Here’s some food for thought; you are what you eat. Wait a second… aren’t these terms that we use on a regular basis? Is this relevant? Are these words precisely literal? In some instances, this is what we are really talking about. Because of society’s bustling attitudes and busy lifestyles, it is often quicker and simple to grab a ‘meal-on-the-go’. Get some grub in the belly and rush to take on household and extra-curricular responsibilities. People often don’t think or care what they are getting into their bellies for nutrition as long as their brain is stimulating nerves to let their bodies know they are full.

 Providing a healthy diet for oneself and family can be time consuming but planning a weekly menu tends to help with providing routine and healthier options. Susan Hoy, a chef and wellness consultant, takes pride in educating and acknowledging clients that need some help in organizing their kitchens to provide healthy, fulfilling meals for themselves and family. Hoy is the owner and operator of Culinary Skills & Nutrition, an Alberta based in-home food guidance program.

 “My mission is to connect people with their food and get them cooking again,” Hoy said.   “[I want to] educate them about plant-based whole foods and really show them how real food can support their health and lead to a life free of many diseases or conditions common today. “

 Hoy is a professionally and classically trained chef with over 15 years of experience. She is also an Agrologist, a soil and vegetation specialist.

 “In addition to these two professions, I spent many years working in the food supply industry,” Hoy shared. “I understand our food system from seed, right on through to our plates, including the manufacturing, transportation and storage in between.”

 Holding a career in the environmental sciences industry, although rewarding, lacked the fuel of creativity for Hoy. She wanted to take her knowledge and expertise and apply it in a way to help others benefit from her awareness of the health food industry. Compounded with the fact that her children did have health issues, she believed that she could help others in attaining a healthy diet that would help alleviate or eliminate their current aliments.

 “My daughters both have health concerns around food,” Hoy said. “I had made the connection between their diets and their health and having created several recipes to accommodate their needs of being gluten and refined sugar free, I was having friends approach me to help them.

 “It expanded very quickly and people began to seek me out for help with more serious issues such as Crohn’s, IBS and diabetes.”

 Hoy’s extensive background and knowledge has helped her to provide useable knowledge and training to her clients on the best ways to receive nutrients from a plant-based whole food diet, even when working with illnesses that generally need medical help to control. She has worked with many clients over the years, improving how they live, eat and exercise to become their healthiest, but Hoy recalls one of her most rewarded clients.

 “This past February, I heard from a client I had worked with last year who was suffering with Crohn’s,” Hoy said. “Not wanting to rely on the medications her doctor wanted her to take, she opted to work with me to ‘see if it would make a difference’.

 “We worked together to clean up her diet [and] we eliminated foods with preservatives, additives, foods that offered little to no nutritional benefits and switched her over to a plant-based whole foods diet, which highlighted foods that would begin to make her feel better.

 “We also focused on gut health and rebuilding the microflora so her body was digesting and absorbing the nutrients she was taking in and she quickly began to feel better, within weeks.

 “When our time together ended, we were all happy; her symptoms were greatly reduced and she felt much better.

 “After one year of eating a plant-based whole foods diet, she was told by her doctors that her Crohn’s is essentially in remission. No symptoms, signs of ulcers or liaisons.

Simply put, we are what we eat. The benefits of a balanced diet with an equal amount of exercise and water are obvious, but the power of food is still not fully understood. On an individual basis, one can see how food has the power to help with aliments that were, until now, fully treated traditionally with prescription drugs or surgery. Now, people are taking power into their own hands with the help of Susan Hoy to change their diets to better themselves and health.

 “Using that knowledge to approach food, nutrition and health through education and real life, an everyday tangible skill is something that has not been done. I don’t know of anyone else offering what I do.”

 Now, that’s some food for thought.