So of late we’ve modified our lifestyles, started eating healthily, dieted, had detox smoothies take over our fridge, left a sedentary life behind, moved on to running and started practicing yoga in all its forms, yet some of us have still not heard about the role of the “Food Coach”. If there is someone who can talk to us about this role and catch us up, then that is Vanessa Losada, a Madrid native who has managed to fuse her two passions: art and nutrition. We spoke to her to find out the importance of creating new feeding habits, achieving a balance between body, mind and our emotions. It sounds good, doesn’t it?
SO BLUE: Hi Vanessa, where are you from and how did your professional career begin?
VANESSA: I’m not sure where I’m from… from all over, I think.
For now, I’m from Madrid, I was born in Madrid and I live in Madrid, although I grew up in the UK.
My career began in the world of art and creativity. I finished Fine Arts in Berlin and, upon my return, became interested in food as a tool and creative visual arts material. Little by little, the need to utilize food as an element to construct creative concepts began tilting towards the need to utilize food as an element to construct our body, mind, emotions and, of course, our health…
SB: What are your days like, working on something so specific?
V: My profile allows me to focus nutrition and health from many angles.
On one hand, I carry out consults on healthy ecological nutrition for restaurants, caterers, hotels, brands, etc.
I’m responsible for designing their dishes and menus, running training courses on healthy ecological nutrition and giving them the tools they need to introduce new nutrition and health concepts into their business.
I also have act as a consultant of health food nutrition and naturopathy. My job as a Food Coach and nutritionist promotes the personal, physical, and emotional development of my patients and incorporates new eating habits into their lives.
It is a guiding, consulting and therapeutic process that helps fine tune our listening to and perception of our body. It offers new resources, solutions and tools to work on concrete pathologies, treating illnesses, losing weight, forgetting about diets and recovering balance through conscious eating and a healthy lifestyle.
SB: How did you become interested in nutrition to the point of turning it into your career?
V: My beginnings as an artist and designer shifted naturally into the world of nutrition and health.
At a creative level, I was always interested in themes related to mental and social structures that summaries the essence of human behavior. Food, eating habits, the act of eating and health are part of all of this.
The desire to learn more about and investigate food, cuisine, nutrition and health, served as a guide to delve deeper every time and finally get educated as a nutritionist, naturopath and physiotherapist.
SB: Do you believe foods such as quinoa, kale and others that have become increasingly popular, could be helpful to educate people on nutrition?
V: Fads don’t educate, they are tendencies that come and go. They are disseminated through imitation. Sometimes they leave a mark on society and other times, they just fade.
What’s important are not the fads but to be well documented, consult different sources of information and know who is behind the information that is disseminated.
SB: Food Coach is a completely new term for me. Tell me about it.
V: Food coaching has the objective of improving health through nutrition and the development of the patient’s physical, mental and emotional plane. The detoxification of the organism, changing to a healthier diet, incorporating new therapeutic foods and supplements, are all fundamental for reaching the balance we strive to attain.
In the first appointment, we prepare the patient’s clinical history, run tests on their health in general and study their eating habits. Specific, personal objectives are then designed for the patient and we factor in the difficulties they must overcome in order to achieve them. From this point on, we begin working.
SB: What type of person attends your Food Coach consultation?
V: Food coaching is ideal for anyone who wishes to improve specific aspects of their lives, who need a change and are open to personal growth; to re-establish the balance, boost their professional performance, overcome a lack of motivation with regard to eating, work on their lack of commitment to themselves, learn new forms of cooking and nutrition, etc…
It works well for those with health issues or concrete pathologies or for individuals who simply wish to modify their eating habits in order to prevent possible imbalances.
It is the definitive solution for those who need or wish to lose weight, overcome emotional problems or recover their self-esteem.
SB: In what way is our habitual lifestyle affected by changing our eating habits?
V: Nutrition is everything. It is the “fuel” with which we feed the cells that make up each part of our organism. This fuel must contain the necessary elements for developing all of the organism’s vital functions.
If the “fuel” is not top quality, whether because it contains a large percentage of toxins or because it lacks the adequate nutrients for the development of these functions: vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, etc., our health will deteriorate over time and our skin, hair and body will age more rapidly.
There are several questions we never ask ourselves and they are important to keep in mind: How do we eat? Why do we eat? Where do we eat from? What does eating signify? What is our vital disposition with regard to nutrition?
Each bite we put in our mouths is not only an element which helps calm an empty stomach, enjoy and nurture us. The ritual of eating implies a series of actions that affect us on a bodily, social, financial and environmental level.
SB: Changing our diets and educating on better eating is not something easy, but it can be even more difficult with children and older adults. How do we achieve this change?
V: Working with kids is a more complex and slow process, they are sponges exposed to stimuli that many times generates desires for unhealthy foods. The key for them is to learn through play, it is the language they understand best and the one we should use to communicate with them. Food coaching for children doesn’t only work through diets and detoxing.
The objective is to re-educate the child, bringing them closer to food, the vegetable patch and the kitchen through games and fun.
With older adults, whose eating habits are very set, we work through small modifications to the diets they already follow. Many times, just substituting some unhealthier foods for better quality produce yields important changes. The result, when they see the benefits it brings them, is that they slowly start to get enthused and demand greater changes in their diet.
SB: We, as a society, are used to eating generic diets, as if we were all the same and ate the same. Do you think this is right?
V: In the same way that each of us is different, each diet should be different. There is a myriad of “standard” diets that appear and disappear, independently of the foundations on which each is based, my experience has taught me that each person is different and it isn’t a good idea to work with a generalist diet.
Each person has concrete needs and this is where my responsibility as a nutritionist comes into play. The magic is in knowing how to see and understand who is before you and treating the overall individual, with their intricacies, always trying to stick to the cleanest and most hypotoxic diet possible.
SB: Are there specific guidelines when creating a diet?
V: I don’t follow any concrete guidelines, I aim to rebalance the organism’s vital functions, so I therefore always work with personalized diets based on what the patients share with me and what I see they need.
There is a series of requirements, from my perspective, that we should all follow in order to follow a healthy diet:
1. Create and incorporate a healthy lifestyle and consumption.
2. Promote the use of highly nutritional, detoxing and therapeutic foods.
3. Cook with local produce and ecological crops.
4. Eliminate industrial foods, genetically manipulated or originating from intensive agriculture.
5. Avoid refined products, additives, sweeteners, conservatives and artificial or manipulated fats.
6. Value health as much as pleasure and sensory enjoyment when changing our eating habits.
SB: After telling us all about your work, where can we find you to contract your services?
V: You can contact me through email firstname.lastname@example.org o by phone 620788763
More information on Vanessa’s work on www.vanessalosada.com
Text by Virginia Cámus