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Understanding Types of Food: How to Gain A Nutritional Perspective [E049]

Dr. Bryan Joseph induces the newest member to The Wellness Connection, Kristy Shaughnessy. She shares how her personal struggle with health and weight loss helped to shape her future decision to become a certified clinical nutritionist. Kristy shares how her real-life experiences can help benefit the patients that sit across the desk from her every day. Especially when it comes to understanding types of food, diabetes, hormones, decreased energy and weight loss and more.

Table Of Contents

An Introduction To Understanding Types Of Food

An Introduction To Understanding Types Of Food
Photographer: Elle Morre | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan J.: Welcome back everybody. This is Dr. Bryan Joseph as always, and I am here for the Wellness Connection show, episode 49. I am joined today by Kristy Shaughnessy.

Kristy S.: Hello everyone.

Dr. Bryan J.: Kristy is newer to our team and I thought it’d be fun to have a discussion with her. First of all, for her to be able to share a little bit about who she is, and you’ll get a better idea of why we brought her to our team and what her background is, and maybe why she got into healthcare and doing what she’s doing. And then we’ll shift, because there’s a lot of value that she’s had in regards to her study and her time and her mentoring with Dr. Olivia and different people in regards to how she sees things from a nutritional perspective, helping people. And we’re going to share those things with you, so that you can find ways to continue to advance and benefit your own life by getting well and staying well naturally.

So, Kristy, let’s start off the discussion by this. Obviously, I’ve known you for quite a while now. I actually saw you when you were a young kid growing up and developing. And we’ve been in practice here for 16, almost 16 years. And I’ve watched you go from a patient of ours to now a practitioner in the office. So, what actually… Why don’t you share a little bit about what inspired you to… What did you see as you were younger or maybe getting exposure to certain things that made you want to pursue a career in healthcare?

Why Kristy Pursued a Career in Healthcare

Kristy S.: Absolutely. So, really as a child I was actually overweight and that was one of the biggest things that really got me exposed to healthcare. I mean, my parents did the correct things, always eating right, cooking right, everything like that. And being involved in sports, I was actually exposed to going to dietitians and unfortunately having terrible experiences. And I was just like, that’s it. I knew I wanted to help people in the future from that point on.

So, then it really wasn’t until I got involved in Taekwondo, which really just expanded my viewpoint on a lot of different things in life, that I still carry with me till this day into adulthood, that I really started losing weight, and I started getting more involved into the nutritional aspect and how that affects our body’s over well and health. And so that’s really what kind of got me started. And then it wasn’t until Nicole, my sister started working for you guys, and she was like, “Kristy, just come to one of Dr. Olivia’s seminars.”

And that’s when I met Dr. Olivia and just hearing her talk, I want to be just like her when I grew up. So, that really did tune into me and that’s exactly what I want to do. I want to help people nutritionally, and how types of food really does make an impact on your health.

Dr. Bryan J.: So awesome. I mean, oftentimes when we’re having discussions with people or speaking publicly or doing these podcasts or going out into a community and giving a workshop or a lecture, you never know what people are actually taking away with them, or who you’re impacting.

Having doubts in the healthcare sector

Dr. Bryan J.: So, then you decided after hearing Dr. Olivia, and you get inspired to say that’s who I want to be. What is your degree in? What did you decide to pursue?

Kristy S.: I went to Logan University. I got my bachelor’s in Human Biology, and then I got my master’s in Nutrition and Human Performance. But that sets me up into taking the examination to become a certified clinical nutritionist.

Dr. Bryan J.: Those words might not mean a ton to the other people on the opposite side of these microphones. But what it really relates to is, and having discussions with you outside of here, is really realizing that food is medicine.

Kristy S.: Yes.

Dr. Bryan J.: And you took a lot further study around the idea of let me figure out what types of food help with what, how to help people get their life back on track in terms of using food as a healing property, as opposed to running to medicines all the time.

Kristy S.: Correct. Yes.

Dr. Bryan J.: When you actually left school, first of all, did you feel like coming out of school that okay, now I know I can help people? Or was there still a lot of doubt?

Kristy S.: There was some doubt, I’m not going to lie, because sometimes, especially when it comes to the healthcare field overall, if you’re not a registered dietician or if you’re not a doctor, there’s regulations on that that can really kind of put some doubt in you for sure.

“I Just Don’t Know What To Eat Anymore”

- Photographer: Davide Cantelli | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan J.: Let’s talk about now that you’re working with patients, and you’ve now been mentored for a bit and you’ve actually had the schooling. What are some of the common conditions that you see yourself having conversations around, that you see nutrition being an integral part and being able to help?

Kristy S.: Well, mainly here in the clinic here, we see a lot with diabetes. We see a lot with hormonal issues, and then simply some people are just like, “I just don’t know what to eat anymore. I feel like there are so many issues when it comes to certain types of food products, and what’s in them, that I just don’t really know what my body truly needs.” Those would probably be my top three conversations that I have day in and day out.

Dr. Bryan J.: I’ve mentioned this on other episodes and I know Dr. Olivia and I have even done a full episode, it was episode 40 on weight loss solutions. But over the years, the most two common symptoms or complaints that we hear people talk about in healthcare is, having no energy and being overweight.

And I think one of the things that I’ve developed in my own mind as a philosophy and an understanding or a premise is that, the same way a car operates on a certain type of gasoline that makes the engine work, so do we. Our bodies actually operate on a certain food that acts as fuel. And when we get away from that fuel, it’s kind of like putting Skittles and Snicker bars into your gas tank of your car. There is a problem, right?

Kristy S.: Right. Yes.

How to start the conversation around types of food

Dr. Bryan J.: So, Let’s talk just about some of the basics, right? Here I am, I’m coming to you and I’m exhausted. I am overweight and I say, “Kristy, I don’t even hardly know what a banana and an apple looks like. I don’t know where to start.” Where do you begin the discussion with people? When you’re saying, “Okay, it’s time to start making a transition and here’s where we have to start looking.”

Kristy S.: Honestly, truthfully, I am always a advocate of getting testing done, that would be my very first step with a lot of people, and obviously you want to ask somebody like how committed are you to wanting to change your life. Because obviously Skittles and whatnot, that’s not going to be a very good health source for the rest of your life. You’re going to get a lot more health problems, so we want to stop that. Or if you do have a health condition, how can we improve it or maintain it to a level where you’re okay and decrease medication?

Dr. Bryan J.: I know what you mean when you say testing, but a lot of people may not know what you mean when you say testing. We’ve talked about it on other episodes, but testing as a clinician helps us basically get away from guessing what’s going on and really understand using lab work, whether it be food sensitivity tests, blood work, stool testing, hormone testing, saliva testing, hair testing. There’s genetic testing. There are all sorts of testing that can provide answers and shortcuts as to where your deficiencies are in your body.

And where maybe your toxicities are, like where you might have too much of something or too little or something.

Start With A Food Journal

Start With A Food Journal - Types Of Food
Photographer: Ava Sol | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan J.: How would you approach working with somebody that says, “Kristy, help me lose weight”?

Kristy S.: Absolutely. So, first off I would ask them, give me a food journal, start writing a few food journal. What do you eat on a day in and day out basis? Then from there I can create a plan for them specific to you, because obviously a male versus a female, age groups and whatnot, children, everybody is completely different. So, we have to treat everybody as their own individual, of their own genetics, everything like that.

But that’d be my very first step. And then create a complete new food plan for them. Be like, slowly take out the sugar and the soda and whatnot you’re eating day in, day out. Get rid of your high inflammatory types of food. So, these would be things like dairy and gluten, anything like that would be the very first step I would start with everybody.

Dr. Bryan J.: So, I think that’s a great step in all aspects of life, where we talk about physical, chemical and emotional stressors that people deal with. And I don’t think you could fix anything if you’re not first aware of what’s going on. So, when it comes to food, you can’t just go in and blindly give somebody suggestions is what I’m hearing. I’m hearing, well, first thing we got to do is identify where they are, become aware of what their current patterns and habits are before I just start saying, “Here’s what you do.” Right?

Kristy S.: Correct.

The Terrible Food Pyramid

The Terrible Food Pyramid - types of food
Photographer: Bilal Ayadi | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan J.: I remember growing up, and this is years ago in school, everything needs to revolve around the food pyramid.

Kristy S.: Yes. A terrible pyramid.

Dr. Bryan J.: Well, you say that. Let’s shed some light on that because most people, they see, okay, well we all… There’s this food pyramid. We’re supposed to get a foundation of all these things in the bottom and work our way up. Why do you look at that and say that’s actually a terrible food pyramid?

Kristy S.: Because it’s just not realistic, unfortunately. Because that is a pyramid based on everybody’s needs and everybody’s needs are completely different. For someone who has a gluten allergy and to tell them that 80% of their daily intake should be grains, that’s a terrible idea.

It’s kind of the same thing with the dairy. Someone has a dairy intolerance and to tell them they need to consume 40% of their intake as dairy, that’s not a good idea for somebody. That’s going to lead them to feeling no energy. But they’re going to probably have some type of health condition down the road, or they’re just not going to feel good on a day in, day out basis. And that’s just terrible. I wouldn’t want that for anybody to have a life like that.

Dr. Bryan J.: No, no, no. I mean, the generalization on that food pyramid, I agree with you. But I think a lot of people, just this is how we’re being taught we’re supposed to eat. We got to consume 80% of this, and work our way up to 60% of this, and 40% of this, and 20% of this.

There is no one size fits all approach

Dr. Bryan J.: So, again, and without labs you may not know that. But if you had labs you can identify how twisted that pyramid really could be for you as an individual. Right?

Kristy S.: Yes, absolutely.

Dr. Bryan J.: Also like, eggs, dairy, those types of things.

Kristy S.: Oh, yes.

Dr. Bryan J.: I had heard this a long time ago, that if you really traced back who created the food pyramid, then it leads you back to who’s suggesting that you eat the most of their products. Right?

Kristy S.: Yes.

Dr. Bryan J.: So, the dairy farmers and the grain farmers might have some backing behind who developed the food pyramid, right?

Kristy S.: Right, yes.

Dr. Bryan J.: Because of course, they want you to eat as much or consume as much of those particular products as possible. But I think hearing you say, and we believe the same thing, and we often preach it around here, is there is really no one size fits all.

Kristy S.: Correct.

Dr. Bryan J.: There are some general things that are advantageous for almost everybody when it comes to nutrition and health. Some just good habits for everybody. But there really is no one size fits all. And healthcare so frequently right now approaches everything as a blanket approach and it’s very generic and broad and everybody just gets treated the same way. You have this condition, anybody with this condition gets this medication, right? Where their genetics, their environment, and their habits are all different. So, it makes no sense to me that we would all be treated identically. Right?

Kristy S.: Oh, I completely agree.

Giving patients different options

Dr. Bryan J.: So, food is very much the same. Food needs to be individualized. So, when you work with a client or a patient, you’ve identified and created an awareness in their food log or their journal, maybe they’ve allowed you to do some lab work or maybe they haven’t, you’ve found some of the destructive patterns. What kind of suggestions do you typically leave with? And what kind of questions most commonly come up from them?

Kristy S.: Well, really I have to say probably just like certain types of food that they have to eliminate and how they can substitute with them. If you’re commonly a gluten eater or a dairy eater, and you’re like, I can’t have those anymore, what can I substitute with that?

So, those would be probably the top questions that I would usually get, If I go through the drive-through lane, what can I eat? So, just giving them options and alternatives for that. Or if you’re at an actual restaurant, how can I eat when I’m out with my friends or my family? Giving them different options.

Dr. Bryan J.: So, is it possible. A lot of people actually, when you say, “Well, you can’t eat grains, you can eat gluten, you’re not supposed to have dairy.” Then they may look at you and say, “Well what can I eat?” Right?

Kristy S.: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Dr. Bryan J.: So, you’re saying it’s possible that there’s other types of food out there?

Kristy S.: Yes, absolutely. That are way healthier.

What Is A Grain?

What Is A Grain? types of food
Photographer: meriç tuna | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan J.: Yeah. So, what is a grain? What makes up a grain, that most people would commonly be like, okay, I don’t even know what she’s talking about when she says a grain.

Kristy S.: So, grain is just something that grows out in a field. I mean obviously the most common grains that we’re consuming here in the United States would be your breads and your pastas. Anything like that.

Dr. Bryan J.: And also like crackers are common, right?

Kristy S.: Yes, thank you. Cereals can be in that formula as well.

Dr. Bryan J.: And then one thing I did not know until my wife, after Olivia had educated me a bit on it, but that eggs are found in so many different things. So, if you have a sensitivity to eggs in any way, it’s not just a matter of eliminating them from your breakfast. But a lot of times people bake with eggs and things are cooked with eggs, so you have to be careful of that too. Right?

Kristy S.: Oh, absolutely, and unfortunately if you eat a lot of prepackaged foods, that’s where these secret ingredients start getting in there. So, eggs, soy, corn, wheat, which is part of the grain and gluten family. Those are all in your prepackaged types of food, that you’re consuming all the time, if that’s your type of diet plan.

Dr. Bryan J.: So, another one that amazed me is, I remember when Olivia had shared with me that a lot of lunch meats had a lot of different preservatives and different fillers in there.

Kristy S.: Oh, yes they do.

Avoid Any Kinds Of Preservatives

Avoid Any Kinds Of Preservatives - Types Of Food
Photographer: Ryan Quintal | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan J.: So, if someone is looking at a label and they’re trying to clean up their diet. Right? Are there certain ingredients that come to mind for you that you say, “Okay, if you see that, avoid it”?

Kristy S.: Yes. Obviously the ones I mentioned before, if any of the packaging says any type of preservatives honestly, or fillers like you mentioned, you want to get rid of those. Soy, corn because they’re just very genetically modified, which that causes… That can be a whole other conversation for another day. But wheat, eggs, dairy. So, nitrates are another one that’s commonly found in your lunch meats, or just prepackaged meats.

Dr. Bryan J.: Yeah, I never knew that. Yeah.

Kristy S.: Yep, so that’s a preservative all in itself. So, that’s something you want to avoid. And obviously your sugars, your sugars are really a filler, binder for everything.

Dr. Bryan J.: Is MSG also? Is that a preservative, too?

Kristy S.: That’s just a sodium based.

Dr. Bryan J.: Sodium. Okay.

Kristy S.: Yep.

Dr. Bryan J.: So, I know a lot of people end up becoming sensitive, they get headaches when they have MSG, and then it’s in a lot of different types of food too.

Kristy S.: It is in a lot of different foods.

Hindrances To Weight Loss

Hindrances To Weight Loss - Types Of Food
ight Photographer: i yunmai | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan J.: Let’s change gears a little bit. We’re aware of what we have going on because we’ve logged it, we’ve actually then made some changes to start to pull out some of the unhealthy foods for us. We’ve also started to reinoculate or put in some of the better foods. I’m developing momentum, I’m getting my energy back. I’m your patient right now and I’ve lost 10 pounds and then I get stuck. My goal is 30 pounds, but I’ve been sitting on this plateau now for longer than I want to be. What do you look at and how can we get off that plateau?

Kristy S.: That’s when I start looking internally of what’s going on. Many people don’t realize it, but you could be holding some type of water retention. There could be things like an autoimmunity going on.

Some other things that we like to look is if it’s your hormones, if you have some type of bacterial infection going on. So, that’s when we look at stool analysis testing, which is very beneficial.

Dr. Bryan J.: So, that’s interesting. Somebody said to me just the other day, like whenever… Even when your mind’s not right, you need to check your physiology, right?

Meaning when your mind’s not right, if your moods off or if you’re getting depressed or if you’re getting angry or irritated, anxious, a lot easier. So, it’s not just how much weight is on your body as to why you would need to check your physiology. But a lot of times if your mind or your spirit or your body are off, you need to understand the chemistry behind why it might be off.

Kristy S.: Yes.

How much water, fruits, and vegetables to take everyday

Dr. Bryan J.: Water recommendations. What’s the average recommendation for somebody? How much water should somebody drink in your opinion?

Kristy S.: 60 to 80 ounces per day, which is way past the average of eight glasses a day they say.

Dr. Bryan J.: Yeah, for me, what I’ve always heard is half of your body weight in ounces is really like-

Kristy S.: Yes.

Dr. Bryan J.: So, like there’s some variations. If you’re a really, really small person versus a bigger person, then obviously the amount of water you need to consume to stay hydrated is a little different.

And then fruits and vegetables, we hear oftentimes, I think the obvious is we need to consume more fruits and vegetables. But is there an amount that you would suggest? Or is there too much of a fruits and vegetables? Or?

Kristy S.: It depends on the individual when it comes to. Now, vegetables for anybody, I’m a huge component of vegetables. I feel you could never overdo it on vegetables. Because unfortunately that’s something here that if you look at the typical food plan, people aren’t eating vegetables every day.

If you go to a different part of the world, that’s their basis of their meal plans every day. So, I would say, obviously it depends on the individual. But again, vegetables, any and all are perfect for everybody. But when it comes to fruits, that’s more on a individual basis. The reason I say that is someone who’s diabetic or has some type of insulin resistance going on, you don’t want to give them even more sugar, which is found in fruit.

Dr. Bryan J.: Yeah. A lot of people don’t realize that, even the juices, fruit juices are heavy, heavy in sugar.

Kristy S.: Yes, yes

Closing Thoughts: Understand Your Physiology!

Dr. Bryan J.: Today I wanted to bring Kristy into this discussion, to give us a little bit of a perspective on nutrition. Coming out of school, every year they teach things a little differently. And I think some of the greatest things that I heard you share today that can be takeaways for people is there really is no one size fits all. You’ve got to customize a dietary strategy specific to your goals and to you as an individual. You also have to be fully aware of what you’re currently doing if you want to make some changes. Because if what you’re doing is not working, then you got to be open to changing it. But if you’re you’re blind to it, then there’s no way to change it.

And if you get stuck and changes aren’t necessarily taking place the way you would want and you’re not reaching your goals, then it’s time to investigate deeper with some labs and understand your physiology.

Kristy S.: And these are even things just like stress and sleep too. People don’t realize it if you’re not getting proper sleep or if your life’s very stressful, which affects your health overall as well.

Dr. Bryan J.: All right, everybody, thanks so much for tuning in to the Wellness Connection. As always, we thank you for sharing these things with other people. We’re on a mission here to try to help as many people as we can around the world get well and stay well naturally. And you guys are part of our mission and our missionary team by sharing these things with other people. So, thank you so much. We’re grateful for you.

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