Learn. Nourish. Thrive: a Q & A with Drew Parisi

As you know, The Balanced Life is all about empowering women to be strong, healthy and reasonable in their pursuit of health & fitness. We all know how hard it is to find balance in the many aspects of life so when I see a woman doing it well or sharing a similar message I track them down and convince them to be a part of the “Real Women, Real Balance” series so that they can share their wisdom with you as well.

Drew Parisi is a perfect fit for this series. She is a certified nutrition consultant who is located in the bay area. You’ve probably heard me mention her before because she created the fantastic meal plans for The Pilates Body Program. We’ve been working together over the past few months and she is such a joy to know in person. I couldn’t be happier with the nutrition plan she created for me and it has forever changed the way I cook, eat and relate to food. Drew and I have very similar views on health and her perspective is refreshing and inspiring. I consider her a “foodie’s nutritionist.”

You will NEVER get bland diet food when working with her! Her passion for good food and good health is absolutely contagious.

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1. What inspired you to pursue a career in nutrition?

I’ve always been interested in the effect food has on one’s body, but it wasn’t until my own diagnosis of gluten intolerance that I realized the true power food has to harm as well as to heal. I firmly believe in the body’s natural capacity to heal when provided with real nourishment and value the privilege of partnering with others to sift through conflicting health claims and give them the tools they need to truly care for themselves and their families.

2. What do you do when you’re not working with clients or working on your business?

My mind is constantly on food and when I’m not seeing clients I’m usually at the farmer’s market or in my kitchen finding ways to nourish myself, my family, and my friends. I enjoy spending date nights with my husband “researching” new restaurants to recommend and am a sucker for art and fashion or anything that makes me laugh.

3. What is your favorite article on your website?

My favorite article thus far is Sacred Salt. I believe our bodies are created to function best when consuming foods as they were perfectly designed in nature. Unfortunately, we’ve been led to believe a lot of these foods are “bad” for us as a result of marketing by big agriculture and pharmaceutical interest groups. Salt is one of these foods that has been demonized as the cause of a myriad of disease. Sacred Salt looks at the many health benefits of salt, how best to use salt in your diet, and, of course, where to find my favorite brands to stock in your kitchen. Upgrading the salt in your shaker is a simple first step in upgrading to a more nourishing lifestyle.

4. What does balance mean to you during your current season of life?

Balance means taking some time each week to read a book, work on a creative project, spend some time outside, or do something else I enjoy. I’m a busy woman, but I find that when I take time to pause and “recharge,” I am not only more productive, but much happier too!

5. Who/what inspires you?

I’m inspired by a multitude of people and things. I’m inspired by busy women who find ways to create balance in their lives and realize it’s okay to not be perfect at everything. I’m inspired by hard-working farmers that follow their principles rather than the money in order to grow food with integrity. I’m inspired by professional chefs as well as home-kitchen food bloggers that find beauty in simple food and share their creations with the rest of us. I’m inspired by my husband, who encourages me to become more myself everyday.

6. What is your best tip for maintaining a healthy diet in the midst of a busy life?

Think about food. A lot of us think our love of food is what keeps us from our health goals, but that’s not the case. Learn tasteful ways to prepare nourishing meals. Plan your day around what and when you will eat. Try organizing your meals the day prior (my mom used to help me make my school lunch the night before – why did I ever get out of that habit?). Read restaurant reviews and menus online to find fresh foods that will satisfy your palate. More often than not, it’s our last-minute decisions that do the most harm. Learn to appreciate food not only for it’s taste, but also for how it makes you feel.

7. What is one of the biggest diet/nutrition myth that you would like to set the records straight on?

Organic is not your mom. These days we’re really focused on “organic” or “natural” foods, often choosing to buy a product claiming to be such thinking it is “healthy” for us. It’s probably not. An organic cookie is still a cookie. True, it may not contain pesticides or GMO crops, but it will still have the same effect on your blood sugar, immune system and waistline. If you’re going to eat a cookie – eat an organic cookie, but don’t kid yourself by thinking it’s “healthy.”

8. What projects are you currently working on for Drew Parisi Nutrition? 

I’m currently working on an online class called “Going Against the Grain: The Ultimate Guide for Your Gluten Free Journey.”  This class is perfect for those who are curious about what a gluten-free diet is all about as well as those diagnosed with a gluten intolerance and want to know where to begin. I’ll be sharing my favorite tips and recipes for making gluten-free delicious and fun!

Be sure to check out Drew’s beautiful website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter (@drewparisi). She shares informative, practical advice to help you make healthy decisions throughout the week.

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