I had the pleasure of sitting down with Natalie Houston, owner of The Houston Method. She is a nutritionist in Gilbert, Arizona. I had a chance to pick her brain and wanted to get some of this great information to you. Below is a summary of our conversation.
I have always had an affinity for food, watching my mom work in the garden and cook, as well as helping her out in the kitchen. When I was 19, I moved to California to pursue an acting career. Having a limited budget, I at ramen noodles. Knowing they didn’t have any health benefit, I started to dress them up to “healthify” them.
After that, I started to become intrigued with cooking and the science involved with it. After working nonstop in hospitality for a hotel chain, I stopped that, started exercising again, and then realized my nutrition was an issue. I started researching what I could do; the more I read, the more my interest grew. I left the job I was at and went back to school to get a degree in diatetics.
As new information/research comes out, have you changed how to design plans or programs for your clients?
I base everything I do on evidence based research. I keep up to date with reading journals of the recent research and speak with colleagues frequently for further decision making.
How does nutrition effect mental performance?
Nutrients are what fuel our bodies. Without proper nutrition, including carbohydrates and fats, we have brain fog, poor clarity, decreased focus and concentration, and increased mental fatigue.
Foods that are good for the mental performance include walnuts and anything with high antioxidants, including berries and dark, leafy greens.
What are good food choices to decrease inflammation in the body?
Anything with high antioxidants will help decrease inflammation. Berries and dark, leafy greens are very high in antioxidants and a great option.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also very important for this. Your body does not naturally make these types of fatty acids, so they must be ingested. Fish is a great option for Omega 3s.
Many spices and herbs have great healing properties. It is good to use a variety of different spices when cooking.
How do you change a client’s plan as they start to incorporate exercise?
I always start with a nutrient panel and resting metabolic rate to get a baseline. As someone starts to incorporate exercise, we need to start increasing their energy (calorie) needs. This is done incrementally, getting feedback throughout and adjusting as needed.
What do you suggest for nutrition changes with injury recovery.
When recovering from an injury, the protein needs increase. The body also needs foods high in antioxidants in order to repair the damaged cells and decrease the free radicals in the body.
If you would like to find out more about Natalie or get in contact with her, she can be found at The Houston Method.