Nutrition & Healthy Eating: Insights on Reopening, Resetting, Reimaging Takeaways

The Global Wellness Collaborations bring industry leaders together in meaningful dialogue to share ideas and best practices for navigating the COVID-19 crisis around a specific industry segment.

Topic:Nutrition & Healthy Eating: Insights on Reopening, Resetting, Reimaging
Date of Discussion: August 4, 2020
Countries/Regions Represented: Antarctica, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahamas, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macao, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, UAE, UK, US, Viet Nam.

    • Food as medicine is really gaining momentum in light of COVID. A lot of it is driven by more scientifically proven links between the consumption of certain ingredients and nutrients and the health benefits that they provide. For example, you’ve mentioned zinc for immunity, magnesium for mental health, or vitamin B12 for cognitive function.
    • This is now being recognized by consumers. The role of the gut in immunity is being better understood by a wider audience and how the food that we eat will affect the gut and, therefore, the immunity of our system.
    • The role of food to treat chronic disease is a concept that’s increasingly taking shape and is now attracting the interest of food manufacturers, retailers and insurers. There are companies coming out with products for people with cancer, for example. There’s a much greater interest in what we put in our mouths, not just the quantity, but also the quality.
    • We’re spending more time in the kitchen, and we really don’t think that that is going to go away. The old marketing adage of, “You deserve convenience food so you can spend more time doing things you love,” is getting thrown out. We’re saying we want to spend more time in the kitchen, creating food with love, and having a connection to family.
    • The second thing is that supplement manufacturers and food producers will really be latching on to the needs we have for improved immunity. They’ll pay attention to trends and create products that are effective for our health like magnesium, tumeric and acai berry. We’ll see more and more labels on those foods that specifically target things like sleep, and also well snacks and breakfast cereal that boost your immunity.
    • The third movement, which is really relevant to us, is that within our industry, I see a huge growth in health and nutrition coaching. People will really be looking for that like we’ve seen in the past with career coaching, life coaching, etc. It’s time now for nutrition and wellness coaching to step up, and people are really going to be needing it. We know exercise and eating well is good for us, but how do we incorporate it into our lives day-to-day? How do we motivate ourselves and navigate the nutrition landscape?
    • Regarding motivation, there have been a lot of fitness professionals that have used certain tools and apps to help people on a day-to-day basis. But of course, that’s driven toward muscle improvement and muscle gain and is very protein-focused. We need to be adapting some of those tools for general health and wellness, “What’s going to make my immunity much better?” I do think the app area is going to get a lot of attention. I perceive spas and wellness centers will be upping their relevance by making more concerted efforts to provide this country with nutritional coaching, not necessarily themselves but creating partnerships with coaches.
    • We created a word called “noodie,” which we felt was kind of exciting. We replaced that F on foodie. It’s somebody who really loves great, amazing food with the “n” from nutrition. So a “noodie” is a person that has an interest in great and real food and who eats out of a desire to please and provide their body with the most healthful ingredients available.
    • Food manufacturing is driving a lot of the packaged foods toward more fat smart foods, functional foods. They’re adding a lot of these wonderful ingredients that we hear about, but in my world, that is really just the same processed rubbish that has created a lot of chronic disease and illness in the market.
    • I’m going to add magnesium. I’ll be eating more pumpkin seeds or spinach because I know that it is then bioavailable for my system. And it’s important to be mindful that not all of it will be good. You need to use caution when it comes to some of these foods. Because even though it sounds great to have Nighttime Help You Sleep Ice Cream with Valerian, it’s not really going to produce a great night’s sleep with the sugar rising in the blood system.
    • It’s very easy to get swept up with something that looks healthy, but in reality, it really isn’t.
    • What can we do to raise the flag on that? What should we be looking for?
    • We are emotionally susceptible when it comes to food. If we can take the stance of more whole foods and encouraging people to really bring that into the home and use that. I think that’s the way that we can address it. It’s difficult to go to battle because there’s a lot of money behind all of it. But I think within our industry, we need to be focusing on how to get real nutrition and things that sustain us and improve our vitality.
    • I don’t use many supplements myself, maybe something like B12 because older people don’t absorb B12 as well.
    • The problem here is that older people lose muscle and bone mass.
    • I think the best way to be healthy is to cook so we can choose exactly what we want in our food. Nutrition isn’t boring if you really understand food.
    • What’s happened with people with their health and nutrition during COVID? Do you feel like people have gained weight, lost weight, gotten healthier, or less healthy? What is your experience?
    • I think people have maintained weight, if they liked what they’re eating, I think comfort eating does not help. That doesn’t mean you eat a whole lot of sweets. That doesn’t mean you need a whole bunch of meat. I think people need to enhance their nutrition because our gut does control our immune system.
    • I want to go back to Michael Pollan: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
    • I am a registered nutritional therapist. I live in Belgium. I studied in the UK for three years. I’m also an educator. The people that I’ve been talking to recently… I feel that they have been destabilized by the coronavirus epidemic, and they don’t really know which way to turn.
    • I think one of the most shocking things that I’ve discovered talking to people is how many different kinds of meals are having to be served in one household.
    • We have a whole generation of children growing up who don’t know what vegetables are or won’t eat vegetables. And so, I feel that if we’re going to make a huge improvement in the world, we need to go right back to basics.
    • Cooking well and healthy. Before we start getting into the world of vitamins and supplements and looking for a band aid. Popping a zinc supplement is a band aid to a much deeper problem: People don’t know how to eat correctly.
    • What has been the most helpful?
    • The most helpful thing that you can ever give anybody is personal advice. You have to listen to their story. You have to understand where they’re coming from, even to how they were born and how their predecessors lived. It’s all about context. It’s all about where did that person come from? What have their experiences been? You have to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to understand how that person is today at that particular point with their health issues. And that story is so key and crucial to getting the right results.
    • It’s about giving people the time and space, and for it to be a safe vessel to share what’s going on for them so that you can give them a plan that’s relevant and simple to execute. For me, it’s context and environment all the time.
    • I focus on health, wellness and self-development, really serving people who are feeling stuck in any of those areas. They’re kind of all intertwined. As it relates to food, I really help make sure that my clients understand that whatever you’re eating should be delicious.
    • A lot of time it’s not the what or the how; it’s actually the why. I started coaching because I really became obsessed with nutrition myself and enjoy educating myself.
    • People have connections to food, such as cultural connections and family connections. I really try to make sure that that is incorporated into any conversation that I have, whether it’s a client or a meeting, because I really feel like those elements are important.
    • We really focus on replacements. So okay, you want to have bacon? Why don’t you add some vegetables to that? Eventually, she stopped eating the bacon because she wanted more of a veggie scramble. Your body starts getting used to the feeling of not being so tired.
    • I’m in the Bay Area, San Francisco, California, and I have been a wellness communicator, shall we say for a long time. I recently became a health coach through a Duke integrative medicine program.
    • You know what the difference is when not eating well, for example, or sleeping better or exercising or whatever the details are? One of the things that I’m quite engaged now in the world of health coaching is that people have to make their own change. And what I find is that…one of our local institutions is the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. The one thing that seems to be appropriate for aging well is intermittent fasting. So, I think that’s going to be around as well. In general, though, it comes down to diet and exercise really being the best way we can take care of ourselves.
    • We see the name nutrition coaching and wellness coaching. Do you think that is confusing to people? What do you think is going to be the terminology? Or is it fine that there’s just a lot of different terminology?
    • I think it depends on what people are offering.
    • I think Integrative Health Coach works very well. And health coaching works well in the clinical setting. A number of doctors I’m working with are actually studying health coaching so that they can become better communicators. Doctors have 10 minutes with someone, and they can’t behavior change, they can’t listen to their lifestyle, they can’t really do anything significant with that person. They just can’t. So, to be able to pass it on to another in the system is important. So, I guess health coaching right now is a level three process for insurance coverage and working toward a level one, so it actually can become a medically appropriate service.
    • Heard frequently in place of coach is the word advocate. That seems like a very good and powerful word. Certainly in this country (United States), people want advocates for health care. I think that that could be an interesting word to play with in this context, for sure.
    • We only touched briefly earlier on technology, and the impact technology might have on nutrition. So, I wonder if we could talk about that for a minute. And culture, the cultures of various places and the impact they have. People mentioned Blue Zones, in the Mediterranean, Japanese diet and food shortages in places like Africa… How, as a wellness industry, do we look and deal with that? Is anybody on the call involved in technology having to do with nutrition?
    • I’m from Panama, and yes, working in and being able to use technology as part of our daily basic tools to get what we need to understand the difference between a health coach and medical advice. I’m a physician, and I’ve been working with obesity and malnutrition issues and nutrition in cancer, chronic disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, etc.
    • The diagnosis must be done by an appropriate and certified physician in order for it to become an issue to solve as a pathology. So, when any nutrition coach or health coach tries to jump into diagnose, that’s the first mistake.
    • We need to use technology to implement food advice by knowing what we are recommending. And because of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re using telemedicine now and all the tools that improve treating people from a distance like smartwatches. We need tools and a lot of technology data input so we can generate our diagnosis and then the appropriate treatment.
    • Behavior changes are the hardest thing to crack.
    • What’s unique and specific to health and wellness coaches? And how is that different from a nutritionist or a nutrition coach, and health and wellness coach? What we’ve summarized looking around the world…their expertise and their training is all about driving behavior change.
    • The key to that is how we engage with them, which is a process that’s all client-led. The coach is really support for the client, asking questions that lead to self-discovery around what’s most important and meaningful to them. It’s important to tie it back to their values and their overall vision for wellness in their life. This then allows them to pick specific goals for motivation (the motivation is internal), and it’s something that’s important to them.
    • I think one of the beautiful things that’s happening right now is people are really looking for support and DIY techniques around cooking and eating.
    • In many cases, my clients are coming to me, saying I want to eat better, but I also want to create a routine where I can get more movement. I’m helping them create their own plan, the intersection of greater movement and eating better. What they’re seeing is they’re sleeping better, feeling more vitality, and also generating weight loss.
    • I came across a book some years ago called Psycho Cybernetics. It all linked back to a plastic surgeon, actually, that couldn’t understand why he wasn’t getting the results that he wanted, or people weren’t benefiting from the results, even if they looked better aesthetically than somebody else. And it all came down to our identity and how we perceive ourselves. It makes so many people stop feeling like they’re failing. So actually, when we try to change our behaviors, the things that we are doing, generally it’s because it’s out of alignment with who we see ourselves to be. And when we start from a place of identity and really understand who we are being, then actually the right behaviors and the right things actually start to follow.
    • So, there is a little bit of work to do with uncovering and revealing our true identity.
    • Once it knows its body, you know that the body is reflecting the mind then. Once it knows who we really are, then everything else falls into place really quickly.
    • So, what do you think nutrition and eating are going to look like post-COVID-19?
    • Have there been lessons learned, and are there silver linings in this for the area of nutrition and healthy eating? It would be great to hear from a couple of people we haven’t heard from in different parts of the world.
    • From Vietnam…So, I’ve been working with a couple of the executives in Asia Pacific. The last couple of months, we noticed that not only is the behavior crucial for us, obviously they know exactly what they need. However, the stress during this time is still one of the things that is still the barrier for them.
    • What they need from us coaches is trust that they can expose their vulnerability. Some days they just mess up the nutrition plan. However, they are super stressed at work, so they have to trust they can share with us, and we’re not going to judge.
    • We’re really working with our clients to take the complexity out of meal planning or whatever it is that they’re going through because the stress level is so high.
    • We liaised with the chef training program at a university, and they only required one-half credit of nutrition. We wrestled with that. We need more integration in education.
    • Trying to get a decent meal when you’re on the road in a hotel…you go down the menu looking to eat something healthy. I remember one night, ordering something that I believed was healthy, and it arrived, and it was just full of heavy cream. My point is, there are still many steps to be made in terms of educating and converting chefs and restaurants.
    • I think chefs need an entirely new education on all of this.
    • I want to introduce an intention for us. Let’s be quiet for a minute and take a few breaths. The purpose of this intention is to bring forth nutrition to everybody. Please close your eyes and take three deep breaths in and out. And our intention is for all nations and all people, rich or poor, to recognize the importance of nutrition and have access to whole healing foods so that everyone can enjoy great vitality and health. If you can just think about that for a minute in silence that would be wonderful.

     

    • CHAT:
    • I wonder how much of the chart from 2018 is weight loss and how much is really good nutrition? There may be a difference, depending upon what the proposed weight loser is doing. Right now, the Mediterranean Diet is on the top of most nutritious, and Weight Watchers is top weight loss.
    • The Mediterranean Diet is globally promoted as the dietary solution to non-communicable diseases. While it clearly is a beneficial dietary pathway to reduce inflammation and promote healthy nutrition, it is also a Western diet, studied by Westerners on Westerners, and is being recommended for the 75% of the world’s population that is not Western.
    • In Asia, the Japanese diet is well studied, and there are commonalities with the Mediterranean Diet. They share: high intake of unrefined carbohydrates, moderate intake of protein, healthy fat profile, low glycemic load, less inflammation and oxidative stress, and potential modulation of aging-related pathways. A point of difference is that Asian diets typically include pharmacologically potent ingredients such as turmeric in South and Southeast Asia; umeboshi plums and reishi mushrooms in Japan; goji berry, ginkgo and licorice root in China; ginseng in Korea; the brain tonic Centella Asiatica in Thailand and Malaysia, etc.
    • The constitutional approach addresses heredity and adaptation to present-day circumstances.
    • Vietnam has a rich wellness cuisine, much of it deriving from the monasteries and their vegetarian cuisine.
    • Very simple, if it has more than 8-10 ingredients or an ingredient with a name you can’t pronounce, don’t buy it!
    • And into the garden to grow our own foods.
    • African food: West African Food, , African Traditional Diet, African Cuisine.
    • Noodie is a person who has an ardent interest in great and real food and who eats out of a desire to please and provide their body with the most healthful ingredients available: cooking using whole foods, and restaurants serving creative, healthy foods. May grow some of their own food and typically supports local land organic suppliers.
    • The-rainbow-diet.com from Dr. Chris Woollams at Oxford University. Excellent results for 2 family members with cancer.
    • Prebiotics are the answer—if diets are high in fiber such as in veggies, fruits and whole wheat or whole rice cereals—or any whole grains. Other important contributors to gut health are prebiotics, polyphenols & fermented foods. Other great adds would be digestive enzymes (lactase, amylase, papain, bromeliad, etc.), prebiotics, fermented foods, and my favorite go-to is spirulina. Diversity in the microbiome is essential.
    • Amanda Archibald has a program called the Genomic Kitchen, which is simply amazing. She has a book and teaches courses for chefs and nutritionists. Genomic Kitchen.
    • Move your body—every day, watch what you eat… eat less, not more, yes to intermittent fasting. Two meals a day is okay.
    • An area in spas that could do with an assessment is the food on offer to the staff themselves. They can’t deliver first-class wellbeing experiences if they are not experiencing/living it themselves, and with long working days, being able to keep up by just living on empty calories is going to affect performance.
    • Natural is best—there is too much technology. Tuning into our body rather than relying on external tech is much more natural. Trust our body messages.
    • Health & Wellness Coaches’ expertise is behavior change with a holistic focus based on the client-centered goals.
    • People need to realize that the concept of convenience is something we can no longer afford to subscribe to. Convenience brought us a lack of movement as well as unhealthy food. Many young people simply don’t know what to do in the kitchen as they never learned how to cook and feed their families with takeaways, convenience food just getting heated up, and restaurant visits. That means they don’t have control over what they are eating.
    • Nutrition Informatics is the intersection of information, nutrition and technology. Sharing the Academy’s practice paper here: Eat Right Pro.
    • When I was trained, we were taught that we do not diagnose that we support. As an NT, testing is an important part of what we do, but we only use labs that have the proper certifications, provide training for interpretation, and send clients to specialized centers for blood draws, etc. When there is a result that raises a question mark, we immediately send to the GP for diagnosis. So, within our industry, it is so important to work with coaches or therapists that have the right qualifications and operate within good industry standards.
    • We need to focus on the next generation…our children…embracing the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Children…incorporating and encouraging a proactive approach to holistically address the health, wellness and safety of all school children.
    • Mind-body center has a program for Food as Medicine. Dr. James Gordon
      Kripalu.org.
    • Future with homemade cooking and more plant-based.
    • In a survey done by The Wellness for Children Initiative, respondents reported best things during COVID shutdown was time in the kitchen and better connections with their children.
    • I think that openness about our vulnerability will inform many behavior changes toward living their healthiest happiest lives. And if you have a trusted advocate or coach or advisor? That will be so powerful!
      Steamed vegetables and rice should be available on all menus!

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