While tweeting about health and wellness I was honored to come across Amanda Hayes, a nutritionist and holistic health expert. We tweeting back and forth, I realized I had a lot to learn from her. Food, as it turns out, is so much more than what the grocery store wants you to believe. Amanda learned this first hand. This is her story…
I have always been interested in health and nutrition. At 10 years old, I was drinking smoothies long before they became hip and mainstream. Although I was brought up in a household where healthy eating was a huge priority (no Lucky Charms for me), my journey wasn’t as seamless as you may think. Because we are inundated daily with false marketing claims from food corporations, it’s easy to make the wrong decisions around food. We are often left wondering – who can we trust?
The truth is, these big food corporations don’t have our best interests in mind. Are we really supposed to believe that Kashi’s GoLean Crunch Cereal (who, by the way, is now owned by Kellogg’s) is good for us just because they say it “has more protein than an egg?” Although the marketing claim helped grow Kashi’s sales, it also helped wreak havoc on our health. The cereal is full of sugar disguised as brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, and honey, and its main protein source is processed soy. About seven years ago, I was one of those consumers who listened to every marketing claim and lived on processed foods, including Kashi cereal.
Health is Not Just Skin Deep
Among other things, eating a wealth of processed soy foods (and witnessing what they did to my body) is what ultimately led me to study nutrition. I had been blessed most of my teenage years with exceptionally clear skin. Every now and then I would have one pimple that wouldn’t make an appearance for too long. In my early 20’s, I started to develop what my dermatologist termed perioral dermatitis. I had small, sometimes painful, red bumps form all around my mouth. I was completely perplexed. I had gone through my teens with no skin issues, but now my body decides to give me the gift of pimples? Something had to give.
My dermatologist prescribed a (very) expensive face cream and antibiotic, the combination of which was efficient at getting rid of the disorder externally. Internally, I believe it did more harm than good. I was on the antibiotic regimen for months, but as soon as I would take a break from it, the bumps would immediately reappear. I knew I couldn’t spend the rest of my life on an antibiotic, so I decided to do some detective work. And so began my journey to studying nutrition and the path to my current career.
It was shocking to learn that I was creating the skin disorder through my diet. I had several symptoms that are associated with eating too many soy processed foods, including perioral dermatitis, fatigue, and a plethora of digestive discomforts (read: gas, bloating, and all of those other unpleasant “no one talks about them” symptoms). After learning that soy foods were the core of the problem, I completely revamped my diet. I bought organic groceries, cut out soy processed foods, and incorporated more whole foods. Voila! Within days, my bumps were gone, and I was completely off the antibiotic.
Side note: not all soy is bad. Most soy-containing foods in the US have been genetically modified (GMO’s, yum), and are highly processed. It is best to try to stay away from any soy derivatives such as soy protein isolate, soy lecithin, soy flour, and soy oil. Fermented soy foods, such as miso and tempeh, are acceptable options as they are easy to digest. The process of fermentation pre-digests soy and introduces friendly bacteria to our digestive tracts.
After feeling like I had been lied to for years by food corporations, I had a healthy dose of anger in me and was driven to make a difference. Two years later, I completed two nutrition certifications and was on my way to helping others achieve the same health “awakening” that I experienced. I began making green smoothies for everyone around me, and used smoothies as a gateway to healthier eating for family, friends, and clients. There is evidence all around us that food can be used as medicine, and my journey was further proof of Hippocrates now famous quote: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Here is one of my favorite green smoothie recipes for you to try:
Blend until well combined, and enjoy!
About the Author
Amanda Hayes is the creator of the Clean It Up! Program, a four-week plan designed to help you learn the truth about food and how to eat healthy without holding back. Stemming from her desire to use food as medicine and strengthen her clients’ relationship with food, Amanda maintains a focus on individuality while keeping things light, fresh, and fun. Through her blog posts, YouTube videos, and Instagram photos, Amanda proves that it’s possible to take wheatgrass shots, drink green smoothies, and practice yoga with a huge smile on your face. As a holistic nutritionist and yoga instructor, Amanda has made it her mission in life to help others learn that eating healthfully and mindfully can be both fulfilling and fun.
Want in on a FREE clean eating grocery list? Grab it by signing up on Amanda’s website here.