I've always been passionate about healthy eating, but I didn't look at food as a way of healing until I had to deal with my own set of health challenges
Hi, my name's Ilana, and I am a Culinary Nutrition Coach. What exactly does that mean? I help people achieve optimal health by identifying the foods that nourish and fuel them.
As a busy mom of two, who has little time to spend in the kitchen, I understand the struggles of eating well and making sure that the whole family eats well. I’m always thinking up creative ways to nourish the body, and especially enjoy baking healthful, gluten-free desserts.
How did I get to where I am?
Have I always eaten well? Usually, but not always. Sure, I included lots of veggies and nutrient-dense foods in my diet, but I also ate “nutrient-empty” foods like candy bars and muffins. I was occasionally at odds with my weight and tried to shed a few pounds, but I was athletic and usually focused these efforts on ramping up my fitness routine, rather than cutting out certain foods.
In general, I tried to live a healthy lifestyle and felt like I was doing okay – except, I suffered from chronic stomach aches and indigestion. After several medical evaluations, which found no sign of infection or illness, I was given a diagnosis of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), offered pills to ease the symptoms, and sent to a dietitian, who basically confirmed that I should continue eating the way I was eating.
Fast forward several years when my husband and I decided we wanted to have a baby. I went off the birth control pill only to discover that my hormones were out of balance and I was fertility-challenged. My blood sugar levels were high, I was suspected of having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (even though I did not display most of the classic symptoms), and my gynecologist suggested I go onto more hormone drugs to reset my cycle.
I was frustrated with my doctors who couldn’t give me a reasonable explanation for my ailments, and decided that there must be a more natural and holistic way to remedy my health situation. Intuitively, I turned to a naturopath in the hope that the right foods and supplements could help me heal. Did it? Yes, partially. My digestion significantly improved, and I ovulated for the first time in more than a year after ditching the pill.
But, while this process was immensely healing, it was also incredibly stressful – that’s where acupuncture came into the picture. Together with dietary changes, acupuncture enabled me, within several months, to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
But the story doesn’t end there. During my pregnancy (and a subsequent pregnancy two years later), I was monitored for gestational diabetes and was instructed by my doctor to follow a new set of dietary guidelines specifically focused on blood sugar balance. Yet, I often felt hungry and frustrated with meal times, and struggled at times to keep my sugar levels within the required range. I suspected that there must be a better approach to all of this – and that’s when I decided to dive deeper into the topic and do my own research.
So, where has all this led me to today? I believe in diet and nutrition as a fundamental starting point for achieving optimal health. For this reason, I completed my certification as a Culinary Nutrition Coach from the Academy of Culinary Nutrition in 2018. Through my own personal experiences, and my training, I am eager to help others improve their health as well.