Liz Cascio, CHC, AADP
Certified Health Coach and Wellness Educator
I'm just like you.
I struggled with managing my weight for most of my life. My first diet was at age nine, and from then on, I was on some sort of weight loss regimen almost continuously for the next 15 years. I didn't care about being healthy, I wanted to be skinny, and I was willing to try anything anyone told me would help me lose weight. The result was drastically fluctuating body mass (up to forty extra pounds on my 5'0 frame), disordered eating, depression, anxiety, non-existent energy, and chronic upper respiratory problems. Then I discovered a whole foods, plant-based diet. I am now a reformed "professional dieter." I don't weigh, count, measure, tally or portion out my food. I don't "cleanse." I don't make arbitrary food rules and then punish myself for breaking them. I don't obsess about my food choices or equate them with my self-worth. I don't ever want to live that way again, and I don't want you to either.
As a Certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I served as resident health coach and wellness educator for the Whole Foods Market Wellness Club Chicago. The Wellness Club Program was created by Drs. Matthew Lederman and Alona Pulde (featured in Forks Over Knives) and renowned Registered Dietician Jeff Novick. I received extensive, ongoing training from these experts whose medical practices are on the cutting edge of plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine. Through my work with them, I gained the knowledge and expertise to support members in losing significant amounts of weight, reducing or eliminating medications, and reversing chronic disease. A whole foods plant-based diet is the key to optimal health and optimal weight loss. I live it. I'm trained in it, and through it, I've coached others to remarkable success. Now I want to help you succeed.
My approach is positive, cooperative, and compassionate. I empower my clients with the skills they need to make lasting change through nutrition education and customized skill-building. My philosophy on nutrition and healthy lifestyle is based on four basic principles:
Food Composition: You aren't broken. Your food and enviornment are. The processed, calorie-rich nutrient poor Standard American Diet is so far removed from the way foods occur in nature that they do not work with your body's natural systems for hunger and satiety and they cannot support your health. Together we'll work to achieve an overall dietary pattern of the whole nutritious plant foods that your body is designed to eat.
Common Sense, Evidence-based Recommendations: We have been hard-wired by the diet industry to believe that we have to concoct potions of exotic foods and constantly calculate complicated equations of percentages, grams and calories to be healthy. It's just not that complicated. When I make recommendations for my clients, I always ask myself two things: Is there quality scientific evidence for this recommendation? Is the recommendation relevant to my client's goals? If the answer is no, I'm not going to ask you to do it. Period.
No Hunger EVER: My mantra: If you are hungry on my program, you are doing something wrong. Hunger isn't the enemy. Foods that fool hunger are. Processed and calorie-rich foods are impossible for our bodies to count so we spend our lives measuring, tallying, portion controlling, and starving to lose or maintain a healthy weight. AND IT DOESN'T WORK! When we choose the whole nutritious plant foods our body inherently knows how to count, eating is a simple and intuitive as breathing in and out.
Primary Food(TM): This core principle of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition tells us that food isn't the only thing that nourishes us. Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice can satisfy your hunger for life, making what you eat secondary. When primary food is out of balance, we're more likely to use secondary food as a way to alleviate or suppress our hunger for love, intimacy, excitement, and success. I'll support you in examining and prioritizing your primary food, so that your mind, body, and spirit are well-nourished.