I’ve always been an excellent eater. And, as nature demands it, I was born to eat and relish in the necessity, but it wasn’t until late 2003 when pairing proper nutrition with good food became an interest, more honestly, an imperative. If you’ve ever heard the ubiquitous adage, “hindsight is 20/20,” you’ll soon understand what I mean. Leaving home for university, my daily rhythm changed and adapted to suit my new course schedule, food schedule, and the irregular schedule of my new found freedom. What also changed, was how I felt after every lunch hall meal.
Attending a private university has its benefits of small classes, deep friendships, and community meals; however, for the first time in my life I started to realize that it wasn’t normal to feel lethargic or ill after a meal. I’d fall asleep at my computer while my roommate vigorously typed away, already on her midday snack. The thought of eating anything a few hours after a meal turned my stomach rather than induce stomach pangs of hunger. In that moment I realized I had unknowingly felt this way my entire life. My family always felt some kind of reaction after eating and it was just normal to feel ill. I began experimenting from meal to meal trying to determine which foods negatively affected my energy and digestion– I began reading, inquiring, and dreaming about nutrition.
For the first time in my life I’d learned that Crohns, colitis and IBS was part of my family history, but it had never directly come up in conversation. Instead, it was called “Brown Belly” (Brown is my maiden name) and was something experienced by several generations of women, and even men, on my father’s side of the family. After several conversations, allergy tests, doctors appointments, and meeting with a fellow holistic nutritionist later, IBS is something I found to be best managed through a real food, and an anti-inflammation and allergen free diet. I’ve paired this with stress management found in yoga… and, let’s be honest, learning not to be so uptight.
Learning about my own health has brought me to two places in life, the study of nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition where I exceeded expectations on my board exam, and, two, a passion for food systems. A food system is essentially the network or social/ political conversation around food. It involves nutrition, accessible health care, sustainable agriculture, food security, local economy, to name a few. In my second year of university, before I had even heard of the term food system, I wanted to switch schools and find a program that involved sustainable agriculture and nutrition. I was fixated on learning more about how intricately interwoven these two things are within the fabric of our society. We eat to live – we eat to celebrate – but as I was learning, food had become less about the farmer, community, celebration and health, and more about politic and industry. Despite my diligence in researching university programs, one in sustainable agriculture and nutrition still did not exist. I chose the next best thing, holistic nutrition. I finished the degree I was already in (thankfully, as I met my now husband there a year later) then later enrolled and completed my nutrition program in Vancouver, BC.
Enjoy my blog. It will primary focus on digestive health, whole foods and eating to support efficient energy – rather than drain it. You will also find a collection of my gluten and dairy-free recipes, and personal thoughts and ramblings on the topic of healthy food systems. I believe in the necessity of moderation, eating real and whole foods, and leaving room for celebration, which transitions perfectly into my next point of, being kind to yourself. A healthy relationship with your body and the foods you eat is important. Rather than counting calories, increase the amount of fresh vegetables and other whole foods that nourish your body. Rather than limit fat, learn here about the benefits of healthy fats for healthy body weight and weight loss. Enjoy the community aspect of food by visiting your local farmer’s market and then cooking and sharing meals with friends. Be patient and kind with your body rather than self-shaming yourself for “cheating on your diet,” and most importantly, continue to grow and learn – nourish from the roots up!