It’s Nutrition Month!
We sat down with nutrition consultant, Andrea Troughton to learn more about nutrition.
Andrea – what brought you to be a nutrition consultant?
Like a lot of people, I hardly knew how to cook and wasn’t eating what was right for my body. I worked full time in the bar and restaurant industry and that meant I ate a lot of restaurant and fast-food. Health wasn’t a priority until I started exercising & working with health professionals. That led to me doing a bikini fitness competition and my coaches taught me the importance of nutrition. They also inspired me to study nutrition and help educate others.
What do you feel changed when you started to eat healthier?
When I wasn’t taking care of myself I wasn’t very happy – I was just existing. I didn’t have goals or put myself first. I chose to feel better by putting my health as the priority and my mood changed drastically.
It is a misconception that having a healthier diet is about heavy food restrictions. I don’t believe in restricting yourself all the time, because it creates a cycle of feeling deprived and then over-indulging. It also creates a negative association with food. Rather, focusing on adding awesome and nutritious food helps you still feel normal, then treat yourself moderately. That way you will not only eat healthier but you will feel happier!
What do you feel is the biggest misconception about nutrition and eating healthy?
There are so many! I would say the biggest I’ve been thinking of recently is demonizing a particular food or nutrient, such as carbs, dairy or gluten. I think lumping everything into a bad or positive light is dangerous, because it is following a fad rather than eating according to your body type. Another example is detoxing. Its either demonized or sensationalized, which does more harm than good. A gentle detox of eating more whole foods and leafy green veggies is usually healthier than most detox fads – and it’s cheaper too.
How do you feel about the word ‘diet’?
Unfortunately, it’s been given a bad reputation thanks to yo-yo diets. When people hear the word they think they will do something short term to achieve lasting results. In reality, the word diet simply means ‘the things that we eat’ and that original definition needs to be embraced. I sometimes will use the word nutrition instead to avoid that negative connotation altogether.
Is there one diet for everyone?
Absolutely not! Every person is unique in their biological/chemical makeup, their lifestyle, stress level and daily life demands. What works for one will not necessarily work for another. Unfortunately this also means it may take some guesswork to find what works for you. That can take time, but with someone assisting you it is easier and your chances of success are greater.
So it’s March – any advice for how we should be eating this month?
Thankfully we are getting more daylight! As well, we have survived February (the most depressing month). As spring approaches we should be eating more seasonal foods and starting to prepare our bodies for spring-time veggies. That means eating more fresh foods. And as always, eating food that hasn’t travelled far to get to your plate will guarantee your food is fresh and has a higher nutritional value.
For some, a change of season is a good time to detox and reset your body. Although it may not be for everyone, it can be a great way to embrace the transition.
How does someone know if they should seek help from a nutrition professional?
If you’re someone who has tried a lot of ways to improve your diet and haven’t found success, then a nutrition consultant may be able to help. Especially those who can’t seem to ‘stick to’ any diet plan or have tried too many (like yo-yo diets). If you find your struggling with energy and focus – such as not getting enough sleep or finishing tasks you’d like to during the day, then diet and nutrition is a great place to start. Improving nutrition is something anyone can do, but often we need an outside view from a professional to see what we are missing.
I think most people have a good understanding of nutrition, but the key isn’t always knowing the do’s and don’ts- it’s knowing how to reach your goals. How to take the information you have and make it fit your lifestyle.
What should someone expect when they see you for nutrition services?
Before I meet new clients I have them fill out a questionnaire and complete a short diet journal. That way when we sit down I will have an understanding of where they are starting and be prepared with some questions & observations.
After that, we go over their goals and struggles. Every person is different so the strategy varies per person. However, every person will recieve resources and approaches to help them overcome their struggles.
Finally, what is your mantra as a nutrition consultant?
I believe the human body is a work of art (also why my company is called Work of A.R.T.) Everything your body can do is pretty amazing, and I love to celebrate the body by helping it work as optimally as possible through nutrition.
Thanks for reading!