HelloMonaco is happy to announce our collaboration with Susan Tomassini, our new healthy lifestyle guru!
We are pleased to introduce Susan Tomassini, a licensed nutritionist and co-owner of The Clever Kitchen in Monaco. She will be contributing a column on healthy lifestyle to give our readers important information on eating well, staying healthy and finding balance in our often-hectic lives.
Susan has spent over 20 years as a model in Milan and after having children, devoted her life to studying health and nutrition. Today, she has a private practice in Monaco, offering tailored diets to bring people back to optimum health. Her website, Foodwise (https://www.foodwise.life), offers practical nutrition and lifestyle advice through her blog posts and bespoke nutritional programs.
With The Clever Kitchen (https://theclever.kitchen), Susan offers nutrition workshops featuring inspirational and realistic ways to stay healthy, featuring healthy recipes based on fresh, seasonal produce and nutrient-dense Superfoods.
We sat down with Susan to get to know her more and share with you some her top tips:
After 20+ years in modeling, what made you decide to go into nutrition?
– The seeds were sewn when I was young. My mother was always a supporter of animal rights and this stayed with me throughout my life: from refusing to do fur shows, to working with animal rights charities. That led to reading about mass food production, factory farming and its effects on the environment and our health. I wanted to do something to raise people’s awareness about that and people’s declining health—the rising rates of obesity, diabetes, and degenerative diseases like cancer and osteoporosis. I’ve always been fascinated in the way that what we eat impacts our health, not just our weight, but our mental and emotional state as well. Plus, as a mother of four small children I wanted to make sure they started out with the right nutrition. So, in order to accomplish all that, I had to have the credibility and proper qualifications. That is why I decided to pursue a degree in nutritional health.
What was your biggest lesson from your studies in nutrition?
– If you’re looking for a quick change in your health, avoid all foods that are white and refined. Stop eating things that come in boxes, packages and anything that comes wrapped in plastic from a factory. Especially avoid anything that has had its natural fibre removed. Fibre is so important to the body, from keeping the digestive system healthy to regulating the blood sugar response in the food we eat. Whole grains contain more fibre because it has the hull and the germ, whereas refined white grains have been stripped down to the glutinous endosperm, removing all of the fibre and nutrients. So don’t eat white foods, eat brown whole grain foods.
What is the most damaging thing people eat that they don’t realise is bad?
– Refined carbohydrates—or white food. Nine out of ten clients have problems with blood sugar levels. Unbalanced blood sugar levels affect absolutely everything from our ability concentrate, to our ability to lose weight. And it affects everybody from small children to adults, and they don’t realise it. When your blood sugar is up and down, it affects your mood, makes you irritable, makes it difficult to concentrate and learn things, and makes it virtually impossible to lose weight. Blood sugar also affects the aging process, with the rate that cells are broken down and how they regenerate. So keeping steady blood sugar levels is very important. Again, don’t eat white, processed foods.
What is the difference between a nutritionist and dietician?
– A dietician will often treat the symptoms and talk about government policy and will recommend the food pyramid. They will tell you what to eat according to what the government is telling you to eat. They also treat the body as separate parts.
Nutritionists have a more holistic approach, realising that everything is connected and include mind-body therapies as well as diet and nutritional advice. Nutritionists will normally work in private practice, whereas dieticians work for the government. Both will work with doctors, but we work complimentary to doctors, not as part of the medical establishment.
When you see clients, do you ask anything other than what they eat?
– Yes, I have a seven-page questionnaire that I give my clients before their first appointment. They don’t have to fill it out, but it is a good way for them to start thinking about their diet and their lifestyle before they come in. My first appointment is and hour and a half, giving time to go through their background, their medical history and any blood tests they have. But the main part of the consultation is going over diet, how much alcohol they drink and other lifestyle factors, like stress. Stress is a big factor, which can lead to adrenal fatigue. Everybody that I see is under some sort of chronic stress and the body does not differentiate between emotional stress, psychological stress or physical stress. So if you have cancer, or marital problems or even a cold or flu, it causes a physical stress on the body. The adrenal glands, which are designed to kick in at short moments of need, are constantly pumping out cortisol, a stress hormone. This can exhaust the adrenals and lead to fatigue, weight gain and many other ailments.
What are five things that you have every day?
– 1. Lemon water – In the morning I will always have warm water with lemon. It is very purifying and a good way to start the day. I like to put a little Himalayan salt, which balances electrolytes.
2. A green smoothie – This is a great way to start the day and hydrate the body. You need seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day and a green smoothie is a really easy way to get four or five servings before 10am. It’s also a great way to add in superfoods like turmeric or maca.
3. Whole grains – I also start my day with a whole-grain, seeded cracker and almond butter.
4. Nuts – Eat nuts every single day. Nuts are a great source of plant protein, which is very important to the body.
5. Chocolate! Dark chocolate (anything over 70%) contains a lot of healthy flavonoids and polyphenols. Four pieces is a good portion to get these benefits. Store bought chocolate is ok, but homemade is better. At The Clever Kitchen, we make our own chocolate with coconut oil and raw cacao, preserving the delicate polyphenols.
Susan is available for personal nutrition and health consultations. For an appointment visit her website, or call: 06 17481114