Health Bite

What Personalized Nutrition Means to You, To Your Body, and To Your Mind with Strategic Nutrition Consultant, Ashley Koff

August 29, 2022 Dr. Adrienne Youdim
Health Bite
What Personalized Nutrition Means to You, To Your Body, and To Your Mind with Strategic Nutrition Consultant, Ashley Koff
Show Notes Transcript

Personalized nutrition leads to better health outcomes. And true personalization requires a practitioner and a patient, total nutrition (foods, supplements, medications, etc.), lifestyle, and health assessment. 

Today at Health Bite, we feature Ashley Koff , an internationally renowned, registered dietician and the brainchild behind numerous nutrition programs. Including The Better Nutrition Simplified Program, which offers tools to make better nutrition, simple and accessible for everyone.

She’s widely sought after for her knowledge and ability to translate nutrition science into practical and motivating messages which she shares with millions, regularly, as a go-to expert for the country’s leading media outlets. 

Ashley and I discuss precision nutrition. In our conversation, we discuss what personalized nutrition means to you, what it means to your body, and what it means to your mind.

If you are curious about what personalized nutrition is all about and how an expert like Ashley can help you start the journey, this episode is highly recommended.


What You’ll Learn From This Episode

  • Learn what Personalized Nutrition is all about 
  • Benefits of personalized nutrition to health and weight management
  • Discover why it is important to consult practitioners before implementing personalized nutrition intervention


"Better nutrition is giving your body what it needs to run better today while reducing or avoiding what can irritate and overwhelm and disrupt it." - Ashley Koff

Topics Covered:

02:19 - Why did having a ‘belly in, belly out’ journey growing up lead Ashley to be introduced to personalized nutrition

03:57 - Can A Goat Milk And Herb Cleanse Eliminate Parasites?

04:35 - The best conversation in Ashley’s life meeting an Integrative Gastroenterologist

05:51 - Introduction to personalized nutrition: Why not everything is not about  knowledge of nutrition, begins the journey of who you are

12:54 - Gut Health: Recognize the Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

26:31 - Meet The BNP Toolkit™

27:37 - The Better Nutrition Eat A Rainbow Evaluation

30:26 - The importance of data analytics to health personalization

32:29 - Take the Quiz to discover what your body needs to get healthy!


Connect with Ashley Koff

●       Website: https://thebetternutritionprogram.com/ 

●       Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashley-koff-rd-11b6196/ 

●       Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/betternutritionproviders 


Ways to Connect with Dr. Adrienne Youdim:

●       Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/dradrienneyoudim/

●       Website:

Resource mentioned:

If you love it and you think it is of benefit, please share this podcast with one person that you love. You can also go to http://www.dradrienneyoudim.com and sign up for my newsletter. If you prefer to get information in written form, you can get these tips via newsletter every week.

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

Welcome back to Health Bite, where I offer you small, actionable bites towards healthy weight and weight management through greater mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. I’m your host, Dr. Adrienne Youdim, and I created this podcast as alternative to the noise, to offer you knowledge-based guidance in the areas of nutrition, fitness, habit change, and mindset that I use with my patients in my medical practice everyday to help them achieve healthy weight and health.

 

This week, I’m really pleased to bring to you a conversation I had with Ashley Koff. Ashley is an internationally renowned registered dietitian and the brainchild behind numerous nutrition programs, including The Better Nutrition Simplified Program which offers to make better nutrition simple and accessible for everyone. She’s also frequently featured in the media, and the author of several books.

 

On today’s podcast, Ashley and I talk about the definition of precision nutrition. We talk about what it means to offer personalized nutrition to you, what it means to your body, and what it means to your mind. You may be surprised that some of the ways we talk about personalization and how mindset including perfectionism can play a role.

 

Stay with us and dig into this wonderful episode where you’re going to learn incredibly informative bites towards better health. Let’s begin.

 

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

Well Ashley, I'm so glad to have you here with me. We have had such a long history together, and it's really a joy to have you on Health Bite.

 

Ashley Koff

Thank you so much. It feels a lot like coming home. It's good to reconnect. This is great. 

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

Tell me, you've been in this world of nutrition for many years, and I'm curious what started you in this in this realm. What drew you to food and nutrition? 

 

Ashley Koff

I think it was probably what was repelling me from food and nutrition that ended up bringing me into it. I probably thought, by all means, I would have said I was a healthy child. I certainly had the challenges that we all do of adolescence and other things, but I always had a belly and boy did I have like just a really tough time with my belly. Those were the years, pretty much the 80s, where you tried diets; tried dieting and do all that. And I come from a medical family, so it was really a lot of like calories in, calories out, those kinds of things. And nothing really ever worked for me. It probably got more aggressive, going to college and I learned what some other people were doing and would try things not with any success. But just not finding what worked better for me, it actually kind of came to real health challenges and life disruptions.

 

Right after college, when I was in Manhattan working in advertising, I had crippling panic attacks. For the first time in my life, I had a lot of digestive upsets and things like that. And we know today that that's sort of the time in your life where a lot of things coalesce and start to present themselves. But for me, I was just, I was trying. I would go to doctors and they would tell me, “You're fine.” Finally, I went to one who told me, well, it's probably my mental health. I was like, “Okay, I'll go see a therapist.” Again, none of this was helping me.

 

Ultimately, what came about was I just was getting worse and worse down the path of trying to I'll call it perfect eating. I tried macrobiotics, I tried not eating, I tried removing all these different things from my diet, all of them, and following plans and books and everything that was just out there and trying to figure it out. Probably the worst one was-- you're going to totally cringe. I ended up meeting someone in yoga who is totally not a practitioner, and she pricked my finger under probably a Fisher Price microscope. It was so embarrassing. Took my blood and was like, Oh my God. 

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

I think I had one of those Fisher Price microscopes.

 

Ashley Koff

Totally! And she's like, “I think you have a worm and you've probably had that worm since you were like 15. You need to do this goat's milk only cleanse” – so for seven days, I drank only goat's milk – “and you had to drink 40 ounces a day.” I know. Look at your face. It was 40 ounces of goat's milk. She told me it was the perfect food and I would pass this white worm. Well, guess what? If you're only drinking goat milk, you do pass white stool, so there you go. But anyway, I actually felt phenomenal on the cleanse. It was like, amazing. I was like, “Oh, my belly feels good,” like all this other stuff. And then as soon as I stopped the cleanse and started to eat anything again, I felt horrible. So that led me to a bar with a lot of drinks and I ended up meeting an integrative gastroenterologist that changed my life.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

At the bar?

 

Ashley Koff

At the bar. No joke. I was telling the story about this whole thing. People are crying with me, laughing at me, the whole nine yards. She said to me, “Does anyone ever ask you did you take antibiotics as a kid?” And I was like, yeah, totally no one's ever asked me. We started to just literally like question after question there. And she said to me, “So by the way, your insurance will cover it, come to see me,” and we had the best conversation of my life, which was really, “Hey, this is your digestive system. Your digestive system hasn't had what it needed. You've been trying to fix it with what you're taking in, but what it really needs is the support and sort of the repair work, etc.”

 

It changed my life and it brought me into healthcare, really looking at it in a different way. And ever since then, no matter what I've gone on to do, that story has stuck with me for two main reasons. If anyone is listening and they feel like they're a total health hot mess and they've tried really dramatic things, I've done worse. I've done a seven-day goat’s milk only cleanse. And I have so much empathy for our patients when they're at that rock bottom moment and trying to figure it out. And the second part was, there's no right answer in nutrition. This isn't about knowledge of nutrition. It has to really be personalized and it really has to begin with an understanding of who somebody is and certainly what their health history has been, and then we figure out how to help them heal.

 

So that's what got me into becoming a dietitian and becoming a different kind of dietitian, especially at the time period. For me, this was sort of the 2000 time where I was like, everything has to be personalized. And that was really kind of what launched me into a different kind of career, which is fun and exciting these days. 

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

There's so many things that you said that I want to touch on. You used the word perfect and I just want to call that out because we do need to come back to that.

I want to, before we go to the topic, to just share with some embarrassment, but I've actually written about it in the book, so people know.

 

But as you were talking about goat's milk, the one diet that comes to my mind when I was young was this kind of crumpled paper, photocopied upon photocopies. You know, one of those diets that just get passed around with copies and passed around for eons. They came from a “doctor's office”, having me eat hotdogs, hardboiled eggs, and saltines.

 

Ashley Koff

Oh my gosh.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

And for three days straight. I mean, I feel like I just shriveled up into a dried prune with all this stuff that I consumed. 

 

Ashley Koff

I’m just thinking about the hotdog. 

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

I mean, how do people come up with this stuff? And how do we buy into it as intelligent people? How do we buy into all of this? And it does bring about a sense of empathy, because it just shows how much in need we are, how desperate we are for answers that we go against our best judgment and follow these absurd regimes.

 

I also want to point out this connection between digestion and mental health and wellbeing. It's something that I talk about a lot on this podcast. You started your conversation talking about weight and weight loss in your belly, but invariably it went to nutrition, how you nourish yourself through digestion and how that relates to your emotional and mental wellbeing. And that is such a critical component. It's like, I think we take it for granted as Kumbaya, but it is essential to that piece. Even if your belly and weight loss is ultimately what you're trying to achieve, you cannot bypass the digestive and mental health component. 

 

Ashley Koff

Yeah. I have cried with so many people in my office – men, women, adults, children – over the years who are like “I have tried everything to lose weight,” and I'm crying with them and I'm like, I'm so sorry, because we need to heal your digestive system then we'll figure out. And certainly, even today, there are habits that I accrued in my early years that still take work for me to work against or to work on or things like that because the way that I was living not knowing in terms of that. But those are things to work on. They're not a “I'm a bad dieter” or “I just can't do this” or “I have no willpower,” everything that the media and the world has said to us in terms of that. So that piece of that digestive connection is so important.

 

You and I both have a lot of extensive background also working with people, whether it's weight loss surgery or deciding not to do weight loss surgery. It’s been so frustrating. They would always call it health gain, but I was like, “Hey, before we're doing anything, let's figure out what's going on with your digestion, because there's not going to be a successful outcome in any of this path and certainly for your overall health, your mental health, as you were talking about, your overall health if we don't address the digestion.” I think that’s the foundation of everything.

 

In fact, it's funny because I wrote a couple of books and did things early on in my career around digestive health, and then I was really worried about being pigeonholed as a digestive health dietitian. I couldn't be any more proud today, and I would just like to acknowledge, if you're working with any practitioner who isn't addressing your digestive health, you're not working with a great practitioner on that part. So these days it's a full 180 for me. I'm like, yes, proudly get in there, understand that your digestion. And be wary too today of some of those, you know, digestive, because of how important we know that digestion to be, there's a lot of fad dieting and things around even digestive health. I mean, boy, have we made a mess of getting and staying healthy.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

Right. It is confusing, I think, to public, because yes, we have all this data to your point now about the gut microbiota and gut flora and how intimately linked that is to mental health as well as weight. Also, the fact that our gut contains the most serotonin receptors, right? The happy hormone, receptor to the happy hormone. But whenever there's data, there's also fallacy. And so yes, then that also makes us needing to be more attuned to where fad diets or fake news, as I like to say. 

 

Ashley Koff

Yeah.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

And I think when people are confused, I think a good indication for me – and tell me if you agree – it's like if something just doesn't feel right. You don't have to be a doctor or a diet registered dietitian or educated in that world. When something doesn't sound right, it doesn't land right. It doesn't feel right. I bet on some level, drinking goat milk only all day every day, some alarm bell must have gone on in your head that was like, this is strange, right? And so I think, yes, we should get expertise of people like you and we're going to get into the kinds of plans and guidance you offer, but also trust your gut, trust your intuition. 

 

Ashley Koff

Here’s the interesting part about that – especially when your gut is part of the problem, I think it could be hard to trust our intuition. So I was so beaten up at that point. I tried all these things. I felt like just such a disaster. I mean, I'd had to run to bathrooms in certain places or missed meetings, just all this stuff that I didn't trust myself anymore. And that is something that you have to learn. It was very interesting.

 

At the time I was in my early twenties and I was at a bar, the White Horse Tavern, and I went in and I took my goat's milk up to the bartender and I said, “Hey, do me a favor. I'm here for a birthday party tonight. Can you pour it into a rocks glass with a big ice cube? Because I want people to think I'm drinking a white Russian.” And he looked at me like I was bad crazy, and I looked at him and I was like, that was the moment. That was the moment where I knew I was crazy. Like, where this was the crazy making, where I'm like, I'm doing this. I was like, I had to actually see his reflection. I laughed with him and I was like, yeah, tell me about it. I'm just so desperate. I'm trying anything. So there might be a moment where it's reflected to you or someone in a caring way may be able to say that, but it's hard to trust our gut.

 

And then at the other side, and this is one of the areas, one of the reasons I'm so passionate about and so aggressive, if you will, and outspoken in this space today of personalized nutrition, is that what is being marketed directly to consumers that is circumventing your practitioner. So what I mean by that is if there's an ad on TV for a test that you can buy or if you're on Instagram or wherever and somebody's selling a supplement and just saying “this is what you need” or these kinds of things where it doesn't include a practitioner on that part, they've got great marketing. I mean, I'm a marketer at heart. I sold sugared cereals to America. Like their marketing is phenomenal on this stuff. I had all these digestive issues and then I took this test and it showed me almonds were my problem, and now I'm not eating almonds and I feel better. Yes, you'll feel better for four weeks, and then you're on to the next thing where you're not going to be feeling better.

 

And so these tests and these companies that are selling a supplement or these others directly to you and not having a practitioner that goes in and personalizes all of this with you until it gets in deep. Yeah, it can really be problematic on that part. And I think part of it, I have so many people that I get it, they don't trust their gut, but do yourself a favor and do find a way to work with a practitioner. And I'm trying to make that more accessible today because I recognize that not everyone can find you or me, right? I'm not seeing patients anymore, but not everyone can find the caliber or the person that's trained that way. So how do we help you find the resources that can be more approachable for you? I think that is stuff that we can certainly get into. But I think it's important to not make people feel like I want you to be able to trust your gut, but maybe there's a signal out there that if you're not trusting your gut, somebody else is going to deliver that signal to you.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

So tell me a little bit about personalized nutrition. What does that even mean and what does that entail? 

 

Ashley Koff

It shouldn’t be a thing. Nutrition should just be personalized. About a decade ago, I created a definition for better nutrition because one didn't exist. I thought that was pretty weird. If we know that better nutrition is what we need to get and stay healthy, there's definitions of poor nutrition, there's definitions of good nutrition, but no, I wanted like better nutrition, right?

 

So when we look at this and we say better nutrition is giving your body what it needs to run better today while reducing or avoiding what can irritate and overwhelm and disrupt it, it's really watching what we put in for both the purposes of giving ourselves what can be better, but also reducing and keeping what can be harmful. When we look at that definition, we realize that's going to be different for every single person. Now there are some truths that kind of go across the board for everybody, like smoking. Yeah, not good for everybody, but at the same time, some people, it's worse for, you know, these kinds of things. So we've got to look within the realm of understanding how do we actually help your body get what it needs? And that allows you to make choices. Like yes, everybody will benefit from all the different colors in the rainbow, but personally, I really struggle with eating orange foods. So for me, identifying turmeric root or spices that are orange or finding a couple of ways that I can get in some orange vegetables, that's going to be a better option for me. Somebody else has no issues with it and they're going to have an easy time, but for them, brown is really difficult; that kind of thing.

 

So instead of having messages like eat a rainbow and just telling people to eat a rainbow or telling them green, kale, broccoli, whatever, we have to get in and actually be like, for you, what’s not working in that rainbow and why, and how are we going to solve that? That's what personalization is about. And that really has an active component to it, which means you and the practitioners. So the patient and the practitioner work together to figure out what your body would benefit from, and then to work on how do we actually get there more often, which takes work to figure out those choices and how to make them more often. 

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

Yeah, it's very nuanced, because to your point, the principles are universal and the good things are good.

 

Ashley Koff

Right.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

But identifying I guess what I'm hearing you say is the high yield items, perhaps, that people are challenged by, like what is right most high yield that you in particular are having difficulty with and how you can implement that in a way that works.

 

I also hear a lot, again, it's like the same thread through your word choice even – better nutrition, which again makes me think back to this concept of perfect or perfectionism. Can you can you expand on that a bit? 

 

Ashley Koff

Totally. Well, first of all, I wanted to be perfect. Oh, was I a perfectionist? I'm definitely a retired perfectionist at this point. I wanted to be Angela Bower from Who's the Boss. I wanted to be tall, blond, and thin. I was shorter and curly hair. All of those things. I mean, there are so many pieces and you want to be perfect and then you realize, oh, there is no perfect. And that's an aging thing; we figure that out. But when it comes to health in particular, there is no perfect. That would be a flat line, and that only happens at the start and at the end.

 

And so better is really what we want to strive for because what I call it Better, Not Perfect more often is what is going to get you to that better health outcome. So if there's no perfect health, there can't be any perfect nutrition, but if we want better health, we want to use better nutrition as the fuel. And very fun for those of you, I mentioned the whole marketing thing, but I named my company The Better Nutrition Program and we call it BNP and that BNP stands for Better, Not Perfect. Constantly, I say it all the time. And now, I feel like these days, better has really caught on. There's all these better. About ten years ago, I didn't feel like people were saying that as much. But you can find a better choice anywhere. I can find a better choice for me and make better choices for me anywhere. Airports, drugstores, gas station, wherever I am. And that's really what it's about.

 

And it's also about accepting sometimes that we want to make a choice that we know is not better for us. That’s actually just the awareness. I know I'm making that choice. It's not better for me right now, but I'm not going to beat myself up about it or I'm going to deal with it.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

Like, mindfully.

 

Ashley Koff

Yeah, like any of that. Enjoy it, do whatever. And that helps me to keep it from this perfect on-off switch. Better really is nice, nice, great, easy area to be in. So it should feel much more approachable.

 

One of the reasons I know it helps us be much more successful is that I've seen, especially with kids, when you help them understand better choices and empower them to make better choices, in the concept of making an actual choice, they actually feel empowered. They own that. And as adults, we often need to deal with that inner child of ours as it relates to our eating and our nutrition. And so a lot of times, the things that are successful in my work that I glean from helping kids be more successful, they actually work really well in adults because a lot of what we're cleaning up is that, as I mentioned, kid in us on that part. 

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

I think, for me, personally, and even when speaking to patients, a powerful motivator of this idea of perfection versus not, or of kind of encouraging people to put away their perfectionism is really the reality of its inefficacy.

 

Ashley Koff

Yeah, unattainable.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

At the end of the day, the perfection is the striving, the drive to do something well, to be very effective at it. And it takes a little bit of kind of peeling back the onion for people to notice that when they're striving for perfection, they invariably sabotage themselves in small and very big ways, whereas better really speaks to the reality that small changes have big impact. And we see that in medicine, too, right? Like we may want perfect blood sugar for our diabetic patients, but we know that even 5% of weight loss will drop that blood sugar dramatically. That's powerful. 5% may not make you comfortable in a bikini. It should, but it doesn't matter, right?

 

Ashley Koff

Right.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

Because it’s effective.

 

Ashley Koff

Yeah, and I love that. There is no perfect blood sugar, like, legitimately your blood sugar. So I'm on a little bit of a tear because now that we have continuous glucose monitors, we have companies that are selling continuous glucose monitors and programs, and they're identifying foods that are bad for your blood sugar. So the other day, somebody was pointing out in their social media how bad overnight oats are for your blood sugar. Now, overnight oats certainly can be made in a variety of different ways, but let's just say oats in some unsweetened almond milk for the purposes of this. And I was like, yes, it spikes your blood sugar, which is your body just took in carbohydrates that your brain and your body wants. The overnight oats are a great source of prebiotic fiber. Great. Take them in. You said nothing about the quantity. It was just a general statement. So I can put a quarter of a cup in there or I could put two cups in there; that is a big difference in terms of my blood sugar. And a bump in my blood sugar there is going to be what my body needs to perform in whatever I'm doing. Now, would I have that at 10:00 at night? Absolutely not. And then it's a question of like, am I having unprotected carbs? So what am I having with the overnight oats? What am I putting in there? I like to put my hemp seeds and I like to put some peccano. All these things that they were saying, like have all of that but don't have the oats, like they were doing the no oats option.

 

I was like, this could not be a more stupid message for the majority of people that are out there, and it's all courtesy of this continuous glucose monitor company, and those are the messages that lead us into so much trouble with that concept of let's all strive for a perfect what do you want? A perfect flat line? Great. So if your blood sugar never goes up and you're constantly out like a 70 or whatever it is on that part, I'd like to see how you living your life. Like, I, personally, nobody wants to be around me if that was me. It just wouldn't work for the way that I want with my life.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

And more importantly, it's not even necessary.

 

Ashley Koff

Yeah, and it's dumb. It’s literally dumb.

And I think we also have to be conscious in this time of tremendous financial stress. Overnight, oats are one of the cheapest ways. Forget about all the other supplements for your digestive health and all these other things. Look at what you could do there. And then yeah, add some other balancing nutrients in and enjoy it and look at what you could accomplish.

 

So the whole point of it, stupid in that part and perfected, and in the name of perfection, just like we see on social media in that part, we're driving people bonkers and we're driving them, you know, I use the term info obesity for putting all this information in, we've got it going in our heads, and we're feeling like we have to be perfect, we have to know everything about nutrition, all these other things, and our bodies are just totally rebelling. We have more cases of autoimmune disease, more cases of stress-related disorders and things like that.  If we just focus on what's a better choice for you today, a better amount, a better frequency, a better balance, whatever it is, that would actually help you get those better results.

 

Actually, there’s a colleague of ours. I will go nameless in this. I was working in the office and I would hear day in and day out my patients who had bariatric surgery would go in and see the person and would come out inevitably, whether they had been progressing well or small amounts of weight loss, significant amount of weight loss, everybody was just sad after their appointment. And I was trying to figure this out, and I finally said, can I sit in? I’m like what's the sadness? I was getting some stuff coming back to me, but I want to understand it. And every single one started off – every single session – without even looking at the person, looking at the number and noting their BMI and just coming in and being like, “Well, you're not at your BMI yet, so we're going to…” and it would just always start off like that. And I was like, you have no idea what this person, the accomplishments, what they have actually done better in their lives as a part of this. And so I think that's the other part of healthcare. I think we've got to celebrate the work, the better moves, as you said, the five percents that people are making rather than looking at some arbitrary. You and I know how useless BMI is, like some arbitrary number that is their perfect standard of where you should arrive to. We just create too many problems. 

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

This is such an interesting point to me because all of these metrics and parameters, I feel like to your point, the way that they've been used, the way that they've been commercialized and used is really the problem.

 

Ashley Koff

Yeah.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

We could use blood sugar measurement, we could use BMI, we could use these metrics as some marker, as a data point. But when we use it as the end all, be all or the isolated metric or give it so much more meaning that it really deserves, then you strip all meaning.

 

Ashley Koff

Right.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

I mean, I wish we could use these metrics in a way that would aid our understanding rather than be all the way at this end of the pendulum where we think it is the most important versus completely obsolete. And that's what we do. I want to not use the word bastardized but I can’t think of another word.

 

Ashley Koff

Yeah.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

And as a result, we don't have these metrics at our disposal to be used in a proper way.

 

Ashley Koff

Right.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

I wonder, I mean, I think I understand the answers to this based on what you've already said, but how are you data collecting from your clients? What metrics are you using? Is there anything that is of utility in the big picture for you? 

 

Ashley Koff

Well, that was the perfect tf to just be a publicist for my work, for my company. But the reason that I created the tools that I've created and ultimately brought them to practitioners and patients is because this stuff didn't exist.

 

So I mentioned things like the rainbow, and this, by the way, is totally free. So I just want to let everybody know that. It really bothered me that the messaging out there was “eat a rainbow”. And I was like, no. Actually, what we need to do is help people see what they're not getting in the rainbow. What color are you not getting in or are you maybe mono eating a color. Like, what's going on with your rainbow? Instead of just hammering the people, eat a rainbow. Eat a rainbow.

 

So I created a quiz that is a rainbow evaluation, and it's super fun for families. I love that part. I'm competitive. And so, I have people do these competitions for like did you get your rainbow in and who can eat it, who can complete the rainbow faster, etc.. But you can actually see and embarrassingly just revealing everything here to you all today, but when I first did it, and this was only a couple of years ago as a 20 something plus year practitioner, I goose tagged to the orange. I knew I wasn't good at getting an orange, but I was like, oh come on now. I did not get any orange in the last week, like nothing. And I care about my skin, I care about my eyehealth, I certainly care about my immune health and my hormones. What am I going to do for orange? And so that was actually something that I actually already started working with my coach on. How am I going to get an orange? Part of it was I made a deal with myself to put orange on the grocery list. So I was like, I got to get one thing that's orange every time I go to the grocery store. Part of it was I brought my turmeric spice out. Instead of it being on the second shelf, it now sits out in front. Another one, Better, Not Perfect. I also have a supplement so that when I'm traveling or if I just know I'm not getting it again, it's my turmeric glucose supplement and I like that. And so I've been troubleshooting this. And you know what? It takes work. In the winter, finding orange is much harder for me than finding orange in the summer. What I'm doing now is so much more important for my health personally than if anyone had told me to eat a rainbow or get all the benefits of the colors or how great water is for me or whatever. So we've got to have tools that help us assess and actually show it to us. So that's what we've created.

 

We have things like a magnesium evaluation, so you can actually see. Am I eating enough magnesium? Yes, labs are helpful, but labs are a snapshot in a moment. And a qualified practitioner is going to be able to use those to get part of the story. But the better practitioner is going to use those labs and a tool like, say, an ion evaluation to look at, okay, your iron is trending low. Why might your iron be trending low? What's going on with your supplements? What's going on with your food? What's going on with your menstrual cycle? What's going on with your workouts? And we, as practitioners, don't have time to ask you all of those questions or even remember in that moment. So in creating these tools, that can be easily done, for me, I've been a patient, too. Like, I like to fill some of these things out at home instead of in the office whatever, and I'm able to do that. And then we took it one step further and created programs so that if you identify that you're not getting in your rainbow, you can actually do the Rainbow Challenge Program, or you could do the sweet taste buds reset, or you can do some of these in a way that helps you experiment. Working with coaches helps you to move those choices forward.

 

But like we said, one of our programs is a CGM program developed specifically a continuous glucose monitor, because we should use those tools in a better way. I haven't found a better way to use BMI unless I'm looking at data for like massive data. But on a personalized level, I haven't really found a great way to use BMI. But see a continuous glucose monitor, I want to be really clear. There are 40 plus factors that affect their blood sugar, so we should be tracking that, but we need to be tracking and understanding how all those things are impacting it and not just saying like, oh, I need to lower my carbs or get rid of carbs, because we don't need a CGM for that part. So I do think we needed better tools.

 

That was really what brought me to turn around and say, hey, as a practitioner, I want my legacy to be that people don't go on those go to book cleanses, and the way they're not going to go on those go to not cleanses or those crumpled paper ones that you were talking about is if they and their practitioner can gather the data in a more effective way, they're going to be able to see what those better winds are for them. 

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

Yeah. I mean, that is what personalized is, right? How to utilize information to create small change that is impactful over time. 

 

Ashley Koff

Yeah, absolutely. And you see it all the time. I would imagine when you're working with patients, it's like you have the same training, the same information, but it’s how do you apply it to each individual that is really what gives somebody lift off. And sometimes, we don't knock it out of the park with the first suggestion. So it's good to have something that we can keep working with them on. 

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

Better for the practitioner as well as better for the individual. 

 

Ashley Koff

Absolutely. Yeah.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

Well, this has been so wonderful. So if people are keen to this message and want to learn more about the Better Nutrition Program and precision nutrition, how do they hear about you? How do they learn more about you? 

 

Ashley Knoff

Well, I can share my information. So we're The Better Nutrition Program kind of wherever you find us, social media, on our website. I really believe wholeheartedly in supporting the practitioner-patient collaboration, so we like to have our programs and our tools offered through practitioners for patients. But if you're a person and you're not a practitioner and you want to come in, we can either connect with your practitioner and share what we have and how we can support that, or we can connect you with a practitioner that would be able to support you in that capacity. So happy to share that. And I mentioned the Rainbow Evaluation, one of my favorites. You can hop on to our site. It's a free download. It's a fun quiz. It's a great thing to use any time of the year to sort of check in on what you're getting in and whether or not you're meeting that rainbow, which your body needs for so many different reasons.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

Yeah. Now I’m curious, so I’m definitely going to check that out and we'll certainly put a link in there in the show notes.

 

Ashley Koff

Perfect. I'll send it over to you. 

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

Yeah, that'll be wonderful.

Well, it's so great to connect and hear about what you're doing and hear about your perspectives that you've cultivated over the last 20 some odd years. I love the work that you're doing, so thanks for sharing it with us. 

 

Ashley Koff

Thank you. It’s so fun.

 

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

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I hope you have a great week and I look forward to seeing you again next week on Health Bite. Until then.