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Talking Good Food with Jaclyn Irwin

Talking Good Food with Jaclyn Irwin

Graydon: Hi guys it’s Graydon Moffat here from Graydon Skincare. We have our next interview for our People We Love Instagram series, where I interview badass people who are making big changes, shifting conversations, starting new paradigms, and being the best versions of themselves. We have Jaclyn Irwin here today, of @holistic.foodie, and I'm going to turn the conversation right over to you!

Jaclyn: I'm a holistic nutritionist in the Toronto area. I mainly work with the women who have more of a disordered relationship to food in their body. I also talk a lot about self-care; it's something that I've learned over the years is super important. As much as I love talking about food, it also comes down to your self-care practices.

Graydon: How did you get into all of this, what inspired you?

Jaclyn: It was a long journey. Almost 9 years ago my mom was diagnosed cancer, so that is kind of what led me to alternative health. Unfortunately she did passed away a few months later, so going through all that and next couple years following her passing, was really when I embraced more of a holistic lifestyle. I discovered more about holistic nutrition, I was plant-based for a while, and that just let me to discovering how much food impacts how I feel. I used to be a really stressed out, type-A individual. Learning how to slow down a little bit more, and how different foods can impact how I feel, was a really important. I registered for the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, and did that for two years part-time all I was still working a corporate job.

G: What were you doing?

J: I was working in the government, so not at all related to nutrition. [laughs] So I did leave that, and I've been doing nutrition full-time.

G: That’s a really big leap. It's hard to take risks, especially I imagine leaving a government job.

J: It was a process. I started out going part time, which allowed me the opportunity to see what it would be like working for myself. I got to this point where I knew in my heart it was time to go. So I took that leap of faith and haven't looked back at all.

G: People don't connect with their heart. I think we all live with so much fear, understandably. But I don't think people make the connection between fear and health, and it has a profound effect on how you feel and your stress levels, and how that manifests in so many different ways. The message I want to get across is that stress affects your skin. All of your organs, and your skin, is just a manifestation of what's going on on the inside.

J: I mean, stress can manifest itself in so many different ways in your bodies. It comes back to that self-care that I think is so important. Seeing how my mom didn't take time for herself really impacted her years later. When I looked back, I saw how much she gave and never took for herself. No one else is going to take care of you, you have to do it yourself.

G: Another message I like to get out, is that is not going out and buying a bunch of fancy products, it's more of a mindset. I'm a big proponent of DIY stuff, and using organic ingredients from your pantry. Or maybe just allowing yourself to sleep a little later.

J: And saying no to things you don’t want to do, and create boundaries within your own life.

G: Let’s get back to your practice. Can you give me an example of the type of person that comes to see you?

J: I mainly work with women, usually late 20s early 30s, who have going on diets all their life confused about food choices. They've tried every type of fad diet or lifestyle diet, and it’s lead them down this path of disordered eating. I don't work with women who directly have an eating disorder, I refer that out. Mostly just women who do not have a good relationship with food and their bodies.

G: I have a bit of a relationship with disordered eating myself. I was so disconnected with it for so many years.

J: I think we learn to fear food. We're so scared of fat in gaining weight, under fear becomes gaining weight. Health and weight are so linked together, so I tried to talk a lot about intuitive eating, which is tuning in to feeling how you want to - like what is it that you are really craving, and learning that there are no good and bad foods. I think the clean eating movement is great in some respects, because it teaches us to look at ingredients more. But I also think that it lead you down this other path where it makes you feel a little bit crazy around food. I try to teach women to get back to the pleasure of food.

G: Can you give us an example of an exercise you would lead your clients through?

J: I've done a couple workshops on intuitive eating, and I usually give them a workbook at the end of the workshop so they have concrete things to work on. One example I do all the time is a mindful eating exercise, which is getting people to slow down a little before they start to eat. It doesn't matter what you're eating, no judgment, but tune in in a little bit more to smell your food, chew your food, take your time.

G: I'm the slowest eater ever!

J: So am I! I used to have indigestion, and a lot of it was related simply to changing how I ate my food.

G: Can you help make a connection for us to gut health and the brain?

J: Digestion is so important. It is becoming more and more popular the connection between gut health and brain health. If you take the time to feed your gut with good things, like probiotics, and supporting the health of your gut, you'll notice a difference in your food because of the different hormones and how they interconnect with our stomach, or “second brain”.

G: Besides the obvious things like drinking more water, getting more sleep, stuff like that, could you make some specific suggestions on eating for your skin health?

J: I actually wrote a little ebook about skin health and how it comes form the food you’re eating. Hydration is very important, it doesn't have to be just water it could be teas or water rich foods. Fiber is another one, it is so important for your skin health. If you are going regularly, it does impact to your skin. And incorporating more anti-inflammatory food in your diet is super simple, but easily overcomplicated. Eating a lot of the plant-based foods and healthy fats are great.

G: You want healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber, which is a lot of vegetables. Do you have any favourites?

J: Greens for sure! There is so much goodness in all the greens.

G: Also because they are alkaline?

J: Yes!

G: Also side tracking, did you also work with the Detox Market?

J: Yeah! I have always loved skin care and green beauty. It was around 2012, and it was so so cool to hear about different brands and their products.

G: That’s really neat! So you can see skincare from a few perspectives.

J: I did a research project when I was at IHN about the ingredients in beauty products, and it really opened my eyes, and change the products that brought because there are so many natural brands out there. Now it’s like an explosion of green beauty!

G: It’s a very competitive market. But the good thing is, there is room for lots of people and brands. It was really gratifying to see all the brands and talent when we hosted MNDFL Beauty in December.

J: Every brand has their own story, which I think is really cool. And they have all started their business for cool reasons.

G: You will have to come tot he event next year! So good to know your services are available.

J: I also have an online program that is self-paced, so that is available to anyone, anywhere.

G: Out of curiosity, since your journey of starting to make better choices for yourself, how do you feel different? Has your body changed, or your face changed, or your hair, or is it more subtle?

J: I think for me it's more internal. When I think of who I was seven or eight years ago compared to where I am today, it is night and day. I've learned so much about my own self-worth, and put in so much work in developing myself, but I'm a completely different person. My mindset is completely different than it was. I used to think, oh why is this happening to me? Now I think this is happening for me.

G: Becoming not the victim, and feeling in control of your life.

J: Totally, I’ve learned to shift that so much. I've also learned to have an appreciation of food that I didn't have. I look at it more in a nourishing prospective rather than macros or calories.

G: It’s been so good speaking with you, thank you! Where can people find you?

J: You can find me on Instagram @holistic.foodie and my website, holisticfoodie.com
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