Libby and I have a dream of one day opening our own health food store.  We joke that our babies will sleep out the back of the shop in our vegetable garden.  Hopefully this dream will one day become a reality, but for now, we are sharing what we love through our blog.  A few people have asked me "where do you get all your information from?" "how do you know about all these foods?", so I sat down with Libby and asked her a few questions that i'm hoping will give you a little insight into what she does. 

What influenced your decision to choose Holistic Nutrition study?

I have always been interested in food and what I eat and was previously quite unhealthy which i wanted to change.  I was working full time and wanted to study so looked at different Universities to go to that offer Nutrition papers.

In Auckland there was only Massey university and Wellpark College. I went to Wellpark College for my interview and really liked the environment of the College and also the variety of the papers that were offered to study, such as Ayurveda and Macrobiotics.

I thought that studying nutrition would help me not only by improving my own personal health but giving me the knowledge to educate and help others with their health and well being.

How does Holistic Nutrition differ from mainstream Nutritional study?

 The best way to define Holistic Nutrition is a health care system based on integrating the physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional and spiritual components of someone’s life. 

Holistic nutrition is healing with whole foods. Using unrefined, unprocessed, real foods in balance and variety to maximize health and vitality.

It emphasizes personal responsibility and a cooperative relationship between practitioner and client. Working with both the diet and lifestyle. 

Holistic Nutritionists favour whole foods directly from nature. Real fruit over fruit juice. Whole grains over processed white bread. Fresh fish over canned tuna. Our goals are not limited to just weight loss, but overall health and wellness.

When you have finished studying what would you like to do?

I am hoping to continue my studies next year by completing the degree in Naturopathy and then hopefully open my own clinic in the future.   I would like to specialize in pre conception care and fertility.

What is the most interesting thing you have learnt while attending Wellpark?

The importance of gut health.

The health of the digestive system affects the health of the body physically emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The digestive system has more nerve endings than the central nervous system and 95 percent of the body's serotonin is housed in the gut, where it acts as a neurotransmitter and a signaling mechanism.

That 80% of our immune system is actually located in our gut also known as our 'second brain'. The importance of eating a gut healthy diet cannot be underestimated.  Just like your primary brain, your 'second brain' is also able to learn, remember, and produce emotion-based feelings.  It’s important to have your “second brain” operating at its best. Start by paying attention to what’s going on in your digestive system.

Remember, your gut is about a whole lot more than just digesting your food, it also reacts to and digests your inward and outward 'realities.'

If you could give out 3 pieces of advice on health and wellbeing, what would they be?

Get at least eight hours of sleep per night: The vast majority of people getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night on an ongoing basis show symptoms of sleep deprivation which include irritability, attention deficit, increased stress levels, and quite often increased food intake and weight gain. Proper sleep significantly decreases our appetite during waking hours: Since our body recuperates and regenerates during sleep, it will need less food during the day.  Sleep relaxes the body and relaxation is crucial for weight control. Increased stress levels cause the body to secrete high amounts of the hormone cortisol, which not only increases appetite, but also promotes the formation and deposition of fat in our body. Your body produces extra protein molecules while you're sleeping that helps strengthen your ability to fight infection and stay healthy. A good night's sleep can help lower blood pressure and elevated levels of stress hormones.

Try to follow a whole food diet: We live in a society that eats so much processed and manufactured food that I think there's some genuine confusion about what qualifies as a whole food. When you eat whole foods, you're getting the food in its natural state. You're getting it intact, with all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are in the food. Whole foods are those that nature provides, with all their edible parts. When you eat foods as close to nature as possible, you often find that aliments go away. Natural foods have a way of positively affecting health. Whole fruits and vegetables can help you overcome annoying ailments, ranging from poor immunity to hormonal imbalance.

Drink two litres of water a day: Every cell in your body needs water from head to toe. That is why it is so important to drink enough fluid. Take for example, brain consists of 90% of water, if you do not supply enough water to your body, your brain cannot function well. Drinking water helps you lose weight because it flushes down the by-products of fat breakdown. Drinking water reduces hunger. It’s an effective appetite suppressant so you’ll eat less.  You’ll look younger when your skin is properly hydrated. Water helps to replenish skin tissues, moisturizes skin and increases skin elasticity. Drinking water raises your metabolism because it helps in digestion. Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to study nutrition?

Nutritionists are something that we need more of in today’s society, especially for educating families on what is right to feed their children so they know from a young age what is right and wrong. There are endless amounts of health problems that are caused by a poor diet, and can be fixed from a healthy diet but are never treated this way. So I think that studying nutrition can make a huge difference to not only your life but everyone else’s that you can help. 

What’s your mantra?

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

Love J x