My Appointment with a Nutritionist

167314167Writer and food enthusiast by day, Jon Yaneff is transforming his life step-by-step. Here, part one of a personal account of his visit to a holistic nutritionist. 

“I am at my best when I listen to my body.” That should definitely be the mantra every person should live by. I recently listened to my body by seeking advice from holistic nutritionist Brett Hawes, someone I connected with because he’s also a teacher at my school, the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve made several positive diet changes; however, I didn’t take into consideration the toll that years of eating processed and convenience foods had taken on my digestive system. You can’t pollute the garbage dump and then expect everything to be sanitary just because you start following a “clean diet.” I now understand the impact food has on the physiology of my body’s functioning—damage had been done and my body had to heal first.

When you heal yourself, you become a better-educated advocate for others and their own wellness journey. Mine has become a lesson in compassion, forgiveness and courage. It takes courage to listen to your body and take the steps to heal. It takes forgiveness for the years of torment you unknowingly may have caused your body, and compassion for yourself to let your healing begin. Whatever I ate in the past is in the past. Now I’ve made the decision to eat wholesome foods and take healing supplements to support my health and wellness.

My main concerns were my digestion and immunity. I knew that I had to listen to my body, and I needed help to heal my issues. I was experiencing periodic gas and bloating, and throughout the winter I was sick on multiple occasions, and I had styes, eye infections, on both of my eyelids. When you maintain good digestion, you also support strong immunity.

Evaluating Health History and Lifestyle

Trust is also a big thing when you seek professional advice. Brett has been practicing holistic nutrition for more than 10 years. He feels strongly that one modality doesn’t hold all the answers; his practice includes nutritional supplements, energy psychology, herbal medicine, homeopathy and iridology (what your eyes reveal about your health). Brett’s well-rounded knowledge and experience definitely made it easy for me to trust his words of wisdom.

When you see a holistic nutritionist, it’s not enough to have concerns. Brett wanted as much information as possible, and he certainly had many tools to build on the information I already gave him. He analyzed my health history and lifestyle, and evaluated my dietary intake based on my mood and food choices. He asked me questions like: What dietary supplements are you taking, including the brands and dosages? What does your diet largely consist of? What’s your stress level? Trying to get to the bottom of my concerns.

My hectic lifestyle and vegetarian diet make things challenging at times. I do have full meals, but… Brett noticed a trend in my diet: I was lacking proteins and fats. My main sources of protein were whole grains and legumes. I was also avoiding eggs and dairy because I wanted to try to go vegan as well, although I did eat some feta and goat cheeses. My diet consisted of a lot of gluten grains, such as dough pizzas, sprouted breads, and buns with flaxseed. Dairy and gluten grains or bread are the top food allergens and sensitivities in North America.

Food Sensitivities Cause for Concern

With my digestion concerns, Brett suspected that hidden sensitivities were the problem, and recommended eliminating dairy and gluten grains completely until I had a sensitivity test to see if that was the problem.

I decided to get my sensitivity test from someone specializing in biofeedback analysis and bio-energetics. Biofeedback analysis is a form of muscle testing to determine the energetic intolerance level of a substance or food. Interesting!

A muscle is exposed to possible food sensitivity and the level of intolerance is determined by a positive or negative response to a food. Bio-energetic practitioners use an instrument called the GRS-120 unit, which helps create a homeostatic state by directing energy onto various points on the body. The process is meant to alleviate food allergies and sensitivities.

I was tested for several foods and other substances, and I got some surprising results. Some foods triggered a high intolerance, and Brett recommended I avoid them completely: Wheat, table salt and tomato. I have a minor intolerance to every dairy product, including milk, cheese and butter, and my consumption should be limited to once a week. I also had a high intolerance to coconut oil, and moderate intolerances to chia, hemp, split peas, lentils and navy beans. These were major surprises for me because I consider those foods healthy, but now I know they aren’t the best for my body until my digestive system improves.

My body, I was told, should be able to eat foods like eggs, shrimp, wheat, rice, oats and gluten because these foods were treated with the GRS-120 unit. So we’ll see how it goes!

Check back for part two of Jon’s appointment where he talks about his diet changes and what he took away from the experience.

Brett Hawes is a holistic nutritionist and a teacher at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. For more information, visit his website and Facebook page.

Mercola, J., Dr., “Problems with Digestion? This Type of Food May Be To Blame,” web site, January 6, 2011;