Nutrition expert advises WLU students

By Jessica Broverman, Editor

As college students, we rarely have time to consume anything other than coffee and Ramen noodles. However, The Trumpet has called upon a professional within the Ohio Valley to elaborate on the subject. Kathi Leonard has been on her own health journey for many years now and is using her platform to inform and help those with health issues, whether they be physical or mental.

Last month Leonard was featured on WLU Professor Carrie White’s television show In Your Business. She is now taking the time to help West Liberty University students better their own health. Leonard, a Nutrition Counselor and owner of Healthy Motivation, explains how misleading companies can be when selling food and beverage items to the public.

“It is important to understand that manufacturers know what ‘buzz words’ consumers are looking for, and are often just marketing tactics to sell products with little concern for nutrient content or if the product is actually healthy,” said Leonard.

“The consumer interprets (the word) ‘natural’ how they want to see it, when in actuality, for example, all natural chicken means simply that it is chicken and has not been altered between the slaughterhouse and the grocery store,” said Leonard. “However, it has nothing to do with the consideration of what the chicken was fed or given hormones or even genetically modified. As for organic products, the regulations are more stringent.”

She continues to elaborate further as to how the American public can identify organic, all natural, and modified foods. “A product that claims to be USDA Organic must meet high standards, being 95% organically raised. However, if it is made with organic products, the product itself only needs to contain 70% of organic material. Please note (that) just because something is ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ does not mean it is healthy for you. It simply means it contains less pesticides and chemicals.”

Leonard also tells us that some foods, which we have been told are good for us, are actually the opposite.

“An example is the whole grain debate. We have been told that grains are healthy and necessary. Grains do contain proteins and multiple vitamins, and they can help you survive,” said Leonard.

“However, they also contain many anti-nutrients that block the absorption of the promoted nutrients and can have a strong ripple effect starting with a negative impact on gut health to joint inflammation and brain fog to name a few. So although eating grains can help you survive, they will never help you thrive,” said Leonard.

Considering that college students have a difficult time with keeping a healthy balanced diet, Leonard tells us how to transition into a healthier lifestyle. “From energy levels, to moods, to cognitive ability, strength, the ability to fight off illness, stamina and so much more. Our bodies crave nutrients, not calories or chemicals.

When we give our bodies the nutrients it requires, amazing things happen. Reducing processed foods, eating more sources of meats, vegetables, some fruits and good healthy fats, such as avocado, coconut oil, nuts, olives and olive oil, we are giving our bodies the tools to thrive,” said Leonard.

She continues to say, “Keep it simple (with) real food and your body will respond kindly. Don’t believe it? Challenge yourself to eat only real foods with simple ingredients (five or less) for two weeks. Keep out sugar, dairy and grains. After the two-week period, add one category back in one at a time. The results may surprise you.”

Leonard herself has lost 100 pounds, which led to her helping others on their health journey in addition to finding the best version of herself.

“Food either makes you healthier or it doesn’t,” said Leonard. “It is also manufactured to create an addiction, which has far more consequences than the number on the scale. There is nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence in our favorite food. However, it is important to realize that those little indulgences that happen more and more frequently add up.”

Though it may be easier as college students to eat whatever is cheapest, it will more than likely be the wrong choice in the long run. The more we focus on our health, the more our bodies will thank us. Leonard’s final words on the subject when speaking with The Trumpet were, “To me, nothing tastes as good as feeling healthy, vibrant, and alive!”

You can click here to watch Kathi Leonard’s appearance on In Your Business.

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