Holistic Practitioner Spotlight with Jes Royston, Holistic Health Coach
We are speaking with Jes Royston, CHHC, on her focus of alkaline plant-based nutrition and its role in disease prevention and reversal.
Tell Us a Story About a Client Diagnosed with Breast Cancer and How Along with Treatment, an Alkaline Plant-Based Diet Improved Her Health
Lauren, a 40-year-old mother of three, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. This was particularly concerning since there was a family history of breast cancer in the family, including her mom. Lauren wanted to make some changes in her life to optimize her health. She knew from the start she did not want to go only the conventional route, so she came to see both me and the functional medicine MD who I work with in our private practice.
What had Lauren tried before seeking you out?
Lauren thought she was eating a healthy diet beforehand, but she was a yo-yo dieter who was always jumping on the latest trend. She knew I focused on plant-based nutrition and had heard me speak at some mom’s groups about how alkalinity can help with disease prevention and reversal.
Tell us more about pH and what we can do to keep it in a healthy zone?
A healthy or neutral pH for our body is about 7.365 (slightly alkaline). The food we eat has a direct effect on our pH—we can increase the pH level in our body (making it more alkaline) by incorporating a greater portion of alkaline-forming food into our diet.
Can you explain what happens when pH is not in the alkaline range?
pH balance has a very important role in our health. Luckily, our bodies come equipped with a natural buffering system that keeps our overall pH within a small range so it can function. The bad news? This buffering system comes at a long-term cost when it’s constantly working to balance an overly acidic pH. This is called acidosis.
What happens if we are in acidosis – a lower pH?
When the body is in a state of acidosis, this buffering system compensates by drawing on stores of minerals found in our bodies. The number one source for these alkaline-forming minerals is drawn out from bones, teeth, tissues and organs, resulting with a weakening of their structure and function.
What did you explain to Lauren about alkalinity and how to best achieve it?
I went over the health benefits of an alkaline diet that basically:
- Increases energy,
- Decreases inflammation
- Strengthens the immune system
Most importantly, perhaps, is that: Disease cannot flourish in an alkaline body! Happy, healthy cells love oxygen. Unhealthy cells (like cancer, viruses, bacteria + other microorganisms) hate it! They prefer an acidic environment and I, for one, would rather not let them take residence in my body!
So what are the best foods that support an alkaline diet?
Along with the education on alkalinity Lauren asked for, I suggested cancer-fighting phytonutrients every day. A simple rule of thumb is to eat the rainbow! Make sure you are getting all the power in Flavonoids, Carotenoids, Anthocyanins, Sulfides and Antioxidants. You can ensure you are doing this by consuming a wide variety of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables.
How did you arrive at your alkaline diet protocol?
My nutrition protocols are based on the courses I took at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, The Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine within the Nutrition and Cancer course and my own personal life. With Lauren’s interest and motivation, she started to transition to a plant-based, high-quality, nutrient-dense daily alkaline diet.
I took a full health history, looking at Lauren’s wellness from every angle. I suggested she remove the acidic foods from her daily diet to see if it changed her alkalinity, and that included alcohol! We went over various books on the subject, as well as alkaline-forming recipes that she could easily incorporate into her meal planning and prepping. Lauren was excited to try new superfoods and get rid of the foods that did not serve her.
Also, at our in-office sessions, we set smart goals which included stress reduction like meditation and yoga, plus a large focus on gut health because our gut microbiome is responsible for the majority of our neurotransmitters and hormone production. Plus, it has been linked to most disease!
What was the outcome of the services you provided?
Lauren has made great strides in eating more plant foods than before. Her health is excelling each time I see her in the office and after a successful mastectomy, she is now in remission.
Her family is also eating and feeling better. They were often on the go and grabbing fast food. Now almost all their meals are home cooked and vegan based.
As a vegan myself, I have found it easy to get the nutrients I need to stay in optimal health without missing animal products. I love teaching my willing clients to do the same.
Why and When Did You Choose the Natural Holistic Path?
When I was around 25, I started to get stomach pains that no doctor in NYC could diagnose. After being tested and told they would “try” to remove my gallbladder, I decided to keep a food journal. Once I did, I realized I had the pains after eating dairy, even though every practitioner told me there is no way it has to do with food. Once I cut dairy out, my pains were gone. I then enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to further my education so that I could help others take charge of their health as well.
What Lessons Have Your Work and Personal Experiences Taught You?
I learn something new from every client I have had the pleasure of helping over the last 8 years. What I am always reminded of is how our bodies can heal themselves if they are just given what they are lacking. I have also learned how much gut health impacts mental wellness, which was huge for myself and my practice! I consider myself a forever student because the more I can learn, the more I can help my followers.
Jes Royston is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, taking her clients on their own journey to wellness. She focuses on digestive wellness, improved diet, detoxification, hormone balance, stress management, mental wellness, weight management, energy improvement, food cravings, sleep and more.
In 2010, she attended school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC where she learned a wide array of dietary theories along with their benefits for specific clients. She holds various other certifications in Gut Health, Ayurvedic Medicine, Cancer Nutrition and Environmental Medicine.
*Board Certified by NBME
In 2017, Jes started a nutrition blog along with a Facebook support group called Green Mama Tribe to help weed through the misinformation, helping other moms to make clear, holistic choices for themselves and their families.
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