Diets can be tricky and almost always end in either starvation or an emotional night of binging. Sure, the pounds may come off for a week or two but what happens when the program finishes or the supplements run out?
Dr. Joey Shulman, a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist, goes against the diet-grain and looks to food as medicine rather than something to be sacrificed. She believes that more than anything else health-related, the quality of our food can be the biggest game changer.
With three weight-loss clinics, Shulman keeps clients motivated through individualized programs and unique recipes (you gotta’ try her Oatmeal Egg-White pancakes and Oatmeal Energy Bars). She’s also the brain behind Skinny Chews, an insulin based natural treat designed to satisfy those late-night chocolate cravings.
We were lucky enough to sit down with the five-time author who shared with us her techniques on how to “love ya thin.”
What does Joey Shulman’s diet look like?
I live a wheat-free, gluten-free life because it just doesn’t work well with my system. I’m not saying everyone has to do that – but I do very limited grain and very limited dairy.
Have you always been interested in nutrition?
From a very early age it was clear to me that food affected me in more than just a physical way. It affected me in a spiritual and an emotional way. This inspired me.
I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 11. It was a personal choice and my parents were all panicked. But I was always motivated to eat clean, try new food and I was driven by natural health. It wasn’t something I chose for a career, it was something I couldn’t shake.
Before becoming a nutritionist you went to school for Psychology. Does that ever come in handy?
Eighty percent of what I do is in the weight loss world – and I don’t even like to say weight loss. It’s in the natural health world; it’s about making changes and hoping people stick with them. We’re not about depravation; we’re about good food and natural wellness. When you’re over weight, it’s very emotional. It’s incredibly common for someone to have a cry in our office or someone to need a shoulder to lean on. My psychology background has been a blessing.
What inspired the Shulman Clinic?
I set up the clinics in the way I would want to lose weight. I’ve lost 75 pounds before and I could not, for any money in the world do a group program. I am not that gal. I am private; I am personal and if I trust you, I’m in. We wanted to create that bond between nutritionist and client and I find it far more affective.
It’s been seven years since you opened your first clinic. What’s been the biggest challenge?
To make sure I’m a mom first. This is my passion and at times, this has taken away too much from them [my kids]. I still want to be Mummy in the classroom and I still want to go on field trips. The little one still cries when I leave the door and that’s the hardest thing for me.
The second thing I struggle with is staying balanced in the business world. I’m not a business person, I’m a natural health care practitioner who happens to be in the business world. That part stresses me out and my husband helps me with it a lot.
Do your kids ever argue about what’s for dinner?
They get to cheat, my kids. I’m not that crazy woman but part of it they don’t even know, like the avocado chocolate pudding we made for Superbowl. Knock on wood, my kids don’t really get sick and they know what we do to build ourselves up.
You’ve been in the weight-loss world for 12 years. Any “diet” pet peeves?
When someone comes out with a pill or food they claim can cure all; also known as ‘the magic bullet approach.’ It makes it hard for practitioners like myself who are trying to shift people towards total body wellness. Instead of focusing on the totality of their diet, exercise, water and lifestyle, they’re led to believe one pill will do it all.
Most recently, Dr. Joey Shulman has been busy revamping her book The Natural Makeover Diet. The bestseller first came out ten years ago and teaches woman how to achieve outer beauty by improving their inner health. The updated version is expected to hit stands in April and will feature a new, five-day cleanse that we can’t wait to try. For more recipes, cleanses and health advice you can check out her blog.