There is a lot going on in the wellness world, great concepts and evolutions but sadly there are trends in the wellness industry that are overused, misunderstood, and abused.
Loving your body! You can be beautiful, sexy, AWESOME at any size. Body shaming in the wellness industry is wrong! I have seen healthy bodies and unhealthy bodies in all shapes and sizes. However we cannot take this to the point where we ignore the real health risks of having not enough body fat or too much body fat, it contributes to inflammation, hormone imbalances, and much more, this loving your body movement can be taken too far when we ignore health risks.
"Everything in moderation and eat what you love." This message is coming from a genuine place, dieting does not work, and we want to get that message out, but this message can be taken too far or used to justify unhealthy eating patterns. As a Nutritionist, I know what my definition of moderation is, and it varies on the food item as well as the health and lifestyle status of my client. The problem here is we all have a different perspective of what moderation is and this can lead to a lot of issues. Read my article here for a little more on the moderation topic. Eating what you love, well if you told me that when I was in my early to mid-’20s it would have been the typical North American diet full of processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats. How is that promoting wellness? We know the leading cause of most diseases is dietary, this is just poor advice all around.
Nutritional needs are individualized: Yes, we are all individuals and have different needs, tolerances, and so much more, yet there are still universal nutrition foundations that apply to ALL humans (for example free-sugars have no benefit to all of us not just some of us, and we need to eat in a way that supports a healthy gut-biome...). In my professional and personal experience when people say this to me, they are usually using this as an excuse or argument to avoid making the necessary changes they need to make or to justify fad diets (because it’s working for me…. Until it doesn’t). Most individuals assume if something is not working, they will experience symptoms, however, a lot of damage can occur without indication and are often not discovered until testing is done or it’s too late (disease can be a silent killer). Worse is when one does not want to accept the fact that what they are eating has already contributed to their ill health and instead the individual blames genetics (less than 2% of diseases are genetic) or something else.
Wellness professionals and scope of practice. It is common to hear personal trainers, media professionals/reporters, and other health or wellness professionals giving advice that is not part of their scope of practice or advice that goes beyond their generalized education, such as nutrition advice, prescribing/recommending supplements, or even giving advice on the use of botanical remedies including essential oils. As a nutritionist who has a background in sports and fitness nutrition, I was educated in physical activity and movement sciences but it was “generalized education” meaning I was literate enough to educate my clients on how important movement is to their bodies and so on, this education did not qualify me to be a personal trainer. Generalized education is used to help one educate clients/patients about another aspect that may help them attain their goals if they are on board then a referral should be made to a qualified practitioner/professional who specializes in that modality to help them.
MLM/Direct Sales in the wellness industry: If you are a professional in the wellness industry whether you are a health practitioner, personal trainer, or yoga instructor and you have brought any MLM/direct sales products into your establishment or to your clients, please reconsider. As a Nutritionist, I can tell you I have yet to see a supplements by any of these companies that are properly formulated. As a Herbalist, I can tell you the essential oils out on the market are way overpriced, the guerilla marketing, and advice being pushed is downright unethical and people have been harmed. Don’t even get me started on their lack of transparency, despite saying they are transparent they give you the run around when you ask for legit information that any responsible health professional would require before recommending a product. MLM/Direct Sales “business'” often contributes to the blurred scope of practice advice I was mentioning above. Sales representatives should not be confused for actual Complementary Alternative Health Practitioner, check credentials before taking or following through with the advice, sales reps are trained to sell products not formally consult and prescribe. If I did not convince you to proceed with caution maybe this will help!
The wellness industry is very important for a society that faces unique health challenges, and therefore it’s important we use messaging that cannot be misinterpreted and stay professional.
Dana Clark CNHP, CHC, CHN, CLE
👉“The prevailing popular nutrition advice online may increase consumer confusion, skepticism and even avoidance of dietary advice.” - This quote is from a study in the Online Journal of Public Health Informatics. The study reviewed where individuals were getting most of their nutrition advice from and the possible dangers it could pose, it showed social media was a big source. Are you guilty of seeking nutrition advice online? Do you check the credentials of the individual giving said advice? Is nutrition part of their scope of practice (you would be surprised at how many professionals speak out of their scope of practice when it comes to this topic)? Although Nutritional Sciences are advancing and have come a long way, the confusion and appearance of drastic changes in nutritional advice are mostly happening thanks to the media and the online community jumping on poor quality/biased scientific literature, cherry-picking studies to suit an agenda/view, misinterpreting the studies, creating hype for various reasons, and a list of logical fallacies... Unfortunately, this irresponsible reporting and actions have negative consequences with individuals possible harming themselves or giving up on nutritional science. This is why working with a Nutritionist is very important as well as turning off the radio, ignoring the next meme, or online article that talks about nutrition/diet/food circulating in your newsfeed are the best thing you can do for your health and stress level🧘♀️.
👉If you are tired of being confused then I can help you with my background as a Nutritionist & Natural Health Practitioner.
Dana Clark CNHP CHC CHN CLE
My fees are going up in 2020, from time to time I find the need to do this. Here is a very basic explanation of what your session/program/class fees contribute to.
Dana Clark, CNHP CHC CHN/RNC CLE
Jenn and I talk about diet culture and how it negatively impacts individuals wellness goals and even their mindset.
Jenn from Zen Fitness and I got together this time to talk about wellness routines. Mindset, movement, and nutrition.
Jenn (from Zen Fitness) and I got together to chap about the top 3 nutrition fails that I come across regularly.
I have been getting a lot of questions about my opinion on the new “Beyond Meat” options being offered at various establishments and thought it was time to just lay it all out in a post. So here it goes...
First, let’s consider the establishments that sell beyond meat options, do they actually sell healthy options? No, they don’t so that should be a red flag right there. Burgers and breakfast sandwiches are not healthy options they are something you have occasionally not regularly.
Are “Beyond Meat” patties healthier than burgers or other meat substitutes? Let’s break it down.
As you can see they are not healthier, so if you are switching to this burger or menu item for health and wellness reasons you are better off finding an eating establishment that actually has healthier menu items or make your own lunch to go.
If you are consuming it for ethical reasons such as lower carbon footprint. It may be a better option if consumed on occasion. However, if we factor in a poor quality diet has been shown to be a major contributor to chronic diseases and illness, frequent/regular consumption may lead to the opposite effect. Being unhealthy and treating chronic disease increases your carbon footprint if you need to rely on medication. Just a little food for thought.
Dana Clark, CNHP, CHC, CHN, RNC, CLE
As a Nutritionist, I am bombarded with individuals who have “googled” their nutrition or have taken advice from unqualified “experts” and often have to debunk the information received. I already tackled Keto and now I am going to tackle 3 Nutrition Fads that make us Nutritionist go cray cray…
There is a lot of solid science that shows that fasting 10-12 hours a day (time restricted fasting) has a lot of health benefits for most individuals and I always encourage my clients, when appropriate, to implement this simple daily fast as part of their lifestyle practices. Fasts that last longer than 12 hours, however, do not have conclusive quality science backing it up. What we do know about longer fasting is that it can cause low energy, fatigue, moodiness, muscle loss, and slows metabolism. It may put the body into starvation which leads the body to store calories as fat much quicker or prevents the body from releasing fat stored in adipose tissue. Longer fasting durations also increases the risk for malnutrition, elevates cortisol levels, contributes to hormone imbalances in women, may lower glucose tolerance especially in women, and causes poor quality sleep… Ask yourself if this is a risk you want to take, will these health imbalances help you reach your end goal? Instead, learn to eat a healthy whole food balanced diet and implement a simple 10-12 hours time restricted fast.
Update: December 2019: I have come across even more research that supports time restricted fasting. For every positive there is a possible negative that should be individually considered when one fasts longer than 12 hours however. So if you are considering starting or currently doing time restricted fasting it is even more important to sit down with a Nutritionist to see if it right for you and you are not doing harm and just reacking all the benefits.
Kombucha, like all beverages made with sugar fermentation (beer, wine), is a sugar-containing beverage; don’t kid yourself. Depending on brewing/fermentation technique, 95% or less of the sugar used is consumed by the bacteria. The average home-brewed Kombucha contains 2-6g of sugar in an 8 oz. glass. The sugar present is what we call extrinsic a.k.a added or free sugars, these are the sugars that are not needed by the body for health, and instead contribute to weight gain, and increases risk for various diseases through inflammation and stress… Let’s be real here, this alone should be a clear indication this beverage should not be consumed as part of a healthy lifestyle, but kept to special occasions. Add on to this that currently, health benefits of consuming Kombucha are inconclusive and some studies have indicated risk of the brew producing toxic bacteria, alcohol, and causing liver stress. Store bought Kombucha is generally higher in sugar then home brewed Kombucha and may have unhealthy additives added. Nothing says healthy like sugar and the potential for toxic bacteria!
Juicing & Juice detoxes:
Juicing removes the fiber (needed for detoxing) and other important synergistic components that regulate the fructose in the body as the fructose is no longer an intrinsic (whole food) sugar and now hits the body hard (stressing the body during a detox is counterproductive). Although touted as being a great source of available antioxidant, in actuality it’s the opposite, those quality antioxidants (important in detoxing) are actually bound to the fiber that has been removed leaving you with fewer antioxidants. The sugar effect of the juice has hypernatremic effect removing water from the cells, thus not supporting health. In addition, sugar also impedes vitamin and mineral absorption (again not supporting wellness and the bodies ability to detox). So ditch the juice detox or daily juices and aim for quality properly formulated smoothies/shakes made from whole foods. If you are interested in doing a detox speak with a Holistic Nutritionist, not a salesperson!
If you want to make healthy changes with your diet, take the time to invest in quality sourced information and advice from a Nutritionist instead of wasting your time, money, and health on gimmicks.
Dana Clark, CNHP, CHC, CHN, CLE
Keto, or the Ketogenic Diet, might seem like the latest diet trend, but it was actually created almost 100 years ago, originally designed to help children with unmanageable epilepsy. This diet drastically limits carbohydrates, causing the body to use fat as energy, rather than glucose. When the body starts using fat as energy, it also produces ketones. This side effect can reduce the frequency of seizures in some children with epilepsy when medication doesn’t work.
Another side effect is...quick weight loss. Ding Ding Ding - how sexy is that? Because of this side effect, it has been used in a clinical setting for emergency weight loss (under medical supervision and risk factor analysis of course). Fast forward to 2018, and now it's a new diet trend.
Why does it ‘work’? Keto is a very restrictive way of eating, so of course weight loss is going to happen. Why it doesn’t work? So many reasons, but mainly because of its restrictive regime, many people can’t sustain it over the long term.
To make Keto work, you need to stay in a state of ketosis, leaving any flexibility of just living or what other people might refer to as ‘cheating’ not possible. Not to mention the fact that macronutrients need to be monitored very closely making it necessary to count everything consumed. As a Holistic Nutritionist, I love food journaling and I use it as a temporary tool for my clients. Having said that, to constantly keep such detailed tabs on your food intake is not a healthy or sustainable practice. It is my goal to help my clients develop a healthy relationship with food. I want them to be able to enjoy ‘living moments’ such as pizza and cake on occasion, without guilt or major repercussions beyond a little feedback from their bodies the next day.
In my practice, many of my clients come in with digestive issues, and as a Holistic practitioner, I know how important our gut biome is needed for overall health. A healthy gut biome supports our immune system, stabilizes inflammation, regulates hormones, allows us to metabolize our nutrients, reduces our risk for various diseases, and supports healthy weight management. I am often rebalancing client’s gut biome and addressing their digestive issues. What Keto is not? A digestive system and gut biome friendly diet. It lacks the various forms of fiber, much-needed prebiotics, and resistant starches (which come from legumes, quality intact grains, root crops). Many of the foods consumed on the keto diet, for example, dairy fats, increase inflammation in the digestive system, stress the digestive organs, as well as suppress a healthy gut biome. BUT you’ll lose weight, so all good, right?
Oh man, my nutritionist rant is bubbling up....here’s another thing, I am often addressing inflammation with clients. There are some theories out there that suggest Keto helps inflammation due to its effects on adenosine levels, but the science is still out on whether this is true or not. When it comes to nutrition and its effects on our health, we need to look at the big picture.. Nutritional science is not linear. It would be irresponsible of me to look at one concept or one benefit when there are so many intricacies to consider... Sadly, fitness professionals or ‘Influencers’ lack the formal nutritional education and tend to take the micro view and focus on one aspect of a ‘diet’. My larger, nutritionally focused view takes into consideration that dairy and high animal product consumption increases inflammation in the body through various mechanisms from the gut biome to the bodies ph.levels...I could go on.
I know you’re thinking - “But I’ve seen it work!” Here’s why - Keto requires individuals to drop added sugars, and ditch a large number of processed foods. This alone will result in weight loss, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduced pain associated with inflammation. These changes are ones I promote to all my clients; this is what we call an overlap effect and this is why we see benefits, sadly with Keto, it doesn’t last due to the points I made above and much more. This is why I don’t recommend Keto to my clients, especially when there are more sustainable and wellness-focused ways for my clients to reach their goals that do not have the potential for negative health outcomes in the future.
Other well documented articles/videos on the keto diet
Dana Clark CNHP CHC CHN CLE
Check out this episode of Flying for Flavour with yours truly talking about this exact topic with Stephanie & Cynthia
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