Heidi Buttery, Certified Nutrition Consultant
As a young girl growing up on the East Coast, I remember picking blueberries and apples, when in season and being curious when my mom would bring home an exotic kiwi from the grocery store. We ate very simply – usually baked chicken, a side of pasta, and assorted vegetables. Little did I realize that 15 years later when I moved to California, lifestyle, diet and nutrition would profoundly impact my life.
I have always been an active person. As a child, I studied martial arts and as an adult, I run, swim, practice yoga and do Pilates, amongst a few other activities. Five years ago, I learned the basics of road cycling and joined a local triathlon team. When I signed up for my first long distance triathlon, I decided to deeply study the nutritional aspect of my training. I wanted to understand the impact of food on my performance as an athlete and maximize my race day experience.
It didn’t make sense to me to fuel my workouts with a lot of added sugars and processed grains, as I had done before. These foods quite often provided a short boost of energy, but left me with sugar crashes and an unhealthy gut. I changed my fueling from prepackaged energy bars to natural foods, packed with the nutrients I needed, such as unsweetened coconut flakes, raw nuts and homemade whole-food energy bars. After my body adapted from primarily burning only sugars during workouts to mostly burning fats, I felt an extra level of endurance and a decrease in recovery time, even for my most strenuous workouts.
Besides the positive changes I felt in my body’s composition, I also slept better and felt a more consistent energy throughout the day. This made me more mentally alert than before and gave me a sense of calmness, which I apply to all aspects of my life – family, friends and other relationships.
Since this recent transformation, I feel compelled to share what I found to help others. By making small, gradual diet changes people can enhance their lives. We are born with one body, so it is vital and essential to maintain it as our strongest asset – our protection against the stresses and diseases that everyone increasingly faces.
As I mentioned before, my journey into whole foods nutrition began a few years ago after I signed up for my first Ironman Triathlon (which took place in 2013). I knew I would need additional calories in my diet for training and it didn’t make sense to me to just increase the pre-packaged energy bars and eat more pasta.
I transitioned to eating whole foods and immediately had lower inflammation in my body and speedier recovery times overall. By the time I crossed the finish line, 9 months after these dietary changes, I felt strong and invincible. I began to study nutrition more closely after that and when I realized I could start to really help others, I decided to transition careers from the financial industry to the health and wellness industry.
I applied to a school (and now graduated from) Bauman College that fit my dietary principles: whole food driven — Also seasonal, local, unprocessed and organic. Within this program, my passion grew deeper and I realized I can truly help people through dietary and lifestyle changes. I think the best changes are small, yet gradual and build over time. You can make a positive impact to your life and vitality.
I do it because…
I believe people don’t realize how good they can feel once they begin making healthy choices – whether in diet or lifestyle.
Because it’s a good proactive measure for your health and preventative medicine against modern day disease.
It’s empowering to be able to enhance your health through your plate – helping your confidence and self-control, as much as your physical health. I’ve been studying nutrition for a few years and have worked with many people from many socioeconomic backgrounds, lifestyles and goals. Everyone has a unique life and deserves a unique plan to get them to the best health, which is why I work 1-on-1 with clients, or in small groups, to help them with their dietary needs and healthy lifestyle planning.