As I work with medical nutrition therapist Shari Havourd to heal my gut microbiome there have been some surprising reveals; I’m not a mindful eater, I don’t drink enough water, my brain is absolutely stubborn, and I have poorer eating habits than I thought.
As we take a closer look at my daily meal intake it’s a bit alarming to realize that I am not the mindful eater that I thought I was. A self-proclaimed healthy eater, I’ve always known that there was room for improvement and have been curious about moving toward a plant-based diet, but if I were to grade myself I would get a D- in making pre-prepared healthy meals and a C+ for being mindful while eating. When I am not eating with the family, I love to take that quiet time to read while eating, something I thought of as a luxury, but Shari is teaching me otherwise. And so I put down the New Yorker and tried it the other day. Heating up a bowl of delicious cauliflower soup I had made I sat and slowly ate it trying my best to appreciate every bite while glancing over at the cover of The New Yorker. Honestly, I hated it and only made it half way through, but I understood the intention. Habits. I guess the first step is being aware of them.
Working with Shari has been an amazing experience and journey. I couldn’t have been happier with the choice I made when looking for a nutritionist to help me have break throughs with my gut issues that have left me feeling physically and mentally unwell. In addition to that, I had formed an unhealthy relationship with food and as crazy as it sounds now, most of my habits were so ingrained in my subconscious mind that I wasn’t even aware of having any at all.
I chose to work with Shari because she understood me and listened to me, making it so easy for me to open up to her about my behavior with food and the internal physical pain I was experiencing. I always wanted to take a holistic/natural approach to my recovery and she was right on board with it. Our sessions were filled with so much valuable information and being able to work around my blood test results made the experience all so fascinating and eye-opening. Each body is different and Shari really dives in deep, taking into consideration every aspect of oneself.
I was finally able to get my energy level up and stopped feeling tired throughout the day by knowing in what area I was chemically deficient, implementing the correct supplements, and keeping it simple.
Shari has helped me so much and I am so grateful I got to work with her, if you are looking for a nutritionist I would highly recommend having an initial consultation with her and see if she’s the right fit for you:)~ Shari Havourd Client
Mindful eating is a concept that so many of us could wrap our heads around better. For instance, in the last bag of ginger snaps, I ate I was very mindful as I slowly dissolved the cookie in my mouth, allowing the taste of ginger to spread across my tongue as the delicious cookie melted. I was mindful that I needed another to take more time with it and allow it to dissolve even more than the last one, and so on and so on. I was there for the experience, but certainly, that experience could have ended after 3 … or 5 cookies. What was it in my brain that kept me going until the bag was empty? Comfort? Boredom? How mindless it was of me to think I was already a mindful eater. The thing is, I love what I love and am happy to abstain from everything except for that which I love. Shari is helping me to reset my mindset only to love what doesn’t make me feel sick.
Like a finely aged wine, there is something so vastly rich about moving towards the end of one’s 50s. I am ready to emerge into a less beautiful but bolder butterfly, exploring newfound freedom, a return to self, and confidence from all I have achieved in over 50 years. With only 20-30 good years left I have a newfound determination to increase my health span for those years so that I may explore everything that I have been curious about but never had the time or the ability to act upon. With an unhealthy gut riddled with parasites and a deep cough that was quickly worsening before I started this road to paying attention to myself, I wonder why I did not do this five years ago when the symptoms began. It is time to get to the root of my physiology and decrease my inflammation. Thankfully I have Shari and an entire network comprised of many of the top healers in town, and they see the value in helping me with the only caveat being that I need to commit to this road and stay on it, while journaling about the experience.
As I embark upon this new determination to focus on my gut issues I have abundant realizations; inflammation is not the norm, my mind has huge resistance to change but my body wants it, and I am not as healthy an eater as I imagined, I need to focus more on meal prep.
Over the span of a few short years, I saw my eating practice and relationship with food deteriorate. My doctors were worried about me and I felt immense frustration and insecurity. I had tried, but I couldn’t face this without the help of an expert. I had a rough idea of where I wanted to start, but so many new things clicked into place when I saw Shari Havourd’s profile. She saw nutrition from a wide vantage point. Acceptance and compassion were the number one priority. We discovered more reasons for the problems I was having and looked deep into every factor. We deconstructed the role that food has played over my entire life. I discovered more about how ADHD itself and stimulant medication were impacting me. Teamwork was essential in coming up with accommodations when chronic illness flared or when I was stressed and busy. We worked around these things while working towards my well-being and my own idea of success.
For me, the therapeutic relationship and open conversations we had were a huge part of my healing and ability to work on things. It is so hard to feel safe in conversations about food and weight in the world we live in, but Shari brings the informed perspective and intention needed to cut through shame, fatphobia, and ableism. She always had the time to get into it. On bad days or weeks, she brought me back to acceptance and the accomplishments I had already made. Her creative and compassionate thinking never wavered. She met me where I was, and encouraged manageable progress. The structured, small goals each week gave me little wins when I completed them, and useful information on myself when I didn’t. I learned strategies and tools that I can keep forever and adapt to all different areas of life
The work to treat our bodies well is never done, of course. But with Shari’s help, a medication change, and getting on SNAP, my life has changed. Shari’s holistic approach was key in getting me to a healthier, more relaxed place. Shari is one of those practitioners who remains eager to learn even after years of experience and cares deep down to the center of their being.~ Shari Havourd Client