Nutrition is one important subject. Whether training for a sporting event or just going about your every day life, what you fuel your body with has the utmost importance. I met holistic nutritionist Miranda Malisani a few weeks ago at the Nike Run Club. She gave an incredibly informative talk about nutrition for those preparing to run the Nike Women’s 15k on June 14th. I really liked all of the things she talked about so I wanted to know more about her journey as a nutritionist and get some tips from her for those who like myself, are currently training for the race. She was kind enough to answer the questions below. Hope you’ll find this #5QuestionsWith interview with Miranda Malisani informative and helpful.
1) What first got you interested in nutrition? What made you want to become a holistic nutritionist?
I spent many years as a kid complaining about stomach pains, nausea and other digestive issues until the age of 8 where my parents discovered I had many food sensitivities including a severe one to MSG. Even at that young age I remembered feeling such a difference when it was taken out of my diet and that experience planted the seed for my passion of nutrition. I realized growing up that I could change the way I felt and looked with certain foods and I became really excited about learning more about how to be healthier that my elementary school friends would call me Dr. Mir. Fast forward many years and I am just as excited to inspire others to make the connection that their body is unique and finding the right foods for you can completely change the way you feel.
2) What would you say is your mission as a nutritionist?
I feel my mission is to help others connect to themselves and understand that the body has unlimited wisdom. By tuning into our intuition you can maximize your health potential and never need to rely on any diet or fad. The diet industry is geared to take accountability away from an individual where following the diet guidelines becomes the awareness, then when someone decides that the diet is no longer working they go back to their old patterns that contributed to weight gain in the first place. The missing links are education and accountability. I take on clients for one on one programs for 6 weeks and 3 months at a time, where I learn about their style of eating and educate them on how to make small shifts that can really alter the way they look and feel. I provide them with weekly follow ups and help to draw their attention to the way they are feeling through these new foods. A big part of my mission is to also bring awareness to the holistic enormity of our lives. It is not only the food we digest but the thoughts and emotions that play a crucial part in our overall health. It is by no coincidence that certain personality types may have weaker areas of the body. For example, those who have a hard time expressing their voice or connecting to their creativity may have problems with their thyroid. The incredible part of what I do is inspire others to realize that changing your health can happen at your next meal and with your next thought.
3) For those training for a run or a big sporting event, what are the three things they should keep in mind regarding nutrition?
1) Food Train to Maximize Performance. Just like you allocate time to train for your event, setting aside enough time to prepare healthy meals is important to maximize performance. At first, trying new foods or removing some comfort foods can feel uncomfortable. You can compare this to when you began training with extra ache muscles, digestive complaints and other body reactions, but with time, they go away. Challenge yourself to give that extra effort with healthy food to get the most from your sporting event.
2) Be Conscious of the Train & Treat Mentality. I’ve trained some athletes who work really hard during their training and then naturally want to treat themselves to reward this effort. This becomes a slippery slope that can reduce the performance that you are training so hard for. Your body is most vulnerable after training and it waiting for the correct fuel to help repair to reduce inflammation, increase lean muscle mass and restore glycogen for your next training session. Protein, premium carbs, healthy fats, fibre and antioxidants should be included post-train. Reward yourself with something non-food related and reserve food for fuel.
3) Set your Intention & Visualize. Numerous studies have shown that attitude and perception of our experience can drastically impact performance. During training, keep your affirmation strong and powerful. Visualize the way you feel when you cross the finish line, make clear and impactful statements on a blackboard to keep you directed during especially busy or challenging times.
4) What are some of your go-to food items for a healthier life?
I am a mom of two young boys, so I am always thinking fast and nutrient dense. I am often snacking on goldenberries which are rich in potassium, vitamin C and anti-bacterial properties which is crucial with boys 😉
I try to add as much colourful fruits and veggies to my family’s plate as this amps up the antioxidants to keep our cells young and healthy. I also stock up on healthy fatty foods like nuts and seeds, avocado and hemp hearts. I am also a lover of dark chocolate so I always have a batch of my favourite Dark Chocolate Caramel PB Cups in the freezer for when a craving arrives. They are made with coconut oil, cocoa, maple syrup, medjool dates and nut-butter. Easy and delicious.
5) What are your thoughts on the current food industry in North America?
I could go on for a while about this one, but I’ll keep it short. I feel there’s quite a disconnect between many producers and consumers. Good marketing has gotten in the way of the consumers ability to gage if a product is the right choice for them. I am often reading labels in the grocery store and disappointed seeing how certain companies spin their products to sound healthy. Just because it has some fibre doesn’t make it okay that sugar is the first ingredient. As a mother, I think it’s ridiculous that it’s not mandatory to label GMO foods in Canada. I feel it’s my right to know this information so I can make a conscious decision for my family. I am pleased to see many local producers doing their best to get good quality products to communities and I feel we need to amp up our support for these small businesses to create better quality foods for everyone.