Nutrition and Healing: An interview with Wellness and Nutrition Coach Kristy Rodriguez
With the Eat4Life Celebrity Cook-Off less than a week away, the Young Professional Board is striving to learn and share as much as possible about how diet affects our risk for colon cancer.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Kristy Rodriguez, our Nutrition and Wellness Consultant for the Eat4Life Celebrity Cook-Off, and talk to her about how diet and nutrition can lower your risk for colon cancer.
Kristy shares with us how colon cancer has personally affected her life, some simple practices and recipes to incorporate into our daily diets, and even some great dining tips and restaurant recommendations!
1. Can you give us a brief background on your experience and what drew you to becoming a Nutrition and Wellness Coach?
I have always been interested in health and wellness. I started dancing at the age of 9, after dance I started practicing, then teaching Yoga. I have always enjoyed being active and over the years my interest in nutrition continued to grow. In 2005 my father was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. I moved home to support him and one of the ways I helped him was by making him fresh veggie juices, smoothies, herbal teas etc. I only wish I had known more. After he passed away in 2007, I began to search for ways that I could increase my knowledge base on the relationship between nutrition and healing. In 2009 I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. Over the past several years I have learned a great deal about the power of nutrition and health.
I am passionate about sharing this information so that others may learn more and
gain information to help themselves feel better, heal faster and take more control over their own well being.
2. What's your approach to food and what are some simple tips to maintaining a colon healthy diet?
We all have unique needs when it comes to eating and nutrition. I support my clients to find out which way of eating feels best for them. One person my thrive on a vegan diet, for example, while another feels best adding lean protein from animal sources to their diet. There is SO MUCH information out there about what to eat, what not to eat, how to eat, when to eat etc. It can make your head spin. With all the do’s and don’ts out there, I say, take the best (for you), and leave the rest. Here are some good general questions to ask yourself regarding a specific food you are eating.
• How do you feel immediately after eating it? Light, energetic, focused? Or heavy, tired, foggy?
• How close is it to its natural state? Compare a baked potato to a potato chip. Try to eat whole, natural foods as often as possible.
• Are you eating it seated, in a relaxed state? Or are you eating it in a rushed and stressed state, maybe even on the run, in the car or in front of the television?
These factors can have a big impact on your digestion, assimilation and over all health. Gaining more awareness of what you are eating and how it makes you feel is a great place to start.
How do you feel one or two hours after eating it?
3. What are some of your favorite colon friendly foods and spices? Could you also share a favorite recipe that uses some of those ingredients?
Here are a few of my favorite colon (and body) friendly foods and spices:
• Fresh Aloe Vera: It looks like the leg of a big octopus! I love adding a freshly peeled slice of aloe to my morning smoothies. It is fun to peel off the thick skin to reveal the beautiful clear gel aloe inside. You can find the actual aloe leaf in many international grocery stores. It is considered colon friendly because it aids digestion and improves regularity. It also helps to fight bacteria and yeast, which are found in the colon. Not to mention, it is packed full of natural amino acids, vitamins and minerals and other anti-inflammatory properties.
• Turmeric: This yellow-orange spice is usually found in Indian dishes. According to research, this spice has anti-cancer benefits, specifically colon cancer. It has also been shown to have possible benefits in inflammatory conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and colitis.
• Good Old H20: Not necessarily a “food”, but one of the most important things you can add to your daily diet for superb colon health. It’s essential to keep things moving smoothly when it comes to colon health and water is the key. Dehydration can lead to constipation, and this can increase the amount of toxins that are floating around inside your body. We want to constantly flush toxins and stay hydrated. When possible, drink fresh purified or filtered (spring) water.
An easy colon-friendly recipe:
Berry- Flax Super Smoothie
In a blender add:
1-2 cups Water or Coconut Water
1 Handful Strawberries*
1 Handful Blueberries*
1 Handful Raspberries or Blackberries*
1 Large Kale Leaf*
½ Cup of Ice
Blend until Smooth. Enjoy.
*Berries can contain harsh pesticides. Please chose organic when possible.
Berries in season are best. In the winter, try frozen organic berries for your
smoothie and omit the ½ cup of ice.
4. When eating out, what are some guidelines you use in selecting a
healthy option? And do you have any restaurants in the area you would recommend?
When I eat out, I look for the menu items that contain the most vegetables.
Depending on what I order, I usually ask for additional veggies to be added.
I also like to start with a salad or a vegetable based soup. I love supporting restaurants that source local and/or organic ingredients. They are becoming more and more common, which is very exciting. Here are three of my local favorites:
Maple Ave Restaurant ~ 147 Maple Ave W Vienna, VA, 22180
Café Nora ~ 2132 Florida Avenue NW Washington, DC 20008
Le Pain Quotidien (DC Metro Locations)
7140 Bethesda Ln. Bethesda, MD
10217 Old Georgetown RdBethesda, MD
2815 M St NW
800 17th St NW
2000 P St.
Tyson’s Corner Mall (Outside of Bloomingdale’s)
2900 N Clarendon Blvd Arlington, VA
701 King St. Alexandria, VA
8223 Lee Hwy. Fairfax, VA
For more delicious inspiration, please check out kriscarr.com and alegrewellness.com. If you have any specific questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you at Risk For Colorectal Cancer?
- 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined
- Colonoscopies not only discover cancer, but can also stop cancer
- 50% of Americans still do not get colonoscopy reimbursement
- Colon cancer research is still vastly under-funded