Interview with Ashley

 

How long have you been a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and why did you become one?

 

I have always been a very active and busy person throughout my life.  In high school, I was captain of the soccer team, and my ringette team won provincial medals.  In university, I continued with ringette and soccer, and just because I wasn’t busy enough, added rock climbing, squash, and broomball into the mix (all while occasionally going out at night and spending 15 hours on school assignments).  My travel with all these sports, as well as my love for geology, has taken me all around Ontario and Quebec, to the top of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, to the Western coast of Canada, and to the International Broomball Championships in Newfoundland.  In the last year of my university degree, even though I considered myself Superwoman, the cracks in my healthy facade were starting to show.  I made my bi-monthly visit to health services on campus with fatigue and overall feeling like crap, and they kept testing me for mono (and surprise, surprise, every time it came back negative!).  My skin was broken out pretty much all the time, and I’m sure I wasn’t all that pleasant most the time, either (sorry, roomies!).

The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back came in May 2006, shortly after completing my Bachelors’ thesis. I was on the highway, driving to my full time summer job before moving to Arizona State University to start my PhD in Geology, when I suddenly felt like there was no way in hell that I could go any further.  I promptly turned around and drive back home, not to drive on a major highway again for another year.  Thus started severe anxiety, including regular panic attacks, at work no less. My family thought that I was having a total breakdown when I decided to not go through with the PhD.  In November of the same year I also started experiencing feelings of unsteadiness and dizziness, which had been diagnosed as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and vertigo. After seeing many specialists and medical doctors, my symptoms were not improving, so I decided to start seeing a naturopathic doctor, mostly out of desperation, and the fact that they had an advertisement on the front of their building that said “Currently Accepting New Patients!”. That decision changed my life and started me on the path that I am on today.

In May of 2007, more than one year after my problems began, my naturopath and I finally found out with a simple blood test that I have many food intolerances or allergies, including wheat, gluten, dairy products, and eggs. The hardest thing I ever had to do was to change everything about the way that I was eating.  I literally almost had a breakdown at the grocery store one day after realizing that I might never get to eat my Mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies again!  In the beginning, I turned into a hermit, afraid to eat out at restaurants or at friends houses, for fear of what might be in the food.  It just wasn’t worth it to worry about whether or not I would spend hours feeling like I was going to throw up, or worse, passing the regular gas that I used to get that smelled like a small animal died inside of me (how my then boyfriend decided to marry me is beyond me!).

I enrolled in the Natural Nutrition program at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in September 2007, one measly week after learning about it from my naturopath.  I didn’t have a plan for what I would do after I graduated, nor did I think about the financial consequences (being in school for 7 years straight puts a little bit of a dent in the wallet), but I knew that I had to help others with food allergies!  I graduated as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist in October 2008.

Slowly but surely, my body has normalized.  I still get regular worries, but not crippling anxiety or panic attacks.  My skin is clearer, people tell me all the time that I have tons of energy, and I can confidently eat out without fear or strange smells emanating from my body.  And guess what? I have found a recipe for allergen free chocolate chip cookies that taste darn close to my Mom’s!

It has taken me years, but I have found a way to love what I eat again, not to mention my body and my life too!

Why did you choose to be a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and not a Dietician?

 

I’ll be honest, at first it was about the length of time needed to complete the degree.  After spending 5 years for an Honours Bachelor of Science already, I didn’t want to spend another 5 years to become a dietician.  I figured for that length of time, I could very well be a naturopathic doctor instead!

After spending time in the Natural Nutrition program, though, it became very clear that I would have been very unhappy as a dietician.  Being that I have food allergies to wheat, gluten, and milk, how could I morally and ethically recommend Canada’s food guide, with it’s focus on grains and milk products, to anyone else?  The answer is that I can’t, and as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I am free to do alternative research to determine what the best recommendations are for each individual client, rather than following the general nutritional status quo, especially for clients who have tried that avenue and feel worse for it.

Who are your clients exactly?

 

While I have worked with clients with a wide range of symptoms – including gout, obesity, diabetes, menopausal symptoms, arthritis, and acid reflux – I have “turned my mess into my message”, and have taken my years of helping myself into helping young, professional women with food allergies, including Celiac disease.  Since I have been exactly where you are today, I have a passion for and can expertly guide you back to health and wellness – emotionally, mentally, and physically.

That being said, I have been working with menopausal women for 4 years with great success.  I have helped these women go from dripping with sweat and not sleeping through the night to re-gaining the life they had before “the big change”.

I always welcome the chance to work with people of all ages, including parents, children, and those with more life experience (not old!) with any food allergies, to help them love what they eat again, and regain their full, satisfying lives.

What happens if you haven’t yet worked with a client with my particular health concern before?

 

I have worked with many different clients with many different health concerns, and few of which are mentioned above.  Chances are that I’ve had experience working with your health condition, but if I haven’t, you can feel confident in the following:

The human body is a glorious machine, and emotional, mental, or physical symptoms are you body’s way of telling you that something is not balanced.  My job is to decipher those symptoms to get to the root of the problem, and help re-balance the specific system that is out of joint, not just to cover up the symptom.  Together, we will come up with a plan that fits for regaining your health that fits into your current lifestyle and goals.

If I am not 100% confident that I can help you, I will gladly refer to you to someone I know and trust that is an expert in your particular health issue.

What makes you so different from other nutritional practitioners?

 

While my intentions were honourable, I have given up trying to help absolutely everyone with a wide range of health issues.  I know what life is like with food allergies and I know how to help menopausal women.  Those are my specialties, and I have tried and true methods for helping that subset of the population.

I would rather be a master of one area instead of a jack of all trades, so when you work with me, you know that while we may address other symptoms in your body, this is only as a by-product of addressing your food allergies or hormone imbalances.

Another thing that sets me apart is that I tell it like it is.  Gone are the days when I tiptoe around a client who is making excuses and not following my plan.  Your health suffers, and I suffer because you are not getting where you need to be, and I want you to succeed!  The 5 Foolproof Steps to Managing Menopause™ are designed the way that they are because they work, and they are the quickest way to you getting back to the life that you want to be living.  So if you are ready for some frank discussion on how changing your diet can help you to love your life again, then I am your girl!

What type of people do you work best with and how will I be participating in my health recovery plan?

 

The fact that you’re even reading this far into my interview tells me that you and I would get along!  I work best with people who are committed to a plan, even if it means that they may have to change a few or a lot of things about their life.  My best clients have faith that they can achieve all the goals that they have set for themselves by following the plan that we come up with together based on the 5 Foolproof Steps to Managing Menopause™, knowing that perfection will not happen overnight, and healing your body from food allergies or hormone imbalances can take weeks, months, or even years in severe cases.

While I am guiding you every step of the way, you have to do the hard work.  You will have to cook your own food, shop for your own groceries, and educate your friends and family about how you have to live to stay healthy.  You will have to become aware of your current thought patterns and behaviours, and actively try to change them to become more positive.  You will have to teach yourself how to relax (just like you learned how to ride a bike!), because a stressed out body is never a healthy, balanced body.

It’s going to take hard work, but I promise you that the rewards are endless, and that you can love your food, love your body, and love your life again, and achieve everything that you ever dreamed of!

Is there anyone that you can’t help or won’t work with?

 

The time that I can devote to my clients is limited, so I have to pick and choose whom I work with very carefully.  I’ll be honest, if you work with me, you have to be OK with the fact that sometimes I use colourful and creative language!  I need to make sure that our personalities will jive since we’ll be sharing lots of personal information about our lives.  This is why I offer a free 30 minute getting acquainted call.

After our first call, if we both feel that we can’t wait to work together, and that I can help you overcome your food allergies or hormone imbalances, then giddy-up!  If either one of us feel a little on edge, then let’s be honest, you might get better results working with another practitioner.

I only want what’s best for my clients, and that means that while from time to time I may serve you a scoop of (dairy and gluten free) tough love, it’s this hard to swallow love that will get you everything that you want from your life.  My clients understand this, and can see our plan through to the end!

In the meantime, you can check out my blog to see some amazing recipes, musings on living a more nutritious life, and anything else that I think is worth sharing.

What are these 5 Foolproof Steps to Managing Menopause™ that you keep talking about, and how did you develop them?

 

The 5 Foolproof Steps to Managing Menopause™ came from the past 4 years of helping women in menopause to re-gain the life they had before hot flashes!  I have tried a lot of things to get them hot flash free, and sleeping through the night again.

After the past 4 years, it really comes down to just those 5 simple steps.  While they may not be easy, they are based on the simple principles of whole foods, lifestyle changes, and goal setting so that you can learn to love your life again.

If I became your client, what exactly would we do together using the 5 Foolproof Steps to Managing Menopause™?

 

While I treat each client as being unique and individual, we will use the following 5 steps as your path to the live you will love:

1.  Healthy hormones need real food: Healthy hormones are made from the proper raw materials,especially healthy fats. Our body has the amazing ability to re-balance itself, but only if it has the right building blocks.  It needs all sorts of fancy sounding, scientifically studied chemicals to work at exactly the right time in exactly the right amount to make the exact amount of hormones needed in your body at this exact moment in time.  This sounds complicated, confusing, and impossible to figure it out, and it is if you’re choosing to take artificial supplements or medications.

2.  Healthy hormones need efficient digestion: It’s a complete waste of time, taste, and effort to eat all that delicious and nutritious food if it’s not going to be put to good use.  Just because you are putting the proper building blocks into your mouth doesn’t necessarily mean that they are making it into your bloodstream to get to where they need to be.

3.  Healthy hormones need a clean colon: You may be wondering why I’m talking about your bowel movements when I should be talking about hormones, and it’s because a bowel movement is the quickest way of getting rid of waste and toxins that are impeding your way to healthy hormones.  All of the waste from your bloodstream (the highway for your hormones) gets processed through the liver (like a toll booth on the highway), and that waste concentrates as bile and is released into your small intestine during digestion.  If this garbage is not moving through the remaining 20 feet of large intestine quick enough, it will just be re-absorbed into the bloodstream again, and gets to make a return trip back to the liver to wreak more havoc with your hormones.  This is not exactly your quickest way to freedom from hot flashes!

4.  Healthy hormones need a happy liver: Ah, the liver, perhaps the most under-rated organ in the body when it comes to healthy hormones.  The liver is responsible for filtering all the blood in your body, making bile for proper fat digestion, sorting out the nutrients that you eat, de-activating the toxins that you shouldn’t have eaten (or slathered on your body, but that’s a story for another day!), processing all medications, and for conjugating (a fancy word for putting together) certain hormones in your body.  If you have cleaned up your diet, your digestion and colon are working like a dream, and you are still having hot flashes, you need to help your liver out!

5.  Healthy hormones need a stress management strategy:  Your body only has a certain amount of energy to work with on a daily basis, just like there are only 24 hours in a day.  Your body also has certain things that it needs to do, like making sure your heart beats, your lungs are breathing, you have a certain blood sugar level so that your brain doesn’t die … you know, the bare necessities!  After these essentials, the next priority is survival, which is where our stress hormones come into play.

You stress hormones activate when you’re crossing a busy intersection and you almost get run over, or maybe when you get home from work and the dishwasher wasn’t unloaded.  Sometimes this doesn’t leave any energy left over to make sure that your sex hormones are balanced, and when these get out of balance, you have hot flashes.  You need to figure out how to change your response to external stress, which sounds hard, but so did learning how to ride a bike when you were 6 years old.  Managing stress is a skill that can be learned and practiced, and there are many ways to manage your stress depending on your personality.

Does this really work?

 

Of course!  I know you will be surprised that from just 5 Foolproof Steps to Managing Menopause™, you really can change your life , but it’s true!

How quickly can I expect results?

 

Like I mentioned above, every single body is different.  Some may respond in as little as a few weeks, and some may take longer depending on the severity of the case and your commitment to the program.

You didn’t get to your current state of health overnight, and you won’t get out of it overnight either.  This is the beautiful part of having a plan, though, is that you will see a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, and I would expect that every single client will see positive changes in your body and mindset within 3 months of working together.

Ashley, based on everything that I've read and heard about you, I know you're the one that I want to work with.  What are my options for getting start with you?

 

Woohoo!  Congratulations on making a commitment to yourself to love your life again!

To get started, I have created three health care plans.  You can determine what is the best plan for you, but I will also recommend what I think is the most appropriate plan for you during our 30-minute getting acquainted call based on your current symptoms, your goals, and your lifestyle:

Love your Life1 Year All Inclusive Health Package

This package is designed for someone who wants in-depth coaching on all aspects of his or her life, and wants a complete body, mind, and soul makeover.  You are ready to take the time to dream up your most fabulous life, and are ready to put the time in to make your dreams come true (because you can!).

This package includes:
-        Initial 30 minute call to the hot flash hotline
-        10, 1 hour one-on-one appointments in person, or by phone or Skype (once a month for the first 6 months, then once every 6 weeks for the remaining 6 months)
-        Bi-weekly 15 minute catch-up calls
-        10 weekly meal plans (one at each one-on-one appointment)
-        Personalized 1 hour grocery store tour after our first appointment together to introduce you to your new, healthy foods and meal plans
-        Unlimited e-mail support
-        Every urgent care phone call answered within 48 business hours (Monday to Friday)
-        All support materials for the 12 month duration, including instructional and step-by-step handouts, meal plan instructions and recipes, and personalized supplement and lifestyle recommendations.

Love Your Body  - 6 Month All Inclusive Health Package

This package is for someone who wants and needs more one-on-one support in building a complete and individualized eating and supplementation plan, and wants to completely makeover her body.  You are the type of person who will then take all the information that we covered over our 6 months together, and will continue to design the life of your dreams after that!

This package includes:
-        Initial 30 minute call to the hot flash hotline
-        6, 1 hour one-on-one appointments in person, or by phone or Skype (once a month)
-        Bi-weekly 15 minute catch-up calls
-        6 weekly meal plans (one at each one-on-one appointment)
-        Unlimited e-mail support
-        Every urgent care phone call answered within 48 business hours (Monday to Friday)
-        All support materials for the 6 month duration, including instructional and step-by-step handouts, meal plan instructions and recipes, and personalized supplement and lifestyle recommendations.

Love Your Food3 Month All Inclusive Health Package

This package is for someone who is new to working with a nutritionist or health coach, and doesn’t want to commit to a long-term package until she is satisfied that I can make a difference in her life.  You are the kind of person who is good at self-policing, and who is committed to following a health plan with just basic one-on-one support.  It is also for someone who wants an injection of new, delicious recipes, and individualized suggestions for overall health.

This package includes:
-        Initial 30 minute call to the hot flash hotline
-        1 hour appointment by phone or by Skype to get you started and introduce your plan
-        30 minute call at the mid-point of our 3 months together
-        Bi-weekly 15 minute catch up calls
-        21 day meal plan (electronic version only, all meals and snacks)
-        Unlimited e-mail support
-        All support materials for the 3 month duration including instructional and step-by-step handouts, and meal plan instructions and recipes

All appointments are available by phone and Skype.

OK, I know which option is best for me.  How do we get started?

 

I’m so excited for you!  I know that you will soon be saying “I LOVE MY LIFE!”, and making friends and family jealous of all the delicious food that you get to eat!

Here’s your next step:  call me at 519.784.4731, or send me an e-mail at ashley@lovewhatyoueat.ca or through my contact page to schedule your  complimentary 30-minute getting acquainted call.  You can also contact me if you have any questions whatsoever, but we can really cover a whole lot more by chatting one-on-one during the getting acquainted call.  I can’t wait to get to know you better, and start supporting you on your way back to loving your life again!

I'm not sure if I'm ready to get started right now, what else can I do to make sure that you're the right nutritionist for me?

 

I recommend you sign up for my soon to arrive bi-weekly newsletter by entering your information directly below this interview in the top right-hand corner.  This newsletter will be delivered directly to your e-mail inbox, and will be jam packed with tons of high value information about living your best life while eating delicious, nutritious food.  You can also get know me on my blog, onFacebook, or Twitter … I’m everywhere!

And don’t forget that scheduling a complimentary 30-minute getting acquainted call is a fantastic way to have your questions answered – sometimes just talking through your concerns helps to solidify your decision to start working towards your health goals. Just call me at 519.784.4731, or send an e-mail at ashley@lovewhatyoueat.ca or through my contact page to get this ball rolling!

OK, I'm ready to do this for myself, but I have a couple of additional questions.  Can I call you?

 

Anytime!  It sounds like you are ready to love your life again, and I am so happy for you!  By all means, call me at 519.784.4731 or send me an e-mail with any questions you may have.

I am honoured that you are choosing me to guide and coach you on your way back to the life of your dreams that you deserve.  Let’s get this party started! 

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