Chris Wyatt teaches Food as Medicine classes through Renown, and he has some simple tips and strategies for people to integrate a healthier lifestyle into a hectic schedule.
It’s no secret that one of the main components to living a healthy life is maintaining a good diet. But keeping this diet up while balancing a busy life can be a real challenge. Chris Wyatt is a certified dietary manager who teaches Food as Medicine classes at Renown Medical Group – Integrative Primary Care, and he has advice for people with hectic schedules to stay on track with good nutrition and better health.
Could you tell us how thinking about food as medicine is beneficial to our health?
The foods you include in your diet can play a role in reducing inflammation, improving cardiovascular health, balancing blood sugar levels, aiding with digestion and much more.
Whole, unprocessed foods contain a number of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients our body needs and may be far more effective than supplements that just deliver one of them. For example, if you take a lycopene supplement, that’s all that’s being delivered to your body. However, if you eat a tomato, you are getting lycopene, along with several other nutrients. Many health conditions have been linked to nutrient deficiencies, and this is why thinking about food as medicine is so important to our health.
What types of tips and strategies do you include in your workshops?
Food as Medicine classes focus on real life meal challenges such as healthy breakfast choices, working lunches and healthy potlucks in addition to the lifesaving effects of healthful eating. You will learn about the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet, menu planning, healthy recipes, nutrition and more. We help people eat to enhance wellness and prevent and treat specific conditions. You’ll learn about supplements and herbs, have an understanding of the benefits and limitations of different diets, and learn how to cook the foods that are good for you.
Classes are offered Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The cost is $44 per class and includes a cooking demonstration.
What advice do you have for someone looking to make a change in their long-term nutrition plan?
Many people think about eating healthy as being on a diet; however, eating healthy should be looked at as a lifestyle. When people think of the word “diet,” they often think of restricting or depriving themselves, and that is not a realistic, long-term approach.
When making a change in your nutrition plan, consider a whole foods, plant-based diet with as little processed food and added sugar as possible.
Make sure you have healthy food on hand and eat something every few hours. This will help you from becoming low on energy and turning to junk foods.
Plan meals ahead of time and shop for the foods you want to eat – this will motivate you to eat well and cook foods you enjoy.
Many of us mistake thirst for hunger, so make sure you are drinking a lot of water, which will also give you more energy, prevent headaches and manage your mood.
And remember, we are all unique, so what works for someone else, might not work for you. You can learn a lot by experimenting with different foods and making note of the outcomes and how they make you feel.