At BodaHealth, we understand the powerful role that good nutrition plays in your health. That’s why we’re so excited to have Ewa Reid as a member of our team! Ewa is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who specializes in fertility nutrition and works to help clients with a wide variety of health conditions find balance in their best health. Read on to learn more about Ewa, her philosophy, and the many aspects of holistic nutrition.
Mackenzie Dunlop: Hi Ewa, thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me about your practice. Can you tell me a bit about your journey into the field of holistic nutrition? What initially piqued your interest?
A: Like so many of us who work in “alternative” health care, my interest was piqued through personal experience. A few years back I went through a bit of a health scare. There was a lot going on in my life and due to several factors – chronic stress, adrenal fatigue, environmental toxins, and others – my hormones were on a roller coaster ride. I didn’t know that at the time, of course – all I knew was that I felt terrible. My energy was non-existent and absolutely everything was a struggle – including just getting out of bed in the morning. To make matters worse, my mental health was seriously affected too, so much so that I was diagnosed with a mood disorder.
MD: That sounds like a lot! So what ended up guiding you in the direction of holistic nutrition?
A: In the midst of it all, I had a friend who was a holistic nutritionist and she offered to help. She opened my eyes to what was happening with my body and how it was all connected – my energy, mood, motivation – and what the root causes might be. She put me on a care plan that used diet, supplementation, and lifestyle changes to slowly help bring my body back to balance. A few months later, I felt like myself again. But the knowledge I gained along the way was like a seed in my brain. I felt like this was something I needed to explore much deeper, and it was not much later that I enrolled in the Natural Nutrition program at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.
MD: Well it’s great to hear nutrition was so beneficial in your healing! I know you bring a lot of knowledge to your practice from working in various other sectors – can you tell me about switching from the world of business to nutrition?
A: I have always been motivated by mission-driven work. For over a decade before I found my calling in nutrition, I was in the non-profit sector and had the privilege of working with some phenomenal teams in environmental advocacy, performing arts, and international development. My marketing and fundraising roles ranged between working within organizations, to acting as a consultant for organizations, to business owner of a company that directly served NGOs. It was very rewarding work, but also extremely exhausting. In that industry, it’s very common to wear multiple hats and work very long hours; by the end I was juggling a lot and it really weighed on my health. In fact, it was one of the root causes of the health issues I described earlier, which inevitably led me down the path of changing careers to holistic nutrition.
MD: Yes, we certainly witness all too often the health detriments of overworking oneself. I see that your bio highlights the belief that “disease prevention intersects at the crossroads of a healthy diet, balanced lifestyle, and focused mindset.” Can you tell me a bit more about how that intersection plays out in your practice?
A: This core belief about health comes from what I personally experienced in my healing journey, things I learned from my studies in Natural Nutrition, and the experience I gained in my nutrition practice. To put it another way, I believe there are 5 pillars of health that help us to stay balanced and healthy. They are: optimal nutrition; rest & sleep; stress management; regular exercise; and mindset (mental health). All 5 need our regular attention to minimize the likelihood of illness. And equally, when we experience a health struggle, a care plan for bringing the body back to balance needs to address all 5 pillars. For me, this is not just a core belief, but the foundation for my practice. When I build a Nutrition Care Plan for my clients, I do so through this holistic lens. My recommendations go beyond dietary changes and address all 5 pillars of health.
MD: That all makes sense. Your return to Boda also marks the return of our Fertility Nutrition Program. Can you tell me a little bit about how you came to focus your practice on supporting fertility?
A: My own health recovery journey was greatly focused on rebalancing my hormones. That’s why, when I finished nutrition school and started my private practice, I focused my practice in this area. I worked primarily with women struggling with health conditions related to hormone imbalances. Over time, I began to explore the relationship between many conditions affected by hormonal imbalances and fertility, such as PCOS, dysglycemia (blood sugar imbalance), hypo and hyperthyroidism (thyroid imbalance), etc… It was not until I joined the BodaHealth team, however, that I started to focus my practice on fertility specifically. In doing so, I discovered how rewarding it is to help women achieve their goal of motherhood. Now it is my primary focus and area of nutrition I enjoy the most.
MD: It’s such a great fit to have you on the fertility team at BodaHealth! Are there any other types of education or certifications you have completed?
A: My Bachelor of Arts studies were at the University of Toronto at Scarborough in the Co-Op Arts Management program. My Natural Nutrition studies were at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in British Columbia, where I earned my Registered Holistic Nutritionist designation, as well as a Holistic Culinary Certification. I am also currently enrolled in the Fertility Doula program at Doula Canada, working to become a certified Fertility Support Practitioner (expected completion Jan 2023).
MD: That’s exciting and you’re a new mom as well! Are there any nutritional imperatives that have guided you through your postpartum journey?
A: Goodness, yes! Nutrition was such an important part of my recovery process. I will say first and foremost, for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, of all the life cycles in a woman’s life, there is none more important to focus on self-care like pregnancy and postpartum. Carrying a child, birthing that child, and supporting that child through breastfeeding takes such a huge toll on our bodies. I believe that the perfect postpartum recovery nutrition care plan will depend on the woman, but for me, what made the biggest difference (in no particular order of importance) was: eating lots of nutrient-dense, warming and easy-to-digest foods like soups and stews; continuing to take my prenatal multivitamin; snacking (mostly with raw fruits and vegetables, and/or seaweed chips) when my baby was breastfeeding; and hydration, hydration, hydration! It was quite a surprise to learn just how much you sweat postpartum. Drinking lots of water was super important but I also tried to have a bit of bone broth every day (for many reasons including iron, collagen, and its anti-inflammatory properties, among others). I would also try (when I could) to make a shake once a day in which I threw in frozen fruits (mostly berries), a handful of greens, oat milk (for breastfeeding), ½ an avocado (for the healthy fats and extra nutrients), collagen powder (for repair), and protein powder (for rebuilding). I should also add that I personally struggled a bit for the first few weeks with breastfeeding, so I was also on a specific protocol for breastfeeding which included nutritional support, as well as the TCM herbal medicine prescribed by Dr. Jeda Boughton.
MD: Your nutritional background and knowledgebase is so vast, what’s next for you professionally? Are you planning on doing additional studies or courses or do you want to evolve in a particular area with your practice?
A: Well as mentioned, I’m currently studying to become a certified Fertility Support Practitioner. In addition to that, at some point in the future, I plan to complete a Live Blood Cell Microscopy training program and become certified as a Live Blood Cell Analyst. I also greatly enjoy taking advanced nutrition courses and seminars as they become available. The one I am currently looking forward to is the Naturally Designed Pregnancy & Early Childhood CEPEC course at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition.
MD: For someone considering adding nutrition to their care plan, what can they expect in working with you? Can you talk a bit about how your packages work as well?
A: Thanks for asking this. What clients can expect is a strategic nutrition action plan coupled with ongoing support over several sessions. The first couple of sessions of any nutrition program are deeply explorative; we dig into things like health concerns and wellness goals, medical history, symptomatology, eating habits, lifestyle factors, food tastes and preferences, cooking skills, strategies for success, possible barriers, and more. This is where we really look at what is happening for you – as a whole person – and how we can create a path forward that will be manageable and sustainable. Once we have that in place and documented (in what’s called a Nutrition Care Plan), we work together to implement the plan over several sessions. We usually meet every two weeks or so, and each session focuses on one aspect of their Nutrition Care Plan – or one milestone on the path towards their overall goal (or goals). Outside of the sessions themselves, clients will also receive regular meal plan updates, new weekly recipes, feedback on their food logs and progress reports. How long this whole process takes will vary from person to person. It largely depends on how much guidance the individual feels they need, what and how many wellness goals they have, how many body systems need support currently, and which systems we are trying to positively affect. For example, when working with fertility clients, I recommend at the very minimum a duration of three months, because any changes we implement today will influence egg quality three months from now. That’s why our 3-Month and 6-Month Packages are most popular, but we have an introductory 1-Month Package as well.
MD: On a closing note, is there anything else you would like to tell our patients?
A: Yes! For those who are reading this and are struggling with some aspect of their health – whether it’s unexplained infertility, endometriosis, PCOS, a digestive disorder or other health condition – the most important thing is not to lose hope. So many of my clients come to see me because they have “tried everything else.” They feel defeated, even helpless. It is normal to feel this way, but I want you to know that they are NOT helpless. Finding balance is a journey (admittedly, sometimes a long one), and healing is never guaranteed, but the power to reconnect with our bodies, to address the root causes of imbalance, and create a path forward and through, is definitely within reach. I see my role in this process as that of educator and guide. I help clients see the path forward, and guide them along the way, but it is their job to take the steps necessary. For those who choose to work with me, and commit to taking those steps, I promise to provide them with a safe space and personalized attention to help them reach their goal.
About Ewa Reid:
Ewa Reid attended the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and holds the designation of Registered Holistic Nutritionist. She also earned her Holistic Culinary Certificate from CSNN. Ewa combines her knowledge and experience to help clients navigate the gap between what’s considered to be “ideal” and what’s realistic and sustainable. Ewa believes that nourishment goes beyond what you eat; it also encompasses a balanced lifestyle and a positive mindset. She brings that philosophy, her expertise and caring support into every session with her clients.
To learn more about Ewa Reid, visit her full bio here and stay tuned for more Practitioner Spotlight interviews from the BodaHealth team!
If you’re interested in a free 15-minute consultation with Ewa, submit your request below!