Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Gluten Free Health Challenge: Meet Drew Parisi, Team Smoothie

Yesterday, you met Mia Davis, holistic nutritionist and lifestyle coach.
Today, meet Drew Parisi, Health Coach for Team Smoothie.

Drew Parisi is a certified nutrition consultant and nutrition educator practicing functional, whole-foods nutrition in Palo Alto, California. She partners with her clients in integrating healing, nourishing foods into their daily lifestyle. Growing up with her mom's organic garden in Southern California, she learned to appreciate the bounty nature provides year after year and began to understand the important role food plays in our health and well being.

Drew believes that our food system was created perfectly for us, and our bodies operate best when nourished with real foods. She firmly believes in the body's natural capacity to heal when provided with real nourishment, and she encourages her clients to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, wild-caught fish, pastured meats, dairy and eggs, nourishing fats, and traditionally prepared nuts, seeds, and grains. She understands that each individual has unique genetic tendencies and tastes, and needs differing amounts of healthful foods and nutrients to cope with our fast-paced and stress-filled world. Therefore, she does not subscribe to a "one size fits all" approach to nutrition; rather, she incorporates each individual's preferences along with therapies from many traditional diets - all rooted in whole foods. In doing so, she removes the stumbling blocks to good health and gives her clients the tools they need to truly care for themselves and their families.

Want to know more about Drew? Here's how she answered my questions:

How long have you been gluten free and what prompted you to adopt a gluten free diet? I've been gluten free for about 5 years now. I had some pretty severe abdominal pain that landed me in the E.R. and was passed between my gastroenterologist and GYN, with neither able to give me a diagnosis. I took matters into my own hands and did some functional testing and found gluten intolerance. I had to laugh at myself because I initially reacted like many of my clients - I didn't believe that gluten could possibly be the cause of my pain and I disregarded the legitimacy of my test result. When I finally convinced myself to give gluten free a try, I wasn't sorry! After the first couple of weeks, I noticed my energy was incredible (I didn't even know I had low energy before). I was waking up before my alarm and able to stay up much later without feeling tired. It took longer for my hormones to balance out, but my abdominal pain slowly lessened and I can now say that I haven't had any pain at all in the last 3 years!

Favorite go-to meal for nights when you're tired: I have a great market near my office that sells whole roasted chickens along with pre-made salads and soups. I'll grab whichever combination looks enticing for takeout. 

Favorite dessert: I've always loved flourless chocolate cake - and it's naturally gluten free!

Favorite vegetable: I can't believe I'm saying this, but I love brussels sprouts. I hated them as a child and only recently discovered my tastes had changed when they were served at a friend's house. I ate them to be polite, and am glad I did! I'm drawn to the visual appeal of food, and the color of brussels sprouts is just so bright and perfect. I can eat roasted brussels sprouts sprinkled with a little parmesan any day of the week. I think I'm making up for lost time!

Tips for gluten free newbies: Take comfort in the fact that ALL your favorite foods have gluten free substitutes. That said, don't go crazy on the gluten free baked goods. Allow this new diet to upgrade your healthstyle. Choose fruits and vegetables to round out your meals instead of refined grain products. Choose special occasions to indulge in gluten free treats - and enjoy them when you do!

One thing you know now that you wish you had known when you first went gluten free: People told me this, but I think it's something that you have to experience in order to understand. I wish I had known how good I would feel being gluten free. The improvement in my overall health and everyday energy was so dramatic that it makes it easy to choose to be gluten free each day. I used to think that I would "splurge" and eat gluten to celebrate a special occasion, but now I ask, "Why would I do that to myself?" I never want to feel crummy - especially not on a special occasion!

If you are what you eat, what would you be? I would love to be poached eggs, roasted vegetables, summer fruit, or a perfectly cooked lamb chop, but I'm probably a smoothie. I'm always running from one place to the next; Throwing some produce and protein powder in a blender is what keeps me sane most days. When I have time, I love cooking up a savory meal in my kitchen, but it's really the quick and easy meals like smoothies that consistently fuel my day.

What is the most common struggle you see when people come to you for nutrition advice? Most people come to me feeling tired, in pain, depressed, or unhappy with the way they feel in their bodies. Many of them have motivation to do something about it, but with so much conflicting health information out there, they don't know where to start. I help them sift through those contradicting health claims and put them in control of their health through education, support, and nutritional therapies based on their unique biochemistry.

Learn more about working with Drew on her website, Parisi Nutrition.
Follow Drew on Twitter and Facebook.

Tomorrow, meet the coach behind Team Strawberry

1 comment:

Zainab said...

Iris, all these coaches are phenomenal. I am really enjoying meeting them here. I can't wait until the challenge starts. Staying tuned...


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