The Plan to Eat Podcast

#76: Nutritional and Lifestyle Changes for Better Health with Christine Davis

February 14, 2024 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 76
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#76: Nutritional and Lifestyle Changes for Better Health with Christine Davis
Show Notes Transcript

Christine is a registered dietitian who helps professional women lose weight, increase energy, and boost their confidence with sustainable life changes that impact body, mind, and soul. In this interview, Christine shares how she became a dietitian as a result of her experience with anxiety and depression. She shares how she healed herself through food and gives some additional lifestyle changes we can all implement to improve our health. Enjoy!

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[00:00:00] to the Plan to Eat podcast. Where I interview industry experts about meal planning, food and wellness. To help you answer the question. What's for dinner. 

Roni: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the plan to eat podcast today. I have an interview with Christine Davis. She is a registered dietitian who helps professional women lose weight, increase energy, and boost their confidence with sustainable life changes to impact their body, mind, and soul. Christine is also local here to Northern Colorado.

We had a great conversation today where she gives us a little bit of her back story of how she got interested in dietetics and becoming a dietitian, as well as, an experience that she had with anxiety and depression and how she was able to really heal herself through food. So I hope that you enjoy this conversation and here's my interview Christine. Thanks so much [00:01:00] for joining me on the podcast today.

Christine: Thanks for having me. I'm excited to chat with you.

Roni: Yeah. So let's get started by having you just introduce yourself. Um, tell us who you are and what you do for a living.

Christine: Yeah. So I am Christine Davis. I'm a registered dietitian and I own my own company helping women to lose weight, increase energy and boost their confidence through sustainable life changes. And I'm hoping this year to also implement focusing on gut health and doing lab testing and all of that.

Roni: Oh, wow. That sounds great. So how'd you get, started with being a registered dietitian, and specifically that the gut health portion of it, because I think that that is becoming more and more popular. I'm really interested in it.

Christine: Yeah, so kind of a crazy story how I became a dietitian. So it started out I was in school doing business pre med and on the track of Doing that route and then I went to a career counselor and they were like, hey, let's not do just business and [00:02:00] I heard her say nutrition was a good option and I was like, hey, that's it and so Switched to nutrition and then kind of on that route from there I learned dietetics was an option and I learned All about dietetics.

I learned there's so many options out there about like you can work in a hospital. You could do like work with making recipes or anything like that. So it was great just being able to learn. So many options are out there. And so that's the route I ended up doing. So I dropped premed and then eventually I was like, I want to be a Owning my own company.

After I graduated and all of that, kind of down the road later, I decided to have my own company, because of my own healing journey. And so kind of like for my journey, it was started like while I was in college, because like in high school, I was doing really well, top of my class, [00:03:00] excelling, everything like that.

But then when I got to college, I was starting to have, like, a lot of depression, anxiety, all of that, and I didn't really know why, I didn't know what was going on. And so, in one of my clinical biochem classes, it was awesome because my teacher was going through different diseases and symptoms and everything like that, and she got to thyroids, and she was talking about the thyroid, saying like, This is the thyroid.

There's hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and these are the different symptoms. And I was like, this is kind of aligning with what I got going on. So I went to an endocrinologist, did some tests, found out I have Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, and so I talked to him. I was like. What can I do? What else can I change other than taking medication?

And he was like, there's nothing you can do. Just take medication. And I was like, Hmm, that doesn't seem right. Like I'm [00:04:00] in school to become a dietician. I know there's like so many other options out there. And so I kind of started trying to do different things, talking to different professors and stuff along the way.

So I was focusing more on my health in that moment. I was like, what can I do to help my thyroid? And like, help it be better and kind of get back out of this fog. So I got out of the fog of like depression, anxiety, and finally he had a lot of healing there, which is some life changing. So I feel like so much better not in that deep, dark depression anymore.

But I've still had some issues these last several years, so I was like, there's still more, there's something else out there. And so I've been doing other testing, and so finally I found another dietitian who does lab testing, and so we did some labs with, for me. And we found out that I actually had parasites.

And so even though I had really good gut health, And everything like that, she was like, I've seen thousands of [00:05:00] tests and you have amazing gut health, but you have a parasite, so it's causing a lot of issues. And I have never, like I did other tests, stuff like that. And so this was the only test that would actually give us that result.

And so finally, now that I've eliminated the parasite and now I'm like focusing on my gut healing again, I'm doing so much better now. So it's like, my mental health's improved, my physical health, I'm getting back, um, I'm able to do so much more, and things like, I used to have sugar cravings and stuff, so now that's greatly improved now that I've been focusing on my gut health.

So it's great, like, seeing all the changes by just focusing on my gut health.

Roni: Wow. That's awesome. A really cool story. I really like that. You were able to, you were having like a real life issue and then learned about it while you were in school and you were able to take these like proactive steps forward to fixing it because I, [00:06:00] I just picture that there are so many people out there who do have health issues, but you know, they're not on a track of.

Currently learning about biology and learning about how to be a dietitian and things like that. So they're very, there's like a block there, I guess, for them to be able to even think that there's a step forward. So. I think that that's really cool. And it's so interesting because I've had a lot of conversations recently, both in my personal life and on the podcast of women who have struggled a lot with depression and anxiety.

And I just don't think that it's as talked about as it should be. It seems like it's really common, but we're not actually taking very much time to talk about it. So thank you for sharing that story. I am curious, what were the symptoms of having a parasite that were different than the symptoms that you were experiencing with your thyroid issues?

Christine: Yeah, so, my thyroid, it was kind of like the anxiety, depression was kind of the worst of it, and I constantly felt super [00:07:00] tired, exhausted, all of that, but at one point, like, since getting that healed, like, with my parasites, it felt like a cat was inside of me, clawing to try and get out, and I was like, something's wrong, and I did, like, even colonoscopy, endoscopy, all these different things, and they're like, oh, just take Miralux, I'm like, not going to fix my issue, but there's something else.

And so it's just like, that was an issue. I have chronic constipation. And so I think that's partly because my thyroid and partly because of parasites, like parasites typically cause diarrhea, but because I have thyroid issues, it's kind of like one or the other is kind of, or both of them is kind of causing different things.

Um, and then just like. I would eat certain foods and it would just be, my gut felt like it was getting ripped apart and super bloated, all of that. So I was like, there's something else going on. And so that's kind of what led me to finally get the labs done [00:08:00] and realize, oh, there's parasites in there. We need to get those out.

Roni: I guess I've never really talked to somebody who, um, had that experience. So I just wasn't sure what the, what the physical symptoms were. So it sounds like they were quite a bit different. Like it was really like physical pain versus that like mental fog and depression. But I'm really interested to talk to you more about this connection between like what we eat and how that impacts.

Our mental health, like you talked about your thyroid issues. What's that, what's that connection there between like, okay, so I have thyroid issues. The doctor's telling me I can just go on medication and that's my only solution, but like, what's the connection there between actually what we're eating and improving our mental health.

Christine: Yeah, so everything we eat feeds the rest of our body. So our gut health impacts everything else. So if we have an unhealthy gut, Then it leads to other things being unhealthy because Everything I eat feeds my brain, [00:09:00] feeds my liver, stuff like that. And so if you're having bad food, go in or think other things like toxins, stress, loss, trauma, those all impact your health as well.

So those. external factors and whatever you put in your body impact it. And so that can change how your body reacts, causing inflammation, constipation, diarrhea, um, changes in your body. So like for my thyroid, it caused my body to trigger thyroid issues as a response. And so that just led to other issues as well, just from that way.

Roni: Yeah. So let's talk a little bit about some of potential, I guess, nutritional and lifestyle changes. That we could, maybe broadly, you know, because you're not individually talking to people, broadly recommend, uh, if somebody feels like they're, you know, having some of these experiences.

Christine: Yeah, so [00:10:00] I find, like, healing your gut is definitely, like, the number one quickest route to navigating what is the root cause, and so that helps, but without looking at your gut, you don't know exactly, like, what nutrients do you need, uh, do you have a parasite, like I did, anything like that, but there's other things that you can focus on that do help your gut health.

Such as focusing on getting enough sleep, are you getting movement and stuff like that? Or is your movement super intense causing you more stress too? That's another factor. So it's like, you want to get enough movement in, but not overdoing it that you're causing. More harm than good. You also want to focus on like getting enough food.

So you want to make sure you're eating like three meals a day and snacks kind of depending on who you are and what your needs are and whenever you're eating. It helps to focus on things like [00:11:00] protein, carbs, fat, color, and getting a well balanced plate. And that's something I love about plan to eat because it helps me look at my meals and navigate.

Okay. Am I getting my protein for this meal? Am I getting color, carbs, all of that? And then also focusing on your hydration. So those are just kind of some key things that a lot of people don't think about really impact your health. They're pretty simple things you can tweak that everyone can pay attention to.

Roni: One of those things that I'm the most interested about is how do you know if you're overdoing it with exercise? I love to, I love to exercise. It's, basically a part of my identity. So I would be curious, uh, what's, what's the, where's the line there between like, I'm doing enough for my body and I'm doing too much.

Christine: Yeah, I think it kind of depends who you are individually, but weight resistant training is super healthy because you're working your muscles and slowly doing [00:12:00] it and stuff like that. Whereas like hit exercises, I was doing that all the time and I was causing my body more stress because I was doing most mornings and I was trying to do other things on top of that.

And I wasn't doing like slow movements. Once I started to slow down and do more weight resistance, more yoga, things like that. It was helping my body to heal better than doing these high intensity exercises that cause more stress, 

Roni: and so what do you, you mentioned a few different things in there as far as, you know, general guidelines. What do you, how do you, make those, how do you make those changes a sustainable change, right? Like if somebody is used to getting four hours of sleep a night or something or exercising really hard, how do you help, um, your clients and other people make changes that are actually sustainable for. The long term,

Christine: Yeah. So everyone's totally different. And for instance, I have one client right [00:13:00] now that. We simply added breakfast, like she was barely eating, everything like that. And we made it a goal for a couple of mornings a week to add breakfast. And it has such a big ripple effect, which is amazing. So I focus on big picture.

What is going to have the biggest impact for my clients, for her, it was adding breakfast as one of them. And so since we added breakfast to her meals, she's now starting to get hunger cues, which she didn't before. Her stomach's starting to growl and grumble where she's like, I don't even remember the last time that was a thing.

And so her body's starting to turn that back on. Um, her bloat is starting to change. She was primarily drinking monsters and coffee and energy drinks all the time. And now she's drinking way less. And we've been working together for like a month. And so the simple change has helped a lot, like her mental health is getting better.

[00:14:00] Her energy is greatly improving, so just by saying, Hey, a couple days a week, let's add breakfast, caused her to eat like other meals. By eating other meals has helped her to feel better. By adding like a little more water to her day, her body's functioning better. So she's feeling better, so she's doing more, so she's able to work out.

So it's like, we focus on one little change. Which had the ripple effects of other things that she just has the energy to do, which is pretty great. So I just focus on like who my client is, what needs do they have and what's going to have the biggest change and what works for them, like. In the seasonal life.

Roni: right? That's great. I think that it's easy to think about all of the things that we might need to change or improve in our lives and want to do it all at once. But having somebody to help you and guide you and realize, Oh, like this one small change is going to [00:15:00] actually be the change that. Really makes the biggest impact and that will make other changes easier in the future.

One thing you mentioned that when you're telling your story is a little bit about sugar cravings. And I know we wanted to talk about that because that is part of my personal experience. Something that I have struggled with on and off. I guess, tell me a little bit about your experience with sugar cravings.

And I know you said part of that was related to the parasite and your gut health. But what is, what are some ways to help combat sugar cravings as well?

Christine: Yeah. So there's a lot of different things. Um, but I do have one question. I want to ask you. So when a baby cries, what does that mean?

Roni: They're hungry or tired or neither die for changed.

Christine: So, can I think of that? It's like when your body is craving something. It's trying to tell you something,

Roni: Hmm.

Christine: so think of it as like, hey. Why [00:16:00] am I craving this sugar right now? What's my body trying to tell me? Is there something off? Like, am I needing a more, another nutrient, which helps with like looking at gut health?

Or is it, I'm not getting enough sleep. How well did I sleep last night? Do I, is my body saying, Hey, I need sleep. So I just need this quick energy, which comes from sugar to make it through the rest of the day. Or is it I'm dehydrated. My body is needing some more fluids, but it's just going to have me crave sugar instead of trying to say, Hey, drink more water, but it doesn't.

know how else to tell you kind of thing, or are your hormones off like during your menstrual cycle or you're stressed, things like that. You have different cravings as well. So when your hormones are off, you'll have different cravings.

Roni: Hmm.

Christine: There's a lot of different triggers. So like [00:17:00] whenever you're a baby cries, it's trying to tell you something when you're craving sugar.

Your body's trying to tell you something as well.

Roni: Okay. Is there a difference in the timing of those cravings? So you, you gave a couple examples there. If I was trying to go through a process of elimination and figure out which one it is, right. Like, so I would say for my personal case, I most often crave sugar either after a meal, not necessarily like after breakfast, but I would say after dinner for sure.

Sometimes maybe after lunch. So is there something related to that? Like after meal craving that a part of me has always felt like, Oh, it's habitual. Like I've habituated myself to just like getting used to having something sweet after I eat something savory. But is there, uh, something else that that's telling me like, Oh, I just ate and now I'm craving sugar.

Christine: Yeah. Like you kind of said, it can be habitual too. Like you're mentally, that's a habit. [00:18:00] And so you're always like routinely like, Oh, just finished lunch. Now it's treat time. So your body's in that habit. So you're going to crave it. And so you got to decide like. Okay. Is this something I'm really wanting, or is this actually a habit?

Cause that's something I had to for a while. I was like, I just included it in my meals because I was trying to. Navigate my cravings. Like, okay, I want something sweet. How can I add that? And. It's good that you're having it with meals because it's not going to cause you like crazy sugar crashes and all of that.

But I bet, like, based on what you're saying, it could be habitual, and so if you're doing it at the same time every day, your body's used to it. And

Roni: hmm.

Christine: it's kind of hard to break that habit of navigating. So that's more, it could be a mental thing as well.

Roni: Mm hmm. Yeah. So if somebody was trying to, can you give me an example of a, like a different [00:19:00] situation when you would be able to say, here's a time when I would tell a client to either get more sleep or drink more water. You're like, what was the, maybe the trigger that told you that that was a better solution for them?

Christine: Yeah. So it kind of depends on every day. You got to look back of like, what happened that day? Like for me, if I miss breakfast come evening time, I have so many cravings. I'm like, give me the sugar. Give me the sweet, savory, like all the salts and stuff like that. I'm going crazy. And I'm like, Why was it like that?

And then he looked back and like, Oh, I skipped breakfast and I didn't eat well today because my body's just going crazy for energy. And this is a quick, and then another option is like, so if you skip a meal, you're more likely to have that craving. Or last night, actually, I didn't sleep very well.

And so if [00:20:00] I didn't sleep well, I have to be more on guard today. Like it's likely I'm going to have sugar craving. So how am I going to navigate that? And so for lunch, I just said, Oh, I'm going to have a little bit of chips to go with my lunch, because I know I'm going to have that craving, but I'm including it in my meal so I don't go binge on it later kind of thing.

So it's all about finding that balance and like navigating when you're craving it, what happened that day that's causing you it and to like. Giving yourself grace in that moment and be like, I'm struggling right now. What can I do to help it? Like drink some water. If you're craving a cookie, eat a cookie and not tell yourself, don't eat the cookie because you're going to just go through a cycle of like eating other foods and stuff like that.

And eventually eat that cookie. And that's just going to be like, you ate all this food when you could just eat one little cookie and you [00:21:00] would have been satisfied and gone about your day. Kind of thing.

Roni: I like your, I like your approach of that preemptive. I realized that, that today is a day where cravings are high. So I'm going to allow myself small indulgences instead of the giant indulgence indulgence. It sounds like there is a big mindset piece to this of actually gaining that awareness of I'm having these cravings.

Let me think back to what could be the thing that's causing this. I don't feel like that is very intuitive for a lot of people. So how do you go about helping build that awareness and that mindset in the people that you work with?

Christine: Yeah, so it's just stopping and thinking like it might happen after you had that binge eat or that sugar craving or whatever, and then you can look back and be like, wait, why did that happen? So when I talk with my clients and educate them, like, [00:22:00] here's factors that can impact. You and having this craving and then they would say, Oh, I had this sugar craving or I had this bloat or I had this, that, and I talked to him and I'm saying, why do you think you had that?

And they stop and think through different factors we've talked about, like, I didn't eat breakfast this morning, so that's why I'm craving it. Or I didn't sleep well last night. So it's just going through and asking yourself those few questions. Like, did I eat? Regular three meals throughout the day and consistently did I drink enough water lot throughout the day today?

Did I sleep enough last night? I am I super stressed right now that I'm just like stress eating or Things like that or and so you by just asking yourself those questions even after the fact It helps educate you and then eventually in the moment you'll learn. Oh, I'm doing this because I'm [00:23:00] stressed I'm doing this because I'm tired and then you can take action steps next time of, okay, I didn't sleep well last night.

I need to be proactive today in making sure I eat well balanced meals. I'm making sure I drink enough water. Things like that to help me. fight off the sugar cravings because I struggled to sleep last night. So it's like doing everything you can to fight off the craving in healthy ways.

Roni: Hmm. I like that. It's still the kind of that sustainability, like long term approach of constantly trying to remind yourself to check in and then it just becomes kind of a habit and something that you do automatically. I want to switch. Gears just a little bit because she did mention meal planning a little bit earlier.

I'm curious how, how you meal plan. What do you, what does your meal planning system look like on a regular basis?

Christine: Different all the time. [00:24:00] So I try different approaches and different things. So it depends on my season of life and what works for me. So because I cook for myself, it makes it a lot easier to I buy the seat of my pants sometimes, um, but something I'd like to do is if I'm being productive and really good about it, I like to put it in like the plan to eat program.

And like, it helps me when I'm trying to do specific recipes and stuff like that. But I try and focus when I have a meal of like carbs, protein, fat, color. And so, Then also for me, because I just cook and eat by myself, I focus more on cooking for a couple meals and eating leftovers. So that's a huge saving grace for me.

So it's not like I'm cooking every meal every day. But when I do cook for more people, like with my family and stuff like that, I do like to cook bigger meals so we can [00:25:00] then eat leftovers as well. Cause that's so time saving. And I have tried it before where you cook all the food on a Sunday and things like that for the whole week, but that's.

A big time suck as well, but sometimes I have that window of time to do it. So sometimes I like to now focus more on like cooking, like a protein. So right now I have chicken and some ground Turkey and stuff like that, like all cooked up and ready to go and then. I also have some different vegetables prepared, like all cut up and cooked and just kind of all separated out in different dishes.

And as well as my fruit and some different like rice and carb sources and stuff. And so whenever I get to a meal, I'm like, what sounds good? What sounds good to me right now? And I'm able to pull different foods and combine them together and then just heat it up. And then I have my meal. So it's helpful because.

I'm not [00:26:00] preparing like a specific dish, but I'm able to make what I want. And then I add different seasonings and sauces whenever I'm cooking it more in the moment.

Roni: Yeah, I really like that meal prepping. Method as well of having the flexibility to kind of pick and choose what feels right in the moment. I feel like anytime that I try to batch cook multiple recipes or even just one recipe to make, you know, a dozen leftovers or something, I'm, I get really tired of the recipe by the end of the week.

So I also really like that method of, just making individual items and then combining them at a later date. You mentioned color a couple of times in there. So I'm curious to learn a little bit more about, you know, how many colors do you include in a meal? Are there certain colors that are more important than others?

I don't know. I'm just interested in that idea of, I I've often heard people talk about, you know, the macronutrients, you know, fat, carbs, protein, but not necessarily this idea of color. So talk to [00:27:00] me a little bit more about that.

Christine: Yeah. So when I say color, that's all about fruits and vegetables. So the things that are colorful and what I like to do is the plate method and so it's super easy. You're not having to sit there and track everything into a log or whatnot and you're just able to look at a plate and be like, how much of my plate do I need to make protein of carb fat and color?

And so what I like to do is. encourage my clients to fill half their plate with color, primarily vegetables and non starchy vegetables, because starchy vegetables are more of a carb, and so focusing on non starchy vegetables, so like broccoli, asparagus, Salads, whatever, and also your fruit, which is a carb, but I like to just start with the simplicity of like fruit and vegetables.

Try and fill half your plate because they're so packed full of nutrients that you can eat fruit and veggies like one or the [00:28:00] other and get different nutrients from both of them. And so. If you fill half your plate with color, you know you're getting lots of nutritional value from it. And so that's what I like to focus on with my clients is focusing on half color because there's also a lot of fiber in there.

Which helps you feel fuller for longer.

Roni: Okay. Do you recommend that for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner?

Christine: know it's harder for breakfast, but a good thing to try for breakfast is adding fruit. And so there's always like yogurt with fruit, things like that, like a parfait. Um, what I love to do is bake. Egg dishes or with like meat and veggies and stuff like that. And so it's like one dish with all my protein, carbs, fat and color all mixed together.

And then I can have fruit on the side as well as like a glass of milk or something [00:29:00] like that. So I get some dairy as well and it just helps me feel so full and able to make it all the way to lunch. By doing that.

Roni: I like that tip. .

So why don't you let everybody know who's listening, who, where they can, you know, connect with you. Um, I know you have an ebook out that, everybody can download. So why don't you tell us a little more about that?

Christine: Yeah. So I am on Instagram and Facebook. I'm called the food exploring dietician. So anyone can find me there. And then also I have my ebook out that I just released. And so it kind of covers a lot of the different topics we talked about today about ways to implement, like getting better. Sleep, having well balanced meals, getting movement, fluid, all of that in there.

And so you can download that and you're going to post it in the notes below the podcast. Um, and then also there's a link to discuss schedule a discovery call with me as well. And so we can talk about what you're hoping [00:30:00] for, if you're a good fit as well. And so you're free to reach out anytime, either Instagram, Facebook.

And the DMs, I'd love to chat, answer any questions anytime.

Roni: Sounds great. And thanks for joining me today. This was nice.

Christine: Well, thank you for chatting and I hope you learned something about nutrition and sugar cravings.

Roni: as always. Thank you so much for listening to the plan to eat podcast. There are links in the show notes to connect with Christine and get her ebook. If you are interested, if you'd like to support the plan to eat podcast, you can leave a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify, as well as in audible and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Thanks for listening. And I will see you again in two weeks.