Today on the blog, we’re featuring Laura De Sanctis, holistic nutritionist, digestive health coach and wellness speaker. She is one of our amazing contributors and today she shares with us how she got started on her health and wellness journey, some of the issues she faced, and her go-to snacks! Read on to find out some inspiring words she has for anyone wanting to start their health and wellness journey.
Tell us about yourself – who you are and what you do?
I’m a holistic nutritional, digestive health coach and wellness speaker. I love speaking and teaching about wellness, health and nutrition, particularly women’s health, digestive issues and positive body image. With my background in fitness, I also love to teach women about how to lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight through exercise and proper nutrition.
What inspired you to get into health and fitness?
My personal story inspired me to become a nutritionist. In my early 20s I was always interested in fitness and nutrition, but didn’t know where to start. Struggling with IBS for years, I didn’t know who to turn to, who was a trusted resource or what prescription or holistic methods I should try to combat some of the symptoms I had.
Through a lot of trial and error and sleepless nights, lying on the bathroom floor, I decided I had to take matters into my own hands. Over the store pills and prescriptions were band-aid solutions, that
ended up making me feel worse.
I was always, tired and groggy and felt overweight (even though I wasn’t). From the inside, I felt so sluggish and that my insides were weighing me down. Through my studies and research as a nutritionist, I started testing different diets and learned the importance of eating for my body.
Now I educate people on the importance of healing their bodies from the inside out, with clean, holistic foods and ingredients. I don’t believe in diets and I don’t believe in quick fixes. I believe to achieve optimal health you must embody the pillars of the mind, body and spirit. My philosophy is to stay active, create healthy lifestyle habits, find balance and trust your inner knowing. I believe that everything is energy….even the food we eat, and we must strive to be mindful of this.
Describe a typical day in your life.
I tend to get up early and start my day with a visualization. I think of how I want my day to be. I look at my vision board and start to prepare some warm water and lemon. I find this really helps kick start my day. I take the time to make my smoothie in the morning then set aside an hour in the morning to go to a Pilates or yoga class.
There are no set smoothies or breakfast shakes I consume. I try to mix up my smoothies by adding different fresh fruits and vegetables and incorporating a healthy fat like a nut butter into the mix. In my morning smoothie I add a liquid multi-vitamin or a liquid fish oil. If I don’t include a nut butter, I include some flax seeds or chia seeds.
For lunch and dinner, I eat whatever I feel like – making sure everything is certified organic or home grown (if it’s seasonal). I stock my fridge with lots of greens and a variety of different vegetables. I eat detoxifying and alkalizing greens as they help eliminate toxins and are rich in vitamins. I don’t believe in eating packaged or boxed products filled with gluten, sugar or soy. I believe in eating clean and eating when I feel hungry, unless I’m experimenting a new diet or meal plan.
I prefer to start working around 8:30/9am and taking short breaks throughout the day. If possible, I will try to go to the gym during the day, this way I won’t feel so tired by the time my work day is over.
Throughout my day I don’t count calories and don’t restrict myself to snacking. I try to make sure that I’m drinking enough water throughout the day, so I always carry a water bottle with me.
I tend to have a salad for lunch, since they are light and refreshing, and then again for dinner. I always try to eat a protein with my greens, and incorporate fresh herbs on my fish or meats.
I tend to eat simple and follow a Mediterranean diet, except I do not eat and dairy or gluten. I use simple flavours and ingredients like lemon, olive oil and fresh herbs when I cook and look for these ingredients when I dine out.
In the summer I tend to eat a lot of fresh cucumbers, greens and tomatoes. In the winter months, I eat more salads and warming soups.
When I know I have a busy day ahead with travel and/or meetings and will be pressed for time to eat, I’ll prepare in advance a few smoothies or protein drinks so I can sip them throughout the day while I’m sitting down. I also like packing nuts or seeds to munch on. I love eating a handful of almonds, cashews or pumpkin seeds.
Coffee or green tea?
While coffee does have some health benefits, I opt for drinking green tea. Coffee can be very taxing on the system. If you have adrenal fatigue, I would suggest you avoid caffeine and opt to have a herbal tea instead. I love drinking a nice mint herbal tea.
Five foods you can’t live without?
Cucumber, avocado, tomato, Romaine lettuce and olive oil.
What is your go-to snack for those days when you on the run?
These days I really love eating a handful of almonds or even half an avocado. I can eat avocado like it’s pudding!
Any advice or tips for those starting out on their wellness journey?
Make time for yourself. If getting fit or getting healthy is your priority, do the research. Meet with trainers and nutritionists who have a similar story to you. Ask them what worked for them. Enroll in their programs.
Make time to learn how to cook for yourself. Find recipes or purchase a nutrition program that includes healthy recipes suitable to your needs. If you are Celiac or have IBS, I would recommend you purchase plans that do not have any dairy or gluten in them.
Your health and well being is your responsibility. Take the time to make small changes in your diet and lifestyle. Use baby steps. Hire a nutritionist to help keep you accountable for your health and nutritional goals, and provide you with meal plans and supplementation that is right for you. I don’t believe in cookie-cutter diets and I don’t believe in having a vision without a solid game plan and action steps. Set goals for yourself and track what you eat. Don’t get caught up in tracking calories, but track how many times a day you drink water (if you drink any), track what you eat and when, and you will start noticing patterns about yourself.
One of the best pieces of advice I have is to go easy on yourself. Start with a positive mindset and you will start to see changes. Persist and make small changes day my day. Those little nutritional tweaks along the way will amount to something big, but you will need to give yourself time. Be patient and continue to love yourself throughout this journey. Remember, this is a journey, so celebrate your small accomplishments along the way and trust the process.
Life is all about thriving, not surviving!
Read more about Laura De Sanctis on her website here.