Interview With Health Counselor – Davina Sanders

Interview With Health Counselor – Davina Sanders

1. I have so many questions to ask you! Ok, first, how did you become interested in nutrition?

My unofficial training began as a young child with an extremely health conscious mother; we always joked around, calling her our family ‘medicine woman.’  However, it was those sometimes oddly wholesome looking dishes that mom placed on our dinner table that had such a profound effect on my path to becoming a Holistic Health Coach. As I grew, I realized how convoluted and conflicting the subject of nutrition can appear.  Thus began my journey for the truth about health and wellness.  In my mid twenties, after I had received a Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University, I found myself always offering nutrition advice to family, friends and co-workers. It didn’t take me long to realize that this was indeed my passion and that I needed to make it official.

2. You completed your training at the Integrative Nutrition Institute. Can you tell me a little bit about the type of education you received there?

I received my training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Based in New York City, Integrative Nutrition is the largest nutrition school in the world. The school offers the world’s leading Health Coach Training Program and teaches over 100 dietary theories, practical lifestyle management techniques, and cutting-edge coaching methods. Integrative Nutrition is the only nutrition school to integrate all the different dietary theories and provide comprehensive coaching and business training. Health Coaches from Integrative Nutrition’s world-class training program learn from top experts in the fields of health and wellness including Dr. Andrew Weil, Geneen Roth, Dr. David Katz, Dr. John Douillard, Dr. Mark Hyman, and David Wolfe, among many others.

My education has equipped me with extensive knowledge in holistic nutrition, health coaching, and the importance of preventive care. Drawing on my education and experience, I work with clients to help them make the dietary and lifestyle changes that produce real and lasting results.

3. One diet theory seems to have garnered a lot of interest these days in the United States and around the world – veganism. Why do you think this particular dietary theory has become really popular? Do you think it’s superior to others?

I am of the opinion that there is no ‘one’ theory (vegan included) that an individual can live on healthfully for the rest of their lives. The flaw in that attitude: our bodies are ever-evolving and changing organisms and thus, our diets should be open to evolution and change, as well. For example, we don’t eat the same foods when we are one year old, 10, 15, 45 or 60 – our bodies change and evolve and so must our diets. That being said, there is truth to benefit of cutting back on animal products, particularly processed meats and meat products, period. You have to find the balance that is right for you and then remember that it can change!

4. It’s a new year now and many people have eaten too much of everything over the holidays. This is a popular time for people to want to do a cleanse. Do you have any that you would recommend for the new year?

I am very careful with cleanses because, if done in the wrong way, you can also deplete your body of essential vitamins and minerals.  What I always recommend first is something like a whole juice fast to give your body a break and reset your system.  One of my favorite products to do this with is called Living Fuel Superberry and/or Super Greens by Living Fuel.  I would not recommend a cleanse until an evaluation of your health and health concerns has been completed.  So, in answer to your question, a whole juice fast is a great way to reset your system after the holidays.

5. Some singers are especially worried about phlegm or congestion when they sing and will not eat or drink any dairy products when they have a performance. Do you have some suggestions of alternatives for someone who likes milk or cheese but doesn’t want to get sick or contribute to congestion?

Well, that is a complicated question because it really depends on the individual’s needs, allergies, etc.  Some people crave dairy for the fat, some for the comfort, some for the sweet treats, and some just out of pure habit.  I would say that if a dairy craving is fat related, then increasing things like coconut and olive oils in your foods can help.  If dairy is a comfort food for you there are lots of dairy alternatives, some of the best of which are made with rice or soy.  Warm soy or almond milk with a little agave nectar or honey is very comforting before bed.  If it is for the sweet treats (i.e. ice-cream), then you can resort to dairy alternatives made with soy or rice. You can also make your own non-dairy ice-cream at home in the blender using coconut milk, honey, fruit of your choice and some ice.  It’s like a very thick smoothie.

6. You mention having soy but I have read there are some potential health drawbacks to having a lot of soy products.  Is that true?

Yes, soy contains phyto-estrogens which may elevate estrogen levels so I recommend that clients don’t overload on it.  If you are using a little bit for dessert, or one meal throughout the week, it’s fine.  I view soy as a treat.  It’s not for every day.

7. You don’t want to eat it like many vegetarians, using soy as a substitute meat product?

No, you don’t.  You do not want to have unfermented soy every day.  However, there are soy products that are beneficial like fermented soy or tempeh.  You can use these as a protein source.  There are much easier on your body to process, unlike unfermented soy products.

8. What do you think about probiotics, and do you think they are necessary?

Probiotics deal with the health of your gut, and quite honestly the health of your gut represents the health of the rest of your body.  For someone who is or has been on antibiotics, it is essential to replace the good flora in the gut.  Good probiotics are how you do this.  A healthy individual who has not been on many antibiotics may not need to be on a probiotic all of the time.  However, even for a healthy person, it does not hurt to take a high quality probiotic until the bottle runs out a couple of times a year, especially during the ‘sick seasons.’

9. I have been reading about inflammation and how detrimental excess inflammation can be to our health.  Dr. Weil has an anti-inflammatory diet on his website and has written his version of the food pyramid.  It contrasts considerably with the one we have been provided by the FDA (the United States’ Food and Drug Administration). Can you elaborate on inflammation and provide some suggestions on how we can reduce inflammation in our bodies through diet?

Ahhh…yes!  The new and ‘improved’ FDA pyramid that really gives you almost zero information upon first glance.  Dr. Weil is an excellent doctor and I was privileged to learn from him when taking my nutrition course at Integrative Nutrition.  Yes, the average diet is full of foods that inflame and agitate.  And, yes, inflammation is the beginning of many diseases.  However, the good news is that reducing inflammation is really not as hard as many people make it out to be.  You just need to start using good old-fashioned common sense.

  • Limit animal products
  • Cut back on sweets and processed foods
  • Increase water intake
  • Increase greens
  • Increase whole grains
  • Find a form of exercise that works for you

10. What would you recommend for someone who follows Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s Blood Type Diet, and is a type “O” who needs more protein than other blood types?  I ask this because you mention cutting back on animal products.

All blood types should avoid processed meats and, well, processed anything.  Even “O” types can eat too much meat.  They can also get protein from other sources while still consuming reasonable amounts of animal protein.

11. What would you say to people who feel that they have no time to cook healthy meals and to exercise?

Where there is a will there is a way.  I have coached some extremely busy people and they have all seen and learned that when done right you actually save both time and money when you cook at home.  There are all kinds of ways to cook efficiently and to squeeze in some exercise.  Keeping it simple is the key.  No elaborate gourmet cooking is required.  For example, it only takes 3-5 minutes to steam a vegetable and you don’t even have to hover over the pot for those 3-5 minutes.  On the flip side, it can take more time than that to wait in line and purchase coffee from the local coffee shop.  It is just a matter of how willing you are and how badly you want to change your habits.

One Response »

  1. Watch out for “whole grains” though … These too are inflammatory for some, especially for the gluten-sensitive. You really have to consider your own sensitivities and even your own ancestry. Wheat is a Mideastern domesticated grass that was continually developed throughout Europe in particular over the years for more and more gluten proteins, among other traits. Subsaharan African peoples never traditionally ate wheat, nor did American or Asians, until diets began to become Westernized. So it shoukd be no surprise that many people are less tolerant of the glutens.

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