In her early 20s, holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy suffered from health problems including hormonal imbalances and digestive issues. Her hair was thinning and her skin was dry. After three years of doctor visits and taking medication, she began the search for an alternative approach to deal with her health woes. ‘I visited a nutritionist and naturopath, and that’s when everything changed for me,’ says McCarthy, 36.
Over the next six months, she modified her diet, adopted healthier lifestyle habits and got on a consistent regimen of nutritional supplements. The experience left her feeling a lot better and ignited her passion for helping others with their health challenges. ‘I knew that I wanted to empower, educate and inspire people about nutritional healing,’ says the newlywed, who studied at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto, where she now teaches. Here are her tips for healthy, natural living.
Choose fresh: ‘I don’t follow any ‘diet’ per se; I simply focus on eating whole, ‘real’ foods. Every Thursday, I get a box of organic food delivered. My meals usually reflect what I get in that box. This week, for example, I used sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and yellow pepper to make a sweet-potato and black-bean chili.’
Stay fit: ‘I was addicted to running in my teens and 20s. Now, I would much rather roll out my yoga mat than put on my running shoes. I love the balance yoga gives me, and how it has transformed my body. Yoga has made me stronger and more flexible, and improved my posture. I also ride my bike and walk as much as I can.’
Mix it up: ‘Variety is the spice of life, and for health and vitality it’s important to eat a variety of foods. I enjoy everything from soup to baked salmon to turkey burgers to roasted veggies. I’m not a vegetarian, but I eat a lot of vegetarian meals.’
Pick indulgences wisely: ‘My husband, Walker, and I love to eat out. Yes, I do drink wine and sometimes eat sugar. But if I’m going to indulge in something, it’s not going to be junk food! It’s more likely to be my mom’s homemade cookies or a pastry from my favourite patisserie in Toronto, Nadège. I love their chocolate almond croissants.’
Be in the moment: ‘It’s the little things that make me happy on a daily basis’quiet time when I do yoga, hugs from my husband, phone chats with my mom or girlfriends, naps with my two cats, walks in nature, and listening to music when I commute to the office.’
Live holistically: ‘My approach to a healthy life is all about balance: getting enough sleep, limiting stress, staying active, practising gratitude and spending time with my loved ones.’