LA / Toronto based Holistic Nutritionist Beata of She Lives Clean, knows a thing or two about finding yourself through food. After a career in modeling left her with IBS and a not so ideal relationship with eating, she decided to re-evaluate her beliefs and find her balance. She went back to school to study for a third time, and now has a successful practice consulting others on how to step into their healthy vibrant selves.
Read on for how she lost herself to find herself, and her top five easy nutritionista tips that anyone can embrace. (My fav – quit counting those calories!)
What has your journey with healthy eating been like?
Smooth sailing! Just kidding. Of course, I’ve had my ups and downs with healthy eating, like anyone else. But I was lucky enough to grow up with a health-conscious, holistic momma who drank lemon water first thing every morning – before it was trendy! I remember waking up to a glass of lemon water next to my bed each and every day. Healthy habits like these were such a big part of my life that I didn’t even think twice about them. I thought every kid was eating overnight oats and drinking boiled flaxseeds for upset tummies!
It was really when I got to University that healthy eating became a challenge. I got into modelling and started experimenting with different diets to lose weight. I had never counted a calorie in my life but at that time calories became my life. I developed a very unhealthy relationship with food to the point where the yo-yo dieting and abuse on my body led to me developing a severe case of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
Nevertheless, I think there’s often a silver lining to most things in life and mine was IBS because it made me re-evaluate my relationship with food and forced me to learn how to heal through nutrition. I began to understand the importance of health and how precious it is. This self-growth and realization inspired me to “pay it forward” by becoming a Nutritionist and helping others in their journey to better health through food and lifestyle.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I thrive on improving people’s lives. I just love it! I would say the highlight of my job is working one-on-one with clients and teaching them how to eat, think and live for a happier, healthier and more balanced life. I also love spreading positive messages via social media. If I can motivate just one person out there to eat more greens or swap table sugar for raw honey or coconut nectar, then I’m a happy gal!
How did you decide to become a holistic nutritionist?
I think deep down Nutrition has always been a passion, I just never knew it. After graduating from University, I went on to study Public Relations at a prestigious college and while I worked my bum off at school, the unpaid internships and long hours at a high-paced PR firm left me feeling unfulfilled. My IBS was raging again from the stress and I found myself creeping health and wellness blogs during work hours on a daily basis. I finally decided to take the plunge and go back to school for the third time to complete a program in Holistic Nutrition. It was the best and most rewarding decision I ever made. If you are financially capable of pursuing your passion, I say do it and never look back! You won’t regret it!
What other healing modalities interest you?
A large focus of my one-on-one practice, beyond diet, is teaching clients how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Managing stress, getting enough sleep and moving the booty daily are all part of the optimal health equation. For me personally, stress management is a big obstacle that I am still trying to master. I think there is something to be said about practicing gratitude daily for finding internal peace. Meditation too is an incredibly effective tool but it can be a bit intimidating so I like to tell my clients to make meditation be whatever they want it to be. Even taking 30 minutes per day to completely shut off (phone away), practice deep breathing and simply be still is a simple form of meditation and mindfulness that anybody can practice anywhere. Easy yoga poses, lavender essential oil baths and journaling are all healing modalities that reduce stress and promote better overall mental health. I talk a lot about creating your own morning and evening rituals on my blog as I truly believe stress to be one of the biggest hurdles in people’s lives in the pursuit of good health.
What’s next for She Lives Clean?
2017 is looking very promising for SLC! A brand new website is in the works along with e-books tailored towards women suffering with IBS or other digestive conditions. You can also expect lots of freebees on the new website, new recipes, blog posts and my usual daily dose of inspiring nuggets via my social media networks, particularly Instagram and Facebook.
Now for Beata’s nutritionista foodie tips….
1. A good amount of hydrochloric acid or HCL and proteolytic enzymes are crucial for efficient digestion and digestion is everything when it comes to good health. Apple cider vinegar triggers HCL production and the secretion of enzymes from the pancreas. Not only that, ACV is purifying and cleansing as it breaks up mucous in the body so a good protector against infection. Try this immune-boosting, digestive tonic: 1 glass filtered water, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 pinch cayenne, 1 pinch pink salt, 1 tsp raw honey.
2. Drink your greens! There’s no better way to ensure adequate intake of dark leafy greens than in a delicious, easily digestible, convenient smoothie. I emphasize dark leafy greens because I consider them one of the most important vegetables for vibrant health and glowing beauty. Leafy greens like spinach, romaine, kale, collard greens and swiss chard are excellent sources of fiber, antioxdants like carotenoids and a primary source of chlorophyll which is a blood cleansing, alkalizing compound found in plants. Swap out your afternoon coffee for a green smoothie and watch your energy soar! Try my SLC Green Smoothie.
3. Quit counting calories for good, count nutrients instead. We’ve been programmed to think that the secret to looking “thin” (whatever your definition of thin is) is solely based on calorie counting and restriction. I can assure you that it’s not. I don’t remember the last time I counted a calorie – in my early 20s actually when this intense calorie restriction led to a full blown eating disorder. I actually gained weight because of it. The secret lies in the quality of the foods we eat. Try this for a month >> stop looking at the calorie count of foods and start paying attention to the quality of those foods only. Mostly organic, whole, real foods. Treat yourself with wholesome, delicious treats that are low in processed sugar and high in fiber and healthy fats (the info that really matters!). Together with exercise you will be astounded by the results.
4. Practice food combining for better digestion and a bloat-free belly. Food combining is exactly what it sounds like, combining specific food groups together that digest more efficiently than if paired with other food groups. For example, avoid mixing protein with complex carbohydrates like grains at meal time as this combination promotes slower digestion and fermentation/putrefaction in the belly leading to uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, burping and *gasp* passing gas! Try these combinations at your next meal time instead: protein + non-starchy vegetables (think leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower etc.); grains/starchy vegetables (think squash, beans, potatoes) + non-starchy vegetables; fruits alone or combined with non-starchy vegetables.
5. Disconnect at least once per week. Stress is a major health culprit so practicing stress-reducing techniques is crucial for good health. I consider it equally as important as good nutrition. I encourage my readers and clients to disconnect from technology at least once a week (#switchoffsunday) because whether we are aware of it or not, technology is incredibly stimulating and in turn, stress-inducing. When we’re constantly on our phones/computers, we are activating our sympathetic nervous pathway which triggers the release of stress hormones throughout the body. Over time, this over-stimulation can cause a plethora of health problems, not to mention its negative effects on our beauty! I encourage you to put away your cell phone and laptop for one day each week and instead, be present in your surroundings, do what makes you happy! For me that means getting outside and being surrounded by nature.