Enhance Nutrition Teaches Healthy Holistic Eating
As a certified nutrition specialist and owner of Enhance Nutrition, in Northbrook, Marcy Kirshenbaum works with her clients to come up with eating guidelines that are tailored to each individual. “I help people meet their health and wellness goals based on their nutritional needs and health guidelines. Just because something is considered healthy doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy for everyone,” she says. Kirshenbaum uses a variety of techniques to develop an optimal eating plan for her clients, including food sensitivity testing, genetic variation interpretation, detoxification and cleanses, meal plans and recipes, nutritional therapy, personal grocery shopping and pantry makeovers.
Although she holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, it wasn’t until Kirshenbaum was pregnant with her first child that she started to really get interested in nutrition. “I realized that what I’m putting in my body affects my children, and I needed to make better choices. So I began reading labels and learning how I could impact their health and growth by eating whole foods,” she says. Kirshenbaum went back to school for a master’s degree in nutrition and opened Enhance Nutrition five years ago.
Most of Kirshenbaum’s clients are looking to improve their health and well-being through dietary changes. “I have clients who have high cholesterol, diabetes, autoimmune diseases gastrointestinal issues or are overweight. Some people have migraines or generalized pain. I’m seeing more people who have been referred by their doctors to treat a medical condition through diet and lifestyle changes instead of with a pill. I like that not only are people wanting to avoid a pill that only treats symptoms, but also they are motivated to take control of their choices, which can help address the source of the problem.” she says.
Instead of obsessing about counting calories or grams of fat, Kirshenbaum teaches clients to make nutrient-dense food choices and look at things like portion control and how their body is feeling. “One hundred calorie packs are very trendy, but I wouldn’t tell someone to eat 100 calories of highly processed cookies that are full of added sugar. Instead, I’d have them eat a handful of walnuts, which provides protein, antioxidants and healthy fats,” she says. The first and most important question she asks clients is what changes they’re willing to make. “If someone comes in and they have a habit of drinking five sodas a day, they’re probably not going to be able to stop cold turkey, but maybe they can cut back to one or two in the short term until they are able to eliminate all soda,” she says.
Kirshenbaum encourages clients to learn as much as possible, but also to listen to their bodies. “I educate people and give them the tools to make healthy choices on their own. Telling someone to count the grams of sugar they consume won’t work if they don’t understand how too much added sugar negatively affects their bodies,” she says. “If someone is used to having a big bowl of ice cream every night, I’d suggest they try making their own popsicles out of real fruit or yogurt. Often they even like it better, and it’s fun to make your own treats!”
If they do want to eat something sweet, Kirshenbaum encourages clients to go for real sugar or honey, in moderation, instead of a sugar substitute. “The more whole ingredients and less processed food you can eat, the better. I walk people through options to replace the bad with something better, which will make giving up the junk much easier. People did not get to their current unhealthy condition in a week, so undoing the negative habits takes time,” she says. “I also recommend eating fruits and vegetables that are in season and are as locally sourced as possible. Here in Chicago, we’re lucky to have numerous summer farmers’ markets and CSAs where people can get food that is extremely fresh and is grown less than 50 miles away. What we eat has a direct impact on how we live. We have to take care of the Earth, which will in turn keep us healthier. I’m very passionate about what I do, and want to help as many people as possible."
Enhance Nutrition is located at 900 N. Skokie Blvd., Ste. 207, in East Northbrook. For more information, call 847-987-1128 or visit EnhanceNutrition.net.
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.