in Punjab, India where her line of heritage is from). She moved to the lower mainland to attend BCIT and is now in her graduating year of the Broadcast and Online Journalism Program. Her writing and editing for Link magazine often happens late at night because when she’s not at school she works as a reporter and anchor for CKNW Newstalk 980 and is also involved in the start up of a charity called the Beautiful World Foundation. She loves to travel and feels fortunate to be in a field where she can share the stories of interesting and inspiring people from around the world.