Finding Balance in Nutrition: new approaches in coming to the table

More and more folks are realizing that good health is equivalent to a great diet. We all find ourselves at some point asking the questions: What are good foods? What is good nutrition? What is good health? What makes for healthy eating?

The field of nutritional science includes, but is not limited to, the study of nutrients during growth, reproduction, athletic performance, aging, and disease. Nutritional science is a constantly evolving field with just over a million research papers published annually. Keeping up to date with the literature is often difficult and challenging to sort through, and it is often hard to weed out the poorly conducted research from the sound science and apply that to our own lives and at home in the kitchen.

Diaeta Way is one of the many websites that can help us find our own balance in nutrition.

Diaeta Way is led by Nutritionist John Bagnulo MPH, PhD, and Chef Jan Buhrman, who have been forging the path to understanding our evolving nutritional world. Buhrman and Bagnulo have led hundreds of participants through classes, workshops, retreats, and online materials.

“We have learned that there is no one-size-fits-all plan, but there are core foundations that we apply, based on the best science available. Taking in the needs of participants, we are able to make recommendations on what might work best for a plan and how that would translate in the kitchen and into weekly menu planning,” says Buhrman

Lectures present the latest research on diets, rich in good fats, low in grains and fructose, and zero gluten. Delicious, easy made meals are key to the whole experience. Participants walk away armed with loads of recipes and fresh understandings on how they can incorporate these practices into their daily lives. Five and seven day retreats are offered several times a year. Finding Your Food Map and Defining Food Quality are two back to back retreats offered this April on Martha’s Vineyard. Several participants will partake in both retreats. Finding Your Food Map is the 5-day workshop in which participants bring their blood work and the results are explained, and best diet practices are suggested to enable positive results.

“We ask participants to bring along their blood work, so that each participant leaves with the meaning of the results and a clear understanding of what nutrients, minerals, supplements and lifestyle will work best for them,” says Bagnulo.

In the 3-Day Defining Food Quality, we will demystify the market shelves, offering terrific shortcuts on packaged items and helping participants source the highest quality foods, while staying on a budget. Days begin with a morning yoga class, followed by a toxin-free coffee.

“Coffee can be loaded with mycotoxins and dark roasted is high in acrylamide, so sourcing good coffee is key if you are going to drink it,” says Bagnulo. Agricultural practices, preparing meals, and cooking temperatures are all examined and demonstrated in every class.

“Clearly using the right ingredients is important, but understanding cooking methods and how we come to the table for each meal also has a profound impact in our lives,” adds Buhrman.

Participants will come to understand where they are on the road map and where they need to go and how each meal makes a difference in the destination. Healthy and mentally focused is the outcome when participants follow their understanding of what one’s body has to say. Teaching how to apply what they’ve learned in cooking techniques and dietary change is key.

Buhrman, a locavore educator and caterer on Martha’s Vineyard for over 25 years, has been an activist for healthy, locally sourced food in all her business ventures. She is the owner of Kitchen Porch, an active catering company since 1987. She brings the “science to the pan,” leading cooking demonstrations that are structured to aid participants in healthier cooking at home.

“I got my start with the farmers 25 years ago. I have come to understand the challenges of farming practices and the cost of providing high quality foods. I can teach folks how to be more conscientious cooks, how to source your food, as well as how to shop for higher quality food in the grocery stores. I can teach folks how to plan for a week with foods they will love.” Says Buhrman.

Bagnulo has worked as a nutritionist and assistant professor for over 19 years. Bagnulo leads engaging lectures on how the body functions and the causes of chronic health issues hiding in one’s food choices. He has a private consultation practice in Belfast, Maine and a family farm in Northport, Maine.

The retreats are opportunities to experience the manner in which supportive foods and choices impact your daily life as we practice yoga, take terrific hikes, and prepare meals together.

“When you can connect the effects of how lifestyle and diet can impact your life, you will experience incentive to change,” says Buhrman.

Both Bagnulo and Buhrman work hard to make their classes not only informative, but also engaging and enjoyable. Most recently, they led two well received retreats in Costa Rica focusing on Heart Health and Gut Health.

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Photo courtesy Randi Baird.