Sitting at my desk here at the Centre, it’s a Saturday morning and it doesn’t look like my first client will show this morning. Actually that’s quite alright. I’ve been starting later Saturdays as our clients really get a lot from one of the Centre’s Saturday mornings practices, “Hellos and Goodbyes”. Hellos and Goodbyes take place every Saturday morning and they definitely bring our community closer together. When someone new comes to the center they get a warm welcome and when someone’s about to head back home they are sent off with well wishes and loads of support. It’s pretty wonderful to see so many walks of life come together in such a positive way.
My role here at the Centre is to complete a Lifestyle Assessment with a client and then we finish by going over a nutrition priority list that I think would be beneficial to work on. Some need a follow-up and some are set to go. Some things are the same for everyone, the importance of B vitamins and fiber, hydration, quality fats in the diet and for some people it’s mostly about managing a crazy work/life schedule and tips on how to stay ahead of things. Nutrition is such a powerful tool! For a lot of the clients, I see the recommendations are simple and many are familiar with them, but often it just takes someone saying it out loud or really explaining why it’s so important in the first place. Addictions are a lot more of an issue in our culture today than I’m sure most people let on. Once we start to skip meals, stay up too late, take on too much and start decreasing those enjoyable activities substance use can ever so sneakily replace our health habits. I love seeing how our clients regain their health, sometimes seemingly overnight! Just through routine, balanced regular meals, exercise, and a good support system. It’s really a sight to see!
Since starting at the Centre I’ve also benefited personally. I’ve eased up on myself, I’m less nervous meeting new people, I feel much more empowered and more inspired to share my passion for health and nutrition with people than ever before. I really see the importance of these nutritional guidelines in a whole new light. It’s almost magic watching these transformations take place week after week. Now if only the rest of our culture could embrace these principles!
Relapse is, of course, a serious issue in our community. As a nutritionist, I know that education regarding preventing relapse is crucial. I also know regular, balanced meals will be a challenge for some people. Many of our clients avoided regular meals back home for various reasons but grow to love them in no time at the Centre. Not to mention the food at the Centre is so good! Delicious aromas start to fill the air come 11:30 am that’s for sure! The kitchen staff is incredible, they often have to make adjustments for people and are always wonderful about it. Generally speaking, I love to see people eat three good meals and with quality snacks in between for those who have longer days. I try my best to educate people on the basics of nutrition, digestive health and how to obtain nutrients needed for optimal health, it’s my hope that everyone understands how important eating as healthfully as possible is for their recovery. I know in our culture today adopting healthy living practices can be difficult but on that note, I remind people that our peers may, and even most likely, need that type of support as well. When we stop for a sound lunch, head to the gym or go for a run after work we stand a good chance of inspiring others to do the same as well. The people I meet here at the Centre absolutely care a lot about our community and are always eager to help others. More of this in the world, please!
Sarah Hooff, CHN, CSNC
Certified Holistic Nutritionist