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Why did you start Food Heals Coaching?
Food Heals Coaching began with an accident. In 2013, I had a bad fall that wrecked my knees and back and had to be on bed rest for almost 6 months. During that time I made small changes to my eating habits (switching to Greek yogurt, making oatmeal instead using instant, et cetera) and lost 30 pounds with NO EXERCISE!! This inspired me to begin learning about how food can be used to optimize your health BEFORE you’re in a sticky situation like I was.
What are your credentials?
In March 2016, I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition after a year-long health coach training program. Additionally, I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Wellesley College. Currently, I am working on the prerequisites necessary to get a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition from the University of Alabama. Once completed I will take the certification exam to become a registered dietitian.
What types of clients do you typically work with?
In general my clients are women who want to live a healthier lifestyle but don’t want to turn their lives upside down with a crazy diet. I give them recipes based on what they already love to eat, but with a healthy twist. One good example is adding protein powder to pancakes. Another is making chocolate peanut butter cups at home. In addition to the food, they also want to exercise more, reduce stress, and manage their time better. All of these contribute to a better quality of life.
What is the difference between a health coach and a registered dietitian?
Both strive to help you live a better life. The difference revolves around the level of education. Health coaches study general principles about healthy lifestyle habits, over 100 different diets and and surface-level science about how foods affect the body. As a result, a health coach can only suggest that you make small changes such as switching from table salt to Pink Himalayan Salt or how to squeeze an extra 5 minutes of exercise into an already busy schedule. Health coaches also cannot diagnose an illness or prescribe a course of treatment.
Registered dietitians, however, go through much more extensive training. They must obtain a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, which has required coursework including but not limited to biology, anatomy, organic chemistry and microbiology. They must also complete a clinical internship to learn how to properly diagnose and treat various illnesses. After all this coursework is completed, the next step is to sit for a licensing exam. Once passed, the dietitian must complete continuing education courses to maintain their license.
Do you advocate for a specific diet?
No, I do not try to put a client on a specific diet. They do learn about different types of diets and how it can fit their current lifestyle. For example, the ketogenic diet, a drastic reduction in carbohydrate intake is popular right now. Instead of making them consume only 30 grams of carbohydrates a day, I show them how to slowly reduce it to make the change more sustainable.
How long do clients work with you?
It varies. Most clients work with me for three months so they can learn about their eating habits and lifestyle choices. Once they acknowledge that these have been causing problems, we work to find easily adapted solutions. If you love coffee, for example, I recommend that you find a natural sweetener like stevia instead of chemical-laced ones such as Sweet-n-Low or Splenda.
I would like to get a feel for how you work with clients. Can I do so without purchasing any sessions?
Absolutely! I offer a free introductory session. During the session, we’ll discuss your goals, my approach and determine if we are a good fit to work together.