What I Learned About Myself (and My Body) from My Nutritionist

452683989Writer and food enthusiast by day, Jon Yaneff is transforming his life step-by-step. Here, part two of a personal account of his visit to holistic nutritionist Brett Hawes. Read part one, where Jon looks for help to deal with his digestion troubles and strengthen his immune system. 

Diet Suggestions: Boost Protein with Animal Products and Morning Smoothies

Now for the next steps! After analyzing all the information about my health and food sensitivities, Brett created a personalized dietary protocol to address my digestive and immune system concerns.

He suggested I start my day with morning protein shakes with sprouted brown rice protein because of my sensitivity to other substances. The protein shakes also include ghee (clarified butter), nuts (I use an organic almond butter and a few cashews), fruits (frozen mangos work well), and some greens (kale and spinach). Fruits would normally be eaten alone as part of proper food combining rules. He also recommended I rotate grains among basmati rice, quinoa, wild rice and steel cut oats. He also suggested sesame oil and extra virgin olive oils for cooking.

A big change, though, will be transitioning more animal products into my diet, like organic eggs and wild and organic meats and fish. Brett incorporates Ayurvedic medicine which considers food to be the best way to keep your body in balance and fight disease and aging; he says I’m a “vata” body type, typically a smaller frame that requires warming cooked foods, so I should be eating some meat or fish.

I’m also following Brett’s tips to help stimulate digestion: Tongue-scraping first thing in the morning, and using Swedish bitters 20 minutes before my meals.

Supplements: Healing with Multivitamins and Antioxidants

Brett recommended a high-potency multivitamin with very bio-available forms of minerals, which replaces my regular multivitamin. The multivitamin formula works well to balance my adrenal glands and combat stress, and it is a solid foundation for my body.

He suggested a basic antioxidant formula for intestinal healing. I show signs of zinc deficiency with skin irritation, which indicates my intestinal lining is also compromised. A diet (my former diet!) consisting heavily of grains (especially gluten grains), legumes and some nuts can cause zinc depletion.

Betaine HCl (hydrochloric acid), digestive enzymes and probiotics are all known to improve the digestive system and create more acidity in the stomach, so part and parcel of the recommendations.

My HCl was low, according to the iridology exam (iridology uses the iris of the eye to help determine deficiencies and disturbances in the body). Iridology also revealed signs of bowel toxicity. Probiotics can help balance my bowels, and a gentle organic bowel cleanse formula was also suggested.

I was taking a solid omega-3 fish oil supplement, but now will switch to two a day. Good oils are essential to help reduce inflammation from food allergies.

How I Feel About Getting with the Program

To be perfectly honest, the diet and supplement regimen was intimidating the first time I saw it. Like a fastball coming at me 100 miles per hour—information overload! I thought, what would I do next? Now I bring my many supplements in a bag to work, school and wherever else I travel to make sure I get all my doses in. Brett says there might be days where I continue to experience my digestive symptoms; however, as my body shifts, there should be more good than bad. Brett also told me that my Vata constitution may quickly come unbalanced, but it is also the first to recover when steps are taken for improved health.

The Great Wall of China wasn’t built in a day. I know it will take several months before my metaphorical wall is built strong. I am confident that one brick at a time (one day at a time with all this good care), my digestive system and immunity will be optimal on every level.

The road to healing is an amazing one. I know I’m on the right track. And I’m learning to apply what I learn, while listening to my body.

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,” Mercola.com web site, January 6, 2011; http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/01/06/what-you-need-to-understand-about-your-digestive-system-to-improve-your-health.aspx.