I was recently approached by a fellow blogger, Caitlin Huey, who wanted to pick my brain about health and wellness. I got excited to see what questions she would ask and that she wanted to feature me on her blog, Cash Cake and Cardio.
We covered what it means to be holistic, whether you really need to buy organic, my personal diet, and what some of the claims that get thrown around the health world really mean!
Q & A:
Caitlin: What does it mean to be a Holistic Health Coach? Do you have a specific focus?
Leah: Holistic Health Coach looks at the big picture, not just what’s on your plate. There are so many aspects of life that influence our decision making process, so while someone may come to me seeking diet advice, their eating habits could be a trigger of something bigger that’s going on. It’s my role to motivate, encourage, suggest, and listen.
A holistic approach is about mind and body since they work together to achieve wellness. I am currently focused on simple solutions for moms who are busy with their family, and/or work, that don’t want to compromise their health for their demanding schedule. I will likely get into the corporate wellness world after I have my baby since I think there’s opportunity for improvement for people in an office environment.
Caitlin: What kind of food regimen do you follow?
Leah: I am gluten free, but not by choice. I was diagnosed 13 years ago as gluten intolerant. Prior to that discovery, I knew something was up since I was sick all the time (lots of inflammation, bloat, digestive issues, and no immunity), and luckily through sticking to that diet I have maintained proper health again. Other than that, I am mostly plant based. I believe that is truly the best way to feel great. You can eat meat. You can have cake. But if you’re eating the majority of foods coming from the ground, a tree, plants, etc. you will glow from the inside out. There’s always some room for the other stuff—and we’re only human!
Caitlin: Do you recommend eating organic foods? If so, why is it important?
Leah: Yes, I highly recommend eating organic foods. Organic foods do not have all the pesticides the conventional foods have. It can also mean antibiotic and GMO (genetically modified) free where it applies. Not all foods are gmo, but if it’s certified organic you know that it’s not.
As for meat and dairy, organic means you don’t get all the antibiotics that most animals are pumped with which has been a big scare in our ability now to resist antibiotics when needed to treat us. It’s not good for them, and it’s not good for us. I wrote an article on buying organic here. And if you’re confused buying eggs, check this out and make it a lot easier!
Caitlin: If I can’t buy everything organic, what should I focus on?
Leah: It can be tough to buy everything organic all the time. Whether it’s because you don’t have access or the funds to support it, the best rule of thumb I can recommend is for produce, anything with thin skin buy organic.
For instance, berries, apples, and grapes.An orange and banana have thick skin, so those would not apply. Buying in season dramatically effects the price and the freshness. I wrote this article on the benefits of eating seasonally. I personally recommend buying brown rice, eggs, and any meats organic, as often as you can do it. Maybe one day we won’t have to worry about buying those items organic anymore because they won’t be contaminated like they are now?!
Caitlin: What is a superfood and why do I want to eat it?
Leah: A “superfood” started as a marketing term, but it’s a great way to make sure you include healthy items in your diet each day. Superfoods are generally rich in color, which means rich in vitamins and minerals.
Superfoods can range from the more common blueberry or kiwi (did you know kiwi’s have more vitamin c than oranges?!) to spirulina and bee pollen. Incorporating superfoods into your diet amps up the nutrients you’ll get from your foods. Just think about how colorful and vibrant they are? Well, you are what you eat 😉
Caitlin: What is one staple that I should always have in my kitchen?
Leah: That’s a tough question!!! So many! I’ll go with avocado. It’s so nutritious and versatile! I can guarantee whatever other items you have in your kitchen, there will be one that will pair nicely with it for a healthy, easy meal, even if it’s just some sea salt! They even contain more potassium than a banana, so it’s a great food for energy too. We could all use some more healthy fats and fiber in our diet, and the avocado is one of the best sources. They are a great hormone balancer too, ladies!
Caitlin: There is a lot of talk about metabolism boosters or metabolism movers? Can you explain what this means?
Leah: So called metabolism boosters are chili’s, green tea, and even water. While they get recognized for a good reason, I think people should consume them in normal, adequate amounts as a part of a healthy diet. One of the very best things you can do for your body is to stay properly hydrated. So many of us drink too much caffeine or soda that will not clean and flush our system like water can!
Green tea is known for its health benefits one of which can amp up our metabolism, but best when consuming three cups a day. Chili’s and other heating foods like ginger and turmeric have that effect inside our body too working as a thermogenic and speeding things up a little (or making you sweat!) which is why diet pills typically contain them. While all these things are good for you, following an overall healthy diet will do much more!
Caitlin: Clean eating and paleo diets are recommended for weight loss, can you explain why these help with weight loss and what the health benefits are?
Leah: Clean eating and paleo diets will absolutely result in weight loss, and can be attainable forever. These diets are less of a ‘fad’ and more about sticking to the basics, which is the best way to go. With any diet someone sticks to, it usually results in weight loss because the person is sticking to a plan they’re conscious of and dedicated to.
Eating clean allows the body to function at its highest level, which it wants to do naturally anyway. Polluting it with processed foods, high in fat from deep frying, and chemicals block it up and make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight and prevent it to perform optimally. The health benefit of both these diets is what you’re leaving out as well as what you’re putting in. Functional foods for a functional body!
Caitlin: With summer around the corner, anything you can recommend adding to your diet to become bathing suit ready?
Leah: Lots of water, healthy fats, and greens!
Caitlin: For everyone that has a sweet tooth, what is your favorite dessert recipe?
Leah: I absolutely love this cookie dough recipe and these black bean brownies! They’re both a huge hit in my house, my friends love them, and so do their kids! I love a good guilt free indulgence that tastes like the real thing!