Guest Blog: Nutrition (Part 2)

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Welcome back to our ongoing interview with Nutritional Therapist, Danielle Marquis. Make sure to pop over to Part 1 if you haven’t had a chance to read yet, because there is a wealth of information over there! I hope you enjoy.

5. Something I often see is people being very concerned with scales and calories, aka numbers. Can you enlighten us to your view on these things!! 

I’m so glad you asked! My whole philosophy is really not being a number cruncher or a calorie counter. It simply is not realistic to think you’re going to track these numbers every day for the rest of your life. I have observed so many people stress about calories and they live and die by the numbers (a younger version of myself included!) yet they still often do not reach their goals. Now, that being said, I view these numbers and stats as a great short term tool. They can, at times, offer us great insight into our habits/behaviors and give us some direction on where we may have some wiggle room to improve. The same goes for the scale. The scale is simply a tool. I encourage everyone to use it in that way and to not use it frequently--once a week at the most. The number (*as a tool) can sometimes, but not always, tell us if what we are doing is working (if so, great, keep on keepin’ on) or if we need to take more action. Since weight loss is most commonly on all of our minds I like to express to people that there is no mathematician sitting in your head saying “ok we took in 238 calories and we output 707”. The body simply does NOT work like that and the message we have been told of “eat less and move more” really is inaccurate and does not work. The scale is a terrible tool in terms of determining whether or not you gained OR lost fat tissue, as well as if you gained OR lost muscle tissue. So many people are starting their mornings off creating a state of negative energy because they’re beating themselves up over the 0.5-1.0lb fluctuations each day. This. Is. Normal. Have you had enough water? Did you poop that day? These small fluctuations are incredibly normal for the body and they do not equate to a direct gain or loss of straight fat tissue. 

Furthermore, I see so many people identify their worth with the number they see on the scale and let me tell you--whoever you are reading this, you are not the number. You are likely a wife, a great employee, a mother, a father, a member of the community, a sister, a friend, a husband, a son, etc. You are all of those things and your worth goes FAR beyond a number. I’d also like to point out that a cardio machine at the gym and your fitbit are highly inaccurate at measuring how many calories you have burned. That is a HIGHLY individual thing and is also significantly more difficult to calculate. This is another reason those numbers that may be stressing you out are actually not serving you well, because they are not accurate. 

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Follow me with this thought process to a little something abstract. The people I see who weigh themselves daily, they stress about the small gains and losses, they track their weight, they’re tracking their steps, their calories, they’re using MyFitnessPal, etc. etc. These are the people whose weight often doesn’t change. Energy flows where attention goes. Read that again: energy flows where attention goes. When we are so focused and stressed out about the numbers, we are actually inviting more of the same into our lives. When we let go of the pressure the numbers bring to us and focus more on the energy we are putting out there to take care of ourselves (I exercised today and that was good for my body. I drank enough water today and I feel good doing that. I’m making time to cook my own food and I know that’s promoting my wellness) we often start to see the number on the scale shift. It’s much more about the energy and intention behind your behaviors than the actual behaviors. Another key point you can takeaway is to focus on how it will FEEL when you reach your health goals. How will you FEEL when you lose the weight, get to a manageable place with your autoimmune condition, learn to cope with your anxiety, etc? Find a way to feel that feeling right now. That is what invites that future state into your current reality.

6. I LOVE that, D! Okay, I know this is a favorite topic of yours: Tell us how much water we should be drinking!  

Ahhhh water. The fountain of youth is what I call it! This is the number one deficiency in America. The majority of people I work with when I ask them how much water they are drinking respond with “not enough!”. It’s one thing we all know we should be doing yet often don’t follow through with. Water is crucial to so many functions in our body. Our bodies are about 60% water so it makes sense to give it what it is mostly composed of. Water helps transport nutrients to the cells of our body, take away toxins from cells, and the cartilage in our joints is about 80% water. Most of my clients and patients express that they are feeling better energy within a week of drinking more water and also that their digestion is happening more smoothly. Digestion is very much a process of hydrolysis, meaning it is highly water dependent. The equation for your daily water intake is ½ your body weight in oz + 1.5x oz of diuretics. Diuretics are: coffee, herbal teas, alcohol, fruit juice, and soda. Yup, sorry, the water in your coffee does not count. This is because it requires more water from your body to process the caffeine than the water that’s in the coffee. For diuretics you want to add in 1.5 x the oz of the diuretic in addition to your daily minimum. For example, if you have an 8oz cup of coffee you want at least 12oz of water to replace it. 

A common barrier/complaint is not wanting to go to the bathroom constantly --  I hear you! This signals that you need some electrolytes in your water and my favorite is a pinch of sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. And we are talking a pinch, not to the point where it would taste like ocean water. If you are a person who craves salt you will likely love this. The pinch varies from person to person as well as day to day. Your gauge is if you are still going to the bathroom frequently you may need to try just a pinch more. If this is sending an alert off inside your body about blood pressure--don’t fear. There are many other things that cause high blood pressure but if you are not eating a highly processed/refined/boxed food diet you do not need to worry about salt. Sea salt and Himalayan pink salt are also fantastic sources of minerals. Those minerals are your electrolytes and they help your body pull the water you are drinking into the cells and tissues of the body so you are actually absorbing and utilizing it. This is why you end up in the bathroom less. Those minerals are also key to muscle cramps (in addition to hydration) if those are something you struggle with.

½ body weight in oz + 1.5x oz diuretics = daily minimum water intake

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7. Okay, last one…coconut oil… yay or nay?

Oh, coconut oil. It has come on to the scene full force! People are using it for all sorts of things: skin care, hair care, cooking etc. Coconut oil mostly gets argued against due to its high saturated fat content. Think back a little to our brief discussion of fats in this post and let me reiterate that saturated fat is not an enemy. What saturated fat is, is very stable to heat and great for cooking. Coconut oil is a fantastic oil to bake, sautee, and stir fry with compared to vegetable oils that go rancid under heat. It has some other added health benefits too: medium chain triglycerides that get easily uptaken into the liver for energy (great fuel for athletes) and lauric acid which is an antibacterial for the gut. Be sure to look for unrefined coconut oil, preferably organic and extra virgin.

Danielle, it has been wonderful having you on Holistically Inspired, please tell our readers where they can learn more about you and the best way for them to contact you! 

The pleasure has been all mine, truly! I am so excited to connect with you and look forward to sharing in your health journey! For any additional questions, the best way to contact me is: email dmarquis.gagnon@gmail.com online www.bewelldanielle.com facebook www.facebook.com/bewelldanielle instagram @be_well_danielle

If you liked this interview with Danielle, you may want to check out our online course! It is easily accessible, and will guide you gently toward a more holistic lifestyle focusing on Chinese medicine and nutrition. Click here to take $100 off the total price throughout the month of September — enter code SEPTEMBER at checkout.

All the love and health to you,

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Guest Blog: Nutrition (Part 1)

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I could not be more excited about my guest blogger this month, y’all! If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve most definitely heard her name. Not only is she a dear, dear friend of mine, but she is an endless wealth of knowledge in the food and holistic health scene! We’ve collaborated on everything from retreats and workshops to treatment packages, and our most recent endeavor, an online course! So, without further ado, I’d like to share my interview with Danielle Marquis, BS, NTP, CPT, CHC, so that you all can also reap the benefits of what she has to offer! 

1.Thanks for being here, Danielle! First, tell me a little about your training, because as I understand it, it varies substantially to that of a traditional nutritionist. 

Well first let me say I am so excited to be here on the Holistically Inspired blog! Thank you for having me. I’m so glad you asked this because yes, nutritional therapy (NT)  takes quite a different approach than say that of a registered dietitian (RD). It very much looks at a person as a WHOLE and does not look only to chase a symptom but to investigate the underlying cause. NT uses food as medicine and its healing properties to support functions of your body. When systems of our bodies are not functioning as well as they could be we experience adverse symptoms. We can use the healing powers food can provide to support and encourage better functioning of our body. I work with clients to take a look at their current dietary/lifestyle habits and how we can adjust them to better support their health goals as well as restore optimal function. 

Many people think of nutrition help to mean that you are going to have a ton of restrictions and be forced to remove things from your diet but often times I am helping people with what they can add into their meals to make them more supportive and nutrient dense. I don’t operate with meal plans and I don’t like to recommend any one specific diet. I’m not of the mindset of identifying with “I am keto or I am paleo etc.” and the reason for this is each and every one of us is 100% unique in our dietary needs and what is the most supportive for us. A sweet potato can be great for one person yet for another person it might cause their blood sugar to crash. However, one caveat to this is there certainly are very specific diets I may guide a client through, for example an autoimmune paleo protocol, if it is something that can benefit the client and offer a true level of healing. 

2.That’s so interesting, what made you want to study holistic nutrition so extensively? 

From a young age I just intuitively knew I never agreed with this idea of having a “health problem” then going to the doctor, getting a pill and leaving it at that. I always felt there must be a better way and that the food we put into our bodies, which breaks down and literally BECOMES us, must have a role to play. I have been reading about food for years, probably since the time I was about 13. Originally that interest sparked for not the most honorable reason but came from being a young girl who was insecure, had little self esteem/confidence, and had no self love for her body. That interest continued over the years and I experienced some healing in my own journey, then around age 20 I discovered a paleo way of eating and felt significant improvement with my energy levels and weight management. I went on to switch my degree from psychology to kinesiology and had dreams of pursuing a physical therapy career. Life happened and I never went to PT school but reached a point where I wanted to further my education in some way and found the Nutritional Therapy Association. I had always been interested in nutrition and felt it fit well with my physical fitness knowledge so I decided to sign up for the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program. I thought I knew a lot about food and oh boy did I realize I knew nothing! Well, not nothing, I certainly had a good foundation, but the NTP program was transformative on so many levels. I feel like I learned the true way to look at the body, how to view health and wellness, and most importantly how to recognize imbalance and heal myself/others. I loved every minute of my program and am immensely grateful for the knowledge I have gained. Not all of us have the luxury of time to devote to learning nutrition as in depth as I have been able to, and so it is my absolute pleasure to be able to share the knowledge I have gained that is so immensely empowering.

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3.Okay, now onto the burning questions I have for you! There are so many diets out there, and I really see people trying to be “good” but with so much contradictory information, where should people even begin? 

Great question and I am so glad you asked! I feel for everyone out there; it is honestly downright  confusing as a consumer. One day coffee is the greatest thing for you, the next it’s the worst. Eggs have been on both the “good” and the “bad” list how many times now? There truly is SO much conflicting information out there and my NTP program was the game changer for me in debunking and sifting through all the information. Something that helps me when I am shopping or making a decision about food is asking myself this question: did humans eat this 200 years ago? When you think about this in the timeframe of human existence, this is really not that long ago. This is pre-industrial revolution when everyone left the farms and went to the cities. We then had to feed people in mass quantity which led to the refining and milling of grains, making more shelf stable products, etc. Even only 100 years ago.. Did we have pharmaceutical drugs? No, we had herbs to heal ourselves. Did we have food that can sit in a box on a shelf for 9 months and not go bad (I consider these “food-like” products because they truly are not food)? No, we had real, whole food grown from the earth. Did humans eat butter, and eggs, and bacon, and animal products? Yes, yes, and yes! We thrived off of them for thousands of years. *An important note is that these animals were properly raised in pastures and not with the conventional farming techniques we use today of feeding animals corn and soy at feedlots.* Another point I like to express is that the healthiest foods for us do not have labels. There is no nutrition fact label on a bell pepper, nothing on a banana screaming “eat me!”, and no “low-this, low-that, heart healthy, etc.” marketing on broccoli. 

Now, I do find that people often genuinely are trying to make the right choice and sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know and all you have to go off is the messages from the media/big pharma/companies/commercials that get put forth to us: eat a low fat diet, have more grains, yogurt is a healthy breakfast, drink milk for calcium, if you want to lose weight you just need to eat less and exercise more, calories in should be < calories out. All of these messages are what don’t work. I’d say a good starting place is to instead keep a food journal and log how you feel after eating food. Does your energy crash? Do you get a headache? Do you have irregular bowel movements? This will guide you to learn what specific foods YOUR individual body feels best with. I highly recommend not looking for the next quick fix or diet claiming it will solve all your problems--there are.no.shortcuts. At times you will need to refer to resources for information and I have found that comes with a little bit of time and learning what sources you trust. Personally I refer to Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser, The Weston Price Foundation, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Mark Sisson for information to name a few. Lastly, if you are really unsure of what choices to make or how to best support your body, consult with a practitioner you trust and who you feel has an approach in alignment with your views.

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4. This is such good information, I hope all my loyal readers are taking notes! :-) Next is a big one, and one of the first things we connected on, because your point of view really aligns with that of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)! Can you please explain to us why things like butter and meat are actually good for us. 

I absolutely love how aligned nutritional therapy and TCM are and it’s part of why I love working with you Holly! Together we are so powerful and create true healing for others. Like I mentioned earlier, we thrived off these foods for years and years and years. The issue today is conventional farming methods and the low-fat diet purported to be the healthiest option for us since the 50s. Let’s delve into these things a bit. In the last 5-7 years the message has changed to a slight “oops, we were wrong” about the low-fat diet while in the meantime Americans have gotten sicker and sicker, diabetes is rampant, and cardiovascular disease is still the number one cause of death in America. Back in the early 50s people were starting to die from heart attacks. A scientist called Ancel Keyes did the famous 22 country study which only plotted data from 7 of the countries. With these 7 data points it appeared there was a trend that countries consuming lower saturated fat had less cardiovascular deaths. However, when all 22 country’s data is plotted, there appears to be no trend. If the nitty gritty details of how the low-fat diet started and now it weave its way into every aspect of our food system I highly recommend the book The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. This began the entire low-fat revolution which villainized animal meats and products while glorifying grains. It also began the beginning of our food industry removing fat from products, which is tasty, and replacing that fat with something that can taste even better: sugar

Animal products, especially organ meats, were highly prized nutrition to our ancestors who utilized the whole animal. The bones for broth, the organ meats for their nutrient density, the meat for meals. Organ meats were actually more prized than the muscle meat. Dr. Weston Price studied indigenous tribes amongst various parts of the world and found an Eskimo tribe in the northern reaches of the world. The tribe had no scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) yet lived in a climate with no fresh fruits containing vitamin C (think lemon, lime, oranges, etc). The tribe would share the adrenal glands from whales and this was their source of vitamin C. Another example: chickens were historically valued for their eggs (the yolks contain the most nutrition) and not for their “lean” breast meat. Butter from grass fed (that’s the super important part!)  cows contains great nutrition: butyric acid (energy source for large intestine cells) and vitamin K2 (important for blood clotting) as well as vitamin A (vision, reproductive, and immune function). Grains and the agricultural revolution where we started growing food only came on to the scene about 12,000 years ago. That is still the blink of an eye in the historical lifespan of human existence. An important distinction to note is that the grains and agricultural methods we use today are NOT the same as our ancestors. Our ancestors did not eat hybrid or GMO corn/soy, whole grains, nor pasteurized or homogenized milk. They consumed raw milk and dairy from grass-fed pastured cows, traditional fermented sourdough bread, fermented foods, and soaked or sprouted grains and legumes. So, without ranting too much on this one, animal products are absolutely health promoting and supportive for us but it is key that we prioritize placing our dollars on products that have raised animals appropriately.

We’ll cap it there for this edition of our “Nutrition Breakdown” friends, and pick up next week. Make sure to stay tuned! And if you are just loving this interview, check out our online course where you can keep learning from both myself and Danielle. In light of Danielle’s guest appearance on Holistically Inspired, sign up during the month of September and receive $100 off!

To your health,

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My #1 Method for Taming Anxiety

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Anxiety has become a buzzword in our society—so much so that I’ve had 4-year-olds come into my office and tell me they have anxiety! (As an adult, yes, I’ve battled with my own anxiety, but at 4, I can tell you that my biggest concerns were if I’d be able to go back outside to play after dinner or if we could maybe visit the ice cream stand that afternoon.) 

While contemplating what this says about our culture arguably deserves some attention, today I just want to talk about anxiety in terms of what it actually is… and that is that it is simply an emotion. 

It’s an emotion. Just like happiness, joy, sadness, or worry. And emotions have a very important job: They are meant to tell us what is going on inside of us. They show us how connected we are to ourselves at that particular time. 

As much as we’d love to blame our emotions on the people or situations around us, in fact, emotions are an indication of how we are feeling and how connected we are to our source. My terminology not jiving with you? Let’s look at it a different way. Ask yourself the following questions the next time anxiety creeps in and you have a strong desire to place the blame on something external instead of internal: 

✔️How grounded am I right now? 

✔️Am I honoring myself in this situation? 

✔️Am I setting appropriate boundaries? 

✔️Am I showing up for myself? 

✔️Am I practicing self love, compassion, and acceptance? 

✔️Am I hungry? 

✔️Am I tired? 

✔️Am I stressed? 

All roads lead to the same destination. Emotions are a clue as to the above, as to how we are currently showing up for ourselves. A wise, wise friend once told me, “Emotions are not facts, but it is a fact that we feel them.” Hmmmmmm, interesting right? 

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The first step in calming your anxiety is to begin to see it as just another emotion. Emotions are not facts... meaning they may not be appropriate representations of the situation, but it is a fact that we feel them—and indeed, quite strongly at times. The really cool thing about emotions? They never last forever. 

So, what is my #1 go-to method for calming anxiety? Well, it’s to work preventatively, of course. When is your anxiety the worst? Morning? Night? When you go out with friends? Whatever your answer may be, start using your tools before you know the anxiety might set in! Prepare and tap into the art of preventative medicine! 

Most people I work with have found something that helps, but typically people only do these things when anxiety hits. Review the above questions; usually when those things are off for a while, we are more likely to experience adverse emotions like anxiety. Personally, when I don’t set boundaries for myself (and stick to them) I can start to feel immediately off. Now, when I don’t set boundaries for myself day after day, week after week, sometimes even month after month...when the adverse emotion hits it is substantially harder to turn around. 

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Most of us have felt the “spiraling” feeling of strong anxiety, and therefore most of us know that when we’re in it, it’s so very hard to come out of it. So, my advice, my #1 tool that works best for me is to start early… start when you’re feeling good! Use the tools that you know help you to feel good and do them every single day instead of waiting until you feel bad and try to crawl yourself back out. 

That’s akin to only taking vitamins when you’re sick, only going to acupuncture when you’re hurt, or only seeing a therapist when you’re in crisis. We have to learn to take responsibility for our own feelings and start showing up for ourselves every damn day. Believe it or not, we are in charge of how we feel. 

Interested in cultivating your own tools for taming anxiety? If so, I’ve got your back! Email me to learn more about the benefits acupuncture, coaching, and yoga can have on anxiety.

All the love and abundance,

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