Questions I Often Get Asked, Part 1

Sharing some questions that I often get asked, entitled Part 1 because there are many. Part 2 to follow.

Are raw vegetables healthier to consume than cooked?

Balance is the name of the game here! A combination of both is actually the best. I have no idea how people sustain strictly raw diets but I suppose with the right bodily constitution it could be healthy for periods of time. While raw vegetables and greens provide us with beneficial enzymes and fiber, they are a cold food which in time can lead to dampness in the body leading to health imbalances/illness. They require more energy to digest which can be taxing (taking needed energy away from tissue healing and renewal) particularly if you are ill or dealing with a chronic health condition. Cooked vegetables enter the body warm, requiring less gastric energy to break them down and the nutrients are absorbed more readily. This means less energy is expended digesting cooked vegetables and more nutrients are assimilated. Again, a balance of both is best and in warm months, raw can be a bigger part of your diet to keep your body cool and in colder months, cooked vegetables should be the norm.

Did you grow up in Vermont?

I grew up on Long Island in New York state, in a north shore town called Port Jefferson. I was a beach girl until I graduated college and moved to northern New Jersey. My husband and I moved from Wyckoff, New Jersey to Vermont three years later because we love the outdoors and we were not loving our urban commutes! My husband and I both spent lot’s of time in Vermont skiing with our families when we were growing so we had this in common from the start.

What motivated you to become a Health Coach?

I’ve always been an innate helper and when I became sick with tick-borne infections I began getting lot’s of phone calls asking for advice and support. I noticed that my energy went up when I could help someone, it felt really great! Then I noticed that I was getting asked for help with all kinds of illnesses so I took it as a sign and decided to put my newfound, personally acquired health and wellness knowledge to use and despite being quite ill I enrolled in health coaching school and learned so much more; wellness on another level, you think you are healthy on all levels of your being but there are always deeper levels and room for personal growth; good stuff!

Is fruit healthy or is it too high in sugar?

There is a spectrum here that I will explain but the quick answer is yes, some fruit can be healthy but some fruit is high on the glycemic index and needs to be consumed more sparingly (its called nature's candy for a reason). Fruit contains sugar called fructose which is metabolized by the liver and it is not used for energy the way that glucose is. If your body doesn’t have enough glucose (this is not often the case), it can turn fructose into glucose but the excess is converted into cholesterol and lipids and also stored as body fat. You don’t want this. Berries are a great option as they have a high skin to pulp ratio so there is a lot of fiber packed into them, slowing down the sugar absorption; they also contain many beneficial nutrients. Their bright red and purple colors indicate that they contain anthocyanins which are potent antioxidants. Berries are a nutrient dense food and low in calories; apples are good too as the skin is high in fiber. Bananas, pineapples, grapes, and varieties of melon need to be consumed much more in moderation as they are higher glycemic and will cause insulin levels to spike. A breakfast smoothie alone made from bananas and other higher glycemic fruit is not a good way to start the day in my opinion. But, if you are choosing between a bowl of corn flakes, a bagel, or a banana or bowl of melon, of course choose the fruit as you are still getting vitamins, micronutrients, and antioxidants that other foods do not contain. Dried fruit is a sugar bomb so consume sparingly. Avocado, which is technically a fruit, is a good as it gets containing healthy fats, fiber, nutrients, and minimal sugar and carbohydrates; eat away!

Is coffee bad for you?

Coffee is not bad for you (phew) as long as you are consuming an organic variety as most coffee beans are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Who wants to start their day with a side beverage of chemicals? If you typically go straight for the coffee in the a.m. I recommend drinking at least 16 ounces of water beforehand to rehydrate your body. Skip the sugar and flavored syrups in your coffee and sweeten with stevia, use organic cream or nut milks and enjoy. Obviously, pay attention to how you feel when you drink coffee and adjust accordingly. Most mornings I start with several large glasses of water then I have about two cups of coffee with collagen, stevia, and cashew milk or organic cream then head straight to the gym to workout and I have plenty of energy. On a recent vacation when I was not heading to the gym post caffeine, I noticed I was jittery and didn’t need so much. If you have adrenal fatigue or have trouble falling asleep at night you need to watch your intake closely and stick to one small cup per day maximum.

What is your favorite convenience/packaged food indulgence?

This is it! Preferably topped with cacao nibs, coconut flakes, sugar free granola, nuts, flax seeds, anything really, or by itself works just fine. A few bites is all I need. I have days and weeks that I have to tell myself that its off the table otherwise I'd eat it all day every day.

Will you always be sick from lyme disease?

No. The last few years I have been pretty good but was still taking a significant downturn in June each year requiring an uptick in treatment of some kind, usually a change of herbs or a stint back on antibiotics. The last 10 months I have been really good with just a few occasional symptoms which I like to think of as reminders to keep me on the healing path; all good. I still take many supplements and herbs because I have antibody deficiencies and they help me to stay well. All is going in the right direction. Health is definitely a journey!

What do you love the most about Health Coaching?

A few things actually. I love when a client completely falls off the health wagon, enjoys every minute of it, in some cases realizes they don’t feel well afterwords, and then can’t wait to get back on the healthy train. This is a huge milestone and I always feel like we have crossed a hurdle when the client gets themselves back on track quickly. Life and making the healthiest choice is not always feasible but getting yourself back on track without beating yourself up along the way is the name of the game.

I also love when clients are vulnerable. When I work with someone on an ongoing basis we cover all aspects of life such as relationships, work, exercise, daily stressors, home environment etc.. as these affect our health as much or moreso than what we eat. When there is vulnerability in these discussions some really big transformations happen.

Lastly, I love that what I often discuss with a client is exactly what I need to hear. We both win from the interaction.

What’s up with your Instagram account?

Okay, I don’t actually get asked this a lot but someone recently did ask me this as I have had an Instagram page for a while (I actually had several at one point thanks to my general lack of social media savvy) but I have yet to post anything on it. I think like many people I have a mixed relationship with social media and sometimes I like the feeling of keeping personal things to myself and at other times I get excited about sharing something, particularly cooking/food posts because I am a total healthy foodie creator in my spare time. Keep an eye out for a post soon! Perhaps Instagram will be a bit more personal than my Facebook page, we shall see.

@amy_swinarton, #socialmediagoals

How do you feel about social media?

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