Friday, May 17, 2013

The Gluten Free Health Challenge: Meet Eryn McEntee, Team Chocolate

Yesterday, you met Sarah Dochow, nutritionist with a dual degree in nutrition and health psychology.
Today, meet Eryn McEntee, Health Coach for Team Chocolate.

Eryn McEntee is a naturopathic medical student in her final year at Bastyr University. A native of Western Connecticut, she was led to the practice of holistic medicine through her own journey of health restoration. She has a particular interest in psychoneuroimmunology with a specific proclivity to working with eating disorders and other psychology dis-ease/mood disorders. As a naturopathic doctor, she envisions her role to be one of leading people to their optimal physical performance in order that they may participate more actively in all areas of their life.

Eryn utilizes an individualized approach, the foremost of which is cultivating a dialogue with her patients. She focuses on wholesome nutrition and psycho/social/spiritual interventions in facilitating health and well-being of patients. Eryn loves exploring natural landscapes, having meaningful conversations with people, and finding out more about what excites them. She can often be found surveying the expanse of local fare offered at the farmer's markets or participating in various creative pursuits.

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

How long have you been gluten free? I've been gluten free for about 10 years. I am also completely flour free as well, including those with gluten. I enjoy the whole grain goodness, which doesn't seem to negatively affect my energy levels and moods as do all types of flour products.

What's your go-to meal for nights when you're tired and need something easy? I love a good stir-fry with coconut oil and tons of veggies, with some cod pieces that I always have stashed in my freezer. The combinations are endless.   

Favorite dessert? Hands down, my favorite dessert is a square of pure dark chocolate, anything with 75 percent or above. I make sure to conscientiously source my chocolate so that it is organic, direct trade, and of course gluten free, as well as soy and dairy free. One of my favorites by far is Theo's 85 percent dark chocolate.

Favorite vegetable: Oh, so many good ones it's hard to decide! I feel like it changes depending on the season. I am blessed here in Western Washington to have access to such an abundance of local produce for the majority of the year. But if I have to pick just one, I'm going to go with red Russian kale. It is a more tender variety than the regular red curly kale and is especially delicious in raw kale salads. Another all-time favorite is fennel, a very versatile vegetable that I love raw or cooked, and grew up eating as a palate cleanser in a traditional Italian home.

Any tips for gluten free newbies? Start with doable goals and recognize the successes you have had. Approaching it like an adventure and exploration from the perspective of "what can I add to my diet" rather than "what do I have to give up" has been helpful for other gluten free newbies I've worked with in the past.

What's the one thing you know now that you wish you had known when you first went gluten free? The one thing I know now that I wish I'd known is that going gluten free would actually expand my diet and definitely not restrict the variety open to me. Also, that I would feel so much better physically and mentally!

If you are what you eat, what would you be? Haha. Definitely would be a cruciferous vegetable, no doubt about it. Probably a cross between kale and bok choy.

What is the most common struggle you see when people come to you for nutrition advice? The most common struggle I see is people wanting to bite off more than they can chew, so to speak, in making changes. I believe it is best to start small and make sustainable changes.

Follow Eryn on Twitter.

Tomorrow, the contest to pick the last two challengers begins! Tune in so you can vote on whose story you would like to follow for the next 6 months!

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