Ara Wiseman

Month: April 2022

Healthy Benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition

Healthy Benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition

Interview for Nomad Nutrition Two years into a global pandemic, personal health and well-being have never been more important. People are starting to focus on nutrition and its long-term impact on their health. One area of nutrition that’s getting a lot of attention lately is plant-based diets. But what exactly constitutes plant-based, and what are its primary benefits? We sat down with Nomad ambassador Ara Wiseman expert nutritionist, aging specialist, author, and educator in health and nutrition for over 20 years—to learn more about all things plant-based. HI ARA! THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY. IT’S A PLEASURE TO CONNECT WITH YOU. CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR WORK?  Sure! So I’ve been practicing for over 20 years in health and nutrition, specializing in weight-related health issues, energy, performance, aging, skincare, and disease management. I work in two medical clinics and at Kinective Health, a boutique physical therapy clinic in Toronto.  I also have a private virtual practice, where I consult with clients all over the world. I work with interpreters, which allows me to offer my services worldwide in multiple languages. I have been teaching nutrition courses at colleges for over 17 years. I am presently working on the 10th-anniversary edition of my book Feed Your Body, Feed Your Soul. WHAT INSPIRED AND FUELLED YOUR PASSION FOR HEALTH AND NUTRITION? When I was in grade four, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. “A nutritionist,” I replied. Even when I was little, I inherently knew that eating fruits and vegetables as healthy and eating a lot of meat was not. I didn’t feel good when I ate meat and dairy but growing up in Winnipeg back then there were no health food stores, and being a vegetarian was more on the fringe.  Because I ate differently and felt differently about food, my brother would often jokingly say I should go live on a commune. Nutrition and health just seemed to come naturally for me, and I soon realized it was my purpose and my gift. Nowadays, being plant-based is much more commonplace, and so many options are available. We need to understand the impact our food choices have on our health and the health of our planet, which affects our society at large. Everything is connected. Food affects our attitudes and beliefs, our spirituality, our relationships, and of course the quality of our lives. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE COMMON CHALLENGES WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTH AND NUTRITION? One of the biggest challenges is our mindset. People can be scared of big dietary changes in their life, but it’s important to remember that switching to a more plant-based diet is not a “revolution” on your body but an “evolution.” As we evolve in our food consciousness, bit by bit, we start to make healthier choices and cultivate better dietary habits.  We’re not trying to change who we are overnight—we’re trying to be healthier versions of ourselves. When I meet a client, I start by making small changes, and when they start to feel better, sleep better, and fit into their clothes again, it gives them the propensity to want to continue.  There is a huge misconception about protein, and people tend to focus on it overly. There’s also the myth that protein must come from animals. I’m often asked, “Where do you get your protein if you’re plant-based?”  Because the truth is, so many plant-based foods have adequate-protein, and they are nutritionally balanced with fiber, nutrients, and vitamins too, which are largely lacking in meat.  What a lot of people don’t realize is that animal protein is also high in fat. So, a high-protein diet is in fact a high-fat diet if you are consuming lots of meat. If you took 100 calories of broccoli and 100 calories of chicken or fish, the broccoli has actually more protein per calorie and of course, way less fat.  The difference matters because a high-fat diet is hard on your body, specifically on your liver and kidneys. A lot of clients I see suffer from chronic illnesses and need to reduce the amount of fat they consume.  There is a common belief that meat makes you strong, but it’s simply unfounded. Consider elephants, gorillas, rhinos, giraffes, hippos, and horses—all very physically strong, all herbivores.  SO HERE ARE A FEW KEY TIPS: 1. SETTING YOURSELF UP TO WIN The first is to set yourself up to win. That means having healthier options in your food cupboard. These days, there are plenty of healthy crackers, cookie, and snack options on the market, and if you stock your cupboards with them, you are more likely to choose something more nutritious whenever you have a craving. 2. REDUCE DAILY INTAKE OF FAT, SODIUM, AND SUGAR  Specifically, it is important to try and cut back on three ingredients: fat, sodium, and sugar. These ingredients all serve their purpose, but most of us eat way too much of it, and restaurants are notorious for adding a lot of each to their dishes. When combined, these three ingredients are so powerful that they can override your body’s ability to create satiety signals (the ones that say “Stop, I’m full!”) which drive you to consume even more. 3. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER A good practice is to start to read ingredient and nutrition labels. By comparing the different ingredients of the same type of product, you give yourself the option to choose the healthier alternative.  4. DAILY HABIT Think of eating healthy as a practice and a way of cultivating life rather than something unpleasant that you can take “breaks” from. Your body will thank you. Many clients ask me about cheat days, but unfortunately, that is not a healthy habit to incorporate.  5. MEAL PREP Start food prep or do batch cooking on the weekend. When you come home and are ravenously hungry—too hungry to cook—you are more likely to make a healthy choice rather than reach for the junk food. The same goes for at work, while travelling, etc.; bringing

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