Over the next few weeks we’ll be honoured to have Ashley Koff RD share all of her tips on how to better your nutrition. Ashley is an award winning nutrition expert who’s successfully helping people reach their health goals in a sustainable way by focusing on making better, not perfect choices. We thought we’d begin with an introduction of her and let her tell you more about herself.
I am Ashley Koff RD and thrilled to be here to discuss getting (and keeping) what we all want – better health! As a dietitian (in the United States) means I have a medical license received after graduate work and a yearlong residency internship (I did mine at LAC+USC Hospital in East Los Angeles – the place that the television show ER (with George Clooney and Juliana Marguiles) was based on!) – I think of my self as the CIO (chief implementation officer) of better health, which we all know is fueled by better nutrition.
I help people like you figure out what you really need (Assess), what you are already doing better (Keep), and help you create and implement a plan to make better not perfect choices more often (Act). This AKA approach works better because it helps us collaborate to discover what you really need and how to ensure in your lifestyle you get the better bang for each bite and sip, and supplement for your better health. But don’t just take my word for it, you can read what my patients and their doctors have said about our work together on my website. I am honoured over the last almost twenty years to have patients from all over the world ranging from A-list Hollywood celebs and entertainment business executives, to DC and global government leaders, to professional athletes and musicians, to us regular and equally amazing folks – seniors, adults, young adults, teens, tweens and toddlers.
BUT I wasn’t always doing better nutrition work. In fact, my career began with me being part of creating and enabling the national nutrition problem. EEEEks! That’s right, mea culpa, because I began my career working in advertising helping to create the ads and strategies to sell sweet, highly processed cereal to kids, parents, and adults with the promise that these could be part of a “better breakfast.” The only folks it was better for? The cereal company and my ad agency. But I learned a lot. I learned that what we say on the front of a package or in an advertisement is what we, the company, heard from you that you really, really want. Of course we want to believe that we can eat cereal for breakfast daily – have it taste like our favorite dessert – and that it will be giving us more, better energy for our day. And of course we want to give that to our kids so breakfast is fun, less stressful and so that they will eat breakfast! So that’s what we told you – stretching the truth as far as we legally could – we told you that more sugar meant more energy because it does, afterall, sugar is a carbohydrate and delivers calories so the two together mean more energy. So we weren’t lying – we were just spooning you part of the story – sure sugar gives you energy, but what kind of energy? What happens when you only get highly refined carbs and not enough or better quality protein, healthy fats and plant nutrients? What happens when you get too much energy at one time? What happens when your digestive system isn’t working optimally (say you were given lots of antibiotics as a kid because at the time your doctor parent didn’t know that was bad for you) and you consume lots of sugar in your cereal and then add milk (another sugar to it)?
I will tell you what happens because that is my story, especially the last one. You see at the very same time I was selling America “better (be sweet) breakfast” I was confronting my own health complaints – poor digestion (to be blunt, I was always bloated!), not great energy, couldn’t lose weight despite marathon training, my skin looking older than I was and then breaking out… and so on. I was even a vegan and doing yoga daily, and gave up all alcohol – so it really made me unhappy that I hadn’t achieved the health holy grail that I saw in so many others making, what I perceived as, even less better nutrition and health efforts. One day, on a work break, I found myself holding fifteen health books in my hands – each one with part of the solution to what was possibly wrong with me (since all the doctors tests had said “great news you are healthy” but I so didn’t feel it) and I discovered that the answer was in the resources my body needed. My body (and mind) needed better nutrition to fuel my better health.
The moment I began to fuel my body with better nutrition is the moment I knew I had to help enable the same for others, everywhere.
I learned that what I needed, personally, was my own personal prescription – my better nutrition. That it didn’t mean I had to make perfect choices – just better ones, more often. That it began with doing repair work for my digestive system that hadn’t been properly nourished as a child, nor supported as a teen or young adult (thanks birth control, stress, and much fast but poor quality food choices). That it meant learning about recovery and relaxation – what nutrients enable that but also what was missing from my fitness and sleep routine to support them as well. And finally, that better health wasn’t something I could work towards, get, and be done with – it was going to be a lifelong process of AKA (assess, keep, and act better, more often).
I am inspired by my own results – at 43, I am healthier now than at 23 and I find it fun when I get asked for identification (to prove I am over 21) or someone stops me to tell me how great my skin is or when I am able to get into the ring and box with my instructor as well as fly all over the world to chat better nutrition and share better not perfect choices, more often. Let’s be clear, I still get sick, tired, and I have performance goals I am still working to reach, but I have better (not perfect) health so I know that my body and mind will recover better, and that I will achieve my goals (and set new ones) because my body is getting the resources it needs to perform better not perfect more often. I am equally inspired by everyone that takes a step forward for their own better health – whether in my office, or that I meet through my Better Nutrition membership, or who I am getting to meet here at Lifesum. You are in it to do the work, to discover your personal prescription to help you make your better not perfect choices more often to get and keep your better health – and that get’s me jazzed! Let’s be clear, my life isn’t all nutrition and health stuff – I love to play with my awesome dog, Rerun, and to travel – especially if it lands me somewhere I can fly fish, try great food and wine or other native spirits – and I also love to stay home, on the couch, and watch basketball (ok I often jump up and shout so my basketball viewing may be more of an interactive sport) cheering on my Cavs or Duke Blue Devils, or watching a great show on Netflix. I so look forward to meeting you and learning more about your world, thanks for taking a moment to visit me in mine!
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