Following your gut – a way to nutritional health
By Randi Morse
Carolina Levie, is a native of Bogota, Colombia and resides in Amsterdam. She is an entrepreneur and owner of Pure Food Health Solutions. As an integrated nutritional health coach, she specializes in weight management, gut health and plant-sourced nutrition. She has extensive experience in using glyconutrition – nutrition gained from plant sugars – for cellular communication. Carolina coaches both adults and children, and as a mother of four, she believes in practising what she preaches.
Can you tell us a bit about your upbringing and your relationship with food growing up?
I grew up in Bogota, Colombia with my family of five siblings. We lived in the city, however, spending time on the farm was one of our wonderful family events. In my home my mother was always very interested in fresh food, preparing delicious meals that today are staples in my cuisine. Her interest and love for food was more than just cooking; she made sure we were nourished with nutritious food. She bought at local green groceries, poultry, meat, and fish stores. Every day food had to be fresh. We never had leftovers or frozen food. The food was so delicious that nothing was left uneaten. I don’t remember having processed food or fast food.
In addition, living in other countries has exposed me to experience other cuisines and flavours that I incorporate in my own cuisine. As a young mother I mirrored my mother. I freshly prepared all compotes for the children and have always cooked fresh every day. I love it!
What inspired you to choose a career in nutrition?
During the past 15 years I got involved working with an American nutritional and health company. Due to their extensive knowledge in science and technology, I was trained by scientists the importance of supplementation. Through many years of seminars and education the interest became clearer and more developed to be my passion. I was inspired then to broaden my knowledge and education as a Nutrition and Wellness Coach at the Institute of Integrated Nutrition in New York City.
What is the most common mistake people make regarding their nutrition?
I believe almost everyone understands the basics of nutrition, however:
- Hectic life, convenience/processed food, GMO, prioritising the importance of food in our health has become a worldwide problem.
- Dieting has become a fad. With so many diets available people forget to understand that we are all different and what is healthy for one might be poison for the other.
- Unbalanced diet; either too rich in carbs, low in protein and vegetables. Not eating a rainbow diet.
- Too much information available becomes confusing.
- Eating focused on calories not in nutritional value.
- Consumers have been misinformed; nutritional labels are difficult to understand!
- Overall lack of fresh pure food in their diets.
- Today with the health pandemic we are living, people are rediscovering again the joy of cooking with whole foods and experimenting new foods.
Can you explain a bit about what cleansing at a cellular level means?
As we know, our bodies are made of around 60 trillion cells that make our tissues, organs, systems, and ultimately ‘us’. Cells are the building blocks of health so cleaning at cellular level is providing your cells with the right nutrition to detoxify from chemicals, pesticides, toxins, and daily oxidation from free radicals that can break down the function and structure of healthy cells for proper communication. Cells talk to each other to perform their functions and they all need to be healthy to receive proper signals to repair, restore, and heal the body. For this process there is a variety of available food on the planet from medicinal roots, plants, herbs, seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
Veganism is becoming more and more popular today. As a specialist in plant-source nutrition, would you recommend veganism as a healthy dietary choice?
I believe that everyone should choose for their type of food as long as it meets healthy requirements for a lifestyle. Being vegan today involves more than just food, there are other beliefs that get in between, so I respect the individual’s position. It is a healthy diet as long as it remains with whole food. It has become another source of processed food without animal products.
I advise people to explore into the Mediterranean diet as one of the most balanced diets and sustainable for a healthy lifestyle.
In coaching children, how have you found this differs from coaching adults?
The big difference with children is that I work together with their parents. Children need direction and support at home to be able to follow through with dietary changes. However, working with children or adults is no different. They both need to be ready to change and take responsibility to adjust eating habits and behaviour.
In the clients you have worked with, what has been your favourite success story?
My success stories are mostly on lifestyle and body transformations. Most of my clients lose weight, making them feel so proud and happy about their accomplishments. My joy is to see they have tools and knowledge to continue their evolution and journey through life to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What is the biggest piece of advice you would like to leave our readers with?
Follow your gut instinct! You will discover what is important during your journey of life and health. When in a roadblock, reach to those that can guide, support, and empower you to go back to your own health path. We are unique and important. It is normal that we are distracted and side-tracked with eating habits and/or behaviour but retaking the path of health is never too late. Keep always in mind that our bodies are biological machines that work perfect when given the right raw material – food – to function. See the human body in a holistic way since relationships, work, spirituality, and exercise are also important components that contribute to total wellness. Refocus and take control of your lifestyle and health for your own benefit and those around you. We are the architects of our story and life. Enjoy the ride and age gracefully!
In this time of health pandemic, boosting your immune system and strengthening your gut is vital to optimize your well-being.
I would like to share 10 of my tips for a balanced diet:
- Drink warm water in the morning with lemon or lime.
- Eat healthy carbohydrates e.g. fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and Legumes.
- Choose healthy fats e.g. nuts, ghee, seed, fish, avocado, olive oil; to renew and replenish your cells.
- Emphasise lean protein (grass fed for animal protein), wild fish, and organic poultry. Goat and sheep yogurt are a great source of probiotics. Include kefir fermented yogurt or milk. Add fermented food like sauerkraut.
- Eat a nutritious breakfast. It gives a jump start to your metabolism after fasting. It helps to maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat low glycaemic fruits to maintain stable blood sugar levels
- Exercise and or move your body at least 30 minutes daily. This activates your Metabolism.
- Catch some sleep. Allows your body to repair, heal, and restore. You’ll feel energised and alert.
- Eat homemade cooked meals. Experience cooking with new ingredients.
- Keep track of your daily eating. Follow the 90-10 rule. Eat healthy 90% of your time and allow 10% to catch up on those little cheats.