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Can you detail your journey in becoming a nutrition coach?
“Nutrition has been an area of interest to me for as long as I can remember, but growing up I really wanted to be a pastry chef because I was always experimenting with different desserts in the kitchen and watching hours of Food Network. It wasn’t until I started having issues with my own health in high school that I decided that this was what I wanted to pursue so I would have the opportunity to help others. I did my Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition at the University of Technology, then I worked for a year in the Nutrition Unit at the Ministry of Health – after which, I decided to venture out on my own. I’ve also been trained in Medical Nutrition Therapy and am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Genetics so I can become a Registered Nutritionist. My experience with my own health led me down a road of disordered eating behaviours that nobody around me realized because I was thin and my habits seemed “healthy”, so that’s why I decided to take a holistic approach in becoming a Nutrition Coach to help my clients to pursue health in a way that works best for them instead of just trying to be thin.”
What would you describe as healthy eating?
“I would say it depends on the individual. A diet with variety, adequate fruit and vegetable intake and the right proportion of carbs, protein and fat is considered balanced, but this will look different for everybody. I could describe a healthy lifestyle as a combination of habits that allows you to nourish yourself well and care for your body. Healthy eating doesn’t need to include restriction (unless medically indicated), and it doesn’t have a specific look. What works for me may not work for someone else, so it’s about finding balance and variety in a way that suits your lifestyle and needs.”
Do Jamaicans pay enough attention to their diet?
“I think Jamaicans pay a lot of attention to their appearance, and their diet is an important part of that. Not everyone, but a lot of the persons I’ve met who are trying to eat healthy are doing so in order to lose weight or maintain their figure. On the other hand, a large percentage of our population suffer from chronic diseases, so I think it’s safe to say that there is room for more nutrition education around how to maintain a balanced diet. As a people, I think we need to learn how to create a balanced diet using locally produced foods while maintaining cultural integrity. When we can learn how to do that, we can spend less time thinking about our diet and more time being present and enjoying food.”
What is the best way to avoid lifestyle illness?
“Even though there’s no guaranteed way to avoid lifestyle illness, preventative nutrition is important. My best advice would be to find a way to include balance and moderation in a way that works for you: experiment with new ways to eat more fruits and vegetables, practice portion control, enjoy your favourite foods in moderation, make sure you’re staying hydrated and find a form of exercise/movement that’s enjoyable for you. It’s possible to find balance while still having fun and enjoying food, so if you find that you need additional support and accountability there’s no shame in reaching out for professional support.”
What is your favourite meal?
“I really enjoy a good lasagne but I think my #1 favourite meal is definitely butter chicken with garlic naan. I had it a restaurant and loved it so much I learned how to make it myself during quarantine.”
Please feel free to contact Gabrielle at:
Email: [email protected]
Blessings in abundance!